#BlogTour for #SeeNoEvil by @DavyFennell – the highly anticipated follow up to THE ART OF DEATH. With thanks to @ZaffreBooks for the gifted copy and @Tr4cyF3nt0n for the tour invite. #newbook #readers #bookrec

For this killer, it’s death at first sight…

The Blurb

Two men are found dead in London’s Battersea Park. One of the bodies has been laid out like a crucifix – with his eyes removed and placed on his open palms.

Detective Inspector Grace Archer and her caustic DS, Harry Quinn, lead the investigation. But when more bodies turn up in a similar fashion, they find themselves in a race against time to find the sadistic killer.

The hunt leads them to Ladywell Playtower in Southeast London, the home to a religious commune lead by the enigmatic Aaron Cronin. Archer and Quinn suspect Cronin’s involvement but his alibis are watertight, and the truth seemingly buried. If Archer is to find the killer, she must first battle her way through religious fanatics, London gangsters – and her own demons . . .

My thoughts…

‘See No Evil’ is the second book by David Fennell featuring DI Grace Archer and DS Harry Quinn, the first being: ‘The Art of Death’. This can, absolutely, be read as a standalone, however it’s always an idea to start at the beginning of any series for character development plotting. But, it’s really not an issue as Fennell builds important relationship detail into the narrative and as the new plot develops we are drawn into the character portrayal from ‘The Art of Death’ as our principal characters deal with a new threat and perpetrator to hunt down.

I really enjoyed ‘See No Evil’ perhaps more than I did ‘The Art of Death’. In the first book I worked out too early where it was heading, but this time I was hooked into connecting all the pieces together until the end. From the start, Fennell’s character driven narrative hook immersed in fear and creepiness grabs the readers’ attention and introduces a brutal crime that builds as the story progresses. Again, this is not a book for the faint-hearted and there are dark, twisty moments that delve into fanatical mindsets and coercive behaviours.

If you’re a crime and thriller reader, I’d highly recommend both ‘The Art of Death’ and ‘See No Evil’ – a fast-paced, exhilarating crime thriller that explores darker themes and is satisfyingly good.

Please click on the below link to read about the first book in the series ‘The Art of Death’.

The Author

David Fennell

Born and raised in Belfast before leaving for London at the age of eighteen with £50 in one pocket and a dog-eared copy of Stephen King’s The Stand in the other. He jobbed as a chef, waiter and bartender for several years before starting a career in writing for the software industry. He has been working in CyberSecurity for fourteen years and is a fierce advocate for information privacy. David has played rugby for Brighton and has studied Creative Writing at the University of Sussex. He is married and he and his partner split their time between Central London and Brighton. To find out more, visit his website: www.davidfennell.co.uk. Follow him on Twitter: @davyfennell

‘See No Evil’ published 28th April 2022, Zaffre, Hardback, eBook and Audio, £14.99

Please buy from Independents if you can XX

#ReleaseTour for #Retold @mcfrank_author #Fairytale #Retelling #Newbook

I’m delighted to be showcasing M.C. Frank’s RETOLD, please do keep scrolling for some bookish delights…

Blurbs

Retold: A Regency Fairytale Retellings Collection

buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08XQVK88B

Unwanted.

Three boys grew up in an orphanage, abandoned and despised by those who should have taken care of them. They were starved, hit, and abandoned for years.

But they are men now. Gentlemen, so to speak. A little broken, a little damaged and a little destroyed by life, but they hide it behind toughness, money, amazingly folded cravats and, in some cases, illegal activities. Their main strength is each other: they are best friends, partners in crime, a found family.

And then comes the one battle that every gentleman, no matter how brooding, haughty or handsome, must face alone. These are the stories of how they each fight, and lose, the battle against love.

Hooked

Wendy and Lord Darlington

When Wendy Hooke was a little girl, she saved a boy from starvation. The boy, Peter, taught her how to fly. Now the boy is a man, a gorgeous man, and he has forgotten all about her. She watches him take London’s ballrooms by storm, pursued by every designing mama, but Peter doesn’t even glance at her. Because it’s not ‘Peter’ now, it’s Lord Darlington.

Peter hasn’t forgotten the girl who saved his life, but his secrets hold him back. The webs of his secret gang that fights crime on the streets of London are closing in on the greatest criminal of all time, the Viscount Hooke. And Wendy…well, she is his daughter.

Caged

Zella and Pirate Charmont

Zella isn’t crazy. She knows that, but no one else does. And, she has to admit, maybe she does look crazy, locked up here in the madhouse, with hair so long and wild it can practically become a rope.

And it does. One day, she lets her hair down from the tiny window, and someone rudely grabs it like a rope. Like a rope thrown to a drowning man.

“I’m not crazy, you know,” she tells the rugged-looking young man who climbs up, panting as if he is running for his life.

“Sweetheart,” he replies, “I don’t care. If they catch me, I’ll get hanged.”

“Oh. Why?”

“Because, m’ dear. I’m a pirate.”

Seduced

Poppy and Lord Hades

Lord Hades owns a gaming hell that sprawls underneath the city of London like the underworld. It is no secret: the Hell Club is notorious all over Europe. Peers and millionaires travel from Vienna and Paris to enjoy the Turkish baths or play cards with the great political leaders of other countries.

Money and power exchange hands nightly underneath the sparkling ballrooms and gentlemen’s clubs, and no one knows. Until Hades discovers a boy sent to spy on him. But the boy is not a boy.

And she will pay.

Retold includes three dark and sparkling romantic stories inspired by myths, folklore and fairytales, as well as by the glittering world and the roguish gentlemen of Regency London.

They might look like quick, fun reads, but don’t be fooled: these stories are going to break your heart into a million pieces.

M.C. Frank

Author
M.C. Frank

Social Media Links

 Website: mcfrankauthor.com

 Instagram: @mcfrank_author

Twitter: @mcfrank_author

 Blog: mcfrankauthor.tumblr.com

Facebook Page: M.C. Frank

 Goodreads: M.C. Frank

Subscribe to her newsletter: www.mcfrankauthor.com/p/newsletter.html

#TheGoodGirlsGuidetoRakes #EvaLeigh @MillsandBoon #MillsandBoonInsiders #HistoricalRomance #BookReview

Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy and the chance to read something a little different. Keep scrolling for some bookish chat about ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Rakes’.

A society darling
A rake never far from scandal
A deal that will change everything…

‘Pure romantic delight’ TESSA DARE

Blurb

When Kieran Ransome’s latest antics result in scandal, his father issues an ultimatum: find a respectable wife or inherit nothing. But as one of London’s most notorious scoundrels, Kieran doesn’t know any ladies who fit the bill…or does he?

Celeste Kilburn is a society darling, beloved by influential members of the ton. But keeping a spotless reputation leaves little room for adventure and she longs to escape her gilded cage. When Kieran, her brother’s best friend, begs for her help Celeste makes a deal: she will introduce him to the right social circles if he’ll show her the scandalous side of London!

Amongst ‘proper’ garden parties and, equally enthralling, wild fêtes and sensual art salons an initial attraction builds to a more tempting desire. But when their midnight exploits are discovered, Celeste’s freedom and reputation are at risk and Kieran must save the woman he loves…respectable or not.

My thoughts…

Firstly, the title didn’t seem to match up with my expectations of the story. The good girl, was actually far from a good girl – she was a feisty, highly sexed, independent woman, thinking far ahead of her time. Being matched with a typical wild rake turned this book into a very hot adventure – for me a little too much! Eva Leigh doesn’t hold back with her erotic language and descriptions of secret liaisons – and this became the dominant plot for a large proportion of the novel.

Celeste and Kieran are well matched in their thirst for adventure and pleasure; the reader is taken on a journey into the hedonistic secret worlds behind the stiff formalities of the upper classes and what begins as a thrilling adventure soon changes into something more serious and dangerous.

Readers who enjoy an historical romance that doesn’t hold back, then do try ‘The Good Girl’s Guide to Rakes’ by Eva Leigh.

#BookChat – ‘The Lamplighters’ by Emma Stonex and ‘The Metal Heart’ by Caroline Lea @PenguinUKBooks @picadorbooks – thank you for the gifted copies.

The Blurb

Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.

What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?

Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface . . .

Inspired by real events

My thoughts

I loved the shifting of the book’s narrative between the men’s perspective in 1972 and the women in 1992; so let me explain… the base of this story comes from the actual disappearance of three men in the 1900s from a lighthouse situated in the Outer Hebrides. Stonex takes this mystery and weaves her own vision of events into ‘The Lamplighters’ and she’s created an excellent read with a driven narrative. We begin to piece together the parts of the whole story via interviews with those left behind and the narrative of the past.

I love books set by the sea; the isolated and tempestuous setting of this story is really atmospheric and bleak, and it also offers the psychological journey of being in such an environment.

Overall, I found this quite a haunting read, and I kept thinking about it after I closed the final page. With themes of love, loss, grief and hidden truths and I would happily recommend this book.

The Blurb

Orkney, 1941.

Five hundred Italian prisoners of war arrive to fortify these wild and desolate islands.

Orphaned sisters Dorothy and Constance volunteer to nurse the wounded. But while beautiful, damaged Constance remains wary of the men, Dot finds herself increasingly drawn to Cesare, a young man fighting on the wrong side and broken by the horrors of battle. Secretly, passionately, they fall in love.

When a tragic mistake from Con’s past returns to haunt them, Dot must make a choice:

Protect her sister no matter the costs, or save the man who has captured her heart?

My thoughts

An absolutely spell weaving novel by Caroline Lea. I loved her first novel ‘The Glass Woman’ and was delighted to find ‘The Metal Heart’ providing an absolutely absorbing read to.

The island setting of Orkney was a delight and this really enriched the story of love and courage. If you follow the author’s Instagram page there are pictures of the island, these really bring a sense of reality to the story.

Beautiful and satisfying to read; this book comes highly recommended from me.

#BookChat #MiniReviews ‘Deepwater King’ by Claire McKenna (Book 2 of the Deepwater Trilogy) and ‘Mimic’ by Daniel Cole @orionbooks @HarperVoyagerUK

The Blurb

Since losing her great love to the Queen of the Sainted Isles, Arden must fulfil an impossible promise before she can return home – she must complete the dangerous Rite that will return Jonah’s spirit to the abyssal Court of the Deepwater King.

This sets her off on a journey far out at sea to find believers of the old religion on the oil-slick and mysterious islands beyond the horizon. But such a responsibility will not come without sacrifice, for the Deepwater folk who worship the King require the most desperate payments the soul, and with one man Arden may have to pay the greatest price of all…

Astonishingly original, with world-building to rival the depths of the ocean, McKenna has drawn a rich tale of longing and courage – penning the perfect oceanic steampunk fantasy.

My thoughts

You’ll need to read the first book in the series, ‘Monstrous Heart’ before reading ‘Deepwater King’ as it begins shortly after the first book ends. I enjoyed ‘Monstrous Heart’ and the developing relationship between Arden and Jonah up to the dramatic and disturbing climax of the opening story in this, I believe, trilogy. This was a huge part of the enjoyment of the first book and sadly, for me, it was missing from ‘Deepwater King’, however saying that, there was plenty of dark drama and action to hook you into the narrative.

There’s great worldbuilding, like book one, and the setting is a huge part of the books enjoyment – I really enjoy Steampunk vibes and loved this element. There are some great characters, both principal and minor – I did feel Arden lost the drive in this book at times (middle book syndrome?) – I hope the Arden/Jonah relationship drama will build up again to the level of ‘Monstrous Heart’ in the final book of the series. The story does builds to a dramatic crescendo and well, that ending – I need the next book!

I do enjoy this series and look forward to its conclusion.

The Blurb

DS Benjamin Chambers and DC Adam Winter are hunting a twisted serial killer who recreates famous works of art using the bodies of his victims. But after Chambers almost loses his life, the case goes cold – the killer lying dormant, his collection unfinished.

Jordan Marshall has excelled within the Met Police, driven by a loss that defined her teenage years. She obtains new evidence, convincing both Chambers and Winter to revisit the case. However, this new investigation reawakens their killer, the team in desperate pursuit of a monster hell-bent on finishing what he started at any cost.

My thoughts

I loved the RAGDOLL series, each book was contrasting in style and I really engaged with this variation and creativity. Daniel Coles books are always fun to read, despite taking you into dark places, minds and events. The thrillers are carefully plotted with both dramatic and creative deaths and crimes – so be warned, this isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s a great and slightly unusual character driven team working on the central investigation: DS Ben Chambers, PC Adam Winters and the modern newbie DC Jordan Marshall.

The crime investigation initially begins in 1989 shifting to the reopening in 2006 and I enjoyed the changes of both the investigation, the development and changes of the 1989 investigators. A part of Cole’s books that add to their charm, even though it’s rather macabre at times, is the humour, which I’ve also really enjoyed in previous Cole books – so please expect a chuckle along the way, if dark humour works for you?

With the theme of art, specifically Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ sculpture opening this crime mystery, Cole has created an intelligent cold case crime at the heart of this thriller. The reader follows the team as they hunt the perpetrator of the sick crimes that haunt them, to find closure on the case and to seek justice. A gruesome crime thriller based on recreating famous works of art in the most macabre way.

An intelligent, absorbing and addictive read.

SCORPICA by G.R. Macallister, THE LAST LEGACY by Adrienne Young and introducing THE SHADOW GLASS by Josh Winning. Published by @TitanBooks

Some great fantasy reads to check out from Titan Books – keep scrolling to find out more…

The Blurb

In an ancient matriarchal world of magic, gods and warriors, the last girl – unbeknownst to the five queendoms – has just been born. As time marches on, the scribes of Bastian find no answers in their history books. The farmers of Sestia sacrifice their crops to the gods. Paxim, the empire of trade and dealings, has nothing to barter but boys and more boys. Arcan magic has no spells to remedy the Drought of Girls. And finally, Scorpica, where every woman is a fighter, their commander, their queen, has no more warriors to train. The lines of these once-great empires soon to die.

After centuries of peace, the ensuing struggle for dominance – and heirs – will bring the five queendoms to the eve of all-out war.

But the mysterious curse is linked to one of the last-born children, an orphaned all-magic girl, who is unaware she has a claim to the Arcan throne…

My thoughts…

‘Scorpica’ is the opening novel in ‘The Five Queendoms’ series by G.K. Macallister, and as you’d expect from a series starter there’s a lot of world building and set up. It’s a complex fantasy world, where the matriarch’s rule; I’ve seen it referred to as the female ‘Game of Thrones’.

The world is ruled by Queendoms, each having their own perspective on males and their roles. The female roles are vast and although the narrative pace is detailed and leisurely it held my attention. For those, seeking a more adventurous and pacey fantasy read, this may not be for you. Although, saying that, it is the opening and requires a lot of establishment – hold on in there!

‘Scorpica’ is heavy in POVs so it does take focus to track characters and relationships in each Queendom. With themes of violence, gender, politics, magic and female relationships this is a detailed and thought provoking read.

A fantasy novel of conflict, power and a world in crisis.

The Blurb

When a letter from her uncle Henrick arrives on Bryn Roth’s eighteenth birthday, summoning her back to Bastian, Bryn is eager to prove herself and finally take her place in her long-lost family.

Henrik has plans for Bryn, but she must win everyone’s trust if she wants to hold any power in the delicate architecture of the family. It doesn’t take long for her to see that the Roths are entangled in shadows. Despite their growing influence in upscale Bastian, their hands are still in the kind of dirty business that got Bryn’s parents killed years ago. With a forbidden romance to contend with and dangerous work ahead, the cost of being accepted into the Roths may be more than Bryn can pay.

My thoughts…

Set in the world of FABLE, (Young’s duology ‘Fable’ and ‘Namesake’) a new, smart and sassy protagonist is rejoined with her lost and detached family, setting the tone of the adventure. But there’s trouble ahead, with scheming, untruths, cons and pawns.

An fantasy adventure with a lead pitched against a ruthless adversary with a dash of romance to complete the journey. A quick, easy read for some wonderful escapism.

The Blurb

Jack Corman is failing at life.

Jobless, jaded and on the “wrong” side of thirty, he’s facing the threat of eviction from his London flat while reeling from the sudden death of his father, one-time film director Bob Corman. Back in the eighties, Bob poured his heart and soul into the creation of his 1986 puppet fantasy The Shadow Glass, a film Jack loved as a child, idolising its fox-like hero Dune.

But The Shadow Glass flopped on release, deemed too scary for kids and too weird for adults, and Bob became a laughing stock, losing himself to booze and self-pity. Now, the film represents everything Jack hated about his father, and he lives with the fear that he’ll end up a failure just like him.

In the wake of Bob’s death, Jack returns to his decaying home, a place creaking with movie memorabilia and painful memories. Then, during a freak thunderstorm, the puppets in the attic start talking. Tipped into a desperate real-world quest to save London from the more nefarious of his father’s creations, Jack teams up with excitable fanboy Toby and spiky studio executive Amelia to navigate the labyrinth of his father’s legacy while conjuring the hero within––and igniting a Shadow Glass resurgence that could, finally, do his father proud.

A new arrival to the TITAN bookshelf and something very different to build my eclectic reading style – I look forward to checking this one out and some more book chat 🙂

#BlogTour for ‘The Physician’s Daughter’ by @marthamconway @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be a part of the Blog Tour for ‘The Physician’s Daughter’ by Martha Conway. What an eye-catching cover design, evoking the time period of the novel and the central relationship inside. My thanks to Zaffre for the gifted review copy and to Tracy for the tour invite. Do keep scrolling for some bookish chat.

In a world made for men, can one woman break free from tradition and walk a new path?

The Blurb

It is 1865, the American Civil War has just ended, and 18-year old Vita Tenney is determined to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a country doctor like her father. But when her father tells her she must get married instead, Vita explores every means of escape – and finds one in the person of war veteran Jacob Culhane. Damaged by what he’s seen in battle and with all his family gone, Jacob is seeking investors for a fledgling business. Then he meets Vita – and together they hatch a plan that should satisfy both their desires. Months later, Vita seemingly has everything she ever wanted. But alone in a big city and haunted by the mistakes of her past, she wonders if the life she always thought she wanted was too good to be true. When love starts to compete with ambition, what will come out on top?

From the author of The Floating Theatre, The Physician’s Daughter is the story of two people trying to make their way in a world that is struggling to escape its past.

My thoughts…

Each chapter of ‘The Physician’s Daughter’ is headed with a quotation which highlights the irony and ridiculousness of male thinking during the 19th Century, for example, the opening chapter begins with:

‘Hysteria is often excited in women by indigestion’ (On Diseases Peculiar to Women)

Dr Hugh Lenox, 1860

I looked forward to these chapter quotations and found them, quite frankly, gob smacking! From findings that ‘flat-chested females were unable to produce a well-developed infant’, to ‘the majority of women (happily for them) are not much troubled by sexual feeling of any kind’ Dr William Acton, 1888. Certainly, highlighting the view of the patriarchy and the medical profession of the period. Conway sets the scene nicely and introduces our protagonist Vita Tenney who is determined for the world to change as she seeks a position as a trainee doctor. The novel is set at the end of the American Civil War and the aftereffect of war is a consistent theme running through the story; this is also told through the perspective of Jacob Culhane, a previous soldier and prisoner of war. Vita’s father completely rejects the idea of his daughter becoming a doctor and following in his footsteps; the complex nature of grief is explored through her father and despite his harshness, there was a real sense of sadness at how loss affected him and by default the entire family. He states that Vita must marry instead, however Vita has other plans she’s determined to follow.

Vita and Jacob’s lives converge as they both attempt to control their futures despite hardships and adversary. I liked both characters, although at times Vita needed to open her eyes a little where Jacob was concerned; I did feel he forgave far too readily for her ‘betrayal’. I really felt for Jacob as he battled his ‘shakes’ from the war in a time where post-traumatic stress was not understood or treated well.

The story splits for a time and follows Vita and Jacob’s separate journeys until they find each other again; I thought the pace and engagement really picked up at this stage and I found it hard to put the book down.

With themes of grief, trauma, love, war, and the quest to follow your heart despite the odds, this book comes highly recommended from me. For readers seeking an engaging historical relationship drama with heart, then do pick up Conway’s ‘The Physician’s Daughter’.

THE BLOG TOUR

The Author

Martha Conway has been nominated for an Edgar Award and won the North American Book Award for Best Historical Fiction. She teaches creative writing for Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she is one of seven sisters. She now lives in San Francisco with her family.

‘A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting’ by Sophie Irwin and ‘A Corruption of Blood’ by Ambrose Parry.

Book chat…

The Blurb

The season is about to begin – and there’s not a minute to lose…

Kitty Talbot needs a fortune.

Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. This is 1818 after all, and only men have the privilege of seeking their own riches.

With just twelve weeks until Kitty and her sisters are made homeless, launching herself into London society is the only avenue open to her. And Kitty must use every ounce of cunning and ingenuity she possesses to climb the ranks.

The only one to see through her plans is the worldly Lord Radcliffe and he is determined to thwart her at any cost.

Can Kitty secure a fortune and save her sisters from poverty? There is not a day to lose and no one – not even a lord – will stand in her way…

My thoughts

I really enjoyed ‘A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting’ by Sophie Irwin and, as others have commented, it has a modern day Georgette Heyer vibe to it; it’s also an historical romance without the ‘heat’ that comes with many. What you get is an often charming, enemies to lovers story and great escapism into a fictionalised past, as our central protagonist, Kitty Talbot, finds herself forced to marry for wealth to save her family from potential destitution. There were a few times that this felt mercenary and quite annoying, but on the flip side it was an arrangement most of the wealthy opted into at the time; Kitty was simply taking advantage of these types of transactions on the marriage mart.

It’s a tale of misunderstanding, family, personal desires in the face of social restrictions and, well, love and fun. It wrapped up quite suddenly for me, and I personally would have liked a little more, perhaps an epilogue, but that’s just me.

Recommended to historical romance readers and people looking for some escapism from today’s world.

The Blurb

A Raven and Fisher Mystery: Book 3

Edinburgh, 1850. This city will bleed you dry.

Dr Will Raven is a man seldom shocked by human remains, but even he is disturbed by the contents of a package washed up at the Port of Leith. Stranger still, a man Raven has long detested is pleading for his help to escape the hangman.

Back in the townhouse of Dr James Simpson, Sarah Fisher has set her sights on learning to practise medicine. Almost everyone seems intent on dissuading her from this ambition, but when word reaches her that a woman has recently obtained a medical degree despite her gender, Sarah decides to seek her out.

Raven’s efforts to prove his former adversary’s innocence are failing and he desperately needs Sarah’s help. Putting their feelings for one another aside, their investigations take them to both extremes of Edinburgh’s social divide, where they discover that wealth and status cannot alter a fate written in the blood.

My thoughts

I love this book series and would highly recommend it to people who enjoy historical thrillers that mix real-life characters with the fictional world. Atmospheric, dark, meticulously plotted and executed with panache! I really do enjoy these books and the third in the series is no exception. ‘A Corruption of Blood’ can be read as a standalone I’m sure, but to understand the principal characters and their relationships, I’d highly recommend you start at the beginning.

A brilliant setting is the key to these books, the city of Edinburgh really comes as life: it’s like time-travelling. I love the well researched medical information, it really elevates the book and doesn’t bog it down at all. I also love the relationship between Will and Sarah and it certainly doesn’t conform to the readers’ expectations.

Highly recommended – these are also stunning looking books!

Delighted to be on the #BlogTour for #babyitscoldoutside by Emily Bell and published by @michaeljbooks

‘The perfect festive treat’

THE BLURB

FATE PULLED THEM APART BUT NOT BEFORE THEY MADE A PROMISE.

TEN CHRISTMASES LATER, WILL THEIR WISH COME TRUE? . . .

As Norah battles through the bustling December crowds, she hears the notes of a song that transports her back to the most romantic week of her life.

After meeting on a blissful holiday, but knowing they had to part, a boy named Andrew made her a promise:

If they are both single on Christmas Eve in ten years’ time, they will meet under the clock on Grafton Street, Dublin.

Norah has no idea if he will remember, but she has nothing to lose.

So, hoping for a Christmas miracle, she heads to Dublin. To that clock. And, maybe, to Andrew.

But it wouldn’t be Christmas without a few surprises . . .

Baby It's Cold Outside Kindle lifestyle image
Two hearts. Ten years. Once last chance for love…

MY THOUGHTS

Ah, what a charming Winter read for all those romantics out there. ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ is a heartwarming little book that comforts and entertains delightfully; a perfect light-hearted seasonal read. It’s a story of timings, Fate, friendships, family relationships and music.

The book jumps about from place to place as our characters live and grow, from Italy to Dublin, America and London. I enjoyed following the character of Noah, who stood out for me. I loved how the story was transported to the reader via music and the memories unraveled the past relationship for the reader.

It’s a book that utilises the romance and seasonal pleasures of Christmas time and I really have a yearning to visit Dublin now and experience the hustle, bustle and sounds of the streets, music and communities.

I would recommend this book for readers looking for a romantic, light Christmas read.

Baby It's Cold Outside: The heartwarming and uplifting love story you need this Christmas by [Emily Bell]

Delighted to be a part of the #BlogTour for #TheWolfintheWoods by Dan Brotzel and published by @sandstonepress with thanks to @nikitorch and @cerisanne

Thank you to Sandstone Press for the blog tour invite for ‘The Wolf in the Woods’; this is my first read by Dan Brotzel and the superb cover design sealed the deal. For more information about the tour and author, please do keep scrolling.

“Oh God. Here you go again, hanging over me, invading my sleep with your morning breath. As my eyes flicker open, you hang over me for a long moment, nuzzling my neck and furtively assessing my reaction. I feel your arms tremble. When you get no response, you slide off with a disgusted grunt. Even though I’m half asleep, I sense the guilt seeking rays emanating from your half-turned back. I roll over and away.”

The Wolf in the Woods

THE BLURB

Colleen and Andrew haven’t had sex in eleven weeks and three days [not that anyone’s counting]. Their marriage is in crisis, they’re drinking too much and both have secrets they’re afraid to share.
A teetotal week in a remote cottage could solve all their problems. But with the promised beach nowhere in sight, a broken-down car and a sinister landlord, they may not find it so easy to rekindle their romance. In this dark and funny novel, tensions build and tempers fray.

“This fellow is wise enough to play the fool”
William Shakespeare
Twelfth Night

“But you just can’t let me be, can you? The pointed buzzing of an electric toothbrush, the pedantic click of a wardrobe door, a coat-hanger’s righteous jangle – your busy-busy faffing is just enough to break my spell. I am conscious, and there’s no escaping it. No escaping you.

Today I think. Let it be today that I find a way.

‘Come on!” you say. ‘We should have left by now!’

And I think: Next week.

The Wolf in the Woods

MY THOUGHTS

The story opens in the middle of a relationship, the mindset of both husband and wife being pealed back for the reader via their own narratives. The separate bedrooms, the routines, the secrets, desires and the predictabilities. There are several tonal shifts as the reader begins to build a picture of who Colleen and Andrew are, whilst being set off-kilter by the man ‘sat at the window’ reminiscent of ‘Mr Punch’ or ‘those creepy horror-film clowns’. There’s the shop assistant who avoids conversation about ‘Red Barn Cottage’ and the person who’s ‘still at it then’. The reader becomes aware that maybe there’s more to this book than a narrative of a marriage at odds.

What follows is certainly a story of a long term relationship, but Brotzel adds suspense using the fairytale in the woods setting and the irony of the welcome pack from the cottage owners saying ‘we’re watching out for you’ and ‘Just knock on the big red door!’ It’s not long until we meet Wolf, who pops by with advice and seems to know a few details about the couple that he shouldn’t; then we meet Mrs Wolf, or Hildy and it’s even more uncomfortable with her inappropriate references to the young children and the glimpse of her ‘flogging her spouse’ with a ‘leather strap’.

There’s some great hooks throughout, particularly why Andrew failed Colleen ‘when it mattered most’, the backdrop of reading books about serial killers, Nazi references, dangers, alcoholism and desires.

This is an unusual and creative book about problems within a marriage set upon a backdrop of perceived menace; I enjoyed its outlandish style and the dark humour.

THE BLOG TOUR

THE AUTHOR

Dan Brotzel’s short stories have won awards and been published widely, with Hotel Du Jack, his first full-length collection, published in 2019. He is also co-author of a comic novel-in-emails about an eccentric writers’ group, Work in Progress (Unbound). The Wolf in the Woods is his debut novel.
Dan lives in London with his partner Eve and their three children.