Mystery/Suspense

#BookReview
Wrong Place by Michelle Davies
@M_Davieswrites @PGCBooks

 

Synopsis:

Wrong Place is the second gripping crime novel in the DC Maggie Neville series from Michelle Davies, following her critically acclaimed debut Gone Astray.

Two women lie hospital beds, both subjects of police investigations.

One, a vulnerable old lady, has been assaulted in her own home. Suspected to be the fifth victim of a young couple targeting pensioners, her injuries indicate an escalation in violence from the perpetrators.
The second, a wife, has been attacked by her own husband, who subsequently fails in his own attempt to kill himself.

Whilst there are no obvious parallels between the victims, DC Maggie Neville, the Family Liaison Officer involved in both cases, begins to question what happened.

Is it simply a case of both being in the wrong place at the wrong time or is something far more sinister at play?


Book Rating: 8.5/10

Captivating, intelligent, and well crafted!

Wrong Place is an elaborately plotted police procedural that highlights how manipulative and devious people can truly be and reminds us that even the darkest, most buried secrets often have a way of coming to light.

The writing is seamless and smooth. The characterization is spot on with all the usual gang back including the hardworking, relentless DC Neville whose greatest struggles involve her guilty conscience and her tumultuous relationship with DCI Umpire. And the plot consists of a multitude of twists, turns, familial strife, murder, violence, and surprises that will keep you engaged from the very first page.

Overall, Wrong Place is an intricately woven, highly entertaining mystery with a nice amount of suspense, good character development, and great pace.

If you haven’t had a chance to read my review for Gone Astray, the first novel in the DC Maggie Neville Series, be sure to check it out below and keep your eye out for the third book in the series, False Witness, due out in Spring 2018.

About the Author:

Michelle Davies was born in Middlesex in 1972, raised in Buckinghamshire and now lives in north London.

Her debut crime novel, Gone Astray, was published in 2016 and features Family Liaison Officer DC Maggie Neville as its central police character. Gone Astray was part of a two-book deal with Pan Macmillan and the follow-up, Wrong Place, also featuring Maggie, is out now. Her third in the series, False Witness, is due out in July next year while a fourth will follow in 2019.

When she’s not turning her hand to crime, Michelle writes as a freelance journalist for women’s magazines including Marie Claire, YOU and Stylist. Her last staff job before going freelance was as Editor-at-Large at Grazia and she was previously Features Editor at heat. She began her career straight from school at 18, working as a trainee reporter on her home-town newspaper, the Bucks Free Press.

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Michelle Davies, visit her website at: michelledavieswriter.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @M_Davieswrites

 

#GuestPost
A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson
@KiltieJackson @rararesources

 

Synopsis:

So who exactly is Sukie McClaren?

A Christmas-loving Cat lover? A Sound of Music Fanatic? A Fiercely Independent Woman?

She is all of the above. And when she is sent to Salzburg for a business trip a few weeks before Christmas, she thinks all her dreams have come true. As she packs her suitcase, the only things on her mind are Christmas markets, lots of snow and finally seeing the Doh-Ray-Me steps. Becoming the new best friend of the world’s hottest rock-star doesn’t even get a look in.

Pete Wallace is a reclusive, reluctant, rock-star and the world’s Number One, best-selling, male solo artist. It’s been three years since his last tour and he’s now preparing to go back on the road again. A week in Salzburg, schmoozing with the music press, is one of his worst nightmares. 

He can’t wait for it to be over.

When Pete and Sukie meet, it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Lonely for too long, he begins to remember how it feels to be happy and, for the first time in six years, Christmas feels special again. 

Eduardo di Santo however, whose kid sister suffered life-changing injuries at a Pete Wallace concert, is all set on getting revenge. When Pete’s new tour is announced, he begins to make his plans. Plans that will culminate in Pete’s demise.

Will Pete and Sukie’s new friendship die before it has a chance to flourish?

A Christmas tale full of love, laughter, friendship and revenge.


And Now Kiltie Jackson with:

I’m Feline Good!

In my novel, ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’, one of the main characters – Sukie McClaren – has two black rescue cats called Tony and Adam. They are not really central to the overall storyline but, being a huge cat lover myself, I didn’t feel I could write a book without some cats being in there somewhere.

How I came to be a cat lover, and a cat slave, is quite interesting. I didn’t grow up with cats. My mum had been badly scratched by one when she was a child and so held a deep fear of them. When on holiday once, a cat from a neighbouring cottage jumped in through the open window near to where my mum was standing ironing. That was the first time I actually saw someone freeze in total fear. It was also the first time I saw my mother display her amazing ventriloquist skills as she managed to scream at me to get it out without moving her lips, head or any other part of her body!

When I left home and moved into my first flat, I had absolutely no intentions of getting myself a pet – be that a cat, dog or even a hamster! The Masters of the Feline World however, had other ideas on that one as I soon found out.

I was dating a young chap and had been invited to his parents for dinner. Upon our arrival, we discovered that his dad had rescued some kittens from a farmer who was planning to dispose of them. I quickly dumped my handbag and scooped up about three kittens for cuddles. One in particular seemed to take a shine to me and promptly fell asleep in my arms. She stayed there until dinner was ready. When I placed her on the floor, she curled up on my feet and didn’t move until I had finished eating and picked her back up again.

When the time came for me to go home, this little lady was left locked in the lounge to ensure she didn’t escape out of the house. My boyfriend’s kid sister didn’t realise this however and, upon hearing scratching at the lounge door, opened it and released a certain tiny ball of tabby fur to come haring down the hallway at full pelt before skidding to a halt at my feet. She looked up at me with expectation, almost as though she was saying “I go where you go. I’m keeping you.”

My boyfriend’s mother laughed and said “I think you’ve just gotten yourself a kitten!” Ten minutes later I was walking to the bus-stop with kitten in a box, a bag of cat food and litter and absolutely no idea on how one took care of a cat!

Well, I must have done something right because she lived to the ripe old age of seventeen. And her name? She was called Sukie.

Since then, I have had a number of cats. Sadly, they don’t live as long as we do and it is always heart-breaking when they leave and move on. I try to be pragmatic and think that their departure allows me to give a home to a new cat that may not, otherwise, be so fortunate to be loved and cared for. The majority of my cats have been directly from rescues or via someone who has contacted a rescue due to having strays in their gardens.

At this time, Moggy Towers is owned by five cats. Four came from rescues, and one was re-homed. I will confess that keeping only five is very difficult as I have a good friend who runs a home rescue. She has so many poor, unfortunate, creatures come in to her almost daily and I want to give them all a home. Mr Mogs has had to be the voice of reason on more than one occasion.

Our eldest is Princess Moo Moo and she is eleven. She was re-homed with us approximately five years ago and she came with the name! Sadly, she doesn’t get on very well with other cats and so she has taken over the upstairs area of Moggy Towers. She is very beautiful, very regal and very feisty! Truly deserving of her HRH title. Moo Moo is also my little helper when I am writing. My study is upstairs and she will come in with me when I’m working. Her idea of ‘helping’, I should add, is walking across my desk, standing on the keyboard and swiping her big fluffy tail in my face!

Next in line is Abby and McGee. These are my two black rescue babies. They’re not in any way related although, they are so identical to look at, you would be forgiven for thinking they were. They are both seven years old. We had Abby first and decided to get her a chum to play with. We went back to the rescue we’d gotten her from and said “We’ll have the youngest cat you have that has been here the longest.” We were not surprised to find ourselves with another black cat as sadly, they are always overlooked when people take in rescue animals. I really don’t understand why as they are the most loving and affectionate creatures. Both of ours crave cuddles and affection and really are adorable.

           

The two Moggy babies are Donald, three years old, and Tony, two years old. Both of these came from my friend Sally who runs the home rescue. Donald was recused from a school playground when he was five weeks old. Tony’s mummy arrived at the rescue heavily pregnant and gave birth a few days later.

                        
        

While they all have their own personalities, the boys seem to have cornered the market for being little characters. McGee gives high-fives and fist bumps, Donald will sit and hold a conversation with you while Tony likes to lie across my shoulders as I walk around the house.

For me, my home would feel very empty without my little feline companions. They’re loving, affectionate, funny and entertaining. I cannot ever see a day when I don’t have a cat in my life. They are truly awesome creatures and, for that reason, there will always be at least one cat in all of my books.

                  

About the Author:

Kiltie grew up in Scotland, Glasgow to be precise. A very unique city with a very unique way of looking at life. When she was old enough to do so, she moved to London and then, after several years of obtaining interesting experiences – which are finding their way into her writing – she moved up to the Midlands.

She currently lives in Staffordshire with five cats and one husband. The cats kindly allow her and her husband to share their house on the condition they keeps paying the mortgage!

Her little home is known as Moggy Towers, even though despite having plenty of moggies, there are no towers!

She loves reading, watching movies, and visiting old castles. She really dislikes going to the gym!

Her biggest desire is that one day she can give up the day job and write her stories for a living.

Kiltie first began writing ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’ over ten years ago. The project was shelved on Chapter Seventeen as she felt the story wasn’t flowing as she would like it to.

In her own words “The images in my head would not come out of my fingers!” Fast forward to November 2016 when, having finished reading Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow, she read more about the author and was inspired with how Christie herself came to be a best-selling author.

In that thunderbolt moment, Kiltie knew – with a deep certainty – that she needed to reacquaint herself with ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’ and begin writing again. She did this in January 2017 and found the words flowed faster than she could type them. Finally, the time was right for her to write her novel.

Her determination to finish what she had started all those years ago was absolute and the first draft was completed on Sunday 16th April 2017.

Since beginning to write again, the ideas have not stopped flowing. She has begun typing up her second book, ‘Of All the Unlikely Places’, and book three (not yet titled) has been worked out and is waiting in the wings for its turn in the spotlight.

She currently has a further ten plots and ideas stored in her file (it’s costing a fortune in USB drives as each story has its own memory stick!) and the ideas still keep on coming.

She now lives her life around the following three quotes:

“I love having weird dreams, they’re great fodder for book plots!”
“Why wait for your ship to come in when you can swim out to meet it?”
“Old enough to know better, young enough not to care!”

 

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Thank you to Kiltie Jackson for being a guest on my blog today! It was truly an honour!

Preorder a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

For more information on Kiltie Jackson visit her website at: kiltiejackson.com

or follow her on Twitter at:@KiltieJackson

 

#GuestPost
Ours is the Winter by Laurie Ellingham
@LaurieEllingham @rararesources

 

Synopsis:

Journeying across the Arctic, their pasts are about to catch up with them.

Erica, Molly and Noah are embarking on the challenge of a lifetime, driving Siberian huskies across the frozen wilderness of the Arctic. Cut off from the world and their loved ones and thrown together under gruelling conditions, it isn’t long before the cracks start to show.

Erica has it all. A loving husband, a successful career and the most adorable baby daughter. But Erica has been living a double life, and as she nears her fortieth birthday her lies threaten to come crashing down.

Molly was on her way to stardom. But when her brother died, so did her dreams of becoming an Olympic champion.  Consumed by rage and grief, she has shut out everyone around her, but now she’s about to learn that comfort can come from the most unexpected places.

Noah has a darkness inside him and is hounded by nightmares from his past. Tortured, trapped and struggling to save his fractured relationship, he knows this journey is not going to help, but try telling his girlfriend that.

As their lives and lies become ever more entwined, it becomes clear that in the frozen wilds there is nowhere to hide.

 

Check out the Trailer for Ours is Winter Here:

 

 

About the Author:

Laurie Ellingham lives on the Suffolk/Essex border with her two children, husband, and cockerpoo Rodney. She has a First Class honours degree in Psychology and a background in Public relations, but her main love is writing and disappearing into the fictional world of her characters, preferably with a large coffee and a Twix (or two) to hand.

 

Thank you to Laurie Ellingham for being a guest on my blog today! It was truly an honour!

Preorder a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

For more information on Laurie Ellingham visit her on Facebook at: LaurieEllinghamAuthor

or follow her on Twitter at@LaurieEllingham

#BookReview
The French Girl by Lexie Elliott
@BerkleyPub

Synopsis:

They were six university students from Oxford–friends and sometimes more than friends–spending an idyllic week together in a French farmhouse. It was supposed to be the perfect summer getaway–until they met Severine, the girl next door.

For Kate Channing, Severine was an unwelcome presence, her inscrutable beauty undermining the close-knit group’s loyalties amid the already simmering tensions. And after a huge altercation on the last night of the holiday, Kate knew nothing would ever be the same. There are some things you can’t forgive, and there are some people you can’t forget, like Severine, who was never seen again.

Now, a decade later, the case is reopened when Severine’s body is found in the well behind the farmhouse. Questioned along with her friends, Kate stands to lose everything she’s worked so hard to achieve as suspicion mounts around her. Desperate to resolve her own shifting memories and fearful she will be forever bound to the woman whose presence still haunts her, Kate finds herself buried under layers of deception with no one to set her free.


Book Rating: 7/10

Dark, gripping, and complex!

The French Girl is an intriguing character-driven novel that delves into the dynamic relationship between six friends and their possible involvement in the murder of a young girl ten years prior while vacationing in France.

The writing is clear and precise. The characters are self-involved, secretive, and troubled. And the plot uses a past/present, back-and-forth style to create suspense and tension as it subtly unravels all the actions, motivations, personalities, and relationships within it.

The French Girl at its core is a novel about friendship, secrets, manipulation, jealousy, obsession, and murder with a little paranormal twist. It’s a compelling debut for Elliott and I can’t wait to read what she comes up with next.

 

About the Author:

Lexie Elliott has been writing for as long as she can remember, but she began to focus on it more seriously after she lost her banking job in 2009 due to the Global Financial Crisis. After some success in short story competitions, she began planning a novel. With two kids and a (new) job, it took some time for that novel to move from her head to the page, but the result was “The French Girl”, which will be published by Berkley in February 2018 – available to pre-order now!

When she’s not writing, Lexie can be found running, swimming or cycling whilst thinking about writing. In 2007 she swam the English Channel solo. She won’t be doing that again. In 2015 she ran 100km, raising money for Alzheimer Scotland. She won’t be doing that again either. But the odd triathlon or marathon isn’t out of the question.

 

Thank you to Berkley Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is due to be published February 20, 2018.

Preorder a copy now from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Lexie Elliott, visit her website at: lexieelliott.com

or follow her on Facebook at: lexieelliottwrites

#BookReview
Zenka by Alison Brodie
@alisonbrodie2

 

Synopsis:

Ruthless, stubborn and loyal.

Zenka is a Hungarian pole-dancer with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knuckle-dusters and shotguns.

Jack learns he has a son, Nicholas, a community nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.

Zenka takes charge. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she aims to turn Nicholas into a son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked:

How do you tell a crime boss you don’t want to be his son?

And is Zenka really who she says she is?


Book Rating: 9/10

Dark, action-packed, and down-right funny!

In this latest novel by Brodie, Zenka, we are introduced to an extraordinary cast of characters, including a ruthless mob boss with a heart, a bashful administrator with a pet cat, a couple of goons who’ll do anything for a little dosh, a Hungarian pole dancer obsessed with revenge, a slovenly roommate up for anything, and a male nurse who learns to fight dirty, and that’s just to mention a few.

The writing is creative, fresh, and unique. And the plot is jam-packed full of outrageous twists, unpredicted turns, witty banter, oddball mishaps, a dash of romance, violence, murder, and a whole slew of slapstick moments.

I have to admit I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this novel, but boy was I pleasantly surprised. Zenka is a hoot from start to finish and clearly highlights Brodie’s incredible imagination and ability to write stories that are highly entertaining, depraved, and exceptionally funny! 

 

About the Author:

Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side. She is a writer and animal rights activist. Her books have been published in hardback and paperback by Hodder & Stoughton (UK), Heyne (Germany) and Unieboek (Holland). Alison is now a self-publisher. Here are some editorial reviews for her recent books:

BRAKE FAILURE: “Masterpiece of humor” –Midwest Book Review

THE DOUBLE: “Proof of her genius in writing fiction” -San Francisco Book Review.

 

Thank you to Alison Brodie for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

For more information on Alison Brodie visit her website at: alisonbrodiebooks.com

or follow her on Twitter at@alisonbrodie2 or Facebook at: AlisonBrodieAuthor

#BookReview
Touch of Red by Laura Griffin
@Laura_Griff @Pocket_Books

Synopsis:

When crime scene investigator Brooke Porter arrives at the home of a murdered woman, the only thing more shocking than the carnage is the evidence that someone escaped the scene. But where is this witness now? A thorough search of the area yields more questions than answers, and before Brooke even packs up her evidence kit, she’s made it her goal to find the witness and get them out of harm’s way.

Homicide detective Sean Byrne has seen his share of bloody crime scenes, but this one is particularly disturbing, especially because Brooke Porter is smack in the middle of it. Sean has had his eye on the sexy CSI for months, and he’s determined to help her with her current case—even if it means putting his attraction on hold so he and Brooke can track down a murderer. But as the investigation—and their relationship—heats up, Sean realizes that keeping his work and his personal life separate is more complicated than he ever imagined; especially when the killer sets his sights on Brooke.


Book Rating: 10/10

Enthralling, adrenaline pumping, and menacing!

Touch of Red is a riveting tale that immerses you into the evidence collection and investigation into the violent homicide of a young woman, the pursuit of a missing witness and the hunt for a ruthless killer.

The writing is effortless and crisp. The characters are relentless, hard-working, determined, and patient. And the story starts off with a bang and never lets up as it quickly spins through well-timed twists, unexpected turns, red-hot chemistry, steamy liaisons, corruption, brutality, and murder.

Laura Griffin’s Tracer series is like watching CSI only better, and Touch of Red is no exception. From the very first page I was hooked. And even though Touch of Red is the twelfth book in the series and has a few nice appearances from characters in the previous novels, it can definitely be read as a standalone. 

If you haven’t had a chance to read my review for At Close Range (Tracers #11) be sure to check it out here:

 

About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Laura Griffin started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of writing romantic suspense. Her books have won numerous awards, including two RITA Awards (for Scorched and Whisper of Warning) and a Daphne du Maurier Award (Untraceable). Laura currently lives in Austin where she is working on her next book.

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Pocket Books, for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Laura Griffin, visit her website at: lauragriffin.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @Laura_Griff

#BookReview
The Silent Fountain by Victoria Fox
@VFoxWrites @HarlequinBooks

Synopsis:

Something terrible happened here…Hollywood, 1975: Tragedy sends troubled film star Vivien Lockhart into the arms of Giovanni Moretti, and it seems her fortunes have finally changed. Until she meets his sister, and learns that her new husband’s past holds dark secrets.

Tuscany, Present day: Everyone in London is searching for Lucy Whittaker – so Lucy needs to disappear. But her new home, the crumbling Castillo Barbarossa, is far from the secluded paradise it seemed. Across the decades, Vivien and Lucy find themselves trapped in the idyllic Italian villa. And if they are ever to truly escape its walls, they must first unearth its secrets…


Book Rating: 9/10

Heartbreaking, romantic and utterly alluring!

The Silent Fountain is an incredibly absorbing and emotive novel about love, life, loss, deception, infidelity, friendship, family, jealousy, obsession, and tragedy.

There are two main memorable characters in this novel. Vivian, a starlet from the 1970s who moved to Italy with the love of her life until one day everything she held dear was taken, shattered and destroyed. And Lucy, a young woman who fell in love with the wrong man and is now hiding from the public and media revile being cast her way.

The writing is eloquent and expressive.  The plot is well crafted and uses a past/present, back-and-forth style to create suspense and emotion as it subtly unravels all the histories, personalities, relationships, and motivations within it. And the characterization is well done with a cast of characters that are distressed, raw and endearing and a setting, Castillo Barbarossa, that is a character itself with its dereliction, isolation, and multitude of secrets.

The Silent Fountain is truly a clever, haunting, atmospheric novel that swept me away to a city touched by both cruelty and love and immersed me in a poignant, moving story that certainly had me shedding a few tears. This was the first novel I’ve read by Victoria Fox but I can guarantee you it won’t be the last.

 

About the Author:

 

Victoria Fox lives in Bristol with her husband and young daughter. She used to work in publishing and is now the author of seven novels. 

Victoria’s favourite things are blustery walks, golden retrievers and Argentinean red wine.

 

 

Thank you to Harlequin Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Victoria Fox, visit her Goodreads profile at: VictoriaFox

or follow her on Twitter at: @VFoxWrites

#BookReview #BlogBlitz
London Noir by Ann Girdharry
@GirdharryAnn @rararesources

 

Synopsis:

Memory loss, nightmares, the urge to kill – Sophie has it all.
Is it really Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? Or something more sinister? Kal is about to find out…

After a near-fatal road accident, Kal helps Sophie, a young girl in trouble.

The girl’s friends are being murdered one by one. Why? And who by?
Kal must kick start herself out of her downward spiral to save the young stranger.
But Kal is in the grip of the London Cartel, and is someone after the girl, or is the girl after someone?


Book Rating: 7/10

Action-packed, suspenseful, and eerie!

In this latest novel by Girdharry, London Noir, Kal Medi is back and not only struggling to recover from all the physical and psychological trauma she suffered on her last investigation but quickly caught up in the life of a troubled girl whose skeletons both past and present may be more harrowing than anyone expected.

The writing style is descriptive and smooth. The plot is an incredibly twisty tale that delves into a world filled with deception, mental illness, obsession, manipulation, revenge, malice, violence, and murder.  And the characters are multi-layered, scarred, and somewhat impetuous.

London Noir is the second book in the Kal Medi series and even though I felt the main character’s motivations were a little hard to grasp at times and it wasn’t quite as dark and gritty as the first novel it is still a very entertaining, enjoyable thriller that highlights Girdharry’s extraordinary knowledge of the human psyche.

If you haven’t had a chance to read my review for Good Girl Bad Girl (Kal Medi #1) be sure to check it out here:

 

About the Author:

Ann Girdharry is a British crime suspense thriller author.

A trained psychotherapist, she worked for many years as a manager in the not-for-profit sector, for agencies working with carers, vulnerable older people, survivors of abuse, and victims of racial attacks.

She currently lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.

Her debut novel, GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL, is an ERIC HOFFER BOOK AWARD Finalist 2017. Her second crime suspense thriller, LONDON NOIR, will be published October 2017. She is also author of Chilling Tales of the Unexpected Short Reads.

For more information on Ann Girdharry visit her at the following:

Website: http://www.girdharry.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnGirdharry

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/AnnGirdharry

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/GirdharryAnn

 

Thank you to Ann Girdharry for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

    

#BookReview
Little Secrets by Anna Snoekstra
@AnnaSnoekstra @HarlequinBooks

Synopsis:

What happens when ambition trumps the truth?

A town reeling in the wake of tragedy

An arsonist is on the loose in Colmstock, Australia, most recently burning down the town’s courthouse and killing a young boy who was trapped inside..

An aspiring journalist desperate for a story

The clock is ticking for Rose Blakey. With nothing but rejections from newspapers piling up, her job pulling beers for cops at the local tavern isn’t nearly enough to cover rent. Rose needs a story-a big one.

Little dolls full of secrets

In the weeks after the courthouse fire, precise porcelain replicas of Colmstock’s daughters begin turning up on doorsteps, terrifying parents and testing the limits of the town’s already fractured police force.

Rose may have finally found her story. But as her articles gain traction and the boundaries of her investigation blur, Colmstock is seized by a seething paranoia. Soon, no one is safe from suspicion. And when Rose’s attention turns to the mysterious stranger living in the rooms behind the tavern, neighbor turns on neighbor and the darkest side of self-preservation is revealed.


Book Rating: 7/10

Creepy, gritty, and exceptionally atmospheric!

In this latest novel by Snoekstra, Little Secrets, she transports us to Colmstock, Australia, a small town not only devastated by economic depression but reeling from the destruction and tragedy caused by an arsonist with no conscience, and a potential predator who seems to be targeting the local children.

The prose is somber and taut. The characters are deceptive, scheming, and self-involved. And the plot, which is ultimately about life, loss, community dissension, familial drama, friendship, abuse, ambition, and survival is mysterious and twisty, but a little slow at times, as it unravels all the numerous subplots and issues within it.

There is no doubt that Snoekstra can weave a suspicious tale that highlights the selfish, dark side of human nature and some readers will love the tragic, moody feel of this story. Unfortunately for me, the lack of characters with any redeeming characteristics made it a little hard to connect with them as much as I would have liked to.

 

About the Author

Anna Snoekstra was born in Canberra, Australia to two civil servants. At the age of seventeen she decided to avoid a full-time job and a steady wage to move to Melbourne and become a writer. She studied Creative Writing and Cinema at The University of Melbourne, followed by Screenwriting at RMIT University.

After finishing university, Anna wrote for independent films and fringe theatre, and directed music videos. During this time, she worked as a christmas elf, cheesemonger, a waitress, a barista, a nanny, a receptionist, a cinema attendant and a film reviewer.

Her debut novel ONLY DAUGHTER has been released in twenty countries and a feature film adaptation is currently in development with Universal Pictures.

 

Thank you to Harlequin Books and Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Anna Snoekstra visit her website at: annasnoekstra.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @AnnaSnoekstra

#GuestPost & #Excerpt
Zenka by Alison Brodie
@alisonbrodie2

 

Synopsis:

Ruthless, stubborn and loyal.

Zenka is a Hungarian pole-dancer with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knuckle-dusters and shotguns.

Jack learns he has a son, Nicholas, a community nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.

Zenka takes charge. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she aims to turn Nicholas into a son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked:

How do you tell a crime boss you don’t want to be his son?

And is Zenka really who she says she is?

 

Excerpt:

 

Prologue One 

7 July, 2011

My dearest Alina,

Olga Savchukis is a lying bitch. She say I vill be taken care of. I vill get good job in London. Good job?! She sells me to Romanians. I kick man in balls. I bite. But I cannot get out. Even vindows locked. I know if I am injected I can never escape, NEVER.

Suddenly doors crash open and there is much shooting of guns. After is silence. A man with a face like crumpled McDonald bag takes us outside. The other girls are like sleepvalkers. We have to step over dead Romanians.

The man who saves us is Jack Murray – I am not allowed to tell who he is, but I can tell YOU because you are in Hungary and cannot sneak. He is top gang boss in London.

He hates Romanians. He says it’s very bad thing they do to girls. The girls who escaped that night get jobs in bakery and supermarket. Me? I vill not leave Jack.

Remember the puppy, Yuki? I am like that. I follow Jack all around. He says I am nuisance. I offer myself to him. I am virgin but he deserves me. But he doesn’t vant me! He says he is too old. I say he is not too old. He tries to ignore me. But nobody can ignore Zenka Valentina Varga if she does not vant to be ignored. Ha!

You saved my life, I tell him, now I am your guardian angel. He rolls his eyes to heaven as if seeking patience from God, and says: How can you be guardian angel ven you are only five foot two? I say I am small but a grenade is also small.

I get job in Jack’s club, The Men’s Room. I tell manager I do pole dancing. (That is ven girl climbs up and down pole – I don’t make it sound sexy – but it is ven it is done right). Me? I try to turn upside down, and fall into a heap. Now I am STAR performer!

I ver vigs, blonde, black, orange, pink, depending on my mood. Job pays good vage and the customers throw money on the stage – not like other places ver the man puts money in girl’s panties with fingers – urgh! If man touches me, I slap his face. He is shocked but his friends laugh.

Jack tells me not to attack customers – it is not good for business, he say. Yesterday I scratch customer because he hurts new girl. Jack is angry with me, but then he goes outside and punches the customer. So JACK can punch but I cannot scratch? Ver is the justice in THAT?

Jack has bodyguards. Lockjaw looks like Frankenstein. Vince is tall but he never talk. Billy is short and square and he talk too much. He teaches me Cockney:

“Bollocks” is a man’s balls. But if you say “Don’t drop a bollock” it means don’t make a mistake. “I’m the dog’s bollocks” is ven man thinks he is the best. Jack says this all the time.

I have to tell you. Ven Jack is angry, it makes me laugh. He can be tough with men, but he cannot be tough with vomen. He is like the father I never had. He tells me to find good husband and I say, yes, yes, Jack, to shut his mouth.

My dearest friend. Do you know ver Olga Savchukis can be found? If you know this, tell me. Then I can kill her.

Your loving friend,

Zenka. x

How is the family? 

Fifty miles away, at exactly the same time…

 

Early Praise for Zenka:

“A riveting read. Powerful. Spicy” -Midwest Book Review

5* “To say I loved this story would be a massive understatement” –Bloggers from Down Under

5* “Will warm your heart and chill your bones” –Tome Tender Blogspot

5* “Top of my list for best fiction this year” – Lauren Sapala, WriteCity

5* “You won’t be able to put this book down” –Laura Reading

5*   “Brodie nails it again. Intelligent wit and outstanding writing” –Charlie Elliott, author of Life Unbothered.

 

About the Author:

Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side. She is a writer and animal rights activist. Her books have been published in hardback and paperback by Hodder & Stoughton (UK), Heyne (Germany) and Unieboek (Holland). Alison is now a self-publisher. Here are some editorial reviews for her recent books:

BRAKE FAILURE: “Masterpiece of humor” –Midwest Book Review

THE DOUBLE: “Proof of her genius in writing fiction” -San Francisco Book Review.

 

Thank you to Alison Brodie for providing me with an excerpt for my blog today! It was truly an honour!

Preorder a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

For more information on Alison Brodie visit her website at: alisonbrodiebooks.com

or follow her on Twitter at@alisonbrodie2 or Facebook at: AlisonBrodieAuthor

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