blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Blitz: The Automobile Assassination – M.J. Porter


Erdington, September 1944
As events in Europe begin to turn in favour of the Allies, Chief Inspector Mason of Erdington Police Station is once more prevailed upon to solve a seemingly impossible case.
Called to the local mortuary where a man’s body lies, shockingly bent double and lacking any form of identification, Mason and O’Rourke find themselves at Castle Bromwich aerodrome seeking answers
that seem out of reach to them. The men and women of the royal air force stationed there are their prime suspects. Or are they? Was the man a spy, killed on the orders of some higher authority, or is
the place his body was found irrelevant? And why do none of the men and women at the aerodrome recognise the dead man?
Mason, fearing a repeat of the cold case that dogged his career for two decades and that he’s only just solved, is determined to do all he can to uncover the identity of the dead man, and to find out why he was killed and abandoned in such a bizarre way, even as Smythe demands he spends his time solving the counterfeiting case that is leaving local shopkeepers out of pocket.
Join Mason and O’Rourke as they once more attempt to solve the impossible in 1940s Erdington.
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MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh
to Eleventh-Century England, as well as three twentieth-century mysteries. Raised in the shadow of a building that was believed to house the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia, meant that the
author’s writing destiny was set.

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My thoughts: this was a good old-fashioned whodunnit, with an intriguing victim – a man with no identifying documents or even clothes, found bent double near the airfield in wartime. Easy to see why Mason and O’Rourke look closely at the RAF stationed there.

Theres other strange goings on too, someone is tampering with the AA’s road side boxes, and there’s still a case Mason doesn’t even want to be investigating to be resolved – Jones would love the counterfeiting case.

But there’s more crime than coppers, so Mason, aided by the very resourceful O’Rourke (not limited to filing and tea making as sadly female police officers really were for a long time) to solve all of these cases and identify the mysterious dead man in order to return him to his family and find his killer. Highly 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.

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Blog Tour: Suicide Thursday – Will Carver

If words could kill…

Eli Hagin can’t finish anything.

He hates his job, but can’t seem to quit. He doesn’t want to be with his girlfriend, but doesn’t know how end things with her, either. Eli wants to write a novel, but he’s never taken a story beyond the first chapter.

Eli also has trouble separating reality from fiction. When his best friend kills himself, Eli is motivated, for the first time in his life, to finally end something himself, just as Mike did…

Except sessions with his therapist suggest that Eli’s most recent ‘first chapters’ are not as fictitious as he had intended … and a series of text messages that Mike received before his death point to something much, much darker…

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series and the critically acclaimed, mind-blowingly original Detective Pace series that includes Good Samaritans (2018), Nothing Important Happened Today (2019) and Hinton Hollow Death Trip (2020), all of which were ebook bestsellers and selected as books of the year in the mainstream international press. Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Goldsboro Glass Bell Award 2020 and Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for Guardian Not the Booker Prize, and was followed by three standalone literary thrillers, The Beresford, Psychopaths Anonymous (both optioned for TV) and The Daves Next Door. He lives in Reading with his family.

My thoughts: another strange adventure inside the psyches of some more Carver characters. This time Eli, who can only write first chapters, Jackie, his girlfriend, and Mike, his best friend.

Leading up to and away from Mike’s terrible, tragic death, Eli struggles with what kind of person he is, hates his awful, soul destroying job (reminiscent of Office Space) and keeps planning on dumping Jackie. Who’s cheating on him, and visiting a confessional every week to appease her guilt.

Mike’s death makes them both feel guilty, and wonder whether they could have stopped it. But someone has been nudging him along, will his phone reveal their identity? And what’s with the two Teds in the coffee shoppe next door?

With little references to other Carver books for the careful reader, and clever little moments where you wonder just what’s real and what’s maybe in Eli’s head, like his invisible therapist, this is another clever, twisty turny book from one of my favourite authors.

*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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Blog Tour: A Murder at the Castle – Chris McGeorge

King Eric is dead. And when the motive is succession, murder is a family affair…

During a violent snowstorm, the Royal Family gather at the Castle for a traditional Christmas together. Amid rumours that he plans to name a new successor, King Eric stands to make his traditional after-dinner speech. He sips from a glass of his favourite whisky- and drops dead.

The king has been poisoned, and only one of the royals could have done the deed. Trapped by the raging blizzard, it is up to Eric’s beloved head chef, Jonathan Alleyne, to play detective and get to the bottom of this heinous crime.

Jon is determined to expose the truth, even if it puts him in grave danger, and threatens to shake the entire monarchy to its core…

My thoughts: this was a really interesting and fun read. Set in an alternate world where Edward VIII didn’t abdicate (and married someone else), his son (?) Eric is king. The Royals are gathered for Christmas at Balmoral. Until after a huge lunch, the king dies.

The only staff on site are a security guard, who’s a bit too full of himself, and chef Jon. He’s tasked by the family to solve the crime. But can he? And will they tell him the truth?

I liked Jon, he seemed like a nice guy stuck in a horrible situation – he had a good relationship with the king, his boss, but the rest of the family are fairly grim. Over entitled and pretty toxic when together.

This was an enjoyable, country house style mystery, with the castle snowed in and the suspects all in one place, Jon’s not quite Poirot but he does a good job with the information at hand.

*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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Blog Tour: The Coming Darkness – Greg Mosse

Paris, 2037. Alexandre Lamarque of the French external security service is hunting for eco-terrorists. Experience has taught him there is no one he can trust – not his secretive lover Mariam, not even his old mentor, Professor Fayard, the man at the centre of the web. He is ready to give up. But he can’t.

In search of the truth, Alex must follow the trail through an ominous spiral of events, from a string of brutal child murders to a chaotic coup in North Africa. He rapidly finds himself in a heart-thumping race against chaos and destruction. He could be the world’s only hope of preventing THE COMING DARKNESS . . .

My thoughts: this was a really interesting, thought provoking geopolitical thriller set in the near future. Some countries have pursued isolationist policies, but others, in this case, France among them, are more connected than ever, sharing resources, energy (mostly renewable) and battling enemies that mean to bring them down from the inside.

Cyrenia is a breakaway new country, formerly part of Libya. They are very close to France politically and it is a French intelligence agent who puts the pieces together. Connecting the opening of a new satellite base in the desert near the border with the isolationist Egypt, to a conspiracy involving murdered children and corpses tattooed with a sequence of letters in several locations across France.

Alex is a brilliant agent, but in hunting the people behind this conspiracy he is hampered by someone interfering with his comms, by not seeing all the details and by his mother being ill. People close to him are both involved and at risk, and time is running out.

Absolutely gripping and intelligent, this sends a shiver down the spine at the thought of what a terrorist group with this kind of reach could do – they could completely destroy what we know and bring in the coming darkness. Hopefully a real Alex could stop them in time!

*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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Blog Blitz: For Richer For Deader – Helen Golden

Is the Wedding Between Sir Hewitt Willoughby-Franklin’s Step-Daughter and Billionaire’s Son Off?
Rumours are that the recent death of Kelley Lindsell (29), the personal chef of tycoon Rudy (68) and Sheri Trotman (65) at Sir Hewitt’s Fawstead Manor country estate in Fenshire, has spooked Sybil
Bransgrove (36) so badly she’s considering cancelling her nuptials.
Meanwhile the bride and her mother, Lady Grace (61), are being supported by family friend Lady Beatrice (36), the Countess of Rossex, who, alongside her business partner Perry Juke, is currently
managing the project to refurbish the Manor House and Lodge on the estate.
Not again! Now that Lady Grace has asked Lady Beatrice to liaise with the police during the investigation into Kelley’s death, she’ll have to cooperate with boorish Detective Chief Inspector
Richard Fitzwilliam whether she likes it or not. Her only relief will be solving the murder with the help of her friends Perry and Simon and her dog Daisy to get rid of him faster. But with so many wedding party guests staying on-site, any one of them could be the killer. Can they find out who it is before Sybil calls off the wedding…

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Hello. I’m Helen Golden. I write British contemporary cozy whodunnits with a hint of humour. I live in small village in Lincolnshire in the UK with my husband, my step-daughter, her two cats, our two
dogs, sometimes my step-son, and our tortoise.
I used to work in senior management, but after my recent job came to a natural end I had the opportunity to follow my dreams and start writing. It’s very early in my life as an author, but so far I’m loving it.
It’s crazy busy at our house, so when I’m writing I retreat to our caravan (an impulsive lockdown purchase) which is mostly parked on our drive. When I really need total peace and quiet, I take it to a
lovely site about 15 minutes away and hide there until my family runs out of food or clean clothes.

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My thoughts: this was a second fun and enjoyable outing for Lady Beatrice and Perry. Doing the interiors for her mother’s friend Lady Grace gets them embroiled in another murder case and once again DCI Fitzwilliam is sent to solve the case, involving as it does celebrity, aristocracy and Lady Bea. A series of threats left with dead animals ends in murder and chaos as someone is trying to stop Lady Grace’s daughter Sybil from getting married. But are the threats and the murder connected? There’s a lot of secrets to find out and sort through.

Obviously the duo of Bea and Perry are aided by Perry’s ex-detective turned writer and cook Simon’s knowledge and connections but so much of what they learn comes from Bea asking awkward questions and her connection to the family. People do seem very happy to tell her things. Accompanied by her terrier Daisy, she’s determined to solve the case so Sybil’s wedding can go ahead without more drama. Tremendous fun and very cleverly done.

*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: Chaos at Carnegie Hall – Kelly Oliver

New York, 1917. Notorious spy, Fredrick Fredricks, has invited Fiona to Carnegie Hall to hear a famous soprano. It’s an
opportunity the War Office can’t turn down. Fiona and Clifford are soon on their way, but not before Fiona is saddled with chaperon duties for Captain Hall’s niece. Is Fiona a spy or a glorified babysitter?
From the minute Fiona meets the soprano aboard the RMS Adriatic it’s treble on the high C’s. Fiona sees something—or someone—thrown overboard, and then she overhears a chemist plotting in
German with one of her own countrymen!
And the trouble doesn’t stop when they disembark. Soon Fiona is doing time with a group of suffragettes and investigating America’s most impressive inventor Thomas Edison.
When her number one suspect turns up dead at the opera and Fredrick Fredricks is caught red-handed, it looks like it’s finally curtains for the notorious spy.
But all the evidence points to his innocence. Will Fiona change her tune and clear her nemesis’ name? Or will she do her duty? And just what is she going to do with the pesky Kitty Lane? Not to mention swoon-worthy Archie Somersby . . .
If Fiona’s going to come out on top, she’s going to have to make the most difficult decision of her life: the choice between her head and her heart.
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Kelly Oliver is the award-winning, bestselling author of three mysteries series: The Jessica James Mysteries, The Pet Detective Mysteries, and the historical cozies The Fiona Figg Mysteries, set in
WW1. She is also the Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is bringing new titles in the Fiona Figg series to Boldwood, the first of
which, Chaos in Carnegie Hall, will be published in November 2022.

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My thoughts: I hadn’t read the previous books in this series, but it doesn’t matter, it works just fine as a standalone or as the beginning of Fiona’s collaboration with Kitty Lane.

Sent to New York on the trail of a German spy, Fiona becomes embroiled in several murders, a different potential spy, Thomas Edison, suffragettes, Dorothy Parker’s Algonquin set and escorting her boss’ annoying neice to college. She’s accompanied by the devoted, if long suffering, Clifford, rather against her will. And her beloved Archie keeps popping up everywhere – is he a double agent?

With a wardrobe full of disguises, some subterfuge, a cute but not fully toilet trained dog, Poppy, and some help from a crinkly concierge, Fiona decides to untangle all the various threads, solve the murders, and of course find out what Frederick Fredericks is up to. She might even get to enjoy the sights of the Big Apple.

Lots of fun, and a bit silly, full of real famous names, and some artistic licence, this was an enjoyable historical crime caper.

*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: To Steal the Sun – S.M. Carter

ToStealtheSun copy

We’re so excited about this one! Check out To Steal the Sun, a thrilling heist fantasy by S.M. Carter!

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To Steal the Sun

Publication Date: October 11th, 2022

Genre: Adult Fantasy/ Heist Fantasy/ POC/ LGBTQ2+ Representation
3 DANGEROUS rogues. 2 nations at WAR. 1 IMPOSSIBLE heist. Ocean’s 11 meets Game of Thrones. From one of the creators of WARFRAME!

THE KICKSTARTER SENSATION THAT WAS OVER 700% FUNDED.

When Raik, the most cunning smuggler this side of the desert, finds where the Ivory King vaults his magical runes—he builds a crew to execute an elaborate heist.

Among them is Kahli Mahanta, a religious assassin with blind ambition. A young rogue, Kirin, with wit sharper than his arrows ought to be. And Amara, the so-called Nightspirit, whose raven-hair conceals even darker secrets.

It won’t be easy. They’re opposed by the curved blades of the magic-deranged, watched by a paranoid king, and hunted by gaunt beasts that click in the cold desert night… All the while discovering that trusting each other might be the most dangerous mission of all.
To Steal The Sun is a tale of unlikely heroes thrust together in a new refreshing fantasy. One cast in vibrant silks, fragrant spice, and the relentless glare of a radiant sun.

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Raik

Raik never used to plan. Now it was all he did. And he was particularly proud of this plan. If it worked, he’d have his own personal thief.

As he walked, he calculated every step along the prison path. He’d been in places like these many times over his years. They always smelled of blood, stale sweat, and piss. This time, he was a guest, but the stink didn’t care how he came to be there.

Raik followed a white-cloaked and hulking rune knight through the humid tunnel system beneath the main building. Behind him trailed a guard and the lieutenant warden of General Revard Zol Prison.

The granite corridor narrowed and twisted, an umbilical cord leading them into the womb of the structure. The lower they descended, the higher the temperature. Raik tugged at the high neck of his red cloth coat, giving his skin room to breathe. He mopped his brow with the back of his hand and scratched at his thin beard.

“This would be an ominous walk,” he said. “I mean, if not for the wonderful company.”

The rune knight turned, armor groaning under the white cloak, and hissed, “Shut it, smuggler.” His breath smelled sickly sweet, a signature of those who used runes. As a devotee of Harkan, the man’s head was “cleansed.” The roots of his hair were seared out, and where his ears would normally be, were two white scared nubs that contrasted with his bronze skin—all in homage to the knighthood’s founder. Idiots. Harkan was no one worth imitating.

Raik faked calm disinterest at the knight’s words, but inside, his repulsion grew. The knight’s appearance conjured memories he’d rather avoid, but worse, it aroused a desire to kill. Kill the knight and take the runes no doubt embedded in his sword hilt. But his rules wouldn’t allow it.

Never kill.

Never use runes lest they use you.

They were simple, and they worked.

“Pick up the pace,” the knight growled. Raik concentrated on his rules because his desires screamed the opposite. Luckily, they reached their destination before his concentration ran out. The corridor led them to a larger room dimly lit by four braziers that emphasized the darkness rather than banishing it. Each of the three walls had a wooden door reinforced with iron bands sitting in their center. Sobbing drifted from the right door while a rhythmic snapping sound akin to a thick branch breaking, overshadowed it from the left.

Raik, along with the lieutenant and guard, followed the knight to the chamber’s center. From there, he was able to see the engraved images on the doors. The old Jaru gods. A rhino head for Kartajani, a crocodile for Sorasku, and a panther for B’sashti.

“Is this—”

The lieutenant interrupted him. “Yes the three doors of Zol do exist. One for each of the hells Kith buried the old gods in.” He snickered and spread his arms wide. “See for yourself.”

Raik resisted glaring at the man. “My lucky day.”

“Just open it,” the knight said through gritted teeth.

The lieutenant warden leaned against the entrance and unhooked a massive key ring from his belt. The multitude of keys varied in lengths and metals. He sorted through them quickly and found a smaller ring that contained only three keys, one for each of the doors of torture. Under the intense scrutiny of the rune knight’s glare, the lieutenant’s hands trembled. He dropped the ring. The keys clinked to the ground, and the guard—who was not a guard but Raik’s disguised apprentice—moved to pick them up.

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About the Author

S.M.Carter

S.M. CARTER is an author and game developer.

As an author he has contributed to multiple comic anthologies and writes the ongoing graphic novel, AARDEHN, with artist Eric Vedder. As a game developer, he is credited as creative director of THE DARKNESS 2, and is one of the creators of the smash-hit game WARFRAME.
He lives in London, Ontario, Canada with his wife and two children.
He once caught a fly with chopsticks.

S.M. Carter

My thoughts: this was a fun, fantasy heist with an interesting cast of characters – the smuggler, his apprentice, the assassin, the thief and the man who really runs the kingdom. They all have very different motives for agreeing to steal the rival country’s collection of magic rune stones. But not everything goes to plan, so new plan!

This was a very entertaining and enjoyable read, I liked the gang and their various takes on life, as well as how their individual stories wove together, and the links between them that they discover, good and bad. I have high hopes for the next book.

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*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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Blog Tour: Urgent Matters – Paula Rodriguez

A train crashes in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, leaving forty-three people dead. A prayer card of Saint Expeditus, the patron saint of urgent matters, flutters above the wreckage.

Hugo, a criminal on the run for murder, is on the train. He seizes his chance to sneak out of the wreckage unsuspected, abandoning his possessions – and, he hopes, his identity – among bodies mangled beyond recognition.

As the police descend on the scene, only grizzled Detective Domínguez sees a link between the crash and his murder case. Soon, he’s on Hugo’s tail. But he hasn’t banked on everything from the media to his mother-in-law getting in the way.

My thoughts:this is a short book but it packs a real punch as Hugo, suspected of murder, is involved in a terrible train accident. He escapes from hospital and goes into hiding, sort of.

His partner and daughter have no idea if he’s even survived and his mother-in-law sees an opportunity to get herself on TV. Seeking Hugo (but not for any particularly altruistic reasons) her family are suddenly all over the news, and the impact on Marta and her daughter is carefully and cleverly revealed.

This is an intriguing and complex narrative, peopled with a cast of newsreaders, sisters, assistants and stray dogs. A slice of unreal life really. Very interesting and 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.

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Blog Tour: The Stars Undying – Emery Robin

LOYALTY, LEGACY AND BETRAYAL…

Princess Altagracia has lost everything. After a bloody civil war, her twin sister has claimed not just the crown of their planet Szayet but the Pearl of its prophecy, a computer that contains the immortal soul of their god. Stripped of her birthright, Altagracia prepares to flee the planet – just as Matheus Ceirran, Commander of the interstellar Empire of Ceiao, arrives in deadly pursuit. Princess Altagracia sees an opportunity to win back her planet, her god, and her throne . . . if she can win over the Commander and his distrustful right-hand officer, Anita.

But talking her way into Commander Matheus’s good graces, and his bed, is only the beginning. Dealing with the most powerful man in the galaxy is almost as dangerous as war, and Altagracia is quickly torn between Matheus and the wishes of the machine god that whispers in her ear.

For Szayet’s sake, and her own, Altagracia will need to become more than a princess with a silver tongue. She will have to become a queen as history has never seen before – even if it breaks an empire.

A spectacular space opera debut perfect for readers of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice and Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire, inspired by the lives and loves of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar.

My thoughts: I only really know about Cleopatra and Julius Caesar from Shakespeare and a few other places but I do remember a few things like the carpet delivery and the incredible description of the royal barge Shakespeare lifted wholesale from a historical record.

Inspired by their romance and Caesar’s political machinations, this turns countries into planets and those clever Romans into the Empire of Ceiao, conquerors of the cosmos and bickering members of the Council.

There are a lot of political intrigues and plots, with various figures from antiquity becoming a new version. Marc Anthony becomes Anita – Ceirran’s right hand woman, but with blood just as hot as the original.

It’s all very cleverly done and you don’t really need to know anything about the notorious Egyptian Queen and her Roman lovers to enjoy it or get to grips with the sci fi and magical elements.

*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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Blog Tour: Legends & Lattes – Travis Baldree

High Fantasy with a double-shot of self-reinvention

Worn out after decades of packing steel and raising hell, Viv the orc barbarian cashes out of the warrior’s life with one final score. A forgotten legend, a fabled artifact, and an unreasonable amount of hope lead her to the streets of Thune, where she plans to open the first coffee shop the city has ever seen.

However, her dreams of a fresh start pulling shots instead of swinging swords are hardly a sure bet. Old frenemies and Thune’s shady underbelly may just upset her plans. To finally build something that will last, Viv will need some new partners and a different kind of resolve.

A hot cup of fantasy slice-of-life with a dollop of romantic froth.

My thoughts: this book is a lot of fun. Viv is a great protagonist. All she wants to do is hang up her sword and open a coffee shop, but trouble has a way of finding her.

So she makes some new friends and deals with the trouble, gets her coffee machine working, and is in business. There’s also some time for romance and delicious baked treats! If you’re a regular fantasy reader you can play spot the tropes and enjoy the way they’re turned upside down in this funny, entertaining read.

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