Blog Tour Review: Find Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

Having already reviewed the previous Willoughby Close books here and here I couldn’t possibly refuse to review this one too.

USE THIS ONE FOR BLOG TOUR

Blurb: Welcome to Willoughby Close… a charming cluster of cozy cottages, each with a story to tell and a happy ending to deliver…

Harriet Lang had the perfect life, so she’s left reeling when everything is taken from her in one fell swoop. Suddenly, Harriet learns her beautiful farmhouse in the Cotswolds is double-mortgaged, her husband Richard’s been unceremoniously fired—and he’s become a little too close to his young, sexy assistant.

Harriet moves into Willoughby Close with her three children, trying to hold her head up high. With the help of her neighbor and newfound friend Ellie Matthews, Harriet starts to rebuild her life–but dipping a toe in the dating pool feels strange and meanwhile her children are struggling in different ways. She wonders if starting over is really possible…

Then Willoughby Close begins to weave its healing magic on both her and her children, and Harriet begins to see a way forward. She even starts to date sexy local vet Tom Roberts–but when Richard reappears in her life, wanting to make amends, Harriet must make the painful decision about how much of the past can be forgiven—and what kind of future she is fighting for.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33832425-find-me-at-willoughby-close?ac=1&from_search=true

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=x_gr_w_bb?tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&index=books&keyword=Find+Me+at+Willoughby+Close

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Find-Me-Willoughby-Close-Book-ebook/dp/B01N2WEG1A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491561937&sr=8-1&keywords=find+me+at+willoughby+close

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My Rating: 4/5

Review: This is another well-told story of change, upheaval and loss and the truth that you don’t always know what you have or who your real friends are until circumstances change and friendships are tested. 
Harriet experiences something that is not uncommon in the current and recent economic climate, financial troubles, which lead to the loss of her home and the life she had built around it. At this point she moves into Willoughby Close and slowly starts to realise that the people she knew were not as they seemed and perhaps her perspective on life has not been as clear as she had previously thought. 

This is another lovely, cosy story from Kate Hewitt on life’s challenges and while it addresses real and serious issues it does so in a way that does not make for heavy reading but at the same time does not dismiss the stress and upheaval that these issues can cause. 

I enjoyed this book as much as the previous two and it was lovely to return to Willoughby Close again and see the area and the people develop further. I hope there are more books in this series as I’m not sure I’m ready to leave Willoughby Close just yet. 

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Author bio:  Kate is the USA Today-bestselling author of over 40 books of women’s fiction and romance. She is the author of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, set in England’s Lake District and published by Penguin. She is also, under the name Katharine Swartz, the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell. Other series include the Emigrants Trilogy, the Amherst Island Trilogy, and the Falling For The Freemans series.

She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women’s fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in the English Cotswolds with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever. You can read about her life at http://www.acumbrianlife.blogspot.co.uk.

Website: http://www.kate-hewitt.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/katehewitt1

Giveaway

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Click on the link below to be in with a chance of winning a paperback copy of Meet Me at Willoughby Close.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/bf633057116/?

 

 

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: Watching You by J.A. Schneider

Having taken part in the cover reveal for this book I am thrilled to now be taking part in the blog tour.  I love strong female detectives and have a soft spot for New York despite never having actually visited it, so when this book popped up in my emails I just couldn’t say no.  So, read on and find out what it’s about and, equally important, what I thought of it…….

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Synopsis:  A serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her.

In the chill of an October night, Detective Kerri Blasco is called to a bizarre murder scene. Leda Winfield, a young volunteer for the homeless, has been shot. Her cell phone displays the frightening text, WATCHING YOU, and into her back, hideously pushed with a hat pin, is a note with the same awful message. Leda’s socialite family and friends insist that no one would have wanted to harm her, but Kerri isn’t convinced.

Until another random young woman is killed in exactly the same way. Kerri and her team profile a monstrous killer who enjoys terrifying his victims before stalking and killing them. But how does he get their phone numbers?

Kerri soon finds that the killer is after her, too, and that the key to finding him may just be in the homeless shelter. When the body count rises, she vows to stop the madman – even if it means battling her own personal trauma, risking her job, her love relationship with her boss Alex Brand, and her life.

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My Rating: 4/5

Review:  Although this is the third book in the Kerri Blasco series it is the first one that I have read.  We begin with the unusual and perplexing murder of a young woman who volunteered for the homeless and who everybody loved, apparently.  It is then that we get our first glimpse of Kerri during this book and it is obvious from her reaction that she is on the side of the victim and appalled at what has happened, but more so how it happened and the fact that the victim was young and female.

While it may have been helpful to have read the first two books before this one I don’t think not having read them put me at much of a disadvantage.  This book moves along at an interesting pace, probably not unlike a real police investigation.  At times it whizzes along because they have a lead or a clue or are racing through the streets because something significant has just happened and at other times the pace is more sedate, not slow, but at a speed which means that you can see the conversations happening between the characters, get different perspectives on the investigation and find out what the witnesses and victims friends and family thought.

The main character in this story is clearly Kerri and though we do get to follow some of the others when relevant most of the story is spent with her, hearing her thoughts and witnessing her actions to try and bring this killer to justice.  Her empathy for various characters is very clear and it is obvious that it is a desire to catch the killer that drives her through the investigation despite a lack of leads at one point.

The writing is good and you get a clear sense of tension in the fast-paced scenes and the frustration of the detectives when they are making little progress also comes across well. I didn’t get as much of a sense of location as I would have liked.  I know how tricky it is to get just the right amount of description and I felt it was done well but perhaps just needed a little more detail at times.

Overall I really enjoyed this book, the good plot, characters and writing made it a pleasure to read.  It’s clear that Kerri is developing over the series, as many characters do and I look forward to seeing her development continue and getting to know her better as the series progresses. 
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Author bio: J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek Magazine. She is the author of the Embryo medical thriller series, and of the Detective Kerri Blasco Police/Psychological Thrillers Fear Dreams, Her Last Breath, and Watching You. She loves to hear from her readers. Her email address is joyce@jaschneiderauthor.net, her website is http://jaschneiderauthor.net, and come say hi on Facebook http://tinyurl.com/7fm44mk. She lives with her family in Connecticut, loves gardening, and is working on her next Detective Kerri Blasco thriller.

Review: Spring at Blueberry Bay by Holly Martin

Blurb:   Welcome to beautiful Hope Island where the sea sparkles, the daffodils are blooming and a blossoming romance is just around the corner…

Bella has always had a sunny outlook and caring nature, despite recently falling on hard times. When she finds a handsome homeless man on her doorstep, her kind heart tells her she must help him. So, she invites Isaac into her cottage and into her life in ways she could never have imagined…

But Isaac is not what he seems. He’s keeping a huge secret from Bella, yet he never expected to fall for this open, generous and charming woman.

Bella can’t ignore the chemistry between her and Isaac, but she’s had her trust badly broken in her past. Will she run when she learns the truth about Isaac, or will he be the one man who can help Bella believe in love again?

Spring at Blueberry Bay by Holly Martin

My Rating: 4/5

Review: Having read a few of Holly’s other books I was quite excited to read this, especially given the intriguing description and the gorgeous cover.  As ever the descriptions of the location are really good and you feel as if you’ve been transported to this island.  I also got a really good feel for the island itself, it sounded like quite a good community, somewhere where people looked out for each other and where you could, should you choose, leave your house unlocked and nothing would happen.

There was a good cast of characters too, Bella and Isaac were both well-written and clearly had a passion in their lives for their work (something I am currently jealous of!) and were very motivated and determined to get what they wanted.  Bella’s family and friends made a few appearances but in a way which fitted into the story and didn’t make them feel like they had been put in as filler or anything similar.  The full cast worked together really well and made the story come alive.

As for the main characters, I like Isaac, his story was believable and I admired what he was trying to do with his money.  There are so many book characters that have money but don’t use it well and it was refreshing to see Isaac using his money for good.  I also liked Bella, especially her passion and enthusiasm for her work but some aspects of her character irritated me and meant that I didn’t warm to her as much as I would liked to have done.

All in all this is another lovely, cosy and heart-warming read from Holly Martin.  I know it’s the first of a collection of books set on this island and I, for one, am looking forward to reading the others.  I think if you’ve enjoyed other books by this author then you’ll definitely enjoy this one and if this is your first then you’ve picked a good place to start.

Blog Tour Review: Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl

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Synopsis:  Oslo detectives Gunnarstranda and Frølich are back … and this time, it’s personal…

When the body of a woman turns up in a dumpster, scalded and wrapped in plastic, Inspector Frank Frølich is shocked to discover that he knows her … and their recent meetings may hold the clue to her murder. As he begins to look deeper into the tragic events surrounding her death, Frølich’s colleague Gunnarstranda finds another body, and things take a more sinister turn. With a cold case involving the murder of a young girl in northern Norway casting a shadow, and an unsettling number of coincidences clouding the plot, Frølich is forced to look into his own past to find the answers –
and the killer – before he strikes again.

Dark, brooding and utterly chilling, Faithless is a breath-taking and atmospheric page-turner that marks the return of an internationally renowned and award-winning series, from one of the fathers of Nordic Noir.

 

Faithless cover

My Review:

I’m a bit late to the Scandi/Nordic Noir obsession.  I was aware of the television programmes but oddly, for a crime fiction fan, I didn’t watch any of them so the whole thing passed me by until I discovered Ragnar Jonasson’s books and decided to try them.  Once I did that I was in.  I’m slowly reading more of these books and trying new authors in this genre and this book is no exception.

While reading this book I struggled to work out what it was that I was enjoying about it.  Make no mistake I did enjoy it but it took a while for me to put my finger on why.  There are two reasons: one is the writing style.  I love the writing style that only writers of these books seem to have.  I’m not sure if it’s in part because it has been translated into English rather than written in English originally but whatever it is it is perfect.  This leads into the second reason which is the story, or rather the lack of the characters stories.  This, for me, was very much a plot driven book.  There was information about the police characters and obviously sufficient information about the victims, witnesses and other characters in the story but there was only as much information given as was needed.  There was no excessive background to anything and while I like background to characters, because of the way this book was written the little information that was supplied was enough, I didn’t want or feel I needed more.

When you look at this book, the print version, it doesn’t seem particularly large especially compared to some of the other books I have.  However, this comparison is misleading because for all that it appears to lack in size it makes up for in density.  This is not a hard read by any means but because the author has not wasted words on anything unnecessary he has been able to fit a lot of information, plot and description into fewer pages.  This makes the reading experience quite unique. There is enough description to get a feel for the building, room, street, wherever the character is but not so much that you’re still reading about it three lines later.  You get given what you need and that’s it and I find that quite impressive.  It’s the same with the characters, there are a lot of characters in this book but it never gets confusing as to who is who or what is happening next.

This is a skillfully written book that takes you on a journey with the characters and lets you see and feel exactly what they do without getting bogged down in extraneous information.  It’s almost as crisp and clear as I imagine the winters in Norway are and I think that is what makes it so good.  This is definitely a book that crime fiction fans, especially those who love police procedurals are likely to enjoy but I would also recommend it for anyone who wants something a little different, or perhaps wants to try a new author.  There are so many authors out there to choose from but you won’t go far wrong if you pick this one.

 

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Author bio:  One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has
been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.

 

 

 

A Presence of Absence Blog Tour: Guest Post by Sarah Surgey

I’m really pleased today to have a guest post on the blog tour for the amazing sounding A Presence of Absence.  Although this is a book that sits in the Nordic Noir category the fact that it is written by two authors and has such an intriguing blurb makes it stand out for me.  Below I have an interesting guest post from one of the authors and further below that I have the synopsis for the second book in this series which is hopefully being published at the end of the year.

 

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Blurb:  The Odense Series is a new Nordic Noir/Brit Crime series that blends humanist stories and family drama with gritty crime in the central Danish city Odense.

British detective Simon Weller escapes the fallout from the recent suicide of his Danish wife, Vibeke and heads out to her home city of Odense. But once there he is paired up with a local detective, Jonas, who is also about to hit rock bottom in his home life and they must overcome their differences and personal problems to try and catch one of the worst serial killers Odense has seen in many years.

The case takes them back into past decades as history starts catching up with some of the local inhabitants.

When Simon realises that his wife’s suicide may not be all it seems and her name appears in the case, his integrity within the case is compromised, how far will he go to find out the truth of Vibeke’s past and hide it from his already troubled police partner?

Back home in London Simon’s family are struggling with their own web of lies and deceit and the family is falling apart.

With one family hiding a dark secret, the whole case is just about to reach breaking point.

 

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Guest post: What goes on around the ‘crime’ is just as important

By Sarah Surgey

We are a female writing duo whose everyday lives can be compared to most people reading this.

One of us is a mum, homemaker and freelancer and the other works full-time between different jobs and loves to travel, so what is it that attracts us to writing crime thriller…..do we need a bit of excitement in our lives?

Well, that would be nice but no, writing crime thriller isn’t always about having some dark fascination with murder and death.

Emma and I have both discussed this and for us, it’s the humanist stories around the crime that really engross us. Human responses, reactions and behaviours change when we deal with scenarios which are on a magnified scale. When we have to cope with loss, changes or sudden disruption and of course dealing with a loved one who has died can change how we become as people and we can never predict how we’ll cope.

But then magnify that death with a murder or suicide being involved and suddenly people behave in a way so completely out of character that for us as writers this is an interesting thread to follow.

The first book in The Odense Series is ‘A Presence of Absence’ and it deals with grief from those affected by death. We watch the fallout, the anger and strange behavioural patterns.

We look at two suicides, in two countries, in different decades. In amongst this, you will find the crime, the murders, the lies and deceit.

This is a story of revenge and retribution set amongst the cobblestone side streets of Hans Christian Andersen’s birthplace, Odense and the bustling pavements, in the heart of London.

The character development has been described by reviewers as “incredibly strong” and this is important to us because we knew we wouldn’t just write one book, we wanted to carry these strong characters through a whole series and if we had any chance of being successful at this we would need to really develop them and have the reader wanting to emphasise with them, pity them and rejoice with them when they succeed.

 

About the Authors

SarahSarah Surgey

Sarah Surgey is a 36 year old British feature writer for various magazines. She lives in the UK with her husband and 4 daughters.

She has had an interest in all things Nordic for many years and has written about many genres within this subject for publication. Although British, she has Danish family and enjoys exploring Denmark and its culture whenever the opportunity arrives.

Sarah was brought up with crime books and inevitably has always had crime story scenarios going around inside her head. After interviewing many famous authors for different magazines within the Nordic literary circle and always knowing the answer to her question of “why did you start writing?” she felt now was her time to get her stories out there, for people to read!

 

EmmaEmma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the owner and editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia, a Nordic film and television journal that analyses popular Nordic titles. Part of her work includes working with directors, actors and filmmakers, and her numerous interviews with the biggest names in Nordic film and television have given her a privileged access to what makes Nordic narratives so successful. Cinema Scandinavia publishes bimonthly and is available in major Nordic film libraries.

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheOdenseSeries
Twitter: https://twitter.com/OdenseSeries
Instagram: Sarah: https://www.instagram.com/the_wormcatcher/ Emma: https://www.instagram.com/emmavestrheim169/

Website: www.theodenseseries.com

 

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The Enlightened is the second novel in the Odense Series.

When a young girls body is discovered in a burnt-out church, the Odense police initially conclude that it’s nothing more than a tragic accident involving a runaway. However, when British detective Simon Weller digs deeper, he finds a link between the girl and a cult up in the most northerly parts of Norway.

As more evidence arises, the arson attack on the church quickly becomes a murder investigation, and sees the detective travelling to Norway to work on the case alongside a young and eager Norwegian counterpart. Everything is not what it seems and they find themselves looking back over the history of Norse Mythology and how the past occult is once again fighting its way into modern day society. Meanwhile, in Odense Simon’s colleague Jonas Norgaard discovers an element to the case that puts Simon’s life in danger.

As the case unfolds across the corners of Scandinavia, in London Simon’s family is falling apart. With her husband, Michael, missing, Simon’s daughter Sanne spirals into depression and self-loathing, while her brother Thomas takes care of her children. Frustrated, Thomas starts investigating Michaels disappearance and comes across information that may answer why his mother committed suicide two years ago.

Intended release date: December 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Too Sharp Blog Tour: Guest Post by Marianne Delacourt

I am excited to be taking part in this blog tour today.  Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, it’s on my list!, but having read the blurb and the guest post I know it’s a book I’m going to enjoy.  I love the Stephanie Plum novels and was a huge fan of the tv series, The Mentalist and given Marianne cites those as part of the inspiration for Tara this is definitely a series I want to get involved in.

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Blurb:  Tara’s unconventional PI business takes advantage of her uncanny ability to read people’s auras – meaning she’s got a little more than the typical boy, money and parent problems. Following some close-shaves with some dangerous characters in Perth, Tara jumps at a music promoter’s offer of a gig taking care of a difficult rock star performing in Brisbane.  She’s a sucker for a backstage pass, and it’ll give her respite from her mother’s not-so-subtle hints about ‘eligible young men’ and ‘suitable jobs’ – not to mention putting some much-needed distance between herself and crime lord Johnny Viaspa.

The music industry is more cut-throat than she could possibly have imagined and she soon finds the artist’s demands and his crazy fans are the least of her problems. As she uncovers old grudges and the involvement of some people who’d rather see her dead, Tara finds herself in a race against the clock to figure out exactly how deep she is.

 

Too Sharp (Tara Sharp Book 3)

Guest post by Marianne Delacourt:  ‘What was your inspiration for creating Tara and why did you decide to give her the ability to read other people’s auras?’

So this is the truth. Pinky swear…

I used to be terrified of flying and I found that the only books that could keep me distracted on a flight were the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich. The series had such good narrative energy and engaging characterisation that it held my attention when all other books left me glancing anxiously out of the window. I’d also just finished writing a very exhausting four book feminist sci-fi space opera and I was looking for a change of genre. Those two factors seeded the gestation of Tara Sharp.

But as I set out to write the first novel, I realised I was looking for something a little different to hang the series on. I’d always been particularly fascinated by body language and began reading about it in earnest. When Sharp Shooter was first released there were a few psychic shows on television like The Mentalist and Medium, but there weren’t a lot of books in the crime genre that played with those ideas. (I think there are more now.) As I was researching body language, I suddenly remembered that as a teenager we used to spend lunchtimes at school standing up against a big white door trying to read each other’s auras. I widened my reading and was fascinated to see there was a whole lot of new age material on just that topic. But instead of borrowing someone else’s interpretations of auras, I created my own colour meanings. It was by far one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done as a writer!

It’s not the first time that events from my school days have intersected with current interests to create a story. My entire Night Creatures YA series was based on a similar collision of ideas: nocturnal lifestyles and island life.

But the thing I love most about writing the Tara Sharp series, is the secondary characters. I have such a good time hanging out with them and exploring their eccentricities: Aunt Liv, Wal, Cass and even Tara’s parents (known to her as the single entity) JoBob. Exploring their quirks and their humanity gives me a warm feeling inside.

 

The third novel in Marianne Delacourt’s series of paranormal crime novels about unorthodox PI Tara Sharp, ‘Too Sharp’, launched this week. The novel is available from all online retailers, including Twelfth Planet Press and Amazon. Readers new to Delacourt’s Tara Sharp series can spark their addiction with ‘Sharp Shooter’, the ebook of which is available for free for a limited time to celebrate the launch.  Please note this book was originally released under the title  ‘Stage Fright’.

 

Author:  Marianne Delacourt is the alter ego of award-winning, internationally-published Science Fiction writer Marianne de Pierres. Renowned for dark satire in her Science Fiction, Marianne offers lighter, funnier writing under her Delacourt penname. As Delacourt, Marianne is also the author of Young Adult fiction series Night Creatures (Burn Bright, Angel Arias and Shine Light). She is a co-founder of the Vision Writers Group and ROR – wRiters on the Rise, a critiquing group for professional writers. Marianne lives in Brisbane with her husband and two galahs.

tarasharp.com.au
mariannedepierres.com
@mdepierres