Book Review: Guilt by Michelle Kidd

Book Blurb:

Guilt Book Cover
Guilt
Is a killer born…. or created?

A missing child.
A killer on the loose.
A past that refuses to die.

When a six-year-old boy disappears from a local fair, every parent’s worst nightmare is about to come true.
And for Detective Inspector Nicki Hardcastle, twenty-two years after her own nightmare began, the past she thought was buried starts catching up with her – and fast.
Leading the hunt for the missing child, Nicki soon finds the chase takes on a personal twist, with her own memories haunting her every move.
With time set against them, and a killer following his own chilling agenda, can Nicki and her team stop history from repeating itself?
Only time will tell.
But it’s time they don’t have.

About the Author:

Michelle Kidd Author Photo

Michelle Kidd is a self-published author best known for the Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh series of novels set in London. She has also recently begun a new series which is set in her home town of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk – starring Detective Inspector Nicki Hardcastle.
Michelle qualified as a lawyer in the early 1990s and spent the best part of ten years practising civil and criminal litigation.
But the dream to write books was never far from her mind and in 2008 she began writing the manuscript that would become the first DI Jack MacIntosh novel – The Phoenix Project. The book took eighteen months to write, but spent the next eight years gathering dust underneath the bed.
In 2018 Michelle self-published The Phoenix Project and has not looked back since. There are currently four DI Jack MacIntosh novels, with a fifth in progress, and the first DI Nicki Hardcastle novel is due for release in August 2021.
Michelle now works full time for the NHS and lives in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. She enjoys reading, wine and cats – not necessarily in that order 

Follow her at:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michellekiddauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michellekiddauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorKidd
Website : http://www.michellekiddauthor.com

Pre Order Links
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B099FMGZ16
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099FMGZ16

My Thoughts:

It’s my stop on the Book Tour for Guilt by Michelle Kidd today! I was interested in the book when I read the blurb, but was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it after reading it.

The book follows DI Nicki Hardcastle as she focuses on finding a six year old boy who disappears from the local fair. This comes right after the bodies of two other children are discovered. As Nicki and her team work to uncover the truth and find the boy, she is forced to confront her own past and deal with a nightmare from more than twenty years ago.

The book is well-written, gripping and fast-paced. Racing against the clock, the readers are plunged head first into a novel that will have you on the edge of your seat. What will happen to the boy? Can they find him in time? Who would do such a thing? These are all the questions that arise as the plot progresses.

Author Michelle Kidd has done a brilliant job in writing this story, making it easy for the reader to follow and imagine every sequence of events. The book reads more like a movie or an episode in a TV series, but gives us allowances to visualize it as we please. The reality of the situation is not lost on us and in truth, this can happen to anyone. The author brings out the psyche or state of mind of each character thus giving us some insight into who they are and what shaped them. These are complex characters with traumatic pasts leading to some walking the path of good and some bad. However, there is no right or wrong, it comes down to what a person knows, perhaps they do not know better.

The reader comes away with the satisfaction of a brilliant ending and a justification of the title of the book. We also come away with questions in the mind that make a person pause to think about people around us. I am now a huge fan of the author’s writing and am looking forward to reading more of her books!

Guilt Book Tour Poster

Zooloos Book Tours

Book Review: Lord of the Masquerade by Erica Ridley

About the Book:

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A fun, fast-paced interracial romance full of banter, scandal, and devastating secrets, from a New York Times bestselling author:

Entrepreneur Miss Unity Thorne helped two different men amass their fortunes—only to end up on the street. She’s scraping by at the theatre, but this isn’t the show she plans to star in. The next fortune Unity builds will be hers alone. Her masquerade-themed assembly rooms will rival the ton, but to do so, she’ll have to apprentice the most dangerous rake of all.

The arrogant, sexy-and-he-knows-it Duke of Lambley’s weekly masquerade parties are decadent odes to excess: unlimited food, drink, dancing, romantic gardens, and private pleasure rooms upstairs. Everyone loves his balls, and he likes it that way. He’ll take a wife someday, but it certainly won’t be the pretty termagant who challenges him in the ballroom and the bedroom…

In the Rogues to Riches historical romance series, Cinderella stories aren’t just for princesses!

My Thoughts:

This is yet another lovely romance by Erica Ridley this time in the Rogues to Riches series. The story follows the Duke of Lambley as he orchestrates and presides over his masquerade parties. They are well planned and cater to every persons needs specifically while keeping everyone anonymous except to him. One might even say that he is controlling and this is exactly what our heroine Miss Unity Thorne thinks.

Unity hears about these much sought after parties and decides to find a way to observe them in the hopes of one day hosting her own. An entrepreneur in her own right, she helped her cousin with his business before she was cast away. Left with nothing, she tries to find her way, full of confidence. This is what drew me to the character.

This is a simple one time read that follows the two characters as they meet, fight their attraction and eventually fall in love. They are so wrong for another which just makes it right in the end! I have enjoyed reading Erica Ridley’s books in the past and once again am happy to recommend this pleasant and at times scandalous (for the time it is set in) read!

Book Review: Snow Fever by Smita Bhattacharya

About the Book:

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★A spine-chilling techno-thriller novella★

Five went up the mountains. None returned. And it wasn’t the cold or the climb that killed them.

At fifteen thousand feet, an army rescue operation finds buried underneath snow dunes five trekkers, dead in their campsite. One of the dead is Indian movie star Kirti Pandit. Another is her boyfriend, and the rest are her entourage. No one can say how they died. It could’ve been due to intense cold, perhaps the sudden snowstorm, or merely altitude sickness. Only, their symptoms were unusual. The snowfall hadn’t been heavy, and they hadn’t climbed up too high. So, what actually happened?

A page-turning techno-thriller novella set in the Himalayas, Snow Fever retraces what happened in the last days of their climb. In the end, it wasn’t the cold or the altitude that killed them, but a force beyond their imaginations. And ours.

★Part of the Retribution Series of Novellas★

My Thoughts:

Let me start off by saying that I do not usually read short stories. I don’t always understand the plot or enjoy the quick reads. But, Snow Fever by Smita Bhattacharya has changed my opinion completely!

We follow Kirti Pandit and four other people as they embark on a trek in the Himalayas. Kirti is a famous movie star and the rest are a random miscellaneous group of people including her boyfriend. The story is told in about seven chapters, complete with a prologue, epilogue and a chapter in each character’s point of view. This style of writing intrigued me from the very beginning and had me hooked from page 1. The author describes the setting and the beauty of the Himalayas very well. I assume she draws from her own experiences from the treks she has been on (something to be confirmed with Smita at some point!).

This group of people have secrets that none of us would have imagined and we discover them one by one as the story progresses. We also follow the group as we retrace their steps in the time leading up to their deaths. Or was that murder? Who knows? Or maybe someone does! As readers, we do not know what is happening until the end when Smita hits us with a twist that will have us reeling from shock and then understanding of this ingenious plot.

This is indeed a spine chilling quick read that packs a punch indeed. In this short story, Smita delivers a powerful plot that is filled with intrigue and suspense until the very end. The author has a way with words that takes what could have been a simple and straightforward plot and turns it into a thrilling read. There is so much more to this story than what is obvious and it is all wrapped up nicely for us in this amazing Novella. I highly recommend this book to everyone especially to appreciate the way the book is written!

Book Review: Lies of the Blood Moon by Nina Walker and Kimberly Loth

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My Thoughts:

Note: I received an ARC from Nina and Kimberly in exchange for an honest review! A huge thanks to them for this opportunity.

Lies of the Blood Moon is Book 2 in the New World Shifters series, coauthored by two wonderful authors! This book picks up where Book 1 ended just after Madame Nova’s death. Poppy, our protagonist, is now a stronger person and suspects that the death was actually murder. Her suspicions grow stronger when another of the girls is killed putting everyone at risk. On the other hand, Ryne is trying to stay away from Poppy and is found to be betrothed to Elle, a Luna Wolf and the new teacher for the girls. Here we are introduced to the protective and jealous side of Poppy, a side I’m guessing even she didn’t know about.

As the plot thickens, we have a whole lot of emotions going around and the authors have done a brilliant job in building up the suspense. No-one is really as they seem and there is more to the people than meets the eye. With the Pink Moon Festival approaching and a few engagements announced, there is a whole lot of drama in this book! I like how the girls are portrayed in this book and the bonds that form, break and reform among all of the characters.

Be prepared to be shocked by the turn of events which leads to an interesting ending that lays a strong foundation for the next book. Though some of the plot is easy to guess, the authors have a few tricks up their sleeves just to throw us off balance. There is romance, action, drama and even death in this well-written sequel that makes the book absolutely worth reading! I am looking forward to the next book and all the events to come.

Book Review: The Burglar’s Ball (Jane Austen Investigates, #2) by Julia Golding

About the Book:

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Nancy Drew. Enola Holmes. Sally Lockhart. Move over girls, it’s Jane’s time!

Join young budding detective Jane Austen in her second investigation to uncover a devious diamond thief at the glitziest, most scandalous ball of the year! Inspired by Sense and Sensibility.
*
‘No one who had ever seen Jane Austen in her infancy would suppose her to be born to solve crimes. From her early love of sugar plums, and cleverness in hiding her expeditions into the pantry, her mother declared her far more likely to commit them. However, as Jane would counter, there was no better person to identify the culprit than the thief turned thief-catcher.’

When the headmistress invites her past favourite pupil to attend their end of term ball, Cassandra brings her younger sister, Jane, along too. Cassandra plunges into the feverish excitement of preparing for the biggest event of the year – the dresses, the dances and the boys expected from the neighbouring school.

Feeling rather excluded, sharp-witted Jane unearths the reason for the fuss – the headteacher wants to impress a rich family returned from India as the school is at risk of going bankrupt. Jane also befriends the dancing master’s assistant, a former slave, called Brandon, who is as quick to notice things as she. At the ball, a diamond necklace is stolen from a locked room and they are propelled into a race to uncover the burglar and save Brandon from gaol.

With the ever-present Austen spirit, Jane with notebook in hand, boldly overcomes the obstacles to finding the truth.

Perfect for readers aged 9-109, and for fans of Katherine Woodfine and Lucy Worsley.

My Thoughts:

Note: I received an ARC of the book from NetGalley. A huge thanks to the publishers and author.

This is the second book in the Jane Austen Investigates series that follows a young Jane Austen on another of her adventures to solve a mystery. Cassandra Austen is invited to attend a ball at her old school and asks Jane to come along. The headmistress of the school has a soft spot towards Cassandra, her favourite pupil. However, Jane’s presence is quite unexpected and received with some reluctance.

What follows is a series of friendships, some cricket and a theft that leads to Jane stepping in to investigate once again. We also meet Arjun and Deepti again, characters from Book 1 who are delightful and add some wonderful color to the book. I enjoyed the different perspectives in the book and everyone’s lives.

I found that this book was a little less impactful when compared to Book 1, but I still enjoyed it thanks to some of the newer characters, a talking parrot and some circus friends. The mystery was well thought out with a simple plot of theft which moves quickly ensuring the reader is engaged. In an attempt to solve the mystery, Jane uncovers many truths that shed light on the various characters of the book including the headmistress. This is the perfect book for middle graders and will give them a thrill to read it. Let’s not forget the cricket match that has to come to some kind of conclusion with the girls all showing off their amazing skills in a “boys game”! Not to be outshone, the boys also show off their skills in dancing at the ball! It’s all fun and more fun until things go wrong!

I am delighted to have read the books in this series so far and am looking forward to reading more of Jane’s adventures and her witty, sarcastic letters. She had a gift for writing and the author of this series does her justice in my opinion!

Book Review: Cruel Stakes (Vampires and Vices #2) by Nina Walker

About the Book:

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Cross your heart and hope to live.

I should leave them alone and be done with vampires. I finally have my mother back, I’m dating the perfect guy, and I’ve parted ways with Adrian Teresi.

But I have an opportunity to help the hunters and hopefully learn something that could save more humans. Not to mention, I need answers about the venom burning through my veins.

So I go back to The Alabaster Heart to strike another deal with the vampire prince. The game of cat and mouse that follows is expected, and maybe even a little fun, but nothing prepares me for the day that our games end—and the consequences begin.

My Thoughts:

Cruel Stakes picks up where Blood Casino ends. Eva is at odds with what is happening and no longer wants to trust the vampires, especially Adrian Teresi. However, having been bitten, she is driven to find out more regarding her newly heightened senses. In the hope that this information will help with her position among the hunters, Eva once again strikes up a deal with none other than Adrian.

This story was a little less exciting than the first, but it drew me in none the less. There was more action and so much more romance in this book. The author focused a lot on the workings of the vampires giving us a glimpse into their minds. Eva is her usual rebellious self, torn between her long time crush on Felix and her growing attraction to Adrian.

This book shows us some rather negative sides of some of the characters and is filled with some unexpected twists. All this in the end ensures that the reader is in for a BIG shock thus justifying the title and everything that happens in Book 2. There are some unlikely friendships and bonds that form that the reader just wont see coming. This is what I liked most about the book, the elements of surprise which were very well executed!

I am truly excited for and looking forward to Book 3 which I am sure will take us on a big roller coaster ride if these two books are anything to go by!

Book Review: A Baffling Murder at the Midsummer Ball by T.E. Kinsey

About the Book:

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A locked room. A mysterious death. Just another gig for the Dizzy Heights.

When London’s finest jazz musicians, the Dizzy Heights, are booked to play the glitzy Midsummer Ball at a country house in Oxfordshire, they expect a weekend filled with flappers and toffs having a roaring good time.

But the festivities at Bilverton House take a turn for the worse when the group are stranded by a summer storm. And when a member of the Bilverton family turns up dead in a locked room in an apparent suicide, Skins, Dunn and Ellie realise this is going to be a much tougher gig than they thought.

But here’s the lick. What if it was in fact cold-blooded murder? And what if the killer is still at large? It’s up to the Dizzy Heights to once again put down their instruments and get improvising if they want to solve this confounding mystery.

My Thoughts:

Note: A huge thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for providing me with an ARC of the book.

This is  the first book that I have read by author T.E. Kinsey. Of course this is the second book in the Dizzy Heights Mystery series, but it can be read as a stand alone book. This story follows the Dizzy Heights band as they arrive at Bilverton House to play at the Midsummer Ball. What is expected to just be a band performance for an evening turns into a situation of house arrest due to the rains. With the Bilverton family members and the Dizzy Heights band stuck together, the plot becomes more interesting when there is a death – in a locked room that is almost ruled a suicide.

As the story progresses, we are introduced to the various members of the band as well as the Bilverton family. It is indeed quite a mix of interesting characters, each with their own quirks, personalities and habits. It also looks like everyone in the Bilverton family is up to something and is keeping secrets. When Ellie hears a gunshot and finds the dead body, she along with Skins and Dunn agree that the circumstances are suspicious and suspect murder.

This turns into an interesting investigative few days for them while the band also plays music and mingles with the family to pass the time. I love how the plot unravels and Ellie’s perceptive nature. She is one of my favourite characters in this story. The author has done a great job in building up the atmosphere and describing each situation and person to the readers! It feels as though we are involved in the investigations and discussions along with the band. I would also like to point out that there are some great references to music from the time period of the setting ( a lot of which I don’t even know), but I felt like I could relate anyway due to how it was described.

This is one murder mystery I would recommend to all fans of the genre and I cannot wait to join the Dizzy Heights band on their next performance and adventure!

Book Review: Nine Lives by Kevin McManus

Book Blurb:

Nine Lives Book Cover

In Western Ireland in 1979, Hazel Devereaux, a student of Trinity College in Dublin, goes missing while working at a summer job. Six months later her body is discovered in a shallow grave. A line from a poem by Edgar Allan Poe entitled “A Paean” is discovered in an envelope at the house Hazel was renting.

Could this be a calling card of the murderer?

Thirty years later, Detective Ray Logue discovers that a series of murders in Boston appear to be connected to the killings in 1979. Each victim also received a line from the poem by Edgar Allan Poe delivered to their homes.

It becomes evident that a serial killer is at work and has claimed seven lives so far.

The murderer kills two victims every ten years, always on a year ending in nine and always on the same dates in June and December. If he follows the same pattern, he will kill again in less than a fortnight.

Ray Logue is dispatched to Boston to work alongside Detective Olivia Callaghan and Inspector Sam Harper to discover the identity of the murderer and to stop him before he strikes again. Logue’s ‘bull in a china shop’ policing method brings him into conflict with Sam Harper’s more calculated and measured approach.

As a result, trying to work together becomes almost as challenging as catching the serial killer.

But catch a killer they must.

Buy the Book:

About the Author:

Kevin McManus Author Photo

Kevin McManus is an Irish author. He primarily writes Crime Fiction novels but also delves into writing poetry and short stories. He lives in County Leitrim in Western Ireland with his wife Mary and their dog Jack. He works by day as a secondary school teacher. Kevin has produced a series of novels featuring an Irish Detective called Ray Logue and a series based around a New York Detective called John Morrigan. His debut novel published in 2016 was “The Whole of the Moon”. In a previous incarnation, Kevin was a bass guitarist in several rock bands for over twenty year. Kevin is a supporter of Aston Villa FC which has caused him to age prematurely.

Follow him at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Books-by-Kevin-McManus-1075444599167606
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bassbreeze
Amazon : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kevin-McManus/e/B01E4GF0GY/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

My Thoughts:

Nine Lives by Kevin McManus is a wonderfully well-written detective story that takes the reader into the heart of cold cases that seem to resemble the current string of murders. Detective Ray Logue travels to Boston to work on the case alongside two fine and rather interesting people, Detective Olivia Callaghan and Inspector Sam Harper.

I found the working dynamics of this group of people to be quite interesting and each character’s personality was quite different. The plot is well thought out and will definitely hold your attention until the very end. Be prepared to go on a roller coaster ride as we try to find the serial killer alongside some rather fine detectives.

The author brings a unique spin to the plot with the Edgar Allan Poe messages and the patterns behind the killings. With time running out, the detectives are in a race to catch a killer and prevent more murders! This is one worthwhile read and having read this book first, I am going to now go back and read the book that came before this! I have indeed been won over and am a fan of the author’s works!

Note: This review is a part of the blog tour planned by Zooloo’s Book Tours as a part of the promotion leading up to the release of the book.

Nine Live Book Tour Poster

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Book Review: Earth 101 by Emae Church

Book Blurb:

A missing girl. A world of secrecy. A quest to expose the truth.

Jayne knows they’re gone, but no one else will acknowledge what’s happening.

One by one, they’re systematically erased from existence. No explanations. No missing person’s reports. No search parties.

Something sinister is afoot. Jayne can feel it in her bones. But uncovering the truth will prove difficult, especially when she discovers who and what is behind the devious plot.

As she searches for answers, she grapples with the lingering effects of a head injury, an unexpected forbidden romance, and a strange new reality that changes everything.

Will she uncover the truth, or will she be the next innocent victim?

About the Author:

Earth 101 is the debut novel from Emae Church, an emerging author, based in the South-West of England, who enjoys the adventure of life with two lovely children, when not saving the world

Follow her at:
Website: https://emae.church/blog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmaeChurch

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Earth-101-Time-Emae-Church/dp/1916300308

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Earth-101-Time-Emae-Church/dp/1916300308/

My Thoughts:
Note: I am reviewing this book as a part of the blog tour conducted by Zooloo’s Book Tours! Thanks a lot for including me in this exciting tour!

Earth 101 is a YA sci-fi novel that introduces the reader to aliens that look like humans and takes us on an unexpected journey into outer-space. The story starts off with an introduction to our main protagonist Jayne. Weird things are happening around her, friends are disappearing and no-one seems to remember them once they are gone. Only Jayne remembers them! This is an unexpected and intriguing situation to be in. As she tries to uncover the truth, the reader follows her as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and love.

I love how Jayne is full of emotions and extremely thoughtful. Her love for her family and friends is seen quite evidently. Having recently been in an accident, she is also dealing with the trauma of the same. The other characters in the book are interesting and well developed. Everyone has a role to play and I love how the author has brought out the interpersonal relationships among the characters. This helps the reader to understand them and relate to them.

At first, I found it a little difficult to get into the book, the idea of people disappearing without an explanation was confusing. However, as the story progresses, a lot of the plot is revealed and then it becomes more gripping. The concept of aliens living among humans and other planets with inhabitants is intriguing and well delivered in this debut novel by the author. Without revealing too much, I would also like to include that there is time travel and a visit to the time of the dinosaurs! Imagine that!

By the end of the book, I was excited and thoroughly satisfied with how the story turned out. I cannot wait to read the next book (if there is one) and recommend this to all sci-fi fans out there! Give this book a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Book Review: An Ordinary Life by Amanda Prowse

About the Book:

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From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a tale of love, loss—and one last extraordinary dance.

Christmas Eve, 2019. Ninety-four-year-old Molly lies in her hospital bed. A stroke and a fall may have broken her body—but her mind is alive with memories.

London, 1940s. Molly is a bright young woman, determined to help the war effort and keep her head up despite it all. Life becomes brighter when she meets and falls in love with a man who makes her forget everything with one dance. But then war forces her to make an unforgettable sacrifice, and when she’s brought to her knees by a daring undercover mission with the French Resistance, only her sister knows the secret weighing heavily on Molly’s heart.

Now, lying in her hospital bed, Molly can’t escape the memories of what she lost all those years ago. But she is not as alone as she thinks.

Will she be able to find peace—and finally understand that what seemed to be an ordinary life was anything but?

My Thoughts:

Amanda Prowse brings to us yet another powerful story of first love, loss, war and the endurance of a woman through all of this. This is a story that brings out all the emotions and one of the few books that made me shed a few tears.

Molly’s story starts off in the 1940s in London and goes on until 2019, as she lies in the hospital thinking back to her life. We follow her as she experiences her first love, the loss of her love, her efforts to contribute to the war effort, her experiences with different people and in the midst of the war. In all this, she gives birth to a wonderful baby boy, born out of wedlock and shunned by her mother. With no other choice, Molly requests her sister and brother-in-law to care for her baby while she earns enough money to support herself.

As time passes, Molly becomes a wonderful aunt to her son, who never learns of the truth, but loves her as much as any child could love a mother. Carrying the weight of her decisions, the separation from her son and the horrors of the war, Molly, a very very strong woman faces a life filled with so many secrets. She perseveres on, working for a living whether it is playing her part in the war efforts or supporting herself after the war ends.

The bond Molly shares with her sister is a strong one and something that is great to read about. The strength, support and even jealousy all come together showing us a glimpse into each of their thoughts and in the end how they are there for each other. This is a wonderful example of what family is all about and the bonds that siblings share. The author brings to us the irony of the whole situation under the guise of the character having lived “an ordinary life”!

Amanda Prowse’s writing is powerful and will draw the reader in from page one. There is no stopping until the reader gets to the bottom of it all, finds out all the secrets and how the story ends. This book will stay with me for a long time and I highly recommend it to all fiction lovers out there. The book cannot be put into any one genre, it encompasses so many and in the end is just worth it!