Friday, June 29, 2018

BLOG TOUR - Their Last Words



Today it is my stop on the Blog Tour and I am sharing with you some background about the series and my review of the book.


Available at Amazon

(REVIEW BELOW)

Discover a crime thriller full of shocking twists by one of the most exciting new authors you’ll read this year.

A VICTIM. A MUTILATED BODY. A SINGLE WORD.

A young woman is found dead on the streets of London. Her throat slashed, her body mutilated, and one word carved into her flesh: “DON’T.”

Detective Superintendent Ray Paterson is assigned to the case. Young, handsome, and from a well-off background, he’s tipped for the top. He joins a team based out of Bermondsey, South London. It’s meant to be a stepping stone to his next promotion, but this case will threaten to bring down his career and everything he thought he knew about policing.

Paterson is put in charge of the dead girl's investigation and quickly discovers he must rely on his friend and mentor, Detective Sergeant Dave Jordan to guide him through.

THEN ANOTHER BODY IS DISCOVERED. ANOTHER WORD CUT INTO THE VICTIM’S CHEST.

The police realise they may have a depraved serial killer on their hands. The murderer is trying to send them a message carved in his victims’ bodies. But who’s the message for?

How many more must die? Detective Paterson may be the only man who can stop this vile killer . . . if he can survive long enough.

This is the first in a series of action-packed, edge-of-your-seat crime thrillers, with an ending that will have your heart in your mouth.

Perfect for fans of  Kimberley Chambers, Damien Boyd, Rachel Abbott, Patricia Gibney or Mark Billingham.

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A HEAVILY REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “THE SKY IS CRYING.”

TWO DETECTIVES WHO HATE EVERYTHING ABOUT EACH OTHER MUST WORK TOGETHER

Detective Superintendent Ray Paterson, is a young and (thanks to family money) wealthy womaniser, separated from his model wife and tipped to be the youngest ever commissioner of police. He knows he’s weak when it comes to practical policing and struggles to find a place among his peers, desperate to be a good policeman and not just a 'climber'.

Detective Sergeant Johnny Clocks is a foul-mouthed, working-class officer. He grew up surrounded by rogues and villains to become a first-class thief taker with the Met police. However, his childish attitude has short-circuited his career and he spends his days antagonising as many people as he can.

Detective Sergeant Dave Jordan is an old-school copper who trusts his instincts but relies on evidence. He is typical in that his marriage has broken down and he's been unable to form a relationship since.


THE SETTING

Bermondsey is an area of London nestled on the banks of the River Thames. It once had a reputation for housing more armed robbers, murderers and career criminals than anywhere else in the country. Now one of the most upmarket places to live and work in London, it has all but severed itself from its working-class roots. Home to the iconic Tower Bridge and crammed with expensive apartments, art galleries, fancy restaurants and famous residents. But for the police, those who truly know, Bermondsey never lost its roots . . . or its reputation.


AUTHOR BIO

Steve Parker is a retired police officer who served for 20 years in numerous high-profiles squads. 

I was born and raised in South East London (Peckham to be precise - cushty, my son). At the ripe old age of twenty-one, I joined the Metropolitan Police where I served for twenty years before I was pensioned out with a serious back injury. I then went to work as an enforcement officer for a local authority before taking redundancy.

Thankfully, I've been blessed with a complete lack of DIY skills so was legitimately able to get away with swanning around the house doing bugger all, all day long. Finding myself with plenty of spare time and a deep desire to never work for anyone again, I gave myself permission to go back to writing (I'd been writing on and off for years).

When I'm not writing, I'm out taking photographs, something I've done since I was a nipper and will do until the day I shuffle off this mortal coil.

I live down in the windier part of East Sussex near the sea with my long-suffering wife and my 'off-her-nut' cockerpoo. I have two sons of whom I am so proud, I cannot begin to tell you.


MY REVIEW

My rating: 4 Stars

A young woman is found dead on the streets of London. Her throat slashed, her body mutilated, and one word carved into her flesh: “DON’T.” Detective Superintendent Ray Paterson is fast on the case. He is a rich, young, ladies-man who is making a fast rise to the top in the South London police. He and his team are working hard to identify the killer, and once they do, desperately seeking to catch him before he kills another, which he does. Finding the killer is a real chore, because in his team, one of the detectives, Johnny Clocks, is someone that Paterson hates. Hopefully their contentious relationship won't get in the way of solving these gruesome murders.

Their Last Words is dark and often crude, which left me cringing more than once, especially with the graphic descriptions of the ghastly murders. All I could imagine was the author's previous employ as a detective and how it most likely lent to providing the realism displayed in this book. Also, the cops here were not a great team like you generally see on television often where they behave like a well-oiled machine. There is often extreme disgust towards one another. I did enjoy the brief moments of profiling to identify the killer as they sought to identify and arrest him. 

The first half of the book was a bit difficult for me as I am rather sensitive. But, once they had a bead on the killer, it then became a matter of locating him before he could continue to murder people. This fast-paced book truly became a page turner from this point on. I had a surprisingly emotional reaction to the shocking conclusion. Haven't not read much crime fiction before, I was impressed. Definitely four stars!

Many thanks to Joffe Books and NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Review: Murder in Keswick

Murder in Keswick by William Todd

My rating: 3 Stars

Goodreads blurb:  While on a well-deserved holiday in the Lake District to get away from the toils and troubles of London, Holmes and Watson find no respite. As soon as they exit the train they hear news of a grisly murder making its way around the murmuring commuters. A local aristocrat, Mr. Darcy, has been found missing his head! And that very night, the wealthy widow finds a stranger in her home who, upon seeing her, abandons his plans and quickly leaves.

She believes the intruder to be the murderer of her husband who is now after a large sum of cash she keeps in the house safe. Unsure if the would-be thief is the murderer or an opportunistic burglar, Holmes devises a plan to catch the burglar, all the while investigating the murder of Mr. Darcy. Follow Holmes, Watson, and the local constable, Mr. Wickham, as they untangle the mystery surrounding a Murder in Keswick.

My review: A modern re-telling of a beloved Sherlock Holmes classic. How could I resist? Yes, we all know that this is not one of the beloved Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories, but what a joy to read nonetheless. William Todd does a fantastic job with this story. In typical Holmes and Watson style, the suspects are eliminated one-by-one. This is a delightful little mystery, and I was kept guessing right until the very end.

Many thanks to BooksGoSocial and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review: The Island Villa

The Island Villa by Lilah Graham

My rating: 4.5 Stars

Charlotte's beloved husband James has died, and on the day of his funeral, learns that he purchased a villa for her on the tiny island of Formentera, off the coast of Spain. It is called Marisal, and it is her grandmother's home. Charlotte is about to embark upon the journey of her lifetime. This is at a time of incredible grief and pain for her. 

Her husband, before he died, not only secretly bought the villa, but had hired someone to investigate the history of it. Her grandmother's ancestry was traced back, and Charlotte learns something shocking -not only did her grandmother have a sister, but she is still alive. Her name is Maria de Palma and she has an amazing story of fear and betrayal to share with Charlotte. The story goes back to the early eighteenth century and what Charlotte learns is nothing short of astounding.

From the very first sentence, I could tell that this was going to take place in a beautiful setting. I was not disappointed. Aside from that, I was drawn to the alternating stories with both the past and present as they unfolded. The sisters from centuries ago and their trials were heart-wrenching. Charlotte's grief was palpable. I loved Charlotte's relationship with her great-aunt, daughter and her brother, as well as with her new friends. This added much warmth to the story. Also, when it came to the past, it was quite touching to see how the it was rife with secrets that cost many their lives, but how this delicate family held on. 

Although there was so much sadness to the stories as they were told, there was a beautiful romance in this story as well. I was almost heartbroken at times wondering how it would work out, especially during the time in which they lived. The Island Villa was an engaging page-turner that kept me reading until dawn. I simply could not put it down. I would have loved to learn a bit more about the lives of the two sisters and Charlotte's future.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Date of publication: June 29, 2018

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Review: Bono

Bono by Helen Brown

My rating: 5 Stars

New York Times bestselling author Helen Brown writes a touching, often humorous, tale of a time in her life when she is quite unsettled. Although happily married, she has recently dealt with a bout with breast cancer, despite having a good prognosis. Sadly, she doesn't feel as if her everyday life offers much excitement. Having recently published a book, she goes to New York in order to publicize the book. It is during this trip that Helen agrees to the daunting task to foster a homeless cat. Not only is Bono homeless, he is seriously ill.

Helen will be visiting from Australia, and to her delight, her eldest daughter Lydia agrees to accompany her for part of that time. Helen has her doubts early on about taking on a cat, but Lydia is very excited about it, much to Helen's surprise. Once Helen has warmed up to the idea, she is quite touched at everyone's response to it. This turns into a self-healing time for both Helen and Lydia, even if the healing that she will undoubtedly receive from Bono doesn't happen for quite some time.

I have to be honest and say that I've not read a biographical memoir before, but I am very pleased that the publisher forwarded this book to me. My emotions went from laughing, to bawling, whether from genuine sadness or complete joy. I absolutely fell in love with Bono. Oh, there was one particular moment when his sensitivity as a cat shone through. As a woman owned by several cats, this is an emotion that I am quite familiar with. I loved that Bono's story was shared to the world. It will be in my heart for all time. I also enjoyed the personal growth that Helen achieved in this story.

Most honorable mentions go to Helen's own cat, Jonah, and her past beloved feline, Cleo. I also do not feel that my review would be complete without also mentioning two very special people that brought Bono into Helen's life, Michaela Hamilton and Vida Engstrand, both of Kensington Books, for without whom she never would have never met Bono. A truly inspirational tale for for anyone who has a love for these furry, four-legged creatures. I have already placed Ms. Brown's backlist into my Amazon cart.

Many thanks to Helen Brown and Kensington Books for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Author Post - Needle in the Haystack

Needle in the Haystack 

by Steve Dressing

I’m a new, self-published author with a book I think will be enjoyed by many if they can just find it. “Game Keepers” is the first of what I hope will be several books I publish over the next few years through my own publishing company, Number 6 Publishing. Turning from my career as an environmental scientist to a publisher and author of books for kids is quite a change. It has been a lot of fun, but there have been many new things to learn, most of which come with an unpleasant price tag. The world isn’t particularly kind to authors in my situation, but we’re a group that doesn’t give up easily.


Getting to the point of selling the book was probably the easiest part of the journey for me. Marketing has been a huge challenge, particularly after purchases by friends and family dried up. I know that the faithful have told others about the book but even with my large family that only takes you so far. It feels like my book is simply a needle in a huge haystack competing against the thousands of books neatly displayed in huge bookstores and featured on major websites. How do I get people to even bother to check the haystack to see if there is something worthwhile inside?


Multiple outlets are being used to advertise the book, including social media, libraries, and book stores.  That alone doesn’t set you apart, however, because this business is very competitive with an ever-growing group of talented new writers.  Of all the possible outlets, I want most to be able to share my book with the local community.  “Game Keepers” has a baseball theme, and I am currently a coach and an umpire in the neighborhood Little League.  I find it unethical, however, to use my platform in the Little League to advertise.  That has caused me to seek other outlets to reach this same community, outlets such as the local hardware store.  One day I would like to do a book reading at the store with both new and old faces from my community. 


I haven’t yet dreamed of being lost in one of Van Gogh’s beautiful piles of hay in his “Haystack in Provence”, but sometimes I feel that way.  Sometimes I feel as if my story is covered by layers of inescapable hay.  My hope is that people will come by, pick up a fork, and tear apart the haystack.  Quickly the needle lost in the haystack becomes treasure.

Review: The Windmill Cafe: Autumn Leaves

The Windmill Cafe: Autumn Leaves
  by Poppy Blake

My rating: 3.5 Stars

In this second book in the series, Rosie is still quite busy at the Windmill Café, but wonders if she wants more. Presently, she agrees to help her good friend Matt Wilson on one of his outdoor expeditions. After a drudging hike and a night's sleep, the first morning brings on worries. As leader of the expedition, Matt has an early morning pre-sunrise hike planned, but he and the rest of the group oversleep. Two things are quickly realized. They must've have been poisoned, causing them all to oversleep, and one of their party is missing, and is discovered after having been shot with an arrow, and it was no accident.

Meanwhile, although having suffered recent heartbreak at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, Rosie now finds herself quite drawn to Matt, and he seems to feel the same. Over the summer, there was a poisoning at the café, and Matt and Rosie teamed up to solve it, and it appears they plan on doing the same again this time, a crime-solving duo.

This is a cute story with a budding, sweet romance. Having not read the first in the series, I still felt connected enough with the story and the characters. This was a very quick read with a great little mystery. I was surprised at the ending, which means to get the complete story, the third book in the series must be read when it is released.

Many thanks to Harper Impulse and Killer Reads and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Date of publication: June 29, 2018

Review: The Almost Wife

The Almost Wife by Jade Beer

My rating: 4.5 Stars

The Almost Wife is about three women, Jessie, Dolly and Emily, as they are approaching their wedding days. Jessie is the ultimate bridezilla. Her approach to wedding planning truly left me cringing. She is shooting for utter perfection. However, she is a woman who always felt out of place, but her fiancé Adam truly grounds her. Next, there is Dolly. She is truly struggling. First it is her desire to be as slim as possible. It is also her connection with her boyfriend Josh. They truly loved one another at one time, but things have become strained. Then, Dolly has an awful job, with an equally awful boss. Stressed enough about wedding planning, things quickly change for Dolly.

Next to mention is Emily. Happy as can be, with fantastic parents, and the absolutely perfect husband-to-be. She is taking her wedding planning in stride. However, some shocking news changes everything. How will she move forward? I was just shocked at how things turned out for her. Our last impressive character to mention is Helen, the bridal shop owner. She is working with these three women and becomes intimately involved with them. Her personal life has taken a serious hit and she herself seeks personal growth. Of the three women seeking for a glorious wedding day, only two will make it up the aisle, and only one will marry. Upon first glance, they are all strangers, however, their lives do intersect.

This story is told from several perspectives. The chapters are of perfect length because, as a reader, I was drawn into each of the four women's stories and emotions. Yes, Jessie was over-the-top, but she became someone that I found that, if need be, I could forgive. Then there was Dolly, I really felt for her with her changed circumstances. Sadly, I cried for Emily, more than once. And, who couldn't love Helen? She was going through her own angst, but she was a marvelous support for the brides-to-be.

This was a heart-wrenching book, a truly fantastic page-turner, written exceptionally well. I love the fact that the author has experience in the art of wedding planning, thus making the stories work so well. From the descriptions of the dresses, designers and locations, the women and their emotions, well, it was just perfect. Usually, I don't want to put a book as good as this down, but I just had to at times in order to absorb what was happening to the women, whether to yell at one of the characters or to shed tears more than once. If this is how Jade Beer will be writing all of her books, she has just found a new fan.

Many thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, June 25, 2018

MUSING MONDAY


(Meme found at The Purple Booker)

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I'm currently reading...
  • Up next I think I'll read...
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week...
  • I'm super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)...
  • I'm really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)...
  • I can't wait to get a copy of...
  • I wish I could read _____, but...
  • I blogged about____this past week...

I'm super excited to tell you about these books by Victoria Jenkins, The Detective King and Lane series.  There are three books in this series so far. They are, The Girls in the Water, The First One to Die and Nobody's Child. They are thrilling books that I read back-to-back. They are available on Amazon in Kindle or print format. 

BLOG BLITZ - The Cottage on Sunshine Beach


I am only to glad to be participating in the blog blitz for the delightful Holly Martin.

The Cottage on Sunshine Beach by Holly Martin

Buy Links:
Amazon: mybook.to/TCoSBSocial
iBookstore: http://ow.ly/UmVw30kBh0b
Kobo: http://ow.ly/hq0G30kBh8e
GooglePlay: http://ow.ly/63T230kBgXn


The stunning new summer story from the bestselling author of Summer at Buttercup Beach. Step into the delightful seaside village of Sandcastle Bay, where you’ll discover golden sand, welcoming smiles and an unforgettable romance…

Melody Rosewood loves her new home in idyllic Sandcastle Bay. The beautiful little cottage on the edge of Sunshine Beach, with its bright yellow door and view of the sea has captured her heart. And she loves being close by to her family and best friend Tori Graham.

Life by the sea is pretty much perfect, there’s just one thing missing…

Gorgeous Jamie Jackson, with his cheeky grin and adorable puppy, works as a sculptor opposite Melody’s jewellery shop. From the moment he and Melody meet sparks fly. But despite their instant attraction, a past heartache is holding Jamie back.

As Melody starts to make a life for herself in the close-knit, quirky seaside community, she realises Jamie could be the one for her. But as the two of them take a chance on romance, it’s one dating disaster after another. Are they destined to always be just good friends?

Or will Melody finally find her happily-ever-after in Sandcastle Bay?

A perfect, feel-good summer read that will make you want to escape to the beach for a romantic day in the sun. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond this book is for you.


About the author:

Holly lives in a little white cottage by the sea. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher.

Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books.

Follow her on Twitter @HollyMAuthor


MY REVIEW:

My rating: 4.5 Stars  

What a delight it was to step into the village to be among friends at Sandcastle Bay. Melody Rosewood is quite pleased with her new home, her gorgeous little cottage on the edge of Sunshine Beach. She is back among dear family and her wonderful best friend Tori Graham. Her jewelry shop is coming along quite nicely, and she couldn't be happier. Well, with the exception of Jamie Jackson. Every time she sees him her heart leaps into her chest. Oh my, but she is head over heels. Will she ever be able to even ask him out on a date, never mind telling him how she feels?

Jamie been hurt and rejected. He loves Melody to distraction, but he will never allow their close friendship to pass that boundary because of the pain that in his heart. I love when his friend and workmate Klaus says to him, "Avoiding relationships doesn't mean avoiding love, you can't stop yourself from feeling that." Can Melody show him what he has been missing, that love is indeed a wonderful thing? It is obvious that they are made for each other. Every day they walk to work together with their sibling puppies and talk for hours, but a relationship, he doesn't think it is possible.

This romance in this story is  absolutely wonderful. Our dear, sweet Melody is a klutz, and that fact screws up their first few dates. But, since Jamie has finally committed to trying for a relationship with Melody, the bumbling events that occur on the dates do not put Jamie off at all. Then there is the village, a close-knit community, one that knows everything going on - no matter how personal, how sensitive. Oh the humor there!

The Cottage on Sunshine Beach is romantic, oh-so-spicy and truly hilarious. The book often made me laugh out loud. For example, when Melody's 5-year-old nephew Elliot speaks of his "sex", er "sax" lessons at school, mispronouncing the word, shocking both his mom and his aunt. Also, there is a wonderful sensitive nature to the story. Factor in that they both have such adorable puppies and that goes a long way into making this a true keeper. I am new to Holly Martin, but she will definitely go on my "to buy" list. Her writing style is truly engaging, making this a very quick read.

Many thanks to Holly Martin, Bookouture and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Review: Nobody's Child

Nobody's Child by Victoria Jenkins

My rating: 5 Stars

It is the month of October, and a body, burnt beyond recognition, is found in an abandoned hospital. A Muslim shop has been destroyed by fire. Are these two crimes related? DI Alex King works feverishly to determine whether or not this could be possible. I have gotten to know Alex, and her partner DC Chloe Lane quite well in the previous two books in this series. Knowing Alex's dedication to her work goes a long way, especially in this book, as she is going through some serious personal trials.

Alex and Chloe, incredibly close since they began working together, are now in a strained relationship. But, being the professionals that they are, they work tirelessly hard to solve, not only the first two crimes, but other horrific crimes that occur in quick procession. Just as Alex realizes that there is indeed a link between the victims, someone from her past is intent on taking her life. At least, that is what she is fairly certain of.

This story is told from several perspectives, and this is done remarkably well. Each and every person is completely understandable, and, in some cases, elicited compassion. This led to making it utterly impossible to coming close to guessing whoever was responsible for all of the crimes being committed. What a fast-paced story. Boy did I get the chills more than once.

This book was incredible. Simply said. I could not put it down, except to take a brief break. I read the first 61% in less than a couple hours, and it took no time to finish the rest of the book. I cannot say enough how captivating this book was. From the brutal attacks, from the investigation, from what Alex was experiencing, from the characterization...well, it all worked amazingly well. I eagerly read all three books back-to-back and am incredibly impressed with the talented Victoria Jenkins. I am eagerly awaiting book 4 in this engaging series.

Many thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review: The Rain Man Murders

The Rain Man Murders 
by N.E. Brown

My rating: 4 Stars

Blurb from Goodreads:   

1972, DALLAS, TEXAS

Pounding rains flooded the rivers, streams, and lakes in Dallas, Texas, depressing the city, darkening the days, and leading to murder. Detective Mark Wilder had been weathering some storms of his own for a long time. The loss of his beloved several years ago remained stained deep into his heart. Detective Wilder was good at his job and then the storms came. The first body was found on the banks of the Trinity River, the rain wiping away any hopes of clues to the murderer.

One morning at a café, Mark meets Sarah Mason, a legal secretary, and is instantly drawn to her. Is it a coincidence she leads him to his first key piece of evidence? Before he can find out, another corpse is found on the banks of Bachman Lake. Again, the evidence is washed away by severe thunderstorms the previous night.

Sarah’s volunteer work at Calvary Baptist Church’s thrift shop connects her to the case. Her co-worker at the thrift shop may also, but Mark’s concern has more to do with the man’s abusive background and his unholy fascination with Sarah. Is he the man stalking her?

Although his and Sarah’s relationship deepens, and sparks fly, he can’t completely rule out her involvement. Especially when a third murder occurs on another rainy night and more evidence is discovered at the church.

Mark must solve these murders. He must stop whoever is murdering members of Calvary Baptist, and he must still the storms in his heart. He’s convinced of the first two, but even he wouldn’t bet on the last one.

My  Review:

I found The Rain Man Murders to be a fantastic romantic suspense story. I was completely drawn into the dynamic of the relationship between Mark and Sarah. The investigation of the murders required Mark's full attention and put quite a damper on the progression of their relationship. Aside from that, they both had baggage that required caution to be necessary.

Mark's dedication to his job, almost singly at times, read true to me, especially during the setting in this book. He was stretched really thin, and was portrayed remarkably well as a true hero, one that I truly admired. Sarah was a wonderful character as well, and her motives played quite true. Frances, Sarah's co-worker at the thrift shop, well, he not only creeped Sarah out, he creeped me out as well.

In all, I think that N.E. Brown did great characterization in this book. It was quite interesting and was a really quick read. I kept turning the pages because of wanting to see the murders solved, Frances caught out, and of course, progression in the relationship between Sarah and Mark. I would definitely read Ms. Brown's books again in the future.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

BLOG TOUR - Murder of a Lover


Today it is my stop on the Blog Tour and I am sharing with you some background about the series and my review of the book.

Available at Amazon

(REVIEW BELOW)

Looking for a brilliant best-selling murder mystery with a feisty female detective?

DETECTIVE HILLARY GREENE IS SOLVING THE COLD CASES NO ONE ELSE COULD CRACK.

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “A NARROW MARGIN OF ERROR.”

Ten years ago, Rowan Thompson was found stabbed to death with a pair of scissors in his student house. It turns out that Rowan was quite a lover, with many disgruntled partners left in his wake. But did any of them have a strong enough motive to murder him?

Meanwhile. Hillary’s stalker is getting more aggressive with his messages and flowers. And it looks like he may be much, much worse than she thought.
Has Hillary finally bitten off more than she can chew?

Hillary Greene has returned to Thames Valley Police HQ, acting as a consultant for the Crime Review Team, looking into murders which the police have never been able to solve.

She wasn’t sure she wanted to go back. But solving crimes is irresistible for Hillary Greene. And it doesn’t hurt that her new boss is devastatingly handsome.

This is a crime mystery full of well-observed characters, which will have you gripped from start to the absolutely thrilling conclusion.

MURDER OF A LOVER is the thirteenth a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire.


THE LOCATION

Number 8 Kebler Road is a three-story house in a typical leafy road in Oxford, near South Park. Victorian terraces face each other across the narrow street, whose pavements are interspersed with strategically placed lime trees. Keble College, an unmistakable building of red and white brick is the dominant feature. Quiet, pleasant, it’s in one of the city’s many attractive areas, and dedicated mainly to student digs and private residential properties.


THE DETECTIVE

DI Hillary Greene

An attractive, single woman nearing the landmark age of fifty, Hillary Greene was a police officer of many years’ experience (earning the rank of DI) and came up through the ranks. Consequently, she knew how the system worked, and was always fiercely loyal to the force without being blinkered to its faults. Forced to retire early through no fault of her own, she has now returned to the force as a civilian consultant on cold cases. She still enjoys a rather enigmatic relationship with the wily Commander Marcus Donleavy, but it is her new boss, the very attractive Steven Crayle, who is likely to cause her the most problems now!

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “A NARROW MARGIN OF ERROR.”


DI HILLARY GREENE SERIES

BOOK 1: MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL
BOOK 2: MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY
BOOK 3: MURDER OF THE BRIDE
BOOK 4: MURDER IN THE VILLAGE
BOOK 5: MURDER IN THE FAMILY
BOOK 6: MURDER AT HOME
BOOK 7: MURDER IN THE MEADOW
BOOK 8: MURDER IN THE MANSION
BOOK 9: MURDER IN THE GARDEN
BOOK 10: MURDER BY FIRE
BOOK 11: MURDER AT WORK
BOOK 12: MURDER NEVER RETIRES
BOOK 13: MURDER OF A LOVER

Books 14-17 coming soon!


AUTHOR BIO

Faith Martin has been writing for over 25 years, in four genres and under four different pen names. She was born in Oxford and sets most of her crime novels within sight of the city of dreaming spires. A real nature lover and afficionado of the countryside, descriptions of wildlife and native flora often find their way into her manuscripts. Right now, JOFFE BOOKS are re-issuing the DI Hillary Greene novels in new updated editions! The first 13 books in the series are available now.

Her romance novels, written under the name of Maxine Barry, are now available from Corazon Books. IMPOSTERS In PARADISE, and HEART OF FIRE are both out, and others will very quickly become available in the future.

Her first foray into writing 'spooky' crime, (and written under the pen name of Jessie Daniels) comes out in November 2017. THE LAVENDER LADY CASEFILE is published by Robert Hale, an imprint of Crowood Press.

As Joyce Cato, she writes more classically-inspired 'proper' whodunits. So, if you like an amateur sleuth, plenty of clues and red herrings, plus a baffling murder mystery to solve, these are the books for you.


MY REVIEW



My rating: 4.5 Stars


Hillary Green may no longer be a busy DI, but she is quite busy nonetheless. She is now a member of the Case Review Team, and is investigating cold cases. Having successfully solved the case in her new job as a civilian consultant, she is now investigating the murder of Rowan Thompson, a twenty-year-old killed ten years ago. Rowan had a reputation of being quite the Lothario. Could one of his previous partners been disgruntled enough to have found cause to brutally kill him?

Also, Hillary's stalker is still looming, and he is becoming far more aggressive with his messages and flowers. Her new boss, the ultra yummy Steven Crayle, has devised a plan to pretend that they are a couple to see if a bit of jealousy will draw the stalker out. This proves to be more of a challenge for Hillary because she is quite drawn to Steven. The feeling proves to be mutual. It is at this point that I realized that I should have read at least book twelve in this series.

Murder of a Lover, previously released as A Narrow Margin of Error, is book number thirteen in this series by Faith Martin. I am a voracious reader who especially likes to devour entire series. Although I jumped into the middle of this one with this book, it read perfectly well as a standalone. There was just enough said about Hillary's past to understand her motives and her approach to the situations faced before her.

However, Faith Martin has left us with a cliffhanger. I really NEED book 14, and cannot wait to read it to see what happens next. Thankfully, we do not have long to wait. A side note: the author has begun a new series, with a young new policewoman. This author is a definite autobuy for me now. I missed this series first time around, and it is really great to get a chance to read this now, and I will also try and read the previous titles.

Many thanks to Joffe Books and to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The First One to Die

The First One to Die by Victoria Jenkins

My rating: 5 Stars

In Book 2 of the Detectives King and Lane series, college student Keira North has fallen to her death during a party. As Alex King's investigation ensues, she quickly surmises that it was not an accident. So, it quickly becomes a murder investigation. Keira was part of a tight-knit group of four, and, apparently, they all had secrets. If that was why Keira was killed, what then, does that bode for the others?

Meanwhile, Chloe is making strides with overcoming personal tragedy that we read of in her past, including recently. Alex is dealing with her own issues, putting both women in difficult positions when it comes to this current case at hand, especially when another murder occurs.

As mentioned, this is the second in the series, and it does function well enough as a standalone. However, to understand Alex and Chloe a bit more, reading the first book, The Girls in the Water, might be of help. I am one who loves series, and I love the fact that I read that one first. In any case, Victoria Jenkins has a powerful writing style and that appeals to me. She captures the voice of the characters quite well. I was caught up with the twists and turns in this story and this was a book I could just not put down.

When I chose Nobody's Child to review, it was a no-brainer that I had to read the first two books in this series, including this book. Boy am I glad I did! I absolutely loved book one, but this one, well, it just floored me. I was like, WOW! more than once! Then I had other reactions, like sadness when it came to what Alex was experiencing with her mother. Despite the book being over 300 pages, it felt like a quick read. It was a compelling page-turner. I look forward to following this series closely, including reading the third title, Nobody's Child, just as soon as possible.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Review: The Photograph

The Photograph by Debbie Rix

My rating: 5 Stars

The Photograph is a gentle story equally divided among Sophie and Rachael. In Italy, 1958, Rachael is a young widow with a small child. She's currently in a small village of Italy while accompanying her father while is runs an archaeological dig. Just widowed, Rachael has borne a young daughter. She fell in love that following summer for young Tommaso. This beautiful love only brought her heartache, however.

In England, 2017, Sophie is a successful anthropologist, with a loving husband and a beautiful home. She has it all, except for the one desire she has thus been unable to fulfill, that of having a child. This drive has begun to drive a wedge between Sophie and her husband Hamish. Sophie's desire to mother has become crucial to her happiness, even at the expense of her once happy marriage. Finding a picture of her grandmother Rachael as a young woman might just prove to be just the distraction that Sophie needs. Never would she have imagined that also throwing herself into her work might expose an amazing link to her grandmother.

Oh how my heart broke for Rachael, especially when her father told her, "Sometimes, Rachael, sometimes...love, is just not enough." Then later he tells her, "Love does not hurt forever. I know." Oh, poor Rachael. Oh I cried. I had just as many tears for Sophie, for her tries, for her losses and for her ultimate happiness.

I am drawn to titles from this publisher. I have been since joining NetGalley. I mention that here because, truthfully, without such, this magnificent title would have most definitely slipped through my fingers. I completely connected not only to Rachael and Sophie and to their tender stories, but also to the other characters, such as George, Tommaso, among others. So, I said magnificent. Why so? The telling of both stories was done quite excellently. Going from past to present to back again was always presented with such ease. I was truly enthralled with this captivating story.

Many thanks to Debby Rix, Bookouture and NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Date of publication:  June 27, 2018

Review: The Girls in the Water

The Girls in the Water by Victoria Jenkins

4.5 Stars

The Girls in the Water is Book #1 in the Detectives Alex King and Chloe Lane series. Early one cold winter morning, Alex is called to a gruesome murder scene where the body of a woman is found in a river. Before long, another woman goes missing, and her body, too, is eventually found. What do these two women have in common? We the reader are quickly introduced to a support group they both belonged to and there the beginning of our answer lies.

Meanwhile, Alex's partner, Chloe, is more than a bit distracted. She has a secret, one she knows she must share with Alex. She has been receiving enigmatic email messages, ones that have to do with the death of her brother, who tragically died sometime after he was accused of murdering his girlfriend, something to which Chloe stoically refuses to accept. Alex is very willing to help Chloe, but wants full attention to the case at hand first.

I love reading series, and because I am coming in late, I already have books two and three, The First One to Die and Nobody's Child, both of which I am quite eager to read. This book was a great mix of suspense, the solving of the crimes at hand, and the sensitive nature of Chloe's situation.

Will both Alex and Chloe get the results so desperately needed? Will the young Chloe manage to hold onto her job with her inability to focus on her work? Both questions are clearly examined in this book by Victoria Jenkins. I enjoy the fact that I will be able to see these characters develop in the series that is now available, as well as what no doubt is to come. This is an excellent debut novel, with a terrific plot and subplot, great characterization, shocking twists and turns, while offering great promise for future novels.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

TEASER TUESDAY

TEASER TUESDAY - JUNE 19, 2018

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker.


It is very easy to play along:

  • Grab your current read and open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TB Lists if they like your teasers!
Here are my "teasers":

I'm having sex lessons in school. (Says 5yo Elliott). … Oh, thank god. Saxophone lessons? Yes, sax lessons, that's what I said.

From the novel: 



From the book blurb:

The stunning new summer story from the bestselling author of Summer at Buttercup Beach. Step into the delightful seaside village of Sandcastle Bay, where you’ll discover golden sand, welcoming smiles and an unforgettable romance…

Melody Rosewood loves her new home in idyllic Sandcastle Bay. The beautiful little cottage on the edge of Sunshine Beach, with its bright yellow door and view of the sea has captured her heart. And she loves being close by to her family and best friend Tori Graham.

Life by the sea is pretty much perfect, there’s just one thing missing…

Gorgeous Jamie Jackson, with his cheeky grin and adorable puppy, works as a sculptor opposite Melody’s jewellery shop. From the moment he and Melody meet sparks fly. But despite their instant attraction, a past heartache is holding Jamie back.

As Melody starts to make a life for herself in the close-knit, quirky seaside community, she realises Jamie could be the one for her. But as the two of them take a chance on romance, it’s one dating disaster after another. Are they destined to always be just good friends?

Or will Melody finally find her happily-ever-after in Sandcastle Bay?

A perfect, feel-good summer read that will make you want to escape to the beach for a romantic day in the sun. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond this book is for you. 

My thoughts:

I am now 68% into the book and am quite pleased! It is equally tender and funny. It is nice to read a romance that truly brightens my day.

Monday, June 18, 2018

MUSING MONDAY


(Meme found at The Purple Booker)

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I'm currently reading...
  • Up next I think I'll read...
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week...
  • I'm super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)...
  • I'm really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)...
  • I can't wait to get a copy of...
  • I wish I could read _____, but...
  • I blogged about____this pat week...

I bought the following books in the past week...

The People vs. Alex Cross by James Patterson, The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, Heidi by Johanna Spyri, The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, by Mary Higgins Clark: All by Myself, Alone, Daddy's Gone a Hunting and Just Take my Heart, Several titles each by Mary Grimes, Elizabeth Ogilvie and Carolyn Hart. I have also ordered several others via Amazon and Book Outlet that have not yet arrived.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Review: Truth or Dare

Truth or Dare by Fern Michaels

My rating: 5 Stars

From Goodreads:  The Sisterhood: a group of women bound by friendship and a quest for justice. Now their male allies, the Men of the Sisterhood, have formed a top-secret organization of their own, with the same goal of helping the helpless and righting the wrongs of the world . . .

When the call comes, the Men of the Sisterhood drop everything to help their friends. This time it’s Cyrus, their four-legged hound dog and unofficial mascot. While member Joe Espinosa is driving along an isolated country road with Cyrus in tow, he catches a glimpse of movement in the woods bordering the road and notes Cyrus pawing desperately at the car window. As soon as he pulls over to investigate, Cyrus bolts out the door and leads Joe to three children clustered together--bedraggled, silent, and scared out of their wits. As soon as he has brought the children to safety, Espinosa arranges an urgent meeting.

My review:  From a shocking beginning to an amazing, tear-filled conclusion, Truth or Dare proved to be a fast-paced, often chilling, read. After drying my eyes, all I could do was to say Wow! The subjects of child kidnapping and trafficking are never easy to read about, even in the works of fiction. But, they are done delicately, albeit realistically, here in this book. As the kidnapped children are hoped to be reunited with their mother, Allison, who has gone rogue from the CIA, the question as to whether or not she will ever be able reunite with them, exonerate herself and have a normal, everyday life with her children. Meanwhile, will these traffickers be stopped?

This is Fern Michaels fourth book in The Men of the Sisterhood Series. As I hadn't read any of the books in this series, I purchased all of the previous books, including the novellas. I read Upside Down in order to familiarize myself with the characters in the BOLO team. I loved Joe, Abner, Jack, Charles, Harry and the rest of the team. I especially loved Maggie and Lizzie. I am eager to read all of the previous titles, and am truly excited for the fifth book. One thing I look forward to learning is how the women began working along with the BOLO team. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the stunning dogs Cyrus and Cooper. The story wouldn't have been the same without them.

Many thanks to Kensington Books and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinions.

Date of publication: June 26, 2018

Friday, June 15, 2018

Review: Notice Me

Notice Me by Emem Uko

My rating: 4 Stars 

From Goodreads:  Music DJ? Sure. Being the frontman of a popular band in a foreign country? Never in his wildest dreams. Anders finds himself living a cool life but at a price of projecting an effeminate image to the public. His fans love it. They’ve only known him since his makeover after his debut as a singer. They don’t know the manly Anders. But the girl he wants to notice him thinks he’s not her type. Now he has to choose between his public image and his private life. Millions of fans versus one? Their happiness or his happiness?

"Emem Uko takes you on a suspense-filled journey on the behind-the-scenes struggles of the lead vocalist of a boy band. A journey of growth, loss and finding a long-needed love. It is music to your ears. You will want it on repeat."

My review:  This is the story of How Anders finds himself thrust amongst three young men and their experience as a boy band from its inception. They experience the difficulty of unity and also personal tragedies. This is also the story of how Anders endeavors to meet his soul mate.

I was drawn into the story because of how the way Anders connects with an author willing to tell his story. Anders wants the story of how the love of his life is someone that he cannot contact told, due to his celebrity status. Their is a sharp point of view change as the story quickly turns to what is apparently the past because it tells of the formation of the band.

The story flows remarkably well for the most part. As the story began to draw to a close, I kept hoping things would come full circle. You will have to read Notice Me to see if Anders does indeed meet his love interest and where things end up with his story, including his contact with the author introduced at the outset.

As mentioned, there is a sharp twist of points of view at a couple of critical times in the book, and this seemed a bit out of place. This could have been due to the fast-paced nature of the book. There is also the suspense leading up to what would happen to Anders and his love interest, and that did keep me turning pages. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Review: Empty Seats

Empty Seats by Wanda Adams Fischer

My rating: 4.5 Stars

Book blurb:  They were all stars in their hometowns. Then they were drafted to play minor league ball, thinking it would be an easy ride to playing in the big time. Little did they know that they'd be vying for a spot with every other talented kid who aspired to play professional baseball. Young, inexperienced, immature, and without the support of their families and friends, they're often faced with split-second decisions. Not always on the baseball diamond.

My review: This is the story of three young men, Jimmy, Bud and Bobby, playing minor league baseball, and their ups and downs during that time. One thing I enjoyed about the book is the feature of short chapters, a la James Patterson. This resulted in a quicker read, making it easier to pick it right back up when I found it necessary to put it down. That being said, Empty Seats was indeed a page-turner. The stories were well told, and intersected nicely. There was a lot of back story to Jimmy, but it was Bobby who really got to me. He grew on me, just in time to break my heart.

Another factor that I have to appreciate about the book is that it is sports fiction, something that I would not have ordinarily chosen to read. This is something that I enjoy about reviewing, the ability to step out of the proverbial box. But, I had forgotten how much I love baseball! How exciting it was to read this book! Sometimes it made me feel like I was right there. If you are now or ever have been, a baseball fan, then this book will no doubt resonate with you. If you like a good story with characters that you will be drawn to, then this book will be for you too. Wanda Adams Fischer writes a terrific debut novel, one that I was completely invested in.