Today I’m delighted to be a host in the blog tour for ‘Pictures in the Sky’ by Amanda Paull.

She gave up on romance years ago. He’s going through the motions. Their lives change forever when he makes contact out of the blue. 

With her daughter leaving the nest, Michelle Cameron would rather spend her time with good friends, a glass of fizzy and a box set, than with another idiot bloke chipping away at her self-esteem. But when childhood friend Daniel Helmsley gets back in touch, the years roll away on a tide of laughter and friendship, which soon gives way to another roller coaster of love, excitement and panic. Can Michelle let herself trust again? What if Dan is just another idiot bloke, disillusioned with the present and nostalgic for the past?

If you like cosy romance that makes you laugh as well as cry, then you’ll love this feel-good tale of past disappointment, renewed friendship and finding true love.
Download Amanda Paull’s Pictures in the Sky today to discover if Michelle dares to love again.

‘Your lively style and humour are exactly right for this genre.’ Susan Davis.

 

My review

Any romcom that has more mature characters at his heart is going to have an extra layer to it. They’ve had time to accumulate emotional baggage as well as scars from the knocks that life has given them. They’re at an age when health concerns can begin to niggle and, if things haven’t quite gone to plan, disillusionment can set in.

Thus ‘Pictures in the Sky’ with divorced, middle-aged Michelle is a romcom with added grit. There’s lots of lovely humour for us to enjoy, but also an edge. Michelle has been happy enough in the shell she’s built around herself over the years to keep the male world at bay, so when Dan suddenly smashes it with a hammer, she runs for cover.

The story moves at a steady pace, a bit like Michelle jogging uphill, but is equally determined. There’s lots of action with tension and drama, and whilst it tends to be of an everyday nature that doesn’t mean it’s mundane. The author extracts the excitement that can suddenly loom out of the blue and make the ordinary extraordinary.

Amanda Paull really gets into her characters’ shoes and thus portrays a cast of very different people, all courageous, all doing their best, all just human.

The settings are at home and abroad and there’s vibrancy a sense of movement to them.

I especially liked how the book came full circle with an airport scene at beginning and end, but we see a very different Michelle as this book closes.

This is a clever, engaging and well thought-out novel.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pictures-Sky-Amanda-Paull-ebook/dp/B07FZKK42H/

books2read.com/u/3kr6eO

Author Bio –

Amanda Paull is a writer of humorous romantic fiction. She lives in the North East of England with her husband and works in the public sector. The inspiration for her stories comes from real life, which she tries to show the funnier side of by embellishing to the hilt.

Amanda’s Website: http://www.amandapaull.co.uk

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Apaullfiction

 

Time to get Christmassy here at Books Are Cool. And not a moment too soon!

I’m thrilled to be joining in the publication day celebrations for this super novel. I have to say I adore the cover.

Synopsis

It’s the most magical time of the year, and for travel agent Sarah it’s also the busiest! But this year one man threatens to ruin Christmas for Sarah’s customers – Mr Grinch, Will Armstrong.

The Shooting Star Mountain resort is a magical place, and Sarah has fond memories of Christmas here as a little girl – visits to Father Christmas, husky rides in the snow and hot chocolate by a roaring fire. But as the resorts new owner, Will refuses to play snowball or to deck the halls with anything remotely resembling tinsel!

With customers complaining their Christmas is ruined, Sarah decides it’s up to her to convince Scroogey Will just how magical Christmas can be….

But getting Will into the Christmas spirit is hopeless – he is Bah Humbug personified! But as Sarah gets to know him better, she realises that underneath all the gloom is a man struggling with a pain of his own.

With the big day approaching, Sarah realises that the magic and sparkle can wait. This year, she’s going to spend Christmas day with someone special: her very own Mr Scrooge…


My review

This is a lovely, lively, funny and very enjoyable Christmassy novel.

Sarah is in a bit of a rut. She has her job in her aunt’s travel agency business with co-worker and friend Sam, but it’s becoming more stressful with ever more complaints and mutterings about legal action. She has a vague sort-of boyfriend in Callum, and she’s rather trapped by routine. So when Aunt Lynn announces she’s going to Australia rather than spending the usual Christmas with Sarah, she’s thrown. However, this proves to be the slap in the face that she needed and it makes her pull herself together.

She’d been toying with going to Canada to visit the disastrous Shooting Star Mountain Resort herself and tell the miserable Will Armstrong a few home truths. So off she goes and finds that things are every bit as bad as people have been making out. So she sets out to bring the Christmas sparkle back to Shooting Star Mountain Resort, but it’s not going to be as straightforward as she thought. Will has a few issues to straighten out.

Added to that, the skeletons in Sarah’s closet are rattling louder and louder. She hasn’t spoken to her father in years because of an incident one Christmas…

The quiet yet resolute Aunt Lynn, who brought Sarah up, proves to be the catalyst in this wonderful story. Through her kind actions she brings about a transformation in our heroine and helps everything work out the way we want them to.

The author has a delightful and light style. She creates an array of distinctive characters and vivid settings. Whether we’re alongside our heroine in a cramped economy seat in a plane or the wilderness of Canada we can see, hear and smell everything she can.

The perfect book to read curled up by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate (with marshmallows, of course!) and a Christmas music CD on in the background, whatever time of  year it actually is!

 

Purchase Link

Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/No-One-Cancels-Christmas-romantic-ebook/dp/B07CWTVJGD

Amazon UShttps://www.amazon.com/no-one-cancels-christmas-romantic-ebook/dp/B07CWTVJGD

Author bio 

Born in a small village in Staffordshire, I wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when I grew up. After many years, and many different jobs, my dream of writing a bestseller came true.

I write about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hope that my tales make you cry a little, laugh a lot, and occasionally say ‘ahhh’.

I now live in a Cheshire village with my family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.

Where you can find her-

Website: http://www.zarastoneley.com
Twitter: @ZaraStoneley
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZaraStoneley

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zarastoneley/

Keep following the tour!

 

 

 

I’m beyond thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Dave Hill of Slade’s autobiography. I grew up in the glam rock era and loved every minute of it!


Synopsis

Slade’s music and style dominated and defined the 1970s. With six consecutive number one singles they were the UK’s number one group and sold millions of records all over the world. At their peak, Slade enjoyed success and adulation not seen since The Beatles. Now, for the first time, the man whose outlandish costumes, glittering make-up and unmistakable hairstyle made Slade the definitive act of Glam Rock tells his story.

Growing up in a council house in 1950s Wolverhampton, Dave always knew he wanted to be a musician and in the mid-sixties, with Don Powell, founded the band that in 1970 would settle on the name Slade. Their powerful guitar-driven anthems formed the soundtrack for a whole generation, and their Top of the Pops performances, led by their flamboyant, ever-smiling lead guitarist, became legendary.

But So Here It Is reveals that there’s much more to Dave’s life than Top of the Pops and good times. Packed with previously unseen personal photos, the book uncovers surprising family secrets, tells the inside story of the original band’s painful break-up, explores Dave’s battles with depression, his decision to reform Slade and go back on the road and his recovery from the stroke that threatened to cut short his career.

My review

I was nine when Slade (consisting of Dave Hill, Noddy Holder, Jim Lea and Don Powell) shot to fame in 1971 with their first of six number one chart-toppers: Coz I Luv You. I had a brother and sister who were a good bit older than me and so I guess I was a bit precocious pop-music wise as I could listen (not always with their permission) to the singles albums they bought. These included Slade’s. I quicky fell in love with glam rock. Like every other young person in Britain at the time, I’d watched Top of the Pops every week, hoping Slade would be on, and if so, what on earth would Dave Hill be wearing this week!

So it’s been absolutely fascinating to read his autobiography. For all that Dave was the glitzy showman of he band (he used to say “You write it, I’ll sell it!”) with his outlandish, flamboyant outfits, he’s basically a grounded, positive, family man. He had a supporting and loving upbringing, although it wasn’t always an easy one as his mother suffered from mental health issues, something that Dave has been blighted with too. He grew up on a council estate in Wolverhampton, where he continued to live for a while even after he made the big time. He made his own success and worked hard to achieve his lasting fame but sporadic wealth.

The book takes us through Dave’s career, from his early short-lived bands to forming Slade and its enduring legacy. He gives the ups and downs of life as a rock star, and it seems that the downs are the more common: constantly striving to get the next hit, to break into a new market, to keep momentum up. Even if a member is out of action for only a relatively short time because of an accident or illness, something that happened to Slade a few times, that can knock the band off its feet for ages. Slade always managed to bounce back, but it took effort.

Dave recounts how and why the original band split up and reformed with Dave and Don at the helm, but the foreword by Noddy Holder shows that there are no ill feelings. It was the nature of the beast, with all the stresses resulting from such a pressured and exposed career, for bands to reach exploding point. Slade continues to this day, even though Dave had a stroke on stage a few years ago. It speaks volumes about this man’s courage, commitment and strong personality that he’s overcome that and still performs.

The book is absorbing. It’s well written and very lively. Slade rubbed shoulders with all the big names of pop of that era, but there’s no name dropping. If, for example, Elton John wandered into a dressing room where Dave’s sister Carol was waiting for her brother, then that’s included as a fun but relevant snippet, rather than an exercise in showing-off. Carol supplies a few short passages of this book, and that’s a nice touch.

Through this thoroughly entertaining account of the fascinating life that he’s still leading, the author’s down-to-earthness and values of family love and loyalty shine through even more brightly than some of his metallic outfits! Wonderful book by one of pop’s legends. An Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without listening to Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ at least twenty times!

About the author

Dave Hill was born in a castle in Devon and moved with his parents to Wolverhampton when he was a year old. As a teenager he taught himself to play guitar and in 1966 formed the band Slade. After the break-up of the original band, Dave eventually re-formed Slade, and twenty-five years later, they are still regularly touring the world, playing to hundreds of thousands of fans. Dave married his wife Jan in 1973, and they have three children and six grandchildren. They still live in Wolverhampton.

 

 

Synopsis

Pam Wheeler checked every box: Happy marriage? Check. Fantastic kid? Check. Booming career? Check.

So when her husband dies in a freak accident and their DIY empire goes on life support, Pam must fix the relationship with her troubled and grief-stricken daughter and save the family business.

Pam and Nate were a couple who just couldn’t get away from each other, sharing not only their bed, but also a successful lifestyle empire as DIY home renovators, bloggers, podcasters, and co-authors.

When Nate dies in a freak accident, Pam becomes a 44-year-old widow, at once too young and too old—too young to be thrust into widowhood and too old to rejoin the dating pool.

Now the single mother of a headstrong and grief-stricken teenager, Pam’s life becomes a juggling act between dealing with her loss and learning how to parent by herself. On top of all that she also must reinvent herself or lose the empire that she and Nate had built so carefully.

It is time for Pam to seize the opportunity to step up as a mother, come out from behind Nate’s shadow, and rise as the sole face of the Designer You brand, and maybe, possibly, hopefully, find love again.

 

My review

Given its story line, you might expect this to be a harrowing book. However, whilst it portrays raw grief very effectively, it’s at heart a positive, optimistic book. Pam has to deal with a nightmare scenario, and she does. Not always the best way perhaps, and not without succumbing to despair a few times, but she copes. Not only for herself, but also her teenage daughter who is already at a difficult time of life and now has all this extra awfulness thrust on her. Pam has support from her family, and Nate’s, but she still feels very much alone. So when her daughter vents her frustrations on her too, it’s not easy.

Pam buries herself in her business. Not from choice. but because she has to keep Designer You going. She and Nate had a quite lavish lifestyle and Grace is at a swish private school, so there are plenty of bills to pay. However, it’s a diversion from dwelling on Nate all the time. Pam meets a lot of challenges in becoming the new, lone face of their business. Some are  harder than others to deal with, but she soldiers on. Along the way she encounters Charlie, a divorcee, and they click, sharing as they do their aloneness and the problems that teenagers can bring.

Pam is a wonderful character – inherently strong, but also vulnerable. She’s energetic, endlessly patient with her daughter but also brings her up short when Grace pushes things that bit too far. She’s a loving mum who does her best but makes the odd mistake along the way. She doesn’t always want to be an adult, but she knows she has to be.

The language of the book is vigorous and energetic with clever, apt imagery. For example, Pam scowls at her watch, and her friend Becky, who’s British, sounds ‘authoritarian’ whenever she speaks because of her accent.

It’s an absorbing read, very moving but also, ultimately, very upbeat.

Super cover too.

 

Purchase Linkhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DH6B38H/

Author Bio – Sarahlyn Bruck writes contemporary women’s fiction and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. She is the author of DESIGNER YOU, published by Crooked Cat Books on August 31, 2018. Sarahlyn teaches writing and literature at a local community college and also coaches writers for Author Accelerator.

DESIGNER YOU is Sarahlyn’s debut, and she is hard at work on her next book. Want the latest updates? Follow along for news, events, and announcements at sarahlynbruck.com. You can sign up for her monthly newsletter there, too.

Social Media Links – Website: www.sarahlynbruck.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@sarahbruck/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/slbruck/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5803427-sarahlyn-bruck

Do follow the rest of the tour, and look back to what you’ve missed so far:

 

 

 

Synopsis

Her next case. She’s in it for good.

Isabel Long is in a funk months after solving her first case. Her relationship with the Rooster Bar’s owner is over. Then the cops say she must work for a licensed P.I. before working solo.

Encouraged by her ‘Watson’ — her 92-year-old mother  — Isabel snaps out of it by hooking up with a P.I. and finding a new case.

The official ruling is Chet Waters, an ornery so-and-so, was passed out when his house caught fire. His daughter, who inherited the junkyard, believes he was murdered. Topping the list of suspects are dangerous drug-dealing brothers, a rival junkyard owner, and an ex-husband.

Could the man’s death simply be a case of redneck’s revenge? Isabel is about to find out.

 

My review

This is a spirited cozy mystery featuring mature sleuth Isabel who may only be an amateur at the moment, but is training to become a professional private detective. She was let go from her job at a newspaper a few years ago and was kicking her heels. Solving mysteries, like the ones her mother so enjoys reading about, seems to suit her personality and skills very well.

The setting is rural America, the land of ‘rednecks’ in the opinion of dismissive people. Hence the title. Isabel fortunately is intelligent enough to see that the rural way of life is equally to be valued as the urban way, and has its own set of rules.

The case that comes Isabel’s way dates back three years. Annette, who runs the junkyard, has lingering doubts about her father’s death, in a fire, being an accident. Chet was a drinker and not an easy man to get along with, but it seems that the authorities were rather quick to accept the easy explanation for his demise.

Isabel takes on the case, even though all she’ll be getting as payment is free car servicing. She tackles the task methodically and courageously, not shying away from upsetting a few unsavoury characters on the way. That almost has rather drastic repercussions. Bit by bit Isabel pieces the puzzle together. Like us, she’s kept guessing for quite a while but at least she fits the pieces together, in a dramatic way.

This is a book about relationships too, and that side is very richly portrayed. We have Isabel’s relationship with her elderly mother, and that’s a key part of the novel. We see her with her children, and also with Jack, the new man in her life, although there have been and still are some bumps in the road on that path. And will Dancing Dave lead Isabel on a merry dance and tread on Jack’s toes? Sisters Annette and Marsha, both redneck Floozies in Isabel’s books, have a close bond and care deeply for each other, unlike a married couple in the book despite outward appearances. And there’s the easy affability and comradeship of the Old Farts.

The Old Farts, the acquaintances that Isabel meets up with over bad coffee to bounce ideas off, are a nice touch to the novel. There’s the Serious Old Fart, the Fattest Old Fart and so on. These actually constitute  a version of the Greek muses in my mind since there’s a lot of wisdom and perspicuity in their remarks. They’re of great assistance to Isabel in her efforts on this case.

My only niggle is the rather cluttered cover, but then I’m someone who just likes to see the title and the author and an eye-catching graphic. I’m not keen on any optional extras!

Redneck’s Revenge is lively, original, cleverly constructed and beautifully written. It’s thoroughly engaging and very enjoyable.

 

Purchase link

mybook.to/rednecksrevenge

Author bio

Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Redneck’s Revenge, published by Crooked Cat Books, is the second in the mystery series featuring Isabel Long, a long-time journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. The first is Chasing the Case.

An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and most recently the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.

After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, Joan returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including the Isabel Long series.

 

Social Media Links –

Website: www.joanlivingston.net 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JoanLivingstonAuthor/

Twitter: @joanlivingston 

Instagram: www.Instagram.com/JoanLivingston_Author

Goodreads: www.Goodreads.com/Joan_Livingston

Litsy: JoanLivingston

 

Giveaway – Win a paperback copy of Redneck’s Revenge (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.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c6949469/

 

Follow the rest of the tour, and look back to see what you’ve missed:

I’m so pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for this sparkling cosy mystery.

Right on the Monet

New York

Claude Monet painting is stolen

Mediterranean

Of all the things Harry Chase had imagined in his life, being a drummer on a cruise ship band was not one that would have occurred to him. And yet, there he was. Centre stage, behind a young female singer along with his mates, Dave, Tony and Steve.

Which meant that getting involved in a jewellery theft, an on-board massage parlour and the hunt for an Old Master was even further from his mind as he cracked the snare drum.

And yet, this was exactly how he found himself being questioned by Interpol …..

 

My review

I’m a huge fan of cosy mysteries, and especially ones with witty titles, so how could I resist ‘On the Monet’? And I’m so glad I couldn’t, because it’s a super book.

It’s a cosy with a bit of difference as our lead sleuth is a fella, Harry. This is a genre where females generally take the lead. Harry is aided and abetted by this three friends Steve, Dave and Tony, also by his partner Cara and Tony’s wife Liz. This group work well together. There’s genuine camaraderie and loyalty between them all. There’s the odd spat and nerve-grating going on, but they’re as thick as thieves, and this quality is what helps them catch a thief in this story. But not without things going a bit haywire every now and again…

Harry, Steve, Dave and Tony get together and form a band. To everyone’s surprise, especially theirs, they’re actually quite good, especially once they call on Clem to be their vocalist. Through her they get the opportunity to preform on board a cruise ship to replace a band that’s pulled out. They accept the job, and things get off to a great start. Then two of the band get injured whilst fishing, and the show can’t go on. This, however, frees up the group to start investigate some slightly odd goings-on aboard the ship which end up being linked with a major art theft.

The story moves at a cracking pace, and we’re permanently kept guessing. Malcolm Parnell drops clues to tantalise us but it needs his ingenuity to work them altogether into such an enjoyable and exciting denouement. The author’s expert knowledge of art adds a rich and fascinating layer to the story.

I found the author’s style a delight to read. It really flows and is warm and enveloping. When his characters converse it’s like we’re there, as part of their group. They’re funny, kind people and all immensely likeable.

This is a lively book delivered with confidence and humour by a talented author. A total joy.

And what a great cover!

 

Author bio

Malcolm Parnell has a passion for painting and teaches art and drawing skills when he is not working on his next novel.

His other passion, apart from his good lady wife, Marion, is Leicester City Football Club. Becoming an author and Leicester win the Premier League have been two of his greatest ambitions realised.

Social Media Links – Twitter – @PaintAuthor

Facebook – malcolmparnellbook

 

Today it’s my turn to take part in the blog tour for A Stain on the Soul by Elizabeth Davies. I’m thrilled!

A Stain on the Soul

Resigned to another lifetime of being a witch’s familiar, Caitlyn has found a degree of peace in her role as the Duke of Normandy’s protector and spy.

But that peace is shattered when she returns to her native land only to come face-to-face with her past, and fall in love with a man who she desperately hopes will become her future.

My review

Paranormal is a literary genre that continues to be massively popular. Others come in and go out of fashion, but not this one, and in the hands of this author it’s easy to see why it retains its freshness and appeal. Paranormal combines a real world setting but include elements that defy a rational explanation. Thus is A Stain on the Soul we have a historical setting with real characters, as in they were real people (William, Godwin, Matilda and Brihtric). And we also have Caitlyn, nickname Cat and who is a cat some of the time, and her witch mistress, Arlette, who is William’s mother. Caitlyn combines the roles of witch’s familiar and royal spy very competently.

In this novel Catilyn’s mission is to make Matilda fall in love with William (later to become William the Conqueror). She tries to accomplish this as a cat, but when that doesn’t work she becomes her human self and travels to her homeland of Flanders. The journey and her task are far from straightforward and she faces plenty of danger. She also becomes embroiled in a romantic entanglement that she really doesn’t need…

The author creates the historical setting delightfully, with the language she uses reflecting the period, as well as all the details of daily and political life that she throws in. Everyone we meet is a rounded, convincing person, with their flaws and foibles, like a bad temper or impatience or an inflated sense of self. This makes them all the more human. Caitlyn is a wonderful heroine. She’s down to earth in both her guises, likeable, clever and courageous. We really care what happens to her, and so whether it’s technically acceptable or not to bewitch people into doing something they might not choose for themselves, we can persuade ourselves that it is. After all, Caitlyn is just doing her job, and her adventure makes for a wonderful story! But the tale isn’t quite over. There’s quite an intriguing cliff-hanger at the end. I really want to know what will happen next, and I’m sure you will too.

A Stain on the Soul is an enjoyable, escapist novel made richer by its historical setting. This book is the second in a series, but works well as a standalone. I hadn’t read the prequel, Three Bloody Pieces, before reading A Stain on the Soul, but I definitely will now.

 

Pre-Order Link: http://books2read.com/StainOnTheSoul

Author bio 

Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There’s usually death…

Social Media Links –

Website – www.elizabethdaviesauthor.co.uk

Twitter  – @bethsbooks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethDaviesAuthor/

Instagram – @elizabethdavies.author

Giveaway – Win signed copies of Three Bloody Pieces and A Stain on the Soul plus a magic mug and a coaster. (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.

Click the link below to enter:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494141/?

 

I’m thrilled, in every sense, to be taking part in the blog tour for ‘Trap’ by Icelandic author Lilja Sigurdardóttir (translated by Quentin Bates).

Synopsis

 

Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland. Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back. With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk… Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction. 

The book is published by Orenda Books.

 

My review

I’d heard of Nordic Noir, of course, and watched several such series on TV, but this is the first time I’ve read such a book in this genre. And what a fabulous introduction it’s been!

I was enthralled from the first page – by the characters, the clever plot and the sheer readability. The book is the second in a series, but I hadn’t realised that when I began reading and I don’t feel I missed anything. However, I shall definitely be reading ‘Snare’ to find out how the characters get into their present predicaments.

All the characters – the good, the bad and the in-between – rise off the page. They’re rounded and convincing, and we get to see what makes each of them tick. Young Tomas is particularly well portrayed I think: we really see things from his perspective whenever he’s involved. That gives a fresh insight into our other characters when we share Tomas’s view of them. Thanks to his childish innocence we get to see these people, his parents chief amongst them, as they might have been had life’s complications not got in the way.

The book’s title couldn’t be more apt. Many of the characters are in traps, some of their own making. Sonja is trying to trap her ex-husband Adam, but he has her trapped into doing what he wants because of her love for her son and the fact she can’t be without her little boy. Agla’s love for Sonja has her trapped too, as does her financial greed. The wife of Bragi, the customs officer, is trapped in her own confusing world of Alzheimer’s. And others are trapped by their indulgent lifestyles and addictions. There are representations of traps of all kinds in this book.

A lot of the characters are flawed. I’ve already mentioned there are some ‘in-between’ ones. They’re essentially good people but are trapped – that word again! – into doing bad things for various reasons, ones which see right to them. The whole issue of right and wrong comes under scrutiny in the novel. We know they should be diametrically opposed but in life, and literature, things are never quite so clear-cut. One merges into the other.

The action is constant, and tension builds as it progresses. Florida, Iceland and Amsterdam are amongst the settings that this story of drug trafficking and corporate and personal greed. It’s a riveting read, it really is. I particularly enjoyed discovering a little about Iceland, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit, and its culture through the names and places and incidental facts.

Absolutely a book to go on your TBR list.

 

About the author

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner. 

 

 

Follow the rest of the tour for more reviews, guest posts and extracts:

 

 

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Joseph Barnaby by Susan Roebuck, and to have a giveaway for you to enter.

Joseph Barnaby

Stand by your beliefs – even if it means going to the end of the Earth

By standing up for his principles to save the life of a prize racehorse, farrier Joseph Barnaby loses everything. Now, a personal vendetta has become too deep to fight and he escapes to the island of Madeira where he finds work on a small farm at the foot of a cliff, only accessible by boat. The balmy climate and never-ending supply of exotic fruit, vegetables and honey make it sound like paradise but, for Joseph, it’s the ideal place to hide from the world. Can the inhabitants of Quinta da Esperança, who have more grit in them than the pebbled beach that fronts the property, help Joseph find his self-worth again? And can he escape the danger that draws ever nearer?

 

My review

Joseph Barnaby is an atmospheric novel of place, romance and journey, both physical and spiritual. For me it was also a novel of discovery, learning about the horse racing world from the inside, travelling to Madeira for the first time and finding out more about the experience of deafness. The author has a deft hand and whilst creating what outwardly appears a fairly placid, gently novel on the whole, there is a lot of depth to it and turmoil beneath the surface.

Both Joseph and Sofia, the female protagonist, are dealing with huge issues in their lives. Joe has a black cloud over his head that he’s trying to disperse and Sofia is in a rather one-sided relationship with local man Dario, who isn’t seeing the whole person. When Joe appears, Sofia is immediately interested and the two gradually get to know each other. The lively, Medusa-haired Lua is something of a complication, but the course of true love was never meant to run smooth. There are some twists and turns in the plot, some tension and conflict, to keep our attention fully riveted.

There is so much beautiful description in the novel. The author creates settings in immense detail, but it’s never overwhelming. This adds greatly to the richness of the story. There are some Portuguese words (explained in the glossary) and that’s a nice touch. I don’t think you can set a story in another country or culture without using some native words as language and place are interwoven.

This is an extremely enjoyable and accomplished novel. By the end of it we know who Joseph Barnaby is, and so does he, finally.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joseph-Barnaby-Susan-Roebuck-ebook/dp/B07FMVFLH1/

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Barnaby-Susan-Roebuck-ebook/dp/B07FMVFLH1/

 

Author bio 

I was born and educated in the UK (I am British!) but now live in Portugal. I’ve been an English teacher for many years with the British Council and also the Portuguese civil service where I developed e-learning courses.

My first love is, of course, my husband, my second writing, and my third painting. And now I have time to be able to indulge in all three.

My debut novel, “Perfect Score” was published by Mundania Press on Sept 21, 2010 and the paperback launched on May 11 2011. It was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC e-book Awards in the Mainstream Category.

My second novel is a dark thriller/fantasy called “Hewhay Hall”. It won an EPPIE award in the 2013 EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) e-Book Awards in the Horror Category.

Next comes “Rising Tide”, published in 2015. Set in Portugal, published by Mundania Press. It is set in a tiny fishing village that the world, and most of Portugal, has forgotten. Read about the wonders of the ocean and see if Piper from Norfolk UK and Leo from Alaska, USA, can find what they’re searching for in the little village of Luminosa.

“Forest Dancer” was published on 20th February 2018 by CrookedCat Books. This is novel number 2 set in Portugal but this time in the forests outside Lisbon, Portugal. Instead of the sea (as in Rising Tide), now find out about the wonders of the forest and whether classical ballerina, Flora, can find what she’s searching for in the small village of Aurora.

On 5th October 2018 CrookedCat Books published my newest novel, “Joseph Barnaby”, another romance/suspense which is set on the island of Madeira.


Social Media Links –  blog and website:
http://www.susanroebuck.com

General Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SuRoebuck

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SusanRoebuckauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sueroebuck

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Susan-Roebuck/e/B0050B2O3U/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1526385163&sr=8-1

Giveaway – Win

  1. 1st prize an Amazon book token (£10) ,
  2. 2nd prize – 2 x signed paperbacks of Joseph Barnaby
  3. 3rd prize – 2 x ebooks of Joseph Barnaby

*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.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494143/

Follow the rest of the tour:

 

I’m delighted to be bringing up the rear in the blog tour for this wonderful novel!

Synopsis

When Hattie Green pops to the shop one afternoon, she never expects her life to flash before her eyes between the tins of baked beans and a special offer on sliced white. One minute she’s loading her trolley and thinking about what to give her son for dinner, and the next she’s speaking to a gorgeous man in a glowing white suit about what her life could have been…

If you had the chance to go back and relive it all, what would you do differently? Go on that date, take that promotion… eat that second biscuit? Hattie is about to discover where she went wrong, but will her mystery second chance reveal some STONKING secrets in her past that probably should have stayed hidden?

A gorgeous romantic comedy from the bestselling author of What Holly’s Husband Did. Perfect for fans of Tracy Bloom, Marian Keyes and Dawn French.

 

My review

In her forties with a divorce behind her, Hattie is resigned to just keeping on keeping on. She makes enough from her dog-walking business to get by, and enjoys time with her son Fin. However, he’s a teen now and increasingly independent. Her mother is determined to get Hattie to remarry and is doing all she can to push a certain man her way so Hattie prefers to avoid her. Fortunately she has a good friend Jo, and it’s when she’s out buying korma for a girls night in with Jo that something life-changing happens in the baked beans aisle…

This is a very clever and upbeat novel. The fantasy element works really well amidst the very realistic setting of the rest of the story. The point of this experience is to allow Hattie to learn three things: trust, believe the unbelievable and fall in love. She’s quick to catch on to the first two – as are we readers with regards to the author and this story – but that last one might prove to be too much for jaded Hattie. She has to revisit key moments in her life to see if there’s hope for her future. I think we’d all cringe if we had to go back to those times we’re much happier to forget about so we can sympathise with our likeable heroine as she faces this ordeal. Mind you, she’s getting guidance and support from the handsome Josh, so it’s not all bad news by a long shot.

The characters we meet are varied, fun and fascinating. And in a few cases cautionary – I’m now determined not to turn into Hattie’s mother, even though, like every mum, would love to see their children happily settled!

The plot, simple but very effective, works extremely well, with plenty of humour to keep it lively.

In summary, this is an extremely enjoyable feel-good read and divine romantic comedy!

 

Author bio:

Prior to turning her attention to writing, Debbie Viggiano was, for more years than she cares to remember, a legal secretary. She lives with her Italian husband, a rescued pooch from Crete, and a very disgruntled cat. Occasionally her adult children return home bringing her much joy… apart from when they want to raid the fridge, or eat her secret stash of chocolate. Follow Debbie’s (intermittent!) blog: www.debbieviggiano.blogspot.com Tweet @DebbieViggiano or look her up on Facebook!