Tuesday, July 31, 2018

BLOG BLITZ - The Getaway Girls

I am happy to say that today is my day for the Blog Blitz for this delightful read by Dee MacDonald.

Buy Links:

One morning, Connie McColl wakes up and decides to swap her ordinary life, for an extraordinary adventure…

Connie McColl is finally free to make her own decisions for the first time in decades. And when she meets glamorous Gill and downtrodden Maggie, at a rather dull flower arranging class, it seems that she’s not the only one dreaming of adventure. The three very different women all agree it’s about time they had a holiday to remember.

So they make a pact for this summer to be their best yet - and drive off into the sunset together…

As they meander their way along the beautiful beaches of France and onto the glorious delights of Italy in their luxury campervan, the new friends have plenty of fun and frolics in the sunshine. But the vacation isn’t quite what they expected…

Gill will do anything to have one last holiday romance, Connie has a surprise inheritance awaiting her in Italy, and Maggie has a secret that is going to catch up with them all…

In the end, all three women discover that the journey they thought would be their last really is just the beginning…

From the bestselling author of The Runaway Wife, The Getaway Girls is a laugh-out-loud, life-affirming journey of friendship, romance and living life to the full. If you loved The Kicking the Bucket List and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry this book is for you.

About the author:

The Runaway Wife is Dee’s first (published) novel but in fact she wrote her very first book - at around seven years of age! This was a love story which she duly illustrated before sewing all the pages together up one side. Writing was what she ‘was good at’ in school and she won several essay competitions, but then life got in the way and she didn’t pick up a pen again until after retirement.

Dee left Scotland and headed for London at the beginning of the swinging sixties. After typing her way round the West End she became an air stewardess on long haul routes with BA (then BOAC) for eight years. After that she did market research at Heathrow for both the government statistics and for BA, she became a sales rep., and was the receptionist at the Thames Television Studios in Teddington when they had the franchise.

She then ran a small B&B for ten years in Cornwall, where she lives with her husband. Dee has one son and two grandsons who live locally.

Her second book, The Getaway Girls, will be published in August.

You can find Dee on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dee.macdonald.18659
and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DMacDonaldAuth


My rating: 4 Stars

Readers of Dee MacDonald's Runaway Wife met Connie McColl and the new adventures she added to her life. Well, it is about time for more change and her ordinary life is about to become extraordinary. Previously, she divorced her husband of forty-one years. Lately, Connie has been giving flower-arrangement lessons and, quite truthfully, was becoming quite bored. As it seems, Connie has discovered "The Box", a box which contains proof of Connie's past. Having been adopted at age five, she is more than intrigued.

To identify the contents of The Box, Connie will have to leave her comfortable home in England and travel to Italy, especially if she wants to find out about her past. She hatches an ingenious idea - she will buy a caravan and make the trek that way. The thing is, she and her family know she could never make the trip alone. After spending time with two ladies there were in her flower-arranging class, Gill and Maggie, a true plan is hatched. Although their friendship is still rather new. the three ladies decide to travel together.

While I wasn't too sure what to think of three nearly septuagenarians on a road trip, by the earliest chapters, I was happily along for the ride. Not only was the adventure exciting for the ladies, but for me the reader as well. Things are not simply smooth sailing. Connie needs to know what is in store for her, Gill is seeking the love of her life and Maggie has a secret, something that could derail all of their plans. The story had an element of mystery and danger as Maggie just barely stayed one step away from her ex.

I enjoyed reading The Getaway Girls. It is great fun, has excellent pacing, and was easily read in just a few hours. I so enjoy a story that can make me laugh out loud and this book certainly did just that. It also had quite an enjoyable romance story and, in all, is tender and truly sweet with a fun conclusion. I look forward to reading even more from Dee MacDonald, and it may seem like I am going backwards, but I am putting the previous title, The Runaway Wife, on my TBR list.

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

Monday, July 30, 2018

Review: Love You

Love You by Stacy Finz

My Rating:  4 Stars

In the third in the Garner Brothers series by Stacy Finz, Darcy Wallace decides that her life needs more excitement. She is employed by Garner Adventure, but want she wants is quite a different kind of excitement. Having lived with a sexually-frigid husband and gone through a difficult divorce, she hatches a plan to literally get her groove back with the town's playboy, Win Garner. However, despite his reputation, Win refuses to play along. He had a near-miss at almost being roped into marriage, so he is trying to avoid hopping into bed with any woman right now. Besides, Darcy works for his company.

Despite initial objections, Win and Darcy are paired up on a work project, so they are forced to spend time together. With the sudden tension between them now, it is quite a surprise that they get on together quite nicely. Win and Darcy share an undeniable chemistry. Things spiral on out of control almost immediately when Win makes a shocking announcement to their families.

Love You was a quick, fun and sizzling read. Stacy Finz weaves a delightful story with characters and situations that sizzle right off the pages. She writes exceptionally well and pens quirky characters.  The humor was a surprising twist to this engaging story. I loved the ending, and even though this stands perfectly well as a standalone, I would love to read the first two books in the series. It was nice, however, to get to know other members of Win's family, so I sensed the continuity that I missed. I will also follow Ms. Finz and read her books in the future.

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

Review: Purrder She Wrote

Purrder She Wrote by Cate Conte

My rating:  4.5 Stars

JJs House of Purrs is Daybreak Island's new cat café where customers can get cozy with an assortment of friendly felines―and maybe even adopt one or two. She and her business partners have done all they can to establish the "purrfect" grand opening. However, a cat fight ensues, but the fight is actually between two women. Things get back on track rather quickly, and the opening day becomes a wonderful successes. However, almost immediately after, the café is visited by the police to state that one of the women in the argument has been murdered. The other lady in the argument, one of Maddie's volunteers, is the main suspect in the murder.

Maddie's café may be open, there is still a lot of work to do. If that isn't enough to completely stress Maddie out, the fact that one of her volunteers is being questioned is truly disturbing to her. Meanwhile, another of her volunteers has been acting rather oddly. There is the possibility of someone else being responsible, but there is no love lost between them and Maddie. Her family is now involved, and her family means the world to her. Her love for family is just as intense as her love of cats.

This is a cozy mystery with just the right air of intrigue and quite a bit of humor. Maddie doesn't set out to be an investigator by any means, but can't help but be involved in trying to figure out what happened. Purrder She Wrote was an enjoyable, fast-paced read with a delightful plot, really likeable characters and wonderful little felines.The conclusion was rather a surprise. This is the second book in the series, and no doubt, several of the characters make repeat performances. I love Cate Conte's writing style and definitely look forward to reading more in this series. Maddie's cat JJ is a smart, fun cat and I hope he shows up in future books.

Many thanks to St. Martin's Press and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review: Paradox

Paradox by Catherine Coulter

My Rating:  5 Stars

This next installment in the extremely successful FBI series by Catherine Coulter starts off with a bang as FBI agents Sherlock and Savich wake as they realize that someone is in their house. As it turns out, the assailant is in their five-year-old son's bedroom, but manages to get away as Sherlock saves young Sean. Savich quickly realizes that not only is Sean still in danger, but a case from their past has come staring them right in the face.

Meanwhile, Chief Ty Christie of Willicott Maryland is on her porch one dawn and witness a murder on a boat out on the lake. She rushes to try and secure the scene, and has the lake dragged so that the body can be located. Not only is the body found, but an even more gruesome discovery is made, that of dozens of bones among the reeds, as well as a curious belt buckle, which later plays major significance. A missing FBI agent is thought to be involved, thus bringing in Sherlock and Savich. Before long, a connection is made between the murder and the psychopath they are now chasing. What ensues is a lot of speculation, as well as creepy scenes as the main suspect is a dangerous mix of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

As I prepare this review, I must state that I have read this entire series to-date, and I am not only quite familiar with Savich and Sherlock, but I am also quite enamored with them. The teamwork they display is unrivaled, especially as they work with others with regard to the solving of these crimes. The heat displayed between these two primary characters in the beginning of this series has indeed died down, but the romance is as strong as ever. Sean is a delight as he is as sharp as his dad, Savich, whose intuition is right on target in this story.

I was absolutely riveted to this story! I literally could not put the book down and devoured it in two sittings. Only sleep prevented me from reading it straight through. Catherine Coulter pens such likable characters and excellent scenes so the pages practically turn themselves. This is an engaging read, quite fast-paced and, most assuredly, truly thrilling. The twists and turns were at breakneck speeds, although admittedly not completely unexpected. Still, great fun and the conclusion was outstanding! As eager as I was for this book - and it as well worth the wait - I am just as eagerly awaiting Book #23.

Note: This is the 22nd book in the series, and does serve well as a standalone, but for an extra sense of continuity, Paradox brings back two villains from a previous book, Knockout, Victor Nesser and Lissy! 

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

Review: A Measure of Darkness

A Measure of Darkness 
by Jonathan KellermanJesse Kellerman

My rating:  3.5 Stars

Clay Edison, Deputy Sheriff for the Alameda County Coroner's office, has just had a banner year. He solved a decades-old crime and redeemed an innocent man. However, his job was put in jeopardy as he went beyond the bounds of his duties. Things are falling into line again for Clay, and as this novel begins, he receives a call in the middle of the night. Shots were fired at a party and innocent people were killed. After all of the identifications are made, there is one woman who cannot be accounted for, and she was strangled, not shot. She is a Jane Doe, and Clay is determined to identify her.

Something curious - and I double-checked - I got to 46% before I fully understood Clay Edison's job. The blurb states that he is a deputy coroner, but his keen investigations had me curious. If he were indeed the coroner, would he have had the leeway to investigate as he did? Please pardon my ignorance. Although I generally strive to read series for that ideal sense of continuity, I did not have the opportunity to read the first in the series, Crime Scene, and so I wonder if indeed A Measure of Darkness served well as a standalone.

Due to a rather stilted delivery, the patently obvious fact that the majority of the writing was done by the younger Kellerman, and a surprising lack of the suspense that I imagined would be in this story, I had a bit of difficulty staying engaged. However, as this is a joint venture between father-and-son writers, and this is indeed my favorite genre, I will be reading the next in this series. I hope that when I do that I will have enough of a connection with Clay Edison to better enjoy the story, as I actually do like Clay's character. By the way, Child psychologist Alex Delaware, from Jonathan Kellerman's NYT bestselling series, has a cameo in this book.

Many thanks to Random House/Ballantine Books and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

BLOG TOUR - Abby's Promise

Abby's Promise

He walked out of my life eight years ago, and for the first couple of years, I wrote him faithfully.

Then life happened, and we lost track of each other. Now he’s back; appearing one day on campus and sweeping me off my feet. He looks the same—rough stubble on his square jaw, broody brown eyes, thick brows that always lifted when I made him laugh. My Jo-Jo has come home after eight years in Afghanistan. 

She looks the same as I remember her in high school, but now she’s all woman—sophisticated, educated, and just as curvy as ever. And now she’s a professor, and I’m falling for her all over again like I did at senior prom. War screwed me up, but every day Abby was my saving grace. 

She promised one day she’d never let me go, made me promise I’d come back to her. I’ve come back to claim that promise. There’s just one problem: Abby’s moved on. How will I convince the love of my life that a day never went by without her on my mind? 


Rebekah Dodson is a prolific word weaver of romance, fantasy, and science fiction novels. Her works include the series Postcards from Paris, The Surrogate, The Curse of Lanval series, several stand alone novels, and her upcoming YA novel, Clock City. She has been writing her whole life, with her first published work of historical fiction with 4H Clubs of America at the age of 12, and poetry at the age of 16 with the National Poetry Society. With an extensive academic background including education, history, psychology and English, she currently works as a college professor by day and a writer by night.


My rating: 4 Stars

Abby's Promise is the lovely romance of two former friends that went to high school together. When Joey went off to war, Abby promised to wait for him. They texted for a while, but things eventually fell off. Meanwhile, Abby eventually married. However, Abby is now widowed, and has a 2-year-old daughter named Zoey. Joey is back in town, and, is enrolled in college, and Abby is his History Professor. It might as well be a chemistry class, because sparks begin to fly almost immediately.

Two of the major strikes against Abby and Joey is that they never were a proper couple and the fact that eight years have passed. But, Joey is an awesome guy and when he hears that Zoey is ill, he offers to babysit. Although reluctant at first, Abby does agree, and Joey does a stellar job, and things snowball from there. Things are not wine and roses, however, because things happen rather suddenly that threaten the spicy relationship the two develop.

I read a lot of mystery/thrillers and love when I have the opportunity to read a romance and it breaks up all of that tension. I was delighted to read Abby's Promise. It was very sweet, although there were times that I wanted to throttle Abby. Despite that, I smiled, felt saddened, angered and rejoiced - all while reading this sweet story. I especially loved how Joey treated both Abby and Zoey, especially as he was a veteran, with a tough home life to boot. He was a true hero and a joy to read. He truly was so easy to love, which made putting up with Abby's whims a bit easier. This was fast-paced and had a delightful conclusion. Rebekah Dodson is new to me, and the story was an enjoyable read, one that I was able to read in just a few sittings. Definitely looking forward to reading more from this author.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Review: The Secret

The Secret by K.L. Slater

My rating: 4 Stars

The Secret jumps right in with connected stories told from several points of view. At first glance, we hear from 8-year-old Archie and what he saw 18 months earlier. Not only was what he witnessed utterly tragic, but he is suddenly and viciously sworn to secrecy. What a terrible burden for such a young child to bear. We are then introduced to Alice, Archie's aunt and a near-recluse who has been scared to leave her home since the day her mother died. Lastly, we meet Louise, Archie's mother, someone that we begin to suspect almost from the very beginning.

As it turns out, it is not just little Archie that is holding a secret. Others in this intriguing story have things to hide as well. The question as to how they are connected is definitely something quite mysterious. While the motherly part of me so wanted to see Archie relieved of his terrible burden, especially because of the toll it took on him, I was equally captivated with Alice's and Louise's past and present lives. I also connected with Alice on a visceral level.

The relationship between Alice and Louise was strained, which is putting it mildly and was something that happened over the course of their entire lives. But, Louise is becoming increasingly difficult, and Alice does her best to try and help her, which would ultimately help Archie too. The secret that Alice has wasn't a complete one, but it certainly evolved, and she found having no one to trust with it.

The Secret is a captivating story with so many turning points; too many to count, and is a book not to be missed. There are so many good things to say about this book; it was enthralling and incredibly difficult to put down. Even though life got in the way, I found myself stopping to grab my Kindle just to read a few pages more ... and would've easily read this in one sitting if it were indeed possible. This is a true psychological thriller, with a slow burn that builds into exceptional pacing and it truly caught me off guard. The dynamic between the characters captured my attention throughout. The conclusion was so riveting and chilling that you could have knocked me over with a feather.

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

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Review: Summer at the Castle Café

Summer at the Castle Café 
by Donna Ashcroft

My rating: 4 Stars

Before Alice Appleton's mother died, she kept promising to join her in a triathlon. Now Alice it determined to participate in the town of Castle Cove's upcoming triathlon. This will be especially difficult, as she has a morbid fear of the sea. Once she meets her goal, and settles her mother's house, she plans on spending time with her father, and then traveling. Meanwhile, Jay O'Donnell sees her at water's edge during an impending storm, and as a volunteer lifeboat skipper, shows great concern. She then runs into Jay at her job, the Castle Café, as he is the carpenter hired to do repairs.

Alice and Jay like each other just fine, but they both have issues facing them. For starters, Castle Cove is only a pit stop for Alice. Also, Jay's previous girlfriend up and moved, so, although he'd really like to date Alice, the fact that she will be moving is enough for him to try and resist her. Each of them have other serious issues facing them that could derail their relationship before it even gets off the ground..

I so loved this fantastic romance! It was a quick, very emotional and engaging read. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters in this story. Their trials were real, and this kept me drawn to this wonderful story. It is not all sweet love, however. There are some serious issues addressed here, and you will read of those in the pages of this book. This provided a wonderful balance that was executed perfectly in Summer at the Castle Café. This is an utterly remarkable debut novel. I thoroughly enjoyed Donna Ashcroft's writing style and I look forward to reading more of her in the future.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Review: Believe Me

Believe Me by J.P. Delaney

My rating: 4.5 Stars

As you get ready to read this book, be prepared for a wild ride! As a struggling actress, Claire really needs work. She is British and without a green card. As a result, work is very difficult to find, and she is barely without a lifeline. Claire has gone beyond acting in bit parts, although she is still enrolled in a prestigious acting school. At first she does the odd job for Henry, an in-house investigator at a law firm. However, she is almost without a place to live. But then, the timing couldn't be better as she is morphed into a role that will require more from her than any acting class could ever teach her. Her decoy work for Henry has now evolved to decoy work for the police.

Working for Henry, her job was to try and entrap cheating married men. One job fails, but it suddenly leads her to the police, or actually, leads the police to her. One of her women that hired Claire has been found murdered. The police suspect the husband, Patrick Fogler, of the murder. Claire is enlisted to try and entrap him, to lure him to a confession. A game of cat and mouse ensues, because - who is the decoy and who is the prey? Do the police actually think that Claire killed the woman?

What a different story. Parts of it are written as a script. How ingenious. This style of writing went a long way in keeping me guessing, literally right until the very end, especially because we were always in Claire's mind. This amazing book kept me bouncing my suspicion back and forth between Claire and Patrick. As far as I was concerned, either of them could have done it. Patrick had a few predilections that could easily make him guilty. Claire fit the profile perfectly too, as she carried a lot of secrets and rather peculiar behavior.

I could barely tear my eyes away from this book. Full of breakneck twists and turns, it was a dark, truly exciting page-turner, captivating from page one, all the way to an incredibly riveting conclusion. I literally held my breath as I read the final few pages. No way would I have ever in a million years suspected the conclusion. Part of me held a little bit of glee when I shut my Kindle off, and then next time I turned it back on this very book was being advertised. Good thing, because readers will want to grab this immediately and read it as soon as possible. JP Delaney is most certainly an author to watch.

Thank you to Ballantine Books and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Review: Last Witness

Last Witness by Chris Merritt

My rating: 4 Stars

What happened in 1998 that is apparently causing deaths now? DI Zac Boateng certainly has his suspicions when good friend Troy McEwen is the victim of an apparent suicide. Boateng doesn't believe this for one minute. He is certain that it was murder. But, he is alone in his feelings, and as he goes about trying to prove that he is right, and to apprehend the murderer, other deaths begin happening. There are definite links, and Boateng is sure that it all relates back to 1998. He was involved then, so does that indeed put his very life at risk?

Boateng is flawed, although he is a wonderful family man. He does a superb job of going off the cuff when it comes to investigating what he is sure is murder. He goes even further with connecting it with other deaths that are suddenly occurring. Watching him work while Detective Sergeant Kat Jones works separately at first getting to the bottom of things captured my attention. Last Witness was chock-full of intrigue and kept me on my toes. There were twists and turns and a lot of confusion for me as a reader to try and identify the true killer. There were red herrings for sure and it was a true crime thriller written in a captivating way.

Although this is the second book in the Zac Boateng series, it read perfectly well as a standalone. There were references that I am sure related to the first book, but in no way did it affect the integrity of this title. I may have missed the first book in the series, but I definitely will be back for the next one, especially since the riveting conclusion has gotten me excited. So, in all, this was a thrilling mystery that was a terrific read.

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

Friday, July 20, 2018

Review: Her Mother's Grave

Her Mother's Grave by Lisa Regan

My rating: 5 Stars

Chief of Police Josie Quinn is called to the case of a body found in the woods by two boys. Imagine her shock when she discovers the remains belonged to a teen girl named Belinda Rose. Belinda Rose is her mother's name. No small coincidence, for sure. In short order, Josie's mother becomes the prime suspect in the decades old murder. Meanwhile, Josie is being harassed, seemingly by someone who is extremely tech-savvy, and, at the very least, ruthless. Her team consists of Noah Fraley and Gretchen Palmer. They are dedicated to the case at hand, and to Josie herself.

The story vacillates between current events and Josie's young past as a tragically abused child. The accounts were quite chilling each time they came up. This is a past that Josie has spent years trying to bury, now it is bringing up all sorts of horrifying memories. Yet she must, at the very least, oversee the search for her mother. Meanwhile, it appears that all she holds dear just might be taken away from her. For her safety, Josie accepts Noah's offer to stay with him.

While reading this utterly captivating story, things began to click into place for me as to the harassment and regarding the murder. Well, at least I thought they did. I felt as if I was on Josie's team while vying for clues. What an exciting story! I almost couldn't put this book down. It kept me up deep into the night and woke me up first thing in the morning. I wish I had read the first two books in this series, as I would have gotten to know Josie a bit better, but coming in with this book told me all about Josie and the incredibly hard childhood she led. She is one tough cookie and is now one of my favorite female detectives. To achieve her levels of success after going through what she did makes her a true heroine.

Her Mother's Grave never took a break as the pacing was exceptional, with a hair-splitting conclusion causing me to hold my breath. And, despite such an incredibly biting conclusion, the story left me with hope and has me fervently excited about the next in this stunning series. I checked the publication schedule, and, if things run as they have, I shouldn't have but a few months' wait for the next book. How exciting! I will be reading the first two books in the series in very short order. Lisa Regan, you have a new fan.

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

Review: The Lost Sister

The Lost Sister by Tracy Buchanan

My Rating: 5 Stars

It is Kent, UK in 1991. Selma left her husband, and as a result, her young daughter Becky. She felt trapped in her life and was drawn to an enigmatic man named Idris and his unusual life with others who lived in a cave on the beach. The story quickly jumps to 2002 when Becky receives a phone call from estranged Selma. Selma is dying, and in fact, dies almost as soon as Becky finds out how ill she is. Moments before dying, her mother states that "both of them", both Becky and her sister, have always been in her thoughts.

Becky embarks on an incredible journey to find her lost sister. She traveled to the very caves that took her mother away from her in hopes of finding the sister she never knew she had. She starts to acquire clues, especially when it comes to Idris, the man who took her mother's heart, and apparently, her sister.

Sometimes when I read a story, one timeline draws me closer than the other. Not so in this book. Both Selma's and Becky's stories were equally intriguing. Another thing about this book surprised me. I prefer third-person narration. It took me literally to reading 46% in the book before I realized that part of it was told in first-person narrative. That is how drawn to the book I was. I just happened to read a particular phrase, and then it dawned on me that I was reading in that particular narrative. Excellent writing skills indeed.

The Lost Sister had a very imaginative storyline. I cannot fathom how Tracy Buchanan came up with it! I literally could put this book down. It was truly tragic, incredibly so. The conclusion is incredibly heartbreaking. Over and over again in the story I was shocked and saddened. Tracy Buchanan did a fabulous job of grabbing my emotions from the very start, and towards the end I had to put the book down more than once to grasp what I was reading. I yelled out at least three times in this amazing book. The Lost Sister is one that will be with me for a long time to come. I will definitely be reading more from this author.

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

Thursday, July 19, 2018

BLOG TOUR - The Secret

Today is my day for the Blog Tour for The Secret, 
by Katharine Johnson.

A Snap Decision, A Lifetime Of Lies

The Blurb:

Love, lies and betrayal in wartime Italy.

Two girls growing up in Mussolini’s Italy share a secret that has devastating consequences. Against a backdrop of fear, poverty and confusion during the Second World War friendship is tested and loyalties divided but a chance encounter changes everything.

The girls’ lives diverge when beautiful, daring Martina marries and moves into Villa Leonida, the most prestigious house in their Tuscan mountain village while plain, studious Irena trains to be a teacher. But neither marriage nor life at Villa Leonida are as Martina imagined. And as her best friend’s life takes on a new purpose Irena finds herself left behind.

Decades later, a tragedy at the villa coincides with the discovery of an abandoned baby, whose identity threatens to re-open old wounds. While Irena’s son is determined to get to the truth about the village’s past, Martina’s daughter is desperate to keep it hidden.

The Details:

Title: The Secret
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
Publication Date: 1st June 2018
Formats (paperback, Kindle etc): Kindle; Paperback
ISBN: 9781717003652
Genre: house-of-secrets/mystery/historical
Page Count: 266
Buy Links: Kindle / Paperback

Additional Info: This is a standalone story but features a second dark secret harboured by Villa Leonida, the house at the centre of The Silence, published last year. Although it’s not necessary to have read the first book it’s probably helpful to know that it included the discovery of some bodies at Villa Leonida which relate back to the summer of 1992.

Giveaway Details

This book tour has its own giveaway to win a signed paperback of The Secret.
The competition is open for UK residents only.

Giveaway Link


Katharine Johnson writes about ordinary people in extraordinary situations. She grew up in Bristol, has lived in Italy and divides her time between Berkshire and Lucca. She loves books and old buildings and gets most of her plot ideas while out walking her madcap spaniel.


My rating: 4.5 Stars

The people of the picturesque village of Santa Zita in the Tuscan mountains are harboring secrets. A deadly secret, one that led to the discovery of bones, was revealed. Now, it is a year later, and there is another dark secret. Sonia did something a quarter of a century ago, and it is about to come to light. She is desperately guarding her secret. However, this is not the deepest of secrets in this book. Childhood best friends, Martina and Irena, as their story is told in the World War II timeline, have an incredible story that is slowly revealed.

From the captivating scenery to characters that kept my interest from the very beginning, and to the incredible writing style, The Secret takes what could be a simple story of two girls in 1940s wartime Italy to being so much more. It flawlessly weaves the story between two timelines, including the present. Although some references are made to The Silence, Katharine Johnson's previous book, which I feel that I must read, this book works remarkably well as a stand-alone. I enjoyed this book very much and read it in two sittings. I will definitely be reading more of this author's books as she has just found a new fan. As a matter of fact, I have already purchased The Silence.

Many thanks to Crooked Cat Books for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Review: The Factory Girls of Lark Lane

The Factory Girls of Lark Lane 
by Pam Howes

My rating: 4.5 Stars

Very good friends Alice and Millie live in 1940s Liverpool during War World II. They have both just sent their men off to the war. Millie is in love with boyfriend Alan, but has a friend Jimmy who is also off to war that she write letters to. It is Alice, however, that is more of the focus in this story. Her husband went back to the barracks the day after their wedding. Alice is now expecting their child, while worrying for her husband's safety. Millions of men were being killed in the horrendous war, and there was no guarantee that their loved ones would return home.

During wartime, Alice and Millie, work at a munitions factory, along with several friends, and they remained quite close. Alice has issues wither her Mam and her brother, along with the difficulties of raising a young daughter alone. It is a time of deep worry and stress for all involved.

As I read this book, I was drawn into the emotions of that difficult time. For example, I had never actually heard of "evacuee children". I was disheartened to hear of things being so horrible that it wasn't even safe for most children to remain with their mothers during such difficult times. There were a lot of factors that drew me to this book, one is that the author had a real capture on WWII Liverpool and the daily bombing raids that went on then. Imagine having to always carry a gas mask with you. How terrifying!

I read 90% of this book in one sitting. I only put it down because I actually fell asleep, otherwise I would have finished it all at once. The Factory Girls of Lark Lane is utterly captivating, albeit very sad at times. Nevertheless, this was a truly heartwarming read of friendship, love and hope. I am thrilled that I read this wonderful book and look forward to reading more from Pam Howes.

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Review: One Day Like This

One Day Like This by Laura Briggs

My rating: 4 Stars

Tessa has a job that she hates. She has a dream, a one-stop shop for wedding needs. She has a portfolio, but to get things going, she's going to need a lot more than that. For starters, she cannot afford to go into a new business venture on her own, so she needs partners. She has her friend Natalie in mind. Natalie would make the perfect wedding dress designer. Next, she is hoping to rope in wedding planner Stefan. He is not the ideal partner, but is successful in his own right, and would bring in good, solid business to the agency. Lastly, she wants Ama to join as the cake designer. Looking good so far.

They now need a solid business plan and a great location. Tessa has found just that, a fixer-upper that they can just barely afford. They must higher a handyman, at the very least, to get things going in the right direction in short order. Now, once they come up with a name, they will be on their way.

Contractor Blake Ellingham is more then happy to work for the new agency. After all, the building is truly special in the historic old town where it is located. Tessa is utterly breathless around Blake. The sparks between them are quite lively. She really needs Blake's help, especially since the house needs more than a few renovations, including electrical work that was unexpected. When Stefan suddenly quits, Blake is brought even deeper into the agency, much against his better judgment.

The characters were warm, likable and engaging. I definitely enjoyed the natural humor that flowed through the pages. Also, the relationship between Tessa and Blake was just so sweet. The story flowed quite well and the the conclusion was enjoyable. One Day Like this was a refreshing morning read. I look forward to reading more of Laura Briggs in the future, especially since Tessa and friends will be back.

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

Monday, July 16, 2018

Review: Cottage by the Sea

Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber

My rating: 5 Stars

Annie Marlow is wallowing in despair. She has suffered unimaginable loss and can't quite get her life back on track. She is looking for a place that she can call home. She remembers a cottage in a small town which gives her fond memories of her family. She quickly finds a job in the town of Oceanside and manages to rent the very cottage she wants.

The quiet and tender giant Keaton cannot believe his eyes. Years ago, as a teen, he was enamored with beautiful Annie. She is now back in the town of Oceanside. What's more is that she is as kind as he remembered her to be and the two hit it off quite well. She mesmerized him then, and she does even more so now.

Annie was truly waylaid by grief and depression as she lost her family due to a horrible tragedy. She is broken, and can never imagine healing. However, in Oceanside, things begin to change. It seems that she might have found the peace she desperately needs. Hope begins to shine through and it seems possible that Annie can actually heal. During this marvelous revelation, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to Keaton. However, things take a sharp turn, threatening what was growing between Annie and Keaton.

The prolific Debbie Macomber has written a slow, warm love story, one that captured my attention right from the very start. This tender romance has fabulous characters that are very easy to like. There is also a secondary story that is developed here. The stories were compelling. I was definitely drawn to the sensitivity in this book, especially where the secondary characters were concerned. As with the previous books that Debbie Macomber has written, this one did not disappoint. I definitely look forward to her next book.

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

Date of publication: July 17, 2018

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Review: The Silent Sister

The Silent Sister by Shalini Boland

My rating: 5 Stars

One morning, while home alone, Lizzy Beresford hears a strange noise. When she goes downstairs she finds an envelope at her door. The thing is, the envelope is inside of her door, jutting up between the floorboards. Who could've sent her the note, and how in the world did they get inside?

Unfortunately for Lizzy, this note is the first of several. She began to doubt those closest to her -- her boyfriend, her neighbors, even her friends. The notes are far too personal. Someone knows far too much about Lizzy, and so, naturally, she is terrified. Lizzy has led a relatively comfortable life until now. She has a terrific job and is in a comfortable relationship with her boyfriend Joe.

Lizzy is estranged from sister, Emma, however, and so she even suspects Emma of leaving her the letters. Due to a shocking change of circumstances, she reaches out to Emma, although this fills her with great trepidation, but she finds that she has no choice but to trust her.

The Silent Sister is full of twists and turns, often at breakneck speed. Although this was a quick read, I thought I had a bead on the stalker, or even more knowledge as to why the sisters were estranged. But I must stop here in my speculation, as I certainly do not want to give any spoilers. Suffice it to say that this is a fantastic read, and I have to say that Shalini Boland completely surprised  me. I had no idea who the stalker was, and I still had trouble wrapping my mind around it when I discovered who it was. If that wasn't enough to completely throw me off course, the ending was just as shocking. This was a fast-paced book, easily read in two sittings. I will definitely be reading more from this author.

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

Date of publication: July 16, 2018.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

BLOG TOUR - Murder Never Misses

I am thrilled that it is my day to share in the Blog tour for 
Murder Never Misses! 


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



Three missing young women. One evil stalker. But Hillary doesn’t think it all adds up.

Hillary is recovering from the vicious attack by her stalker. It appears that he is also behind the disappearance and murder of three women. Her bosses want these unsolved cases closed, but Hillary has a theory that will shock everyone.

However, as the truth comes to light, Hillary and the team are faced with a dire emergency — can they prevent an imminent murder?

Hillary Greene has returned to Thames Valley Police HQ, acting as a cold-case 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 NEVER MISSES is the fourteenth in a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire.


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!





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 rating: 4.5 Stars

Hillary Greene, former DI, is now part of the Crime Review Team, as a civilian consultant. She is back on the job just two weeks after a near-deadly attack from her stalker, as she almost lost her life. She is more determined than ever to catch him, and not just because of her attack. There are three missing women and there is irrefutable evidence that her stalker was their stalker as well. Are the women dead, and was it at his hands? Hillary and her team are on the case, but then she begins to develop another theory. Is she right? As she begins to pursue her theory, another life is on the line and it becomes a race against time to identify the stalker.

I have been waiting for this book! I read a lot of series and some of them serve quite well as standalone. But, this book follows close on the heels of Book 13 in the series, Murder of a Lover. I suggest at least reading that book before this one, although reference is made clearly enough if a reader wants to pick up from this book.

Hillary has a reputation as an investigator that is second to none, but right now she is a bit unsure. In large part it is due to her recent attack, and then there is the very strong likelihood that the stalker is someone at headquarters. Who in this large group could be this heinous? Meanwhile, Hillary's personal life has taken a curious turn. Her relationship with her handsome boss has reached a new level. I was enthralled at the breakneck speed at which Hillary investigated the stalker. The conclusion was utterly thrilling and had me turning the pages rapidly. I look forward to the next book in the series.

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

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Review: In Love and War

In Love and War by Liz Trenow

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

It is a time of peace for a little less than a year in 1919, and three women: British Ruby, American Alice and German Martha, all have very similar goals as they head to Belgium to find the graves of the dear loved men they lost during the war. Under normal circumstances, they would have been enemies of one another, especially after such a horrid war. 

Ruby is determined to find the grave of her dear husband Bertie, missing now for several years. Alice is looking for her brother Sam, and her journey is extremely difficult as he enlisted under another name. And Martha is traveling with her young son Otto, desperately seeking news about son Heinrich. With the aid of some kind people, and learning to rely on each other, as well as help from others, they seek to find any news of their lost loved ones.

In Love and War I experienced a dichotomy of emotions: from extreme sadness to pure joy. The story was heartbreaking at times, but I was left with a feeling of fullness as it concluded. I appreciated how, in a very short period of time, the women were able to bond despite the sheer hopelessness facing each of them. The stories were interwoven so well, and I enjoyed the trips with the women as hope began to reign for them. This was an engaging, compelling and well-written read, one that I was able to complete in just a couple of sittings.

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

BLOG BLITZ - Happily Never After

Hello. Today is my day to share in the blog blitz for Emma Robinson's Happily Never After.

She closed her eyes. Think with your head. Your heart can’t be trusted. Life is not a fairytale…

Rory doesn’t believe in love. She’s got far too many real problems to deal with.

She’s just bought a tumbledown house. Her mother is generally behaving like a wicked witch, insisting on calling her Aurora, and generally interfering in her (admittedly pitiful lack of) love life. 

And her 16-year-old daughter has finally grown out of Disney princesses and discovered dating…

But Rory’s adamant that she doesn’t need saving. In fact, the only thing she’s wishing on a star for is a bit of practical help. However, when she meets a builder whose name is John Prince and who seems to be in the habit of rescuing her (right down to finding her lost shoe one evening) she might have to face a truth as uncomfortable as hobbling home barefoot – that maybe there’s something enchanted in the air.

Her mother, daughter and friends are convinced her prince has come, but Rory just wishes everyone could let it go. Especially when she hears a story that makes her question whether he is really the hero everyone thinks he is…

A hilarious, romantic love story about mothers, daughters and how on earth to find Prince Charming, for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes and Cecelia Ahern.


Emma Robinson thinks of herself as one of the ‘Bridget Jones generation’ – who are now grown up and having children – and writes novels for women who feel the same.

She also has a blog, Motherhood for Slackers, which takes a humorous look at parenthood, and includes poems such as ‘Dear Teacher’ about her son starting school which has been shared around the world. Emma is an English teacher and lives in Essex with a patient husband and two children who are an endless source of material.

Website: Motherhood for Slackers
Facebook:  http://facebook.com/motherhoodforslackers
Twitter: @emmarobinsonuk
Instagram: emmarobinsonuk


My rating: 4 Stars

Rory does not believe in love. It is that simple. As far as she is concerned, "life is not a fairy tale." She is truly convinced that Prince Charming might not be there for everyone, at the very least, her. Anyway, what time does she have to think about love, something everyone is pushing at her? She just bought a fixer-upper for her and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Belle. She is a very busy teacher with sensitive students and a full load. She has been on her own for more years than she would like to admit, besides she likes it that way. Oh, about "life not being a fairytale?" What's up with the builder, John Prince? He ends up helping her with her house, help she is extremely reluctant to accept.

Happily Never After has it all: sweet romance, family connectiveness and drama, fantastic characterization, best friends, real emotionalism and more. Rory was indeed the center of it all, and her character was written quite well. She struggled to be an independent woman, was a fantastic mother and daughter and an excellent teacher. Her relationship with Belle and her mother Sheila was handled quite well. Their relationship was marvelous. I so adored Rory's relationship with best friends Susie and Penny, although Susie was desperately seeking Mr. Right - for all three of them.

Most of all, I loved the slow romance that burned between Rory and John. Would the two ever get it together? What about everyone else and their desire to be loved and needed? This is a story not to be missed if these questions are going to be answered properly. This is truly a cute story that was very touching on so many levels. It was a delightfully quick read.

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

Monday, July 9, 2018

Review: The Day I Lost You

The Day I Lost You 
by Alex Sinclair

My rating: 4 Stars

Erika has taken young daughter Alice to her father's apartment to retrieve a forgotten toy. When the elevator suddenly stops on a particular floor, Alice slips out and immediately disappears. It has happened suddenly and now Alice is nowhere to be found. The timing is especially devastating to Erika as it was her plan that this would be Alice's last time seeing her father.

Erika had lived in an emotionally abusive marriage and left her husband Michael six months after Alice was born. Things have not gone well over the past several years and now Erika no longer wants Michael to have visitation with Alice. The question Erika is grappling with is whether Alice is lost or has Michael had a hand in actually kidnapping her? Erika experiences a maelstrom of emotions while searching for Alice, especially as the story vacillates between then and now.

The Day I Lost You is utterly thrilling. I read with eager anticipation as Erika feverishly searched for her daughter. And, wow! There were surprising twists, but it was the ending that offered a truly shocking conclusion. It was completely unexpected. This was a true psychological thriller that kept me on my toes. Alex Sinclair is an author that I will certainly watch out for.

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

Date of publication: July 13, 2018

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Review: The Summer Getaway

The Summer Getaway 
by Tilly Tennant

My rating: 4 Stars

As Ashley Moon prepares for a dream holiday with her daughter in the French Riviera, she never would have expected the shock of her life. When Ashley was eighteen, she was on holiday and had a whirlwind romance that, nine months later, left her with her beautiful daughter Molly. It is now seventeen years later and the last man she ever expected to see again at the villa next door is none other than Molly's father, Haydon. 

Meanwhile, Ashley's daughter Molly and Haydon's daughter Ella become fast friends during the getaway week. This brings Ashley and Haydon together quite regularly, and, although they clearly remember their shared past, Haydon has no idea that Molly is his daughter, and Ashley struggles to find a way to let him know the truth.

Although I was eager for Ashley to tell Haydon the truth, the Summer Getaway is certainly a heartwarming story that had me smiling. Second-chance romances are one of my favorite type to read and this one did not disappoint. The story does an excellent job of focusing well on the relationships between Ashley and Molly as well as Haydon and Ella. I also enjoyed the other characters in this book. The story was very engaging, making this a quick and delightful read and offered a satisfying conclusion. I look forward to reading more of Tilly Tennant in the future.

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

Date of publication: July 11, 2018

Review: Murder at Hawthorn Cottage

My rating: 4 Stars

FROM THE PUBLISHER: We are beyond excited to announce that we've signed up twelve titles from cosy crime writer, Betty Rowlands. First published over twenty years ago, the Melissa Craig Mysteries remain a classic of the genre. We are thrilled to be able to introduce these utterly charming, page-turning murder mysteries to a new audience.

Murder at Hawthorn Cottage, the first book in this absolutely unputdownable series, will publish in August, with the next eleven books to following monthly intervals.

Melissa Craig, a successful crime novelist, has just moved to a countryside cottage in the village of Upper Benbury. Not only does she receive a worrisome phone call almost immediately upon arriving, a shocking discovery is made: that of the bones of a young woman. As a seasoned crime writer, her desire to solve the murder takes over, especially when prodded along by a local journalist.

Murder at Hawthorn Cottage is a curious mystery that captivated my interest from the very start. I have always loved amateur detectives and Melissa joins those ranks marvelously. This cozy mystery was very well-written and is a teriffic beginning to the series and is also a very quick read. I thoroughly enjoyed the danger and surprising twists in this story, as well as the unexpected humor. It is always a pleasure when publishers can revive classics of this sort. I truly look forward to devouring the rest of the series.

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

Date of publication: August 21, 2018