The Lost Child (Detective Lottie Parker book 3) by Patricia Gibney

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Length: 448 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: ‘Let me out! Please…’ My tiny fists pound the door, but my voice reverberates off the stone walls and hangs in the air as if suspended by spider’s webs. No one comes…

Years later, a woman is found face-down in a pool of blood. Detective Lottie Parker is called to the remote farmhouse in the bleak Irish countryside. Inside, she finds a scene that speaks of uncontrollable rage: glasses smashed, chairs ripped apart, the woman’s body broken.

A black rain jacket makes Lottie think she knows the killer’s identity, but then she finds a disturbing clue: is the murder linked to an old case at St Declan’s asylum? A case investigated by her own father, just before he took his life.

When another victim is left without her tongue on the hospital steps, and a young girl goes missing, Lottie knows she has to act fast. Can she face her own demons and uncover the truth before another life is taken?

An absolutely gripping page-turner from the bestselling author of The Missing Ones and The Stolen Girls. If you love Rachel Abbott, Angela Marsons or Robert Dugoni, you’ll be completely hooked.

The Review: I have to admit one of the greatest thing I’m finding about this series is that all the books are so different (Previous gushes on Ms. Gibney’s books-The Missing Ones is here and The Stolen Girls here ) and memorable. Also from the second I pick one up, and put it down, just hours/ a day or two later, I’m looking forward to the next. Again a Lottie Parker that never disappointed.

There’s so much going on in this book, with Lottie floundering as she struggles with her mother (who I love by the way) and a tough back story of neglect and abuse of a girl we don’t know as well as the startings of domestic abuse now, in Lottie’s juristiction. This meant there were various threads going on at the same time, stories that you couldn’t fathom would all end up being connected and my eyes ingested every last word.

We are of course back in Ragmullin (makes zippy uppy action with fingers-I will not say it;)), and in the brilliantly done police station where there’s general chaos and sometimes disinterest too and I beyond savoured these pages.

I will admit that firstly, this was a little bit of a tougher read for me in terms of descriptions and secondly that there was the odd time near the start of the book that I had to re-read as I found it confusing. Saying that, well, look, 448 pages and as a book blogger I generally head to the shorter books quicker than the longer ones (I know-Lengthest, but I do do it), but this is a series I will ALWAYS go to first and if the others and this one are anything to go by, I will always be gutted when I’m done. Excellent book, perfection in setting, characters, mystery, and the now trademark sarcasm and comedy thrown in by Parker and Boyd. Loved it.

Thanks so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

 

 

 

 

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Our Little Secret by Claudia Carroll

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Length: 416 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

Sarah Keyes has the perfect life. A high-flying job in a law firm, a beautiful daughter and a house to die for. So how does she find herself looking in through the kitchen window while another woman enjoys it all?

When Sarah takes pity on a struggling young graduate who can’t get a job, she thinks she’s doing the right thing. She’s being kind, generous and helpful to others, as she always is.

But as Sarah allows the younger woman into her home, her law firm and even her family, is there more to this pretty youngster than meets the eye? And how can Sarah reclaim the life she has built?

A sensational, page-turning read, perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Patricia Scanlan.

The Review: I have to admit when I picked this up my first worry was that Claudia Carroll was heading into psychological thriller territory (I always worry when authors I enjoy are changing genre), and was thrilled to find that actually this was listed simply under ‘legal’ (it’s in the book!) and humour. And yet this is a nice feathery little foray into thriller territory for the people out there that say they don’t like anything too scary or creepy.

It is the story of Sarah Keyes who has an excellent job in a law firm. I have to say this is where the book excelled for me. I loved hearing about her daily life, the excellent settings and also about the cases she did, both pro bono and her current case working for a hotel that have allegedly wronged a wedding client.

So Sarah meets Lauren, who has a legal background but can’t catch a break. Before she knows it Lauren is right on top of things, putting it mildly. It was excellent that Ms. Carroll never alienated her character, so when things start to unravel and she figures that Lauren may not be all sweet and niceness, she’s already got the brilliantly suspicious Liz in her corner, who used to not only work in the firm, but who has a husband there too. This is the genius part, as you don’t know when people go down, who’s  going down too.

The book is told from many different voices, my favourite being without a doubt Liz’s, my least being Darcy’s who actually made me find the first part of the book difficult, with her attitude and hashtags, although I made my peace with her later on. The comedy wasn’t totally for me, and there was bad language that I kind of have to mention, but other than that I most definitely enjoyed this light all encompassing and definitely recommend. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Avon Books for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Excerpt: When Archie Met Rosie by Lynda Renham

So I think I’ll just hand you straight over to the brilliant Lynda Renham about When Archie Met Rosie, which is just £0.99 at the moment (check out previous posts on Lynda Renham’s work  here)

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Length: 307 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

Welcome to the world of Rosie Foster and Archie Bolton.

A romance about real people.

Rosie Foster doesn’t have much but then she never has. She’s lived on the Tradmore Estate pretty much since she married her Frank. You may have heard of the Tradmore Estate. It’s been featured on Jeremy Kyle, much to Rosie’s embarrassment. Still, she consoles herself that at least it wasn’t her and Frank on Jeremy Kyle making fools of themselves.

Frank works at Walthamstow Stadium. He loves the dogs. So much so that he bought the rear end of one. Part ownership, you understand. Just in case you thought the dog was cut in half. Rosie often thinks what they paid for the rear end of a dog might have paid for her trip to Paris. Rosie dreams of Paris a lot. The truth is she knows they couldn’t afford to go. Besides Frank isn’t interested in Paris, so it’s just a dream, until a girls night out changes Rosie’s life and it seems that Frank won’t have anything to say in the matter.

Archie Bolton wants for nothing. He’s worked hard for what he has. But now he’s alone. He’s lovely wife of fifty years has died, leaving him alone and sad. It doesn’t help that his daughter-in-law keeps nagging that his five bedroom house is too big for him now. He’s not giving it to her. He’s adamant on that.

Life looks very bleak until his granddaughter goes out with her mates to a nightclub and then he meets Rosie …

Read a sample chapter here on this blog (you can read it below!!!).

I hope you enjoy my new novel. I very much enjoyed writing it and adore Rosie and Archie as I know you will too.

Do join me on my Facebook author page. I would love to see you there.

I’m also on Twitter   @lyndarenham

Much love, Lynda

xx

Chapter One

Rosie

Don’t you just hate those people who win at everything without even trying? A flutter on the horses or a scratch card at the newsagent and they’re laughing all the way to the bank. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed all the way to the bank. I’ve cried maybe, but that’s usually on the way back from the bank. I once considered robbing our local Barclays. I did seriously. That’s what desperation does to you. I don’t often think about robbing banks, just in case you think I do. It was only the once. Times can be hard sometimes, especially when Frank blows all our money on Millwall. The football club, that is, not the town. Not that anyone in their right mind would spend their money on Millwall, the town or the football club, but then I do sometimes wonder if Frank is in his right mind. Anyway, I digress. There’s a lot of expense involved in robbing a bank, I discovered. I’m telling you this now, just in case you were thinking of robbing a bank yourself. You need a pair of tights for a start. Not just any old pair either. A decent pair costs you a fiver. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can think of better things to spend a fiver on than a pair of nylons, that I’m just going to pull over my face. I did try an old laddered pair, but you could see my features. Not as good as you normally would, admittedly. It resembled a balaclava with one too many holes. Frank said I ought to wear it all the time.

‘It’s a great improvement,’ he’d laughed.

Cheeky bugger.

And then there’s the rucksack. You’ll need one of those. All the best bank robbers have rucksacks. We have one, but the zip is broken. It would be just my kind of luck to have the newly stolen banknotes scattered through the streets of Essex. The expense of a new rucksack was a bit daunting too, especially as Frank only uses it when he trudges down to the off-licence. It nicely holds a six-pack, he’s fond of telling me. It takes a lot of planning, does this bank robbery business. After all, you don’t want to be bursting into Barclays brandishing your P’tit Clown 74560 automatic plastic gun at the wrong time of day, do you? Midday would be a perfect time for me because it’s when I have my lunch break, but have you seen the queues? There’s bound to be one pissed off customer wanting to be a hero, who’d think nothing of wrestling me and my P’tit Clown 74560 plastic gun to the ground, while I’d be yelling, ‘Get your hands off my P’tit, you moron.’

I know what you’re thinking. I have no idea why it’s called P’tit. I imagine, because most of the people who buy it are tits, like me. Let’s be honest, how many bank robbers buy their plastic guns from Amazon? Bank robbers like me, that’s who. Anyway, last but not least, you need a getaway car. If you saw our old Fiesta you’d understand why it wouldn’t have worked. For a start, there’s no door on the driver’s side. Actually, that’s not strictly true. Obviously, there is a door. It would be a touch chilly without one and clearly illegal. It just doesn’t open. No one is sure why. Sam offered to replace it with a spare yellow door he had lying around the garage. Our Fiesta’s black and I didn’t fancy driving around in a lookalike stripy tiger, so I said no and anyway, everyone would have recognised it on the Crimewatch reconstruction. It also takes forever to climb over onto the passenger seat. It’s okay climbing over when you’ve got plenty of time. If your pantyhose got caught on the gearstick, you’ve got time to sort yourself out, haven’t you? But when you’ve got a fleet of police cars after you it’s a whole other ball game. I’m okay getting one leg over the gearstick but it’s my dodgy hip in the other leg that’s the problem. I’ve been known to get stuck in the Lidl car park before now, my crotch nestling nicely on the gears while some kind passer-by hoists my gammy leg over it. Frank says I only do it to pull the blokes. Huh, like I need another one. Although, I have to admit, it is often men who come to my rescue. I guess women are suspicious of a woman sitting on a gearstick. It’s not something you see every day is it? They probably think I’m doing something sordid. I think the men just want a gander up my skirt. They certainly get that. Anyway, the point is, I don’t imagine a kind passer-by is going to give me a leg over after I’ve just robbed Barclays bank, and quite right too.

Anyway, I never did rob the bank. I’m Rose Foster by the way, but everyone calls me Rosie. I like that. It makes me feel young. I live on the Tradmore Estate in Dagenham, Essex. It’s quite well known. Ask anyone where it is, and they’ll be able to tell you. They’ll no doubt look at you with fear in their eyes and advise you to stay away. Tradmore Estate is a regular feature in our local paper. We’re quite famous, although I suppose infamous is the correct word. We’re well known for our raves and raids, usually in that order. We’ve been on Jeremy Kyle too. That is, a few of my neighbours have, not us. I really don’t have the time to go on Jeremy Kyle. I’d love to live somewhere else, but Frank doesn’t believe in mortgages, says they’re a noose around your neck. We can’t afford to rent a house, so I guess I’ll stay on Tradmore Estate until they bring me out feet first. Although, knowing Frank, he’ll bury me on the allotment if it means saving some money. It is expensive dying, isn’t it? More expensive than living if you ask me. Frank works at the greyhound track in Walthamstow and I work three half days at Waitrose and two evenings at Cineworld in Romford. I like that job. They give us free popcorn on Saturdays. It’s rare to get something for nothing these days isn’t it?

Anyway, I’ve seriously digressed. Frank says I can talk the hind legs off a donkey. The reason I began talking about people who easily win things is because, I actually think, any minute now, I’m going to win something. Yes me, Rosie Foster, who never wins anything.

About the author

thumbnail_pKTCLgh8_400x400LyndaRenham

Lynda’s books on Amazon

Lynda’s website

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Lynda on Twitter   (@Lyndarenham)

 

 

#BlogTour #BookReview A Posy Of Promises by Sharon Dempsey

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for the lovely A Posy Of Promises by Sharon Dempsey!

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Length: 192 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: What happens when the relationship you have taken for granted suddenly ends?  

Ava Connors is comfortable with her life just as it is, still living in the tiny terrace house where she was brought up by her grandmother, Maggie, seeing her long-term boyfriend, Finlay, and working in a florists.  
But Maggie’s health is declining and Finlay is fed up waiting for Ava to make a commitment.  
Ava has never really known her mother, Scarlett, and when she inherits an old and dilapidated house it ignites an interest in the mother who had abandoned her as a child.  
Why did Scarlett leave her to be brought up by her grandmother?  
Soon Ava begins to ask this question and in turn sets off a series of events that will change her life forever.  
A Posy of Promises looks at the relationships we have and the questions we ask of those we love.

 

The Review: We start this book with Ava Connors considering the property of ninety seven Mount Pleasant Square, where she was brought up by her grandmother, now in a home following a stoke. Ava had considered selling the house but is re-thinking as she goes over all the possibilities of it as somewhere for her, Ava, to settle. I loved that she was left the property while her grandmother was still alive, and that she didn’t know who had left it to her-a nice little pile of questions and secrets were already beginning to materialise!

I  quickly settled into beautiful descriptions and ‘put you right there’ settings of Belfast, and the nicely timed unravelling of secrets via a letter that her grandmother had written, among other things. This book had a lighter feel to it than the cover, or indeed the genre implied (for me, I can be very judgy in that regard!) and I was happy that there were a few smiles along the way. I also loved when we started getting another side to the story. For me the thing I ached for was a mixture of who the mystery benefactor was, and also why her mother, the aptly named Scarlett, hadn’t been there when she was growing up. These things-the pieces of the puzzle you didn’t know, and the way they were linked up, as well as the near miss type scenarios, where you weren’t sure if certain characters would even meet, were done excellently and I found myself actually nervous at so many points! All in all such an enjoyable book, where I loved moving slightly outside my comfort zone and I look forward to book 2 in the trilogy to see where it goes next!

Thanks so much to Sarah at Bombshell books and to Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

About the author

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A Posy of Promises is Sharon Dempsey’s first contemporary women’s fiction novel.

Sharon is a Belfast based writer of fiction and non-fiction books, with four health books published. Her crime debut Little Bird was released July 2017 with Bloodhound Books.

She facilitates therapeutic creative writing classes for people affected by cancer and other health challenges, and runs a creative writing group for young people, called Young Scribblers, at the Crescent Arts Centre. She is a creative writing tutor at Queen’s University and Stranmillis College. Sharon studied Politics and English at Queen’s University, and undertook a newspaper journalism post grad at City University, London.  She has written for a variety of publications and newspapers, including the Irish Times.

Sharon is working on the follow up to Little Bird and a collection of dark short stories.

 

Find her online:

Twitter @svjdempz

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

Blog https://1stchapterdempsey.wordpress.com/

Instagram: sharondempseywrites

Now don’t forget to follow the tour!

B L O G B L I T Z (1)

 

 

The Stolen Girls (DI Lottie Parker book 2) by Patricia Gibney

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Length: 452 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: One Monday morning, the body of a young pregnant woman is found. The same day, a mother and her son visit the house of Detective Lottie Parker, begging for help to find a lost friend.

Could this be the same girl?

When a second victim is discovered by the same man, with the murder bearing all the same hallmarks as the first, Lottie needs to work fast to discover how else the two were linked. Then two more girls go missing.

Detective Lottie Parker is a woman on the edge, haunted by her tragic past and struggling to keep her family together through difficult times. Can she fight her own demons and catch the killer before he claims another victim?

The Stolen Girls is a gripping and page-turning thriller that will leave you breathless. Perfect for fans of Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter and Robert Dugoni.

The Review: You might remember my gush for The Missing Ones (read it here), where I told of Patricia Gibney’s book’s pacing, shocks and general unputdownableness, and yes, the fact that she’s from ‘around these parts’ (puts on Texan twang). I bought and requested all of her books straight away (I’m very late to the party) and can happily inform you that I’m still able to gush about her three books in (fourth still to be read).

(Also a little story of the fact I passed her on the street and a few minutes later passed: one Garda car, one decidedly looking dodgy character and two men reading newspapers- one in a car, the other standing in a laneway, JUST the way you see on tv!) and I wanted to run back and go looking for Ms. Gibney (I’ve only ever met her at the launch so it would be EXTREMELY weird if I did this) and tell her ‘something’s going down’ (puts on appropriate  voice, I actually don’t know what that is!). Suffices to say I didn’t. But there you go. Oh and I also nearly asked a Garda at the police station and another standing at The St Patrick’s day parade had he read any of her books (I’d assume they all have at the station, I mean to date she’s sold a million copies!). I know, I know, I’ll stop now!

Anyhoo, to the book. So here a body of a young pregnant woman is found. On the same day a mother and her lovely, lovely child come to the door of Lottie Parker’s actual house, begging for help to find someone. I was torn between being excited at her family being involved again (because they’re a good age group for that sort of thing) and wondering how they can be involved again, but in the end one of them showed that they definitely have Lottie’s quick thinking and wish to protect people and I loved it all.

As for Lottie herself, she is witty and sarcastic and ridunculously likeable and out to help where she can. I loved seeing more of Boyd, and really getting to know him better (a special mention to how the two  bounce off each other). The Force on the whole in Ragmullin are characters that spring off the page (Corrigan’s bursting in and wanting to kill them all, in particular Lottie, is excellent!).

The story pretty much revolves around trafficking, and people coming to Ireland to make a better life, where some are horrendously duped and forced into sub-par conditions. My stomach tumbled about at parts of this book and there are some top notch moments where you think something is going to happen and then suddenly you were realise you were led astray. Actually, after a ‘oh my god,’ (out loud) moment, I think the author is very likely to be the queen of this. Excellent book, excellent characters, setting, pacing, thrills and spills-the works! Recommended to all around and apologies for the gush and fan moments (but to be honest it’s going to take something big to knock Ms. Gibney off as my top Irish author)!

rating: 5/5

 

#GuestPost Age by Gail Ward Olmsted

I was so sure I had already posted this, then found to my disgust and horror that I hadn’t actually, so the Greatest of Apologies to the author (previous reviews of her books here) and I hope you all enjoy

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Length: 218 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

Age

What’s Age Got to Do with It?

“It’s just a number” “Age doesn’t matter” “You’re only as young as you feel”

You hear comments like this all the time.

But when it comes to two people in a romantic relationship, apparently age does matter. Specifically the difference in ages between the two people in the relationship. According to a recent study by Emory University in Atlanta, the wider the age gap in partners, the lower their chances are of relationship success. They polled 3000 married and recently divorced couples and found that a one year discrepancy in a couple’s ages makes them 3% more likely to divorce when compared to their same-aged counterparts. A five-year age gap makes them 18% more likely to split up. A ten-year difference makes them 39% more likely and when the gap is over ten years, the odds of divorce are huge! Uh-oh…In my latest contemporary romance Second Guessing, songwriter Jill is fourteen years older than boyband singer turned solo artist Ben. Despite the sizzling hot chemistry between them, did I set their romance up for failure? In my ‘happy ever after’ view, I pictured them together forever.

What about in real life? My oldest friend was married to a man thirteen years younger than her. Note that the marriage is in the past tense. According to her, age was not a factor in their breakup, but when you really start to think about it, issues like whether or not to have children, how to balance and manage careers and figuring out finances would seem to be even more challenging when there is a wide gap in age. A 30 year old might not be in a hurry to start a family or a retirement fund, but what about their 45 year old partner? Our needs and priorities change over time. Is it reasonable to assume that we’ll be in sync with our partner if we are in truly different stages in our lives?

Emory University didn’t indicate if same sex couples were included in the study or if the majority of the couples with the wide gap tended to be of the older man/younger woman variety. Society appears to continue to have a double standard when it comes to a difference in age between romantic partners. It seems perfectly acceptable for an older man to date and marry younger women, but the reverse? Not so much. Otherwise the term ‘cougar’ wouldn’t exist. I mean what do you call a man who dates younger women, besides ‘lucky’ that is?

In my wild twenties, I dated a few men significantly older than me but married a man born just 3 ½ years before me. It’s been 35 years, so I’m thinking that we’ve beaten the odds.

About the author

gail

Like JEEP TOUR’s main character Jackie Sullivan, I am a professor of marketing. I have taught at the college level for twenty years.  A hopeless romantic, I am married to the love of my life. I am a mom to two young adults and two cats and enjoy reading, music and travel.

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Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

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Length:  373 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book which is out this week!

What they say:

The deliciously sinister new novel from the No 1 bestselling author of Richard and Judy Book Club pick, Lying in Wait

‘I could probably have been an actress.
It is not difficult to pretend to be somebody else.
Isn’t that what I’ve been doing for most of my life?’

Cordelia Russell has been living on the French Riviera for twenty-five years, passing herself off as an English socialite. But her luck, and the kindness of strangers, have run out.

The arrival of a visitor from her distant past shocks Cordelia. She reacts violently to the intrusion and flees her flat to spend a drunken night at a glittering party. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. She did not expect the corpse inside to start decomposing quite so quickly . . .

The Review: This for me, was probably one of the books I’ve ‘seen’ the most this year, with so many excited to get their hands on it, after the legendary ‘Unravelling Oliver,’ which contains, for me, one of the best characters I’ve ever read, and also Lying in Wait, which I really really enjoyed too (review here) .

We meet our lead, Cordelia, wandering about the French Riviera, and get a shock as we realise that she’s wandering about to avoid the corpse that’s back in her flat. Okay. So the blurb is an ickle bit misleading (just a smidgen!) It could tell you that this book is less about what happens in the current time, and more of a trip back to Ireland, where we are told the story of someone who has had just the most tragic circumstances befall them, not always to their knowledge. We hear of a mum and dad and their tug of war, we experience one sidedness on it’s greatest level, which gives way to heartbreak and cynicism and anger and all kinds of betrayal (you’ll guess that I don’t really care about the blurb thing, I’m just warning you really!!), bundled together in an amazing way with many tales of folklore told by a father to his daughter leading to lessons and morals, on an Irish island that’s as far removed from civilisation as you can guess.

In general I read with a morbid fascination ( although I do have to admit at some times the pacing waned a little for me) unable to believe that such cruelty and manipulation could go on, both by the family and people of the island, and of course our lead. Liz Nugent’s stories are great at making me a better mum, because geney mac I totally believe ALL of her lead characters would have had a different path in life had they not had parents who they believed (and in most cases who had), wronged them/given up on them (oh lord, I’m reading this out loud in my Carrie from SATC voice again!).

The arrival to the epic (epic epic, in the proper sense of the word, not the way it’s thrown about nowadays!) conclusion is exemplary, shocking and fantastic, with pieces slotting into place seconds before the events happen (for people not as slow as me, perhaps it’s before this;)), and the ending is simply shocking, and one that’ll stay with you. Thanks so much to Penguin Ireland and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5