The Last Letter from Juliet by Melanie Hudson

This is going back quite a few decades, but this reminded me of the television series A Man Called Intrepid. Romance, intrigue and the world of spydom set around WW2.  In this case it is also about women’s empowerment and their role in supporting their countries during the war.

Katherine is enticed or persuaded to go down to Cornwall for Christmas. She is invited to stay in a holiday cottage owned by Juliet. Whilst there she finds notes and letters written by Juliet to remind herself of her own past, memories and those she loves and loved the most.

Letters written as reminders to a woman who fears she will one day forget everything she has experienced and more importantly forget the heartache and the love she experienced. Katherine finds herself captivated by the stories Juliet has left behind.

The story wanders from Katherine in the present to the beautiful story of Juliet in the past. It’s the gripping heartfelt story of an incredibly brave and determined woman and the man she falls in love with. It’s also a glimpse at the women of the Air Transport Auxiliary service during the Second World War.

Hudson captures those stolen moments in dangerous and desperate times. It’s a love story and a story about loyalty, support and the love of flying. I enjoyed the way Hudson let Juliet’s story play out. It was beautiful, nostalgic and emotional.

It’s historical fiction with a charming love story at the core.

Buy The Last Letter from Juliet at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: One More Chapter; pub date 23 Aug. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Follow @Melanie_Hudson_ on Twitter

#BlogTour Lies, Lies, Lies by Adele Parks

Today it’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Lies, Lies, Lies by Adele Parks. It’s a domestic noir thriller with elements of a psychological thriller.

About the Author

Adele Parks was born in Teesside, North-east England. her first novel, Playing Away, was published in 2000 and since then she’s had eighteen international bestsellers. She’s been an Ambassador for The Reading Agency and a judge for the Costa and is a keen supporter of The National Literary Trust. She’s lived in Italy, Botswana and London, and is now settled in Guildford, Surrey, with her husband and son.

Follow @adeleparks @HQStories on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit adeleparks.com

About the book

Lies, Lies, Lies explores the darkest corners of a relationship in freefall in a mesmerising tale of marriage and secrets.

After years together, the arrival of longed-for daughter Millie sealed everything in place. A happy little family of three.

And so what if Simon drinks too much sometimes – Daisy’s used to it, she knows he’s letting off steam. Until one night at a party things spiral horribly out of control. And that happy little family of three will never be the same again.

Review

Leave it to Parks to pull a rabbit out of the hat at the last minute. She has this talent for sliding in the unexpected and catching her readers unawares.

The lie that turns Simon and Daisy’s marriage on its head is a big one. The kind of lie you can’t come back from and the kind that changes lives forever. It’s not the cause of Simon’s drinking problem, but it certainly exacerbates it. He becomes paranoid and suspicious. The trust between himself and Daisy is non-existent.

Meanwhile Daisy is putting on a brave face in front of family and friends. She has no idea Simon has caught her in a lie – blissfully unaware. What she does know is that his drinking is out of control and something has got to give. And it does, but not in the way either of them expect it to.

Whilst the two of them are so engrossed in their own brand of ego-trip and type of self-flagellation they do something unthinkable, which changes their little family forever.

Parks dives straight into the nitty-gritty of relationships and married life. Specifically what happens when the fragile balance between two people is thrown off-kilter by trust issues. Once there is an element of doubt in a relationship it grows like a weed.

It’s a domestic noir thriller with elements of a psychological thriller. As usual Parks combines the controversial with the more normal everyday situations we have to deal with in life to create a captivating read.

Buy Lies, Lies, Lies at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ – Harper Collins Uk pub date 5 September 2019 – Paperback £7.99 – EBook £5.99 – Audiobook £12.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of I Invited Her In by Adele Parks.

#BlogTour A Fatal Secret by Faith Martin

It’s my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Fatal Secret by Faith Martin. A police procedural with a mystery, and yet at the same time the author melds important topics like sexism and discrimination into the story.

About the Author

Faith Martin is an English author who was born in Oxford. She lives in an Oxfordshire village. She is best known for her popular detective series, starring Detective Inspector (DI) Hillary Greene. She began her writing career as Maxine Barry. She also writes under the pen names, Joyce Cato and Jessie Daniels

Faith Martin has been writing for 30 years. She signed a massive book deal with the publishers Harper Collins/HQ, who have published her Ryder & Loveday novels. All four novels, A Fatal Obsession, A Fatal Mistake, A Fatal Flaw  and A Fatal Secret are available now.

Follow @FaithMartin_Nov @HQDigitalUK @HQStories on Twitter, on Goodreadson AmazonBuy A Fatal Secret

About the book

Oxford, 1961

A family day out at Briar’s Hall ends in tragedy when a young boy goes missing – and his body is found at the bottom of a disused well in the orchard.

It looks like a simple case of an eleven-year-old exploring where he shouldn’t: a tragic accident. But Coroner Clement Ryder and Probationary WPC Trudy Loveday aren’t convinced. If Eddie had been climbing and fallen, why were there no cuts or dirt on his hands? Why would a boy terrified of heights be around a well at all?

Clement and Trudy are determined to get to the truth, but the more they dig into Briar’s Hall and the mysterious de Lacey family who live there, the murkier things become.

Could it be that poor Eddie’s death was murder? There are rumours of blackmail in the village, and Clement and Trudy have a horrible feeling that Eddie stumbled on a secret that someone was willing to kill for…

Review

This is the fourth book in the Loveday and Ryder series. If you’re a fan of slightly eccentric mismatched detective duos then this will probably be right up your street. This story is like an old-fashioned whodunnit, but with a more modern feel to it.

The book starts with the tragic disappearance of a young boy called Eddie. The search comes to an awful conclusion, but fortunately not one that suggests there is a third party involved. Well not until Ryder and Loveday get involved that is, then the accident starts looking a little less accidental and a little more like a crime.

The two of them investigate with their usual intense passion for the truth and for justice. In doing so they turn up more secrets than they were expecting, and not necessarily the truth about Eddie and what led to his death.

WPC Loveday has to battle wars at work, where she is treated like a joke, and at home, where she is expected to conform to expectations. Her parents think she should be getting married and having babies instead of running around solving crimes and putting herself in danger. The only person she feels at ease with, perhaps because he understands and doesn’t judge her, is Ryder.

This series gets better with each book. I get the feeling Martin is just getting started, and to be fair the premise and the characters have plenty of room for development. This sleuthing duo is the kind that has you casting the actors in the television roles. It’s a young Tennison meets a less agitated and more laid back Quincy with a Midsomer Mystery vibe. A police procedural with a mystery, and yet at the same time the author melds important topics like sexism and discrimination into the story. With each book Martin gives more depth to her characters and more complex problems to navigate. It’s an enjoyable read.

Buy A Fatal Secret at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 6 Sept. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my reviews of A Fatal Obsession and A Fatal Flaw by Faith Martin.

#BlogTour Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay

Today it’s my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay

About the Author

Linwood Barclay is an international bestselling crime and thriller author with over twenty critically acclaimed novels to his name, including the phenomenal number one bestseller No Time For Goodbye. Every Linwood Barclay book is a masterclass in characterisation, plot and the killer twist, and with sales of over 7 million copies globally, his books have been sold in more than 39 countries around the world and he count Stephen King, Shari Lapena and Peter James among his many fans.

Many of his books have been optioned for film and TV, and Linwood wrote the screenplay for the film based on his bestselling novel Never Saw It Coming. He is currently working with eOne to turn the Promise Falls trilogy into a series.

Follow @linwood_barclay on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit linwoodbarclay.comBuy Elevator Pitch

About the book

It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the stop. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets. Right to the bottom of the shaft.

It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world – and the nation’s capital of media, finance, and entertainment – is plunged into chaos.

Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it’s working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men in women working in offices across the city refuse to leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered.

Who is behind this? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line? Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers…

Review

I have had a healthy distrust of elevators since De Lift (1983) came out. Much like this plot is takes the innate distrust we have, or a some of us have at times, when it comes to trusting in a higher authority called engineering, mechanics, gravity and technology. Barclay plays a little with the blind faith we put in certain things. Our lives are filled with items, vehicles and mechanisms that make our lives easier, and because of that we don’t think twice before using them.

Not that I am advocating climbing eighty flights of stairs either, just to be clear.

There is one part of the book, a short poignant one, when one person reacts by having flashbacks to 9-11. The people who work in One World Trade Center must have to cope with incredible anxiety and shove away their fear on a daily basis.

Aside from the elevators acting as if they have a life of their own and murderous intent towards the general population, the city is also under siege from a terrorist cell. The question is whether the attacks and the lift accidents are linked in any way. A journalist seems to think that the solution lies a little closer to home. The problem is she is too personally invested in that actually being the case.

Barclay takes an object that is used by millions of people every day and turns it into a weapon of mass destruction. It’s perfect, the majority of buildings have at least one, especially in cities that are built vertically, as opposed to horizontally. You don’t have to load it – you just need to fill it.

It’s a crime thriller that plays with our innate fears and destroys the blind trust we rely on every day.

Buy Elevator Pitch at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; pub date 5th September 2019 – £20 Hardback – £9.99 eBook – 12.99 Audio Download. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Stranger Game by Peter Gadol

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Stranger Game by Peter Gadol. It’s a dark psychological thriller, an intense and captivating innovative read.

About the Author

Peter Gadol is the author of seven novels including The Stranger ame, Silver Lake, Light at Dusk, and The Long Rain. His work has been translated for foreign editions and appeared in literary journals, including StoryQuarterly, the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, and Tin House. Gadol lives in Los Angeles, where he is Chair and Professor of the MFA Writing program at Otis College of Art and Design.

Follow @PeterGadol on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreads, Visit petergadol.com,

Buy The Stranger GameAbout the book

Rebecca’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Ezra, has gone missing, but when she notifies the police, they seem surprisingly unconcerned. They suspect he has been playing the ‘stranger game,’ a viral hit in which players start following others in real life, as they might otherwise do on social media.

But as the game spreads, the rules begin to change, and disappearances are reported across the country.

Curious about this popular new obsession, and hoping that she might track down Ezra, Rebecca tries the game for herself. She also meets Carey, who is willing to take the game further than she imagined possible. In playing the stranger game, what leads Rachel closer to finding Era will take her further and further from the life she once lived..

Review

Gadol will probably need to take responsibility if this actually does become a ‘thing’ somewhere. If some readers decide this might be an excellent game to play. Or is this already a thing? I hope not.

After this read I know I will be looking at everyone with a different set of eyes. Is that car following me? Is the woman in the shop picking cat food or just pretending to pick cat food in an attempt to convince the person she is following that she isn’t following them. Yeh, that’s a lot of paranoia to feel guilty about Gadol.

Rebecca’s life becomes fractured when her long-term best friend sometimes boyfriend just disappears one day. She becomes obsessed with an essay he leaves behind about the Stranger Game, which is an oddly obsessive game about stalking complete strangers.

As her life slowly but surely goes off the rails and she becomes more involved in the game Rebecca loses sight of reality, and with that step also disregards the danger she finds herself in. The fact she is just one of many playing the game floats in the back of her mind, until she comprehends that it also means she is a target. Who is watching her, while she is busy watching others who in turn are watching their own targets? I told you it was messed up stuff that is bound to make anyone paranoid.

The author wades into the dark area of society, wealth and the loneliness that exists between us, despite living in an era of prosperity, diversity and understanding. This plot plays on the theme of loneliness and the way it can define, distort and destroy lives. You can be surrounded by people and still be completely alone. Have a successful career and social life and yet still go home to your house and feel as if you’re the only person on the planet. Feel as if no one cares whether you exist or not. Even if you have a partner or family.

Would this feeling propel you towards a game that guarantees excitement, danger and instant gratification? Even if it means crossing boundaries and committing crimes. In a way this storyline plays right into the fact that our society is willing to do anything to get their kicks. Nothing is too extreme or bizarre.

It’s a dark psychological thriller, an intense and captivating innovative read.

Buy The Stranger Game at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher HQ; pub date 5th September 2019. Paperback £8.99 – available in eBook and Audio Download. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The StationMaster’s Daughter by Kathleen McGurl

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Stationmaster’s Daughter by Kathleen McGurl.

About the Author

Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband. She has two sons who are now grown-up and have left home. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present, and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

Follow @KathMcGurl on Twitter, on Facebookon Goodreadson Amazon, Visit kathleenmcgurl.comBuy The StationMaster’s Daughter

About the book

As the last train leaves, will life ever be the same?

Dorset 1935

Stationmaster Ted has never cared much for romance. Occupied with ensuring England’s most beautiful railway runs on time, love has always felt like a comparatively trivial matter. Yet when he meets Annie Galbraith on the 8.42 train to Lynford, he can’t help but instantly fall for her.

But soon the railway is forced to close and a terrible accident occurs within the station grounds, Ted finds his job and any hope of a relationship with Annie hanging in the balance…

Present day

Recovering from heartbreak after a disastrous marriage, Tilly decides to escape from the bustling capital and move to Dorset to stay with her dad, Ken. When Ken convinces Tilly to help with the restoration of the old railway, she discovers a diary hidden in the old ticket office. Tilly is soon swept up in Ted’s story, and the fateful accident that changed his life forever.

But an encounter with an enigmatic stranger takes Tilly by surprise, and she can’t help but feel a connection with Ted’s story in the past.

Review

The story has a nostalgic feel to it, perhaps because McGurl is very good at giving her readers the feeling as if they are right there experiencing everything with the characters. Tugging on the heartstrings is one of her talents, which is reflected in the way she builds the characters and their emotional turmoil.

The story moves from Tilly in the present to Ted and Annie in the past. At first glance the only connection between the two appears to be the railroad and the station. As we learn more about all of them the how becomes clearer.

Tilly is damaged and suffering, and has returned to her parent to gather herself and reboot her life. She carries immense trauma around with her, which has been magnified tenfold by the way she has been treated by her husband. Her path brings her to Dorset.

In the past we meet stationmaster Ted. His life is filled with trains, railways and schedules, at least until the day he meets Annie. What looks like obsession to one person is merely unrequited love to Ted. His fascination with Annie is the beginning of a heart-wrenching secret – a secret that leaves a trail of destruction all the way into the present.

McGurl likes to combine history and mystery to create captivating stories. In this case England’s railway gets in on the action, and I enjoyed learning more about that aspect of history.

It’s a mystery come historical fiction with a modern flair. Splitting the story into past and present gives it a two genre feel. It’s a story with an authentic feel to it.

Buy The Stationmaster’s Daughter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 7 Aug. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my reviews of The Forgotten SecretThe Girl from Ballymor, The Emerald Comb, The Pearl Locket and The Daughters of Red Hill Hall by Kathleen McGurl.

#BlogTour A Tapestry of Treason by Anne O’Brien

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour A Tapestry of Treason by Anne O’Brien. Once again the author gives her readers an intense and captivating historical read

About the Author

Sunday Times bestselling author Anne O’Brien was born in West Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Master’s in Education at Hull, she lived in East Yorkshire for many years as a teacher of history. Today she has sold over 250,000 copies of her books in the UK and lives with her husband in an eighteenth-century cottage in the depths of the Welsh Marches in Herefordshire. The area provides endless inspiration for her novels about the forgotten women of history.

Follow @anne_obrien on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreadson Facebook,Visit anneobrien.co.ukBuy A Tapestry of Treason

About the book

Her actions could make history but at what price?

1399: Constance of York, Lady Despenser, proves herself more than a mere observer in the devious intrigues of her magnificently dysfunctional family, the House of York.

Surrounded by power-hungry men, including her aggressively self-centred husband Thomas and ruthless siblings Edward and Richard, Constance places herself at the heart of two treasonous plots against King Henry IV. Will it be possible for this Plantagenet family to safeguard its own political power by restoring either King Richard II to the throne, or the precarious Mortimer claimant?

Although the execution of these conspiracies will place them all in jeopardy, Constance is not deterred, even when the cost of her ambition threatens to overwhelm her. Even when it endangers her new-found happiness.

With treason tragedy, heartbreak and betrayal, this is the story of a woman ahead of her time, fighting for herself and what she believes to be right in a world of men.

This is one woman’s quest to turn history on its head.

Review

This should go without saying when it comes to historical fiction – I both enjoy and admire the way O’Brien endeavours to stay as close to the known or presumed historical narrative as possible, whilst building the fictional story around the facts. It becomes a learning and not just a reading experience.

Also the way she gives us a more in-depth look, albeit it one gathered via research and presumption, and not necessarily based on written records or hearsay, of the women behind powerful men. The women who played pivotal roles in history, and yet usually end up being invisible figures.

The approach O’Brien takes differs from say Gregory, who wanders more into the fictional aspect of the genre, as opposed to the historical accuracy O’Brien strives for. It’s certainly a difference worth noting.

In events pre-dating the War of the Roses, in fact the ones that led to it, this story takes a closer look at Constance of York, Lady Despenser. The Plantagenet family is one of the most infamous when it comes to British history, scheming,  politics and ruthlessness. The majority of them appear to have had an innate affinity for survival in what can only be called tumultuous eras in history.

The women played their part in our very own game of thrones, as did Constance. A woman who at first glance comes off as cold, ambitious and willing to do anything to keep the family name and honour safe. As a man her actions would be considered the norm, as a woman the description tends to become more negative.

As a man her involvement in treasonous plots against King Henry IV would have probably been met with a harsher response than just a life in isolation and staying a great distance away from court and intrigue.

Once again the author gives her readers an intense and captivating historical read. One full of treachery, betrayal and staunch loyalty. A read I highly recommend.

Buy A Tapestry of Treason at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; pub date 22nd August 2019. Hardback £14.99 – Available in ebook and Audio. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Queen of the North by Anne O’Brien