blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Where The Lightning Goes – Jackary Salem

After a powerful wizard tears Elle’s soul apart and steals her memories, she’s locked in a house to rot. Her only remaining memory is of falling from the sky, though even that raises more questions than it answers. Upon her escape, she falls into a world that’s equal parts vicious and beautiful. Magic is everywhere, everyone is out for themselves, and every truth is accompanied by a lie. Her lack of memories grows maddening and painful. She’s positive that the key to recovering her memories is in the sky-castle from her dreams, but getting there will require magic she doesn’t have. Traversing an enchanted painting, stealing a sword from a dragon’s den, and outwitting a demon are only the beginning. And this time, she’s got more than freedom and memories on the line.

Without magic, there is no survival.

Goodreads Storygraph

Jackary Salem is a fantasy author from Kingsport, Tennessee. She majored in neuroscience at Berea College with equal emphasis in biology and psychology. Her passions are writing, editing, and her cat, Chihiro. She’s currently working as a full-time author and developmental editor. To connect with Jack, you can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, email her at , or sign up for her newsletter at

My thoughts: This was an interesting read, I liked Elle, her determination to get answers and find her memories, learn magic and find out where “home” was. Her bickering accomplices – wizard Adair and his heart turned person Leslie, who teach her magic and try to encourage her, were also fun. A lot happens very quickly and you have to keep up as Elle escapes various obstacles and prisons, aiming to reach the castle in the sky, while being pursued by a demon who serves the castle’s master.

A fun adventure fantasy story for younger teen readers who liked Percy Jackson or similar books.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Book Review: The Fall – Gilly Macmillan

Be careful what you wish for…
Nicole and Tom’s lives are changed overnight by a ten-million-pound lottery win. Before they know it they’ve moved into a state-of-the-art Glass Barn conversion in the stunning grounds of Lancaut Manor in Gloucestershire.

But their dream quickly turns into a nightmare when Tom is found dead in the swimming pool, with a nasty wound on the back of his head.

Someone close to home must be responsible. But other than the young couple who live in the Manor, and their housekeeper in the Coach House next door, there’s no one around for miles.

Who among them is capable of murder?

 Gilly Macmillan is the New York Times bestselling and Edgar-nominated author of What She Knew, The Perfect Girl Odd Child OutThe Nanny, To Tell You The Truth and The Long Weekend. She grew up in Swindon and studied at Bristol University and The Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She has worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery and has been a lecturer in photography. She now writes full-time and lives in Bristol.

 @GillyMacmillan #TheFall @CenturyBooksUK

My thoughts: this was a really clever, gripping take on the everyone is a suspect, isolated manor house mystery of the Golden Age. While it could have been a stranger, it’s very unlikely. So it has to have been one of the four people living in the isolated spot. And the neighbours are super weird – something very strange is going on in their house. The police need to dig deeper but don’t seem too bothered.

However Nicole is determined to find her husband’s killer and gets drawn into the Manor’s strange threesome while trying to find the truth.

There were lots of gasp out loud moments and twists and turns as Nicole learns about the three entwined lives next door and tries to work out who did it and why Tom died.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for a review but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Second to Sin – Murray Bailey

“It only takes a second to sin,” Father Thomas said. He believes in saving souls, but Charles Balcombe is beyond saving. His control over his killer instinct appears to be weakening. BlackJack has killed again and more questions are being asked of Detective Inspector Munro. He is under increasing pressure to solve the murders, especially when he picks up more cases from Kowloon rather than solving his own.
As Balcombe battles with his demon, he investigates the death of a young woman. Was it an accident or did she kill herself? At first Balcombe thinks it’s straightforward but as he digs, other cases reveal an evil in Hong Kong. One that could consume them all.

Set in 1954, this is book 2 of the series. It can be read as a stand-alone but the author recommends book 1 (Once a Killer) first.
Perfect for fans of Chris Carter, David Baldacci and Tom Wood.

My thoughts: Balcombe is asked to look into a supposed suicide by a friend, the young woman was a Catholic and the scene felt odd. She wasn’t depressed and the last thing she’d done was take confession.

While he’s digging into her life and finding other suspicious deaths of young women, Inspector Murdo has his hands full. He’s looking into a cold case where a little girl went missing, and trying to keep another detective from getting too close to the BlackJack killings – he doesn’t need anyone to connect too many of the dots.

Balcombe is starting to lose control of BlackJack, the most recent killings have been extra brutal and he messed up slightly, leaving a clue that Munro’s colleague picks up on. Could it all get too hot for the unlikely pair?

There was less Albert in this book, which was a shame, but the cases Munro and Balcombe worked on were interesting and shocking, especially Balcombe’s – you won’t guess the ending at all. This series gets better with each book and is currently free on Kindle Unlimited.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Death at the Three Sisters – Jo Allen

Death at the Three Sisters
Three feuding sisters. A faded spa. And a woman, dead in the water…
As they head towards retirement, Suzanne, Hazel and Tessa Walsh are locked in bitter disagreement about the future of the lakeside beauty spa they jointly own. Should they keep The Three Sisters
going as their parents wished, or should they sell to a neighbouring hotelier who seems determined to acquire the failing business, even at a preposterously high cost?
When their employee, Sophie Hayes, is found drowned close to the spa one cold January morning it rapidly becomes clear that it’s no accident: Sophie has been murdered. But who could possibly want
to kill her — or was she mistaken for someone else? As DCI Jude Satterthwaite seeks the answers he and his team dig ever deeper into the complicated and embittered relationships between the sisters and their neighbours.
As the investigation proceeds Jude becomes convinced that Sophie’s murder may only be the beginning. It’s not long before a shocking and tragic turn of events proves him correct and he and his
team find themselves in a race to prevent a further, final tragedy overtaking the Three Sisters. Can he uncover what deadly secrets the sisters are prepared to die — or kill — for, or will he be too late?

Jo Allen was born in Wolverhampton and is a graduate of Edinburgh, Strathclyde and the Open University, with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in geography and Earth science. She’s been
writing for pleasure and publication for as long as she can remember. After a career in economic consultancy she took up writing and was first published under the name Jennifer Young, in genres of
short stories, romance and romantic suspense. She wrote online articles on travel and on her favourite academic subject, Earth science. In 2017 she took the plunge and began writing the genre she most likes to read — crime.
Jo lives in the English Lakes, where the DCI Satterthwaite series is set. In common with all her favourite characters, she loves football (she’s a season ticket holder with her beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers) and cats.

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My thoughts: I really enjoy this series and in this installment Jude’s colleague Ashleigh comes to the fore a bit more as Jude is trying to remember he’s a DCI and shouldn’t be the one interviewing suspects – as his frosty boss keeps reminding him. I liked getting to see more of the team doing the heavy lifting of the investigation, especially the women.

This book and the case is all about family. Siblings especially, and controlling parents. The three sisters who run the eponymous spa, overlooking one of the Lakes, have a very complicated, messy relationship. Their parents built the business and left it and the family home divided equally between their three daughters.

And now, they’ve had enough. Or at least two of them have. Eldest, Susanna, wants everything to stay the same, she’s very like their late mother and controlling with it. But Hazel and Tessa want to see more of life, and are pushing back.

When their only employee, Sophie, is found in the lake, attention turns to the messy Walsh family. And an unexpected blast from the past complicates things. Do the answers lie in the sisters’ difficult dynamic? Jude and Ashleigh certainly think so.

Another excellent read from Jo Allen, I was kept guessing, and there were plenty of twists to have you gasping out loud. Good stuff.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Outback – Michael Davies

The Sequel to Desmond Bagley’s DOMINO ISLAND

Insurance investigator Bill Kemp had never wanted to trek deep into Australia’s remote interior. But when his clients Sophie and Adam Church inherit an abandoned opal mine, triggering some explosive long-lost secrets, they – and Kemp – find themselves facing an unknown enemy even more deadly than the vast, forbidding wilderness of the Outback…

The Desmond Bagley centenary novel honours the legacy of the bestselling thriller writer with a new adventure featuring Bill Kemp, described by Jeffrey Deaver as ‘part James Bond, part Philip Marlowe, and all hero’. Writer Michael Davies, who completed the first Kemp novel Domino Island for publication nearly 40 years after the author’s death, now weaves an original tale of danger and death under the blistering Australian sun.

Michael Davies began his career as a newspaper journalist and editor and a professional theatre critic. Since moving into fiction, his writing has appeared on stage, screen, radio, the printed page and online. His debut play won a national competition, and subsequent work includes Tess – The Musical, an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles. He is a lifelong Desmond Bagley fan, and in 2019 reworked one of Bagley’s abandoned drafts into the highly acclaimed novel Domino Island.

Desmond Bagley was a multi-million-copy selling author of 16 adventure thrillers. Moving to South Africa after WW2, his transition from unskilled printer’s apprentice, aircraft engineer, mine worker, photographer and author.

My thoughts: this was really good, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Bill Kemp was a fantastic protagonist, brave, a little foolhardy, clever and persistent. Even when the odds seem stacked against him – the Australian landscape, the weather, a plane with a gunman in it, slashed tyres, he never lets up trying to get to the bottom of this knotty inheritance.

Helping out an old friend by looking into the life of an old man who lived in the middle of nowhere, nearest town Coober Pedy (the note on how the name is the mispronunciation of the Aboriginal name did make me chuckle – typical white people) who never went anywhere and whose opal mine was worthless, but apparently worth killing over.

His niece Sophie (lovely) and her new husband (very annoying) have come over from the UK to see her inheritance. But as things start to happen, from threatening notes to an awful hit and run, Sophie doesn’t turn tail, she digs in. The results are explosive. Turns out someone really doesn’t want her to inherit.

The writing hooked me straight in, from the Sydney harbour to the unforgiving Outback itself, the geography of Australia is mind-boggling. The place is huge. But why is someone so obsessed with a chunk of desert? There was a lot of action, and several suspicious people around but the final twist – did not see that. You won’t either.

I know this was to carry on the legacy of Bill Kemp’s original creator, Desmond Bagley, but I think Michael Davies has a great character here who could go places and I hope there’s more to come.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Love & Other Scams – PJ Ellis

Cat has a dangerously dwindling bank balance. She also has:

· a month before her landlord kicks her out
· a surprise wedding invitation from rich mean girl, Louisa
· a secret talent for con artistry

A priceless jewel the size of a cocktail olive is glinting on Louisa’s finger. And when Cat meets her ideal plus one, Jake – who’s gifted at hustling and posing as the perfect boyfriend – this wedding becomes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After all, how hard can a diamond heist be?

PJ Ellis is a journalist who writes for Men’s Health, GQ and Teen Vogue, covering relationships, pop culture and LGBTQ+ issues. He lives in Birmingham and tweets  @Philip_Ellis.  Love & Other Scams is his first novel.

My thoughts: this was a lot of fun. From the very first moment when Cat swipes a drunken lech’s wallet at a wedding, I knew I was going to enjoy this book. With two chancers out to swipe a very expensive diamond from the finger of Cat’s old uni pal Louisa (whose fiance calls her “Wee” – no, yuk, cringe) on her wedding day, this is a tremendously enjoyable, funny, clever book.

Cat’s 30 and going nowhere fast, no proper job, no home of her own, no partner. And she’s feeling like a failure – I felt for her and empathised big time. Teaming up with fellow thief Jay is the perfect way of distracting herself from her life and hopefully making enough money she never has to worry again. It helps that he’s gorgeous, charming and has a really great mum.

They pull some audacious stunts – the stealing of the 3D printer is inspired. And I just had a ball reading this. It could definitely be a series as these two heist and scam their way around the world, but it’s also great as it is. The story of two people with little to lose who aim to pull off an outrageous theft. And fall in love. As you do.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Ones Who Are Hidden – Kerry Wilkinson

‘Your tattoo… it’s exactly like mine.’ She hesitates. ‘But – I’ve never noticed it before. I must have had it since I was little.’ The ink markings on both of them are delicate, barely visible. Interlinked triangles in the shape of a daisy. But how can two strangers have matching tattoos, they didn’t know they had?

With their parents gone and nobody left to ask, when Georgia and Oliver first come to amateur sleuth Millie Westlake for help with their daisy-shaped markings she thinks the tattoos are a joke. A funny, if unusual, link between two strangers. In the seaside town of Whitecliff, stranger things have happened – especially to Millie herself.

But then Millie finds an artist who remembers giving someone the same tattoo twenty years ago. Someone who spent years hiding in the isolated woods outside Whitecliff – the same place unidentified bodies were once found…

Even as Millie gets closer to answers, she witnesses a shocking robbery that changes everything. And as whispers of what happened in the woods decades ago become louder, how much danger will Millie, Georgia and Oliver put themselves in, to uncover the mystery of the daisy-shaped markings and the dark truth about their pasts?

This gripping and character-driven mystery read is perfect for fans of Faith Martin, Ann Cleeves and LJ Ross.


Audio: UK US

Listen to a sample here

Kerry Wilkinson is from the English county of Somerset but has spent far too long living in the north. It’s there that he’s picked up possibly made-up regional words like ‘barm’ and ‘ginnel’. He pretends to know what they mean.

He’s also been busy since turning thirty: his Jessica Daniel crime series has sold more than a million copies in the UK; he has written a fantasy-adventure trilogy for young adults; a second crime series featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter and the standalone thriller, Down Among The Dead Men.

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My thoughts: another weird case for Millie and Guy in Whitecliff Bay, a town i am very glad is fictional. This time it’s a strange tattoo on the back of two complete strangers’ ears that leads to a cult that used to exist in the woods outside town. The cult ended in fire and death but a few ex-members exist and someone must have some answers.

Meanwhile Millie’s personal life is still a mess – she wants custody of her son and is willing to exploit her ex-husband’s secrets to get it, and she needs to confront a friend about the email that outed her affair. Her friends Jack and Rishi are on the outs and even Guy’s acting a bit strangely. His late wife’s obnoxious nephew Craig is hanging about and after cash.

Then there’s the shop robbery Millie witnessed, the police think they have their man, but Millie’s not convinced – and neither is the man’s girlfriend. So of course Millie’s going to investigate.

With all of this going on, life’s never quiet, and Millie doesn’t have much appetite despite all the food she seems to be around, I wish people would randomly bring me a bakery’s worth of treats. Though I don’t get Luke’s toast thing still. And we still need answers about Millie’s parents. Roll on the next weird and brilliant Whitecliff Bay mystery.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Italian Rules – Tom Benjamin

Italian Rules is the fourth in Tom Benjamin’s critically-acclaimed Bologna-set series featuring British private detective Daniel Leicester. 

When Hollywood comes to Bologna, La Dolce Vita turns sweet murder…

A famous Hollywood director arrives in Bologna to remake a cult film and the city’s renown cinema archive decides to mark the occasion with a screening of the original, only to discover it has disappeared. After English detective Daniel Leicester follows the trail of Love on a Razorblade to an apparent murder-suicide, he begins to suspect there may be more at stake than missing negatives – could the film contain a clue to one of the city’s most enduring mysteries? Together with a star from the forthcoming remake, Daniel moves from the glamour of Venice Lido to the depths of Bologna’s secret tunnel system as a sinister network closes in and he learns some people are ready to kill for the ultimate director’s cut.

Tom Benjamin grew up in the suburbs of north London and began his working life as a journalist before becoming a spokesman for Scotland Yard. He later moved into public health, where he led drugs awareness programme FRANK. He now lives in Bologna. Follow Tom @tombenjaminsays on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

My thoughts: while this is the fourth book in a series, it can be read as a standalone or you can tuck into the whole series.

I love the recent proliferation of crime novels set in Italy, this one in Bologna – at the famous film archives (or at least a version of them) where the negatives of a classic of the giallo genre has gone missing. Do the archives have a thief in their midst or is something much bigger going on?

A remake is due to be shot in conjunction with the director’s family – indeed the new director is married to the great-niece of the original, and is a fan. But the family have secrets, and some of those might be on the missing film.

While hunting down the negatives, and almost getting killed, PI Daniel Leicester finds a couple of bodies and squires a glamorous American actress around town, waiting for the other shoe to drop. His Italian relatives are on hand to help out with the investigation, although his sister-in-law is about to give birth and his daughter Rose is a little starstruck.

The case becomes more complicated and complex as he digs, and about a lot more than just a missing film. Secrets, dodgy dealers of Nazi memorabilia, affairs of the heart and a link to a truly strange real life case are all woven in to this clever and twisting series of crimes. Very enjoyable.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Scarlet – Genevieve Cogman

In Revolutionary France, the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel rescue vampire aristocrats from the guillotine. And Eleanor, an English maid, is key to their most ambitious plot yet: save the royal family. But revolution’s a bloodthirsty business . . . Scarlet is a thrilling, fast-paced romp by Genevieve Cogman.

My thoughts: what if all the aristocrats (or most of them) were vampires and the French Revolution was against them as well as the human kind?

Eleanor works for a vampire aristo in England, who lends her to another – Sir Percy Blakeney and his wife due to her resemblance to a very important French woman they plan to rescue. Because Percy and his friends are the infamous Scarlet Pimpernel!

However Eleanor gets frustrated with their short sighted approach to things – rescuing those poor, innocent aristocrats, from the ungrateful poor, and not realising that some of the aims of the Revolution are positive. Because she’s working class, a maid, she has a very different perspective.

But she’s still willing to help them with the plan, and risk her own life, as she does several times, to help others in France.

Hijinks ensue as the team get into character and then end up in the sewers, as part of their escape. Can Eleanor succeed? Will she convince even one of the Pimpernel’s crew that not all of the Revolution’s ideas are bad?

This is the first in a trilogy from one of my favourite writers and I really enjoyed it, can’t wait for the next installment.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Body at Carnival Bridge – Michelle Salter

How deadly is the fight for equality?
It’s 1922, and after spending a year travelling through Europe, Iris Woodmore returns home to find a changed Walden. Wealthy businesswoman Constance Timpson has introduced equal pay in her
factories and allows women to retain their jobs after they marry.
But these radical new working practices have made her deadly enemies.
A mysterious sniper fires a single shot at Constance – is it a warning, or did they shoot to kill? When one of her female employees is murdered, it’s clear the threat is all too real – and it’s not just Constance in danger.
As amateur sleuth Iris investigates, she realises the sniper isn’t the only hidden enemy preying on women.

Michelle Salter is a historical crime fiction writer based in northeast Hampshire. Many local locations appear in her mystery novels. She’s also a copywriter and has written features for national magazines. When she’s not writing, Michelle can be found knee-deep in mud at her local nature reserve. She enjoys working with a team of volunteers undertaking conservation activities.

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My thoughts: Iris Woodmore has returned from her travels around Europe and is trying to fit back into her old life in Walden. But things have changed, her father’s got a girlfriend, her friends have moved on with their lives, and she doesn’t have a job anymore. After finding the body of a young woman in a canal barge, she’s drawn into another complicated and complex case.

Taking in several concerns of note to the times; from women working, returning injured servicemen, the new freedoms afforded to women, changes in fashion (Iris has bobbed hair and trousers!), it’s a tricky case. There’s a lot more going on around the biscuit factory than just baking!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.