#BookReview HOPE FOR THE RAILWAY GIRLS by MAISIE THOMAS

ABOUT THE BOOK

The brand new Spring Railway Girls novel set in Manchester during WWII. Perfect for fans of Nancy Revell, Daisy Styles and Margaret Dickinson.
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Manchester, 1942

A new year brings new hope for the railway girls.

Alison‘s romance with the charming Dr Maitland is blossoming, but then she is posted away from Manchester. Working in a canteen isn’t part of her plan, nor is meeting her beau’s old girlfriend. One who just happens to want him back.

Margaret is supportive of her friend’s new relationship until she realises exactly who he is. Torn between keeping her secret and warning Alison, she turns to Joan for help.

Working in Lost Property wouldn’t be Joan‘s first choice of job, but with a baby on the way she knows she can’t continue being a station porter. She’s also eligible to be evacuated but could she leave Bob – and Gran – behind?

Being a railway girl isn’t always easy but together they can overcome every challenge that stands in their way.

PUBLISHED BY  PENGUIN

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

Book 5 in the Railway Girls series and it feels just like catching up with long lost friends! Being back amongst this group of wonderful women in the trying times of 1942, allowed you to reconnect with characters from the previous books and see just how their lives were changing. It can easily be read as a standalone if you’ve not had the pleasure of reading the other 4 books, but I guarantee you’ll want to read those if you start with this one!

Alison, Margaret and Joan are the main characters in this installment and there are a number of challenges that they all face. Joan is facing up to working life while pregnant so has a new mindset as she looks forward to the future as a mother. And Alison is all loved up with Dr Maitland, but a new posting sees her meeting up with an ex of his and that sets off new worries – Margaret is also a little concerned about the romance and has that dilemma of wondering whether to get involved and say something or just see how things play out. That friend quandry that we all face in one way or another over time!!

The women all have to face the attitudes of the time that mean that working women are still looked down on and not taken seriously so it’s always fascinating to see them overcome these pressures and prove they’re just as good as anybody else. I also love that it gives a good impression of sacrifices made as well as the feeling that the women get from working. They feel a great sense of pride in the work that they do and that they’re making a valuable contribution to the world they live in and for the future with changing attitudes of those they work alongside.

As the storylines play it, it’s always full of drama and the emotions often run high but there’s always that hope and general feeling of fulfilment and happiness amongst the women that they’re part of a change in society along with dealing with things that happened in their pasts and allowing them to move on.

Another fabulous read from Maisie and I’m already counting down the days until the next installment is released later in the year!!

★★★★★

#BlogTour THOSE WHO KNOW by ALIS HAWKINS @DomePress @Alis_Hawkins

A huge delight to be stop today for the fabulous Blog Tour for THOSE WHO KNOW by ALIS HAWKINS.  My thanks to Emily Glenister at Dome Press for putting this tour together and letting me be part of it all!  


ABOUT THE BOOK

Harry Probert-Lloyd has inherited the estate of Glanteifi and appointed his assistant John as under-steward. But his true vocation, to be coroner, is under threat. Against his natural instincts, Harry must campaign if he is to be voted as coroner permanently by the local people and politicking is not his strength.


On the hustings, Harry and John are called to examine the body of Nicholas Rowland, a radical and pioneering schoolteacher whose death may not be the accident it first appeared. What was Rowland’s real relationship with his eccentric patron, Miss Gwatkyn? And why does Harry’s rival for the post of coroner deny knowing him? Harry’s determination to uncover the truth threatens to undermine both his campaign and his future.

PUBLISHED BY DOME PRESS

PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website

hive.co.uk

blackwell’s

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alis Hawkins grew up on a dairy farm in Cardiganshire. After attending the local village primary school and Cardigan County Secondary school, she left West Wales to read English at Oxford. Subsequently, she has has done various things with her life, including becoming a speech and language therapist, bringing up two sons, selling burgers, working with homeless people, and helping families to understand their autistic children. And writing. Always. Nonfiction (autism related), plays (commissioned by heritage projects) and, of course, novels. Alis’s first novel, Testament, was published in 2008 by Macmillan and was translated into several languages. (It has recently been acquired for reissue, along with her medieval trilogy of psychological thrillers by Sapere Books). Her current historical crime series featuring blind investigator Harry Probert-Lloyd and his chippy assistant, John Davies, is set in Cardiganshire in the period immediately after the Rebecca Riots. As a sideeffect of setting her series there, instead of making research trips to sunny climes like more foresighted writers, she just drives up the M4 to see her family. Now living with her partner on the wrong side of the Welsh/English border (though she sneaks back over to work for the National Autistic Society in Monmouthshire) Alis speaks Welsh, collects rucksacks and can’t resist an interesting fact.

Social Media & Links 

Twitter: @Alis_Hawkins

 Website: http://www.alishawkins.co.uk

MY REVIEW

Book 3 in the series and Harry and John are back! And this time their cases prove to be more complex than ever.  Especially with Harry having his head turned by the lure of local politics.  He is aiming to be elected coroner full time, but it isn’t proving an easy task.

The death of a popular local teach has raised some alarm bells. He was found on the floor, seemingly having fallen out of a loft.  Did he fall or was he pushed?   And when the local magistrates want the case closed quickly, the irks Harry as he’s never one to just settle!  He wants to find out what really happened and if he has to ruffle some feathers to get to the truth, he doesn’t care!

As always, we have the alternating points of view of Harry and John which works so well for these characters as it gives you time with them both to watch things unfold.

The more they delve into the life of the deceased teacher, the darker the plot becomes. His aim was to prove how good small welsh schools could be, but many were against this, and they uncover family feuds too so the list of suspects begins to grow.  Despite their own battles personally, their focus rarely waivers from the case.

The sense of history surrounding the story is as strong as ever, showing up the treatment of women and how society expected them to behave was especially illuminating.

This is a story full of secrets and scandal, and I just loved how determined and clever Harry and John were in getting to the bottom of the mystery of just how the teacher died.  I also really appreciated the notes at the back of the book that gave more historical insight into the times when the book was set. 

A fantastic novel, and a series that I hope will carry on for some time to come!!

★★★★★

#BookReview WON’T YOU SAVE ME by WENDY DRANFIELD @RubyFiction

ABOUT THE BOOK

Detective Dean Matheson has returned to his hometown to begin his new job and put the traumatic events of his past behind him – but his fresh start won’t last long when the local area is hit by a series of strange disappearances and twisted killings …
A nameless girl badly beaten and dumped in front of the mysterious new church. A shocking murder scene discovered in the apartment over the diner. A child missing without a trace.
These are the crimes Dean Matheson is confronted with in his first week as detective. Are they isolated events, or is something altogether more disturbing happening in Maple 
Valley now that Dean’s back in town?

PUBLISHED BY RUBY FICTION

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

iBooks

Kobo

Google Play

Nook

MY REVIEW

Detective Dean Matheson is back and what a return!! He’s gone back to his hometown, Maple Valley, for his new job, joining forces with Eva once more, and if he’s looking for a quiet life then it won’t be here!! From the opening few pages the action hits hard – and scary!- from the get go and doesn’t let up! I’m still just about recovering from it all!

With a ‘body’ waking up in the morgue, to a missing child, to gruesome murders and the return of some old and crazy characters, this is a story that has a little bit of everything – and a little bit more!! The past never seems to let go of Dean and Eva and in this book they’re both having to deal with issues that have plagued them both for many a year.

There’s a relaxed feel to the relationship between Eva and Dean and that’s why I love reading about them. Always looking out for one another, they’re happy to let one another take the lead when necessary and the dynamic between them just works. Eva is a woman who doesn’t take any crap from anyone so Dean is always aware of not pushing any boundaries – unlike others they may work with!

I also loved how the author doesn’t rush the goings on in this book – there’s so many sub plots that there could have been a need to speed things up a little, but each character and each storyline is allowed to breathe a little to really get you engrossed in the action!

It’s pulsating, it’s chilling and creepy and left me holding my breath on many occasions throughout! I had great fun trying to work out all the links and with that ending I am eagerly awaiting the next installment!!! Crime drama written to perfection!! Wonderful!

★★★★★

Deadly Intent by Sheryl Browne #bookreview #outtoday

Tormented to the edge of sanity … 


Just when DI Matthew Adams thinks he’s left the past behind him, it comes back to haunt him once again; this time in the form of the Conner family.


Like Matthew, the Conners have lost a child in tragic circumstances – and they’ve also found themselves in the hands of one of the most depraved criminals to walk the streets: ‘Dead-eyed’ Charlie Roberts, a drug addicted low-life with a penchant for extreme violence.


Matthew’s greatest affinity lies with Daniel Conner, the brooding father who still blames himself for his youngest child’s death. But when Daniel’s wife and daughter are tortured and tormented by Roberts, can Matthew prevent him from completely ruining his own life for an act of revenge particularly when, once upon a time, that’s exactly what Matthew would have done too?

Kindle

IBooks

Google Play

Kobo Books

After She’s Gone – Book 1

Sins of the Father – Book 2

MY REVIEW

Book 3 in the DI Matthew Adams series, but my first and won’t be my last as I loved this fast paced thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout – and swearing a lot at the repulsive character Charlie!!

DI Matthew Adams gets involved in this case and has more in common with the family involved than he’d like as they have both lost young children. The Conner family are still all haunted by the tragedy that took their youngest from them, and life has been an uphill struggle and the after effects still follow them daily. When their eldest daughter gets mixed up in the seedier side of life through a crush she develops, then the whole family are set to be dragged in to a situation that turns into a terrifying ordeal.

You really feel the despair that the family experiences throughout the book and circumstances seem set to tear them apart yet again. When DI Adams learns of their past it brings back his loss and you understand what drives him in doing all he can to put an end to Charlie Roberts and his horrifying legacy.

The author does a fabulous job of switching from the emotion felt by families who have lost loved ones, to that of a trail of destruction caused by a truly evil, crazy psycho and the whole story is a real rollercoaster ride for the reader!

Highly recommended!!

Thank you to the author and publisher for my advanced copy in return for a fair and honest review!

Dangerous Cargo Blog Tour

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Extremely delighted to be taking part in the Blog Tour this week for this fast paced, gritty and exciting crime thriller. Aiden McRaney is back for the 4th installment in the series – but this book can easily be read as a stand alone!

THE BLURB

Aidan McRaney is trying to stay away from his shadier past in this James Bond style thriller, but the offer of fifteen thousand pounds from Agency boss Nick Lombardi is too good to pass up. Lombardi needs someone to infiltrate the lair of ‘The Widow’.
No agent has survived previous missions and Lombardi believes it’s McRaney’s knowledge of the criminal underworld that will give him the edge. An arms dealer, The Widow is in league with the L.A. Mafia and has bought a house on a remote island off the Cornish coast, far enough away from the mainland where the arms can be both smuggled and tested. When Don Giorgio Avonicci arrives, accompanied by his female bodyguard, McRaney finds it’s not just the weapons being tested but his commitment to his wife in London.

This is the fourth book in the Aidan McRaney series which began with his release from prison in the book Stalking Aidan.

Amazon UK

To give you a little taster of what is in store if you read this book, the author has allowed me to share a little excerpt with you;

Excerpt from ‘Dangerous Cargo.’ 

 

 The address he had given me was a block of post-war flats, a paint flaked prefab  not  unlike a host of similar prefabs now being razed to the ground in various areas of London.  The City was moving with the times, but Grey Stoke Road appeared to be way behind them.  The flats were reached by a series of  stone steps badly in need of repair.  The kind of habitat where a man on the run might find himself.  A far cry from the charmer and playboy Daryl Harper purported to be.  Some of the windows were boarded up and the doors were battered enough  to appear as if they had been broken in to.  The street was quiet, an absence of birdsong serving as a reminder even our feathered friends had  forsaken the area for somewhere more upmarket.   In the distance a police siren, the rumble of traffic, but not in this seemingly dead and silent world. 

Having rung the bell a number of times only to receive no answer, I was about to move away when I had the prescience of mind to try the door.   Naturally expecting the door to be locked, I was surprised to discover  it was open.  For someone as scared as Daryl appeared to be, I thought it strange he would leave the door unlocked.  Unless of course as he was expecting me he might have been too scared to answer it.  

The place smelled  bad, the first thing I was aware of, though wrinkling my nose and sniffing the air made me realise  the smell was familiar.  I failed to pinpoint exactly what it was, but the odour was something metallic, almost coppery.  It was a sickly kind of scent, the kind that made you want to vomit.  As it was I found myself retching and, pulling a handkerchief from my jacket, held it over my nose while I moved from the hall  into what I figured to be the lounge.  The place was dark and dank. Thin curtains yanked across  the windows let in precious little light.  A sense of must and stale air pervaded the place, as if it had been shut up for a long time.  A collection of  yellowed newspapers on the floor only added to the rank vomit inducing stench.  No one lived here and probably had not lived here in months, or even years.  Angrily calling Daryl’s name yielded nothing but silence. 

   Apart from a dusty and battered table, a couple of broken chairs and an old scratched fridge, there was nothing.  “Come on, you bastard!” I hissed. Dust motes rose into the room as I inched further inside.  “If you’re fucking playing tricks on me, Harper, I’ll fucking…..” My sentence hung suspended, while simultaneously an exclamation of , “fuck, what the hell!” was forced from me when I almost tripped over something that was rolled up in a far corner.   Here the coppery stench was even more overpowering.  The something I had tripped over was a body.  Flinging one of the curtains aside, it ripped in my hands, the dust from the rotten fabric almost making me choke, but allowed enough light to filter into the dingy  room.   The body was that of  a man wearing a brown suit.  The suit was covered in dust.  The man was lying face down, and his hair was wet and sticking up at odd angles, plastered flat with a glutinous substance  that came away red in my hand when I touched his head.   My heart raced and I felt sick to my stomach.  The man was dead but not yet stiff.  Rigor Mortis had not set in for the body was  still warm. 

When I rolled him over Daryl Harper’s sightless eyes stared up at  me as if with accusation that I had been too late.  Another hole  had flowered up, seeping dried blood just above his left eye.  Under the body was a metal object I recognised as a Walther pistol.. The gun was mine. Now the unmistakeable wailing of sirens sounded remarkably close, almost as if they were outside. More sirens drawing nearer. Car doors banging . The echo of running  feet on stone  steps,  while I was leaning  over a dead man with a gun in my hand.

Q AND A

I have been lucky enough to have a chat with the author too and she has kindly answered a few questions for me to give you a little more insight into the book and author!

1: How long have you been writing, and what was the trigger to put pen to paper? 

I suppose I’ve been writing from about the age of eight.  As soon as I was able to read basically!  I wrote my first short story in an old exercise book…

 

2: Where does a character like Aidan come from? 

Aidan McRaney is based on the actor Aidan Turner (Poldark) with Jack Higgins’ protagonist Fallon from ‘A prayer For The Dying’ thrown in.  Like Fallon and Aidan Turner, Aidan McRaney is Irish.  I also draw on Higgins’ Irish stories set against the backdrop of the Troubles.

 

3: Will there be more books to follow in this series? 

Yes!  I am currently working on a fifth Aidan McRaney novel entitled, ‘The Duellists Club’. Garbed in the clothing of the period, a group of wealthy business re-enact 18th century duels, which is in reality the cover for an assassination bureau.

 

4: Are you working on any projects at the moment you would like to share? 

As well as working on The Duellists Club, I am actually writing my Memoirs about growing up in the Fifties and Sixties.  So much has happened in my life that my son suggested I should write a book.  The book deals with the taboo of a teenage pregnancy in a small village, sexual abuse in the workplace and from an Uncle. I’ll also talk about my relationships with an armed robber and a Hell’s Angel! Plus a thwarted plot to kidnap my baby by a woman who having had so many miscarriages had become unhinged. The working title is; ‘You Couldn’t Make it up: Memoirs of A Country Girl.’

 

I’m also working on a Historical Romance set in the 18th. Century called ‘Gallows Hill’. About a young man, whose father forfeits his lands to his unscrupulous cousin before dying, becomes a highwayman.

 

5: How important are reviews to Authors like you and has Social Media helped in this respect?  

Reviews are seemingly of vital importance especially to self-published authors.  As a voracious reader over the years I read a book and that was it. I either liked it and kept the book to read again, or if not, I gave the book to a charity shop. These days reviews appear to be the be all and end all for the self-published author.  The problem is trying to get a reader to write a review is akin to extracting the proverbial blood from a stone!  I feel guilty asking them to write a review, because it seems as if I’m hounding them.  I love writing and putting my book out there, but then cue the frustration of marketing and those reviews.  I guess Social Media has helped, certainly with sales.  Sorry to rant but to me writing a review is common courtesy!

Really hope that this has got you intrigued enough about the world of Aiden McRaney – go and buy the books!! –  and I would like to thank J.M. Shorney, the publishers and Bookollective for allowing me to take part in this fabulous Blog Tour!