Sunday, 31 March 2019

Spotlight: The Snowman Of Zanzibar by Gordon Wallis

The Snowman Of Zanzibar By Gordon Wallis

Ex Rhodesian soldier Jason Green was frustrated and mildly depressed. The winter in London had been long and bitterly cold. The steady work as a freelance insurance fraud investigator was mundane and repetitive. This tedious monotony suddenly changes early on a frigid February morning when he is summoned to the offices of a wealthy investment banker in the City. The brief , to ascertain the source of the unanticipated wealth of the man's high flying young son. The time frame , urgent. The payout , enormous. Inspired and rejuvenated , Green takes the job immediately. The roller coaster ride that follows takes Jason Green from the grimy streets of London to the beaches of Cape Town and ultimately to the dark tropical jungles of the spice island of Zanzibar. Intrigue , chaos , murder , betrayal and revenge follow swiftly as a series of unfortunate events unfold. Events far beyond Green's control. Events that result in unspeakable violence and horror. The action comes hard and fast in this page turner and culminates in an ending that will leave the reader breathless.

Amazon UK      Amazon US 

Gordon Wallis is a 50 year old author based in Zimbabwe , Southern Africa. Born of British parents he has lived there all his life. A keen reader of thriller novels , particularly those set in Africa , he has travelled extensively in Africa , Europe , The Middle East and Asia. He runs a number of businesses in Zimbabwe and is single.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Book Spotlight: Reflected Destinies by Florence Keeling

Reflected Destinies

Laura is happy and content, she has a new boyfriend and loves her job teaching primary school pupils in London.  But when she inherits a rundown house from a stranger on her 30th birthday, memories of her prom night come flooding back, memories of a scary encounter and an antique mirror in the very same house.

Laura visits the house with all its secrets and as she unravels the clues she reveals the biggest secret of all: her own destiny.  But how can you change the future if it’s already written in the past?

To celebrate Mother’s Day, Reflected Destinies will be half price from 29th March to 1st April.

Florence Keeling adopted for her pen-name her Great Grandmother's name, chosen because of the shared birthday of April Fool's Day.  She is married with two teenage chidren.  Born and raised in Coventry, England she now lives just outside in Nuneaton.  Reflected Destinies is her first novel.

Florence Keeling also writes for children under the name of Lily Mae Walters.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

New Release Spotlight & Review: Your Secret's Safe With Me by Rosie Travers

Your Secret’s Safe With Me by Rosie Travers
Career girl Becca Gates’ organised life is thrown into chaos when her mother, romantic novelist Pearl, announces her surprise engagement to Jack, a man she has only just met. 
Worse news follows when Pearl tells Becca she intends to leave London, quit writing, and retire to her new fiancé’s idyllic waterside home on the south coast. Becca is determined to prevent Pearl from making a disastrous mistake, but when she at arrives at Rivermede, more shocks await when she stumbles upon a familiar yet unwelcome face from her past.
As Pearl embraces her new life amongst the local sailing fraternity, Becca receives a grim warning that all is not as calm as it seems at picturesque Rivermede, and if she wants to keep her family safe, she should keep them away. 
But why should Becca trust the man who has betrayed her before, the man who broke her heart, the man who thinks he knows all her secrets?

Kerridge on the south coast of England is the last place Londoner Becca Gates expected to move to, but it's where her author mother, Pearl Gates now lives with her fiancé. With the family home in Battersea up for sale, it's the only option she has for now. However, her new surroundings offer new opportunities as she realises now is the time to do something for herself. Additionally, her ex who jilted her at the altar fifteen years ago is in Kerridge too. Can she keep his presence a secret from her mother and if not, what are the consequences?

The realisation she's dispensable to her mother and brother, Becca quickly understands there exist opportunities to seize as those closest to her move forward with their own lives. However, life isn't plain sailing for the city girl trying to start afresh.

After reading Ms Travers début novel, Your Secret's Safe With Me is an equally entertaining book. The narrative is a tantalising blend of mystery, intrigue and romance tied together as a dysfunctional family saga. I particularly like the eclectic mix of characters within the plot and the hilarity they cause. With lively banter creating amusing dialogue, it complements a close-knit community vibe albeit a flawed one. An aspect I particularly liked is the author's descriptions of the settings within this novel. I appreciated her sometimes droll approach when mentioning the realistic and less glamorous aspects of the small town coastal setting and easily pictured the scenes in my mind.

To sum up, another page-turning winner, with a broad appeal for anyone who enjoys a laugh whilst reading an entertaining book with a fascinating storyline.

***arc generously received courtesy of Crooked Cat Books*** 

Rosie Travers grew up in Southampton on the south coast of England and loved escaping into a good book at a very early age. After many years juggling motherhood and a variety of jobs in local government she moved to Southern California in 2009. With time on her hands she started a blog about the perils of ex-pat life which rekindled a teenage desire to become a writer. Now permanently settled back in the UK, Rosie takes inspiration from the towns and landscape of her native south coast and enjoys writing heart-warming stories sprinkled with mystery, tragedy, comedy and romance. Rosie’s debut novel, The Theatre of Dreams, was published by Crooked Cats Books in August 2018. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association.
Twitter @RosieTravers
Instagram: @rosietraversauthor

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

New Release Spotlight and Review: Mr One-Night Stand by Rachael Stewart

Mr One-Night Stand by Rachael Stewart

One night only. 
Just think of the possibilities
The second she sees Mr Oh-So-Delicious, Jennifer Hayes knows she needs one night of crazy. No names, no strings, no rules. Except that Jennifer's naughty one-nighter is actually Marcus Wright—her new business partner! Now they're mixing business with all kinds of pleasure. But when it comes to falling in love her sexy Mr Wright is either Mr Wrong or the best mistake of her life…

Amazon UK      Amazon US 

Their eyes met across a crowded restaurant, both there to meet a business associate. Temptation leads to a one-night stand, but not before Marcus Wright realises the woman he's about to hook-up with is the one who holds the other fifty per cent stake in the company he's just bought into. He knows he should stop this sexy liaison before it goes too far but carries on regardless of knowing the formal introductory board meeting with Jennifer Hayes the following morning will definitely be more diverting than anticipated.

I've not read a novel with a partially naked male torso adorning a book cover for a long while, and I admit after reading the first couple of chapters and wrongly predicting what was to come. I thought it would be full of hot, 'fan myself' clichés. However, I'm humble enough to admit I was wrong and although the beginning to Marcus and Jennifer's story didn't ignite any enthusiasm for what was to come, Ms Stewart proved there's far more to this couple's story than I originally thought.

The beginning is slow, but don't let it but you off because the pace picks up and delivers a very satisfying middle and end. I enjoyed the contrast between the very well written sexy times and the conflicting emotions between this couple. Both protagonists are work driven professionals who have very little time to themselves. Despite the overwhelming chemistry between them, both struggle to come to terms with what it means even though they are denying themselves a chance to see if it's more than lust. Eventually, neither can deny their feelings any more giving us readers a pleasurable ending

Overall, a sexy, entertaining novel with relatable and fun protagonists. Mr One-Night Stand is my first Rachel Stewart book and won't be my last.

***arc generously received courtesy of the publisher Harlequin Dare***

Rachael Stewart adores conjuring up stories for the readers of Harlequin Mills & Boon and Deep Desires Press, with tales varying from the heart-warmingly romantic to the wildly erotic.

Despite a degree in Business Studies and spending many years in the corporate world, the desire to become an author never waned and it's now her full-time pleasure, a dream come true.

A Welsh lass at heart, she now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, and if she's not glued to her laptop, she's wrapped up in them or enjoying the great outdoors seeking out inspiration.

Twitter: @rach_b52

Giveaway – Win an e-copy of Mr. One Night Stand by Rachael Stewart (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Release Day Review: London Calling by Veronica Forand

London CallingLondon Calling by Veronica Forand

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I dived into London Calling with much anticipation after discovering this author when I read her True Lies Trilogy. So, after finishing this novel, I can happily confirm it's more than exceeded my expectations.

After the assassination of Lucy, his partner and member of his team, Liam Macknight isn't impressed when he's assigned to babysit Edward Ross' daughter, Emma. Since the explosion which killed his close friend, Ross has been missing and a potential security threat if he is still alive. Struggling to come to terms with his loss, Emma is proving to be a difficult woman to watch, much to his chagrin. She doesn't believe her father's involvement in espionage and more importantly doesn't need MI6 or him to keep her safe, or does she?

Summonsed to London because of her father's disappearance, justifiably, Emma Ross' frustration is palpable...her father is missing and nobody will give her any information. Additionally, she's at a safe house...something she considers unnecessary until it becomes clear she is a target too.

There's an instant click of attraction between Emma and Macknight as banter flows between them. It's hostile, but still, it can't hide the electrifying chemistry between them. Despite both displaying a tough fascade, they equally have a vulnerable side too. As the pair manoeuvre through the dangers, mutual respect and empathy take over as suppressed feelings begin to surface. The sizzle of expectation hangs between them constantly, leaving the reader wondering what happens next?

Fast paced, I had no problem keeping up and enjoyed the trill of this dramatic and suspenseful narrative. Ms Forand in unquestionably one of my favourite romantic suspense authors and although the focus in London Calling leans more towards suspense than romance, there's a hint of what to expect in way of romance in the future? The ending implies this is only the beginning for Macknight and Emma so I hope to follow them in more suspenseful adventures. If not, I'm more than satisfied with their 'happy for now' status.

***arc generously received courtesy of Entangled Publishing(Amara) via NetGalley***

View all my reviews

New Release Spotlight & Guest Post: Checking The Traps by Joan Livingston

Checking the Traps
Isabel Long is a bit banged up from her last case with a broken collarbone and her arm in a sling. But that doesn’t stop her from pouring beer at the Rooster Bar or taking her third case with Gary Beaumont, a local drug dealer who once terrorized her. Gary is convinced his brother didn’t jump off a bridge known for suicides. Somebody pushed him.
Gary’s brother was a boozer who drove for a highway crew. But what interests Isabel and her ‘Watson’ — her 93-year-old mother who lives with her — is that the man wrote poetry.
The chief suspects are one of Gary’s business associates and a famous poet who plagiarized his brother’s poetry for an award-winning book. Yes, he was that good.
As a journalist, Isabel did regular meetups with her sources for stories. She called it checking the traps. She does the same as a private investigator, and this time, she’ll make sure she doesn’t get caught in one.

Amazon UK       Amazon US 

Music to Read By

By Joan Livingston

My Isabel Long Mystery Series has its own soundtrack. That’s because several scenes take place in a country bar, called the Rooster. Actually, Isabel, a longtime journalist turned amateur P.I., works there part-time Fridays, which is music night.
The bands that play at the Rooster have names like The Country Plowboys (the members all work on highway departments), Wild Fire (yup, they’re volunteer firefighters), and the Back Door Men (because, I suppose, they fancy themselves studs.)
Some are good musicians, some are not so good, But Jack, the Rooster’s owner, will invite them back as long as they keep the customers dancing and buying beer.
The bands’ playlists tend to be a lively mix of country, rock, and a bit of blues. Think covers of songs by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alabama, Allman Brothers, and just about any country star or band that’s got a danceable beat.
And since Isabel and Jack are an item, it is typical that he will shut down the bar so they can dance a fast number.
Ah, that changes in Checking the Traps, the series’ third book because Isabel is a bit banged up from a car crash in her last case. She broke her collarbone, so she wears a sling for the entire book. While it doesn’t stop her from taking a new case or pouring beer one-handed, dancing a fast song is out of the question.
But Jack is a pretty thoughtful guy. Here’s a scene from Checking the Traps that proves it:
Jack pours bottom-shelf whiskey into shot glasses, and then he’s back into the crowd with a tray. He glances over his shoulder.
Get ready, Isabel.”
Get ready for what?”
He chuckles.
You’ll see.”
Before the accident, this would have been Jack’s chance to tip the musicians with free booze, so they’d play Waylon Jennings’ “Good Hearted Woman,” which has become our song of sorts. Then, he’d clang that cowbell to announce the bar was closed while we hit the dance floor. He’d keep me moving all over the place, but with my injuries that would be impossible. He understands that, so I’m a bit mystified when he returns, and darn, he’s reaching for that cowbell. He clangs it and yells over the crowd.
Bar’s closed while this woman and I take the dance floor,” he says. “You all gotta keep your distance though. We don’t want Isabel gettin’ hurt worse than she is.”
Jack… ”
Don’t worry, Isabel. I’m gonna go easy on you.”
With his fingertips pressed against my back, Jack leads me onto the dance floor as the Back Door Men start Alabama’s “Feel So Right,” one of the mushiest country and western songs ever, and certainly a lot gentler than our usual. People move aside when we get to the middle of the floor. Jack has his arms caged protectively around me as we move slowly together. No twirls tonight, no fancy stepping, but we are dancing. I rest my head against his chest. I hear his heart beat.
You doin’ alright there, Isabel?” Jack says at the end.
I look up.
Yeah, Jack.”
He grins that big Jack grin.
Good. Time to get back to work,” he jokes.
Right, boss.”

Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Checking the Traps, published by Crooked Cat Books, is the third in the mystery series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. The first two are Chasing the Case and Redneck’s Revenge.
An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.
After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, she returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including the Isabel Long mystery series.

Twitter: @joanlivingston 

Friday, 22 March 2019

New Release Spotlight & Review: The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

A country at war
It’s the summer of 1919 and Ellen O’Brien has her whole life ahead of her. Young, in love and leaving home for her first job, the future seems full of shining possibility. But war is brewing and before long Ellen and everyone around her are swept up by it. As Ireland is torn apart by the turmoil, Ellen finds herself facing the ultimate test of love and loyalty.
And a long-buried secret
A hundred years later and Clare Farrell has inherited a dilapidated old farmhouse in County Meath. Seizing the chance to escape her unhappy marriage she strikes out on her own for the first time, hoping the old building might also provide clues to her family’s shadowy history. As she sets out to put the place – and herself – back to rights, she stumbles across a long-forgotten hiding place, with a clue to a secret that has lain buried for decades.
For fans of Kate Morton and Gill Paul comes an unforgettable novel about two women fighting for independence.

Amazon UK      Amazon US 

With duel timeline, The Forgotten Secret, set in Ireland follows Clare Farrell who inherits a run-down farmhouse in Co. Meath and Ellen O'Brien, living in the same area one hundred years earlier.

When re-visiting the farm her Uncle Pádraig left her in his will, Clare's filled with nostalgia, whilst looking at the potential the run-down building has. A view not shared by her husband. Back home, with the support of her grown-up sons, she decides to seize an opportunity to build a new life for herself away from her verbally abusive marriage.

I admit, I didn't know much about Irish history before reading this novel and what little I knew was from a British perspective. Like Clare, I remembered the media and the news telling us about 'terrorist' incidents via the BBC. Therefore, I appreciated the research the author did and how she incorporated it into the narrative so I could understand the conflict between the UK and Ireland from an Irish point of view too.

'I felt a pang of excitement and nerves. Too right I wanted to see!! It could be a cellar, or a buried box of treasure, or an entrance to a secret tunnel...I realised I had probably read too many Enid Blyton books in my childhood, but then again, who wouldn't be excited uncovering a concealed trapdoor?'

Clare's enthusiasm for rebuilding her life is enhanced by her surroundings. Despite visiting her uncle's farm as a child, there's plenty to discover about the place and the past and I admired how she embraced her findings enough to research and seek out further information. Ellen's life, in contrast, highlights the difficulties of living in a politically volatile era where it is easy to end up in a situation which doesn't reflect your true views and feelings. I liked how the narrative highlights Ellen's plight and concerns and how a century later, the secrets are uncovered.

Overall, a delightful novel reflecting the lives of two women who have to overcome difficulties within their lives. It's insightful and all ties up beautifully at the end.

***arc generously received courtesy of HQ Digital via NetGalley*** 

Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband and elderly tabby cat. 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.

Twitter: @KathMcGurl