BookReview 1989 by VAL McDERMID

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the new installment to her historical crime series that began with 1979, internationally bestselling author Val McDermid delivers a propulsive new thriller that finds journalist Allie Burns has become an editor, and as the Cold War and AIDS crisis deliver a nonstop tide of news, most of it bad, a story falls into her lap. And then there’s a murder.

Hailed as Britain’s Queen of Crime, Val McDermid’s award-winning, internationally bestselling novels have captivated readers for more than thirty years. In her Allie Burns series, she returns to the past–both ours and in some ways her own–with the story of a female journalist whose stories lead her into world of corruption, terror, and murder.

It’s 1989 and Allie Burns is back. Older and maybe wiser, she’s running the northern news operation of the Sunday Globe, chafing at losing her role in investigative journalism and at the descent into the gutter of the UK tabloid media. But there’s plenty to keep her occupied. The year begins with the memorial service for the victims of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, but Allie has barely filed her copy when she stumbles over a story about HIV/AIDS that will shock her into a major change of direction. The world of newspapers is undergoing a revolution, there’s skullduggery in the medical research labs and there are seismic rumblings behind the Iron Curtain. When murder is added to this potent mix, Allie is forced to question all her old certainties.

Readers are having a great time time-traveling with Val, and 1989 is a seamless, riveting novel that brings us once again face to face with how very much past is prologue, and how history’s sins stay with us.


PURCHASE LINK

AMAZON

MY REVIEW

 I found this to be an absorbing thriller that really transports you back to the news and events of 1989, along with some of the vile attitudes of the time! I’ve not read the first in the series, so this can be read as a standalone, but I’m planning to read 1979 very soon!


Allie works for the Sunday Globe and looks to offer a different and relatable perspective on stories that are in the news. Shame her bosses disagree and just tow the line with sensationalising things and making stories full of prejudice. She goes from the tragic events of Pan Am 103 memorial and Hillsborough, interspersed with a developing story of worrying events with HIV trials being cancelled with no reasons given. The more she discovers about the companies involved, the more she’s drawn in to some dangerous investigations and brick walls being put in her way.

You really get the sense in this book that the life of a journalistic is never dull! Especially when you’re ready to upset the apple cart and investigate some serious dodgy goings on. I loved the character of Allie, showing the reality of her working life alongside that of her personal life, living as a lesbian and working in an atmosphere full of homophobia and misogyny. The skullduggery of the media world behind the scenes is also a part of the storyline, and really illuminates how dark and dangerous it was – and probably still is!

I found this to be an extremely readable story! It was easy to follow, full of and watching back over events of that era was fascinating and really added an interesting perspective to her experiences and what she was dealing with.

★★★★

My thanks to Laura Sherlock for the advanced reader copy, in return for a fair and honest review.

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BookReview WINTER FLOWERS by ANGELIQUE VILLENEUVE

ABOUT THE BOOK

It’s October 1918 and the war is drawing to a close.

Toussaint Caillet returns home to his wife, Jeanne, and the young daughter he hasn’t seen growing up. He is not coming back from the front line but from the department for facial injuries at Val-de-Grâce military hospital, where he has spent the last two years.

For Jeanne, who has struggled to endure his absence and the hardships of wartime, her husband’s return marks the beginning of a new battle. With the promise of peace now in sight, the family must try to stitch together a new life from the tatters of what they had before.

PUBLISHED BY PEIRENE PRESS

PURCHASE LINK

PUBLISHER WEBSITE

MY REVIEW

 Early contender for one of my books of 2023!! That’s the effect this book has had on me! It’s quiet but extremely powerful in the subject matter, and the exploration of how the impact of war continues long after the war has ended.
It looks at a family where the husband has been away fighting, and the wife has been left back home to raise their child not knowing what is happening on the front line, and trying her best to deal with the consequences. When her husband returns home, she’s ecstatic to have him back but instantly sees he’s not the same man that left and coping with that change in personality is tough for them all.

You sense the husband, Touissant, has been through the extremes and finds it very difficult to go back to ‘normal’ life. But he won’t share with his wife what he’s been through – whether to protect them or himself – and it is just brilliantly written and explored through their interactions and the reactions of others the full impact.

The wife, Jeanne, has done all she can over the time he’s been away to protect her child, to keep normality in their life and she longed for, and dreaded, his return. Must be so harrowing to watch someone you love almost shutting themselves off from you and your life in a form of self preservation. The emotional toll on the whole family is harrowing and as you discover more about his life and experiences during the war, your heart just breaks – for them all.

A stunning book which is short in length but will stay long in the mind.

★★★★★

BookReview BAD BLOOD by SADIE RYAN

ABOUT THE BOOK

Does a dating App hold the key to the recent mysterious disappearances of several women from a leafy suburb.

Women are vanishing in the town of Applehurst. The police have one lead.

All the women met with a man on Tinder.

When the body of one of the missing women is found, The Police face a race against time to locate the remaining women before they come to further harm.

Can DI Vincent Sullivan and DS Josephine Jenkins unravel the mystery before the killer kills again?

Bad Blood is the new crime thriller from the bestselling author of Guilty

PUBLISHED BY SPELLBOUND

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

This is Book 2 in the DI Vincent series, but my first and definitely won’t be my last! The shocking opening had me hooked straight away, and the author has done a great job at exploring the world of online dating and delving into the darker side of human behaviour.

When women start going missing after going on Tinder dates, the police, and families, are left to wonder just what is going on. This starts off a game of action and suspense in every chapter as the story cleverly switches from the normality of daily life goings on giving you a glimpse behind various characters, to the POV from the main investigators – DI Vincent and DS Josephine Jenkins. I loved how these 2 characters worked so well with one another, from their banter to their way of going around trying to find out what is really going on.

As more bodies keep appearing the twists and turns ramp up, and I found myself getting suspicious about everyone at some points as you’re left thinking one way one minute, and another the next!! It really is cleverly written and it just keeps you guessing throughout.

There are many different threads to the story which help keep the interest in all the characters but it never becomes too overwhelming with the different POV’s. It just keeps the story flowing nicely as there’s always a new angle to explore, or new pieces of evidence shedding light on the latest investigation. And with the world of online dating now more prevalent it really gives the reader more connection – and scare them off going on a dating app EVER again!!!

I also found the attention to detail spot on as it gives you a greater vision of the settings and the nuances of each character, which made it much easier to connect with and want to know more about them all. The tension was always there and it was really cleverly executed!! Highly recommend!

★★★★★

Many thanks to the author, Sadie Ryan, for the gifted e-copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.

BlogTour CLARA’S CHRISTMAS MAGIC by ROSIE GREEN #BookReview @rararesources @Rosie_Green88

Delighted to be joining you today for my stop on the Blog Tour for the wonderful CLARA’S CHRISTMAS MAGIC by ROSIE GREEN!

My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!!

Clara’s Christmas Magic


The festive season is fast approaching but with the challenges facing Clara, it looks like being anything but the most wonderful time of the year. Can she somehow find the strength to meet those challenges head-on and find her way to the perfect, happy-ever-after Christmas?

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3CdsZKG

Author Bio – 

Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a country village cafe. ‘Clara’s Christmas Magic’ is Book 3 in a trilogy about Clara. It would make for the best reading experience if you caught up with the others first: Book 1, ‘Clara’s Secret Garden’ and Book 2 in the trio, ‘A Winter Wish’.

Follow Rosie on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green88 

MY REVIEW

This is the 3rd in the Clara trilogy and just a wonderful wrap up to a fabulous story for such a likeable character!!  It can even be read as a standalone, but it’s even better to watch things develop from the start of this trilogy!!

As part of the Little Duck Pond series, I always love to reconnect with these characters, and with this trilogy Clara has become a firm favourite of mine.  You’re always cheering her on and wanting that happy ending, as she’s always doing so much for everyone else.

This story sees her taking a trip to New York, with the always lovely Rory!, to try and  track down a long lost relative.  She’s very hesistant to get involved with so much going on back home, but knows this will be the perfect tonic for her much loved Gran, so no stone is left unturned in their quest to find her.

Wonderful settings, lots of drama going on in the UK and the US and all the situations faced are ones that you can just imagine yourself having to deal with, I loved this installment.   Allowing Clara to tell her story over these 3 books has been a wonderful way to connect more with her and I loved every minute of it!!  

★★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 19th November 2022

Hello and Happy Saturday! It’s been a foggy, wet and windy week here so I’m missing those sunny days of Summer!

And the miserable weather seems to have affected my reading mo-jo!   I’ve hit a reading slump and that is not good as the books keep piling up LOL!! So just 1 book  finished this week and that was an audiobook!  But did that stop me visiting Netgalley!? Of course not!! 4 new additions to the shelves there  – oops!!

Here’s my round up!

BOOK FINISHED

DRIFT by CARYL LEWIS (audiobook) – 4 STARS

BOOK HAUL

Netgalley… evilness!!

THE ENGLISH FUHRER by RORY CLEMENTS

publication date – JANUARY 2023

Autumn 1945 – Off the east coast of England, a Japanese sub surfaces, unloads its mysterious cargo, then blows itself to pieces.

Former spy Professor Tom Wilde is enjoying peacetime in Cambridge, settling back into teaching and family life. Until a call from senior MI5 boss Lord Templeman brings him out of retirement.

A nearby village has been locked down by the military, its residents blighted by a deadly illness. No one is allowed in or out.

There are rumours the Nazi machine is still operational, with links to Unit 731, a notorious Japanese biological warfare research laboratory. But how could they possibly be plotting on British soil – and why?

What’s more, Wilde and Templeman’s names are discovered on a Gestapo kill list. And after a series of assassinations an unthinkable question emerges: could an Englishman be behind the plot?

OUR HIDEOUS PROGENY by C.E.MCGILL

publication date – MAY 2023

A gothic adventure story, a classic tale with a feminist twist, a story of ambition and obsession, forbidden love and sabotage…

‘It is not the monster you have to fear, but the monster it makes of men.’

Mary is the great-niece of Victor Frankenstein. She knows her uncle disappeared in mysterious circumstances in the Arctic but she doesn’t know why or how. She and her husband are trying to make a name for themselves as paleontologists but, in 1850s’ London, scientific success requires wealth and connections – neither of which they possess. But then Mary discovers some old family papers that allude to the truth behind her great-uncle’s past, of his attempts to create a living being and the creature that ultimately killed him. Perhaps this idea will prove to be their salvation… Their quest takes them to the wilds of Scotland and to a game of cat and mouse with a rival who is out to steal their secret.

Our Hideous Progeny is a sumptuous tale of ambition and obsession, of forbidden love and sabotage; an adventure story that blends classic, immersive storytelling with contemporary themes.

ARE YOU HAPPY NOW by HANNA  JAMESON

publication date – February 2023

At a New York City wedding, on a sweltering summer night, four people are trying to be happy.

Yun has everything he ever wanted, but somehow it’s never enough.
Emory is finally making her mark, but feels the shame more than the success.
Andrew is trying to be honest, but has lied to himself his whole life.
Fin can’t resist falling in love, but can’t help wrecking it all either.

And then the world begins to end. The four of them watch as one of the wedding guests sits down and refuses to get back up. Soon it’s happening across the world. Is it a choice or an illness?

Because how can anyone be happy in a world where the only choice is to feel everything – or nothing at all?

An intensely compulsive novel for anyone who has ever felt hopeful and helpless in one breath, ARE YOU HAPPY NOW is about how you keep living when the world is on fire. Perfect for fans of Emily John St. Mandel’s Station Eleven, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Patricia Lockwood’s Nobody is Talking About This and Naomi Alderman’s The Power.

THE WITCH AND THE TSAR by OLEYSA SALNIKOVA  GILMORE

In this stunning debut novel, the maligned and immortal witch of legend known as Baba Yaga will risk all to save her country and her people from Tsar Ivan the Terrible—and the dangerous gods who seek to drive the twisted hearts of men.

As a half-goddess possessing magic, Yaga is used to living on her own, her prior entanglements with mortals having led to heartbreak. She mostly keeps to her hut in the woods, where those in need of healing seek her out, even as they spread rumors about her supposed cruelty and wicked spells. But when her old friend Anastasia—now the wife of the tsar, and suffering from a mysterious illness—arrives in her forest desperate for her protection, Yaga realizes the fate of all of Russia is tied to Anastasia’s. Yaga must step out of the shadows to protect the land she loves.

As she travels to Moscow, Yaga witnesses a sixteenth century Russia on the brink of chaos. Tsar Ivan—soon to become Ivan the Terrible—grows more volatile and tyrannical by the day, and Yaga believes the tsaritsa is being poisoned by an unknown enemy. But what Yaga cannot know is that Ivan is being manipulated by powers far older and more fearsome than anyone can imagine.

Olesya Salnikova Gilmore weaves a rich tapestry of mythology and Russian history, reclaiming and reinventing the infamous Baba Yaga, and bringing to life a vibrant and tumultuous Russia, where old gods and new tyrants vie for power. This fierce and compelling novel draws from the timeless lore to create a heroine for the modern day, fighting to save her country and those she loves from oppression while also finding her true purpose as a goddess, a witch, and a woman.

CURRENTLY READING

ISAAC AND THE EGG by BOBBY PALMER

HAPPY READING!!

BookReview A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE FOR THE RAILWAY GIRLS by MAISIE THOMAS

ABOUT THE BOOK

The sixth heartwarming, feel-good instalment in the much-loved Railway Girls series!

Manchester, 1942. There are surprises in store for the railway girls this festive season…

When Cordelia’s daughter Emily falls for a young chap who doesn’t meet the approval of her father, Cordelia is reminded of her own first love – a love that she has never forgotten.

Mabel is determined to get to the bottom of a spate of local burglaries. Her heart is in the right place as she sets out on a quest to clear her friend’s name, but there will be unforeseen consequences.

It’s nothing short of a miracle when Colette returns to Manchester. But it’s not going to be easy for her to keep living the life she once knew, and an impossible situation lies ahead.

There will be more than one storm for the railway girls to weather but with the friendship and support of one another, there’s hope that all will be well by Christmas…

PURCHASE LINK

AMAZON

MY REVIEW

Book 6 in the Railway Girls series and another sparkling installment that transports the reader back to Manchester during the War, and lets you catch up with the goings on of the wonderful Railway girls.

It’s always so nice to catch up with these characters through the good and the bad times that they experience. Their jobs around the Railways have given them strength and independance, but real life is still going on and that doesn’t always bring happiness their way. This is a story exploring young love, and dangerous old loves and seeing how the women cope during changing times.

These books really bring home to you the madness of the time – life carrying on as normal, but within seconds it can change and devastation and despair can often be round the corner. I loved seeing how they are there for one another and that you never can know what’s going on behind closed doors and it takes a lot sometimes to open up to people. The attitudes of the time are also explored, particularly relating to domestic abuse, and it opens your eyes to how ‘blind’ they were back home to the events going on around the world, compared to the way the news is 24/7 now in our world, it would take them a while to discover what was happening, especially concerning family members fighting.

I couldn’t put this book down until I’d found out what had happened to the characters and I’m already counting down the days until Book 7 is released in April 2023!! Brilliant!!

★★★★★

BlogTour A WINTER WISH by ROSIE GREEN #BookReview @rararesources @Rosie_Green88

Hello and welcome to my Blog!  And today I’m excited to be part of the Blog Tour for the fabulous A Winter Wish by Rosie Green!

My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

A Winter Wish, Little Duck Pond Café

With her new-found happiness unexpectedly crushed, Clara is struggling to move forward. It’s hard – especially with step-sister Lois bouncing around the place with joy and making all sorts of plans for the future. And when the household is shocked by a mysterious break-in and a neighbour makes a shocking accusation, Clara finds herself in an impossible position. It’s a situation that threatens to destroy her blossoming romance almost before it’s begun . . .

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3JYkLI5

Author Bio – 

Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a country village cafe. ‘Clara’s Secret Garden’, the first in a trilogy telling Clara’s story, was published in August, and ‘A Winter Wish’ is Book 2. Look out for ‘Clara’s Christmas Magic’, the third and final book in the trilogy, out in November 2022.

Follow Rosie on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green88 

MY REVIEW

Number 24 in the Little Duck Pond series!! Time really does fly when you’re having fun reading a series and this just keeps delivering for me as a reader! Relatable, and likeable!, characters, a great setting and always a little twist that ramps things up and this one delivers on all front! It’s darker and more dramatic than some previous offerings, and I loved that side of the Little Duck Pond series!

We follow Clara again in the second of her ‘trilogy’ and this time she’s holding the family together as seems to be her role. It’s so important to her and she’s there for her half brother, while her mother is still finding life a struggle.  And her step sister is giddy with love and that’s driving Clara a little insane, especially as she’s hiding her own feelings – just like her to put others first over herself.

There are then some very dramatic events going on – no spoilers from me! – and it brings to the fore some darker secrets from the past and you wonder just how Clara and her family will deal .  I just cannot wait to see how this wonderful trilogy will end with the next book coming out very soon!

Another wonderful addition to the series and it always just makes me want more!!

★★★★★

BlogTour CLARA’S SECRET GARDEN by ROSIE GREEN #BookReview @rararesources @Rosie_Green88

Hello all and welcome to my spot on the wonderful Blog Tour for the fabulous CLARA’S SECRET GARDEN by Rosie Green!! My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

Clara’s Secret Garden, Little Duck Pond Café


When Clara Bowes transforms a wilderness of a garden, she isn’t expecting to reconnect with someone special from her past at the same time. Having Rory Angel in her life again is a dream come true. But life is never straight forward – especially in matters of the heart – and soon, a devastating revelation looks set to bring Clara’s hopes for the future crashing down around her. Will she find the strength to reach for her dreams?

Purchase Link – 

https://amzn.to/3cZHJSR

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Author Bio – 

Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a country village cafe. Look out for ‘A Winter Wish’, published in October, the second book in a heart-warming trilogy centred around peacemaker Clara, who’s having to cope with the demands of her slightly dysfunctional family while searching for her own happy-ever-after . . .

The third book in the trilogy is ‘Clara’s Christmas Magic’, out in November 2022.

Follow Rosie on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green88

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MY REVIEW

Here we are again!!  Number 23 in the Little Duck Pond series and feeling as fresh and captivating as the first in the series!!!  It’s always so comforting to be reunited with the Duck Pond crew and discover new favourite characters and Clara may now be mine!  And knowing this is the first in a little Clara trilogy makes me very happy!!

Clara is one of those dependable and quiet characters. Always putting others first but never grumbling about it despite having dreams and desires of her own.   She takes on the task of re-taming the garden that her Gran has ‘let go’ despite knowing very little about gardening and thankfully gets help from the very lovely Rory, an old schoolfriend of hers.    

Where Clara finds her happy is in baking, so there’s always that link to cakes somewhere around in these books!!  And there’s many trials and tribulations for her to face throughout this book that will get you on her side and got me wondering just how I’d cope in her position  as sometimes the weight of the world is put on her shoulder as she tries to please everyone.

I loved how we got to know Clara so well during this book – looking back on her past really allowed you to see what she has gone through, and why she is so keen to please and be kind as an adult.  I really can’t wait to see what the author has in store for Clara as she starts to follow her dreams!! I want them to come true!!!

This is a super addition to the Little Duck Pond series, and can easily be read as a standalone if you’ve not read any of the previous books in the series!  Roll on Book 24!!

★★★★★

BookReview DIARY OF A VOID by EMI YAGI #DiaryOfAVoid

ABOUT THE BOOK

A prizewinning, thrillingly subversive debut novel about a woman in Japan who avoids harassment at work by perpetuating, for nine months and beyond, the lie that she’s pregnant

When thirty-four-year-old Ms. Shibata gets a new job in Tokyo to escape sexual harassment at her old one, she finds that, as the only woman at her new workplace–a company that manufactures cardboard tubes–she is expected to do all the menial tasks. One day she announces that she can’t clear away her colleagues’ dirty cups–because she’s pregnant and the smell nauseates her. The only thing is . . . Ms. Shibata is not pregnant.

Pregnant Ms. Shibata doesn’t have to serve coffee to anyone. Pregnant Ms. Shibata isn’t forced to work overtime. Pregnant Ms. Shibata rests, watches TV, takes long baths, and even joins an aerobics class for expectant mothers. But pregnant Ms. Shibata also has a nine-month ruse to keep up. Helped along by towel-stuffed shirts and a diary app on which she can log every stage of her “pregnancy,” she feels prepared to play the game for the long haul. Before long, though, the hoax becomes all-absorbing, and the boundary between her lie and her life begins to dissolve.

A surreal and wryly humorous cultural critique, Diary of a Void is bound to become a landmark in feminist world literature.

PUBLISHED BY VIKING

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

Drawn in by the cover, I knew nothing of this book before I bought it but have found it to be a wonderfully quirky and absorbing little read on the roles of women and the feeling of loneliness in trying to ‘fit in’ and be accepted in a society that places labels on people.

Shibata is at the heart of the story – the only female in an office and that means she’s expected to carry out all the menial tasks no matter what she has on her plate. But that changes when she takes a bold step in pretending she’s pregnant. Immediately the male attitudes towards her change and more care is taken to spread the tasks round – the lengths you have to go to for some respect and courtesy eh!

As she envelops herself in her ‘role’ you get to see the other side of her life, one that is quite regimented and looking for acceptance. She feels part of the ‘mummies to be’ brigade and finally feels less invisible. It’s such a quirky concept that the lines are blurred often as to whether she is pregnant or not, but it really just adds to the charm of this book and gives you that wider look at society and how women have to fit certain criteria before they are even seen…

I loved this book and the gentle way her story was told. It’s not packed full of action but it is more relatable and emotion invoking because of it’s approach.

★★★★

BookReview THE 6:20 MAN by DAVID BALDACCI #The620Man

ABOUT THE BOOK

Every day without fail, Travis Devine puts on a cheap suit, grabs his faux-leather briefcase, and boards the 6:20 commuter train to Manhattan, where he works as an entry-level analyst at the city’s most prestigious investment firm. In the mornings, he gazes out the train window at the lavish homes of the uberwealthy, dreaming about joining their ranks. In the evenings, he listens to the fiscal news on his phone, already preparing for the next grueling day in the cutthroat realm of finance.

Then one morning Devine’s tedious routine is shattered by an anonymous email: She is dead.

Sara Ewes, Devine’s coworker and former girlfriend, has been found hanging in a storage room of his office building—presumably a suicide, prompting the NYPD to come calling on him. If that wasn’t enough, Devine receives another ominous visit, a confrontation that threatens to dredge up grim secrets from his past in the Army unless he participates in a clandestine investigation into his firm.

This treacherous role will take Travis from the impossibly glittering lives he once saw only through a train window, to the darkest corners of the country’s economic halls of power…where something rotten lurks. And apart from this high-stakes conspiracy, there’s a killer out there with their own agenda, and Devine is the bullseye.

PUBLISHER – MACMILLAN

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

Seems to be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire in this book for the character Travis Devine. And what a hell of a ride the author takes you on in this fast paced story from the King of the thrillers!

Having served in Afghanistan and Iraq, you’d think Travis would be set for a quieter life in the world of high finance but nothing could be farther from the truth. From the things he sees on his daily commute on the 6:20 to the death of a very close colleague, it all leads him into a world of dodgy dealings and a group of very ruthless people who won’t let anyone get in their way.

When he becomes one of the main suspects for the murder of Sarah, he has to get investigating to clear his name and that leads him to meet people you don’t want to be messing with. And then the body count starts mounting up so he’s really up against it!

I loved the slow start which soon ramped up to fast paced action and the guessing games kept me hooked throughout working out who was behind it all. This was an exciting, dark and twisty thriller and shows the author at his plotting best!

★★★★

My thanks to Laura Sherlock for the advanced reader copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.