Synopsis

The sequel to S. W. Ellenwood’s debut novel, The Janitor and the Spy, picks up six months after Thomas Thornhill’s nightmare mission in Amsterdam. On his own, he now goes under the alias of Jack Montferrand and seeks to gain entry into the oldest and most dangerous triad in Asia to find Them.

On the inside, he finds the triad not as stable as he thought, forcing him to win their trust and prove his worth to them at every turn as new rivals sprout up. He plunges his hands deeper into the filth, and himself deeper into the alias of Jack, so much so that he starts to wonder where Thomas ends and Jack begins.

 

My reviews

This is another fast-paced, snappy thriller that carries on from where The Janitor and The Spy left off. It’s largely set in Hong Kong where our hero Thomas, going by the name of Jack Montferrand, needs to infiltrate one of the triads in order to continue to track down ‘The Twelve’ whom he learned about in the first novel. His ex-boss, who died at their hands as did Thomas’s fiancé, gave him a name as a lead to find them, and this is what Thomas is working on. It’s not going to be straightforward and it’s bound to be painful, if not deadly.

The author has a light, easy style, with touches of humour, but he can create horror and tension just as well. He’s obviously done a lot of research and creates a very convincing setting for the action, down to details of ethnic food the characters eat. The characters in question are interesting and rounded, and we get a good idea of what makes them tick, particularly Thomas.

Punchy and enjoyable, definitely one to read if you enjoy contemporary thrillers. There’s doubtless a lot more to come from this talented author.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dragon-Lumberjack-Thornhill-Book-ebook/dp/B07JFCHTD4

US – https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Lumberjack-Thornhill-Book-ebook/dp/B07JFCHTD4

Author Bio

S. W. Ellenwood is thankful to have a close-knit family of two parents, a brother, and two sisters. A homeschooler who graduated college from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, Ellenwood loves all forms and genres of stories and was inspired by The Lord of the Rings films and his parents to write. You can find Ellenwood writing his next novel at the local coffee shops or playing table top games with his best friends.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/swellenwood

Website: http://www.swellenwood.com/

 

Synopsis

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach…

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans. But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home… And someone is watching… Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.

 

My review

This is a book that will probably push you out of your comfort zone. It certainly did with me. Too many books like this and I’d be losing my faith in human nature! The book is very darkly ingenious and intensive, and makes for a very original if challenging read. It’s worth the effort, though, as it’s very entertaining and will totally grip you.

We have a cast of damaged characters. The punchy storyline varies between these different people, which adds yet another layer of wariness and menace to the novel that’s already full of it. They all have secrets, that range from shady to downright murky, and are the sort of people you’d be well advised to run away from should you encounter them in a dark alley!

The book is full of energy, and also surprises. Even in an unpredictable book, we like to think we have an idea what might happen next. You don’t have a hope in this one. The author’s creativity knows no bounds and he leads us a macabre, merry dance.

If you fancy a book that’s definitely unique, blackly quirky and which will leave you plenty to think about, then this is one for you.

 

About the author

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

 

The book is published by Orenda Books and is available in all Amazon stores as an ebook and paperback, and also as an audiobook.

 

 

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Today I’m thrilled to be helping get the blog tour for Five Ladies Go Skiing off to its start.

Synopsis

A delightful new novel of love and friendship from Karen Aldous…

Ginny is alone now after losing her husband, so her friends (her F.L.O.W.E.R.S) decide with his first memorial imminent, learning to ski in the Swiss Alps would be a great distraction for her. What Ginny’s friends fail to add into the equation however, is their own distractions! The baggage they carry with them not only threatens their skiing but scales mountainous emotions throughout the trip. The questions then are…can their friendships survive, and can Ginny ever trust enough to love again?

 

My review

This is a bustling book, with lots of action and plenty of emotion. Our five ladies are all mature, and have accumulated plenty of figurative bumps and bruises along the way, and now may accumulate some physical ones as they meet for a skiing holiday. Their goal is to support recently widowed Ginny but they all have need of a break for one reason or another. And then there’s a threat to their close friendship to contend with too.

We see the family backgrounds to our main characters of Ginny, Angie, Kim, Cathy and Lou. Five is quite a lot of balls to keep in the air, but the author does it beautifully. Each gets the attention they deserve and plays their role to the full. They’re distinct and so there’s no confusing who’s doing what, and which one’s which. Five makes for plenty of variety. Between them they present many of the problems familiar to women of a certain age – loss, health problems, flagging libido, regrets – but with optimism and energy, thus sending a message that there’s hope for us all!

The Christmastime action is festive and fun, but not without tension and a few tears. Our five valiant ladies all discover something about themselves, and go home richer and better people.

This is an extremely enjoyable, touching and entertaining book, most definitely to put on your ‘TBR before Christmas’ list!

Purchase Links

http://mybook.to/FiveLadiesGoSkiing on Amazon worldwide

Five Ladies Go Skiing on ibooks

Five Ladies Go Skiing on Kobo

Five Ladies Go Skiing on NOOK

Author Bio

Karen Aldous enjoys village life on the edge of the north-downs in Kent with easy access to the buzz of London. Not only does she love the passive pleasures of reading and writing, she also craves the more active pursuits with her family and friends such as walking, cycling and skiing especially when they involve food and wine!

Much of Karen’s inspiration comes from her travels and meeting people. The UK, France, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and parts of the USA and Asia are just some you will experience in her books to date. However, wherever she goes, new characters emerge in ‘Karen’s World’ screaming at her to tell their stories; past or present. She loves to write about strong independent women who can direct their own lives – but struggle to control them! And, of course there’s always a gorgeous hunk or two!

See more… http://www.karenaldous.co.uk/about-me/

 

Social Media Links –

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KarenAldous_

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

 

And hooray, there’s a giveaway!

Giveaway – Win 5 x Paperback copies of Five Ladies Go Skiing (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –Please note prize will be distributed once the paperback is available (published 13th December).  UK 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/33c69494163/

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Synopsis

Erin and Heather Douglas are struggling. Their mother’s death has left a void in their family and everyday life has side-lined their dreams.

Erin has buried herself away in the family home and left her stage career. By hiding away, she is evading the pain of returning to London and the acting world where her ex-fiancé is enjoying success and a new relationship. When she meets charismatic Texan Jackson McGee, she wrestles with her feelings for him. Should she trust another man?

Heather is juggling babies, work, a rocky marriage and running on wine. An overheard conversation makes her wonder if husband Mark would cheat on her.

Can the sisters help one another to face their fears, dust off and revive those dreams and find joy in life?

 

My review

This is such a delightful book. There is so much happening – a mother dying early, a miscarriage, alcoholism, postnatal depression, an extra-marital relationship. But don’t panic! If that makes this book sound heavy and pretentious, it absolutely isn’t. These various problems are there but handled gently and subtly woven into the plot, rather than shoved in the reader’s face. It adds so much richness to what’s already a beautifully written and touching story.

It’s a book largely about the excuses we make for ourselves and our loved ones when we know that either we or they are not behaving the way they should. ‘My sister’s the one with all the free time since she’s unemployed so she can look after Mum on her own.’ ‘I don’t have time.’ ‘I know I shouldn’t but I deserve another drink.’ ‘Where’s the harm in flirting with another woman – my wife’s so busy with the new baby.’  ‘I can’t face doing that today because I’m tired.’ And so on. We’ve all convinced ourselves we’re doing the right thing when we know we’re not, and the characters in the novel are no different.

It’s also about family relationships, those all-pervasive bonds that support yet can also shackle us. Erin and Heather spar and argue, like so many sisters, but they love each other deeply. Their brother Fraser is well-meaning and kind, but now much help. Families have their ups and downs, and we some storms being weathered in the novel until a balance is found.

Our heroine, Erin, is sweet and sympathetic, but not a pushover by any means. She shows strength and resolve, and we see her blossom in the novel. The hero, Jackson, is exactly the sort of man we want him to be, a foil to the unpleasant Damien who’s presence is felt throughout.

So much to enjoy and relish in this touching story.

 

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barn-Buried-Dreams-When-daylight-ebook/dp/B07GY3YFQ7

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Barn-Buried-Dreams-When-daylight-ebook/dp/B07GY3YFQ7

Author Bio

Chrissie, 2016 winner of the Romantic Novelist’s Elizabeth Goudge writing trophy, is a seasoned tea drinker and a tenacious trainer of her welsh terrier, Oscar. She has always loved match-making a book to a reader. Writing the kind of book she loves to read takes this a step further. When Chrissie is not writing or reading, you will find her walking Oscar on the beach, trying to avoid the gym and spending time with her family and friends.

Her new release, THE BARN OF BURIED DREAMS – when will they see daylight?, is a contemporary story about two sisters who are struggling after the death of their mother. It starts in Dunleith, the same Northumbrian setting as her debut novel ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’, and some characters cross both books. Readers can enjoy either book as a stand alone

Chrissie enjoys tweeting to readers on @ChrissieBeee
Her instagram account is chrissie_bradshaw_author
Her blog is newhenontheblog.com
and she has a Chrissie Bradshaw author page on Facebook.
She would love to hear from readers

 

And hooray, there’s a giveaway!

A giveaway. A read, a cuppa and a treat.

Win a Paperback copy of ‘The Barn of Buried Dreams’, limited edition mug featuring both of Chrissie Bradshaw’s  novels and  a box of fresh macarons delivered from ‘Urban Cakehouse’.  (Open to UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK 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/33c69494162/

 

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The Fourth Victim

Whitechapel is being gentrified. The many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of peace, tranquillity and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder.

Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Matthew Merry, but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight. And, it looks as if the inspector is already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with head injuries, down to a mugging gone wrong. The victim deserves more. However, the inspector isn’t ruling anything out – the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer.

 

My review

This is a carefully written police procedural with a strong sense of place. London oozes out of every sentence and is created in detailed imagery. It’s not always pleasant but cities have their blemishes. There’s also the added dimension of mental health issues in the form of Dissociative Identity Disorder, which is dealt with sensitively although we see the devastating consequences it can have in this novel.

The author gets inside his characters’ skins. We see how and why they annoy each other, why they’re attracted to people they know they shouldn’t be, how they’re crippled by grief, driven by the desire for justice, as the case may be. The human interest level is always there, which sometimes isn’t the case in procedurals where it’s all about unmasking the villain. The author admits to being a ‘people watcher’ and that comes through very clearly. He creates real people, warts and all.

The plot’s an interesting one, particularly with the element of DID as part of its complexity, and it’s particularly clever how we have three dead bodies, yet indisputably four victims. A nice touch.

The Fourth Victim is an absorbing novel that will appeal to readers who enjoy solving crimes alongside fascinating protagonists.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fourth-Victim-John-Mead/dp/1912575361/

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-fourth-victim/john-mead/9781912575367

Author bio

Born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estates ever built, I was the first pupil from my local secondary modern school to attend university.

I have travelled extensively during my life from America to Tibet. I enjoy going to the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that I am an avid ‘people watcher’ and love to find out about people, their lives, culture and history.

Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in my novels are based on real incidents and people I have come across. However, I have allowed myself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.

 

Social Media Links 

Amazon author profile: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07B8SQ2ZH

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JohnMeadAuthor

Goodreads profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17891273.John_Mead

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The Janitor and the Spy by S W Ellenwood

Synopsis

Baby wipes are not the best at cleaning up blood, or what happened to Thornhill in Amsterdam.

They told Thornhill it would be a simple spy mission that he was more than eager to take on, but of course, it wasn’t.

It didn’t take long after meeting the contact for Thornhill to question if he or anyone else connected to him was going to be able to make it out of Amsterdam alive. Passing strangers on the streets became potential hitmen and dinner with criminals became a safe haven as Thornhill seeks to find answers from an old man named Golay.

 

My review

I must start with an apology to the author and the book tour organiser. I’m a day late posting this review due to a date muddle entirely on my part. I shall make sure not to be so organisationally challenged again.

This is a snappy and energetic read, high on intrigue. Our hero, Thomas Thornhill, is a seasoned spy but even he is a little daunted by this latest mission. He is to retrieve some papers from an old contact, but things don’t go to plan. The contact, Golay, gives him the runaround, a colleague disappears and even Thornhill’s minder seems to be at risk.

I especially like how details about Thornhill emerge indirectly as the novella proceeds. For example, he’s a bit particular about what he eats and it’s important to him to look the part. He also reveals a softer side that’s not been completely hardened by his line of business. He will kill if he needs to, but he can show compassion to those that deserve it.

Thornhill travels from America to Amsterdam, where all the excitement starts, then back to America but his work isn’t over yet. There are some super twists, and some poignancy, at the end, which definitely leave the reader wanting to find out what’s going to happen next.

We meet an interesting cast of characters, all nicely delineated and memorable. The settings are persuasive and detailed, and very atmospheric. The plot is well thought out and lively. In summary, a snappy, enjoyable read.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Janitor-Spy-Thornhill-Book-ebook/dp/B013KNYGVC/

US – https://www.amazon.com/janitor-spy-thornhill-book-ebook/dp/B013KNYGVC/

   

Author bio 

S. W. Ellenwood is thankful to have a close-knit family of two parents, a brother, and two sisters. A home-schooler who graduated college from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, Ellenwood loves all forms and genres of stories and was inspired by The Lord of the Rings films and his parents to write. You can find Ellenwood writing his next novel at the local coffee shops or playing table top games with his best friends.

Social Media Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/swellenwood

Website: http://www.swellenwood.com/

 

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for this exciting thriller today. So grab your passport and a bulletproof vest and join me for a ride across Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

Synopsis

The Failsafe Query is a gripping thriller set in the contemporary world of modern British espionage.

Sean Richardson, a disgraced former intelligence agent, is tasked to lead a team to search for Alfie Chapman, an Intelligence officer on the cusp of exposing thousands of secrets to the media. This includes a long lost list of Russian moles embedded since the Cold War, one of whom remains a public favourite in the British parliamentary system.

The action moves with absorbing pace and intrigue across Central Asia and Europe as the puzzle begins to unfold through a deep hidden legacy.

Tense, fast paced, and insightful, The Failsafe Query twists and turns to a satisfyingly dramatic finale.

 

My review

With many thrillers, the emphasis is all the action which leaves us with cardboard cut-outs as characters, and rather bare writing. However, that’s not the case at all with this super thriller. Everyone we meet is a fully developed and convincing person, and some of the descriptive imagery in this book is searingly apt and, at times, beautiful.

Sean Richardson is a tough, scarred man but he’s still apprehensive when dealing with some of the ruthless people  he has to. He’s not gung-ho. He’s doing what he’s doing because it’s the right thin to do but he’s aware how dangerous and probably foolhardy it all is.

Melissa Morgan, an investigative journalist who crosses paths with Sean due to their connections with the elusive Alfie Chapman, is another strong character, but she has her weaknesses too. When they combine forces they make quite a team.

Alfie, the would-be mole, is a complex person too. He’s going through mental torture, and isn’t at all the sort of selfish, arrogant person we might consider a whistle-blower to be.

The action is fast-paced, just as it should be, and the plot’s extremely clever, with twists and turns you definitely don’t see coming. Thoroughly absorbing.

There’s a handy glossary at the back so that you’re not puzzled as to what terms such as ‘Great Game’ and ‘Line N’ might mean.

In summary, this is a very accomplished novel. The political and physical background to the action has obviously painstakingly researched, and the author has created some fascinating characters and scenarios for us to relish.

Purchase  Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Failsafe-Query-Michael-Jenkins-ebook/dp/B07DWDTNTW

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Failsafe-Query-Michael-Jenkins-ebook/dp/B07DWDTNTW

Author Bio –

Michael Jenkins served for twenty-eight years in the British
Army, rising through the ranks to complete his service as a major. He
served across the globe on numerous military operations as an intelligence
officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance
disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal
Engineers.

His experiences within the services involved extensive travel and
adventure whilst on operations, and also on many major mountaineering
and exploration expeditions that he led or was involved in.
He was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical
Society for mountain exploration and served on the screening committee
of the Mount Everest Foundation charity.

He was awarded the MBE on leaving the armed forces in 2007 for his services to counterterrorism.

The Failsafe Query is Michael’s first novel. He has started work on
his second spy thriller, The Kompromat Kill, and hopes to publish it
the spring of 2019.

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/FailsafeQuery

https://www.facebook.com/thefailsafequery/

https://www.michaeljenkins.org/

 

Giveaway – Win 5 x PB copies of The Failsafe Query & a spy linkage map (unframed) (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/33c69494155/

 

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BLURB:

Tall, dark and handsome, Tom is out to have some fun. Kaisa doesn’t think she’ll ever fall in love again. But when they meet on the snow-capped Swedish Alps, sparks fly.

With his beloved mother passed, Tom is forced to leave his two teenage sons in Milan with his ex and is looking forward to an uncomplicated Christmas skiing in the Swedish Alps.

With her daughter Rosa away backpacking in the Far East, Kaisa decides to take a rare winter break over the holidays with her best friend Tuuli. Now in her late fifties, Kaisa doesn’t think she’ll ever fall in love again. But when she sees Tom after some thirty years, her heart begins to beat a little faster. Kaisa knows, however, an affair with Tom will go nowhere. Years ago, they had a disastrous date, which neither of them wishes to revisit.

Yet, on the slopes and in the apres-ski bars Tom showers Kaisa with his attentions and she finds she cannot resist his intense eyes and passionate kisses.

Can Kaisa trust this European Casanova, and her own sudden infatuation?

The Christmas Heart is a seasonal story of grown-up love set in the beautiful Swedish Alps. It’s the final book in the acclaimed Nordic Heart series, but can also be read as a stand-alone story.

Get this feel-good Nordic holiday romance today!

 

My review

This is a wonderfully Christmassy book and a touching love story. The setting in Finland in the deep snow is beautifully festive, with people skiing and then enjoying warm wine in the evenings in the cosy bars and restaurants.

The cover gets you into the mood beautifully. There’s obviously going to be romance with that loving couple, and there are hints of hygge happiness with the knitted hats and Christmas decorations. Or so I thought until I did some research. Hygge isn’t a Finnish thing: they go for the more down-to-earth pantsdrunk, which is relaxing by drinking alcohol in your undies! However, a warm, enticing Nordic atmosphere is created. All the little details of life in Finland that you find in this book are fascinating.

Our characters are mature, in their fifties and early sixties, making this a work of boomerlit, if you want to give it a label, but it will appeal to younger readers just as well. However, I think the elements of the story that deal with past regrets and loss will resonate more strongly with those of us with a few more years under our belts. Tom and Kaisa were attracted to each other at university, but never acted on that. They met briefly later and had a short fling, but went separate ways again. But now they’ve been set up. Tulla and Ricky, their best friends, have arranged this skiing holiday, not mentioning to either Tom or Kaisa that the other would be there.

Despite herself, Kaisa is instantly attracted to Tom again, but she’s wary. He was a ‘Rich Boy’ back in uni days, and still is, somewhat entitled and extravagant. Is that really the sort of person she wants to be with? And she discovers after a passionate night with him that he has a younger girlfriend. What a mess she’s got herself into. Never again.

But you should never say never…

Tom takes a little longer for the reader to warm to. He’s recently suffered death in the family, and so that wins our sympathy, but like with Kaisa, he has to work to win our affection. He’s a nice guy but, as he admits, he’s no saint, so we’re all going to have to get to know the real him to make our final judgement.

The author tells an engaging story of attraction, stubbornness, misunderstandings and happiness. It’s a gentle story but that’s not to say it’s without emotional tensions, and highs and lows. There’s a nasty accident too, and whilst the outcome of that has long-term consequences, they aren’t necessarily bad…

But I mustn’t give too much away! You must read this atmospheric, sweet yet powerful short novel for yourselves. You’ll be so glad you did! And who can resist the work of someone who confesses to dancing to Abba in secret. I mean, don’t we all?

  • Format:Kindle Edition
  • File Size:3959 KB
  • Print Length:134 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage:Unlimited
  • Publisher:Newhurst Press (25 Oct. 2018)

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-Heart-feel-good-holiday-romance-ebook/dp/B07HRMQ3PZ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1538763247&sr=1-1&keywords=the+christmas+heart+helena+halme

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A prize-winning author, Helena Halme writes contemporary fiction with a hint of both Nordic Noir and romance. She’s a former BBC journalist, bookseller and magazine editor. Originally from Finland where she gained an MSc in Marketing, she also holds an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and writes in English.
Helena acts as Nordic Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors and helps other writers publish and market their books.
Helena has published seven fiction titles, including The English Heart, a best-selling Nordic romance, which won an Awesome Indies badge on publication. The bittersweet 1980s love story between a Finnish student and a British Navy officer is now a series, including a prequel novella, The Young Heart, the sequels The Faithful HeartThe Good Heart and Helena’s latest title, The True Heart, book four in The Nordic Heart Series. Helena has also published a non-fiction title, Write Your Story: Turn Your Life into Fiction in 10 Easy Steps.

Helena is addicted to Nordic Noir and dances to Abba songs when nobody’s watching.

Website: http://www.helenahalme.com/
Twitter :
@helenahalme
Author page on
Facebook
Instagram
@helenahalme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

A quiet English village where nothing ever happens.   Until…..

After her boyfriend runs out on her with the contents of their joint bank account, Kat Latcham has no choice but to return to the tiny Somerset village of Much Winchmoor where she grew up.  A place, she reckons, that is not so much sleepy as comatose and she longs for something to happen to lessen the boredom of living with her parents.

But when she and her childhood friend, Will Manning, discover a body and Will’s father, John, is arrested for the murder, Kat suddenly realises that she should have heeded the saying “Be careful what you wish for”.

Much Winchmoor is a hotbed of gossip and everyone is convinced John Manning is guilty.  Only Kat and Will believe he’s innocent.  When there’s a second murder Kat is sure she knows the identity of the murderer – and set out to prove it.  But in doing so she almost becomes the murderer’s third victim.

Readers of Sue Grafton might enjoy the Much Winchmoor series of cosy murder mysteries spiked with humour and sprinkled with romance.


My review

This is a fast-paced, enjoyable cosy with an added splash of romance – definitely my favourite combination in a book! Kat makes for a lively and very likeable heroine. We really feel for her, forced to return to the mothership for a while and, in so doing, having to relinquish some of her independence. It also means she’ll run into a few people she’d far rather avoid…

Kat sets to and makes the best of things. She helps her mum in her hair salon at first, but then, thankfully for her sanity, gets another job helping out in the local pub. This is what puts her into close contact with what turn out to be some rather dangerous people.

We get a nice portrait of village life in the novel, and the way that everyone knows everyone else, the petty and more serious rivalries, the different personalities. It mays seem stereotypical to have a village busybody, but if you’ve ever lived in a rural setting then you’ll know these people are real! Folk really do talk about each other and it’s a major source of interest what neighbours get up to. Kat uses this knowledge as she begins her hunt for the real killer out there. She’s courageous, but a bit foolhardy at times, but then she’s only human and she’s the sort of person who’ll always give her all.

Paula Williams has a sharp eye for detail, and especially quirks. Her characters all come with foibles and that’s what makes them so real and interesting. The settings are atmospheric, from the bustling, gossipy hair salon to the cosy pub to the strained parish council meetings.

Loads to enjoy in this impressive start of a series.

 

Purchase Linkmybook.to/murderservedcold

About the author 

Paula Williams is living her dream.  She has written all her life – her earliest efforts involved blackmailing her unfortunate younger brothers into appearing in her plays and pageants. But it is only in recent years, when she turned her attention to writing short stories and serials for women’s magazines that she discovered, to her surprise, that people with better judgement than her brothers actually liked what she wrote and were prepared to pay her for it.

Now, she writes every day in a lovely, book-lined study in her home in Somerset, where she lives with her husband and a handsome but not always obedient rescue Dalmatian called Duke.  She still writes for magazines but also now writes novels.  A member of both the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Crime Writers’ Association, her novels often feature  a murder or two, and are always sprinkled with humour and spiced with a touch of romance.

She also writes a monthly column, Ideas Store, for the writers’ magazine, Writers’ Forum, and has a blog at paulawilliamswriter.wordpress.com.  Her Facebook author page is https://www.facebook.com/paula.williams.author . And she tweets at @paulawilliams44.

Not only that, but when she’s not writing, she’s either tutoring, leading writing workshops or giving talks on writing at writing festivals and conferences and to organised groups.  She’s appeared several times on local radio – in fact, she’ll talk about writing to anyone who’ll stand still long enough to listen.

But, as with the best of dreams, she worries that one day she’s going to wake up and find she still has to bully her brothers into reading ‘the play what she wrote’.

 

Social Media Links –

Facebook.   https://www.facebook.com/paula.williams.author

Blog. paulawilliamswriter.wordpress.com

Twitter. @paulawilliams44

Synopsis

Is Max Fabien the loyal secretary and faithful lover of the marquis de Miremont? Or a handsome trickster who regards lying as an accomplishment and any sexual quarry as fair game?

Miremont’s heart tells him one thing, his jealousy another. But his obsessive passion for Max must remain a dark secret. And, when his estranged wife brings their eighteen- year-old daughter to Paris to make her debut, the strain begins to tell.

The once-calm atmosphere of the Hôtel de Miremont swirls with gossip, mistrust and danger and Miremont is faced with an impossible choice.

Meanwhile the secrets of Max’ past continue to haunt him. Has the time has come for him to claim his not-so-rightful destiny?

That Deplorable Boy is the second part the Miremont series, charting the course of a gay love affair between an aristocrat and a former servant in Belle Époque France. Rich in period detail and set in the grand châteaux of Paris and Burgundy, the novels explore the suffocating social codes of the time and the conflicts and perils they bring for those who must live outside them.

 

My review

If you’ve read the first book in this series, The Second Footman, you’ll know what to expect: complex characters, rich imagery and a tale that’s intriguing as well as full of intrigue. And if you haven’t, you’ll soon work out for yourself that Jasper Barry is a fabulous novelist who drags you through many different emotions as you read. This novel works as a standalone since you soon pick up who’s who and what’s what, but it’s a richer read if you’ve read the first novel.

Max and Arnaud enjoy a rather one-sided relationship, but Max never promised loyalty or exclusivity. He puts Arnaud through torture as the older man wants to believe that Max wouldn’t cheat on him, although he knows deep down that he would. He’s on an emotional rollercoaster, exploding with rage at Max, and then full of remorse for acting that way. He’s quite justified, as he’s being given the runaround. But, is the last laugh on Arnaud because for all that Max tells himself he can take the older man or leave him, it’s not actually that simple whenever he tries to leave.

Max isn’t the only one giving Arnaud a hard time. His estranged wife Aline swoops so that their youngest daughter Juliette can have her season in Paris. She proceeds to trample all over Arnaud, gradually getting her way in almost everything. She fills the house with her awful friends, fires faithful servants regularly and spends her husband’s money like water. She begins to monopolise Max too.

Then new troubles surface for Max too that preoccupy him and then take him away from the Miremont home, and shadows from his dark past loom tall over him. He faces some difficult choices.

Max is as absorbing as ever. He’s our hero but he’s a very heroic one. He’s self-centred, self-promoting and will always put his own best interests first. That deplorable boy. But, aptly in his case, deplorable rhymes with adorable. He’s flawed but empathetic, exasperating but fascinating, and the reader will love him one moment but be quite shocked the next. However, for every weakness he shows he has a redeeming feature. He’s a truly wonderful, challenging character.

This novel is very much about jealousy and choices. Arnaud is jealous of Max, who in turn is jealous of Aline’s power over Arnaud, and also Juliette’s. Aline is jealous of her husband’s prestige, and so challenges him when she can. Arnaud is jealous of Max’s friends, and some of them are jealous of each other, and it becomes quite a web. Past and present choices are seen to have long-lasting and drastic consequences for several of the characters we meet.

This novel is another rich tapestry of high society life in France. It appears so elegant and fine on the surface but that’s only a thin veneer over ugliness, hypocrisy and sordidness.

I could go on forever about this totally enthralling novel but I won’t. Far better you start reading it for yourselves than read any more from me!

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/That-Deplorable-Boy-Jasper-Barry-ebook/dp/B07BMZ1VPB

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/That-Deplorable-Boy-Jasper-Barry-ebook/dp/B07BMZ1VPB

Author Bio –

 

Jasper Barry graduated from Cambridge with a degree in English and has worked in

advertising, then in journalism. Jasper lives in London with too many books and three

obstreperous cats.

Social Media Links –

http://jasperbarry.co.uk

https://twitter.com/jasperbarry2?lang=en

https://www.facebook.com/jasper.barry.1

 

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