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Meet me in London. Book Review

Meet me in London

Blurb

Aspiring clothes designer Victoria Scott spends her days working in a bar in Chelsea, and her evenings designing vintage clothes, dreaming of one day opening her own boutique. But these aspirations are under threat from the new department store opening at the end of her road. She needs a Christmas miracle, but one is not forthcoming.

Oliver Russell’s Christmas is not looking very festive right now. His family’s new London department store opening is behind schedule, and on top of that his interfering, if well meaning, mother is pressing him to introduce his girlfriend to her. A girlfriend who does not exist. He needs a diversion. Something to keep his mother from interfering while he focuses on the business.

When Oliver meets Victoria, he offers a proposition: pretend to be his girlfriend at the opening of his store and he will provide an opportunity for Victoria to showcase her designs. But what starts as a business arrangement soon becomes something more tempting, as the fake relationship starts to feel very real. But when secrets in Victoria’s past are exposed will Oliver walk away, or will they both follow their hearts and find what neither knew they were looking for…

Available here to pre-order

IMHO the mark of a commercial writer is someone who can produce a book that others want to read. Georgia Toffolo, you’ve got this!

PREAMBLE: I have to admit that I downloaded this book from NetGalley in the same way I did HOLDING by Graham Norton – Shear nosiness! While I’d heard of Georgia Toffolo I’ve never watched anything she’s been in – TV isn’t my thing. But we share the same publisher and romance books are my personal happy fix. Cheaper and healthier than both chocolate and wine 😂

I try to keep an open mind about new writers but I couldn’t help wondering if her name was one of the key drivers for her contract – but that’s as far as my thoughts took me. She’s young but youth is no indication as to her ability to pen a work of fiction. Writing is both much easier and harder than it looks, a comment that fellow writers may find easier to appreciate. Going back to my original comment, I strongly believe that anyone can write a book, it’s far harder to write one that others want to read. So, well done!

My review

On the face of this MEET ME IN LONDON follows the tried and tested formula of billionaire meeting and falling in love with a normal ‘girl next door’ type. There’s nothing wrong with this as a story line – it works. In this instance Victoria is a would-be fashion designer, let down in love and with a tragedy in her past, which adds depth to the plot and makes me want to read the other 3 books in the series. Oliver has all the usual attributes of an Alpha and it’s nice that the storyline batts between both MCs voices.

In short Toffolo has made a good job of the book and I think that this her debut work of fiction would find its own place on the shelves with or without her name on the cover. I do wonder where this journey will take her and if she’ll continue in this vein. Writing style can’t be learnt and she has it in spades.

Jenny O’Brien x

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Darkest Night – Cover Reveal

Today I’m delighted to share the cover to my latest crime thriller, Darkest Night, which takes DC Gaby Darin on a rollercoaster of a ride. Gaby, recently transferred to Llandudno following the case of missing Baby Alys in Silent Cry, is beside herself with this new case.

So here it is… And the blurb below.

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Blurb

A DEAD WOMAN. AN IMPOSSIBLE CRIME.
Christine De Bertrand wakes up to her worst nightmare: rather than the man she went to bed with, lying beside her is her housemate, Nikki – dead. With no memory of the night before, Christine can’t explain what happened, and the police are baffled.
For DC Gaby Darin, newly arrived from Swansea after her last case ended in tragedy, it’s a mystery she’s determined to solve. When another woman goes missing, Gaby faces a race against time to uncover the link between the two victims and find the man who vanished from Christine’s bedroom. But as Gaby gets close, the killer gets closer – and soon one of Gaby’s own team is in unimaginable danger…

Available to pre-order here. Out 17th July

Jenny x

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A Price to Pay by Paul Gitsham

Today I’m delighted to share the latest book by Paul Gitsham, available to pre-order here 
DCI Warren Jones Book 6, A Price to Pay. Publication date 5th June 2020. HQ Digital.

Book Blurb.
If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned…

It should be an easy solve: a murder in broad daylight with two eyewitnesses. But the victim is the son of a notorious local crime family who has a habit of hitting on other men’s wives; the witnesses are Serbian nationals who speak limited English.

For DCI Warren Jones, this is his most challenging case yet. As the suspects pile up, the victim’s family work to protect their son’s memory by destroying any evidence that could betray his criminal past – or might have led to his killer.

Somehow Warren must uncover the truth about the murder – but there are secrets at the heart of the case more dangerous than anyone could have imagined, and the fallout could tear Warren’s team apart…

Paul, can you tell me a little about your latest in the DCI Warren Jones’s series and publishing in Lockdown?

Well, what a strange time to be releasing a book! Of course, plans were set in motion for the release of the 6th full-length entry in the DCI Warren Jones series roughly two years ago. According to the file creation date, August 2018 is the ‘official’ date that I started writing Warren’s latest adventure, but its genesis was much earlier than that.

The opening prologue, with a woman running blindly through a forest chased by unknown pursuers and their dogs, had been floating around at the back of my mind for about five years. It often comes to me that way; a single scene that I just know I have to write someday. I distilled it to a couple of lines and put it to one side, as I worked my way through my next couple of books. I plan my series several books at a time, and there was no space for it just yet.
Fast forward another couple of years and I’m still not quite ready to use it, but as I lie on my back in a darkened room, surrounded by scented candles, having just enjoyed a massage, I get to thinking: “I’m completely defenceless here. If somebody comes through that door with a knife, there’s nothing I can do about it.”
That idea sparked the idea for a short novella that I started to plan out as soon as I arrived home. Again, it went on the ‘to write one day’ list.

A year or so later, I pitched both ideas to my publisher as we sketched out the next six books in my Warren Jones series – three full-length novels interspersed with novellas. As always, my synopsis for each book was a vague paragraph with a list of continuing story threads that needed to be woven through the series. My publisher said ‘fine’ and told me to get on with it, with permission to change my mind if I wished (remarkably trusting, now that I look back on it!). And so I did. The novella A Case Gone Cold came out in March 2018, followed by The Common Enemy in the summer. Next spring saw A Deadly Lesson then summer 2019’s Forgive me Father.
But by this point, I’d had an epiphany: Who said the woman in the woods and the murder in the massage parlour had to be two separate stories? I pitched another idea to replace the novella that was now missing and wrote At First Glance as quickly as I could (it was another idea that had been gestating for some time) and then set about writing A Price to Pay. A few weeks in and I regretted trying to mash these two ideas together, but then it happened; the pieces started to fit together. And now, when I look back, I just cannot imagine one storyline without the other.

Thanks Paul for sharing a little about your book.

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Paul Gitsham started his career as a biologist, working in such exotic locales as Manchester and Toronto. After stints as the world’s most over-qualified receptionist and a spell making sure that international terrorists and other ne’er do wells hadn’t opened a Junior Savings Account at a major UK bank (a job even less exciting than being a receptionist) he retrained as a Science Teacher. He now spends his time passing on his bad habits and sloppy lab-skills to the next generation of enquiring minds.

 

 

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No Compassion, Jack Slater.

Out tomorrow

Blurb
A vicious rape, a woman left traumatised. A previous victim is quickly identified. Then more come forward.
A serial rapist is attacking the women of Exeter in their beds at night.
There are fingerprints and DNA but no matches, CCTV but no identification. 
With the press clamouring for answers DS Pete Gayle and his team must work through a maze of conflicting evidence to identify and arrest the offender before he can commit another brutal attack. 

Available here

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One week published. What have I learnt?

One week traditionally published.

Well that was a mad week. I still don’t know whether I’m coming or going but I do know that I’m a traditionally published author as well as an Indie (hybrid). In truth, it was a label I never thought I’d be able to hold in the palm of my hand and squeeze but there it is.

So, what have I learnt?

  • I’ve learnt that fellow writers are an amazing supportive bunch, but I already knew that as an Indie.
  • I’ve also been reminded what a selfless bunch of people book bloggers are. To firstly take the time to read a book by a nobody and then write a review is truly awesome. So, thank you.
  • But I’ve also learnt that it’s hard to let go of the reins. As an Indie I have complete control of the process from idea to print. Having someone taking the strain when I’d been so used to doing it all is strange and has taken a lot of getting used to. I know my book cover, blurb and book are better because of it but still…
  • I’ve also learnt that I don’t feel any different but people’s perceptions of me have changed. I’m still me. I still spend most of my time either nursing, writing or avoiding housework. As an Indie, I got that it wasn’t a big deal to self-publish my books. it was just something I did. I suppose a label of respect is attributed to traditionally published authors. But to write a book is awesome enough in its own right. And it is 12 years since I started to take my scribbles seriously. I suppose what I’m really trying to say is that whatever the future holds I still intend to stay true to my roots – I’ll never forget all those rejection letters. There’s more than enough to keep me grounded.
  • Carrying on from the last point, I’ve also learnt that I’m not scared of the future. Publishing is going through very difficult times currently and who knows if my book series will take or not. But if it doesn’t so be it. There are a whole lot more important things happening in the world right now.

Stay safe

Jenny x

SILENT CRY

A MISSING BABY. A MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE.

When Izzy Grant’s newborn daughter Alys disappears, her world shatters around her. Despite an extensive search the police find no trace of the missing girl, but Izzy refuses to give up hope that her daughter will be found.

Then a note is pushed through her letterbox, warning her off.

For Izzy it’s a ray of hope, another lead for the police to follow. For DC Gaby Darin it’s another piece of the puzzle that just won’t fit. But as a long-lost friend returns to Izzy’s life with a shocking secret, Gaby realises the truth of who took Izzy’s daughter from her might lie in the past – and far closer to home than anyone could have imagined… Available here

About Jenny O’Brien

Jenny O’Brien is an Irish, Welsh, Guernsey writer. She’s also a nurse.

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Katie’s Cornish Kitchen. Cover reveal

Cover reveal

Today I’m delighted to be part of the cover reveal for Rosie Chambers latest book, Katie’s Cornish Kitchen, and what a cover. Here’s the blurb and buying links below. Enjoy x

Blurb

Kindness, community and cake are all on the menu at Katie’s Cornish Kitchen

Pre-order the new feel good romance from Rosie Chambers

After the heartbreak of being jilted by her fiancé, Katie Campbell has been mending her broken heart in Bali. She has local restaurant owner and new friend Agatha to thank for providing a listening ear in her moment of need. When Katie confides she’s worried about going back to what’s left of her life in London, Agatha has just the opportunity for Katie – to manage her old café in the beautiful, picturesque village of Perrinby in Cornwall.

Although reopening the café and making it profitable won’t be easy, Katie is determined to make the most of her fresh start. She quickly makes new friends in florist Jay, waitress Talia and handsome neighbour Oscar, and focuses on making the café a welcoming place for the community – from hosting floristry workshops to pizza-making nights and even the local knit-and-natter group. But, with the café under threat from the local property developers circulating just as she’s starting to grow closer to Oscar and finally feeling at home, can Katie find the recipe to make her Cornish Kitchen a success?

Available here.

Escape to Cornwall in this heartwarming romance – perfect for fans of Julie Caplin, Phillipa Ashley and Debbie Johnson

About Jenny O’Brien

Jenny is a hybrid writer. Her latest book, SILENT CRY, is out with HQ Digital. She’s also a hospital nurse.

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The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish

Book Review

Book Blurb

You’re feeling pretty smug about your commute to work by riverboat. No more traffic gridlock or getting stuck on the tube in tunnels (you’re claustrophobic). Now you’ve got fresh air, an iconic Thames view, a whole lifestyle upgrade. You’ve made new friends on board — led by your hedonistic young neighbour, Kit — and just had your first official ‘water rats’ get-together.

The day after the drinks, Kit isn’t on the morning boat. The river landmarks are all the same, but something’s off. When you disembark, the police are waiting. Kit’s wife, Melia, has reported him missing and another passenger saw you arguing on the last boat home after your drinks. Police say you had a reason to lash out at him. To threaten him.

You protest. You and Kit are friends — ask Melia, she’ll vouch for you. And who exactly is pointing the finger? What do they know about your private lives?

No, whatever coincidences might have occurred last night, you are innocent, totally innocent.

Aren’t you?

To buy, click here

My Review

This is my first book by Candlish but I can tell you it won’t be my last, a phrase I’m sure the writer has heard before many times. It’s unlike me not to read a book straight after I get my grubby hands on it but, just like a kid savouring that last bite of chocolate, I saved the best book until last.

Four characters: 2 couples, (one middle-aged, the other young), strike up an unusual friendship with devastating consequences. A high-level intricate plot that will keep you, the reader, on their toes and with the explosive ending we expect from this genre.

The writing is strong, the characterisations a little too close to comfort to be truly likeable. Here Candlish deals with flawed personalities but who, looking in that mirror, isn’t flawed?

A brilliantly crafted novel, both in technique and descriptive characterisations. I’ll be back for more…soon.

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About Jenny O’Brien

Jenny is a hybrid writer. Her latest book, SILENT CRY, comes out on the 17th April with HQ Digital. She’s also a hospital nurse.

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SILENT CRY BOOK LAUNCH

With everything as it is, the book launch for SILENT CRY, has been downgraded and that’s exactly how it should be. My book will succeed, or not, all on it’s own despite the #lockdown. However there are still some things happening that I’d like to tell you about. People have put time and effort to help my little slice of crime fiction and I need to thank them. 

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Firstly Abi Fenton, from HQ Digital at Harper Collins for making all this happen. It’s taken years to be where I am today and I couldn’t be more grateful for the faith she’s put into my writing. HQ Digital have arranged a Blog Tour (Whoop), which kicks off Friday 17th, book launch day. Thanks to both them and the bloggers taking part.

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  I’ve also got a competition to win a KINDLE over on Facebook happening. I know! right!. To enter just tell me what helps during lockdown, that’s it. No purchase necessary. Click here to enter

And there’s more…

thestepsister-final8242817266307479128.jpgI also have a free book.  THE STEPSISTER, which was last year’s top read in the spring, (staying in the top 100 psychological thrillers over on Amazon). Free until the 17th April.  

 That’s it, folks. Read. Enjoy but most importantly stay safe and stay indoors. Some of you will know I’m also a frontline nurse. It’s scary times for all of us. Books are important but family, friendships and good health are far more important,  

Jenny x

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March Reading Highlights

I know this is a few days late but you’ll have to bear with me. Whilst books are important I have to prioritise. In a world that’s gone mad I’m pretty busy at the minute.

Strangers CL Taylor

Blurb

Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.

And Alice is being stalked.

None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.

Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.Available here

My review

Astounding and yet, as the writer of Sleep, I didn’t expect any less. Sleep was wonderful. This is different and, IMHO, has the edge on Taylor’s previous work. There’s something about the structure that I haven’t come across before in writing, something that’s brave but Taylor’s writing pulls it off. Three main characters, all very different but, as the story unfolds, not so very different. Alice who’s in fashion. Gareth in security and finally Ursula,, a bit of a misfit. All good in their own way. Told from each characters unique viewpoint, the story unfolds to a dramatic ending. Magnificent storyline. super writing. Believable characters. 10 stars.

Family for Beginners Sarah Morgan

Blurb

Who says you can’t choose your family?

When Flora falls in love with Jack, suddenly she’s not only handling a very cranky teenager, but she’s also living in the shadow of Jack’s perfect, immortalised wife, Becca. Every summer, Becca and Jack would holiday with Becca’s oldest friends and Jack wants to continue the tradition, so now Flora must face a summer trying to live up to Becca’s memory, with not only Jack’s daughter looking on, but with Becca’s best friends judging her every move…

The more Flora tries to impress everyone, the more things go horribly wrong…but as the summer unfolds, Flora begins pushing her own boundaries, and finding herself in a way that she never thought she needed to.

And she soon learns that families come in all shapes and sizes. Available here

My review

I make no apology, in a world that turns its nose up at romantic books, that Sarah Morgan is one of my favourite writers. There’s just something about how she manages words that sends her right to the top of the class. In this her latest she doesn’t disappoint. Flora is a little lost amongst all those flowers until handsome widower strolls into the shop. He has a daughter. There are fireworks. Lots and lots of fireworks. There is a happy ending. What more do you want?

Can You See Here? Susie Lynes

Blurb

Rachel Ryder doesn’t understand how her life has changed so completely. When she was younger, heads would turn when she walked into a room. Her children needed her; her husband adored her.

But somehow the years wore that all away. She was so busy raising her children, looking after her parents… She can barely remember the woman she used to be, the one whose husband told her she was out of his league. The woman she is now just does the laundry and makes the dinner, and can walk into a room without anyone knowing she’s there.

She knows that she hated feeling invisible. She knows that she thought: what would it take for you to see me again?

And now she’s worried that she did something terrible. Because she’s sitting in a room, being asked whether she killed someone.

When no-one is watching, you can get away with anything…
Available here

My review

A haunting depiction of what it’s like to grow old in a media-filled world full of beautiful people and a warning of what might happen as a result if things aren’t allowed to change. I felt this was a bit of a shift for Susie, I’ve read a couple of her previous books but, that said. I loved it. This had the edge but for the life of me I can’t put that into words. IMHO her best yet

The Secret Admirer Carol Wyer

Blurb

Sasha’s eighteen-year-old daughter Gemma was all she had in the world. Sasha fell pregnant with Gemma when she was still at school, and the two are as close as sisters. So when Gemma’s burned and broken body is found, Sasha’s world ends. What kind of person would want her beautiful daughter dead?
Leading the case is Detective Natalie Ward, scarred by her own recent tragedy. When she finds a note in Gemma’s diary from ‘a secret admirer’, she moves quickly, determined to un-mask them. But interviews with Gemma’s devastated ex-boyfriend, and her charismatic teacher, who has been seen embracing his student far away from the classroom, don’t give Natalie the answers she’d hoped for…
And then the case takes a devastating, personal twist. CCTV footage reveals Natalie’s estranged husband David followed Gemma home every evening the week before she died.
Natalie is forced to put personal feelings aside and follow procedure, even though she can’t believe David could be guilty. But when Gemma’s housemate is found murdered, Natalie thinks the killer could still be at large. Is she right to trust her instincts about David and can she discover the truth before another precious life is taken?

Available here

My Review

This, the second book that I’ve read by this writer, continues to explore DI Natalie’s complex personal life while she struggles with her work one. Gemma, a Uni student, gets acid thrown and subsequently dies. But all is not as it seems with her tender life. Another stonking read from a great crime writer. The characters are spot on. The plot and twist gasp worthy.

Shalini Boland One of Us is Lying

Book blurb

Tia is walking home with her children, along the lakeside of their quiet, safe town, when she realises something is wrong with her five-year-old daughter, Rosie. She seems troubled, not at all her usual happy self.

But when Tia finally coaxes Rosie to open up, she wishes she hadn’t. Because her sweet daughter asks a question Tia never thought she’d hear.

‘Why did you kill someone?’

Tia knows how rumours spread around her small town. She just can’t understand who would have shared such a horrible story. Or why.

It can’t have anything to do with what happened. Only her two best friends really remember that…

Tia thought she could trust Fiona and Kelly with her life. They’ve been through so much together. But when she’s sent photos of herself that could tear her whole world apart, she starts to wonder. Someone is determined to punish her. But who? And will her friends stand by her, or will the past destroy all of their lives? Available here

My Review

So I seem to have arrived late to the Boland party, something I regret (you’ll be pleased to know that I intend to rectify my tardiness post haste). This is a densely plotted book and very cleverly written. The start drew me in with the biggest hook. Out of the mouths of babes, the truth or a version of it – but which one? Boland = Breath-taking.

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About Jenny O’Brien

Jenny is a hybrid writer. Her latest book, SILENT CRY, comes out on the 17th April with HQ Digital. She’s also a frontline nurse.

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The First Date. Zara Stoneley

Book blurb

After breaking up with her childhood sweetheart, clueless dater Rosie has found herself in a boyfriend-drought. So when she finally swipes right on a guy who seems interested, she can’t wait to meet up in person.

Until she’s left standing alone. In a bar. Stood up.

Enter Noah. Confident, funny … and a serial first dater. Offering to give Rosie a crash course in seduction, this could be just what she needs. Until her matchmaker turns out to be the best date she’s ever had – and Rosie wonders if she wants the fake dates to be the real ones after all …

Available here

My review

Stoneley has done it again. She’s dragged me straight into an escapism read and all thought of my empty cupboards and hungry kids faded under the weight of her words.

Rosie, dumped by her ex and 8 months in the wilderness of the dating desert, she’s also let down by her first Tinder. In walks Noah. Noah, who has his own troubles, offers to teach her some lessons on how to nab her dream man. Fun, frolics and lots of laughs later… well read the book.

Light. Funny. Well written. And just what was needed today. Now what am I going to feed the kids for tea! 

About Jenny O’Brien

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Jenny is a hybrid writer. Her latest book, SILENT CRY, comes out on the 17th April with HQ Digital. She’s also a frontline nurse.