Video Killed The Radio Star by Duncan MacMaster #BookReview #BlogTour (@FuriousDShow) @fahrenheitpress @damppebbles #VKTRSBook #damppebblesblogtours

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“Money in the bank and his dream girl on his arm – life was looking pretty sweet for Kirby Baxter. 

Of course it couldn’t last. Where would the fun be in that? This is a sequel after all.

After solving the murder of a movie starlet the previous year, Kirby is doing his best to live down his burgeoning reputation as part-time Interpol agent and amateur sleuth.

Then reality TV comes knocking next door.

Million Dollar Madhouse is a reality TV show where a bunch of washed up celebrities are thrown together in a dilapidated mansion while their attempts to renovate the building are broadcast 24/7 for the viewers delight.

Kirby’s quiet town is thrown into chaos by the arrival of camera crews, remote control video drones and a cast of characters including disgraced actress Victoria Gorham, political shock-jock Bert Wayne and reality TV royalty Kassandra Kassabian.

When one of the cast members turns up dead the local police turn to the only celebrity detective in town for help and draft an unwilling Kirby into their investigation.

The first body is only the beginning of another rip-roaring adventure for Kirby Baxter and with Gustav his loyal driver/valet/bodyguard/gardener//chef/ass-kicker at his side, our hero plunges into the fray with his usual stunning displays of deductive reasoning and sheer bloody luck.”

I’m thrilled today to be taking part in the blog tour for Video Killed The Radio Star by Duncan MacMaster. My thanks to Emma Welton at damp pebbles blog tours for inviting me to take part and to Fahrenheit Press for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Oh, I’m so late with my post today due to a series of unforeseen circumstances so let’s see if I can get it in just under the wire. Huge apologies to Emma and Duncan for not getting this up earlier  but better late than never.

This book is not at all what I was expecting, it was much more light-hearted and fun than I anticipated, but boy, did I enjoy it! I haven’t read the first book featuring Kirby Baxter, but this did not impact my appreciation of this novel at all, it completely works as a standalone, but I will definitely be going back to catch up on the previous adventure because, from the clues and details referred to in this book, it sounds like a fabulous tale and I really want to find out how Kirby and Gustav meet.

With regard to this book, it had everything you could want from a tongue-in-cheek crime caper. A cast of wonderful and varied characters who ranged from the lovable to the detestable; a really fiendish crime to be puzzled over and which keeps you guessing to the end; a suitably exciting back drop – this time a reality TV makeover show – to provide plenty of outlandish opportunities for exotic methods of murder; and a charismatic and clever sleuth to bring the whole thing to a satisfying conclusion.

Kirby Baxter is a private eye that I can really get invested in. He was wonderfully Sherlockian (is that a word? I guess it is now!) in his methods, but without the condescension and inflated self-regard, with a touch of the Jonathan Creeks thrown in for good measure, set in an environment which would grace an episode of Midsomer Murders. All of the ingredients for the perfect stew of my favourite detective shows wrapped up in a fun crime caper. He also has the best sidekick in detective history, who I totally fell in love with, despite the fact he never utters a single word throughout the novel.

I raced through the book, with no clue who had committed the crime, and not really caring that much because I was just enjoying the ride, although by the end I was desperate to find out whodunnit, just because I knew we were going to have one of those fabulous scenes where the detective gets everyone in a room together at the end for the big reveal. This book ticks every box for traditional sleuthing fans. I loved it.

Video Killed the Radio Star is out now in both e-book and paperback formats and you can buy a copy here.

For details of the rest of the fantastic bloggers taking part in the tour, check out the tour poster below:

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About the Author

Author Picture- Duncan MacMaster

Duncan MacMaster is a writer, pop-culture blogger, and film school survivor from the untamed wilds of Eastern Canada.

When he’s not concocting plots for Kirby Baxter to unravel he’s posting rants and rages about the business behind pop-culture on his blog.

Connect with Duncan:

Twitter: @FuriousDShow

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Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner #BookReview #BlogTour (@Ronnie__Turner) @HQDigitalUK #NetGalley #LiesBetweenUs

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“The past is always watching . . .

Three people, leading very different lives, are about to be brought together – with devastating consequences . . .

John has a perfect life, until the day his daughter goes missing.

Maisie cares for her patients, but hides her own traumatic past.

Miller should be an innocent child, but is obsessed with something he can’t have.

They all have something in common, though none of them know it – and the truth won’t stay hidden for long . . .”

It is my long-awaited turn on the blog tour for Lies Between Us by my fellow book blogger, Ronnie Turner. I am so excited to be taking part, so huge thanks to Ronnie and to the team at HQDigital for inviting me to take part, and for my copy of the book via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Aargh! This book has totally messed with me, head, heart and soul! I read it in a single day and barely took a breath from beginning to end. There, Ronnie Turner, you literally took my breath away with your writing. I cannot believe this is your debut novel, it is astounding.

This is a psychological thriller with a difference, and the difference is the standard of the writing. Really, I am kind of at a loss for words and, for anyone who reads my ramblings with any regularity, you will know this is a rarity. Just hold on a minute while I try and find some that adequately describe this book..

Okay, I’m going to have a go at summing up why this book is such a stand out read. Firstly, the plotting is so clever. I honestly had absolutely no idea how the thing slotted together until probably the final 20% of the book where I felt like I might have an inkling. It is really cleverly done. The story is told through three voices – John, Miller and Maisie. Miller’s voice is speaking from 24 years ago, John’s from the end of 2015 and Maisie’s from six months later. Each voice is individual and distinct and perfectly pitched for the character. The connection between the three time lines is not evident at all, so you have to hunt for clues to work it out and it turns out I was totally rubbish at this. I thought I had it sussed early on, then I totally changed my mind, then I turned out to be completely wrong anyway. The plot and writing were so convoluted, it was like being in one of those Hall of Mirrors at the fun fair – everything is twisted and distorted so much that you can’t work out what goes where and which way is up.

The characterisations are brilliant. Ronnie takes us right inside the minds and hearts of the characters so completely that we can FEEL what it is like to be them at each point. When one of these characters is a very twisted individual, this is quite disturbing and made me a little concerned as to what goes on in the dark recesses of Ronnie’s mind when she is not being utterly delightful on Twitter! People have hidden depths, I tell you. I was blown away by the range and understanding of emotion that she imbues the characters with, and how vividly these are brought to life in the book. I was living this story with them, tense stomach, heart in my mouth, pulse pounding at times. I could not put this book down.

On top of this, and what makes this book stand out for me from the herd, is the beauty of the prose. Really, some of the language and imagery used in the book is like poetry, and really quite unexpected in a book of this genre. It is really obvious that this is an author who loves to read and has absorbed and incorporated the best of the writing she has read over the years into her own work. This book is really accomplished – as an aspiring writer I am in awe and ever-so-slightly jealous of the talent on display here.

This book had me sighing with pleasure at the end, even as I let out the tense breath I had been holding for the previous four hours. What a treat.

The Lies Between Us is out now and you can order your copy here.

To follow the rest of the epic blog tour of this book, check out the tour poster(s) below:

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About the Author

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Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author. Ronnie now lives in Dorset with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. She is currently working on her second novel.

Ronnie’s debut novel, Lies Between Us, will be published by HQ Digital in October 2018.

Connect with Ronnie:

Website: https://ronnieturner.wordpress.com

Facebook: Ronnie Turner

Twitter: @Ronnie__Turner

Instagram: @ronnieturner8702

Snowflakes Over Holly Cove by Lucy Coleman #BookReview #BlogTour (@LucyColemanAuth) @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books @RaRaResources #SnowflakesOverHollyCove

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Another Christmassy blog tour for you today, this time for Snowflakes Over Holly Cove by Lucy Coleman. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for my place on the tour and to the publisher and the author for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. Make sure you check out the great giveaway further down the post too.

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“As the snowflakes start to fall, Holly Cove welcomes a new tenant to the beautiful old cottage on the beach…

For lifestyle magazine journalist Tia Armstrong, relationships, as well as Christmas, have lost all their magic. Yet Tia is up against a Christmas deadline for her latest article ‘Love is, actually, all around…’

So, Tia heads to Holly Cove where the restorative sea air and rugged stranger, Nic, slowly but surely start mending her broken heart.

Tia didn’t expect a white Christmas, and she certainly never dared dream that all her Christmas wishes might just come true…

Set in Caswell Bay on the stunningly beautiful Gower Coast, the cottage nestles amid the limestone cliffs and the woodlands, where the emotions run as turbulently as the wind-swept sea.”

This book was billed as for fans of Karen Swan and, since I love Karen’s books, I thought I would enjoy this, and I was not disappointed.

The setting of this book is beautifully brought to life by the author, and what a spectacular setting it is – the stunning Gower Peninsula in the winter time. Tia has been sent there for six weeks to write a feature for a magazine, and we find ourselves falling in love with the area over the course of the book, just as she does, and by the end of the book I was equally loathe to leave it as Tia.

This is a really beautiful novel, dealing with a lot of complex topics such as loss and grief. Tia is struggling with the recent loss of her mother and the assignment she is sent on seems an odd one, as having to spend time with couples celebrating Christmas together could prove tough for Tia as she finds herself alone, but it seems her boss may know what she is doing as opportunities for new starts and a new love present themselves.

The characterisations in the novel are beautiful and really drew me in to the plot. I fell in love with Tia and felt all her emotions through the book with her, so we were both on an emotional rollercoaster throughout. All the other people she meets in Holly Cove are also well-developed and sympathetic, so I quickly found myself invested in the story and eager to find out what was coming next. This is a really complex book that balances moments of humour with moments of sadness and pain to give the reader a full, emotional workout from the beginning to the end. It is definitely much more than a light, Christmas read.

I haven’t read anything by this author before but I really enjoyed her writing style and voice and she obviously has a great talent for plot and characterisation. I will be looking out for more from her in future, as this book gave me everything I could hope for in a book of this kind. It left me feeling warm and satisfied and desperate to visit the Welsh coast as soon as possible.

Snowflakes Over Holly Cove is available now and you can get a copy here.

Giveaway

Tour prize

To win a signed paperback of A Cottage in the Country and a rustic wooden heart decoration (Open Internationally), click on the Rafflecopter link below:

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

To follow the rest of the tour, check out the dates below:

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About the Author

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From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Website: http://linnbhalton.co.uk

Facebook: Linn B Halton Author

Twitter: @LucyColemanAuth and @linnbhalton

Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen #BookReview #BlogTour (@antti_tuomainen) @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #PalmBeachFinland

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“Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village – the ‘hottest beach in Finland’. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary. With a nod to Fargo, and the darkest noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a wicked black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives … from the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’.”

I’m delighted to be on the blog tour today for Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen. My huge thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to Orenda Books for my copy of the novel which I have reviewed honestly.

What to say about this genius book? When I found myself simultaneously gasping and laughing guilty at the the opening scenes of this book, I knew from the beginning that I was going to adore it, and everything about the rest of the book cemented this opinion.

This book is the wrong way round. You know from the very beginning who committed the crime. You might think this would spoil the tension of the book but it absolutely does not. For a start, we have no idea who is the victim is, and nor does anyone else. And despite the fact that the perpetrator is not a mystery, there are enough other twists, turns and gasp-out-loud surprises throughout the book to keep you turning the pages until the wee, small hours.

The cover of this book is perfect and would have me intrigued enough to pick up the book on its own, because the setting of this book is what makes it for me. Jorma Leivo is determined to develop the perfect beach resort on the coast of Finland for those people who don’t like it too hot (I actually know a few people to whom this idea would be appealing and I wonder why this place doesn’t actually exist), complete with Florida-style chalets painted pastel colours and named in homage to Miami Vice, cocktails, sun umbrellas, plastic flamingoes and water sports. The fact that the palm trees are plastic might give a hint at the struggle he is up against, but Jorma is nothing if not optimistic and determined – in fact, his absolute determination to bring his vision to life is part of the problem. The setting sets up limitless opportunities for humour, which is the heart of my delight in this book.

The humour is on the dark side, as this is a crime story after all, and the author does not shy away from the violence associated with this genre, but a lot of it is comical. Some of the scenes border on farce and had me laughing out loud, often into my hand as I felt like I shouldn’t really be laughing at all but I could not help myself. There are an array of fantastic characters in this book which tell the story from their own perspectives in alternating chapters and that you won’t be able to help but fall in love with, even the really terrible people. The two bumbling criminal henchmen who set the whole chain of events rolling with their ineptitude in the first place. The psychopathic brother hell bent on revenge. The undercover policeman posing as a holidaying maths teacher as he windsurfs his way to solving the crime. The array of small town dwellers with big hopes and dreams, They all bring this story to joyous life and I absolutely loved all of them by the end of the book.

I don’t read enough translated fiction but, if it was all as good as this, I would read more. I wish my Finnish was good enough to allow me to read this in the original but the translator has done a wonderful job of bringing the spirit of Antti’s story to life in English so we can enjoy it seamlessly. I think this is a book that has layers and layers of nuance to peel back over multiple readings and, consequently, the paperback is now on pre-order so that I can enjoy it again and again. I can’t recommend it highly enough – life-affirming pleasure in paperback form. Books like this are the reason I blog.

Palm Beach Finland is out now and you can buy your copy here.

This book is taking a month-long tour throughout October so there are plenty of fantastic reviews to choose from. If you would like to get an alternative perspective on the book from one of my fellow bloggers, check out the tours dates below:

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About the Author

Antti Tuomainen

Finnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011, Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. Two years later, in 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh Awards.

Connect with Antti:

Website: http://anttituomainen.com

Facebook: Antti Tuomainen Official

Twitter: @antti_tuomainen

Instagram: @anttituomainen

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Christmas at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green #BookReview #BlogTour (@Rosie_Green1988) @RaRaResources #LittleDuckPondCafe

Christmas at the Little Duck Pond Cafe

I’m back in Sunnybrook today and it is Christmas! If you have been following the blog, you will remember our previous visits for Spring at the Little Duck Pond Cafe and Summer at the Little Duck Pond Cafe, so I’m eager to see what is going on there at the turn of the year. my thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour and to the author for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.

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“Fen has always hated being the centre of attention.

She loves her new job, working behind the scenes at the Little Duck Pond Cafe and baking the scrumptious cakes that have helped its reputation soar. But frankly, she’d rather scrub the public toilet floor with a toothbrush than have to come out and talk to the customers.

She’s always been happy to stay in the background as long as she has a good supply of books to escape into. That’s her kind of romance – the fictional sort where she can read about other people taking a chance on love, but she doesn’t have to risk her own heart.
But that was before Ethan Fox arrived in the village and turned her world upside down. Ethan is a leading light in the local amateur dramatics theatre company and Fen knows he’s way out of her league.

But when the popular village Christmas pantomime hits a crisis, Fen and Ethan find themselves thrown together. Can Fen overcome her shyness and find the courage to step on stage and save the day?”

I just adore the cover of this book – so cute!

As I had hoped, the star of this book is the final member of the friendly triumvirate, Fen. It seems appropriate that she has been a little over-looked until now as she is the shyest and quietest of the three girls. always holding herself back and living vicariously through her romance novels (who here can’t relate to that scenario?) But things are about to change because Fen is falling for a man, and she is going to have to embolden herself to get him.

This story is just as delightful as the other three, and I got into the story very quickly, largely as I was already familiar with the characters and ready to find out what was happening with them. The answer is, nothing great as far as Ellie and Jaz are concerned, but this is Fen’s story and I was really eager for good things to happen for her.

Fen’s story was the one of the three that I was most easily able to relate to because it was quite simple and that made it seem very real and plausible. There is nothing hugely dramatic about it, this is a story that happened daily to women everywhere and I could really sympathise with her throughout.

As with the previous books, there is a lot of humour to carry the book, this time with a healthy sprinkling of Christmas cheer to make it all more magical and I really enjoyed it. I was having a bit of a low day when I started reading this book and it really did a good job of picking me up and cheering me up. It is another lovely little story about real people and I can’t want to read the fourth in this ‘trilogy’ (Rosie is obviously a disciple of Douglas Adams!) But we have run out of girls, so who will the next book be about? I’m looking forward to finding out next month.

Christmas at the Little Duck Pond Cafe is out now and you can purchase your copy here. Rosie’s new book, Snowed in at the Little Duck Pond Cafe is out on 15 November.

To follow the rest of the tour, see the poster below:

Christmas at the Little Duck Pond Cafe Full Tour Banner

About the Author

Rosie Green Author Pic

Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

​Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. The first two stories in the series are: Spring at The Little Duck Pond Cafe and Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café.

Connect with Rosie:

Twitter: @Rosie_Green1988

The Boardwalk by the Sea: Autumn Antics by Georgina Troy #BookReview #BlogTour (@GeorginaTroy) @RaRaResources #BoardwalkByTheSea #Giveaway

Autumn Antics

Thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour today for Autumn Antics, book two in The Boardwalk By The Sea series by Georgina Troy. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the author for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. Make sure you check out the fabulous giveaway after the review.

The Boardwalk by the Sea - Autumn Antics by Georgina Troy

“Being a part-time hand model can be tricky, especially when you have to deal with prima donnas like Megan Knight, a reality star whose meteoric rise has surprised everyone. Bella is happiest running her tiny antique business from the front room of her cottage on the boardwalk. To ensure she has enough income coming in, she also rents out two of her bedrooms and is hiding a secret crush on one of her lodgers. His name is Jack and he also happens to be her best friend Sacha’s brother.

If life wasn’t complicated enough, her world-travelling mother appears on her doorstep on the same evening that Jack’s ex-fiancée arrives on the boardwalk determined to win him back. Bella has a lot of thinking to do and soon discovers that not all gems sparkle.”

I have to admit that I haven’t read the first book in the Boardwalk by the Sea series but, having just finished this book, it has made me want to rectify this oversight and I have immediately downloaded it to my Kindle.

This is a really lovely little read, perfect for the season as we travel back to Jersey with part-time hand model Beth, just as the seasons are changing and the cooler autumn weather closes in. There are lots of references to snuggling down in front of log fires with a hot chocolate after a bracing coastal walk, which is just what you will feel like doing with this book. Take a brisk morning walk and then cuddle up on a Sunday afternoon and spend a contented couple of hours enjoying this heart-warming read.

The book is peopled with really lovely characters. I warmed to Beth immediately and wanted to follow her trials and tribulations as she juggles trying to make ends meet, unrequited feelings for one of her lodgers, an unexpected visit from her work travelling mother and a stroppy reality TV star. The writing is witty, the plot undemanding but interesting and the setting appealing and well brought to life. It is a really attractive package for a novel.

The writing includes a lot of description and I can see that in places some readers might find it too much, with every little action documented, but actually for me it really worked for the book. It is a book set in a small world where every tiny thing matters to the story, so it seemed fitting. This is not a book of huge happenings, it is about the intimate stories of people’s lives and I just found it very sweet and appealing.

This book worked its way into my heart and I couldn’t put it down. I liked it a lot more than I expected and I am going to immediately catch up on part one. I really hope this isn’t the end of the story for Beth and the folk on the Boardwalk by the Sea.

The Boardwalk By The Sea: Autumn Antics is out now and you can buy a copy here.

Giveaway

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To be in with a chance of winning an Autumn Antics tote bag and locket, click the Rafflecopter link below:

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

To follow the rest of the tour, check out the dates on the poster below:

Autumn Antics Full Tour Banner

About the Author

Deborah Med

Georgina Troy is a pseudonym of author Deborah Carr. She recently signed with HarperCollins’ romance imprint HarperImpulse to write an historical romance to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War. The Poppy Field by Deborah Carr will be published in e-book format on 12 October 2018 and in paperback on 27 December 2018.

Georgina was a finalist in the Contemporary Romance Category of the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards 2016 (RoNAs) with A Jersey Kiss and a finalist in the Joan Hessayon Award for new writers 2015. Her first four-book series, The Jersey Scene and books 1 and 2 of her second series, The Boardwalk by the Sea are available.

She also writes thrillers as Ella Drummond and lives on the island of Jersey with her husband and three rescue dogs and is 1/3 of The Blonde Plotters.

Sign up to Georgina’s Newsletter at: deborahcarr.org/contact 

Connect with Georgina:

Website: https://deborahcarr.org

Facebook: Georgina Troy

Twitter: @GeorginaTroy

The River Runs Red by Ally Rose #BookReview #BlogTour (@AllyRoseAuthor) @fahrenheitpress @damppebbles #TheRiverRunsRed #Blogtober18 #damppebblestours

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“Berlin is in the midst of its worst winter in decades.

Against the backdrop of freezing temperatures, blizzards and snowstorms, the city refuses to grind to a halt. Lurking within the shadows is a Stasi victim, out for revenge against the former East German informants known as ‘The Ears’. Their dark secrets are about to be exposed.

A mix of ice and water and a single gunshot, provides the ultimate payback.

With the Millennium approaching, Hanne Drais, the criminal psychologist working within the Berlin Mitte Police team led by the irascible Oskar Kruger and his laid-back sidekick, Stefan Glockner, are seeking the perpetrator of these violent crimes.

Who is the man they’ve nicknamed Snowflake?

Who is turning the river red?”

Today is my turn on the blog tour for The River Runs Red by Ally Rose, which is the third Hanne Drais novel by this author. My thanks to Emma Welton at damp pebbles tours for inviting me to take part and to the publisher for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Although this is the third novel featuring Hanne Drais, I had not read the first two books and it did not affect my enjoyment of this book at all, it can easily be read as a standalone novel. So now we’ve confirmed that, on to the review!

This book is a dual timeline set just over a decade apart in Berlin. One timeline is set at the turn of the Millennium, where a series of violent murders of former Stasi informants is baffling the police, as there appears to be a link between them and they believe there may be a serial killer at work. Criminal psychologist, Hanne Drais, gives the police a unique perspective on the murders to help solve the crimes. The other timeline follows East German Olympic rower, Rudy Meixner as he is subjected to Stasi interrogation following the defection of his father to West Berlin, and what comes afterwards.

The two timelines are deftly woven throughout the book as the past events in East Berlin before the fall of the Berlin Wall feed into the later investigation of the serial murders of Stasi ‘ears’ after the unification of Germany. The clues to the identity of the ‘Snowflake’ are scattered throughout the book very cleverly. I thought I knew who it was, then I wasn’t sure, then I thought I’d got it again, then something else made me doubt myself. The plotting is very deft in this regard; I wasn’t 100% sure until the end, and even then there were unanswered questions.

The characters were really fascinating, particularly Rudy who had definite light and shade to his character that made me warm to him but also doubt him at the same time. Hanne is also an interesting character, and we are given insights into her personal life as well as her work. I really liked the fact that she is a woman who is far from traditional, but very strong and secure in her own skin, and her abilities.

Undoubtedly, the best part of the novel for me was the historical setting and the vivid descriptions of what life was like in East Germany during partition. The author really does an amazing job in this novel of bringing to life the horror of the torture that was perpetrated by the Stasi against people who were considered enemies of the state and traitors, whilst at the same time being horribly corrupt themselves. The stifling atmosphere of fear that must have pervaded every day life, as neighbour informed on neighbour and no one ever felt safe, permeates the book and really sets an amazing atmosphere for a tense thriller. I thought it was a fantastic back drop for the story and really propelled the plot and kept me gripped throughout.

The book’s grip is subtle, done with slow and insidious horror rather than lots of bangs and explosions so, if you like your thrillers full of car chases and noise, this is not for you. However, if you prefer something more intelligent and challenging, this will suit you down to the ground. This book is food for thought. There is a huge degree of moral ambiguity in the plot as the murder victims are shown to be evil and you wonder whether the killer really deserves to be punished, or pitied. This is a book requiring some brain power and a questioning of one’s own integrity.

If I had any quibbles with this book, one would be that having dates at the top of the chapters would be useful to keep the two timelines straight; at times I found myself at the beginning of the chapter trying to work out where in time we were. The other niggle I had was an editing one; there were a couple of places where I felt there was a little too much telling, rather than showing, and also that the author was spoon feeding us facts rather than leaving some inferences for the reader to work out themselves. These are small concerns, however, and easily fixable and would not stop me highly recommending this book.

This was an enjoyable and thought-provoking read and i would not hesitate to pick up more by this author.

The River Runs Red is out now and you can buy a copy here.

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About the Author

I’ve always been interested in writing crime stories and with the Cold War era, there is such a rich tapestry to draw from; especially the notorious and quelling Stasi reign in East Germany. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, gives a contrast between the different worlds and any past crimes are held to account in a unified Germany.

Berlin is one of my favourite cities, and I’ve spent time living and discovering this diverse city and its surrounding areas. Seeing my characters in familiar places, they seem to come to life.

Hope you enjoy my Hanne Drais books.

Connect with Ally:

Twitter: @AllyRoseAuthor

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