Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Blog Tour - He Started It by Samantha Downing

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Only links marked with * are affiliates. 


Today I have another blog tour spot, this time for Samantha Downing's latest thriller, He Started It. 

Beth, Portia & Eddie Morgan haven't all been together in years. And for very good reasons - we'll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fultill his final wish and - more importantly - secure their inheritance.

But time with your family can be tough. It is for everyone.

It's even harder when you're all keeping secrets and trying to forget a memory - a missing person, an act of revenge, the man in the black truck who won't stop following your car - and especially when at least one of you is a killer and there's a body in the trunk. Just to name a few reasons.

But money is a powerful motivator. It is for everyone.

I don't know if anyone else is currently watching White Lines on Netflix, but the style of this reminded me of it a lot - a slick, twisted, dark crime/thriller/mystery/adventure that revealed itself slowly. It was one of those books that I wanted to keep reading, one that you think about when you're not reading it. 

The characters aren't likeable - but they don't pretend to be. Right from the start, Beth tells you herself that she's no heroine. In fact, this novel doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't - it's just a straightforward, no-nonsense good time. Beth is a great narrator - she's twisted, you can't really trust a word she says, and her utter contempt for her family is hilarious at times in its accuracy (listen, I love my family, but this quarantine is already testing us, never mind the thought of a road trip with them). 

You can order He Started It via the link below. You can also ask your local bookseller, and don't forget your local library (they're due to reopen in Ireland on June 8th, all going well). 

You can find an excerpt of both the book and audiobook here, and you can check out the other stops on the blog tour by visiting the sites mentioned in the below graphic. 

Thank you to the publisher for having me on the blog tour and for the advance copy of the book.

If you'd like to keep up with Samantha Downing, you can check out her website here

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Blog Tour: This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf

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Amazon UK Link is an Affiliate


Today I'm hosting a stop on the blog tour for Heather Gudenkauf's latest novel, This is How I Lied.

Tough as nails and seven months pregnant, Detective Maggie Kennedy-O'Keefe of Grotto PD, is dreading going on desk duty before having the baby her and her husband so badly want. But when new evidence is found in the 25-year-old cold case of her best friend's murder that requires the work of a desk jockey, Maggie jumps at the opportunity to be the one who finally puts Eve Knox's case to rest.

Maggie has her work cut out for her. Everyone close to Eve is a suspect. There's Nola, Eve's little sister who's always been a little.... off; Nick, Eve's ex-boyfriend with a vicious temper; a Schwinn riding drifter who blew in and out of Grotto; even Maggie's husband Sean, who may have known more about Eve's last day than he's letting on. As Maggie continues to investigate, the case comes closer and closer to home, forcing her to confront her own demons before she can find justice for Eve.

1995: Teenager Eve Knox enters some dangerous caves near her home one evening and doesn't make it out alive.

2020: Maggie Kennedy O'Keefe, Eve's former friend, is now a Detective. Eve's case has been reopened and Maggie is assigned to investigate before she moves to desk duty in the final months of her pregnancy. With a wide circle of suspects and some new evidence, can Maggie help solve the mystery of who killed her friend all those years ago?

This was twisty, dark, fast-paced and even though I am deeply suspcious of every character in a crime novel, that worked to my advantage here. Nola, Eve's sister, was a fantastic character. She was so unpredictable, and I loved all the different aspects to her personality. I also loved the structure of the chapters, I enjoyed how the story unfolded by going back. 

I enjoyed this book a lot, I flew through it, and I'll be reading more from this author. 

Many thanks to the publisher for having me on the blog tour and for the advance copy of the book via Netgalley. 

If you'd like to get a copy for yourself, check out the links below, and don't forget your local bookshop and library!

You can keep up to date with Heather Gudenkauf at her website here

Many thanks to the publisher for granting me access to a copy via Netgalley as part of the blog tour.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Blog Tour: The Summer Set by Aimee Agresti

Not sponsored/paid
Amazon UK link is an affiliate


Let me preface this by saying, I love Summer Camps. I've never been to one, I would never ever go to one, but I adore stories set at camps or involving any kind of on-campus or end-of-Summer project/performance. Freaky Friday, Dirty Dancing, that spin-off Sweet Valley High book series where Liz & Jessica became camp counsellors, right up to AHS 1984 - I could go on and on. 

I've long thought that there should be more adult stories set at camps, so this one screamed "READ ME" when I got the press release & realised that this one centered around a former Hollywood Actress who is forced to do her Community Service at a Theater summer camp of sorts. 

Charlie Savoy was once Hollywood's hottest A-lister. Now, ten years later, she's pushing forty, exiled from the film world back at the summer Shakespeare theater in the Berkshires that launched her career - and where her first love, Nick, is the artistic director.

It's not exactly her first choice. But as parts are cast and rehearsals begin, Charlie is surprised to find herself thriving: bonding with celebrity actors, forging unexpected new friendships, and even reigniting her spark with Nick despite their complicated history. 

Until Charlie's old rival, Hollywood's current "It Girl" is brought on set, threatening to undo everything she's been working towards. As the drama amps up both on the stage and behind the curtains, Charlie must put on one heck of a show to fight for the second chance she deserves in her career and in love.

So, we know I'm a fan of ye olde summer project. Do you know what else I'm a fan of? Broadway musicals and Hollywood celebrity gossip. Combine the lot and you have a winner - Charlie was an instant like for me, I really enjoyed her as a character and I felt that I knew the type of person she was and the expectations others placed on her because of her upbringing. A former wild child, the daughter of a very well respected Shakespearean actress, just trying to find herself again - I liked her a lot.

The setting is based on the real life Williamstown Theatre Festival, which happens annually in Massachussetts. This years' will go ahead in a different way - it's due to air via Audible from the end of June, according to this article in Playbill, marking the first ever time that this has happened.

Back to the book - the story itself is really good, very readable and all of the characters slot in nicely in their own way. I liked the story of the younger female character, Sierra, equally. She's a kid who really wants to shine but keeps finding herself in the background. Ditto Ethan, who lives and breathes theatre and really wants the opportunity to show his idol what he can do. No character is there just to fill a spot, they all have a purpose and they all add something to the story.

I enjoyed this a lot, it's hard to come by easy-to-read holiday/beach/quarantine reads that have unique settings and strong female characters, but this has both in spades. I flew through it, I'll miss these characters. 

"It were a grief so brief to part with thee. Farewell."

You can keep up to date with Aimee Agresti at her website here, or @AimeeAgresti on socials.

You can request The Summer Set from any good bookshop or find it at the links below. 

Don't forget your library!

Thank you to the publishers for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Blog Tour: The Secrets of Love Story Bridge by Phaedra Patrick

Not sponsored/paid
Amazon UK link is an affiliate


I hope this review finds you all well, and that you're finding a way to cope with the current situation. I've well and truly gotten my reading mojo back, so I'm really enjoying the escape into worlds that don't involve quarantines and lockdowns. 

The Secrets of Love Story Bridge was released on April 28th, and focuses on the story of Mitchell Fisher. 

"The lovers who attached their padlocks to the bridges of Upchester might see it as a fun or romantic gesture, but to Mitchell it is was an act of vandilism."

It's single dad Mitchell Fisher's job to cut these locks off the bridges of Upchester - he sees no sentimentality in defacing historic architecture. Only his young daughter Poppy sees through his gruff exterior to the man underneath, still grieving the loss of his wife. 

When a young woman falls from the bridge while attaching a padlock, Mitchell dives in to save her - not realising who she is and that her family have been looking for her for almost a year. 

Mitchell is hailed as a local hero - but can he find the woman? Does he even want to? 

We've all seen the pictures of bridges all over the world covered in padlocks, left by people for a plethora of reasons - to celebrate love, to remember someone, to grieve. In this book, letters are important - we get to read some letters from people who have affixed padlocks to the bridge, and we get to see how letter writing is used by Mitchell as a coping mechanism. 

Image by analogicus from Pixabay

When I read the words "Basildon Bond" on the very first page, I almost had an out - of - body experience - my Nana used to use that paper (and only that paper) to write letters to her sister in America up to a few months before she died. I was tasked with buying it, and in the late 1990s it was becoming increasingly harder to find locally - I haven't thought of that little writing pad in years, and it brought me a feeling of comfort and warmth that made me immediately delighted that I had chosen to read this book. So thank you, Ms. Patrick, for that lovely memory.

Mitchell is a lovely character, we really get a sense of who he is and how he's feeling. He's carrying around a huge amount of guilt, and I found myself rooting for him straight away. I really enjoyed how the book flowed, and I liked Liza a lot - she was fun, colourful, and I felt like I knew her straight away.

I hate comparing authors, but if you like books like Elizabeth is Missing or The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, I think you may really enjoy this. I thought it was a lovely, easy read with lots of emotion and a good storyline.

The Secrets of Love Story Bridge can be purchased via any good bookshop, requested at your local library, or bought via the links below:

Amazon UK
Book Depository

Barnes & Noble
Amazon US

You can catch up with the author via her website, or social media @PhaedraPatrick.

A massive thank you to the publishers for having me as a part of the blog tour.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Blog Tour: Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr

Not Paid or Sponsored
Amazon link is an Affiliate


Today I'm bringing you a recently released novel about sisters. My sister is my best friend on the whole planet, so I always love a good sister story - this one is set in a beautiful location, a coastal town in California called Half Moon Bay.

Sometimes, the happiness we're looking for has been there all along.

Adele and Justine have never been close. Born twenty years apart, Justine was already an adult when Addie was born. The sisters love each other but they don't really know each other. 

When Addie dropped out of University to care for their ailing parents, Justine, a successful lawyer, covered the expenses. It was the best arrangement at the time but now that their parents are gone, the future has changed dramatically for both women.

Addie had great plans for her life but has been worn down by the pressures of being a caregiver and doesn't know how to live for herself. And Justine's success has come at a price. Her marriage is falling apart despite her best efforts.

Neither woman knows how to start life over but both realize they can and must support each other the way only sisters can. Together they find the strength to accept their failures and overcome their challenges. Happiness is within reach, if only they have the courage to fight for it.

After a recent spate of reading fast-paced thrillers, this was a very welcome change of pace. This isn't an action-packed romp, it's a slow, meandering journey through the lives of two sisters, both coming to terms with very different life-altering events. The setting is stunning - Half Moon Bay is indeed a real place, and I was overjoyed to discover that it looks exactly the same in reality as it did when I imagined it while reading:


Addie and Justine have two very different situations happening - Addie is learning how to be herself again after caring for her sick parents up to their death. This is something I know a lot of people will be able to identify with, and it's something that's not spoken about enough so I applaud the author for making Addie a real, well-rounded character with real emotions. Personally, I could have done without so much mention of weight loss or weight loss support, but I appreciate that self image is something that can suffer while taking care of others and that this was a part of Addie's journey to getting back to the woman she was before she dropped out of Uni and to do something for herself to make herself feel good.

Justine's story was the one that hooked me in a little more, I just felt like I had a real handle on who she was and I enjoyed the presence of her two teenage daughters. I could feel her getting stronger and stronger as the story went on and I was really rooting for her by the time I was half way through.

As I said - this really isn't a fast-paced, action-packed read. It's a slow, relaxing, Summery story about the bond between sisters and about how different events can completely change your life no matter your age or situation. 

I haven't read anything by this author previously, but I will now keep her in mind for when I want some escapism, don't we all need some of that at the moment?

Virgin River, a series based on this authors series of the same name, is also available to watch on Netflix right now and is perfect Quarantine viewing (I actually searched for it just for this post and ended up bingeing the first four episodes). 

Sunrise on Half Moon Bay was published by MIRA on April 14th and is available from all good bookshops, plus at the links below. 

You can keep up to date with Robyn Carr at 

Thank you to MIRA/Harper Collins for having me as part of the blog tour!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Blog Tour: All The Rage by Cara Hunter

Not Paid or Sponsored
Amazon UK link is an affiliate


All The Rage is the fourth book in the D.I. Adam Fawley series by Cara Hunter, recently released at the end of January. The first three are linked below:


I hadn't read any of the previous books in the series, and I don't think that had a huge impact on my enjoyment of the book. Obviously when there are multiple books featuring the same police team, people get to know them and know their history, and while I did feel like I was slightly in the dark about some of the personal issues, the main story was a standalone and I was able to read it as one. 

A teenage girl is found wandering the outskirts of Oxford, dazed and distressed. The story she tells is terrifying. Grabbed off the street, a plastic bag pulled over her face, then driven to an isolated location where she was subjected to what sounds like an assault. Yet she refuses to press charges. 

DI Fawley investigates, but there's little he can do without the girl's co-operation. Is she hiding something, and if so, what? And why does Fawley keep getting the feeling he's seen a case like this before? 

And then another girl disappears, and Adam no longer has a choice: he has to face up to his past. Because unless he does, this victim may not be coming back...

Having never read anything by this author before, I wasn't sure what to expect from her writing style. I found it to be similar to Karin Slaughter in that she holds absolutely nothing back, which can sometimes be uncomfortable to read (as any good crime read should be!). In this book in particular, the reason why the girl refuses to press charges is something that could have easily been turned into a "GOTCHA!" and used as a shock tactic or punchline, but I felt like it was handled sensitively. 

I loved the way the book was presented - the little notes, tweets and screenshots really added another dimension to the story and made it feel like a real investigation. The book brought a lot of current issues to light, including the presence of incel forums (so gross). 

The story was very engaging, I feel like fans of Happy Valley will really enjoy this one and I'm definitely going to go and read the first three to find out a little more about DI Fawley and his team. I adored Faith and really felt that her situation was handled in a very respectful and tolerant way. 

If you'd like to keep up with more DI Adam Fawley news, you can sign up to Cara's newsletter HERE

All the Rage is available now from all good bookshops plus online.

And don't forget your local library!

Thank you to Viking Books & Penguin for having me on the blog tour! You can check out some of the other stops below:


Do you enjoy crime novels?  Let me know below!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Blog Tour: Her Homecoming Wish by Jo McNally (Harlequin Special Edition)

Not paid or sponsored
Amazon UK affiliate


Firstly, Happy Valentines Day! If you can hear that in your head as anything other than Janice from Friends, you're a better person than I am. 

Secondly, whether you're spending today with a significant other or you're by yourself, I have just the treat for you. 

Harlequin Special Editions are slighty longer than some of the other imprints, and they promise "compelling, contemporary romance novels with happy endings."

Her Homecoming Wish is definitely contemporary and compelling, but does it have a happy ending? You'll have to read to find out! (No, honestly, it does, don't worry).

She's ready to shed her good-girl ways...
"You're all about following the rules now?
Mackenzie Wallace hopes there's still some bad boy lurking beneath single father Danny Adams's upright exterior. Being the proverbial good girl left her brokenhearted and alone in the past. Now she's back in town and wants excitement with her high school crush - not love. Dan knows their connection runs deep, despite Mackenzie's protests. But will their new peronas work together - especially when Dan's secret is exposed?

This is a story about labels - or rather, what we do with them. In high school, Mackenzie was the "good girl" - the perfect student, the model child. Danny "Danger Dan" Adams was the bad boy - the tattooed biker always in trouble. Move on a decade or two and things have changed - Mack is newly divorced and back in her hometown, trying to shed her goody two-shoes image once and for all. Danny is the obvious choice - but it seems that he has already done some shedding, and left behind his danger days in favour of being a good Dad to his daughter Chloe and keeping his hometown safe in his capacity as Sheriff. 

I liked Mack instantly - I felt like I knew exactly who she was and where she was coming from right from the second we met her. I loved her spirit and how she wouldn't let people pigeonhole her. Dan took a little longer for me to warm to - I believe that he has appeared in other books in the Gallant Lake Series, so fans of that will no doubt be delighted to see him have his own storyline. I did find him slightly over-the-top at times but Mackenzie kept him in check, always correcting him when she felt he was overstepping or encouraging him to seek help when his work/life balance was all over the place. 

Other things I loved about this story - the relationship between Dan and his ex-wife was so lovely, they were so respectful of each other and were great co-parents to Chloe. 
I loved that there was a small business ran by a gay couple, and there wasn't a big deal made about it. They were just two husbands running a business. LGBTQ+ relationships need to be as normalized as much as possible, especially in the current climate, and it was great to see that they were treated the same as every other couple. 
I also loved that the sex scenes were safe, with particular emphasis on consent and contraception. Consent is sexy! 

This was my first time reading anything by Jo McNally, but I really don't want to leave Gallant Lake behind, so I'll be catching up on the rest in that series. This can be read as a standalone, I didn't feel like I had missed out on anything by not having read any others. 

Thank you to Harlequin & Carina for allowing me to be a part of the blog tour. 

Her Homecoming Wish is available now.