Blog Tour: Tell Me A Secret by Samantha Hayes Ellen’s Review

Hi guys,

Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for Tell Me A Secret by Samantha Hayes and I’ll be sharing her review with you all!

About the author:

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Samantha Hayes grew up in Warwickshire, left school at sixteen, avoided university and took jobs ranging from private detective to barmaid to fruit picker and factory worker. She lived on a kibbutz, and spent time living in Australia and the USA, before finally becoming a crime-writer.

Her writing career began when she won a short story competition in 2003 and her ninth novel, THE REUNION, was published in February 2018. Her novels are family-based psychological thrillers, with the emphasis being on ‘real life fiction’. She focuses on current issues and sets out to make her readers ask, ‘What if this happened to me or my family?’

Tell Me A Secret is out now!

To find out more, visit her website
Or connect with Samantha on Facebook
And she’s on Twitter @samhayes

About the book:


Tell her all your secrets and she’ll tell you all her lies…

Everything in Lorna’s life runs like clockwork, from her 6 a.m. morning run to the strict 60-minute counselling sessions she gives. It’s the only way she can deal with the terrible secret she carries.

When a new client arrives for his first appointment, Lorna feels her perfect life unravel in a matter of seconds. It’s Andrew, the man she’s spent the last year desperately trying to forget. It seems he can’t forget her either…

Against her better judgement she anonymously contacts him on a dating site. Messaging him could mean the end of her marriage and her career, but she needs to know if his motives are genuine.

When Andrew is found dead in his home, grief quickly turns to fear when messages from him continue to arrive on Lorna’s phone. Somebody knows her secret and wants to use it to destroy everything she has.

Will she risk her family and her sanity to keep her secret? Will she risk her life…?

If you love twisty psychological thrillers that get under your skin, like The Girl on the TrainI Let You Go or anything by Louise Jensen, you’ll be utterly blown away by the jaw-dropping lies in Tell Me a Secret.

 Click this link to get your copy:

Ellen’s Review:

I’ll start by saying that I absolutely loved this book! I was gripped from the opening chapter and raced through the pages.

Lorna works as a therapist and on the surface appears to live a charmed life. Married to a devoted husband with a daughter of their own (Freya) and stepson Jack. Lorna has a strict routine to ensure her life runs like clockwork and that everything is kept in order. It soon becomes apparent that this holds her together mentally; she is doing all she can to get over an affair she had with a client the previous year. Unluckily for Lorna her lover tracks her down and cracks begin to appear in her perfect life. Is she willing to throw away her marriage and career for this man?

Tell Me a Secret is a difficult one to review because of spoilers, I don’t want to ruin anyone’s enjoyment of this intense read! Safe to say you will feel like your brain has been taken out, shook around and returned back to front!

A fantastic book which I highly recommend.

Check out the tour:

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Seven Bridges: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 8) by LJ Ross


About the book:
It’s been five months since a killer walked free and DCI Ryan is preparing to leave Newcastle to hunt him down – this time, for good.

But Ryan’s plans are scuppered when events take a dramatic turn and he is forced to stay and face his past one last time, or watch a friend suffer the consequences.

Amid the chaos, another killer is preparing to strike. When the Tyne Bridge explodes, Ryan’s team are faced with a frantic race to uncover a deadly foe who won’t stop until every bridge is burned, along with everybody on it…

Seven Bridges: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 8) by LJ Ross

About the author:


LJ Ross is the author of the international #1 bestselling series of DCI Ryan mystery novels. Her debut, Holy Island, was released in January 2015 and reached number one in the Amazon Kindle UK best sellers chart.

Since then, she has released a further six full-length novels in the DCI Ryan Series, all of which have been top three bestsellers. Cragside, Dark Skies and Seven Bridges (due for release 25 May 2018) were all #1 in the UK on pre-orders alone.

The novels are available to purchase in e-book, paperback and audiobook formats on the Amazon store, as well as in selected independent bookshops. Holy Island is also available in German translation.

Louise was born in Northumberland, England. She studied undergraduate and postgraduate Law at King’s College, University of London and studied abroad in Paris and Florence. She spent much of her working life in London, where she was a regulatory lawyer for a number of years before taking the decision to change career and pursue her dream to write.

Now, she writes full time and lives with her husband and son in Northumberland. She enjoys reading all manner of books, travelling and spending time with family and friends.

If you would like to connect with LJ Ross, she would be very happy to hear from you:

My thoughts:

Having read and loved all the previous books in this series, I was thrilled to be able to read Seven Bridges. To be honest, I had been dying to read it as soon as I finished Dark Skies because LJ Ross left us all wanting to know what was going to happen.

In Seven Bridges, we are back with DCI Ryan, Anna and the team as they try to move on with their lives followiNg events in the previous books. Seven Bridges opens with a rather shocking storyline, which I’m not going to go into detail about because of spoilers, but I will say I was NOT expecting it and had to pick my jaw up off the floor.

As well as this, DCI Ryan and his team receive a message from someone threatening to blow up the Tyne Bridge. As they begin a race against time to try and solve the clues, the story moves at breakneck speed. This pacing means that the reader will find it almost impossible to stop reading!

I absolutely raced through Seven Bridges, reading the whole thing in one day. I genuinely couldn’t put it down. LJ Ross has an excellent knack for writing characters that you care about, becoming completely invested in their lives, and Seven Bridges is no different. I read with trepidation at times for fear of what I might read.

This series is so brilliantly-written. It has an engaging cast of characters and never feels stale. With each new book, LJ Ross injects even more life into the team, and the stories are always captivating. It is not a stretch to say this is one of my favourite series out there at the moment, and they get better with every installment.

Seven Bridges is a clever thriller, packed with a cast of characters that welcome you like old friends and an utterly gripping plot. I defy you not to love it! (And probably develop a crush on DCI Ryan, if you haven’t already!) 🙂

Highly recommended!

Previous reviews:

Holy Island by LJ Ross

Sycamore Gap by LJ Ross

Heavenfield by LJ Ross

Angel by LJ Ross

High Force by LJ Ross

Cragside by LJ Ross

Dark Skies by LJ Ross

Blog Tour Review~Absolution by Paul Hardisty

Hi all,

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Absolution by Paul Hardisty today and I’ll be sharing my review with you guys a little further down!

About the author:


Canadian Paul E Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an
engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs
in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey
(where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the
wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was
bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their
families fleeing the rebels. In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a.
Paul is a university professor, visiting professor at Imperial College, London, and
Director of Australia’s national land, water, ecosystems and climate adaptation
research programmes. His debut thriller, The Abrupt Physics of Dying, was
shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger and Telegraph thriller of the year, and the sequels, The Evolution of Fear and Reconciliation for the Dead were both ebook bestsellers. He lives in Western Australia.

About the book:

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It’s 1997, and vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker has fled South Africa after his
explosive testimony to Desmond Tutu’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission. On an isolated island off the African coast, the family that Clay has befriended is murdered as he watches.
In Paris, Claymore’s former lover, journalist Rania LaTour, comes home to find that her son and her husband, a celebrated human-rights lawyer, have disappeared.

As Clay and Rania fight to uncover the mystery behind the disappearances and murders, events lead them both to Egypt, where an act of shocking terrorist brutality will reveal not only why those they loved were sacrificed, but how they were both, indirectly, responsible.

Absolution by Paul Hardisty

My thoughts:

It’s hard to believe we’re already onto the fourth Claymore Strayker book, but here we are with the explosive Absolution. It follows on from the events in Reconciliation For The Dead, so if possible, I recommend that you read them in order because they are all linked in some way.

There is something about these books that really capture my imagination as a reader. I become fully immersed in them immediately, and Absolution was no exception. Paul Hardisty is an excellent writer, and his experience really shows in his ability to capture the horror and violence of war and conflict.

In Absolution, Clay is living in self-imposed isolation on an island off the African coast. Afraid to surround himself with people for fear that they would get caught up in the danger that shadows him like a hunter stalking his prey. Sadly, this is exactly what happens.

Concurrent to this, Rania is living in Paris with hr husband and young son. When she comes home to find they have disappeared, this sets in motion a chain of events that will have devastating consequences, reaching far wider than she could have imagined.

Absolution is an emotionally charged thriller from beginning to end. It deals with some of the most horrific acts of terrorism and brutality at the time and it leaves the reader reeling as the events unfold. I found myself feeling very tense at various points in the story, fearful for the outcomes and worried for the characters.

I don’t want to say much more, because I am afraid I may give away something if I go into too much detail. Absolution is a heartbreaking instalment in the series, for many reasons. It is tense, emotive and at times, shocking. I couldn’t stop reading it from once I started, and I can’t wait to read more Straker books!

Highly recommended!

Previous reviews:

The Evolution Of Fear by Paul E. Hardisty

Reconciliation for the Dead by Paul Hardisty


Check out the tour:

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Blog Tour: Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down. First though, the all-important bookish information!

About the book:

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A little lie … a seismic secret … and the cracks are beginning to show…

In a reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, where a tectonic fault has opened up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth, and where tremors are an everyday occurrence, volcanologist Surtsey makes a shocking discovery.
On a clandestine trip to new volcanic island The Inch, to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body, and makes the fatal decision to keep their affair, and her discovery, a secret. Desperate to know how he died, but also terrified she’ll be exposed, Surtsey’s life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact – someone who claims to know what she’s done…

Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone

About the author:


Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh. His seventh novel, The Jump, was published by Faber & Faber in August 2015. Gone Again (2013) was an Amazon bestseller and Hit & Run (2012) and was an Amazon #1 as well as being selected as a prestigious Fiction Uncovered winner. Smokeheads (2011) was nominated for the Crimefest Last Laugh Award. Before that Doug published two novels with Penguin, Tombstoning (2006) and The Ossians (2008). His work has received praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin, William McIlvanney, Megan Abbott and Christopher Brookmyre.

In September 2014 Doug took up the position of Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. Doug was writer in residence at the University of Strathclyde 2010-2012 and before that worked as a lecturer in creative writing there. He’s had short stories appear in various publications and anthologies, and since 1999 he has worked as a freelance arts journalist, primarily covering music and literature. Doug is currently also working on a number of screenplays for film and television. He is also a mentor and manuscript assessor for The Literary Consultancy.

Doug is one of the co-founders of the Scotland Writers Football Club, for whom he also puts in a shift in midfield. He is also a singer, musician and songwriter in several bands, including Northern Alliance, who have released four albums to critical acclaim, as well as recording an album as a fictional band called The Ossians. Doug has also released two solo EPs, Keep it Afloat and I Did It Deliberately.

Doug has a degree in physics, a PhD in nuclear physics and a diploma in journalism, and worked for four years designing radars.

He grew up in Arbroath and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh with his wife and two children.

For more info:

Ellen’s Review:

Murder, volcanoes, explosive and toxic relationships – Fault Lines contains all of this and so much more. This book is set in a reimagined Edinburgh where a volcanic island (The Inch) has been produced in the Firth of Forth and volcanologist Surtsey navigates her tumultuous life while studying the island. Along the way she has become embroiled in a relationship with her married boss Tom, is visiting her dying mother in the hospice and trying to control her sister.

Her life is turned upside down when she arranges to meet Tom on The Inch but instead finds him dead; he has obviously been murdered and rather than face the shame of their affair being made public she leaves his body and returns home without informing the police. From this point she really is on shaky ground morally and mentally and then begins to receive texts from someone who claims to have seen her and knows about the affair.

Surtsey’s life appears to be spiralling out of control and it’s no surprise she turns to drink and drugs to get through it all. I have to say she wasn’t necessarily a likeable character but she was intriguing. I admired her strength which became apparent and her dedication to make her mum’s last moments perfect. I loved how her life mirrored The Inch – simmering away, unstable and getting ready to POP!! This is the first book I have read by Doug Johnstone and would definitely read more from him.

Follow the tour:

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Magical Alley Harry Potter Merchandise~ Product Review

Hey guys,

So, today I have something a little different to the usual book reviews. I was recently contacted by Nathan at Magic Alley ( , a website specialising in Harry Potter merchandise, to see if I was interested in providing a review of some of their stuff. Well, being a massive fan of HP, there was only one real answer… 🙂

*I received products from Magic Alley in return for an honest review.

Here’s what Nathan has to say about Magic Alley:

My Harry Potter adventure began back in July 2000, when my older brother bought the Goblet of Fire book that had just been published. Within a week I’d finished the Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban and was waiting for him to get to the end of the Goblet of Fire so that I could read it. I was hooked!

From that point I’ve been a huge Harry Potter fan throughout my life, reading all of the books and watching all of the films every summer. JK Rowling was able to create an amazing world unlike any other, and just like millions of other fans around the World, it’s one that continues to keep my interest all these years later.

I established Magic Alley in 2015, with the aim of creating an entirely Harry Potter focused store, stocking products and quirky items that aren’t usually found in many other places in the United Kingdom. We have drinks and sweets produced in the United States, wands identical to those sold at the Studio Tour in London, an amazing but affordable jewellery range from another UK retailer, scarves and ties belonging to each of the four Hogwarts Houses and authentically reproduced, and all these among lots of other interesting Harry Potter products.

As well as our web store, our team also regularly attend shows and conventions throughout the UK, which allow us to meet other Harry Potter fans directly and run a mobile retail location that is able to be visited by thousands of visitors in a single weekend.

We have big plans for our future – and while some have to be kept under wraps – we’ll continue adding to our product range and help continue to keep the fascinating world of Harry Potter alive after all these years!

I was lucky enough to be sent a beautiful necklace, and some really cute greeting cards too, which you can see below (I’ve added in my photos as well for comparison):



First off, I’m going to chat about the necklace. I don’t usually wear jewellery, but this was too cute to resist. It’s a beautiful silver chain, and the house crest charm is not too big. The chain is actually really comfortable to wear, so much so that you don’t even know it’s there half the time. I’m usually wary of these chains because they tend to catch my long hair, but I had absolutely no issues with this one at all. It’s also quite a dainty chain too, and its neither too short nor too long. At the risk of sounding like Goldilocks, it is just right!

Here’s the link if you want to check it out:


Next up were these lovely greeting cards. I love the cartoonish-look of these cards. They are really cute, and really well-drawn too. The cards are high-quality, they lasted the journey from the UK without being bent or roughed up in any way. They are also left blank inside, so you can fill in whatever message you want to include! These cards are as solid as any of the greeting cards you would pick up in a shop, but they’re Harry Potter, so infinitely better, haha 🙂 I love them, and would happily order them!

Click the links below to check them out for yourself:



Magic Alley are on Facebook and Twitter, and you can visit their site as well by clicking on the links below:

Magic Alley Twitter

Magic Alley Facebook

Magic Alley Website

Happy shopping 🙂

Connectedness by Sandra Danby~ Ellen’s Review


About the author:


Sandra Danby is a proud Yorkshire woman, tennis nut and tea drinker. She believes a walk on the beach will cure most ills. Unlike Rose Haldane, the identity detective in her two novels, ‘Ignoring Gravity’ and ‘Connectedness’, Sandra is not adopted.

About the book:


Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.

Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?

Connectedness by Sandra Danby

Ellen’s Review:

One of the best things about being a guest reviewer is that I am sent hidden gems like Connectedness by Sandra Danby. I didn’t realise this was the second in a series but it can easily be read as a standalone. The concept of the story itself is fascinating: In the ‘Identity Detective’ series, Rose Haldane, journalist and identity detective, reunites the people lost through adoption. They are the stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. Rose Haldane is a version of those people that reunite families on Surprise Surprise and Long Lost Families. Although the setting isn’t a glamourous TV studio we have the vivid descriptions of London’s Art world, the blustery cliffs of East Yorkshire and the hot, blossom laden streets of Malaga, Spain.

I really loved the character of Justine Tree, acclaimed, best-selling artist who is literally tortured by her art and past secrets. Her pain, fear and regret are splashed across canvas for all to see. When she is forced to bring back horrific memories of her time as a student she is struck down by powerful migraines and sometimes her only relief is to paint through the pain. The description of the art was fantastic ; so vivid and real.

Justine gave up her daughter 27 years ago and has never got over the pain but in revealing the truth she is cautious how she will be perceived in the public; her secrets are already out there in art form and open to interpretation but no one knows the full truth of her past. Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art?

A beautiful story about art, true love, loss and regret – Connectedness is an absolutely engrossing story and one that I highly recommend!

Blog Blitz Guest Review: The Journey by Conrad Jones

Hi everyone,

Today I’m hosting a guest review for The Journey by Conrad Jones, which I will be sharing with you all a little further down!

About the author:


Conrad Jones is a 50-year-old Author, originally from a sleepy green-belt called Tarbock Green, which is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool. He spent a number of years living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which he classes as his home. He worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working his way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.

On March 20th 1993 he was managing the Restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day he was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mind set of criminal gangs. He began to read anything crime related that he could get his hands on and links this experience with the desire to write books on the subject.

He signed a three book deal with London based publishers, Thames River Press. The Alec Ramsey series is now 7 books long with an average of 4.8 stars from over 2000 reviews. Conrad has also written The Soft Target series, which has received critical acclaim.


About the book:

Conrad Jones - The Journey_cover_high res (1).jpg

One of the best books you will read this year..Outstanding!

I have read many Conrad Jones books…for me this is his masterpiece… A stunning story…

This is Conrad Jones at his best… An outstanding well written story…

An emotional rollercoaster. Unputdownable

This is nothing like anything Conrad has written before. However it’s equally as excellent, if not better, as all his other books.

What an amazing story, my heart was in my mouth all the way through, the literary world is all the richer because of you Mr Jones I salute you sir

Sad, moving, emotional, at times uplifting….a horrible reflection of the cruelty of this world. But a story that needed to be told and must be read. Highly recommended

The gripping story of a young boy and his family, driven from their home by war and indiscriminate violence. Like millions of others, they attempt the treacherous journey across their war-torn continent, trying to reach the safety of Europe.

The truth is, Europe doesn’t want them and thousands die every month at the hands of thieves and profiteering men to whom life is cheap. Kalu believes that he can lead his family to safety, he has planned for this. They have money, a plan and Kalu is, after all, the smartest man in Monguno.
The story is fast-paced, at times funny, at times heart-breaking but it will pull you along at 100 miles an hour. It will make you think, it will make you question your perceptions. Most of all it will make you ask, if your family was in peril, what would you do?

The Journey by Conrad Jones

Guest Review:
This isn’t the kind of book I usually read; in fact I tend to be rather xenophobic in my reading so a story based in Africa would usually have passed me by. But I started to read it and I am so glad I did!
We have all seen the TV news with their films of hundreds of people trying to cross the sea to get to Europe. The boats are usually old, decrepit and filled to bursting with the numbers of passengers on board. We are appalled at the scale of human tragedy pictured in these news clips and then we go back to our day-to-day living and forget them. I defy you to be able to forget them once you have read this book!
Kalu is a doctor, working in his home village of Monguno in Nigeria. He has a wife and three daughters and one son, Beb. Kalu is an intelligent man who has been concerned about the rise in the numbers of attacks in the area by the terrorist group Boko Haram. He secretly prepares for an attack on his village by hiding rucksacks, food, money and other provisions in his medical practise. He also hides an off-road vehicle in a shed a couple of miles away, loaded with water and petrol ready for any journey they may need to take.
His foresight pays off when Boko Haram arrive at their village and the family make their escape and set off for the north, to find a way to get to Europe. The journey is horrific – there is no other way to describe it and you need to read the book in order to understand this. I can only comment on how it made me feel to read about their trials and tribulations along the way.
There is a lot of violence in the book but no more than was necessary to describe what that journey was like. It was horrendous to read what these terrorists were capable of doing and also horrendous to read what depths humanity can sink to when people are trying to escape from certain, and often extremely painful, death. Morals are the first thing to go out of the window, even amongst those who are all running away from the same problems and Kalu suffers greatly with his conscience when he has to put humanity aside in order to keep his family safe. There were a number of times when I had to stop reading because I had reached overload level on the number of dreadful things that can happen on such a journey and in such circumstances, but I was always drawn back to finish reading it because I so wanted the whole family to come through and get to the England they dreamed of. You will need to read the book to find out if they succeeded.
But the major eye-opener in the book is that there are still people about who will risk their own lives in order to help other people. Admittedly, they are few and far between, but it is heart-warming to read about the work they do and so depressing to find out that they are murdered or injured when they have helped others. I have never read a book before where I have had to stop reading because I couldn’t cope with the emotions the book engendered in me but the author writes so powerfully that I HAD to finish it. I feel drained but I am glad that I read it. I would recommend you all try it too.

5 Stars *****


Check out the blitz:

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