“The Winter Guest” by W.C. Ryan – Book Review @simonschuster #TheWinterGuest @WilliamRyan_ #HistoricalMystery #BookReview


“There is an air of desolation about the place.”

WWI has recently ended but Ireland is still fighting. A Civil War rages in Ireland, and it is an escalating and bloody battle. The action in this novel takes place after the first infamous ‘Bloody Sunday‘.

There is an IRA ambush outside the manor house owned by the Prendeville’s. In a strange turn of events, Maud Prendeville is murdered – though the IRA claim they left her alive.

Captain Tom Harkin, a Catholic IRA intelligence officer, is Maud’s former fiancée.  He goes to Kilcolgan House to investigate her death under the guise of his position as a life insurance investigator. Harkin, a former army Captain, is suffering from shell shock from his time overseas, in particular Passchendaele. The gloomy and deteriorating old house does little for Harkin’s state of mind. Reputed to be haunted, Kilcolgan house shares its ghosts with Harkin.

Harkin was a great character. Deeply traumatized by the dire circumstances of WWI trench warfare, yet he retained his ethics and moral fortitude despite his personal history.

Duplicitous characters, conspiracies, police corruption, martial law, and the fight for Home Rule pervade this novel.

This was an interesting and compelling gothic mystery which was overshadowed by the Irish politics and military history of the time period. I recommend this historical murder mystery to those readers with a keen interest in Irish history and a love of gothic mysteries.

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 Arcade Crimewise / Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss.

ISBN: 9781956763164 – ASIN: ‎ B09RXTYW9K – 336 pages

William Ryan is an Irish writer living in London. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and the University of St Andrews and worked as a lawyer before taking up writing full-time. His first novel, THE HOLY THIEF, was shortlisted for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year, The Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award, The CWA John Creasy New Blood Dagger and a Barry Award. His second novel, THE BLOODY MEADOW, was shortlisted for the Ireland AM Irish Crime Novel of the Year, as was his next – THE TWELFTH DEPARTMENT. THE TWELFTH DEPARTMENT was also shortlisted for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger and named one of The Guardian’s crime novels of the year.

Connect with W.C. Ryan via his website, Twitter, and/or Facebook.

Posted in Book Reviews, Edelweiss, Historical fiction, Mystery fiction, Political fiction | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Wednesday’s Word = TIDE #WednesdaysWord #booklovers #bookbloggers #fiction

Most readers will acknowledge that some words reappear time and time again in titles. Often these words are associated with a particular genre. Case in point: “The girl on the train” and “Gone girl” spawned countless thriller titles with the word ‘girl’ in the title.

My pick for Wednesday’s Word this week is ‘TIDE‘. In this post I’ve selected 48 novels with the word ‘TIDE’ in the title as a way of sharing my book love.

These titles cover several genres – with thrillers being the most prevalent genre in this selection with several duplicate titles.

14 were written by men – 34 were written by women

Just click on the cover to read the book’s synopsis from Goodreads.

Trust me! You might just find your next favorite book!

Are you tempted by any of these covers?

Which cover MOST APPEALS to YOU?
Have you read one of these titles and absolutely LOVED it?

If you’ve added even ONE of these titles to YOUR TBR,
Please let me know in the comments.

Posted in Dustjackets, Wednesday Word | Tagged | 8 Comments

Teaser Tuesday – November 22, 2022 #NewBook #AQuietLife @JoellaWriting #TeaserTuesday #TuesdayBookBlog @ScribnerBooks

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 Scribner/Simon & Schuster via
Edelweiss and I’ll be reading it soon.

Today, Tuesday November 22, 2022 I want to introduce one of the ARCs on my TBR.

This novel will be published on November 29, 2022

Publisher: Scribner BooksISBN: 9781982190972 –  ASIN: B09RX4TJ9Y –  304 pages



1)  A hopeful novel about profound loss… intriguing.

2)  I wonder how the  three main characters lives will converge.

3) I’m interested in how individuals deal with grief and loss – and how smells evoke the deceased person more than any other sense.

4) I am enjoying literary fiction more and more and I’m eager to discover new (to me) authors.

“When Chuck Ayers thinks about Cat, he thinks about the faded yellow-and-white-striped towel that lately he has been wearing around his neck like a wrestler on his way to a match. That damned towel.”

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, Edelweiss, Literary fiction, Teaser Tuesday | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

“Her Buried Lives” by Katlyn Duncan – Book Review

The old Victorian house located on the outskirts of a small Pennsylvania town leant itself to a creepy vibe and you just knew it was packed full of unsavory family secrets.

Though I loved the premise and the setting, I found this thriller was not completely to my taste. I know that my opinion of this book is in the minority, so you can take my opinions with a grain of salt.

I found Jenny’s disturbing visions upsetting and she had so many of them that they became almost repetitive in their gore and violence. Because of these recurrent ‘visions’, her character came across as unreliable. Her relationship with her mother seemed a precarious one. It vacillated between a very close relationship and one which was mistrustful and suspicious. It was clear that both mother and daughter were deeply traumatized at some point in their lives.

The chapters with the unknown narrator were both unsettling and confusing. For that matter I found all of the characters to be more than a little odd and unlikable.

The pace seemed slow, until the final denouement. A crime thriller that might not be for everyone, but one that packed a punch near the end – albeit an unsettling one. In three words, this thriller was dark, violent, and morbid.

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 Silent Storm Publishing via NetGalley.

ISBN: 9781954559066 – ASIN: ‎ B0B5DWYHQN – 326 pages

Katlyn Duncan is a multi-published author of adult and young adult fiction, and has ghostwritten over 40 novels for children and adults.

When she’s not writing, she’s obsessing over many (many) television series’, and hanging out on YouTube where she shares her writing process and all the bookish things.

Connect with Katlyn Duncan via Twitter or Instagram.

Visit Katlyn Duncan’s website.

Posted in Book Reviews, NetGalley, Psychological thrillers | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

“Meredith, Alone” by Claire Alexander – Book Review

I had a fantastic time sharing in Meredith’s apartment life. She was a character that you couldn’t help but root for.

This debut novel reminded me quite strongly of “Elinor Oliphant Is Completely Fine“, but that being said, Meredith Maggs had her own unique voice and is much more socially savvy than Elinor. Meredith had little self esteem due to her mother belittling her throughout her life.

Despite her agoraphobia (she would call herself a ‘social recluse’), she was a level headed woman, a caring woman, a deeply damaged and traumatized woman. Her journey out of her trauma was a trip that I felt privileged to have shared. And Fred, well, you just HAVE to love an orange cat!

Meredith shared many of my favourite hobbies. Besides orange cats, she loved to read, to bake, and to do jigsaw puzzles.

This ‘uplit’ novel speaks to the power of friendship, the love of sisters, and the courage to overcome those things in life that are holding you back. A well written, thoughtful, believable, and brilliant read that has the power to stay in the reader’s memory.

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 Grand Central Publishing (Hachette Book Group) via Edelweiss.

ISBN: 9781538709948 – ASIN: ‎ B09TZXYZ4N – 368 pages

Claire Alexander lives with her young family on the west coast of Scotland. A freelance journalist, she has written about parenting, sobriety, mental health and well-being for publications including The Washington Post, The Independent, The Huffington Post and Glamour. When she’s not writing or parenting, she’s on her paddle board, thinking about her next book.

Connect with Claire Alexander via Twitter and/or Instagram.

Posted in Book Reviews, debut novels, Edelweiss, Women's fiction | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

“The Highland Girls At War” by Helen Yendall – Book Review


Thoroughly enjoyable as an entertaining historical story, this novel also introduced me to The Women’s Timber Corps. I had of course known about the ‘Land Girls’, but this is the first time I’ve learned about the lumberjills (as opposed to lumberjacks)Set in the forests of Scotland during 1942, the story featured several of the lumberjills from all different walks of life, and various social classes, single, married, and widowed. All young, in their twenties, they were taught the gruellingly arduous job of felling trees with axes and bucksaws. Some of the lower class girls were not strangers to hard physical labour, but one of the protagonists of the story, Lady Persephone (Seffy), the daughter of a British Earl, has never had to work for anything. Spoiled by her father’s money and social status, she is rudely awakened by her new career. She is disliked by the other girls, so feels she must prove herself – both to the other girls and to her parents. Scottish born Grace has previously worked on her mother’s croft, so she is the most physically strong of the bunch. Irene‘s husband is serving in the war, so she hopes her new position will help to quell her loneliness and fear for him.

As they learn their dangerous new trade, the girls encounter some Canadian Lumberjacks from The Canadian Forestry Corps, who provide both jacks and jills with some much needed distraction from the war, and from their bone weary daily labours.

This gripping story transports the reader to the forests of Scotland where the work is hard, the sap is sticky, the midges bite, and young hearts are tested in many ways.

Highly recommended to those who appreciate a romantic story with lots of history thrown in. A heart-warming, heart-breaking, and entertaining saga about female friendship, hope, courage, and the cruelties of war.

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 HQ Digital/HarperCollins UK via Rachel’s Random Resources and NetGalley.

ISBN: 9780008523121 – ASIN: ‎ B0B8GQZXKC – 386 pages


Helen Yendall has had dozens of short stories and a serial published in women’s magazines over the past twenty years and now writes female-focused WW2 novels. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

She studied English and German at Leeds University and has worked in a variety of roles: for a literary festival, a university, a camping club, a children’s charity and in marketing and export sales. But her favourite job is the one she still has: teaching creative writing to adults.

Although a proud Brummie by birth, Helen now lives in the North Cotswolds with her husband and cocker spaniel, Bonnie. When she’s not teaching or writing, she likes reading, swimming, tennis and walking in the beautiful countryside where she lives.

Connect with Helen Yendall via Twitter; or Her Blog.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Reviews, Historical fiction, NetGalley, Rachel's Random Resources, war stories, Women's fiction | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

“Never Broken” by Lori Duffy Foster – Book Review

Lisa Jamison – an investigative journalist in her hometown of Seneca Springs, New York. She is thirty-three years old and has a teenage daughter, whom she adores. She was a teenage runaway who became pregnant at fifteen. Completely estranged from her birth family, Lisa has only herself to thank for her success in life.

Bridget Jamison – eighteen and looking forward to university in the fall. She loves her mother and Dorothy, and is now working with Dorothy for her last summer in Seneca Springs.

Dorothy – is Lisa’s best friend who is thirty-one years her senior. Dorothy began living with them to care for Lisa’s daughter Bridget, when she was younger and Lisa worked odd hours. Now, Dorothy, an artist, is a much loved part of the family. Dorothy now runs an artist’s retreat, so no longer lives with Lisa.As with the first novel in this series, the writing was very assured and polished. A former crime journalist, the author is a seasoned writer.

I am such a timid person that it is hard for me to imagine just how courageous some people are. Lisa Jamison, an investigative journalist and our protagonist, was willing to risk everything for her story and the pursuit of justice.

“A little danger is necessary – healthy even – in this line of work. We’ll never uncover the good stuff if we’re always afraid of taking risks.”

I loved the unique family dynamic and rooted for each and every one of them throughout each tension-filled page. The excellent characterization gives this suspense crime thriller more heft than many of its peers.

With difficult themes such as sweatshops, organized crime, modern slavery, and white supremacy, this novel’s plot was scarily plausible and the tension of the chapters escalated gradually throughout the novel. Though touted as a mystery, I would  classify it more as a gritty, urban noir crime thriller.

All in all, “Never Broken” was a more than worthy sequel to “Dead Man’s Eyes”. This is a novel, and a series, that I can 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 Level Best Books via NetGalley.

  ISBN: 9781685120689 – ASIN:  ‎ B09NDTM2VB – 224 pages

Lori Duffy Foster is a former crime reporter who writes fiction and nonfiction from the hills of Northern Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband and four children. She was born and raised in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, where a part of her heart remains.

Her short fiction has appeared in the journal Aethlon, and in the anthologies Short Story America and Childhood Regained. Her nonfiction has appeared in Healthy Living, Running Times, Literary Mama, Crimespree and Mountain Home magazines.

Lori is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, The Historical Novel Society and Pennwriters. She is also vice president of the Knoxville (PA) Public Library board.

Lori Duffy Foster lives with her husband, Tom Foster, a fellow author.

Connect with Lori Duffy Foster on Twitter, her website, or on Instagram.

Posted in Book Reviews, Mystery fiction, NetGalley, Suspense | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

WWW Wednesday – November 9, 2022 #readingforpleasure #bookbloggers #WWWWednesday #bookworms

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

I’ve linked the book descriptions to the Goodreads site for the book.

Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. So, let’s get to it!

The three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What have you finished reading?
What will you read next?

What am I currently reading?

Meredith, Alone” by Claire Alexander

(this is a title I downloaded from Edelweiss courtesy of Grand Central Publishing)What have I just finished reading?

Never Broken” by Lori Duffy Foster

My review will be posted tomorrow!

(this is a title I downloaded from NetGalley courtesy of Level Best Books)

What will I read next?”

The Highland Girls At War” by Helen Yendall

(this is a title I downloaded from NetGalley courtesy of HQ Digital in order to participate in the Rachel’s Random Resources blog tour Nov. 16th)

and after that I plan to read

The Winter Guest” by W.C. Ryan

(this is a title I downloaded from Edelweiss courtesy Arcade Crimewise/Simon & Schuster)


So that’s it!   How is YOUR reading week shaping up?

Thought you might enjoy this little cartoon  I found on the Internet

Posted in Anticipated titles, Fictionophile report, Reading, WWW Wednesdays | Tagged | 5 Comments

Teaser Tuesday – November 8, 2022 #NewBook #TheHiker @MJFordBooks #TeaserTuesday #TuesdayBookBlog @AvonBooksUK

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 Avon Books UK via
NetGalley and I’ll be reading it soon.

Today, Tuesday November 8, 2022 I want to introduce one of the ARCs on my TBR.

This novel will be published on November 10, 2022

Publisher: Avon Books UK

(and HarperCollins Canada in May of 2023)ISBN: 9780008453350 –  ASIN: B08VS2MVM6 –  400 pages




1)  The setting. The Pennines, the fells, the moors.

2)  Missing persons investigations are always intriguing to me.

3) A remote town holding its secrets close.

4) The cover.

SARAH

” ‘The police are here to see you.’

And with those words, a normal day in the office is anything but. My first instinct is a client. Some enraged, slighted husband, backed into a corner, has taken things too far. It happens rarely, but there was an horrific incident, when I was just starting, involving acid…”

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, NetGalley, Teaser Tuesday | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“The White Hare” by Jane Johnson – Book Review

“The White Hare seems to me to be a perfect manifestation for all those things in life we sense but cannot know.”

It was a ‘no brainer’ that I would read “The White Hare” as I so thoroughly enjoyed this author’s last novel “The Sea Gate“.

Once again, Jane Johnson transports her readers to Cornwall, one of my own personal favourite settings. Steeped in rich history, folklore, and yes… magic. The story is set in the winter of 1954/55.

It is a story of fresh starts, childhood traumas, superstition, historic murders, myths, old religions, and ancient Cornish history.

Mila’s marriage ended on a traumatic note, and now,  to escape an untenable situation, she finds herself and her daughter living with her mother once again. They have recently purchased an old house near the sea in Cornwall and intend to fix it up so that they can run it as a guest house.

The characters were well drawn.  Outsiders, they were Polish immigrants, and I enjoyed learning about some of their Polish customs. Though I did like the protagonist, Mila, I found her mother Magda very difficult to care for. Her daughter, Janey, was a solitary, precocious girl, who seemed headstrong and at times disobedient.

Though, I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as her previous novel, “The White Hare” was still an enjoyable read that I can heartily recommend.

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 and Schuster via Edelweiss. ISBN: 9781982140939 – ASIN: ‎ B09RX494D6 – 400 pagesPublished October 4, 2022 by Simon & Schuster

Jane Johnson is from Cornwall and has worked in the book industry for 30 years as a bookseller, publisher and writer.

For many years she was responsible for publishing the works of JRR Tolkien, and later worked on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, spending many months in New Zealand with cast and crew (she wrote the official visual companions to the films). The authors she publishes include George RR Martin (creator of A Game of Thrones), Dean Koontz, Robin Hobb, Stuart MacBride, Mark Lawrence, Raymond E Feist and SK Tremayne.

While she was in Morocco in 2005 to research The Tenth Gift she met her soon-to-be husband Abdellatif, a Berber tribesman from a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. Returning home, she gave up her office job in London, sold her flat and shipped the contents to Morocco and they were married later that year. They now split their time between Cornwall and Morocco, and Jane still works remotely as a Fiction Publishing Director for HarperCollins.

Visit Jane Johnson’s website: https://www.janejohnsonbooks.com/

Connect with Jane Johnson via Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook.

Posted in Book Reviews, Edelweiss | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments