Sewing The Shadows Together by Alison Baillie


Book Description:

Can you ever get over the death of your sister? Or of your best friend?

More than 30 years after 13-year-old Shona McIver was raped and murdered in Portobello, the seaside suburb of Edinburgh, the crime still casts a shadow over the lives of her brother Tom and her best friend Sarah.

“Shona had been gone for so long but the memories still came unexpectedly, sometimes like a video from the past, sometimes distorted dreams, but she was always there.”

When modern DNA evidence shows that the wrong man was convicted of the crime, the case is reopened. So who did kill Shona? Sarah and Tom are caught up in the search for Shona’s murderer, and suspicions fall on family and friends. The foundations of Sarah’s perfect family life begin to crumble as she realises that nothing is as it appears. Dark secrets from the past are uncovered, and there is another death, before the identity of the real killer is finally revealed…

Set in Edinburgh, the Outer Hebrides and South Africa, Sewing the Shadows Together is a thoroughly modern murder mystery that keeps the reader guessing to the end. Filled with characters who could easily be friends, family or people we work with, it asks the question:

Do we ever really know the people closest to us?

My Thoughts:

This is another novel that came highly recommended to me so couldn’t not go buy myself a copy to see what all the fuss is about.

A school reunion as well as a reopened case brings Tom back to Edinburgh where his family had moved far away from after Shona his sister was murdered. Coming back into the area brings everything back for Tom and he is desperate to get some answers.

The only people I actually liked at the reunion was Tom and Sarah, who was Shona’s best friend at school. Compared to the rest of them, they were pretty normal and didn’t really have any hang ups.

Tom and Sarah coming together brings back fond memories of Shona and they are determined to try and find out who did kill her and both go in search of the truth.

There are so many unlikeable characters in this novel, I could count on one hand the ones I actually liked and had empathy for. I think this made me grasp at straws at who I thought the killer was. I have to admit I thought I was so clever thinking I knew who it was only to be proven wrong when all is revealed.

Sewing the Shadows Together is just that. It is a tale that once woven all becomes suddenly clear. It is very much one of secrets and lies and is steeped in suspense.

A highly enjoyable read that draws you in and doesn’t let you go until the very end.

Goodread ratings 4/5 stars.

Sewing The Shadows Together is available to purchase from Amazon.

Summer Nights at theMoonlight Hotel by Jane Costello


Book Description:

‘LEARN TO SALSA DANCE,’ the card in the shop window read. ‘Experience the red-hot vibes of Latin America right here in the Lake District. Beginners and singles welcome.’

Lauren Scott lives in ‘The most romantic place in Britain’, but her love life is about as successful as her mountain climbing skills. The man she’s obsessed over for two years has proposed to someone else – and her only solution is to save up for six months to go travelling, so she never has to set eyes on him again.

But when her friends sign her up for a dance class – in the same historic hotel where her beloved dad worked and her most precious childhood memories were formed – Lauren makes a horrifying discovery. It’s been sold to a faceless budget chain, which has depressing plans in store. Worse, the entrepreneur behind it all turns out to be among a group of guys her friend Cate roped in to join the very same salsa class they’ve signed up for….

Jane Costello’s funniest book yet – a story of love, friendship and some serious hip action . . . Get in the mood to mambo!

My Thoughts:

Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel is a fun filled feel good read.

I have to say being a big fan of programmes like Grand Designs and Homes Under the Hammer, I devoured every mention of the restoration and decorating of the hotel itself and had the most wonderful visions in my head from the descriptions in the book. Even though the hotel is owned by one of Lauren’s friends love interest, it has a special bless in Lauren’s heart as it has a connection to her dad.

Lauren is a single female who seems to be going through some sort of mid life crisis. She doesn’t seem to really know what she wants and seems desperate to make something of her life and settle down. She seems to make a lot of rash decisions including leaving her job in a primary school to travel to nearly the other side of the world. I actually wanted to give her a good shake to make her realise that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and to realise what she was about to give up.

One thing about Lauren though is that she a truly great friend. She goes above and beyond the call of duty to her friends, even giving up on her own dreams to make sure they are okay. Her poor friends all seem to going through a bit of a rough patch and Lauren has her work cut out trying to sort her own life out as well as her friends.

Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel is a novel very much about friendships, relationships and romance. Even though the author addresses some difficult and current issues, she does it in a way that makes this still a heart warming and light hearted reading experience. Really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of the authors books.

Goodreads rating 4/5 stars.

Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel is available to purchase from Amazon.

Tijuana Donkey Showdown by Adam Howe


Book Description:

Reggie Levine, ex-boxer turned bouncer, and hapless hero, has barely recovered from his ordeal in Damn Dirty Apes, when he is called back to action. Recruited to a retrieve a Chinese crested terrier from a fleapit roadside zoo, where the ugly effing showdog has been mistaken for the chupacabra, Reggie finds himself embroiled in a deadly criminal conspiracy involving neo-Nazi drug smugglers, a seedy used-car salesman, a wannabe serial killer, an ornery Vietnam veteran, a badass veterinarian, a freakishly endowed adult entertainment donkey named Enrique, and in an explosive cameo, an Academy Award winning Hollywood icon.

From Adam Howe, writer of Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, Black Cat Mojo, and the winner of Stephen King’s On Writing contest, comes another slice of pulp Southern crime, 80s action, pop Americana, and pitch-black comedy.

My Thoughts:

Tijuana Donkey Showdown is the second book that features Reggie Levine. He also appears in Damn Dirty Apes which is one of three novellas that feature in Die Dog or Eat the Hatchett. I wouldn’t say it is essential to have read Damn Dirty Apes first, but I think it will give the reader a better idea of Reggie and what happens in the first book and how it fits into the second novel.

If you haven’t read anything by this author before then open your mind to a very warped ride. His books certainly won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but if you like a far out read that’s a bit tongue in cheek, well, you are going to love it.

Head bouncer Reggie is back and boy is the reader in for a fun journey. Getting caught up in a toilet brawl, Reggie finds himself getting involved in another mans mess which ends up turning into a bit of a disaster.

Who knew that trying to get back a missing dog would end up with Reggie and his friends fighting for survival. Gizmo really does not envision pleasant thoughts, he sounded like one of the ugliest dogs I’ve ever heard of. Obviously beauty is skin deep but there really was nothing nice about this leg humping mutt. I have to admit at feeling a bit bad about laughing at something that happens to Gizmo but won’t say what as wouldn’t want to spoil it for others, but it was rather funny.

It’s obvious that Nicholas Cage is a bit of an icon for the author. He even gets his own cameo appearance in the book. I’m actually a bit of a fan of this actor and loved how the author includes him into the story and thought it all flows brilliantly.

Tijuana Donkey Showdown is the perfect read if your an action fan. It reminds me a lot of the Hollywood block buster movies like Big Trouble In Little China where there is a certain amount of humour in them. A highly enjoyable read that is totally bonkers with some really stand out characters. Loved it!

My thanks to the author for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.

Goodreads Rating 5/5 stars.

Tijuana Donkey Showdown is out on the 9th of December and available to pre order on Amazon now.

Piece by Piece: Remembering Georgina: A Mother’s Memoir by Helen Anderson


Book Description:

In July 2013, fourteen-year old singer-songwriter Georgina Anderson received the shock news that her recent ‘indigestion’ was in fact an aggressive form of liver cancer. As doctors battled to save Georgina, her mother Helen poured her thoughts and fears into the pages of a diary.
Piece by Piece is a transcript of that diary as a new member of the ‘club’ no parent wants to join. A breathtaking record of the author’s journey as a mother from that day onwards, this unforgettable book also charts the stunning reaction to Georgina’s music as celebrities and members of the public spread her story around the globe.
This memoir is Helen Victoria Anderson’s testament to her daughter’s courage. Shot through with dark humour, Piece by Piece is an honest snapshot of turbulent times which captures the strength of the human spirit in the face of the unthinkable.

My Thoughts:

I’m sure many of us have wondered when we see on the news, or watch programmes like Children In Need, how parents cope with losing a child. It would be my absolute worst nightmare and many a time I have woken up from some horrible dream where something bad has happened to my children and my face is soaked with tears. Luckily for me that’s all it is, a bad dream. Sadly for some other parents it’s a reality.

Piece by Piece is a book made up of diary entries, by Helen, as well as status’s posted on social media, again by Helen and her husband, from when Georgina was diagnosed, but mainly on the aftermath after her death.

This novel felt very personal and I can only thank Helen from the bottom of my heart in sharing her thoughts and feelings with others. I think this book will be such a big help to any parents whose child is terminally ill or have lost a child. It will also help others that have not been affected in this way to understand what someone is going through and hopefully be more mindful as well as be better prepared if the worst was ever to happen to them or someone they know.

Grief is something that obviously affects each of us differently. We get to see this in how Helen and her husband react differently and how they both go about coping with it. The support from a certain football club as well as Georgina’s school and her friends was especially touching and I had to have the odd breather as I couldn’t see the words through my tears.

Piece by Piece was obviously going to be a heart wrenching and emotional read.  The devastation of losing a child was everything I thought it would be and more. It will certainly make you appreciate your children even more than you already do and hug them that little bit tighter.

Piece by Piece is available to purchase from Amazon.

Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow


Book Description:

A gorgeous country house hotel, a liberal dusting of snow, a cosy weekend away…what more could Lizzie ask for at Christmas?

Every Christmas Lizzie promises herself that things will change and she will leap into the new year a new woman. And yet here she is again, at the beginning of December and nothing is different. Her girls have grown up and left home, her husband Henry is slumped in front of the TV and she is alone in the kitchen, seeking refuge in the cooking sherry and talking to her Gary Barlow calendar. She’s also been very diverted by handsome new neighbour Marcus and she knows she shouldn’t be …

So when best friend Ann suggests a weekend away in the country, Lizzie jumps at the chance. Will this Christmas escape give Lizzie some much needed perspective and allow her to mend her marriage? Or will Marcus prove to be too much of a distraction?

My Thoughts:

Lizzie is a character that I think many readers will relate to. She has been with her husband Henry for a lot of years and now that her children have left home she is feeling at a bit of a loss. She realises how much her relationship with Henry has become one of habit and the feelings and fun they used to once have seems to have gone some what stale. Not only that but all her hopes and dreams that she put to one side seem to also be getting further out of reach.

Luckily for Lizzie she has her best friend Ann who really is the most perfect friend. The friendship between these two woman shines out all the way through the novel. I laughed as well as cried along with them both throughout the story and by the end I actually felt quite bereft that I wouldn’t be spending anymore time with them.

Even though the magical time of the year (Christmas) is apparent throughout the whole book, this is soooooo much more than a festive read. It is very much a story of friendship and that wonderful bond that forms over the years. The being there at every tragedy, emergency, mile stones in our lives and overall making some of our happiest memories together. It will also have readers sit back and take a good long hard look at their own marriage and make you remember what it was that made you fall in love with your other halves and how to keep that fire between you both lit.

Lizzie’s Christmas Escape is a powerful and emotional story that will stay with me for a very long time to come and with quite a few surprises in store, my heart felt like it literally stopped more than a few times. The author is an expert in creating characters that really reach out to readers and touch you in a way you wouldn’t have ever thought possible.

A thought provoking read that touches your heart and soul. Simply stunning.

My thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.

Lizzie’s Christmas Escape is out today and is available to pre-order from Amazon.

Her Last Breath: A shocking psychological thriller perfect for Hitchcock fans by J A Schneider #BlogTour #BookReview

Totally thrilled today to be one of three stops on the blog tour for Her Last Breath by J A Schneider. Her Last Breath is actually published today, so I’m sure you will all help me in wishing the author a Happy Publication Day.


Book Description:

A chilling psychological thriller about a woman caught between two men…
Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can’t remember the night before. Accused of murder, she feels torn between her husband, a successful defense attorney, and a mysterious, kind man who wants to help. Can she trust either of them – or even her friends? Detective Kerri Blasco battles her police bosses believing Mari is innocent…but is she?

My Thoughts:

Her Last Breath is the second novel by this author that features Detective Kerri Blasco. Fear Dreams is the first one to feature Kerri in but don’t worry if you haven’t read it as both books are more like stand alone’s than books in an actual series.

What I really enjoyed about this novel is how the author concentrates on Mari who is in trouble, whilst slowly bringing in Kerri and the presence of the police. This way we get a really good feel into what is going on in the accused’s life as well as the build up in the actual case.

To wake up next to a dead man must be horrendous but then not to remember the events leading up to waking up either, well it obviously doesn’t look good. At first I was questioning myself as to whether Mari was guilty or the innocent party in all of it.

Even though the rest of the people working on the case believe that Mari is guilty, luckily for Mari, Kerri believes she is innocent and makes it her aim to prove it.

Even though this feels very much like a crime thriller series, the author cleverly leads you down different paths so that I was second guessing everything and didn’t get it right as to who the actual murderer was. It’s certainly one that can be enjoyed by fans of psychological thrillers also as well as crime fans.

Her Last Breath is definitely a gripping read that picks up speed the further you get into the story. Towards the end I had to keep reminding myself to breath as I was so wrapped up in the story and couldn’t wait for everything to be fully revealed to me. It certainly didn’t disappoint when it was and I certainly hadn’t seen it coming. A tense and chilling read.

My thanks to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads rating 4/5 stars.

Her Last Breath is out today and available to purchase from Amazon.

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Madam Tulip And The Knave Of Hearts by David Ahern #BookReview


Book Description:

Madam Tulip! Actress, fortune-teller, psychic, sleuth!

When out-of-work actress Derry O’Donnell moonlights as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip in an English Stately home, she’s trying to make some cash. Instead, she is drawn into an alien world of wealth, titled privilege and family secrets.

A countess once a chorus girl, a gambling earl and his daughters, a cultured and handsome art expert—all caught in a terrifying web of ghastly threats, murder and abduction. As an aristocratic engagement party turns into a nightmare, Derry and her friend Bruce face the prospect of a gruesome and infamous death.

Madame Tulip and the Knave of Hearts is the second in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.

My Thoughts:

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts, as stated in the description, is the second book in the series following the antics of Derry O’Donnell.

I don’t think it is essential to have read the first in the series but I think it will give readers a better understanding of how Derry got into the fortune telling  business.

Derry is back acting in the theatre only for the theatre be in dire need of repair that sees her yet again out of work. She is forced into helping out in an art gallery by her over bearing mother. She also manages to get a gig in a stately home as her Madam Tulip persona.

I don’t know how Derry does it but she always manages to wind up in some pretty glamorous places. The family at the stately home are slightly strange though and there was only really Bryony that I took to. It was understandable that Derry couldn’t wait to get out of there.

It isn’t long of course before Derry manages to get herself involved in yet another crime that leaves her no choice but to try and get to the bottom of.

I found the crime side of things in this novel a lot more intriguing than the first in the series. Even though a lot more light hearted than a normal ‘crime’ book, it is packed full of mystery and suspense and it feels very much like a classic ‘who dunnit’. Things certainly get a lot more exciting towards the end and it was very gripping in parts.

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts is another enjoyable read that has a whole array of wacky characters. Even though I have mentioned it in my review for the first book, I still stand by that this series would be great for the television. I think fans of Jonathan Creek and a like, will absolutely love the Madam Tulip series. It’s certainly a series that seems to be going from strength to strength.

My thanks to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads rating 4/5 stars.

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts is out today and available to purchase from Amazon.