The Three Locks by Bonnie MacBird

Blurb….

The year is 1887 and an Indian Summer broils London and Cambridge. A mysterious impregnable box arrives for Watson, locked and with a secret from his past. Then a famous escape artist/conjurer fails to unlock his “cauldron” and burns to a crisp during a performance at Wilton’s Music Hall.  And in Cambridge, three suitors including a priest, an aristocrat and a young physicist vie for the love of a spiteful beauty, who vanishes after her lookalike doll is found dismembered in the Jesus Lock on the River Cam. The cases convolve as Holmes and Watson tangle with clergy, police, academics and scheming siblings, risking life and limb to solve the murders and to keep the innocent from the gallows.

My thoughts….

As a massive Holmes and Watson fan I couldn’t resist the chance to read this! I’ll admit that I was a wee bit sceptical that this would feel like a true Sherlock story however I am pleased to say that my scepticism was unwarranted! From the first page I was sucked in, by the end of the first chapter I was hooked! The Three Locks has everything – murder, mystery, magic, love and deductions!
Holmes and Watson take on a few cases and as the title suggests all involve locks of sorts, a magician/escapist locked in his own “trick”, a girl found drowned in the Jesus Lock and a box bequeathed to Watson that doesn’t seem to be openable.
Fast paced, full of intrigue and a pleasure to read the adventure with true Sherlock essence – highly recommended and I cannot wait to read the first three in the series.

Thank you to Bonnie MacBride, Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for the free copy in exchange for an honest review. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Bonnie MacBird was born and raised in San Francisco and fell in love with Sherlock Holmes by reading the canon at age ten. She now lives in London and Lost Angeles. Her long Hollywood career includes feature film development at Universal, the original screenplay for the movie TRON, three Emmy Awards for documentary writing and producing, numerous produced plays and musicals, and theatre credits as an actor and director. In addition to her work in entertainment, Bonnie teaches writing at UCLA Extension, as well as being an accomplished watercolourist.

She is active in the Sherlockian community in both the UK and the US, and lectures regularly on Sherlock Holmes, writing, and creativity.

Bonnie’s previous three Sherlock Holmes adventures are: Art in the BloodUnquiet Spirits and The Devil’s Due. Her books are now available in 17 languages worldwide.

For further information about Bonnie MacBird visit: http://www.macbird.com  

Twitter:@macbird / Instagram: bmacbird

Facebook: SherlockHolmesAdventureSeries

Secret Places by Heather Peck

My turn on the blog tour ☺️ 😁


Blurb…

Goat farmer, cheese maker and weaver Tristan Smith is working on her North Yorkshire smallholding when a chance visit by archaeologists exposes a skeleton in an abandoned WW2 bunker. But it’s not a wartime casualty.

Tristan becomes involved in the search for the truth about her predecessors, as DI Greg Geldard follows a trail from North Yorkshire to the Norfolk Broads. He is seeking justice for a long dead victim; but another casualty is hunting for a new life and a safe place to start again.

My Thoughts…

A skeleton found in an old WW2 bunker – a bunker that’s been used as a dumping ground for dead sheep and cattle over the years.  How and when did the body get there?  Who hid it?  A very promising start to a murder story.

I enjoyed the characters of Tristan, Rachel and in particular Bristo.  I was a bit disappointed that Tristan didn’t feature more in the story as I felt that she would have been a strong lead character in solving the crime.  Rachel selling up and starting her life over on a barge, looking for a slower paced fresh start, an escape from her previously abused life – will she fall into the same patterns as before?

A quick enjoyable read with an unexpected, disturbing yet satisfying conclusion.  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My thank yous to @annecater from @randomttours, @silverwoodbooks and of course @heatherlydia1 for allowing me to review #secretplaces

I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Please check out the following blog posts too….

What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson


Blurb

When everything you love is in danger, how long can you keep running to survive?

Life can be brutal
Winter in Idaho. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.

Jack knew it
Jack Dahl has nothing left. Except his younger brother, Matty, who he’d die for. Their mother is gone, and their funds are quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care, or find the drug money that sent his father to prison.

So did I
Ava lives in isolation, a life of silence. For seventeen years her father, a merciless man, has controlled her fate. He has taught her to love no one.

Did I feel the flutter of wings when Jack and I met? Did I sense the coming tornado?
But now Ava wants to break the rules – to let Jack in and open her heart. Then she discovers that Jack and her father are stalking the same money, and suddenly Ava is faced with a terrible choice: remain silent or speak out and help the brothers survive.

Looking back, I think I did . . .

Perfect for fans of Patrick Ness, Meg Rosoff and Daniel Woodrell, What Beauty There Is an unforgettable debut novel that is as compulsive as it is beautiful, and unflinchingly explores the power of determination, survival and love.

My Thoughts

Their mother made a choice, their father in prison – Jack and Matty are on their own. Home gone, little money, food and possessions Jack will do anything to keep his brother safe including from social services. With little choices left Jack visits his dad in prison to ask for help – will he tell him where he hid the money?
The relationship between the two brothers is truly heartwarming to read, you can feel the love that they have for each other. When Ava arrives into their lives they both feel like maybe they have someone who actually wants to help them, more importantly someone who cares!

Reading this book was hard due to the nature of the story, it truly is tragic, heartwarming, heartbreaking and many more emotions all rolled into one! I feel like I will be thinking of these two brothers for time to come. As a debut novel by Cory Anderson I have no doubt that anything further she writes – I will be itching to read!

My thank yous go to – #thewritereads, #coryanderson, #penguinbooks for the opportunity to read and review. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Author

Cory Anderson is a winner of the League of Utah Writers Young Adult Novel Award and Grand Prize in the Storymakers Conference First Chapter Contest. She lives in Utah with her family. What Beauty There Is is her debut novel.

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Twitter: @coryanderwrites

Website: https://coryanderson.us/

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

Amazon UK Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Beauty-There-Cory-Anderson/dp/0241441714/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=what+beauty+there+is&qid=1616251655&sr=8-1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44779579-what-beauty-there-is?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=cy9S5ruE50&rank=1

The Takers and Keepers – Ivan Pope

It’s my turn for the blog tour for Ivan Pope’s dark and troubling book The Takers and Keepers. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A strong 4 stars from me.

BLURB

Where do the disappeared go? 

The girls and women who vanish, seldom to resurface.

Allen Kimbo, a freelance reporter, believes there is a network of men who guard their “taken” and keep the silence that surrounds such deeds. 

An email lures him to Eastern Europe, to a meeting of the Takers and Keepers. 

His girlfriend, Emily, pleads with him not to go. 

In Belgrade more is revealed than he had thought possible. 

Back at home, Emily is missing.

My Thoughts

At 187 pages this is one of the shortest books I’ve read in a while however it really managed to pack in a lot of story. A very dark and disturbing topic of human trafficking and “kept” people.
Allen – journalist and ex-convict – met a few shady characters during his time spent in prison. His journalism style revolves around mainly kidnappings and missing people. When he is anonymously sent a video showing a woman and two children being kept in a basement he is quickly obsessed with finding out who sent it and why.

Disturbingly the book reads like it could be of real life, the “takers” discussing their trade as if their “kept” are simply possessions and of no consequence. The taken – so void of hope of emerging back into the real world.

Not an easy read due to the subject matter however, very thought provoking and it delves into a world most of us try to ignore exists. Definitely one for crime fans, not one for those easily upset by tragedy.

Please check out the other stops on the tour below.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ivan Pope is a writer, artist and long-distance cyclist who lives in Brighton. 

He graduated from Goldsmiths College Fine Art BA with the YBA generation and was involved with a number of early internet developments in the UK and across the world. 

He invented the cybercafe at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts and founded the world’s first web magazine, The World Wide Web Newsletter. 

He has taught at art colleges in London, Newport and Brighton. 

He is now a writer of fiction and creative non-fiction. 

He is currently undertaking a PhD in creative non-fiction at Plymouth University.

Twitter @Ivan007

You can buy your copy at – Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Takers-Keepers-Where-Do-Disappeared/dp/1838057919

The Ex – Diane Saxon


Blurb…

As a heat wave grips the country, DS Jenna Morgan is called to a domestic incident at the home of a young family in Ironbridge.

Pregnant Imelda Cheetham-Epstein has been found unconscious by her husband, Zak with serious head injuries. 

When Jenna arrives on the scene, she discovers something even more disturbing – the couple’s eleven-month-old son, Joshua, is missing and the race against time begins to find him.

Is this an accident or something more sinister?

Are the two incidents linked?

Or has something in the Cheetham-Epstein’s past caught up with them?

My Thoughts….

I was not aware that this was a part of a series involving DS Morgan however I found this to be just as good as a stand-alone.  There were parts where previous cases were mentioned that piqued my interest and as this is my favourite genre – my tbr list just grew! 

Zak’s wife was attacked, left for dead and their 11 month old son was kidnapped – DS Morgan comes on the scene to try to find out what happened – was it domestic abuse or something more sinister?  Although we find out from the beginning who the culprit is and the reasoning behind her actions it’s interesting to see how the police come to their conclusions.

I did figure out the twist quite early into the book – just a couple chapters in however I still found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable and thrilling read. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Diane Saxon for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Ugly Girl, Sweet Nectar

Blurb…


After spending a lifetime of living a secluded life, Alessa journals her experiences as she embarks on a quest to live a more colorful life of “Shoulds” instead of “Should Nots”. She courageously emerges from her hermit cave and re-enters the dating scene when a rude awakening unexpectedly detours her journey down a path of self-reflection to examine her character flaws, self-image issues, and what caused them.

Compelled to find answers, Alessa digs deep to unearth her past, and discovers a scathing childhood of abuse and trauma. At the same time, she is faced with the seemingly impossible duty of taking care of the abusers – her parents. Both suffer from rare and merciless diseases. With the help of her best friend, some random acquaintances, and a few auspicious fortune cookies, Alessa learns to heal herself, and finds the fortitude needed to forgive her parents so she can see them through their illnesses to the bitter end.

Entwining pain, strength, and humor, Ugly Girl, Sweet Nectar is an inspirational and intimate story about the power of survival, forgiveness, and resilience. It candidly explores the devastating effects of childhood trauma on the human spirit; how it shapes one’s emotional life as an adult, and subconsciously affects every aspect of it – relationships, parenting, body image, and more. It speaks unflinching truth to the turbulent process of healing, and how the process can repair even the most unimaginable wounds.

My thoughts….

Written in the form of an almost memoir, based on true life but also a work of fiction.  However you would describe the genre/type of book – I thought it was a highly emotional read!  Our heroine Alessa journals her early lifetime experiences which gives us an insight into the hows and whys of her now introverted and almost secluded lifestyle.  Alessa decides to get herself out there but finds it difficult to at first.  

I love the way this has been written – present time with the journal entries being written to give us a view of her past.  At different times of the book I found it to be happy, sad, funny, infuriating and at other times disturbing.  

A first for me from D.D. Kaye, I found this to be very well written and a truly beautiful story overall.  Highlighted to me the importance of love, acceptance, forgiveness and beliefs.  

Would highly recommend.  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you D.D. Kaye and @booktasters for allowing me to review.

The Foreign Girls

Thank you Random tours, Bitter Lemon Press and of course Sergio Olguin for allowing me to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ From me.


Blurb….

Veronica Rosenthal has retreated to a cousin’s remote cottage in the province of Tucuman, to recuperate from the traumatic events in The Fragility of Bodies. She befriends two female tourists -an Italian and a Norwegian — invites them to stay and starts a sexual relationship with one of them. After a party they attend together, Veronica travels on alone but days later discovers that the women have been murdered. Suspicion falls on a local Umbanda priest, but Veronica starts to uncover a web of corruption, abuse and femicide in which government, wealthy landowners and a high-ranking official from the Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’ are all implicated. Veronica’s investigation, with its unforeseen political dimensions, has alarmed new enemies who will try to stop her at all cost.

When journalist Veronica Rosenthal’s friends are found murdered she makes it her personal mission to discover what happened and who was involved.  Veronica soon found that similar ritualistic murders had happened in the past going back a few decades, will she make those involve pay?

My thoughts ….

My first book by Sergio despite this being the second book in the series.  I did enjoy most of the book, I particularly enjoyed learning more about the culture and terms I’d previously never heard of.  I wanted to like Veronica – she did come across as quite a fierce and powerful woman however there was just something about her I wasn’t too keen on – hard to pin down what.  

For me there were a few too many unnecessary sex scenes which I did not feel added to the overall book – it felt like they were just added in.  Having said that I am sure there are many that this would appeal to.  

I do think that the book was well written and the overall story had a good plot, the book ended well with a satisfying conclusion.

His Hidden Wife by Wendy Clarke

Blurb –

Maya was just six years old when she witnessed her mother plunge to her death on the cliffs near their house…

Everyone in town said it was a mercy that she remembered so little. But there are some things Maya has never forgotten: that her mother was beautiful and kind, and she loved Maya very much. It’s what her father Stephen always tells her, about his perfect wife.

Years later, Maya still lives with her father in their cliffside home. Thankful for all the sacrifices he has made for her, she never pushes to find out what happened the night he lost the woman he loved. Even when she hears the whispers in town about him, and what they say he’s done.

But then Stephen introduces Maya to his new girlfriend Amy, and Maya starts to feel uneasy. With her soft dark hair and big blue eyes, Amy looks just like Maya’s mother. The more time they spend together the more Maya notices just how similar they are. And the tune Amy hums whilst cleaning the dishes is the same lullaby Maya’s mother sang to her when she was a little girl…

A thrilling and twisty tale, His Hidden Wife will keep you up all night, desperate to race through to its final conclusion. Readers of Gone Girl, The Couple Next Door and Lisa Jewell will be hooked.

My Thoughts –

I had heard nothing but good things about Wendy Clarke’s books from fellow book worm enthusiasts so of course I jumped at the chance to read this one.  

Full of suspense, keeps you guessing from the start, the twists were unforeseen – what more could you want from a psychological thriller?

Maya having a lapse in her memory from when her mum died and at points later in her life kept me intrigued.  At various points in the story I was suspecting different characters.  I love how memory was a bigger theme throughout the book also.

Overall I loved it, this had me guessing throughout and even to the last few pages were more revelations.  If you’re a fan of thrillers like me then don’t miss out!

Finally – 

My thank you to the ladies from Bookouture Publishers who allowed me to review this book and of course a massive thank you to Wendy Clarke – I look forward to reading more from you. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

You can buy your copies here – 

Amazon: https://bit.ly/2GvvRrK

Apple: https://apple.co/3l1jJO7

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2HU5UTx

Google: https://bit.ly/2TSPmxh

Red Corona


Tim Glister’s debut book – hopefully there will be more. A break from crime thrillers for me and was quite refreshing. The book revolves around the space race in the 1960’s between the USA, Britain and Russia to send messages through space.
Characters from MI5, KGB and CIA make this espionage thriller an exciting read and gives us a small insight into how the countries worked both against each other, against themselves in some case and occasionally together to aid their own goals.
I enjoyed the Knox character who is obsessed with finding moles within the MI5, he teams up with a wannabe CIA agent who believes that women could be more of an asset to the spy network.

Overall I truly enjoyed this book which included quite a bit of historical fact mixed with of course the embellishments to make the story enjoyable.
Highly recommended and a quick read.

Thank you to Tim Glister, Point Blank publishers and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for allowing me to join the tour.

Single Mother

Today is my turn on the blog tour for Samantha Hayes newly released Single Mother.

I really tried to take my time with this book but found it a very addictive read.
Mel – a single mum to Kate – is a hardworking carer who has to scrape every penny she has together to try to keep their heads above water. Overdue bills, lack of food shopping, relying on charity shop finds to clothe themselves Mel is struggling. Tragically Mel also suffered an abusive ex (Kate’s dad) and was abandoned on a train as a baby and brought up in foster homes. She has one friend and confidant – Michael – who also was brought up in care.
Mel sacked from her job for theft thinks she has failed her daughter and worries for their future until a letter lands on her doorstep – a letter stating she is to inherit not only a large sum of money but also a hotel. Things were looking up! Even with strict instructions on how the property was to be updated, it couldn’t be sold and the strange demand that she was to allow an unknown lady to continue to live there free with meals etc all included Mel jumped at the opportunity to better their lives.


This book is full of tragedy, loss, hope, love and discoveries – both good and bad. I loved Mel as the main character – I am full of admiration of how fierce a mother she truly is – doing all she can to help her daughter and keep her safe. The characters were all written really well, you learn more with every page.

Overall I give this book 5⭐️ there’s not much I would change. I was surprised with the twists and one I really didn’t see coming which for me is rare! Fantastic read and highly recommended.