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**BLOG TOUR** The Storm Girl by Kathleen McGurl

Present Day: After her divorce, Millie Galton has moved into an old house in Mudeford, determined to start afresh. Once work starts on the house, the fireplace reveals a secret that takes Millie back to the house’s original use and introduces her to the world of smuggling.

1784: When her father becomes unable to work, Esther Harris takes over his role of hiding smugglers’ contraband in the cellar of their pub. Knowing that she could be caught at any moment, secrecy is a must. When a battle occurs between the revenue men and the smugglers, people’s loyalties are tested to the limit and Esther has a decision to make: does she follow her heart or protect those she loves?

Kathleen McGurl’s dual timeline books are always a good read and this is no exception. I really got a feel for the geography and history of the locations used in The Storm Girl and could see the research that had been undertaken to make the plot as accurate as possible. The area was really brought to life in both time frames and I could easily visualise the pub and the activities that went on there.

I loved the character of Esther, a woman ahead of her time whose strength showed throughout the whole book. I admired her tenacity and loyalty and willed her to have a happy ending. Millie showed a different sort of strength in her willingness to leave everything behind and start a new life in a place she had no connection to.

The plot has a bit of everything: history, romance, murder… It moves on at a good pace and by switching the timeframes as you are reading, Kathleen McGurl leaves you wanting to know what is going to happen next all the time. The two stories, although set in different times, link together nicely and a mysterious event that happened in the past is solved in the present, providing yet another connection.

I always look forward to reading Kathleen McGurl’s latest book and she has certainly not disappointed with The Storm Girl.

With thanks to HQ Digital and Rachel’s Random Resources.

Take a look at my reviews of more of Kathleen McGurls books:

The Emerald Comb 

The Pearl Locket

The Daughters Of Red Hill Hall

The Girl from Ballymor 

The Drowned Village

The Forgotten Secret

The Stationmaster’s Daughter

The Secret of the Chateau

The Forgotten Gift

The Lost Sister

The Girl From Bletchley Park

Her Last Holiday by C L Taylor

Tom Wade, the man behind Soul Shrink Retreats has just been released from prison after serving time for his role in the death of two people. There was a third victim, Jemma, but Tom has never revealed what happened to her. Now Jemma’s sister, Fran, is determined to uncover the truth after she finds out that Tom is about to run another retreat. What did happen to Jemma and why is someone keen to do anything to stop the truth from emerging?

From quite early on in the book, it becomes apparent that secrecy is one of the main themes. After his release from prison, Tom is clearly still troubled by what happened at the retreat in Gozo but is it guilt he is feeling or something else? As we do not find out the circumstances of what actually happened until later in the book, I found myself warming to Tom although was constantly on my guard, looking for clues as to what it was that he was actually hiding.

The story is told from the point of view of three of the characters: Fran, Jemma and Kate. Kate is Tom’s wife, a pushy woman who has stood by him throughout his time in prison and feels that he owes it to her to continue with his work. I enjoyed the silent battle between Kate and Fran as neither of them trusted the other, the chapters written from their points of view revealing their innermost feelings. Through the chapters written from Jemma’s point of view, we get to see what happened during the retreat in Gozo. We also discover that some characters appear in both time lines, leaving me wondering, again, what secrets people were hiding.

This is a perfect holiday read with a plot that is easy to follow yet testing enough to deliver many surprises.

The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White

Heading to Trieste after a holiday with her friends, Iris Carr befriends Miss Froy on the train. Waking from her nap, Iris finds no trace of her new friend and the rest of the passengers tell her that no such woman exists. Has Iris really imagined the whole situation or is there something wicked taking place?

I am a huge fan of the films of Alfred Hitchcock and one of my favourites has always been The Lady Vanishes. The Wheel Spins is the book that it is based on, written in 1936 and very much of its time. The writer does manage to create a claustrophobic atmosphere as Iris searches on board the train for Miss Froy while worrying about her own fate.

While the premise of the book is still the same as the film, there are numerous differences and, if I am completely honest, this is one of the rare occasions where I prefer the film to the book. Many chapters seemed like fillers when all I wanted to do was read about Iris and her search for Miss Froy. This is where the film versions get it right as the parts featuring Miss Froy’s parents have been omitted as they didn’t really bring anything to the plot.

I still enjoyed the book and, especially when you think of its age, it has a plot that stands the rest of time.

Monthly Round Up – April 2022

This month, I’ve read a few of the books I’ve been looking forward to. After reading David Fennel’s The Art of Death last year, I couldn’t wait for the follow-up and, of course, the latest in the Kim Stone series is always a highlight!

Books I Have Read

Her Last Holiday by C L Taylor

I’ve really grown to love the books of C L Taylor and this one is no exception. Years after her sister disappears, Fran decides to face the problem head on when she stays at a retreat organised by the man who was one of the last people to see her alive. What secrets are being hidden and will Fran uncover the truth? This is a great summer read.


See No Evil by David Fennell

The second in the Grace Archer series is just as good as the first. If you like gruesome serial killers then this is the book (and series) for you. Well-written and gripping with great characters, this is becoming one of my favourite series.


The Storm Girl by Kathleen McGurl

The latest dual timeline series from Kathleen McGurl takes us deep into the world of smugglers. Another engaging storyline, my review will form part of the blog tour.


Six Graves by Angela Marsons

One of the best series out there, in my opinion, and this is another superb read. A face from Kim Stone’s past comes back to haunt her, putting her life in extreme danger. With an unbelievably foreboding first chapter, this had me gripped from beginning to end.


The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White

The book that the film The Lady Vanishes was based on and, although a good read, falls a little bit short for me. Iris befriends middle-aged Miss Froy on the train only for the woman to disappear. Just where is Miss Froy and did she actually exist in the first place?


The Missing Father by M J Lee

The latest in the Jayne Sinclair series sees the genealogist helping a neighbour to discover the truth behind her parentage. Taking us to Singapore in World War Two, this is another engaging read full of historical detail and expert family history advice!

Books I Have Acquired

In The Prison Doctor: The Final Sentence, Dr Amanda Brown reveals stories of her time spent with foreign national prisoners.

DANGER. DEPORTATION. DEATH.

These are just some of the fates facing the inmates at Huntercombe prison.

Some have fled their homeland in fear of their lives. Others are being sent to a country they left decades ago. But Dr Amanda Brown is doing all she can for each
patient stuck in no-man’s land. They have little or no idea of what awaits them outside, but she treats them with kindness and respect. Whatever their crime, and whatever their future holds, she is still their doctor.



It’s a typical teenage bedroom with posters covering the walls and clothes littering the floor. But the girl lying on her bed, wearing a delicate chain around her neck, is lifeless. A circle of red stains her white vest top. How had the girl’s mother looked down at her sleeping child and pulled the trigger?

When Detective Kim Stone rushes to the scene of a house fire, she’s shocked to discover it’s claimed the lives of two teenage children and their parents. But this tragedy is not quite as it seems. Each body is marked by a gunshot wound and the mother, Helen Daynes, is holding the gun.

The case sparks painful childhood memories for Kim who suffered at the hands of her own abusive mother, but it just makes her more determined to uncover the truth. As Kim untangles Helen’s past, she finds a history of clinical depression. But did it drive Helen to murder her loved ones?

Then Kim uncovers a tiny, vital clue in Helen’s bedroom that throws the investigation wide open. Could someone else have killed the Daynes family?

Just as Kim feels she’s making progress, a deadly threat is made to her own life by a dangerous psychopath from her past. Biting back her fear, she keeps digging. And when Kim hits upon a shocking secret that changes everything she thought she knew about Helen, she realises that the remaining family members are in grave danger.

Kim is under pressure like never before, and the monster circling her is getting ever closer. Four bodies already. Four graves fresh in the ground. Who will be next? Can Kim find the killer and save herself before it’s too late?



Is murder in the blood?

But it’s not the first time she’s been so close to a crime scene. The daughter of a prolific serial killer, she’s spent her whole life running from who she really is.

In a sleepy Devon village, a woman is taken from the streets. Local vet Jenny is horrified. This kind of thing doesn’t happen here.

And the crime is harrowingly similar to those her father committed all those years ago…

But she’s not her father’s daughter.

Is she?


Something whistling through the door behind her caused her to turn. A shadow spread across the opening. She clasped a hand to her mouth, stilling the fear that was rising. The menacing shadow was followed by a face that sent a cold shiver down her spine…

When the call comes in about Lucy, a seventeen-year-old girl murdered after the secret party she held in her parents’ home, Detective Lottie Parker is first on the scene. As she picks her way through the smashed glasses and the blood spatter on the perfect cream carpet, she is horrified to see Lucy’s angelic face, silvery-blue eyes forever closed.

As Lottie breaks the news to Lucy’s heartbroken parents and the devastated partygoers, she discovers that hours before her death Lucy had revealed a terrible secret about her friend Hannah. And when Lottie finds Lucy’s bloodstained clothing hidden in Hannah’s bedroom, she has no option but to bring the shy, frightened girl into custody.

But Hannah claims to have no memory of the night Lucy died and Lottie begins to question her guilt. Then a fifteen-year-old boy who also attended the party is pulled from the canal. And as Lottie investigates, she discovers something shocking. Her own son Sean was at the party. Why did he lie to her? Is her beloved child a witness or a suspect… or is he now in the killer’s sights?


Alice Taylor was adopted in 1942 when she was three years old. Her adoptive parents never told her about her birth family and even changed her Christian name. Now, seventy-seven years later, she wants to know the truth.

Who were her birth parents?

How did her mother die?

What happened to her missing father?

Jayne Sinclair, genealogical investigator, has just a few days to discover the truth before she goes for a well-earned break in Australia.

Can she discover the truth hidden in the chaos of the war?


How do you find a killer who has destroyed all the evidence?

Detective Erika Foster is on a late-night walk near her new house in Blackheath when she stumbles upon the brutal murder of Vicky Clarke, a true-crime podcaster.

Erika is assigned to the case and discovers that Vicky had been working on a new podcast episode about a sexual predator who preys on young female students around South London, staking out his victims in their halls of residence before breaking in at the dead of night.

When Erika discovers that Vicky’s notes and sound recordings were stolen from her flat at the time of her murder, it leads her to believe that Vicky was close to unmasking the attacker, and she was killed to guarantee her silence.

The case takes on a disturbing twist when the body of a young Bulgarian student doctor is discovered in the same building, and this makes Erika question everything she thought she knew about Vicky. With very little evidence, the clock is ticking to find the killer before he strikes again.



Stephen Edger Cover Reveal

I am really pleased to be able to share with you the covers of not one, but two books by Stephen Edger. Both books look absolutely brilliant!

What Lies Beneath

Grieving father Joe Irons wants nothing but justice following daughter Lydia’s abduction and murder. But when police release prime suspect David Calderwood due to a lack of evidence, Joe feels compelled to act. In the dead of night he weighs up the moral implications of whether doing a bad thing for a good reason is justifiable. With Calderwood abducted and imprisoned in a cell beneath the stairs, Joe intends to obtain a confession no matter the cost.

When Joe learns that another child has been taken, he’s certain David is involved, and is in a race against time to break his prisoner, but wanting to hurt someone isn’t the same as physically doing it.

Invading David’s home, Joe begins to piece together how his captive thinks, picking up the investigation the police have left open. With a child’s life hanging in the balance, will Joe have what it takes to find the truth?

WHAT LIES BENEATH is an adrenaline-fuelled, high concept thriller that will appeal to fans of Adrian McKinty’sThe Chain, and CJ Tudor’s The Other People.

Pre-order Links 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B0057HQTHE

US – https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B0057HQTHE

Publication Date – 6th June

The Prodigal Mother

Five years ago, Abbie’s son Josh died during delivery. It’s taken this long for her and husband Mark to even think about trying to restart their family. Now eight months pregnant, Abbie won’t dare dream of a happy ending in case it is snatched away again.

When a stranger tells Abbie that Josh was switched at the hospital and is living under a new identity, Abbie desperately wants to believe it’s a second chance, but Mark isn’t as easily convinced, especially when the stranger’s mental health issues come to light. 

Abbie can’t find Josh without the stranger’s help, but she can’t risk the life of the child she is carrying. And she doesn’t know how far Josh’s new family will go to keep their secret buried.

Told at a breakneck pace, and with twists on every page THE PRODIGAL MOTHER is a gripping psychological suspense, perfect for fans of CL Taylor, Louise Jensen, and CJ Tudor.

Pre-order Links –

UK –  https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09VMB4H59/

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09VMB4H59/

Publication Date – 5th September

Author Bio – Stephen Edger is the Amazon bestselling author of psychological and crime thrillers, including Snatched, and the Kate Matthews series. Born in the north-east of England, he now lives in Southampton where most of his stories are set, allowing him to use his insider knowledge to deliver realistic and unsettling suspense on every page.

Away from writing, Stephen loves to read anything that will keep him awake at night. He’s also a passionate advocate for contemporary cinema and binge-watching the latest offerings from streaming services. He is married with a son and a daughter, and two dogs.

Social Media Links

www.facebook.com/AuthorStephenEdger

Twitter – @StephenEdger

www.stephenedger.com

See No Evil by David Fennell

Detective Inspector Grace Archer and Detective Sergeant Harry Quinn find themselves on the hunt for a particularly sadistic serial killer when the bodies of two men are found, one of them having had his eyes removed and placed on his open palms. Investigations lead them to Ladywell Playtower, a religious commune led by Aaron Cronin. Archer knows that Cronin is involved but with watertight alibis, has no way of proving it. With issues in her own life crossing over into the investigation, this case has suddenly become personal…

David Fennell’s The Art of Death was one of my favourite books of last year and I had been really looking forward to reading the follow up. I am pleased to say that it was worth the wait as the author has written another gripping story that kept me engrossed right to the end.

Grace Archer is a great character, her dark and troubled past giving her empathy towards the victims she encounters. I love the relationship she has with her grandfather, a character who despite his aging years really comes to the fore in this book, giving us an idea of where Grace gets her tenacity from! Harry Quinn is the perfect partner for Grace, their complete trust for each other showing when the detective has reason to doubt a member of her team.

The descriptions of the murders are, at times, quite graphic but this is essential in showing you the depravity of the killer. David Fennell’s descriptions in general are superb and I found it easy to create images in my mind of the places and people I encountered during my reading.

The seed for a new book has been sown at the end of See No Evil so I am already looking forward to book three! If you are looking to start a new series, one that is still at its start, then you will not go wrong by reading See No Evil or The Art of Death. Well-written and gripping with great characters and engaging plots, this is definitely becoming one of my favourite series.

With thanks to Bonnier Books UK, Zaffre and Net Galley for my ARC.

The Prison Doctor by Amanda Brown

Former GP Dr Amanda Brown has worked with inmates in some of Britain’s most well-known prisons from young offenders’ institutions to Wormwood Scrubs and finally Bronzefield, a women-only prison. In this book, the first of a series, the author tells the story of what goes on behind those prison walls, creating an insight that most of us (thankfully) will never experience.

From quite early on we see how much compassion Amanda has for her patients at her GP practice and you could tell how difficult it was for her to leave this behind and start a new career as a prison doctor. She soon realises, though, that her skills are transferable and is soon making a difference for those who need her help.

The stories in the book are, at times, heartbreaking, especially when you read about those who have become so institutionalised that they can no longer cope with life on the outside. There is also lots of good humour thrown in for good measure, however, so it is not a totally harrowing read,

The Prison Doctor is an easy read and one that has made me want to read the follow-ups.

The Devil’s Playground by Charly Cox

When Detective Alyssa Wyatt is called to a crime scene, she is not prepared for what she finds: two women have been brutally murdered and another is missing, presumed dead. Finding two young children in the property, one of them having witnessed the horrific events, their safety is now a priority. When the evidence leads them towards the occult, Alyssa knows that there is a race against time to find the killers and prevent any more deaths.

This series has previously dealt with some very dark topics but this is arguably the darkest to date. I’m not a fan of reading about the occult but I’ve loved the previous books in the series and so I put my views aside to read The Devil’s Playground. Thanks to Charly Cox’s brilliant writing, what I found was another superb page turner that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.

Charly Cox writes such brilliant characters and I am a huge fan of Alyssa Wyaytt and her partner Cord. They feel very much like real people and I love how they interact with each other, both of them full of determination to do their job well while showing huge amounts of compassion. Their compassion is shown in a big way at the end of the book and I look forward to seeing how this progresses in the next book.

The Devil’s Playground is packed full of tension and I was certainly kept guessing with regards to the perpetrators. In many books, the ‘whodunit’ element is easy to spot so I was happy to be surprised by who the killers were.

This really is a brilliant series and I urge you to give it a try if you haven’t already done so!

Take a look at my reviews for the rest of the series:

All His Pretty Girls

The Toybox

Alone in the Woods

With thanks to Hera Books and Net Galley for my ARC.

Monthly Round Up – March 2022

Every now and then, I like to listen to an audiobook, non-fiction being my books of choice. Two of this month’s books are audiobooks and I am grateful for the ability to be able todownload them for free from my local library.

Books I Have Read

The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins by John George Pearson

A comprehensive account of the life of the infamous East End criminals from their birth right up to their deaths. A fascinating, well-researched story.


Vanished by Lynda La Plante

The third in the DC Jack Warr series is arguably the best yet. The detective finds himself working on a complex case when a woman who had been asking the police for help is brutally murdered in her own home. What ensues is a series of crimes that perplex the police.


The Prison Doctor by Amanda Brown

A fascinating look at life in one of Britain’s most well-known prisons through the eyes of the prison doctor. Gritty yet full of humour, this was a great read and I am looking forward to reading the latest in the series which has just been published.


The Devil’s Playground by Charly Cox

The fourth in the brilliant Alyssa Wyatt series is a dark tale of murder and the occult. This has definitely become one of the series that I look forward to and Charly Cox is becoming one of my favourite writers.

Books I Have Acquired

A heartbreaking choice. A secret kept for centuries.

1784. When Esther Harris’s father hurts his back, she takes over his role helping smugglers hide contraband in the secret cellar in their pub. But when the free traders’ ships are trapped in the harbour, a battle between the smugglers and the revenue officers leads to murder and betrayal – and Esther is forced to choose between the love of her life and protecting her family…
 
Present day. Fresh from her divorce, Millie Galton moves into a former inn overlooking the harbour in Mudeford and plans to create her dream home. When a chance discovery behind an old fireplace reveals the house’s secret history as a haven for smugglers and the devastating story of its former residents, could the mystery of a disappearance from centuries ago finally be solved?


What would you do if your husband framed you for murder?

Five years ago, Olivia Sutherland was wrongfully convicted of plotting to murder.

Now she’s finally free, Olivia has three goals. Repair her relationship with her daughter. Clear her name. And bring down her husband – the man who framed her.

Just how far is she willing to go to get what she wants? And how far will her husband go to stop her?

Because his lies run deeper than Olivia could ever have imagined – and this time it’s not her freedom that’s in jeopardy, but her life…


I’m pleased to be on the blog tour for the Kathleen McGurl book and can’t wait to get stuck in to both of these books!

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