All about Books, Book review

Book Review: The Silent Child by M J White

After loving The Secret Voices and newcomer to the crime solving genre, Dr Cora Lael, I was counting down the days for the next instalment to be released. When Rachel’s Random Resources invited me to the tour for The Silent Child by MJ White, I jumped at the chance to be involved.

Scroll down to see if this was all I wanted it to be.

Book Review: The Silent Child by M J White

Book cover for The Silent Child by M J White. A bleak landscape with small building in distance. Woman in green coat and yellow hat walking into the distance
The Silent Child by M J White

Title: The Silent Child

Author: M J White

Publisher: Hera

Genre: Crime, psychological thriller

Release Date: 3rd November 2022

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

Blurb

When a body is discovered at an abandoned Suffolk farm, DS Rob Minshull and the squad believes it’s the latest casualty of the drugs war terrorising rural communities. But when the victim is identified as a well-respected local teacher, the case is thrown wide open.

While they hunt the murderer, the South Suffolk CID team face a new threat. A brutal vigilante group dispensing their own twisted justice puts the investigation in grave danger, as well as the detectives.

Educational psychologist, Dr Cora Lael, is called in to work with Lottie Arundel, a troubled teen who stopped speaking a year ago.

As Cora enters Lottie’s world, it seems that the teen’s silence might hold the key to the case. But as Cora and Rob work together to find a vicious killer, it’s clear that uncovering Lottie’s secrets will take Cora and Rob into the most dangerous of places – where the price to pay for the truth might be death…

My Thoughts

The Secret Voices was one of those books which not only gave me a book hangover, but the voice of Hannah and Cora remained with me. I desperately wanted to read The Silent Child but after such a strong beginning would this one live up to my high expectations? I needn’t have worried, MJ White’s writing and strength of characterisation shone. Her style lends itself to a series because the extended time frame allows the relationships between the CID team and Cora seen in The Secret Voices to slowly evolve. The strong connections I already felt for them were built on and cemented, engaging me in not only the case but there personal lives. These added layers give a fuller and deeper experience so while this book can be read as a standalone, I’d recommend reading The Secret Voices first. You won’t be disappointed.

Meeting the CID team again was like switching on the tv series, Vera and seeing how her life and the others had developed. This may only be book 2 but already I felt an attachment for them especially Anderson and Ellis. Like good detective series, there is much story potential in each member and it will be fun witnessing them develop in the future.

.

The story jumped into the action with the discovery of a dead body and I was hooked. A year had passed since Cora was involved in a police case and she was now working as an educational psychologist. Her talent for hearing voices from objects were being used in different ways. It was lovely to catch up with her and DS Rob Minshull as their cases collide and see how their relationship has deepened. The ‘maybe more than good friends’ chemistry between them along with the gallows banter in the team gave some welcome relief against the traumatic case.

Told in several points of view, the reader sees an overview of the case adding to the fear and tension as the story unfolded. This book delved deep into the dark places of society so it’s not for the faint hearted but it is told with care and sensitivity despite being a tense, gripping read. With unexpected twists and revelations, I couldn’t put this down leading to another sleepless night but it was so worth it.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes. The cases of Dr Cora Lael and the Suffolk CID under DS Minshull are ones to follow and read. It’s perfect for these darker nights and for fans of crime procedural books and tv shows like Vera. Once you’ve met Cora and Rob Minshull you’ll never forget them and like me will be counting down the days until the next case.

Author Biography

Black and white photo of MJ White
White woman smiling, long dark hair wearing a baker boy hat
MJ White

MJ White is the pseudonym of bestselling author Miranda Dickinson, author of twelve books, including six Sunday Times bestsellers. Her books have been translated into ten languages, selling over a million copies worldwide. A long time lover of crime fiction, The Secret Voices is her debut crime series. She is a singer-songwriter, host of weekly Facebook Live show, Fab Night In Chatty Thing..

Social Media Links

https://twitter.com/wurdsmyth

https://www.instagram.com/wurdsmyth/

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

Other blogs on the tour

3rd November
Jane Hunt Writer (Joliffe01)
A Little Book Problem
Baker's Not so secret blog

4th November
BookMadJo
Varietats
Bookish Jottings

5th November
The Book Decoder
PuzzlePaws Blog

6th November
Ramblingmads.com
Chez Maximka
The Comfy Chair

7th November
@WhatJaneyReads
Sibzzreads
Ginger Book Geek

8th November
Stardust Book Reviews
Kate Kenzie Writes
Christian Bookaholic

9th November
Inspiredbypmdd
ANlcraigwrites
Other blogs on the tour
All about Books, Book review

Book review: The Sleepover by Keri Beevis

It seemed to have been ages since I had read a thrilling psychological thriller so when an invite for this book landed in my inbox I had to say yes. The Sleepover by Keri Beevis’s blurb sounded creepy and promised to be an exciting read. Scroll down to see if it fulfilled its potential.

Book review: The Sleepover by Keri Beevis

Book cover for The Sleepover by Keri Beevis. A brooding dark sky with a desolate farmhouse in the foreground with an abandoned child's bike nearby
The Sleepover by Keri Beevis

Title: The Sleepover

Author: Keri Beevis

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Genre: Psychological thriller, crime

Release Date: 24th October 2022

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3o2ugfb

Blurb

When you’re a kid, you imagine monsters to have horns and fangs. That they hide under the bed or in the wardrobe. And you believe they can only come after you when it’s dark.

You don’t expect them to look like everyday people or that they may be someone you already know…

The summer in question started out with hot, fun-filled days and new friendships.

We had just turned thirteen and had our whole lives ahead of us.

But that was before her…

Before we became known as the Hixton Six and our lives become defined by one night.

It’s hard to believe twenty years have passed since she was locked away.

But now she’s free and strange things have started to happen.

When I close my eyes, the creeping anxiety and fear is overwhelming and all too real.

Because the monster is back, and I know she has a score to settle with us.

My Thoughts

This was a thrilling and tense read with unexpected twists and a surprise conclusion. As a page turner, I couldn’t put it down. Luckily, I was in hospital so had the perfect excuse to just keep reading. I read it in a day and it surpassed my all expectations.

It was creepy and held its sinister undertone throughout. Told in three different points of view with seemingly unreliable narrators, it was hard to know who to trust as the story unfolded and the truth of what happened on the fateful night was revealed. This suspicion and twists kept me gripped.

The present dealt with the aftermath of a traumatic event and the effect on adult lives. In some cases, relationships imploded and others the shared event forged deeper bonds. It felt realistic making me engage with the characters more even when their decisions made no sense to outsiders. The threat of vengeance added the tension between the group and was cleverly broken up by the memories of childhood friendships and idyllic summer. Knowing that something terrible would occur to the six children made me fearful for them. I needed to know the inciting event for all the horror and I wasn’t disappointed with the ending.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes, it was a tense page turner where children’s lives were turned upside down by a danger hidden in plain sight and shows how childhood trauma has ramifications into adulthood. The childhood chapters were reminiscent to Stephen King’s Stand by Me in the emotions it evoked.

Keri Beevis is a talented writer and I need to catch up with her other books.

Author Biography

Photo of Keri Beevis. White woman, smiling with silvery long blonde hair wearing a red top.
Keri Beevis

Keri Beevis is the internationally bestselling author of Dying To Tell, Deep Dark Secrets, Trust No One, Every Little Breath and The People Next Door. Dying To Tell reached no. 1 in the Amazon chart in Australia and was a top 25 hit in the UK. Keri wrote her first novel at age twenty, but it was a further twenty years before she was published, after winning a contract in a competition run by a small press. She lives in Norfolk, along with her two naughty kitties, Ellie and Lola, and a plentiful supply of red wine (her writing fuel).

Social Media Links

Facebook: Keri Beevis – Author | Facebook

Twitter: Keri Beevis (@keribeevis) / Twitter

Instagram: Keri Beevis (@keri.beevis) • Instagram photos and videos

Bookbub profile: Keri Beevis Books – BookBub

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

Other blogs on the tour
All about Books, The Enchanted Emporium's Bookshelf

Book Review: The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove by Jaimie Admans

After a sweltering few days, I hope you are all well. I’m excited to share my review for The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove by Jaimie Admans. My attraction to this book was two-fold, firstly I adore bees and if I had the space I’d love to learn beekeeping and secondly, I loved Jaimie Admans The Post box at the North Pole. If this book was half as enjoyable as that one, I knew I’d be in for a treat.

Scroll down to see if this bee filled romance met my high expectations.

Book Review: The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove by Jaimie Admans

Book cover for  The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove by Jaimie Admans. Title in yellow. 
Green meadow with bees in the foreground and a mansion in the background.  A woman in a red dress is walking towards two beehives.
The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove by Jaimie Admans

Title: The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove

Author: Jaimie Admans

Publisher: HQ Digital

Genre: Romance, Women’s fiction

Release Date: 15th July 2022

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09Z757JFW

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B09Z757JFW

Blurb

Her new start is about to bee-gin!

Having moved into her mum’s spare room after a disastrous break-up, Kayleigh Harwood is desperate for a fresh start. When she sees an opening for a new beekeeper at the old manor house at Elderflower Grove she jumps at the chance – despite not knowing a thing about bees…

 The abandoned house holds a mystery of its own – the previous owner vanished years ago – and locals have been inventing stories about the manor ever since. Unable to resist the urge to look around, Kayleigh is shocked to find drop-dead-gorgeous gardener Carey living inside!

 Carey explains that the house and surrounding land is at risk of being demolished, endangering the bees, and he has been staying there to protect it.

 Convinced the secret of the house holds the key to saving Elderflower Grove’s bees, Kayleigh is prepared to do everything she can to help. But is she ready to find her own happy-ever-after too…?

My Thoughts

The Beekeeper in Elderflower Grove has the most original chuckle inducing openings I have read. The job interview conducted by a bee via zoom is one to remember and sets the tone of the book. It’s light-hearted, full of bee puns and offers the reader an escape from reality.

Kayleigh is down on her luck and needs a job at any cost even if she needs a dummy guide on beekeeping to do it. The location of Elderflower Grove is wonderful and has a fairy tale atmosphere about it which cast a spell on me just as much as the characters. Beautifully described, I could smell the flowers, taste the honey and hear the sound of nature, and I didn’t want to leave. The house has a huge personality of its own which made me long for it to be saved from developers.

Carey was someone I’d love to meet with his retro t-shirts which sent me down memory lane, and his humour and warmth despite a broken heart. Reading the developing friendship and chemistry between him and Kayleigh was like witnessing your best friends fall in love. It was a joy to watch.

The trials and twists to save the house and the bees made me keep turning the page so I read this in a day and night. Who needs sleep when a happy ever after is promised?

Would I recommend?

With more than a sprinkling of bee facts, this heart-warming novel is perfect for a summer’s read or when you need to escape from the world. This romance  is one for my forever shelf for a reread when I need some warmth and chuckles and with more than a few mentions of ghosts, it’ll be enjoyed by those visiting the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf too.

Author Biography

Photo of author Jaimie Admans, woman with dark long hair, glasses, smiling wearing a black top. The background is pink with white spots
Jaimie Admans

Jaimie is a 36-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, watching horror movies, and drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots. She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.

She is the author of several romantic comedies for HarperCollins – The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters, The Little Wedding Island, It’s a Wonderful Night, The Little Vintage Carousel by the Sea, Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm, The Little Bookshop of Love Stories, The Wishing Tree Beside the Shore, The Little Christmas Shop on Nutcracker Lane, The Post Box at the North Pole, and The Beekeeper at Elderflower Grove.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/be_the_spark

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jaimieadmansbooks

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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@wendyreadsbooks on Instagram
Being Anne

16th July
Peacock's Book Review
Portobello Book blog
Karenandherbooks

17th July
Splashes into Books
Tealeavesandbookleaves
The Comfy Chair

18th July
Jaffareadstoo
Karen's Reads
ramblingreads.com

19th July
BetweenTheLines
Broadbean's Books
Kirsty_Reviews_Books

20th July
Hearding Cats
Kate Kenzie Writes
Romance by The Book

21st July

htdk2002.reads
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Bookish Dreams

22nd July
Tizi's Book Review
Tea Party Princess
Stacey Hammond

23rd July
Little Miss Book Lover 87
Ceri's Little Blog
Captured on Film

24th July
Rae Reads
Bookish Jottings
This Hannah Reads
Other Blogs on this tour

All about Books, Book review

Book Review: The Secret Voices by M J White

I’m so excited to share my review for The Secret Voices by M J White. As soon as I heard an extract from this novel it went to the top of my must read list so imagine my excitement at being invited to this blog tour. Thanks Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources. Scroll down to see if it lived up to its promise and my high expectations.

Book Review: The Secret Voices by M J White

Book Cover for The Secret Voices by M J White.

Dark sky with woman wearing a yellow coat looking out to the sea.
The Secret Voices by M J White

Title: The Secret  Voices

Author: M J White

Publisher: Hera

Genre: Crime

Release Date: 28th April 2022

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/3IdYXpJ

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3fxbUia

Apple: https://apple.co/3IwAZGz

Blurb

They said they’d keep me safe.

They said, ‘It’s okay, Hannah. You know you can trust me.’

They lied.

When eight-year-old Hannah Perry goes missing in the small Suffolk village of St Just, the community is rocked. Heading up the investigation is Acting DS Rob Minshull, but he’s out of his depth in a case that seems to mirror the disappearance of a young boy, seven years ago. That search ended in unimaginable tragedy…and Minshull is praying that history won’t be repeated.

But with an investigation full of dead ends, and a kidnapper taunting the police with sinister deliveries of Hannah’s belongings and cryptic notes, the young girl’s life hangs perilously in danger.

Until Dr Cora Lael enters the picture. A psychologist with a unique ability, Cora’s rare gift allows her to sense emotions attached to discarded objects. When she is shown the first of Hannah’s belongings, she hears the child’s piercing scream.

With few leads on the case, could Cora prove Hannah’s only hope? And as time runs out, can they find Hannah before history repeats itself…?

A twisty, original and utterly gripping detective thriller that fans of James Oswald and LJ Ross will love. Don’t miss the crime thriller debut from the bestselling women’s fiction author, Miranda Dickinson.

My Thoughts

I’m so excited to share my review for The Secret Voices by M J White. As soon as I heard about this novel it went to the top of my must-read list so imagine my excitement at being invited to this blog tour. Thanks Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources. Scroll down to see if it lived up to its promise and my high expectations.

I was hooked on this story before I began reading it because of an extract read by M J White aka the best-selling romantic novelist Miranda Dickinson on her weekly chatty show where she introduced 8 year old Hannah. The innocence of her voice as she has been lured into hiding by them shone through and once the premise of the story was told I needed to know more.

I galloped through this book.  It was unputadownable. Forget sleep I needed to know the ending. I love dark crime series with strong and distinctive characters with depth and backstories that you know will be revealed in time. This hit the spot and I felt the same thrill reading this as I did when I discovered Sharon Bolton’s Lacey Flint books and Mo Hayder.

Told in many points of view, I not only wanted to know whodunnit and why, I was invested emotionally in the all the characters. I cared for them especially Hannah and Dr Cora Lael. Cora is a protagonist to remember, not just for her voice but her unique ability to hear emotional echoes from objects. While I love books with a paranormal twist, I loved the fact that this gift isn’t using this trope but her ability is an extension of synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is where people experience words or emotions as colours or taste. Using this condition grounds this novel into reality. Like many who are different, Cora has challenges to manage her condition and the backlash she receives.

Acting Detective Sergeant Rob Minshull has challenges of his own and the banter between his team made this side of the novel feel realistic. The pace of the case was gripping and the use of Hannah’s voice while in captivity added to the gravity of the situation and feeling her fear and hearing her child logic to explain what has happened were heart breaking to read.

Fast paced with many twists and a chemistry brewing between Cora and Minshull, this is one of the best books I’ve read for a long time and I’m excited for the future cases.

Would I recommend?

Yes, yes, yes.  This one of my favourite books of the year so far. The premise, characters and tone of this novel hooked me in. It’s more than a crime procedural novel with an intriguing twist, it has heart. With an atmospheric setting, it’s a series for my forever shelf and would be wonderful on screen too. I have reread it and even knowing the culprit, it didn’t lose its urgency or depth which makes it a triumph I can’t wait to discover what happens to Dr Cora Lael and Minshull do next.

Author Biography

Photo of M J White aka Miranda Dickinson
M J White

MJ White is the crime pen name of the internationally bestselling author Miranda Dickinson. To date she has sold over one million books worldwide and has been translated into sixteen languages. Miranda has always been a huge fan of crime fiction and The Secret Voices marks the start of a new and exciting departure for her writing.

https://twitter.com/MJWhite13

Other blogs on the tour*

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this fantastic tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

Other blogs on this tour

April 28th

Niki Preston, Jera’s Jamboree, Splashes into books

April 29th

Ramblingmads.com, Bookmadjo – Mad about books, Baker’s not so secret blog

Jessica Belmont, Bookish Jottings, Varietats

1st May

Confessions of a bookaholic, Monika Reads, Jenny Lou’s book reviews

2nd May

Quirkybookreads, Jane Hunt Writer, Kelly T’s Space

3rd May

Cal Turner’s reviews, Jaffareadstoo, Heidi Lynn’s book reviews

4th May

Nicki’s book blog, A Little Book Problem, @breathe.andread

5th May

Herding cats, Kate Kenzie Writes, Afternoonbookery

6th May

Iheartbooks.blog, Sharon beyond the books, The word is out – Alyson’s reviews

7th May

Chez Maxima, @more.books.yes.please, Sibzzreads

All about Books, Book review

Book Review: A Year of Mr Maybes by Judy Leigh

Today I’m thrilled to share my review for Judy Leigh’s A Year of Mr Maybes. Not only did the cover promise some cheer in a gloomy Yorkshire last week, I was drawn to read because of the older protagonist’s search for love. Scroll down to see if it fulfilled its promise.

Book Review: A Year of Mr Maybes by Judy Leigh

Book cover for A Year of Mr Maybes by Judy Leigh
A Year of Mr Maybes by Judy Leigh

Title: A year of Mr Maybes

Author: Judy Leigh

Publisher: Boldwood books

Genre: Women’s fiction

Release Date: 29th March 2022

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

Blurb

Never say never to falling in love…

Val didn’t expect to be starting again in her seventies, but when life gives her lemons, Val is determined to make lemonade.

Settled into her new home – a picture-perfect fisherman’s cottage in the small Cornish seaside town of Lowenstowe – Val is ready to start a new chapter. And with her son due to get married next Christmas, there’s also the little job of finding herself a plus-one to help her face her ex-husband and his new girlfriend.

With the support of her neighbour Connie, and after decades of married life, Val takes the plunge back into the world of dating with trepidation and excitement. But can she remember how the single life works, let alone what her type is? There seem to be plenty of Mr Maybes, but no sign of Mr Right.

As the year passes, and as friendships and community life flourish, Val begins to blossom. And as Christmas approach, she might just decide she doesn’t need that plus-one after all – although never say never… 

Judy Leigh is back with her trademark promise of laughter, love and friendship. The perfect feel-good novel for all fans of Dawn French, Dee Macdonald and Cathy Hopkins.

My Thoughts

Welcome to a year of Cornish loveliness, community and fun. The ease of writing lured me into the Val’s life who proves you’re never too old to search for new beginnings and love. The relationship between her, Connie, and Loveday were a joy to read and the adventures they went on made me want to go on  a road trip to Cornwall and visit the places they visited.

I was expecting a warm, romantic read but this is so much more: it’s a story of friendship, community and how coming together can make big things happen. With older protagonists, it proves romantic stories aren’t just for the young and it provided many memorable moments. I will have the image of a leopard skin catsuit wearing septuagenarian singing karaoke ingrained in my mind forever.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this was a joy to read and Judy Leigh’s talent for painting pictures with words provided a perfect Cornish escape without leaving home. This novel is full of warmth, memorable characters and moments that capture the heart and imagination.

Author Biography

Judy Leigh

Judy Leigh is the bestselling author of Five French HensA Grand Old Time and The Age of Misadventure and the doyenne of the ‘it’s never too late’ genre of women’s fiction. She has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset.

Social Media Links –  

Website http://judyleigh.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/judyleighwriter

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/judyrleigh/

Newsletter Sign Up Link http://bit.ly/JudyLeighNewsletter

Bookbub profile https://www.bookbub.com/authors/judy-leigh

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love