Monday, March 22, 2021

Blog Tour: The Bookstore on the Beach by Brenda Novak

Review Copy

Amazon UK link is an affiliate.


Today I have "The Bookstore on the Beach", an ideal Summer read by Brenda Novak. 

Mary and Laurie are two friends who own a bookstore in the beautiful location of Sable Beach. Mary's daughter Autumn has had a difficult 18 months - her husband, Nick, has disappeared in his capacity as a Government employee. Autumn isn't ready to give up on him yet, and continues to investigate, but she really needs the comfort of her homeplace so decides to take her teenage son and daughter to Sable Beach for the Summer. 

This is one of those books about a small town full of characters with secrets - Mary is hiding something enormous that she hoped Autumn would never find out, but that is threatened when a private investigator shows up in town asking questions. Autumn is struggling with the feelings she still harbours for her childhood sweetheart Quinn. Taylor thinks she might be pregnant, and that's the least of her worries when she meets a group of teenagers at the beach and forms a connection with one of the girls. 

This, for me, was almost too much at times. Every single character has an issue or a secret and I felt like it was a drama series that had been condensed down to fit into one book. I mean, what are the odds of two private investigations on in the same family at the same time but with two different people?! 

I also would have really loved more of the actual bookstore. From the title, I imagined it to be a central hub for all the goings-on in Sable Beach and it really wasn't that. The notion of having a bustling bookstore in a beach location was the reason why I wanted to read it in the first place. 

This is sounding a bit negative - it's not a bad book by any means, but it's the second one now that I've read by this author that I thought had a little bit too much going on (the first being A Matter of Grave Concern). If you DO make it to a beach at any stage this year, and you like these kind of sweeping, drama-filled generational stories, then this could be a really great beach read. I think if you like Lucy Diamond books this may suit you. 

The Bookstore on the Beach is available now. 

Kindle (UK)
Kindle (US)

The library also have a number of Brenda Novak books for reserve

Thank you to the publisher for having me on the tour and for providing a digital review copy. 

Friday, March 12, 2021

Blog Tour: The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson

Review Copy
Amazon UK link is an affiliate


Today I bring you the debut crime novel by author & London Criminal Defence Lawyer Nadine Matheson. 

There's a serial killer on the loose…

When body parts start washing up along the banks of the river Thames, the Serial Crimes Unit is called to investigate, and it quickly becomes apparent to DI Henley that there isn't just one victim. There are two.

The murders are hauntingly familiar to Henley. The modus operandi matches that of Peter Olivier, the notorious Jigsaw Killer. But Olivier is already behind bars, and Henley was the one who put him there.

Olivier is the last person Henley wants to see but she needs his help. He might be their best chance to stop the copycat before more body parts start turning up. But when Olivier learns of the new murders, helping out Henley and the SCU is the last thing on his mind.

All bets are off and the race is on to catch the killer before the body count rises. But who will get there first – Henley or the Jigsaw Killer?

As I've mentioned, this is a debut novel - but you'd never know it. The author describes this as "a macabre love letter to South East London" and it really does come across that way. London itself is a main character in this novel. The smells, the sounds, the eclectic mix of people that make up the city - they all pour off the pages. The author does such a brilliant job with the main characters that I was sure there had been a mistake and that this was at least the second book in a series - but no, it's number one. We get backstory, we get previous case history, we get relationship history, we get a complete picture of who DI Anjelica Henley is and what she has been through. That's impressive in itself but when it's also combined with a world of side characters with their own history and stories, that sets this apart from other crime novels. 

The villain, Olivier, is truly disgusting. I've read a lot of crime and thriller novels and rarely does a character make me sick to my stomach. This one most definitely did. It's pretty gruesome (I almost wrote "pretty gruesome in parts" but I feel like that takes puns to another level altogether), so do bear that in mind, but for me it was worth it. It has been a very long time since I put a book down and immediately wanted to read the next one in the series (it has been confirmed!! Yay!!). 

I highly recommend this if you like police procedurals or crime novels but ache for a good female lead. DI Anjelica Henley has shot (boom) right to the top of my favourite fictional investigators. I felt like I got to know her so well, she felt so real. This is, of course, in part down to the fact that this is an #ownvoices novel. The author was born and bred in London and works in the UK Judicial system. The book also highlights the myriad of BS that black women & women of colour are expected to endure (in both professional & non-professional instances), from the microaggressions and misogyny to the differences between resources available to solve (or even the amount of attention given to) missing persons cases when a white woman goes missing versus when a black woman or woman of colour goes missing. 

I really enjoyed this. It was a solid crime novel and I hope the first of many for this author and for DI Anjelica Henley. I would love to see it as a TV adaptation too. 

Thank you to Lia & Harper Collins for granting me access to a digital copy via NetGalley and for this opportunity to highlight the book on the Blog Tour. 

The Jigsaw Man is available now in Ireland & the UK, and from March 16th in the U.S.

Kindle: UK | US

Bookstation (Free Delivery)

You can keep up to date with Nadine Matheson via her website, Twitter, & Instagram

Monday, March 1, 2021

Blog Tour: His Secret Starlight Baby by Michelle Major

Amazon link is an affiliate


This is the second of three blog tour spots I'm doing for Harlequin's March 2021 releases. 

This one is a Harlequin Special Edition

This is His Secret Starlight Baby by Michelle Major.

This is the fourth book set in the small town of Starlight. I haven't read any of the others, but based on this I absolutely would, because I really liked some of the supporting characters (especially the chef, Madi). 

I have two notes for this underlined in my notebook: 
1. "confirmed consent - YAY!"
2. "the baby barely makes an appearance - YAY!"

I'm a mother of three, I have nothing against babies but I'm much more interested in how the couple are getting on (or off, fnar fnar). This was a sweet story, about (what else) an error in communication after a one-night-stand that led Cory to believe that Jordan wanted nothing to do with her, and Jordan convinced that Cory had gone back to her wealthy NFL Player ex. 

Of course, none of the above is true, and these two just need something to bring them back together. The something being Jordan's mother, who wants to come and stay with them for a while in Starlight to get to know her Grandchild. Queue a fake relationship, one of my fave things in a romance novel, and a cute story about these two getting to know and care for each other again. 

The ending was a little rushed and chaotic for me, sometimes everything doesn't need to be wrapped up with a neat little bow - it's enough to know that the ribbon has been ordered, if you get me? 

Cute, fun, just what the doctor ordered. 

His Secret Starlight Baby is available now.

Kindle (UK/Ire) | (US)

Book 1 in the Welcome to Starlight series, The Best Intentions is currently available on Borrowbox. 

You can keep up with Michelle Major by visiting her website or following her on Instagram @michellemajorauthor or Twitter @michelle_major1.

If you are interested in more Harlequin or Mills & Boon books, there are currently a ton on sale at Bookstation, with free delivery within Ireland on orders over €10. If you've never tried one before but would like to, I highly suggest having a look through the titles and seeing if something grabs you. If ever there was a time where a bit of romance and escapism was needed, this is it!

Thank you to Harlequin for having me on the Blog Tour.