#BlogTour It Started with a Secret by Jill Mansell

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour It Started With a Secret by Jill MansellAbout the Author

Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers including The One You Really Want and Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay. Take a Chance on Me won the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding achievement award.

Jill’s personal favourite amongst her novels is Three Amazing Things About You, which is about cystic fibrosis and organ donation; to her great delight, many people have joined the organ donor register as a direct result of reading this novel.

Jill started writing fiction while working in the field of Clinical Neurophysiology in the NHS, but now writes full time. She lives in Bristol with her family.

Follow @JillMansell @headlinepg on Twitter, Follow on Goodreads, Follow OfficialJillMansell on Facebook, Visit jillmansell.co.ukBuy It Started With a Secret

About the book

The trouble with secrets is that you can’t guess what the consequences will be . . .

Lainey has just lost everything. Luckily one little fib (OK, quite a big fib) helps nail her dream job. Soon she’s living in a stunning house by the sea, fending off obsessed fans for a retired – if far-from-retiring – actor and organising his charming but chaotic family. Yes, everyone thinks she’s part of a couple and it’s tricky keeping this secret. But at least she’s not looking for love: with her disastrous relationship history, men are definitely off the agenda.

Except Seth, the actor’s grandson, really is very attractive. There’s growing chemistry and a definite connection between them. What would happen if he knew the truth?

But Lainey’s not the only one with a secret – it seems everyone has them! And they’re all about to start unravelling…

Review

Lainey finds herself out of a job and applies for a new one as one part of a happy couple. The only problem is she isn’t part of a couple. So she needs a man who will pose as her happy ever after asap. Her friend is willing to do the honours, except his small catch is that he likes his romantic interests tall, dark and handsome.

They get the job based on a lie, which is a bed of quicksand waiting to suck them both under. Lainey feels comfortable with the eccentric family. The unpredictable grandfather, the sulky teens and the attractive and very suspicious step-son – they are all chaotic and yet simultaneously incredibly entertaining.

It’s about forgetting the construct of family as we know it and as society has taught us. It isn’t about being genetically related, it’s about emotional bonds. Family is the people you let surround you, especially in times of joy or sorrow. It doesn’t have to be mother, father and 2.5 children. It can be any combination you want, as long as it makes you feel safe.

I loved the way Mansell gave every character the same kind of reverence and attention, which doesn’t always work by the way. No person is left behind and all the threads are tied up neatly by the last page.

Mansell delivers a lovely feel good read – a contemporary romance with family at the core. There is this general aura of warmth and love regardless of whether the characters are going through painful or emotional moments. It’s Mansell moments of magic that makes the read.

Buy It Started With a Secret at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publishing in hardback by Headline Review on 23 January 2020 – priced £14.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell.

#BlogTour Into The Dark by Karen Rose

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Into The Dark by Karen Rose.About the Author

Karen Rose was introduced to suspense and horror at the tender age of eight when she accidentally read Poe’s The Pit and The Pendulum and was afraid to go to sleep for years. She now enjoys writing books that make other people afraid to go to sleep.

Karen lives in Florida with her family, their cat, Bella, and two dogs, Loki and Freya. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, and her new hobby – knitting.

Follow @KarenRoseBooks on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit karenrosebooks.comBuy Into The Dark

About the book

When Michael Rowland saves his younger brother Joshua from the clutches of his stepfather, he runs for his life with his brother in his arms. From his hiding place he sees the man who has made their lives a misery taken away in the trunk of a stranger’s car, never to be seen again.

Doctor Dani Novak has been keeping soccer coach Diesel Kennedy at arm’s length to protect him from her dark secrets. When they are brought together by the two young brothers who desperately need their help, it seems they might finally be able to leave their damaged pasts behind them.

But as the only witness to the man who kidnapped and murdered his stepfather, Michael is in danger.

As Diesel and Dani do all that they can to protect him, their own investigation into the murder uncovers a much darker web of secrets than they could have imagined.

As more bodies start to appear it’s clear that this killer wants vengeance. And will wipe out anything that gets in his way…

Review

Michael has only one concern – keeping his brother Joshua safe. The only way to do that is making sure they stay together, and their step-father away from him. When he stumbles upon said step-father preparing to put his brother in danger certain events are set in motion that will change their lives forever.

I have to say kudos to the author for writing the story in such a careful, thoughtful and emotive way. Part of me wishes, and I can imagine other readers and perhaps even the author, that victims of abuse were always treated with such sincerity and genuine concern. The truth is that the systems that are put in place to keep children safe are often inadequate and overburdened. The vulnerable fall through the loopholes of the systems, and even when the abuse is recognised and acted upon what comes afterwards is only as good as the system that put the procedures in place.

Also the sensitivity with which Rose approaches both the abuse, the deaf child and the hearing impaired is exceptionally well done. When you take all of the above and add crime to the plot, whilst simultaneously throwing in a serial killer who leaves body parts all over the place, it creates this spectacularly emotionally raw and charged read.

Then as if crime and abuse weren’t enough to keep the reader captivated the author adds romance to the picture, and where the abuse is concerned I don’t mean captivated in a salacious way but rather in an emotionally involved way. Usually this often leads to a less is more or too many cooks scenario, but Rose balances every part of the story so well – it’s as if it was meant to be.

It’s romantic suspense, an uncompromisingly direct and honest read with a great set of characters and highly sensitive topics.

Buy Into The Dark at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Headline Publishing│Hardback │£20 pub date 14th November 2019 – eBook and audio also available. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Doing Time by Jodi Taylor

Today it’s the start of the BlogTour Doing Time by Jodi Taylor.

About the Author

Jodi Taylor is the internationally bestselling author of the Chronicles of St Mary’s series, the story of a bunch of disaster-prone individuals who investigate major historical events in contemporary time. Do NOT call it time travel!

Born in Bristol and now living in Gloucester (facts both cities vigorously deny), she spent many years with her head somewhere else, much to the dismay of family, teachers and employers, before finally deciding to put all that daydreaming to good use and write a novel. Nearly twenty books later, she still has no idea what she wants to do when she grows up.

Follow @JodiTaylorBooks on Twitter, on Facebookon Goodreadson Amazon, Visit jodi-taylor.comBuy Doing Time

About the book

Introducing The Time Police, the brand-new series by international bestselling author, Jodi Taylor – an irresistible spinoff from the much-loved Chronicles of St Mary’s series. Perfect reading for fans of Doctor Who, Ben Aaronovitch and Jasper Fforde.

A long time ago in the future, the secret of time travel became known to all. Everyone seized the opportunity – and the world nearly ended. There will always be idiots who want to change history. And so, the Time Police were formed. An all-powerful, international organisation tasked with keeping the timeline straight. At all costs. Their success is legendary, and the Time Wars are over. But now the Time Police must fight to save a very different future – their own.

This is the story of Jane, Luke and Matthew – arguably the worst recruits in Time Police history. Or, very possibly, three young people who might just change everything.

Review

For me this had a very specific brand of humour. The kind of dry humour that’s in Hot Fuzz and The World’s End (someone in my household has a thing for Simon Pegg comedies atm). It sometimes flies over the head, because it is subtle or people just don’t get the snark.

The Time Police are sent back into time to keep timelines straight and to ensure that history isn’t changed or thrown off-track. They are sent to stop time-criminals and to intervene before the worst case scenario happens.

The Time Police have a serious job to do, and yet our special team is newly qualified and perhaps more of a pain in the butt to the powers that be than said powers will admit. One gets the feeling they are not only expecting them to mess up, but are actually hoping they end up causing a catastrophe.

In particular Luke’s father hopes he makes his mark and grows up a bit, and yet simultaneously he expects him to fail.

It’s science-fiction, a futuristic time-challenging premise that can be read by both young and older readers. It’s straightforward, filled with a slapstick and snarky kind of humour. It would have been interesting to wade into the dangers and perhaps even merits of playing with time. Saying that, I think Taylor likes to give readers a lighthearted, easy and amusing read, which is indeed the case.

Buy Doing Time at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in Hardback by Headline 17 October 2019 – Hardback – £18.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Poison Song by Jen Williams

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Poison Song by Jen Williams. It’s fantasy with elements of sci-fi.

About the Author

Jen Williams started writing about pirates and dragons as a young girl and hasn’t ever stopped. Her short stories have featured in numerous anthologies and her debut novel, The Copper Promise, was published in 2014 to huge acclaim.

Jen was nominated in the Best Newcomer category at the 2015 British Fantasy Awards and her following two novels, The Iron Ghost and The Silver Tide were both shortlisted for the British Fantasy Awards Novel of the Year. Jen lives in London with her partner and their cat.

Follow @sennydreadful on Twitter, on Goodreads,

Buy The Poison Song

About the book

Ebora was once a glorious city, defended by legendary warriors and celebrated in song. Now refugees from every corner of Sarn seek shelter within its crumbling walls, and the enemy that has poisoned their land won’t lie dormant for long.

The deep-rooted connection that Tormalin, Noon and the scholar Vintage share with their Eboran war-beasts has kept them alive so far. But with Tor distracted, and his sister Hestillion hell-bent on bringing ruthless order to the next Jure’lia attack, the people of Sarn need all the help they can get. Noon is no stranger to playing with fire and knows just where to recruit a new – and powerful – army. But even she underestimates the epic quest that is to come. It is a journey wrought with pain and sacrifice – a reckoning that will change the face of Sarn forever.

Review

I think it’s important to note that this can be read as a stand-alone novel, however I suggest reading the first two parts of this trilogy to get the full experience of the premise and the characters. The Ninth Rain and The Bitter Twins, the first and second book in the series, take you on the path that leads to the decisions made and actions taken in this third book.

Does that sound ominous? It’s supposed to. The actions start with characters using war beasts to seek revenge, set things straight and press the reset button for many others in similar situations. To free the oppressed, which seems like a noble thing, but has it been thought through enough? Perhaps less spontaneity and more impulse control would have been better.

What’s interesting about this trilogy is the way Williams gives her younger characters great depth, the kind of depth and emotional awareness you see in more adult characters. That means you don’t just get the immature, inexperienced and often lackadaisical attitude of YA or teen characters.

These characters, especially Noon, have reached (in this book) the point of no return. In fact the beginning of this book is indicative of her thought process throughout the book. It’s time to give the silenced a voice, to free the imprisoned, and it is definitely time to fight back.

It’s fantasy with elements of sci-fi, in fact I would call it sci-fi fantasy. Is that a sub-genre? The alien invasion and  the whole bug aspect of the story was very science fiction meets the world-building of a fantasy story.

Kudos to Williams for giving this book the ending it deserved and not being too scared of the reaction of avid fans, who are invested in certain strong characters. It was the perfect conclusion to this trilogy.

Buy The Poison Song at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Headline; pub date 16 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Headline.

#BlogTour Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary. It’s crime fiction with nuances of literary fiction.About the Author

Sarah Hilary’s debut, Someone Else’s Skin, won Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2015 and was a World Book Night selection for 2016. The Observer’s Book of the Month (‘superbly disturbing’) and a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, it has been published worldwide. No Other Darkness, the second in the series was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the US. Her DI Marnie Rome series continued with Tastes Like Fear, Quieter Than Killing and Come And Find Me.

Follow @sarah_hilary on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit sarahhilary.com

Buy Never Be Broken

About the book

Children are dying on London’s streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London’s lost. Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She’s thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she’s white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.

DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela’s case and Frankie’s too. But he’s facing his own turmoil, and it’s becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it’s too late.

Review

I have to hand it to Hilary, it’s no small feat to write crime fiction which has the written beauty of literary fiction. Whilst the reader enjoys the criminal aspect of the plot they can simultaneously float in the pleasure of the beautiful prose. I had to stop at times and just go over certain sentences or paragraphs again, and I would love to give an example of said moments, to just take in the words once more and let them sink in.

The violent crime takes place, as the main characters circle the events like distracted birds of prey. The prose initiates moments where the reader is taken out of the story then brought back to earth with a thrust of brusque reality. In doing so Hilary gives the reader a taste of her talents if released from the confines of the genre and also changes the experience of the read in regards to the crime element. I felt there was more of visceral connection to the characters because of it, especially to Noah.

The premise is very much in keeping with the Wild West scenario in London at the moment. The killing and murders of young people on a regular basis. The author describes the grooming that takes place, of young children and teens in areas of deprivation. Scouted from the very beginning and not given much choice in the matter. It’s a join or be a target kind of gang culture.

At the centre of this story is DS Noah Jake, who is grieving the loss of his brother. His inner torment has manifested itself in visual and oral hallucinations, which Noah is reluctant to let go of. Letting the process of grief take place may mean saying goodbye to his brother forever.

It’s crime fiction with nuances of literary fiction. Hilary is an excellent storyteller and writer, and is getting better with every book.

Buy Never Be Broken at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Headline; pub date 16 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Headline.

#BlogTour Come Back to Me by Daniela Sacerdoti

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Come Back to Me by Daniela Sacerdoti. It’s a contemporary read with elements of magical realism combined with the concept of what family is for each of us. It’s a lovely read.About the Author

Daniela Sacerdoti is a phenomenon. Over one million copies of her novels have been sold in eBook, her debut novel Watch Over me was the 8th bestselling Kindle book of all time in 2015 and she was also ranked as the 11th top-selling Kindle author. Daniela writes beautiful, haunting and bestselling fiction for adults (the Glen Avich series), young adults (the Sarah Midnight trilogy) and children. Her novels have been translated in twelve languages. Daniela was born and raised in Italy. She studied Classics, then lived in Scotland for fourteen years, where she married and taught in a primary school.

Daniela’s children’s book Really Weird Removals.Com was shortlisted for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards. She has also written for the BBC. Daniela, her husband and their two sons make their home in a tiny village in the Alps.

To discover more about Daniela and her world, visit www.danielasacerdoti.com.

Follow Daniela on Facebook, on Amazon, on Goodreads,

Buy Come Back to Me

About the book

Three separate lives. Three broken hearts.

Haunted by his wife’s death, Matt arrives on Seal Island determined to be alone and unable to escape his grief.

In the island’s hospital, a young woman named Rose lies in a coma, trapped by the memories of events leading up to her accident.

Grace, the island’s doctor, is at the heart of the community. Only she knows how much she regrets turning down the chance of love and a family years ago.

For these three people hope seems gone. But life is about to offer an unexpected new beginning…

Review

There are many types of reading experiences; the ones that leave you feeling happy, sad or angry. Now and again you get a book that reaches from the pages and takes a piece of you, even if just for a moment.

It may give you a sense of peace, a few seconds of indignation or fill you with rage. It doesn’t really matter what emotion or thoughts linger, but if they do then the author has done their job by extending a hand to invite you inside and you entering their house of words, staying for a while and leaving with some of their powerful words imprinted in your memory forever.

Sacerdoti evokes that kind of magic with her story. It is a perfect fictional exploration of grief, forgiveness, accepting life and the obstacles it throws in your way, and finding your own type of happiness.

This is the third book in the Seal Island series and the focus is on multiple characters who become connected through the island. Matthew is still riddled with guilt after the death of his wife. He welcomes the isolation of and on the island. Grace keeps herself busy to avoid thinking about her all her regrets, about the life and family she should have had. Then there is Fergus and the strained relationship with his teenage daughter, a young girl who feels abandoned and neglected by both parents.

The story of Rose runs alongside the others, but takes place in the past, as we see her navigate the complicated oppressive relationship between herself and her brother.

On the surface that may seem like a normal contemporary story about family, relationships and love, but the author makes it stand out from the crowd by adding a layer of magical realism to the story. It falls over a certain character like a soft, soothing and healing blanket.

It’s a contemporary read with elements of magical realism combined with the concept of what family is for each of us. It’s a lovely read.

Buy Come Back to Me at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Headline in eBook on 1st May and available in paperback original on 25th July. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce. It’s a psychological thriller with a wicked punch and one that leaves the reader with food for thought.

About the Author

Harriet Tyce grew up in Edinburgh and studied English at Oxford University before doing a law conversion course at City University. She practised as a criminal barrister in London for nearly a decade. She is currently doing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She lives in north London. Blood Orange is her debut novel.

Follow @harriet_tyce @Wildfirebks @headlinepg on Twitter, Visit harriettyceauthor.com

Buy Blood Orange

About the book

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…

Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.

Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up. 

Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing. 

But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….

Review

It sure is a humdinger of a plot. Even after the last page I wasn’t sure who was guilty and which one of the characters just carried a certain element of guilt. There were so many aspects to this story that were intriguing I’m not sure I know where to start, which is certainly a sign of a good read.

Alison is a bit of a mess. She has a successful career and a beautiful family, and yet she is having sexual encounters with a colleague and spends a lot of her time drunk as a skunk. She doesn’t spend a lot of time worrying about her husband or young daughter, whilst she is getting her jollies.

The first instinct is to see Alison as the bad guy, however there is something likeable about her, despite the mess and all her failings. As the story progresses the reader knows there is something off, something dark just lurking in the shadows. The question is whether she will be able to recognise the reality of her situation before it’s too late.

Tyce brings two important topics into the storyline. It’s done in such a subtle way that it may go under in the viciousness of some the scenes or in the skewed boundary lines of some of the scenarios. One of those topics is consent and the comprehension of what consent means. The other is the insidious nature of abuse and the fact everyone can fall prey to an abuser.

I enjoyed the fact Alison wasn’t really completely good or bad. The author writes her with a refreshing sense of authenticity, she is human and makes mistakes. It doesn’t mean she loves her child any less or defends her clients to anything other than her full capability.

It’s a psychological thriller with a wicked punch and one that leaves the reader with plenty of food for thought.

Buy Blood Orange at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Wildfire; pub date 21 Feb. 2019