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Posts Tagged ‘damppebbles blog tours’

  • Title: Ring of Spies
  • Author: Alex Gerlis
  • Publisher: Canelo
  • Publication Date: 15th October 2020

Copy received from publisher & blog tour organiser for review purposes.

Description:

As the war approaches its end, Prince once more has to risk everything.

Berlin, 1939: A German intelligence officer learns a top agent is quickly moving up the British Army ranks. He bides his time.

Arnhem, 1944: British paratroopers have been slaughtered in one of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War. A shell shocked officer is convinced: the Germans knew they were coming.

But who betrayed them?

Back in London, Richard Prince, detective and spy, is approached by MI5 about a counterintelligence operation. Information is leaking and British troops are dying. Prince has to stop it, and crack the suspected spy ring at all costs. But in the world of espionage nothing is as it seems…

The latest WWII espionage thriller from Alex Gerlis is perfect for readers of Robert Harris, John le Carré and Alan Furst.

My Thoughts:

I have loved WWII espionage thrillers for some time, and Alex Gerlis is one of my go-to authors for books in this genre, along with John le Carré and Phillip Kerr.

For readers perhaps not familiar with the Richard Prince series, it’s not mandatory to have read the previous books (Prince of Spies and Sea of Spies), there is enough detail woven into the narrative to clue you into events that have led to this point, but if you want to really experience the mastery of Gerlis’s writing and get the full picture of Richard Prince then I would highly recommend reading them! I’d also recommend delving into the Spy Masters series by this author, those books are fantastic too!

As always, readers are spoiled with detail, intricate plottings, and fantastic characterisation. One of the things you can always rely on in one of Gerlis’s books is high level of detail, the research that must be done for his books must be immense, but it’s got to be worth it when the reader is faced with such a brilliant book. Bringing the settings alive, readers can almost watch the scenes play out in their minds, watch the characters become embroiled in dangerous situations and hold your breath as they try to break themselves free.

I found that I was racing through the book, eagerly devouring chapter after chapter, and couldn’t wait to see if Prince would crack the spy ring. I loved the way that tension was built throughout and kept me hooked. There is a feeling of authenticity in this that really brings the story to life and reminds me of the other great writers of this genre, and I would highly recommend Ring of Spies (and all the other books by Alex Gerlis).

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  • Title: Hill Country Secret
  • Author: Kit Hawthorne
  • Publisher: Harlequin Heartwarming
  • Publication Date: 1st September 2020

Copy received from blog tour organiser for review purposes.

Description:

Just a detour…

Or the home she needs?

Lauren Longwood’s freewheeling existence has hit a bump—in more ways than one. Pregnant by her ex, she retreats to Texas and meets charismatic Alex Reyes, as tied to the land as Lauren is to the road. Once, all he wanted was to save his ancestral ranch. Now he wants to offer Lauren the steadfast love that’s eluded her, if she’ll trust him enough to stay.

My Thoughts:

Hill Country Secret is a lovely tale that brings together some really likeable characters, a great setting and some fantastic descriptive writing. You wouldn’t expect it, well I certainly didn’t, but I learned quite a lot about Texan historical reenactments through this book. So much so in fact that I ended up researching various aspects of costumes, crafts, as well as the general history that was mentioned in the plot. I love a book that can spark the curiosity in me.

But back to the story of Lauren and Alex …
In these characters we find people who have been hurt by trauma, we see through their eyes and are given a chance to understand some of their actions. By doing this, Kit Hawthorne makes her characters come alive for readers, she makes you want to know what will happen to them and how they will get past this moment in time that is a barrier to happiness.
The Texan backdrop is vivid and dare I say it, charming. I loved reading about the ranch, Lauren’s friends and the restoration of the bunkhouse. With such rich details about fixtures and fittings I could almost envision the various aspects that Hawthorne wrote about, granted some things I did Google, but I loved the detail and time that was taken to craft such a great narrative.

If you are looking for a heart-warming and enjoyable romance tale, then this is definitely recommended. There are highs, lows, good guys and bad buys. There is a gentle warmth that comes with this tale, and it makes it the perfect book to curl up with.

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  • Title: How The Wired Weep
  • Author: Ian Patrick
  • Publication Date: 30th June 2020

Copy received from blog tour organiser for review purposes, and electronic copy purchased via Amazon.co.uk

Description:
The Wire crosses the pond.

Ed is a detective who handles informants. He recruits Ben, a young man, who is treading a dangerous path into the criminal underworld.
Ben’s unsure of where his loyalties lie. They have to find a way to work together despite their differences.

Both men are drawn into the world of Troy, a ruthless and brutal leader of an Organised Criminal Network.

Ben is torn between two worlds as he tries to walk the impossible line between criminality and helping Ed combat crime.
He lives in fear of discovery.

When your life is thrown upside down who do you turn to in order to survive?

Set against the backdrop of the 2012 Olympic Games, How the Wired Weep is a fast paced urban thriller where time is against both men as they attempt to serve their own agendas.

My Thoughts:

There’s always something you associate with certain authors and their work, and when I think of Ian Patrick, I immediately think of an intense story, powerful writing and an authenticity that makes you feel like you’ve lived through an experience. How The Wired Weep has all of this and so much more, and I would urge readers to grab a copy!

Without rehashing the plot, I focus on the strong characterisation and intensity that are in this book. Ian Patrick gives the reader a character in Ed that is far from perfect, he walks a line between good and bad and often skirts the law but he has good intentions. He is close to his colleagues, something that is necessary in this line of work, but often that’s to the detriment of his home life and the fertility treatment he and his wife are undertaking.
Ben, recently released from prison, passes information to Ed to help take down one of the heads of the London criminal network. Ben’s life has been one filled with drugs, crime and abandonment. With no father figure to follow, Ben worries for his own child and the life it will have will it be taken into care like the other babies in his family. He looks to Ed as a role model at times, he seeks approval, but equally, he doesn’t always trust easily. The dynamic between these two characters makes for an intense and fascinating read.

Instead of presenting readers with a stereotypical police procedural, Ian Patrick offers readers a glimpse into the world of policing and criminals that is vivid and realistic. It is compelling reading and I thoroughly enjoyed this.

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  • Title: Lucy’s Last Chance
  • Author: Elle Sweet
  • Publication Date: 12th August 2020

Copy received from author and blog tour organiser for review purposes.

Description:

Lucy was a high-powered attorney who had a nervous breakdown after her husband left her.
Broken, she came to the town of Moonshire Bay to start over as a yoga instructor; determined to find inner peace in all things this time around.

Brant is running for Mayor and running after Lucy, but she is scared of his drive and need for success.

Can Lucy realize she’s stronger than she thinks and take a chance on love?

My Thoughts:

I was delighted to take another trip to Moonshire Bay and properly meet a character who had intrigued me from a previous book, the owner of the yoga studio, Lucy.

In Lucy, the reader finds someone with a past. Someone who has been hurt and has learned to move forward and do what’s best for them, but she also accepts that it’s been some time since she’d felt any desire towards love or companionship.
Enter Brandt, the town mayor. By all accounts, Brandt seems like a lovely guy, although at times a little foolish … his plans are well meant, but often lead to misunderstandings where matters of the heart are concerned.

For fans of the Small Town Romance series written by Elle Sweet, they will soon recognise the various locations mentioned throughout the book, and it almost feels like catching up with an episode of your favourite Netflix drama, there’s a lovely homey feel to it. The story itself has just the right amount of action and detail to hold your attention, making it the perfect read for an afternoon curled up on the sofa with a cuppa. And fear not, although it is book four of the series, you can jump straight in and start reading now.

Elle Sweet brings her character to life from the pages with detailed backstories and rounded personalities. And it’s fair to say that Moonshire Bay comes alive too, I could almost see the main street of the town, the properties mentioned … and if Lucy runs more yoga classes like the final one in the book, I’ll be booking a ticket to move to Moonshire Bay!

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  • Title: Photographing Kate
  • Author: Elle Sweet
  • Publication Date: 15th July 2020

Copy received from author and blog tour organiser for review purposes.

Description:

After Kate’s husband of over twenty years is sentenced for embezzling and fraud, she loses everything and needs to start over. She decides to visit Moonshire Bay to regroup at the urging of her friend, Claire, who owns the diner there.

Knowing she needs a way to support herself, she rekindles her passion for photography and starts to think maybe staying in Moonshire Bay is her best chance at happiness.
Zach is the town attorney and a confirmed bachelor. After a scarring experience with love and almost marriage in his younger days, he vowed never to get any closer to a woman than a casual relationship.

When Zach meets Kate, the wounded look that lingers behind her smile grabs him and he wants to know her better, but Kate was burned by her lawyer ex-husband. Even if she wanted a relationship it wouldn’t be with a member of that profession.

Zach tricks Kate in order to get to know her better. When she finds out, will she understand and forgive him or will it push her further away?

My Thoughts:

I’ve found that my reading tastes have changed slightly during these past few months. Reading has become a much needed escape, but it also has to be something I can do either first thing in the morning or last thing at night. I say first thing in the morning as there’s something so nice about curling up with a cuppa and a book, listening to the birds and enjoying a rare peaceful hour or so before everyone else gets up.

Photographing Kate was the perfect book for one of those mornings. Although it’s book three of the Moonshire Bay series, it can be read easily without the other books, indeed I read this book before any of the others of the series … breaking my own rule about reading a series in order.

Without rehashing the plot, this is a tale about a woman starting over. Kate’s life has been turned upside down, shaken and then flung about a bit more. Taking advice from her dear friend Claire and one of her daughters, Kate makes a trip to Moonshire Bay for a break and spend time with Claire. She didn’t expect to fall in love with the place, she didn’t expect to find a job or a man.
With a character that many readers will relate to, or feel a strong connection with, Kate is endearing but feisty. Her anxieties about starting over feel real and understandable, the panic and worry about what people will think of her because of her husband’s court case is well written.

Zack on the other hand, now there’s a character that is hard to work out. His backstory is one I found interesting, his relationships with his father and Rhoda show different sides to this character, and seeing how the various people in the town view him is intriguing. Whilst his actions may be questionable at times, his head and heart not always working in unison, I would happily go on a picnic with him.

I loved the setting of Moonshire Bay, it sounded like a lovely place, the descriptions brought it to life and had me wishing I could visit there. Looking forward to the next book of the series and getting to know more of the characters of Moonshire Bay.

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  • Title: Holiday Date
  • Author: Debbie Ioanna

Copy received from author and blog tour organiser for review purposes.

Description:

Relationships are tested in this highly anticipated sequel to ‘Blind Date’.

Jenny is back in this romantic comedy, and this time she has her man. Life is wonderful as she switches her sex dreams for the real thing with her hunk, Zack. As well as feeling loved up, she must also console her recently-single best friend, Sarah. Those much-loved blind dates make a welcome return as Jenny gets the sweet taste for vengeance.

After a girly holiday to Rome, and a somewhat unexpected vegan experience, Zack whisks Jenny abroad for a romantic holiday of their own. However, jolly holidays aren’t on the menu when faced with a twenty-something stunner in the next villa.

Holidays take the centre stage for this sequel, where relationships are put to the test, at home and abroad.

My Thoughts:

Having read and enjoyed the previous book by Debbie Ioanna, I was looking forward to catching up with Jenny and seeing how life was treating her. In Blind Date, Jenny’s life was filled with fun, and disastrous dates that her mother had set up for her. Taking control of her life and destiny, after that embarrassing incident with the Chinese food, she finds love and happiness with the man of her dreams.
So, what can Debbie Ioanna offer readers when they dive into Holiday Date? More of the same giggle inducing fun that has readers feeling great appreciation for Jenny helping her friend Sarah with her blind dates as a form of payback. On their trip to Rome, Jenny and Sarah have the break they needed. The sights, sounds and flavours of Italy delighting them and I have to admit to being very jealous, the biscotti they had sounded absolutely delicious! The vivid imagery used brought the scenes to life, I could almost see the lovely landmarks, the picturesque setting and the wee guest house.

As well as the relationship between the friends, readers also get to meet Jenny’s family when there is a catch-up. Thankfully with Zack there for support, things aren’t as awful as Jenny might have imagined them being … unless you count the menu.

It’s fair to say that family and holidays play a huge part in this book. When Zack introduces Jenny to his parents they are invited to join them abroad at their villa.
Jenny’s insecurities are something that many readers will sympathise with. Being part of Zack’s life and seeing the people important to him is fine until she meets the stunningly beautiful young woman that has been part of Zack’s life up until now. Immediately Jenny worries and spirals into panic that her perfect relationship is doomed.

As a secondary thread to the plot, readers get to see Sarah’s disastrous dates as she dips her toes back into the dating pool. One date in particular is enough to make you cringe, but at the same time chuckle out loud, grateful that it’s not you that was in that situation.

I really enjoyed these books, they provided a much needed escape; bringing laughter and heartwarming happiness at a time when doom and gloom was prevalent. I’d highly recommend them as the perfect summery read, and look forward to seeing what Debbie Ioanna writes next!

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Today’s Celebrating Indie Publishing post is joining up with damppebbles blog tours to share my review of Neil Lancaster’s thrilling second novel in the Tom Novak series.

  • Title: Going Rogue
  • Author: Neil Lancaster
  • Publisher: Burning Chair
  • Publication Date: 21st November 2019

Copy received from publisher for review purposes.

Description:

Tom Novak is back.

When a spate of deadly terrorist attacks hit the streets of London, Tom finds himself thrust into the middle of a fight for the survival of all he holds dear.

When the attackers hit closer to home than he could ever imagine, Tom is forced to make a choice between his duty or his conscience. In doing so, he enters a series of increasingly dangerous worlds, in the darkest corners of humanity.

Can Tom and his colleagues get to the bottom of a plot which threatens the very fabric of society?

Will they stop the terrorists before it’s too late?

When faced with the ultimate choice, which way will Tom go?

After all, as Cameron always says: “Always do right, boy…”

Going Rogue is the follow-up to the hugely successful thriller, Going Dark: the book that introduced Tom Novak as the hero who, in the words of best-selling author Tony Parsons, “makes Jason Bourne look like a vegan Pilates teacher”.

Get Going Rogue today, and start a rollercoaster ride of a thriller that you won’t ever want to put down.

My Thoughts:

If Neil Lancaster isn’t a name on your author list then get his name added there quickly! The Tom Novak series is thrilling and exciting, the sort of thing you read while holding your breath in anticipation of what will happen next.

Reading the books in order will definitely give you a more rounded appreciation for this character and his back story, and I felt that having read Going Dark first, I understood this complex character and his life a little better. When you start reading, it’s hard not to wonder if this will be another rogue detective story, someone who has little attachment to those around them and will throw themselves into the most dangerous situations for nothing else other than a thrill … all under the guise of saving someone or saving the world. But in Tom Novak, the reader is given a character that is deep, complex and so fascinating. There is so much detail written into this character, he is multidimensional and as the story unfolds you are drawn to him.

The plotting is once again brilliant, Lancaster writes with great skill and the action feels believable, authentic, something I would expect given his previous career in policing. The pace is like a whirlwind, I wanted to not blast through this book, but at the same time, the author baits the chapters perfectly to hook the reader and ensure they will keep reading, even if it is until late into the wee hours of the morning. Using current events makes the plot very realistic and gives the reader pause for thought to consider who vast and diverse society is.

I really don’t want to say anything that will give away the plot or hints about what will happen, but it’s the sort of book you can easily lose a few hours to once you’re hooked. It’s an action packed, thrilling read that is packed with subtle details that build such a crisp picture of the scenes and the tensions that bubble under the surface. The characterisation is clever, the plot is immersive and this is one series that screams out to appear on screen!

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  • Title: The Blood Acre
  • Author: RJ Mitchell
  • Publisher: Matthew James Publishing Ltd
  • Publication Date: 12th September 2019

Copy received from damppebbles blog tours for review purposes.

Description:

Fresh from his exploits in The Shift, Constable Angus Thoroughgood finds himself assigned to Community Policing in the crime-ridden Briarknock area of Glasgow — an area known for its horrific drugs problem, violent petty crime, and unemployment. It’s also home to The Creepers, a notorious team of housebreakers whose reign of terror must come to an end.

However, it’s not just The Creepers that Thoroughgood must contend with. Working with his partner Harry Currie, the Scottish detective must battle corruption within the force and work to stop a plot that would destroy cities across the North of England, discovering a fabled piece of Glasgow criminal folklore along the way — the Blood Acre.

My Thoughts:

I have to admit that this author and his series were entirely unknown to me when I first heard about The Blood Acre, something about the description appealed to me and I wanted to find out more.

Short chapters mean readers move quickly through the pages as the story unfolds. The setting was well described by the author and he clearly knows his way around Glasgow, bringing it alive on the pages for his readers to experience. This coupled with the atmospheric writing really made the book quite a vivid read, especially when it came to the crimes that were committed and the investigations of them. You just have to look at the opening chapters for the level of detail you can expect throughout. These scenes were fascinating and so intriguing. I can’t say that my knowledge of safe-cracking was ever extensive, but after reading this, I feel like I understand better what they do in the films with the plasticine looking stuff and how delicate they need to be with the other compounds they use.

Although this is part of a series, I found that I was able to read this without having read the previous books. I got to know Thoroughgood and his partner Harry Currie through the narrative and witnessed the dynamic between them, and watching them work together made for an interesting read.

I do love seeing local dialects popping up in the narrative, it adds a sense of the location and is often a wonderful tool to bring the characters to life. And I’m sure I’m not the only one that will sit and try to work out how certain words will sound in the accents from the book … so it was great to see that here, although I do wonder if readers may have some difficulty translating them/ navigating around them as some Scots words can be a little tricky.

About the Author:


Robert James Mitchell was brought up in Stirling. Mitchell was initially detailed beat duties out of the former Blackhill Police Office and then Baird Street Police Office in the former ‘D’ Division, or the North, as it was known to all the men who served in the division. In January, 2007, while recovering from an appendicitis, Mitchell decided to write the first draft of ‘Parallel Lines: The Glasgow Supremacy‘, drawing heavily on his own experiences and featuring the characters of Detective Sergeant Gus Thoroughgood and DC Kenny Hardie.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/spitfiremedia

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjmitchellcrimewriter/

Website: https://rjmitchellauthor.co.uk/

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  • Title: Death of an Angel
  • Author: Derek Farrell
  • Publisher: Fahrenheit Press
  • Publication Date: 27th February 2019

Copy received from publisher and tour organiser for review purposes.

Description:

A woman is found dead in a London street – the evidence suggests she plummeted to her death from a nearby tower block – but did she fall or was she pushed? And why does she have Danny Bird’s name written on the back of her hand?

So begins this 4th magnificent outing for Danny and the gang from The Marq.

In the frame for a murder he didn’t commit, London’s self-proclaimed Sherlock Homo has no choice but to don his metaphorical deerstalker one more time to prove his innocence and uncover the truth about the tragic death of Cathy Byrne. 

With the indomitably louche Lady Caz by his side, Danny plunges headlong into a complex investigation while at the same time trying to be a dutiful son to his increasingly secretive parents, and still find the time to juggle his frustratingly moribund love-life.

My Thoughts:

I was only too happy to catch up with my favourite bar manager/amateur sleuth, Danny Bird in Death of an Angel. Having followed this series since the beginning, Death of a Diva, the Danny Bird books have gone from strength to strength. The characters have developed in ways that I would not have imagined and I’m thrilled to see how their stories have unfolded.

Death of an Angel is different from the previous books, there’s something about the plot that sets it apart from the others in the series, and it’s a fascinating and enjoyable read.
With a strong focus on families and relationships, Derek Farrell gives readers more than a story about crime. The link between family members is a driving force behind many events throughout the plot, the dynamic between characters shows the varied connections that exist and the lengths that people will go to to try and protect those they care about.

So, Danny and Caz are back, doing what they do best … getting caught up in situations that would have most “normal” people panicking, but somehow they always manage to keep things together and get out of awkward moments. Caz, a somewhat delightful yet dipsomaniacal member of the aristocracy, always has a bottle of something in that capacious bag of hers to help her in those situations. I say somewhat delightful because this character is one who causes much hilarity with her sarcasm and cynicism, and smock. But I have a feeling that behind her bluster is a genuinely soft heart, especially when it comes to certain people.
The case that the pair become involved with has some incredibly murky connections, and ones they have to be wary of. But nonetheless, they tackle each obstacle as it appears, uncovering dangerous corruption and ruthless killers. Clever plotting makes this quite a thrilling read, often I found myself trying to guess ahead at how things would all link together, or who was the killer and what their motive was but I was led astray by red herrings.

Characterisation is one of the key things in the books of this series, each of the main characters feels so real and easy to connect with. Readers cannot help but feel some pull towards the lives of these fictitious creations, such is the ability of Farrell to create a realistic cast. Danny’s family have become so real that I think of them with fondness.

A thrilling and clever read that gives the reader much to think about, whilst supplying many laughter inducing moments and plenty to keep them guessing!

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  • Title: In Alexa’s Shoes
  • Authors: Rochelle Alexandra
  • Publisher: Author Academy Elite
  • Publication Date: 25th June 2019

Copy received from blog tour organiser and publisher for review purposes.

Description:

In Alexa’s Shoes – a dramatic, uplifting true story of a teenage girl overcoming great odds to survive. A historical novel that beckons the reader to follow in the footsteps of a real-life individual one step at a time. Based on the true story of the author’s grandmother.

In the autumn of 1940, thirteen-year-old Alexa’s happy life is ripped from her as she, her mother, and many of the locals are rounded up by the Nazis in Poland. Loaded into trucks, they are transported to an unknown destination. Terror and uncertainty become the new normal. Life is a continuous nightmare as she is selected by the Gestapo officer’s wife, destined to become little more than their slave.

Separated from everyone she loves Alexa relies on her Christian faith, inner strength and courage, to endure through her long nightmare. Her story takes her on a treacherous journey across war-ravaged Europe in search of her family and the life she once knew. Despite living through unimaginable hardships and life-threatening danger, Alexa feels that someone or something seems to be looking out for her. Years later, she finds out that not all was as it seemed, as hidden secrets from this dark period in history are revealed to her.

My Thoughts:

I read this book over the course of a weekend, once I picked it up I was unable to put it down for long. The story of Alexa’s life is a heartbreaking one that begins as the young teenage girl is taken from her beloved Poland at the hands of the Nazis and is separated from her mother.
Her childhood innocence and naivety are soon comforts of the past when she has to adjust to a massively different life as a slave for a Gestapo officer and his family. The events that take place around Alexa and the things she sees in those early days after her forceful removal from Poland are heartbreaking, but we all know that worse events would occur after 1940.

Life living under the roof of a Gestapo officer is far from easy for Alexa, long hours and backbreaking work are hard for an adult, but for a teenager this must have been so much to contend with. But her Christian faith helps her through the tough times, reciting Psalm 91 to herself whenever she feels it will help. Her family and homeland are never far from her thoughts, something she clings to throughout her days in Occupied lands, hoping that she may once again see Poland and be reunited with her mother and sister.

Alexa shows courage and strength throughout her time in captivity, she continues to put one foot in front of the other, moving closer to a life that she hopes will lead her to freedom. But she never turns to hatred towards those who force these limitations and conditions on her. As her story moves on, Alexa’s freedom comes and life takes on a safety that she has longed for.
Life after WWII is hard but Alexa makes it work, she makes many journeys both physical and emotional that lead to the uncovering of secrets that change her views forever.

The style of writing makes this quite an addictive read, readers feel drawn to Alexa and her story. As you read through the pages, you become more and more invested in the story, holding your breath in places as the tension increases and worrying about the fate of Alexa. A truly thrilling and captivating read. My thanks to the author for sharing her grandmother’s tale with us.

Follow the blog tour!

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