#Review Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery by Rosalie Knecht @rosalieknecht @verve_books @holliemcdevitt @OldCastleBooks #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview #FemaleSpyBook

Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery
By Rosalie Knecht

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This series is getting better. It started with Who Is Vera Kelly? Now she is back with Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery. It is a fun, easy-going spy story, asy to get into and stay with and soak up that film noir atmosphere it creates some of within its entertaining plot.

Thanks to Hollie McDevitt for inviting me to review Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery and for sending me a copy of the book.

Vera Kelly is not a mystery

Blurb

Recently out-of-the-spy-game heroine Vera Kelly finds herself travelling from Brooklyn to a sprawling
countryside estate in the Caribbean in her first case as a private investigator. When ex-CIA agent Vera Kelly loses her job and her girlfriend in a single day, she reluctantly goes into business as a private detective. Heartbroken and cash-strapped, she takes a case that dredges up dark
memories and attracts dangerous characters from across the Cold War landscape.
Before it’s over, she’ll chase a lost child through foster care and follow a trail of Dominican exiles to the
Caribbean. Forever looking over her shoulder, she nearly misses what’s right in front of her: her own desire for home, connection, and a new romance at the local bar.
In this exciting second instalment of the ‘splendid genre-pushing’ (People) Vera Kelly series, Rosalie Knecht
challenges and deepens the Vera we love: a woman of sparkling wit, deep moral fibre, and martini-dry humour who knows how to follow a case even as she struggles to follow her heart.

Review

Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery is the second in this P.I. series. It’s a bad day when you lose your job in the CIA and girlfriend in a single day, but this is what happened to Vera and so she joined a Private Investigator business. Vera Kelly is essentially a female detective series that has a bit of that 1960’s film noir feel to it, which is all encompassing and can almost be breathed in as if that were possible. There are some of the uphill struggles to be recognised as a strong contender in detective work and yet she gives as good as she gets to prove herself and to get the job done in, sometimes a lively manner.

There is a child who was taken away by the state welfare system because of the death of his gran and this propmts a search to find out what happened to him. From Brooklyn to Dominican Republic and back to New York, she must travel if she is to resolve the case. Amongst this is also the personal life of Vera that creeps in and it isn’t always plain-sailing and she does at times show her softer side as her unfortunate failed love-life affects her here and there.

Pages glide by when reading this series as it is so succinct and is mysterious enough to want to know what happened to the 14 year old boy. The writing is also atmospheric and the details add to this and feel right for this genre. The humour carries it a long too, even though it is as dry as it gets. It’s a gem of a read that can be “got into” very quickly and I read it in one sitting.

The book is all set up and ready to go for Book Clubs. It has a few insightful questions that groups can discuss and debate to do with the book, the era it is set in and more…

Vera Kelly is not a Mystery - BLOG TOUR POSTER

#Review by Lou of -The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent @lizziedent @EllieeHud @VikingBooksUK #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction #BookReview

The Summer Job
By Lizzie Dent
Rated: 5 Stars *****

The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent is a joy for anyone’s spring/summer book collection. It’s moving, funny, great scenery and food. It’s such good entertainment and fun which is so uplifting. It’s a great plot for a relaxed weekend or evening. It’s one to watch out for this spring!
Thank you so much to  Ellie Hudson at Viking Books for gifting me a copy of this joyous book and for inviting me to this very exciting blog tour.
Find out more in my blurb and the full review. Check out the unique cover too, which is also fun…

The Summer Job

Blurb

Have you ever imagined running away from your life?

Well Birdy Finch didn’t just imagine it. She did it. Which might’ve been an error. And the life she’s run into? Her best friend, Heather’s.

The only problem is, she hasn’t told Heather. Actually there are a few other problems…

Can Birdy carry off a summer at a luxury Scottish hotel pretending to be her best friend (who incidentally is a world-class wine expert)?

And can she stop herself from falling for the first man she’s ever actually liked (but who thinks she’s someone else)

The Summer Job is a fresh, fun, feel-good romcom for fans of The Flatshare, Bridget Jones and Bridesmaids.

WANT TO ESCAPE REAL LIFE FOR A WHILE? RUN AWAY WITH BIRDY FINCH, A MESSY HEROINE WITH A HEART OF GOLD. THE SUMMER JOB IS THE HOTTEST DEBUT TO LOSE YOURSELF IN THIS YEAR.

The Summer Job Blog tour 1

Review

The Summer JobThe Summer Job is such a glorious book. I was thoroughly entertained and the food and wine all sounds absolutely, mouthwateringly delicious, set in Scotland amongst the pretty scenery, especially around the loch. It is such fun and really lifts the spirit. 
Birdy Finch is such a unique character, who isn’t perfect and she hasn’t worked out all of life yet, but she has heart, which makes her so brilliant to read about. The premise of running away from your life is written in such a way that you can’t help but want to join her. The humour in this book is devine and provides a great time for escapism as Birdie Finch, in her early 30’s escapes London to a lovely hotel in Scotland and ends up pretending to be a sommelier, with funny consequences as she pretends to be Heather, her best friend, who is the expert in this area, but wanted to spend time travelling with her boyfriend. It’s a great plot to easily slip into for a relaxed weekend or evening.

Lizzie Dent has produced a character who is so readable and feels authentic in such a delightful, feel-good rom-com. The sort that would be great, translated onto screen as well.
She has insecurities and feelings of being self-conscious that come flooding in here and there and that makes her seem so real and so many people will be able to relate on some level, but also has spirit in character and humour in the situations she finds herself in.
She is a bit like a contemporary of Bridget Jones in some ways and is very engaging and a great debut!
Lizzie Dent is an exciting author to watch!

The Summer Job Blog tour 1

The Summer Job Blog tour 2

#Review By Lou – Lost Property @drhelenparis @HJ_Barnes @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours 5 stars #Fiction #BlogTour

Lost Property
By Helen Paris

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lost Property is set to be a major book title that many publishers wanted and Transworld got, and I can see why it is so hotly anticipated, with its wonderful characters, heartwarming and uplifting storyline, even through some sadness and the intrigue of all that Lost Property, which isn’t always what you might expect!
This is an absolute Must Read for anyone and I feel very lucky to be able to read and review it!
This is a book to grab and clutch onto tightly, and you won’t want to let it go too easily.
Read on to find out more about this beauty of a book in the blurb, the rest of my review and what the author had to say about her book. For a debut novel, Lost Property makes Helen Paris an author to watch for more…

Lost Property Graphic 2

Blurb

A moving and life-affirming debut novel from an exciting new voice in Book Club fiction. For fans of Saving
Missy and The Authenticity Project, with themes of loss, hope, forgiveness and kindness.

Everything that’s lost belongs somewhere. Dot Watson just needs to be found.
Dot Watson’s life is stuck. She wasn’t meant to be single at this point, or still working in a temporary job she
started ten years ago. She was supposed to be in Paris, falling madly in love, building an exciting career.
Instead, every day in Baker Street’s Lost Property office, she diligently catalogues hundreds of lost
umbrellas, lone gloves and an alarming number of shoes.
There’s a comfort in her routine that Dot has become quite attached to. But then Mr Appleby arrives at her
work asking for help to find his late wife’s purse.
Dot recognises his desperation and grief – and they stir something unexpected in her: determination. As she
resolves to help Mr Appleby, what else might she find along the way?

Review

Lost Property GraphicLost Property is just lovely and absolutely splendid from the start, as it tells the story of Dot, Phillipa and their parents. Most of us at some point has either seen a Lost Property box or department or lost something before and this book immerses readers into this curious world of other people’s belongings. I just love the attention to detail and creativity with the luggage tags at the beginning of each chapter, stating what was lost and where. The places and items (sometimes human), is diverse from an Oyster Card to briefcases to a purchase at Selfridges. It is heartwarming when owner and lost item are reunited. It is fun meeting the items, the members of the public and the employees of the Lost Property department. There are times when it isn’t an item as such that is missing, which brings a different slant to the story at times. Sometimes it is something very human that is lost.

There is intrigue and mystery surrounding the Mr Appleby as suddenly he doesn’t seem to exist on the system anymore and yet his missing holdall has turned up. It isn’t just a holdall, it has particular significance, which is tender and of sentimental value.

There is also the shake-up of new policies from a new boss and all proves quite unpopular and as a reader, makes me more onside with the employees under her.

There is terrific lightness and humour mixed with intrigue about the lost property items and who they belong to, as well as  poignancy and sadness as Dot and Phillipa’s mum has dementia. It is heartwarming that their mum has a routine and can attend a specialised excursion club, but it is Dot and Phillippa, with the help of some nurses and carers take care of her. 

This is a book with a lot of heart and soul to it, that captures certain parts of life, just beautifully, even the parts of dementia and pretty accurately.
I wholeheartedly recommend it and it will fill your heart with warmth.

About the Author

Lost Property Helen Paris Author PicHelen Paris worked in the performing arts for two decades, touring internationally with her London-based
theatre company Curious. After several years living in San Francisco and working as a theatre professor at
Stanford University, she returned to the UK to focus on writing fiction. As part of her research for a performance called ‘Lost & Found’, Paris shadowed employees in the Baker Street Lost Property office for a week, an experience that sparked her imagination and inspired this novel.
Lost Property is her first novel.

A note from Helen:
“Although entirely a work of fiction Lost Property was influenced by the short time I spent in Lost Property,
Baker Street shadowing different employees as research for a performance. Whether it’s a designer bag left
in the back of a black cab or a woolly scarf forgotten on the number 44 bus, loss touches all of us. It is
pervasive, and it never ends – as Dot Watson might say, ‘It’s reliable like that.’
I have always been fascinated by the memories that objects hold, how even the most every day object – a pipe,
a bag, a small purse – can help us recall a place or a person or a particular time in life. Objects can be totemic,
portals to the past. Tactile memory – the memories triggered by holding familiar objects – can be profound.
Some objects almost let us time-travel back to the places we yearn to be, to the people no longer with us, and
linger there, if only for a moment.”

Lost Property 3

#Review By Lou – Lost Property @drhelenparis @HJ_Barnes @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours 5 stars #Fiction #BlogTour

Lost Property
By Helen Paris

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lost Property is set to be a major book title that many publishers wanted and Transworld got, and I can see why it is so hotly anticipated, with its wonderful characters, heartwarming and uplifting storyline, even through some sadness and the intrigue of all that Lost Property, which isn’t always what you might expect!
This is an absolute Must Read for anyone and I feel very lucky to be able to read and review it!
This is a book to grab and clutch onto tightly, and you won’t want to let it go too easily.
Read on to find out more about this beauty of a book in the blurb, the rest of my review and what the author had to say about her book. For a debut novel, Lost Property makes Helen Paris an author to watch for more…

Lost Property Graphic 2

Blurb

A moving and life-affirming debut novel from an exciting new voice in Book Club fiction. For fans of Saving
Missy and The Authenticity Project, with themes of loss, hope, forgiveness and kindness.

Everything that’s lost belongs somewhere. Dot Watson just needs to be found.
Dot Watson’s life is stuck. She wasn’t meant to be single at this point, or still working in a temporary job she
started ten years ago. She was supposed to be in Paris, falling madly in love, building an exciting career.
Instead, every day in Baker Street’s Lost Property office, she diligently catalogues hundreds of lost
umbrellas, lone gloves and an alarming number of shoes.
There’s a comfort in her routine that Dot has become quite attached to. But then Mr Appleby arrives at her
work asking for help to find his late wife’s purse.
Dot recognises his desperation and grief – and they stir something unexpected in her: determination. As she
resolves to help Mr Appleby, what else might she find along the way?

Review

Lost Property GraphicLost Property is just lovely and absolutely splendid from the start, as it tells the story of Dot, Phillipa and their parents. Most of us at some point has either seen a Lost Property box or department or lost something before and this book immerses readers into this curious world of other people’s belongings. I just love the attention to detail and creativity with the luggage tags at the beginning of each chapter, stating what was lost and where. The places and items (sometimes human), is diverse from an Oyster Card to briefcases to a purchase at Selfridges. It is heartwarming when owner and lost item are reunited. It is fun meeting the items, the members of the public and the employees of the Lost Property department. There are times when it isn’t an item as such that is missing, which brings a different slant to the story at times. Sometimes it is something very human that is lost.

There is intrigue and mystery surrounding the Mr Appleby as suddenly he doesn’t seem to exist on the system anymore and yet his missing holdall has turned up. It isn’t just a holdall, it has particular significance, which is tender and of sentimental value.

There is also the shake-up of new policies from a new boss and all proves quite unpopular and as a reader, makes me more onside with the employees under her.

There is terrific lightness and humour mixed with intrigue about the lost property items and who they belong to, as well as  poignancy and sadness as Dot and Phillipa’s mum has dementia. It is heartwarming that their mum has a routine and can attend a specialised excursion club, but it is Dot and Phillippa, with the help of some nurses and carers take care of her. 

This is a book with a lot of heart and soul to it, that captures certain parts of life, just beautifully, even the parts of dementia and pretty accurately.
I wholeheartedly recommend it and it will fill your heart with warmth.

About the Author

Lost Property Helen Paris Author PicHelen Paris worked in the performing arts for two decades, touring internationally with her London-based
theatre company Curious. After several years living in San Francisco and working as a theatre professor at
Stanford University, she returned to the UK to focus on writing fiction. As part of her research for a performance called ‘Lost & Found’, Paris shadowed employees in the Baker Street Lost Property office for a week, an experience that sparked her imagination and inspired this novel.
Lost Property is her first novel.

A note from Helen:
“Although entirely a work of fiction Lost Property was influenced by the short time I spent in Lost Property,
Baker Street shadowing different employees as research for a performance. Whether it’s a designer bag left
in the back of a black cab or a woolly scarf forgotten on the number 44 bus, loss touches all of us. It is
pervasive, and it never ends – as Dot Watson might say, ‘It’s reliable like that.’
I have always been fascinated by the memories that objects hold, how even the most every day object – a pipe,
a bag, a small purse – can help us recall a place or a person or a particular time in life. Objects can be totemic,
portals to the past. Tactile memory – the memories triggered by holding familiar objects – can be profound.
Some objects almost let us time-travel back to the places we yearn to be, to the people no longer with us, and
linger there, if only for a moment.”

Lost Property 3

BOTH – Books On The Hill have a new Kickstarter for adult genre books targeted for readers with dyslexia more details here #OpenDyslexia @RandomTTours

BOTH – Books on the Hill

Today is my turn on a very different and very exciting blog tour. This is a terrific sounding Kickstarter that makes excellent books accessible, especially for those with dyslexia. Please do read on to find out more about this and the books; and then why not delve into the link to their website and discover even more for yourself…
Find out a little more about the books too, after discovering what the Open Dyslexia Kickstarter Project is.

Open Dyslexia Banner

Our Kickstarter Starts April 2nd 2021
Making exciting good quality fiction accessible to a minority group currently not provided for by today’s UK traditional mass book market and providing a new tool for booksellers to use in their drive to increase diversity and inclusion.

It is estimated by the NHS that 1 in 10 readers in the UK have dyslexia; this is a learning difference that primarily affects reading and writing skills. It does not anyone from achieving. Books On The Hill has been always passionate about helping people who have dyslexia, or any difficulty with reading, to access the joy of good fiction. These days many publishers are making a lot of effort to have high quality books available for children with dyslexia but there has been a gap in the market for books targeted towards adults.

Who Are We Working With
We have been so fortunate that many great authors have agreed to contribute to this project. All are brilliant authors and are names I am sure you will recognise.

Stan Nicholls, who has been a great support to me particularly with my PhD. He is the author of many novels and short stories but is best known for the internationally acclaimed Orcs: First Blood series.
Steven Savile, the fantasy, horror and thriller writer, now lives in Stockholm whose father is a customer of our bookshop.
The horror duo that is Thana Niveau and John Llewellyn Probert, both well established and engaging authors and also residents of Clevedon.
Adrian Tchaikovsky is an Arthur Clark Award winner and best known for his series Shadows of the Apt, and for his novel Children of Time.
Steven Poore is the highly acclaimed fantasy writer who I first met on my first fantasy convention in Scarborough.
We finish the Magnificent Seven with Joel Cornah, who also has dyslexia, and with whom I participated in a podcast on dyslexia for the Clevedon Literature 2020 ‘Festival in the Clouds’.

Books on the Hill

How To Get involved
We are launching a Kickstarter beginning in April 2nd 2021 for 30 days, with the focus on paying for the printing of our books and giving us starting capital to continue to print more titles.
There will be many ways you can be involved in this. You can contribute on the Kickstarter website itself  There will be a number of different options of donating money, in which you will receive rewards, such as ebooks of a title or a paperback of one or more of the titles to be published. In addition a unique reward from authors who are contributing to the project.
You can still contribute outside the kickstarter. We are happy to receive your help in the shop, where we will have a donation box available.

The Project
Books on the Hill is passionate about helping people who have dyslexia, or have any difficulty with reading, to access the joy of good fiction. There are great books out now for children with dyslexia, with specialist publishers like Barrington Stokes and mainstream publishers such as Bloomsbury doing their part. However, there are sadly very few books for adults with Dyslexia in traditional mass market publishing.
Dyslexia is a learning difference that primarily affects reading and writing skills. The NHS estimates that up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK have some form of dyslexia, while other dyslexic organisations believe 1 in 5 and more than 2 million people in the UK are severely affected.
Dyslexia does not stop someone from achieving. There are many individuals who are successful and are dyslexic. Famous actors, such as Orlando Bloom; Entrepreneurs like Theo Paphitis, and many, many more, including myself. All of who believe dyslexia has helped them to be where they are now. Dyslexia, though, as I can attest to, does not go away. You don’t grow out of it, and so we are acknowledging that and trying to without being patronising, create a selection of books that will be friendly to people who deal with dyslexia every day.
Since we started the project in 2019, Books on the Hill have had many adults customers with dyslexia come in shop the asking for something accessible to read. For example, one customer asked if we stocked well known novels in a dyslexic friendly format. Unfortunately we had to say no, as they just don’t exist. We explained what we are trying to achieve by printing our own and she replied:
“I have been reading [children dyslexic] books but they are a bit childish so am really happy I have found your company!! Thanks so much again and thank you for making such a helpful and inclusive brand – it means a lot. “
This response is not isolated. We have had many adults come in to the shop with dyslexia, who do not read or struggle to read and they they believe dyslexic friendly books would have real impact on their reading for pleasure.

The Team
Books on the Hill is Alistair Sims. He is the manager and commander-in-chief of the bookshop (though his partner, Chloe and his mother, Joanne, who set up the bookshop with him, may disagree with this description ). Alistair is dyslexic and has a PhD in history and archaeology. Alistair could not read until he was 13 and is passionate about helping anyone who has difficulty reading. He is the driving force behind BOTH Press and has been involved in every step in this project, from finding award winning authors to contribute, the cover design, and the road to publication, including setting up for distribution.
Books on the Hill are collaborating with Chrissey Harrison, who is also an local author and member of North Bristol Writers Group. Chressey and Alistair have designed the book-covers together, with Chrissey creating the finished product we now look on at awe with. Nearly all the design work has been done by Chrissey, and she is also in charge of the printing process, typesetting. We are so proud and appreciative to be working with her.
Special mention must go to Harrison Gates, who runs Nine Worthy, and who has dedicated his time and expertise to produce our print catalogue for us free of cost.
Joanne Hall is an author, editor and formerly the Chair of BristolCon, Bristol’s premier (and only) science fiction and fantasy convention. We must give a huge thank you to Jo for proof reading the stories free of cost.
Vicky Brewster has edited all the new stories by the authors. She specialises in editing and beta reading long-form fiction. Vicky is a great professional editor.

Discover more about this brilliant reading initiative at Books On The Hill

BOTH Publishing

More About The Books

Books On The Hill AnchorPoint_Cover+G_B-Format_FRONT-2Anchor Point by Stan Nicholls

Kye Beven us lacking confidence, and is ruthlessly bullied. Everyone except Dyan Varike, the best archer in the land, believes he is not good enough for the community’s defence. When Kye’s village is menaced by a despotic sorcerer, he reaches for his bow and steps up to the mark…

The Clockwork Eyeball by Steven PooreBooks On The Hill TCE_Cover+design+3_1-3

In an alternate 1958 Marrakesh, the cold war continues with airships, clockwork cards and deadly spywasps, Young Saif risks his life to bring a defecting Russian agent out of the country,

The Breath by Joel CornahBooks On The Hill TheBreath_cover+G_Title+8_

The scientist Hala travels to a lost planet civilisation and find it seemingly empty. The old gods of the world may be stirring in the very air she breathes as she searches for answers.

Books on The Hill 4Kings_Cover_FrontSherlock Holmes and the Four Kings of Sweden by Steven Savile

Summoned by Swedeish Royalty, The Great Detective must solve a seemingly unsolvable riddle – how can the king be in three plaes at once? What devilry is it that has thousands of eye witnesses placing the monarch at cities a thousand miles apart? Witchcraft? Sorcery? Why? And how does this tie into a string of crimes that seem to hound the King’s footsteps.

The House of the Old by Adrian TchaikovskyBooks On The Hill THOTOC_cover+A_FRONT

A collection of desperate investigators are unleashed on a mysterious disappearance, by a lawyer working for clients who care little about the quarry’s fate and more for their own interests.

Books On the Hill At+Midnight_B-Format_coverA_final_front
At Midnight I Will Steal by John Llewellyn Probert

A visitor to a pyschiatric institution gets moe than she bargained for when it becomes apparent the building she finds herself in as a primsoner, doesn;t want her to leave

Ultrasound Shadow by Thana NiveauBooks On The Hill Ultrasound+Shadow_B-Format_coverF_FRONT-2

A pregnant woman finds herself at the mercy of an unborn baby. Its strange dark presence directs her thoughts and controls her mind and body.

#Review by Lou – What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson @coryanderwrites @penguinrandom @WriteReadsTours @WriteReads #BookReview #YA #Thriller

What Beauty There Is
By Cory Anderson

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today I have a dark thriller for young adults/older teenagers that has characters to root for twists and turns that grip on the backdrop of a harsh environment. 

I thank The Write Reads for inviting me to review and for Penguin for gifting me a copy of the book.

Read further for the blurb and full review of the book.

What Beauty There Is banner

Blurb

Winter. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.

What Beauty There IsJack Morton has nothing left. Except for his younger brother, Matty, who he’d do anything for. Even die for. Now with their mother gone, and their funds quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care, or find the drug money that sent his father to prison. He chooses the money.

Ava Bardem lives in isolation, a life of silence. For seventeen years her father has controlled her fate. He has taught her to love no one. Trust no one. Now Victor Bardem is stalking the same money as Jack. When he picks up Jack’s trail, Ava must make her own wrenching choice: remain silent or help the brothers survive.

Choices. They come at a price.

Review

Set to be a big thriller for YA/teenage readers, What Beauty Is, is dark and full of twists that would capture and engage older teens. It’s subject matters of loss and hard times growing up are stark. Jack’s mother had committed suicide when he was younger and his father is in prison. This book shows his and Atlas’s resilience.Later Jack meets Ava, who is another main character and she too has had a hard life, witnessing her mother having to leave the family home and Barden being central to this.

There’s also drugs involved as that’s why their father is in prison, and the money has to be found. There is also a real concern as social care services are contacted and Jack is worried about being separated from his brother and put into foster care. There’s quite an intensity to the book that is sure to grip and readers may well be rooting for the young characters as they try and find their way through their tough upbringing, with the hope they can and will survive. It shows cause and effect of this type of life and the emotions and how the teens react to it all.

So, as you can see, there’s a lot going on, much of which will grip the teenage population and have them talking as the subject matters are huge and also not unknown by them. It is also written in a way that makes it entirely suitable for teens, there isn’t anything that is too adult within them, it is written well with them in mind and is sure to engage.

What Beauty There Is