Asking for help/advice re Amazon review #BookReviews #bookbloggers #bookreviewers

I’ve been reviewing novels for many years now. I have submitted literally hundreds of reviews to Amazon.HOWEVER… the last  review I submitted to Amazon was rejected. I got the following message:I am posting links to my review and ask my faithful and knowledgeable blogger friends if they could advise me as to what part of the review would be considered inappropriate content by Amazon.

My review of “A Likely Story” by Leigh McMullan Abramson

Thanks in advance for your time and support.


Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , | 29 Comments

“A Nice Place To Die” by J. Woollcott – Book Review @levelbestbooks @JoyceWoollcott #ANicePlaceToDie #BookReview

It is always so gratifying when you start a new series, and try a new author, and your efforts pay off. This was an engrossing novel, essentially a police procedural but it also contained elements of domestic thriller and had a little romance thrown in for good measure.

The setting was in and around Belfast, Northern Ireland and featured members of the PSNI (Police Service of Norther Ireland).

When DS Ryan McBride attends the scene of a murder, he quickly realizes that he knew the victim – had slept with her in fact. Should he confess his one night stand and be removed from the case??? He decides not to.

Later, he realizes that the victim had a twin sister, and he is also attracted to her, though he already has an ‘on again, off again‘ relationship with his former girlfriend, Bridget. McBride is a diligent policeman who works long hours. He lives alone on a farm that he inherited from his grandfather. His only company is his faithful dog, Finn, a wired-haired fox terrier. He is quite close to his younger sister, Erin, a food blogger who often provides him with sustenance when he is too busy to cook for himself. He is somewhat estranged from his father, who is very disappointed in him. McBride holds an honours law degree and his father, a solicitor, assumed he would join his prestigious law firm. Instead, MacBride joined the PSNI.

His second in command, DS Billy Lamont is a family man. Married, with three little daughters that he is devoted to. Some of Lamont’s attitudes and actions create a little levity during this very serious story.

DC Wylie, on the other hand, acts as McBride’s nemesis. He is an odious man who just so happens to be the nephew of the Chief Inspector. He has a smug, entitled attitude, does little actual work, and has been fast-tracked for promotion…

The other members of McBride’s team were all interesting to read about and added lots of interest to the novel. Hopefully they will have a more pertinent role in future books in the series.

Told essentially from McBride’s point of view, we also hear from Kathleen McGuire, the murder victim. Her narrative takes place in the months leading up to her murder.

Kathleen found herself in a toxic relationship. Her lover was insanely jealous and controlling.

As her murder investigation continues, the body count rises. McBride faces some personal and professional challenges. The skilled blend of these story-lines was what I really enjoyed the most in this book. The author threw in a few plot twists that I had not anticipated, and ended the book with a scenario that left me with a smile on my face.

Highly recommended! I eagerly await the next title in this series “Blood Relations” which is due for publication next summer.This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Level Best Books via NetGalley. It was published on August 30, 2022.

ISBN: 9781685121662    ASIN: ‎ B0BCHK7G5V    292 pages
J. (Joyce) Woollcott is a Canadian writer born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her new novel, A Nice Place to Die, introduces Police Service of Northern Ireland detective DS Ryan McBride and his partner DS Billy Lamont.

In 2019, A Nice Place to Die won the RWA Daphne du Maurier Award, Unpublished, for Mainstream Mystery and Suspense. Her first novel, Abducted, was long-listed in the CWC Arthur Ellis Awards in 2018. Her second, A Nice Place to Die, was long-listed in 2019 and 2020 and in 2021 was short-listed in the Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence.

She is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers and BCAD, University of Ulster. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, Crime Writers of Canada and the Suncoast Writer’s Guild.

Connect with J. Woollcott via Twitter OR visit her website.

Posted in 1st in series, Book Reviews, Level Best Books, Mystery fiction, NetGalley, Reading Ireland | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

“A Likely Story” by Leigh McMullan Abramson – Book Review

Another worthy debut! Literary fiction which was slow paced, yet it held my interest throughout.

Mind you… the characters were not very likeable. Riddled with entitled attitudes, fragile egos, elitist lifestyles, and emotional insecurities, some of them, like the egoist Ward Manning, were downright odious. Isabelle herself has been thoroughly damaged by her father on many levels. The recent death of her mother finds her floundering with grief, and causes her to reach an emotional crossroads. The book was a sort of ‘coming-of-age’ novel even though the protagonist was in her mid thirties.

My favorite character was Claire Manning. Despite her bitter resentment of her husband, she was the glue that held the family together and she was an excellent parent to Isabelle.

There was a ‘book within a book‘ permeating the entire novel. I found them to be almost mirror images of each other which would have led to some confusion – were it not for the clear headings that delineated them.

I have to say that the title was an excellent choice which was a perfect fit for the story.

With themes of white privilege, the need for vindication, bitter resentment, betrayal, provenance and plagiarism, this novel was an interesting take on writing, publishing, and finding your own voice.

I enjoyed the writing, and admire the author’s talent even though the characters and story were not completely to my liking. I look forward to reading her next book.

3.5 stars rounded up for Amazon and NetGalley and rounded down for Goodreads where the ratings have different valuesThis review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Atria Books / Simon and Schuster via NetGalley. It was published on March 14, 2023.

ISBN: 9781982199241    ASIN: ‎ B0B3YDJ927    352 pages

Leigh McMullan Abramson has written for The Atlantic, The New York Times, Tablet Magazine and more. She grew up in New York City, the daughter of a children’s author and an illustrator.

Leigh’s parents often collaborated on picture books—many based on Leigh’s own childhood experiences. Leigh studied ballet at The School of American Ballet into her teens, but eventually rebelled against her artistic family by going to law school. She practiced law for several years before following her passion for writing.

Leigh now lives in New York City and Vermont with her husband and two young children.

A LIKELY STORY is her first novel.

Connect with the author via her Website, Twitter, and/or Instagram.

Posted in Book Reviews, books about books, debut novels, NetGalley | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

“No Safe Place” by Patricia Gibney – Book Review

I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed the first three novels in Patricia Gibney’s Lottie Parker police procedural series.  They were fantastic! I’ve been meaning to read the fourth in the series for some time now – I’m SO glad to report that it was just as good as the first three.

Those of you who haven’t yet made the acquaintance of Lottie Parker, I’ll recap.
Lottie Parker is a Garda Síochána detective inspector who lives and works in the fictional town of Ragmullin in the Irish Midlands.

Lottie is one of those wonderful ‘flawed’ protagonists.  Over four years after his death, she is still grieving for her late husband, Adam. Lottie throws herself into her work – often to the detriment of her home life with her three teenage children and infant grandson whom she loves fiercely. In her mid forties, Lottie has an addictive personality and she valiantly tries to stay away from booze and painkillers. She doesn’t eat properly, is always tired, and her nerves are frayed. Lottie is of the ‘sandwich generation‘ – stuck between caring for her own children AND her mother. Although she is surrounded by people, both at home and at work, Lottie is very lonely.

Lottie Parker’s second in command, Mark Boyd remains loyal to Lottie at all times – though she often makes it very difficult for him to do so. In this outing it becomes apparent that Boyd cares deeply for Lottie on a personal level. Also, in this book Boyd’s younger sister Grace comes to stay with him for a few weeks.

The fourth book finds D.I. Lottie Parker and her team investigating the murder of Elizabeth Byrne, a young woman who was a regular commuter on the Dublin to Ragmullin train.

Simultaneously with her present heavy workload, Lottie is also looking into the cold case of another young woman who vanished after her train commute almost ten years previously…

As in the previous books in this series, during the first few chapters of this book, I was a tad impatient with Lottie Parker’s self-destructive behaviours. Then, as I got into the book, I realized that those things that I was frustrated with were the very same things that make Lottie Parker so special to me. She is devoted to her three children and grandson, even though they try her patience sorely at times.

This is a crime novel rife with sad and tragic family histories. It would be fair to say that during this instalment in the series Lottie faces some very traumatic personal challenges.

Excellent characterization and compelling plots are the highlights of this series, and this fourth book is true to form. With themes of sibling rivalry, extreme jealousy, and prejudice, this book was a compelling read.

I highly recommend this novel, and this series, to readers of crime fiction who are not deterred by distressing scenes, and emotionally draining circumstances. I hope that not too much more time passes before I get the opportunity to read the 5th novel in this stellar series.

Read what the author has said about her character, Lottie Parker.

Read my review of the first title in the Lottie Parker series: “The Missing Ones”.

Read my review of the second title in the Lottie Parker series: “The Stolen Girls“.

Read my review of the third title in the Lottie Parker series: “The Lost Child”.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Bookouture  via NetGalley. (YES, it is a backlist title from my NetGalley review queue)

ISBN: 9781786814081    ASIN: B078JZZPFJ    440 pages

Patricia Gibney is a widow and the mother of three children. She lives in Mullingar, Ireland. She started writing, for therapy, when her husband Aidan died.
She secured an agent in January 2016 and she joined The Irish Writers Centre. She loves reading crime thrillers. Her novels feature Lottie Parker and a host of credible characters. They are all part of her extended family, you know the kind – people you love one minute and want to kill the next!

Connect with Patricia Gibney on Twitter, Instagram, or, visit her website.

Posted in Book Reviews, Bookouture, Mystery fiction, NetGalley, Page turners, Reading Ireland | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

“A Death At The Party” by Amy Stuart – Book Review

“The tentacles of fate and coincidence”.

I’ve read this author’s previous books (which were a connected trilogy) and enjoyed them very much. Therefore, I was eager to try her latest stand-alone novel. I was not disappointed.

The entire book took place during one day and moved along at a brisk pace despite that. Nadine Walsh was an interesting protagonist, and not entirely likeable. Yet… I was riveted by her story. Born to a single mother, a latchkey kid, her world was completely turned around when her mother became famous.

Nadine is throwing a 60th birthday party for her famous mother, M, who is a renowned crime novelist. She is wealthy due to the fact that her mother gives her a cut of her royalties. She is married to a lawyer, Paul. Nadine is the mother of two teenagers and tends to be quite a ‘helicopter parent’. She is always fearing the worst, and has quite an OCD thing going on which she displays by writing copious lists, both for herself and her family members. Also living in Nadine’s home is Margot, her niece, who helps out with running the household since Nadine was incapacitated due to illness.

Nadine has several skeletons in her closet, and on the day of the party they all come tumbling out. An unscrupulous journalist, some shady neighbours, and a comatose teenager all play a part.

This is a domestic thriller with themes of loyalty and family secrets. Mostly though, it explores just how far someone will go to protect those they love.

Highly recommended!This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Simon & Schuster  via Edelweiss.

ISBN: 9781668009109    ASIN: ‎  B0B3YB1766    304 pages

Amy Stuart won the 2011 Writers’ Union of Canada Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers, and was a finalist for the 2012 Vanderbilt/Exile Award. She is a recent masters’ graduate from the University of British Columbia. Amy was born in Toronto where she still lives with her husband and their three sons. She is an educator with many years of high school teaching under her belt. Aside from writing, she loves hockey. Ice hockey.


Follow Amy Stuart on Twitter

Follow Amy Stuart on Instagram


Posted in Book Reviews, Canadian fiction, Edelweiss, Psychological thrillers | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday – “My Kind of People” by Lisa Duffy #BookReview #ThrowbackThursday @lisaduffywriter

The Throwback Thursday meme was created by Renee over at It’s Book Talk (who seems to be taking a blogging hiatus). She made this meme to share some of her old favorites. Although all bookbloggers have an endless TBR pile, we seldom take the time to reflect back and post about some of the great reads from a few years ago. Sharing book recommendations is one of my most favorite things to do!

Davida (The Chocolate Lady) hosts a monthly Throwback Thursday Link party.

I originally reviewed “My Kind of People” in September of 2020.

Leo – a talented architect, has lived on Ichabod Island his entire life. He has become used to being one of very few black people on the island and the fact that he is gay further influences his distinction from his fellow islanders. When he married Xavier a year ago, they had agreed that theirs would be a childless marriage. Now, with the death of his best friends, Leo finds himself the guardian of their adopted daughter Sky, just ten years old.

Xavier – thrown by the recent turn of events is bitter about Leo’s new role. He never wanted children and cannot see how their life and their marriage will succeed now. Also, Xavier is a city boy who dislikes Ichabod Island and all it entails.

Maggie – in her fifties, and the wife of the island’s police chief, Maggie realizes that her marriage of twenty-seven years is disintegrating. Her love for young Sky keeps her going on days when her loneliness threatens to consume her.

Agnes – Maggie’s lifelong best friend is fighting cancer. Despite that, she comes across as a less than likeable character who is manipulative and meddling. These traits conjure a rift in Maggie and Agnes’ friendship.

Joe – a builder, is a widower neighbour, and one of my favourite characters. He was the type of man I’d like to have as a neighbour – caring, ethical, and kind.

Sky – ten years old, grieving and fearless. She finds it a huge adjustment when Leo moves into her family home to care for her. His husband doesn’t seem to like her, and when he comes to the island on the weekends, Sky runs away and sleeps in her tree-house. Sky has many friends on the island – her best friend Frankie, her neighbours Maggie and Joe being her favourites.

Mystery Woman – terminally ill, she has returned to the island to die. When Sky and her friend Frankie leave partially finished watercolor pictures on an easel near a cliff, the mystery woman finishes them – much to the consternation of the girls.

Ichabod Island as described by the author: “Some say it sits in the shadow of the Vineyard like a disobedient child, wild and untamed, fog rolling over the land like a tantrum in wait.”

After reading Lisa Duffy’s debut novel,, “The Salt House” back in August of 2018, I knew that I’d like to read more of her writing. Though I missed her second novel, I can assure you that this, her third, was a very satisfying and enjoyable read.

For some reason I’m always attracted to books with an island setting. This one, a tiny island off the Atlantic coast of Massachusetts, made an ideal backdrop for the story.

Strong in characterization, the writing made me want to really know the characters in real life – so immersive was the story. The characters were “My Kind of People“.

I guessed very early on the secret of Sky’s birth parentage, but that in no way diminished my reading pleasure.

A book of friendship, parenting, community, and family, this novel will appeal to many. Highly recommended!Publication date: May 12, 2020

Publisher: Atria Books

ISBN: 9781982137151    ASIN:  B07Z44KP4K    332 pages

Lisa Duffy received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts. Her short fiction was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her writing can be found in numerous publications, including Writer’s Digest. She is the founding editor of ROAR, a literary journal supporting women in the arts. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and three children and currently leads a fiction workshop through 24PearlStreet, the online component of The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

Lisa is the author of three stand-alone novels: The Salt House, This is Home, and My Kind of People.Visit Lisa Duffy’s website and/or Follow her on Twitter.

Posted in Book Reviews, Throwback Thursday | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

“Weyward” by Emilia Hart – Book Review

“A great many things look different from a distance.
Truth is like ugliness: you need to be close to see it.”

What an entrancing debut novel! Told via three narrators, with three separate timelines, this book kept me spellbound.

Altha 1619 – on trial for witchcraft. Like her mother before her, Altha Weyward is a healer. A woman with an uncanny connection to the natural world.

Violet 1942 –  longs for an education like her brother Graham. Is enthralled by insects and the natural world and will eventually become an entomologist. A traumatic event when she is just sixteen years old sees her living in a tumbledown cottage a few miles from the grand Orton Hall where she grew up. The cottage’s name is ‘Weyward’, and it is where Violet’s own mother Elizabeth, and her maternal grandmother Elinor, once lived.

Kate 2019 – flees her abusive partner in London and seeks refuge in a ramshackle cottage in Cumbria which was left to her by her great-aunt Violet. There, at Weyward, she discovers her true self, her true nature, her genealogical history which explains her preternatural rapport with the natural world around her.

The three women are strong, resilient, and have exceptional abilities. All three of their stories were told in alternate chapters. All were equally compelling.

This was a strong and auspicious debut novel with some elements of the paranormal, yet with a forceful feminist message. Highly recommended!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan via NetGalley.

ISBN: 9781250280800    ASIN: B09Y45FSLD    336 pages

Emilia Hart is a British-Australian writer. She was born in Sydney and studied English Literature and Law at the University of New South Wales before working as a lawyer in Sydney and London.

Emilia is a graduate of Curtis Brown Creative’s Three Month Online Novel Writing Course and was Highly Commended in the 2021 Caledonia Novel Award. Her short fiction has been published in Australia and the UK. “Weyward” is her debut novel. She lives in London, England.

Connect with Emilia Hart via Twitter OR Instagram.

Posted in Book Reviews, debut novels, NetGalley | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Teaser Tuesday – March 7, 2023 #NewBook #YouShouldHaveKnown @keller_reb @crookedlanebks @penguinrandom #TeaserTuesday #TuesdayBookBlog

My Tuesday post where I’ll ‘tease‘ you with the cover, blurb, and first paragraph of one of the titles from my own TBR.

This book is a title I received from Crooked Lane Books/Penguin Random House via
NetGalley and I’ll be reading it soon.

Today, Tuesday March 7, 2023 I want to introduce one of the ARCs on my TBR.

This novel will be published on April 4, 2023

“A grieving grandmother turns to murder in Rebecca Keller’s taut debut mystery that explores the bonds of family and the grudges we refuse to let go.”
Publisher: Crooked Lane BooksISBN: 9781639102600 –  ASIN: B0B5Z1R68X –  320 pages

1)  The fact that the protagonist is a ‘senior’.

2)  Amateur sleuth stories always appeal to me.

3) I’m always eager to read debut novels.

“I scanned the medications on the cart: pills sorted into tiny cups made of pleated paper, sitting atop smudgy laminated cards, each marked with a name and apartment number. The cards took me back to my hospital days, reminding me of surgical drapes framing the place to cut. A few medicines were set apart in smooth plastic containers the color of swimming pools: Oxycontin, Vicodin, Hydrocodone, Tramadol. Powerful. Dangerous. Able to suppress respiration. Like morphine. Named after Morpheus, the god of dreams.”

Is this a title that you would consider adding to your TBR pile?

Why, or why not?

Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Anticipated titles, Crooked Lane Books, debut novels, Mystery fiction, NetGalley, Teaser Tuesday | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

“The Institution” by Helen Fields – Book Review

I’m worn out. This novel was one of the most intense novels I’ve ever read.

Set in a very isolated, maximum security prison hospital, the novel was so claustrophobic that I longed to leave there… but not before I found out what happened of course. The place was so very remote that staff had to live in, making it a prison for the people who worked there as well. We don’t know where the Institution was, only that it was a mountainous region, maybe Austria? Switzerland?

The protagonist, Dr. Connie Woolwine was very believable and admirable, yet she wasn’t without her own personal demons.

An incredibly brutal and grotesque crime has been carried out. Everyone who resides at the Institution is suspect, both inmates, and staff. Dr. Connie and her partner Baarda (an investigator and retired policeman) have entered the Institution under cover. She as a visiting psychologist, and he as an inmate.

Their time under the Institution’s roof is gut-wrenchingly tense, fraught with peril and suspicion. No one can be trusted.

A book of manipulative, psychotic minds, of brutal and graphic descriptions of crime, and of the altruistic and brave people who are willing to risk their own personal safety to solve a barbaric crime and save the life of an innocent.

As if things weren’t disturbing and nerve-shattering enough, a vicious storm comes and makes all who reside at the Institution at the mercy of nature, and even more isolated than they were before…

Nerve-jarring suspense ratchets up to almost unbearable tension as plot twists reveal some very real monsters.

Though this is the second novel to feature Dr. Connie Woolwine and investigator Baarda, it reads excellently as a stand-alone. That being said, I would at some point like to read “The Shadow Man”, the first novel in which they appear.

Highly recommended to those who enjoy very intense thrillers who are not in any way squeamish. The story was compelling and kept me riveted from first page to last.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that downloaded a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Avon Books UK via NetGalley.

Publication date: March 2, 2023  Publisher: Avon Books UK

ISBN: 9780008533496 ASIN: ‎ B0B85RCGXM   432 pages

Helen Fields’ first love was drama and music. From a very young age she spent all her free time acting and singing until law captured her attention as a career path. She studied law at the University of East Anglia, then went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London.

After completing her education, she joined chambers in Middle Temple where she practiced criminal and family law for thirteen years. Undertaking cases that ranged from Children Act proceedings and domestic violence injunctions, to large scale drug importation and murder, Helen spent years working with the police, CPS, Social Services, expert witnesses and in Courts Martials.

After her second child was born, Helen left the Bar. Together with her husband David, she went on to run Wailing Banshee Ltd, a film production company, acting as script writer and producer.

Helen self-published two fantasy books as a way of testing herself and her writing abilities. She enjoyed the creative process so much that she began writing in a much more disciplined way, and decided to move into the traditional publishing arena through an agent.

The Last Girl To Die” is set in Scotland, where Helen feels most at one with the world.

Beyond writing, she has a passion for theatre and cinema, often boring friends and family with lengthy reviews and critiques. Taking her cue from her children, she has recently taken up karate and indoor sky diving. Helen and her husband now live in Hampshire with their three children and two dogs.

Connect with Helen Fields via her Website, Twitter, or Instagram.

Posted in Book Reviews, NetGalley, Page turners, Psychological thrillers, Suspense | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Friday’s Freebies on Kindle

Today I downloaded 200 FREE BOOKS from

These are all well known, classic literature stories. You know, the kind you always meant to read, but didn’t get around to…

Well, now they are all FREE for the taking!

These stories were written by such authors as Charlotte Brontë, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Herman Melville, Louise May Alcott, Charles Dickens, Henry James, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, and countless more.

Click on the cover to download volume one

Click on the cover to download volume two

Happy Reading!

Posted in Ebooks and Ereaders, Historical fiction, Kindle deals, Literary fiction | Tagged , | 2 Comments