Dragonfly Summer by J. H Moncrieff- Book review/Booktour

I’m so pleased to be part of the Randon Thing Tours blog tour for Dragonfly Summer by J H Moncrief- a twisty, psychological mystery.

No small town’s secrets can stay buried for long. Moncrieff digs into the treachery of memory and the power of female friendships.
Dragonfly Summer is a gripping thriller that asks: What happens when the past comes back to haunt you?
Jo Carter never thought she’d return to Clear Springs, Minnesota. But when the former journalist receives a cryptic note about the disappearance of her friend Sam twenty years before, she’s compelled to find out what really happened. During her investigation, she learns another high school friend has died in a mysterious accident. Nothing is as it seems, and Jo must probe Clear Springs’ darkest corners and her own painful and unreliable memories to discover the truth – and save herself from the killer who could still be on the hunt.
Deliciously twisty and suspenseful from the first minute to the last, Dragonfly Summer proves that no small town’s secrets can stay buried for good.

Review

 I really enjoyed this twisty psychological mystery and I’m so pleased that Dragon Summer B H Moncrieff is the first thriller I’m reviewing on my newly expanded blog.

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Chaos at Carnegie Hall by Kelly Oliver- Book review and blog tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the Racheal Random Resources blog tour for Chaos at Carnegie Hall by Kelly Olive. Historical cosy crime perfectly described as Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey but with added humour

​Notorious spy, Fredrick Fredricks, has invited Fiona to Carnegie Hall to hear a famous soprano. It’s an opportunity the War Office can’t turn down. Fiona and Clifford are soon on their way, but not before Fiona is saddled with chaperon duties for Captain Hall’s niece. Is Fiona a spy or a glorified babysitter?​From the minute Fiona meets the soprano aboard the RMS Adriatic it’s treble on the high C’s. Fiona sees something—or someone—thrown overboard, and then she overhears a chemist plotting in German with one of her own countrymen!​And the trouble doesn’t stop when they disembark. Soon Fiona is doing time with a group of suffragettes and investigating America’s most impressive inventor Thomas Edison.When her number one suspect turns up dead at the opera and Fredrick Fredricks is caught red-handed, it looks like it’s finally curtains for the notorious spy.​But all the evidence points to his innocence. Will Fiona change her tune and clear her nemesis’ name? Or will she do her duty? And just what is she going to do with the pesky Kitty Lane? Not to mention swoon-worthy Archie Somersby . If Fiona’s going to come out on top, she’s going to have to make the most difficult decision of her life: the choice between her head and her heart

Review

There are times when you just need a nice, light-hearted book with just enough of an edge to keep you hooked and Chaos at Carnegie Hall by Kelly Oliver fulfilled this perfectly.

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The Vicious Circle by Katherine St John – Book review and Blog tour.

I’m so pleased to be part of Random Things Tours  Blog tour for The Vicious Circle by Katherine St John. Here is my review of this twisty thriller that will appeal to fans of Lianne Moriarty.





On a river deep in the Mexican jungle stands the colossal villa Xanadu, a wellness center that’s home an ardent spiritual group devoted to self-help guru Paul Bentzen and his enigmatic wife Kali. But when Paul mysteriously dies, his entire estate—including Xanadu—is left not to Kali, but to his estranged niece Sveta.
Shocked and confused, Sveta travels from New York City to Mexico to pay her respects. At first, Xanadu seems like a secluded paradise with its tumbling gardens, beautiful people, and transcendent vibe. But soon the mystical façade wears thin, revealing a group of brainwashed members drunk on promises of an impossible utopia, guided by a disturbing belief system and a charismatic, dangerously capable leader.
As the sinister forces surrounding Sveta become apparent, she realizes, too late, she can’t escape. Frantic and terrified, she discovers her only chance of survival is to put her confidence in the very person she trusts the least. 

Review

A perfect paradise? Or a perfect nightmare?

This is the perfect tagline for The Vicious Circle by Katherine St John-a twisty thriller set in a wellness centre in the middle of nowhere.

I received a copy  for a free and unbiased opinion

Sveta is the first person narrator- a former model who is desperately trying to change herself so her Fiance’s rich family will finally accept her. Things come to a head when her future mother-in-law interferes with her wedding plans but then she finds out from her former teenage lover Lucas that she has inherited her Uncle’s ( Shiva/Paul) entire estate which

ironically makes her much richer than her fiance’s family. But she has to go to Xanadu to deal with her Uncle’s ‘wife’ Kali who has inherited nothing but of course claims she has a right to the estate.

The author has created a suitably creepy place in Xanadu 

with the apparently happy people who live. The tension seeps off the pages with each new rule or mantra the people of Xanadu come up with and I just wanted to tell Sveta to run.

Kali was an intriguing character and I was never quite sure whether she was good or bad right up to the last third.

The plot races along with plenty of action,mystery and enough red herrings to make Sveta doubt everyone which ramps up the tension even more.

I enjoyed the book but I don’t think I will be booking a weekend in a remote wellness centre anytime soon!

Content warning

References to underage sex, drug use,eating disorders

Perfect for Fans of

For fans of Lucy Foley and Liane Moriarty.

About the Author

Katherine St. John is a native of Mississippi, graduate of the University of Southern California, and author of The Lion’s Den and The Siren.
When she’s not writing, she can be found hiking or on the beach with a good book.Katherine lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and two children.

The Wildest Hunger by Laura Laakso- book review and Blog Tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for The Wildest Hunger by Laura Laakso- featuring a fearless heroine who happens to have a chronic health problem. – a rarity in urban fantasy

The oldest and gravest of the Wild Folk laws dictates that human flesh must not be consumed. When half-eaten bodies start turning up between Old London and the North, Yannia Wilde knows the killer can only be one of her kind.  Her investigation is even more complicated when her betrothed, Dearon, insists on joining forces with her and Karrion.
While Yannia tries to balance tracking down the killer with the tension between her and Dearon, and Karrion, another case in Old London draws her attention. A West Mage Council member, whom she exposed as a Leech only days before, has gone missing, and his girlfriend is found murdered in his flat. Is the Leech, a master of deception, capable of murder, or has someone framed him?
Caught in the web of Old London’s political intrigue, Yannia must learn to play the game and to choose her allegiances with care. But to catch a predator of her kind, she must also embrace her wildness and set aside everything that makes her human.

Review

I loved the first few books in the Wilde Investigations series, so I jumped at the chance at reviewing The Wildest Hunger, the fourth book in the series. Yannia the lead character suffers chronic pain making her unique in the world of super fit people who populate urban Fantasy.

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Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell – Book review

I enjoyed this science fiction featuring two very different people packed with action, intrigue and romance. Here is my review of Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell

Rich socialite, and walking disaster Tennalhin Halkana can read minds. Tennal, like all neuromodified “readers,” is a security threat on his own. But when controlled, readers are a rare asset. Not only can they read minds, but they can navigate chaotic space, the maelstroms surrounding the gateway to the wider universe.
Conscripted into the military under dubious circumstances, Tennal is placed into the care of Lieutenant Surit Yeni, a duty-bound soldier, and the son of a notorious traitor. Tennal can read minds, Surit can influence them. Like all other neuromodified “architects,” he can impose his will onto others, and he’s under orders to control Tennal by merging their minds.
Surit accepted a  promotion-track request out of desperation, but he refuses to go through with his illegal orders to sync and control an unconsenting Tennal. So they lie: They fake a sync bond and plan Tennal’s escape.
Their best chance arrives with a salvage-retrieval mission into chaotic space. And among the rubble is a treasure both terrible and unimaginably powerful.
Tennal and Surit can no longer abandon their unit or their world. The only way to avoid life under full military control is to complete the very sync they’ve been faking.
Can two unwilling weapons of war bring about peace?

Review

I loved Winter’s Orbit ( review here ) by Everina Maxwell, so I was so pleased to have my request to review Ocean’s Echo approved on Net Galley.I have to say I enjoyed Ocean’s Echo more than Winter’s Orbit-this had more science-fiction and action with just the right amount of romance for me.

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A Trace of Poison by Colleen Cambridge- book review

Here is my review of this cosy crime where Agatha Christie’s housekeeper has to solve a murder where the chief suspects are a group of crime writers. Here is my review of A Trace of Poison by Colleen Cambridge.

Phyllida Bright, housekeeper for Agatha Christie, must uncover a killer among a throng of crime writers.
In England’s stately manor houses, murder is not generally a topic for polite conversation. Mallowan Hall, home to Agatha Christie  is the exception. The neighbouring village of Listleigh has also become a hub of grisly goings-on, thanks to a Murder Fête organized to benefit a local orphanage. Members of The Detection Club—a group of celebrated authors such as G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Agatha herself—will congregate for charitable events, including a writing contest for aspiring authors. The winner gets an international publishing contract, and entrants have gathered for a cocktail party when murder strikes .
It’s a mystery too intriguing for Phyllida to resist, but one fraught with duplicity and danger, for every guest is an expert in murder—and how to get away with it.

Review

A Trace of Poison by Colleen Cambridge was an easy to read and enjoyable cosy murder suggestive of Agatha Christie’s best mysteries.

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.

Reading this book felt like slipping on a comfy jumper. Warm and familiar- with the expected twisty murder, a range of eccentric suspects, everyone has a motive, lots of red herrings and a detective that doesn’t give up.

The mystery was complex, and I did not guess who the murderer was and the motive was ingenious.

Phyllida herself was an interesting Detective- unbending in her desire to help her employer even if it places her in danger, efficient and perhaps a touch unlikeable.

I liked how the author added diversity to the book without it being out of place for 1920s England.

I do have one very slight criticism- the use of the word cookie instead of biscuit (though I could be wrong and indeed they were eating cookies and not biscuits in the English sense).

Perfect for Fans of

Cosy crime

Kaikeyi By Vaishnavi Patel – Book review

This alternate take on a much maligned woman was difficult to put down. Here is my review this fantasy- Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel.

Publication date 27 October 2022

Kaikeyi retells the story of Rama ( an avatar of the Hindu God Lord Vishnu) from the Ramayana from the first-person point of view of Kaikeyi, Rama’s stepmother. In the original story, Kaikeyi asks her husband to exile his heir and favourite son Rama to a forest for 14 years and place her son on the throne. Rama’s banishment eventually leads to a battle of good and evil- his triumphant return to Ayodhya is celebrated during the annual festival of Diwali.

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Blue Water by Leonora Nattrass – Book review

Jago continues to be the reluctant spy but now on a ship bound for Philadelphia in Blue Water by Leonora Nattrass. Here is my review of this historical fiction set in the 1700’s.

Review

I loved Black Drop (review here), so I was so excited to be approved by NetGalley to read Blue Water by Leonora Nattress which continues Laurence Jago’s story now a disgraced clerk. But you can enjoy this book without having read Black Drop.

I received a copy of the book for a free and unbiased review.

Laurence Jago continues to be a reluctant spy but this time he is now stuck on a ship bound for Philadelphia. He has been told his mission is to help the civil servant carrying a treaty that will make all the difference in war between the French and the British. But then the civil servant is murdered, so now Jago must find the murderer before he becomes the next victim.do the right t

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The Whispering Dark by Kelly Andrews – Book Review

The Whispering Dark by Kelly Andrews is marketed as The Raven Boys meets The Ninth House and you can see why.

Delaney Meyers-Petrov Is accepted to a prestigious program at Godbole college- a college  where the paranormal is part of the curriculum .She is eager to escape her overprotective parents, so she accepts a scholarship to the college. She finds herself drawn to the distant Colton Price who seems to dislike her and struggles to keep up with the academic work when her college seems unable to accommodate her deafness. Colton has his own reasons for keeping his distance including the fact Lane saved his life when he drowned at the age of nine. But they are forced to work together when students start turning up dead.

Review

While I did find this an easy read, I didn’t really like the book, but I imagine loads of people will. I will focus on the good bits first.

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion

I haven’t read many books where with good disability rep, but in Lane the author has managed to create a woman who isn’t defined by her deafness but must overcome the daily challenges this brings. I loved the fact The Whispering dark had diverse range of characters and seamlessly wove this into the story.

The book is told from Lane and Colton’s point of view. Colton while on the surface appears to be a privileged student is also dealing with loss and abandonment which makes his fixation with Lane understandable. The world-building and the descriptions of the paranormal including parallel world were descriptive and interesting but not unique.

But like I said before I didn’t enjoy this book despite the positives. The book seems to focus on the relationship between Colton and Lane at the expense of the supernatural elements, and it felt at times I was reading a romance with some paranormal elements. I figured out quickly who the Apostle was, and their motivations seemed a little boring and by the end I still couldn’t figure why they disliked Lane.

Lane also seemed to have some potent power of her own which seemed to take second place to the romance with Colton which was disappointing. But towards the end, I felt uncomfortable with the power dynamics between the two of them (although this would have made interesting reading if this was explored a little more).

Perfect for fans of

The Ninth House or paranormal romances with slightly more gore.

Publication Date: October 20th 2022

The Empire by Michael Ball – Book review

The Empire by Michael Ball is lovely, warm-hearted read- here is my review of this historical fiction set in a theatre in the 1920’s.

Publication Date 13 October

Source: NetGalley and Bonnier Books

 The Empire. Lord Lassiter bought it for his second wife, Lady Lillian and she supervised every detail of the restoration. The Empire is not just a theatre. From music hall to vaudeville, from revue to grand musical spectacular, it holds a special place in the nation’s heart. For its audience, for its actors and singers, for the stagehands, the front-of-house staff, for its backers and its debtors – and above all for its owners – it truly is a palace of dreams.
And for young Jack Treadwell, struggling to adapt to civilian life after the horrors of the trenches, it’s a lifeline. When he receives a letter out of the blue inviting him to work at The Empire, he leaps at the chance. After all, it’s owned by the family of his former commanding officer, Edmund Lassiter.
But as Jack soon discovers, it is not just the actors who are donning a disguise. With whispers of a cover-up, a scandal and sibling rivalry, tensions rise, along with the curtain. For there is treachery at the heart of The Empire and a dark secret waiting in the wings. Can Jack discover the truth before it is too late, and the theatre that means so much to them all goes dark?

Review

It has been a rough few weeks, so I was in the mood for an uplifting book and The Empire by Michael Ball was the book equivalent of snuggling under the duvet.

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