#Review | The Colour Of Mermaids by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead #TheColourOfMermaids @e_harkstead @MadameGilflurt
Hello Sunshines! I am super excited to be sharing my review of this breathtaking book; The Colour of Mermaids by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead. Before I start with this review, I wish to take a moment to say just say something…
Over the last month or so I have really struggled with keeping motivated and my focus on reading, which for someone who loves reading, who finds so much joy in books and has always used books as an escape from the real world; that slump made me really sad. I blame too much time on social media mixed with obsessively watching the chaos on the news, it all got a bit much. But even so, I can’t even express how depressing it was not being able to enjoy a book! Then I started this and I have to say that this became a balm, I was gripped from the first chapter and by the end, I felt as though a weight had been lifted, but more than that; I re-found my love of reading again. So a massive thank you to Catherine and Eleanor for reminding me, without knowing it; how much I love reading! xx
So, grab that cuppa, sit back and enjoy the book that gave me the kick up the rear and gave me back my mojo!
In a world of childhood secrets and tabloid scandals, is falling for the bad boy of British art as risky as it is raunchy?
When artist Eva Catesby is invited to an exhibition in honour of art world enfant terrible Daniel Scott, she’s expected to follow the crowd and sing his praises. Instead she tells him what she really thinks and sparks fly. As they plunge headlong into a wild affair, Eva becomes the target of unwanted attention from an unseen enemy.
Daniel Scott is famous for his paintings. Filled with darkness and tormented imagery, his canvases are as mysterious as his background. Until he meets Eva, Daniel is a stranger to criticism and doesn’t know what it means to fall in love.
Can Eva help Daniel overcome his childhood demons or will a fatal secret from the past destroy their future?
Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of drug use/abuse, mental illness, depression, stalking and sexual assault. There is mention of suicide, child abuse, rape, murder and non-romanticised brother-sister incest.
How much do I love this book?! Let me count the ways….honestly, I’m already waxing lyrical, you can see how this review is going to go, can’t you? But once you have read this book you will all understand my excitement and inability to actually string two legible words together that don’t consist of ‘OMGs, I love it’ and various swooning gif’s…
I will just say the one thing then, should I?…
Absolutely and utterly heart-stopping, powerful and emotionally wrenching, intoxicatingly gripping, romantic and brilliantly thrilling; perfection!!
Will that do?
Plus, I was so wrapped up in this book I let many cups of tea go cold (shock and horror!!!) and the dog ate my shortbread, but was I bothered when I was so immersed in this glorious book? Not on your nelly!!
When Eva Catesby is invited to the exclusive exhibition for the world-renowned, the bad boy of the art world; Daniel Scott, a man as dark and mysterious as that of his all-black attire and bleakly sinister paintings. Unlike the throng of people who have turned up to pour more praise on to the already inflated head of the ‘enfant terrible‘, Eva tells it how it is, she holds nothing back and she doesn’t believe in shading the great artist from criticism if it will help him make even greater work.
Eva is a fabulous character, she is so passionate; about her work as an artist and especially about her work with a group of underprivileged kids, who she is trying to help with art. Even though she comes from a well-to-do family she really wants to help those in worse off circumstances than her and I really admired her for that! She is a kind, caring, talented and compassionate woman.
Daniel has never met anyone like Eva, she is the breath of fresh air he needs in his dark, drug-fuelled existence, he is drawn to her but knows that he can’t allow anything more than a moment of lustful passion to pass between them, as our bad boy isn’t exactly what he appears, there is more to discover about the mysterious sunglasses-wearing Daniel Scott and Eva soon finds that as tempting, handsome, mysterious and talented as he is, there is a more heart-breaking, self-destructive and darker side to her brooding bed mate.
As Eva and Daniel begin their passionate affair, they soon to see their relationship as something other than just sex, they grow closer with each passing day. The more they fall in love and get to know each other, the more dark and hidden secrets are revealed, secrets which may come between our couple but only if Daniel can find the courage to seek the help he needs to move forward from his heart-breaking past.
I do absolutely love this book…I think I have said that already, right? …
As I said it is completely different if you love your edgier, super sexy, darker romances with an added bonus of a thrilling yet eerie stalking subplot which really makes the hairs stand up and you sit back and shiver a little of what Eva experienced.
My heart absolutely broke for Daniel when he reaches the lowest when his depression becomes overbearing for him there is a child-like quality; broken, lost in deep darkness and unable to reach past the heavy cloud that has eclipsed the sunshine. There are a few scenes that are very bleak, heart-wrenching and uncomfortable to read, but they are so brilliantly and expertly written. Talk about emotional; there were moments between Daniel and Eva which left me a sniffling mess, which soon followed by lots of real cliff-hanger of a twist at the end – whoa, I didn’t see that one coming!!
This is easily one of the best that Catherine and Eleanor have written – I do know I sound like a record stuck on repeat as I say that every single time I lay my hands on a new Harkstead/Curzon book, but oh, boy, is this beauty a cracker or what?! I am in complete love with it, I was glued to every single page, it was intoxicating to read, with thrills, romance, secrets and real darkness that had me hooked. Plus it’s super, super sexy and that is just gorgeously complex and heart-breaking Daniel.
You all know that I love a fragile and tormented guy in black, and this man broke me completely, I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same again!
I have always known that Catherine and Eleanor are masters of emotional and witty romance, but this one shows just how impressive their writing is. The way they tackled such deeply sensitive and somewhat taboo subjects such as; depression, mental health illness, drug abuse is impeccable.
Did I mention how much loved this book?… Well I did, I do hope that there will be more stories like this in the pipeline from this marvellous duo!
This was an Arc copy via the authors, which I voluntarily reviewed, thank you, Catherine and Eleanor! Xx
The Colour of Mermaids is released today and can be found at Amazon and I cannot recommend enough that you go and grab this gorgeous book.
#Blogtour | Silent Night (Detective Iris Locke Series #1) by Geraldine Hogan #SilentNight #Review #DetectiveIrisLocke @gerhogan @ookouture
Hello everyone, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this brilliant blog tour for; Silent Night, which is book one in the new Detective Iris Locke series by Geraldine Hogan, I can’t wait to share my review of this great new crime novel, so sit back, grab a cuppa and enjoy.
She reached into the pram and placed her hands on the cotton blanket. It was still warm. But her smiling, new baby sister, with her wide blue-grey eyes, was gone…’
Twenty five years later, three bodies are found at a ramshackle cottage in the Irish countryside, and Detective Iris Locke is sick to her stomach. The victims are Anna Crowe and her two young children.
Iris has only recently joined the Limerick Murder Squad. Against her father’s advice, she’s working the narrow lanes and green hills of her childhood. Iris still remembers Anna, who was just a small girl when her baby sister was snatched, never to be seen again. It was the one case Iris’ own father never solved, and Iris can’t help but wonder if the two crimes are connected.
She’ll stop at nothing to find Anna justice, but a fire has destroyed almost all the physical evidence, and Limerick is the same small town she remembers: everybody protects their neighbours, and Iris has been away for too long.
Can Iris unpick the lies beneath the surface of her pretty hometown, and catch the most twisted individual of her career, when reopening the old case means reopening old wounds for her team, the rest of the community, and her own father?
Fans of Patricia Gibney, Angela Marsons and L.J. Ross won’t want to miss this – the first book in a gripping and unputdownable new crime series.
Amazon / Apple Books / Kobo / Google Play
I will be honest and say when I got asked to be apart of this blog tour, I was in two frames of mind whether to or not, I haven’t read a thriller/crime novel for many years and wasn’t sure if I actually still enjoyed reading them. But there was something about this that caught my attention, it was a mixture of it being the first in the series, the intriguing blurb and it having a female leading investigative officer, but I will say that I am so pleased that I accepted because this is great start to what I am sure is going to be a brilliant series.
The story opens with the kidnapping of a baby from her pram, one minute she was there in the garden and the next she was gone, never to be seen again, fast forward twenty-nine years Anna; the older sister of the missing baby is found brutally murdered along with her two children in their own home. The case is assigned to Detective Iris Locke who has retuned to her home town against her fathers better judgment, once she starts delving in to the murder of Anna, Iris soon comes to the conclusion that something isn’t quite right, she thinks that Anna and her children’s brutal murders are in someway connected to the disappearance o Anna’s sister all those years ago. But how could that be?
Iris isn’t pleased with the idea of moving back to her home town of Limmerick, to be working in the very Police station that her father used to run all those years ago. She feels that because she is the daughter of one of the greatest Detectives that Limmerick has seen, she has to work all the harder to prove that she isn’t in the position because of who she is related to but because of her own merit – unfortunately no matter how much she may want to be her own person she is constantly compared to her father, she knows that the others think that she had a helping hand. On top of that she has her own issues, after being undercover for over a years which didn’t end in the best ways for her she is desperate to get back to what she loves; solving crimes but as we know your past usually comes back to bite you.
To be able to solve the triple murder Iris does the thing she would never have done, she goes to her father for help, her father being the very Detective who investigated the baby’s disappearance all those years ago. The more she delves into the pad, the darker and ,murkier the case becomes.
I love how this is written, you follow the case as it goes along, but we get to know the lead characters more during the first half, especially the two leading Investigators; Iris and her Sergeant Ben Slattery, I think that as the series goes along we are going to see their working relationship evolves into what could be a great detective partnership, both characters are so different with their own views and issues and yet they feed off each other to bring the case together, true they may not always agree and that is what makes Locke and Slattery work.
The only thing I will say against this is that it does set off at a very slow pace, it’s really as the reader is getting to know the lead character’s, it does gradually build up as the story progresses but it isn’t until nearing the final that the story and the case really picks up speed and we finally come to a completely eye-opening and thrilling end.
Overall a pretty decent crime story, that is intriguing, imaginative as well as very real, with twist and turns in the case that will keep you guessing as to who did what and why, the story keeps the readers attention right up to the explosive unexpected finale that makes you sit up and go “wow, I didn’t see that coming.” I am definitely looking forward to more from the Iris Locke series, I feel that there is far more Iris Locke then one the author showed in this. Ms Hogan has done a great job at keeping the reader locked into her darkly imaginative and at times disturbing world of Iris Locke.
If you love a crime caper, then this is a must read.
This was a Arc copy via the publisher and Netgalley which I voluntarily reviewed as apart of this blog tour, thank you Kim.
About the Author
Geraldine Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honors Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree in Training and Management from University College, Galway. She is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of four contemporary fiction novels under the pen name Faith Hogan.
Silent Night is her first crime novel, her second is due out in December 2019.
She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!
You can find out more about Geraldine here:
Blog Tour Schedule
While the bells of a Royal Wedding peel out to the fading echoes of war, danger stalks the coastline of Wales…
Injured and terrified after an attempted abduction, desperation drives artist Kate Ward to the idyllic scene of her ex-husband’s recent suicide. Labelled a hysterical, grieving divorcée, no one believes she is being pursued by two violent men demanding answers she cannot give. Not the police, not the doctors, and not the guests at the Aberystwyth hotel she has come to in an attempt to find out what happened to her charismatic photographer ex-husband, and why her identity – and her life – are now at risk.
Kate can trust no one, not even the reclusive war-veteran-turned-crime-novelist, Adam Hitchen, a reserved widower and the only source of kindness in a shadowy world of suspicion and fear. And as ghosts old and new rise to haunt her, Kate must rely on all her strength and courage to uncover the shocking truth hidden within a twisted web of lies…
Well, what can I say about this? What a corker!! It really is an incredible read, this is the first book I have read by Lorna Gray and it definitely will not be the last. I will admit that I am a fan of war era romances and I have read a lot of them but there is something very special about this book. This book is right up there with the best I have read right alongside the likes of Pam Jenoff and Kate Mosse.
Set just after the war in 1947, After Kate Ward’s ex-husband committed suicide she found herself being nearly kidnapped, injured and then followed by two unknown thug’s who are wanting answers to questions that she doesn’t know, she doesn’t understand the questions or why these people would be after her. She flees her home in Lancaster to Wales where she stays in the Aberystwyth Hotel, in the very same area where her ex-husband had spent the last of his days. She hopes that she can try to figure out what is going on and why she is being followed, but those answers aren’t coming as she thought as she finds herself under the gaze of the other hotel guest’s who see her as an unhinged, paranoid and grieving woman who by all accounts could be suffering from her own mental break down.
No one believes that she is in as much danger as she states, she is fearful and alone with terrifying events that even start clouded her own judgment. She can’t trust no one and yet she can’t seem to find the answers she needs. She eventually finds an ally in the form of elusive veteran come crime writer Adam Hitchman who is in Aberystwyth doing research.
Along with Adam, Kate takes off a journey to find the truth and discover why her life is in danger and who is behind it, along the way they keep bumping into the mysterious Jim Bristol who keep’s turning up along the way. But is he more than he appears to be? As they become embroiled in a dark and dangerous, life or death game of cat and mouse, Kate and Adam become closer until a romance develops between this unlikely couple.
This is written I first person you see the story unfold though Kate’s eyes, you feel her troubles her fears her few joys and this creates a connection to her that you very rarely get in other books. I know a lot of readers don’t like first person books, but this is a must read it is stunningly beautiful book, it really is too good to be true. Ms Gray has done an astounding job at conveying Kate’s circumstances and her fragile frame of mind, her confusion, unease and fear is palpable from that first page. Kate has a complexity and honest vulnerability about her that is engaging to the reader, even when there is lightness like when she is reading Jane Eyre in the hotel there is raw edginess to her that draws you in.
I am known for my love of historic details in stories and this is spot on, the vividness and description of Aberystwyth is incredible. Gray takes hold of your senses and imagination from that first page and keeps hold of you right to the end. There is a real feeling of the life and time throughout the book the peace from the end of the war, the relief that it is over as well as the unknown. I like how Gray has added those little touches that bring this book to life, such as bringing to attention that the UK were still on ration books until the mid-fifties. I love that!
The War Widow smoothly takes you on a journey that has more twists and turns then being in a maze, it is beautifully written with a plot that will make your mind boggle and you find yourself stumped for words at what is going on. It’s a roller coaster ride through a dangerous and complicated time, where all is not quite what it seems. I absolutely loved it, it is a page turning, compelling and intricately crafted perfect piece of thrilling fiction which has a wonderful and understated romance tucked away between the pages.
It is a timeless and thought-provoking story that gripped you from the onset and doesn’t let you go, with characters are intriguing and strong each one is precise and consistent stories of their own that runs throughout to keep you engaged.
This was a complimentary copy via the author and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The War Widow is available now and can be purchased at Amazon.
Half man, half angel, all soldier.
The souleaters will stop at nothing, even death, to uphold divine law. When duty brings Noah Kavanaugh into Nurse Caroline’s path, he is unprepared for the intense desire igniting between them. Rejecting the impulse to take Caroline as his mate becomes unbearable. The limits of his own self-control are tested. So is his loyalty to the law he upholds.
A forbidden human Caroline is determined to find a cure for the mysterious Noah’s illness. With her blazing attraction to him, she’d willingly sacrifice her heart, body, even her life to end his suffering. However, can she bring herself to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save them both?
Noah is a Souleater, who after angering the head of the souleaters, the evil Amon he is sentenced to a long and excruciating death, Noah is dying because he isn’t feeding on souls and as such he is living amongst humans, his carer Gertrude has a fall and send her daughter Caroline in her place. Noah and Caroline soon fall for each other and Noah soon finds that he doesn’t have the same urgency to die than he did before and finds that Caroline is making him fight and making him stronger just by her presence in his life. That is where Noah’s problems start, evil Amon finds out about Noah’s new lease of life and now he has new ammunition to torment Noah. Caroline.
I haven’t read a book in this genre before, and from the back blurb it did intrigue me but unfortunately I did find that the back blurb did slightly differ from where the story was going. I am in two frames of mind about this, on one side it is actually quite disturbing and not my usual type of book and not something I think I would have picked up off a shelf. Then on the other hand it is oddly addictive, it is engrossing and I did find that I was unable to put it down, I had to finish it.
It is a sweet if eerie story about a fallen angel who has to pull his way back from his death-bed to save the planet and the human his has fallen in love with. It’s not so much good versus evil as our hero Noah is a bit of both he is supposed to be a good Soaleater, only taking evil from the world but he has a predatory evil streak and it was that side of him that I wasn’t keen on. His good half, the halve that falls in love with human Caroline is charming and sweet but the overriding gruesome-ness does tend to take over and it is a little of putting. But there are some really lovely scenes those between Noah and his three brother Souleaters; Luke, Matt and Zach are particularly sweet and very funny.
I’m not a huge fan of supernatural/sci-fi and I did find that Dark Soul does lean very close to that side, whether that was intentional or maybe that is just what I took from it, but either way the further along the story goes the more supernatural we get. I am afraid there was parts where I was just confused as to what was going on.
It didn’t help that this is written in first person, we see everything play out through Noah’s eyes. It is very rare that I pick up books written in first person as I like to get to know all characters, and personally I can’t relate to the other characters when all I see is one characters views.
All in all, I found Dark Soul intriguing and in parts enjoyable but over all It’s not my cup of tea, I have not doubt that this will be a hit for those that read and throughly enjoy this genre, but as it is Black Soul wasn’t for me.
This was gifted to me from the author for an honest review.
Steve Berry ~ The Emperor’s Tomb (Cotton Malone Series #6)
Back Blurb :
The tomb of China’s First Emperor, guarded by an underground army of terra cotta warriors, has remained sealed for 2200 years. Though it’s regarded as one of the greatest archeological sites in the world, the Chinese government won’t allow anyone to open it.
That question is at the heart of a dilemma faced by former-Justice Department operative Cotton Malone, whose life is shattered when he receives an anonymous note carrying an unfamiliar web address. Logging on, he sees Cassiopeia Vitt, a woman who’s saved his life on more than one occasion, being tortured at the hands of a mysterious man who has a single demand – “Bring me the artifact she’s asked you to keep safe.” One problem: Malone doesn’t have a clue what the man is talking about, since Cassiopeia has left nothing with him. So begins Malone’s most harrowing adventure to date-one that offers up astounding historical revelations, pits him against a ruthless ancient brotherhood, and sends him from Denmark to Belgium to Vietnam then on to China, a vast and mysterious land where danger lurks at every turn.
My View :
When I first picked this one up I was looking forward to getting lost into another Cotton Malone adventure, but unfortunately I was very disappointed, the plot and character’s were there as always but it was slow and sluggish and I’m afraid that I did put it down half way through to start another but I did eventually go back and finish it mainly because I don’t like leaving a book unfinished but it wasn’t anywhere near as good as the other Cotton Malone novel’s are.
I do like Steve Berry he is an incredible novelist, his imagination and skill is amazing and the Cotton Malone series’ is brilliant, Malone is such a strong well-defined character and I love how you don’t have to read them in order to know what’s going on or who’s who because each one is different. But I do hate to say it but this isn’t a favorite of mine, which is such a shame it doe’s have all the ingredient’s for a perfect Cotton Malone tale. Thrill’s and humor, well researched background and the character’s are as always flawless, but for me this one was a little flat I can’t explain why it just didn’t live up to the hype.
The saving of this was having the brilliant Cassiopeia Vitt in it, she is such a brilliant character’s she always come’s across as a one woman army, she is independent, self-reliant but you do see those more human emotion’s behind that hard exterior. As always she doe’s steal every scene she is in, but even that for me couldn’t bring up to the mark I am just hoping the next one is better as I do love this series. But I don’t want to put anyone off what I wasn’t fond of could be someone else’s favorite.
Kris Kusneski ~ The Prophecy
The Back Blurb :
When the writings of 16th-century visionary Nostradamus ring alarmingly true, Jonathon Payne and David Jones find themselves in a life-or-death race to stop those who would use the seer’s predictions for their own dark purposes. In an adventure that spans two continents and several centuries, Payne and Jones must locate a sacred text that may change everything we know about the future.
My View :
This was the first Kuzneski book I read and I was hooked from start to finish, true it can get a bit confusing with the long conversation’s that seem to go on across chapter’s but it is a really good romp and thank’s to this one I did start my Payne and Jones section on my bookshelf. It is fast paced and thrilling, the characters are brilliant especially the main two Payne and Jones they seem to bounce of each other which is so nice when reading a book, everything is in brilliant detail from the character’s to the smallest thing is so wonderfully researched that it is very real and very believable. This is definitely one for those who are not the most committed reader’s as it is fast and enjoyable, so I strongly suggest that all those that don’t read a lot to give this a go. A great read.
I am a fan of a good series’, I find them more compelling and fascinating then one-off novel’s, I love how you get to know more and more about each character as the series’ goes along. I know some don’t like to commit themselves’ to them but I love following a certain character as they make they way through the book’s, it’s fascinate’s me how their personality’s unfold’s and grow’s into some thing that you can treasure and say “Yeah! I’ve read them” I have been through so many series’ everything from Thriller’s to chick lit and Historical, Personally the best series’ are the one’s that you know are only going to have so many episode’s and that way you know that eventually they are going to finish. A lot of series’ do go on and on for far too long and the problem with those is that you do get bored with them.
So here are six of my favorite’s.
#1 The Inferno Club ~ Gaelen Foley
This is the best thing that Foley has ever done, they are so good that you can re-read them again and again and again and you will never get bored. These follow the stories’ of seven special agent’s working for a secret society for the king, they protect the king and the realm from every outer and inner threat’s especially the evil secret society called the promethean’s, the agent’s are stunning in every respect, they are wonderfully drawn up that you do fall in love with them, unlike a lot of series’ I don’t really have a favorite because each one is just as good as the one before. This is by far my favorite series’ ever and I cannot stress this enough but this serie’s has to be read. Amazing
#2 The Languedoc Trilogy ~ Kate Mosse
I love this trilogy it is amazing, Kate Mosse is such an amazing writer her imagination and her skill is unbelievable, these are really long book’s but please don’t let that put you off because these are very special. I love the fact that while you are reading each one you don’t realize that you are reading a trilogy as each one is set in a different era with different charecter’s but then something pop’s up and you remember that yes that was in the last one, they really are stunning, my personal favorite is the last one Citadel, it is so moving that at time’s you can be sitting there with tear’s streaming down your face. Simply breathtaking.
#3 The Hathaway’s ~ Lisa Kleypas
This is so soothing and calming that you do instantly fall in love with the adorable Hathaway’s, this follow’s the individual live’s of the Hathaway sibling’s as they try to gorge out a life for themselves’ through many trial’s. Like Foley Kleypas is a wonderful story-teller and you really feel like you are living these very trial’s with this band of uncivilized and unruly set of sibling’s, this is so enchanting that you just need to read from start to finish.
#4 The I Heart Series’ ~ Lyndsey Kelk
This is definitely a Chick Lit favorite of mine, the character Angela is so normal and down to earth that nearly every girl on the planet can relate to her in some way. This basically follow’s Angela’s wacky adventure’s as she start’s a new life in New York, she is a very real character she has flaw’s that we all have she is clumsy and not very civilized and she is hilarious at time’s. This is ultimate Chick Lit, Kelk has done another series’ but this is the one that you need to read, unlike a lot of series’ where you can dip in and out when you like you have to read these in order to understand the story.
#5 The Payne & Jones Series’ ~ Kris Kuzneski
This is the first thriller on my list and it is so good; What I like about this is that even thought the characters’ Payne and Jones are the same the plot is always different with each book, which off course keep’s you hooked as you never know which direction the story is going and you never get bored, you have the series’ aspect’s with following the two main character’s which you do see each character evolve as the series goes along and as each book is so different each one is a lot like a stand alone series’ and another great thing about these is that you don’t need to read them in order. This is perfect for new reader’s who like a bit of action but also like great plot’s.
#6 The Maiden Lane Series’ ~ Elizabeth Hoyt
This is yet another historical Romance but the difference between this and a lot of other’s is that you have to read this from book one if you don’t you will get confused about who’s who and what’s going on. This follow’s the tale of a select few Aristocratic family’s in London which as you will soon see are all linked in one way or another. These are a lot darker than what is usual for Historical Romance, but that make’s it stand out and get’s you hooked. I do admit that the first one’s are better than the newer one’s; but’s it’s still a worthy series’.