Blind Witness – Blog Tour

 

Blind Witness Cover

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Blurb:

In 1922 a blind WW1 veteran and former intelligence officer attends a weekend with his aristocratic wife and her family at a country house in the New Forest, Hampshire, England. Fourteen people sit down to dinner on the Friday night; by the end of the weekend there are two murders, an attempted murder and a suicide.
This is book one in a series of humorous murder mysteries and introduces young sleuths The Hon Melissa Charters and her war veteran husband Major Alasdair Charters.
The pair collaborate using Melissa’s powers of observation and Alasdair’s old skills gained in the Secret Intelligence Service to investigate the events unfolding over the weekend. A murder mystery with a spy plot told from many different points of view in the tradition of Simon Brett, M C Beaton and Kerry Greenwood.
Will our investigators discover who is behind the murders?

 

My Review

Hey all, sorry for this being a bit late in the day, but, I can assure you it’s worth the wait, this book was SO MUCH FUN to read. Seriously! The only time I get this crazy about murder mystery books are Agatha Christie ones, so, the fact that I’ve loved this one so much speaks volumes. The Charter Mystery series, promises to be a fantastic one.

I enjoy my murder mysteries with the sort of gusto that I enjoy eating, sooo…A LOT. But that being said, I tend to enjoy them on a rather ‘average’ level, but this one not only kept me intrigued, Goldie’s writing style did such a good job of setting you up in the era that you wouldn’t have known this was written in this decade let alone this century. At the same time, she doesn’t over-clutter with old fashioned language, keeping it solely to the vernacular of the characters which  means you’re not weighed down by prose.

But let’s get to the heart of the matter. You’ve got a fantastically smart aristocratic woman with what seems to be a natural affinity for sleuthing and her husband. The one with the permanent alterations from the war, used to such an independent life and secretive role, finally able to return to what he does best, observations.

The fact that our Mr. Charter doesn’t have eyesight doesn’t deter him and in fact our sleuth uses it to his advantage. He’s living in a time when people sadly equated disabilities like blindness with other assumptions about how their brains work. But, this means they don’t tend to censor what they say within proximity, and when a carefree weekend turns to murder, this point works highly in our ex-Major’s favor as he tries to figure out who the murderer is.

Goldie uses the experiences and knowledge of her husband to write a character that we don’t see often enough; a blind one. There’s no over-exaggeration of the Major’s abilities and the struggle he deals with due tot he fact that he was not always blind and it was a war injury, well, it really hits his experiences home for the reader. She does a good job of conveying his PTSD and feelings on losing his independence in his mind.

The couple work together but without being joined to the hip, they each have their strengths and it’s great to see them separately in action and I really enjoyed that.

The fact that this book opened up with the first case involving their family meant that we were able as readers to get to know a good deal about the background without deterring from the plot and story and I thought this was rather clever of Goldie.

The mystery itself is really well done, I didn’t see that twist, and the tidbits that were used to throw you off the scent were well planted as I didn’t see them for what they were until the last moment. The reveal was exciting and the ending came too quickly in my opinion, it’s such a quick and enjoyable read!

Overall I could gush about this all day but I won’t, just know if you like Agatha Christie, or murder mysteries set in the golden age, I definitely recommend this book to you.

Four HUGE cups of coffee from me!

Thanks to Anne Cater, Vicki Goldie, and Victorina Press for a chance to read and review this honestly as part of the blog tour!

 

About the Author

Vicki Goldie Author pic

Vicki worked as a Chartered Librarian for the Royal National Institute of Blind People and then for the past 19 years in public libraries in Bournemouth and Poole. There she enjoyed arranging and attending writing courses and author events, including such luminaries as Fay Weldon and Peter James. With the Reading Agency and other librarians round the country she reviewed and selected books for The Radio Two Book Club. All the time writing away in her spare time.
Born in California but brought up in England she was introduced to the Golden Age of crime authors at an early age by her mother. She is married to a blind physiotherapist, and it is from his mother, born in a large country house in Devon (now a hotel), educated by governess and with a cut glass voice like the Queen, that she absorbed real life stories about the twenties and thirties.
She has always had a fascination with the Art Deco period and the Golden Age of crime writing. She has been filling her house with Art Deco inspired artefacts and clothing for 40 years. 
Blind Witness is her debut novel and is the beginning of the Charters Mysteries Series featuring Major Alasdair Charters and The Honourable Melissa Charters.

 

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Gravemaidens eARC Review

 

 

Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens, #1)

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GoodReads:
The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

Book Information:
Publisher: Delacorte Press/Random House
Pub Date: October 29, 2019
Formats: Hardback, Ebook, Audiobook
ISBN: 978-0-525-64782-9

Purchase Links

Amazon UK | Amazon US

[The purchase links above are Affiliated links, if you should purchase this book using one of those links then I will receive a small bit of money, but, this will cost nothing to you]

 

My Review

I finished my buddy read way quicker than I expected, I blame the author Kelly Coon for this. I was able to read the first eight chapters and have some semblance of self-control but after that, it was like I was gorging myself on cakes from the faerie realm, I could not put the book down.

Kammani was a really endearing protagonist, she had her faults, her passions, and the love for her family with her love of healing. And like any good big sister, she can be somewhat annoying and overbearing on her younger sister and brother.

Kammani wants to follow in the footsteps of her father, but the problem with that is that her Father has been just as tragically affected as the rest of the family and it has changed him.

I love that the characters were so real and flawed, no one was above making mistakes. There were so many moments where I was just holding my breath though because this is not only a great work of YA fantasy, it’s also got a murder mystery, AND YOU ALL KNOW HOW I LOVE MURDER MYSTERIES!

WHODUNNIT?!

This is mostly the question I was screeching through the novel.

Nanaea reminded me of how infuriating it can be to have sisters and though Kammani doesn’t always make the right choices, she makes them all out of love for Nanaea and her family. I loved getting to know more about both Nanaea and Kammani and the political intrigue in the palace made my dark little heart so happy! Not to mention the relationships that Kammani develops, the new friendships, well, it’s great and you really cheer on most of the characters, and there are times you’re just not sure who Kammani should trust.

Again….WHODUNNIT?

The fact that we’re not done with these characters is brilliant, the ending certainly had me lamenting the fact that I’ll have to wait to see what happens next.

Coon delightfully colors this vibrant world the characters live in, Alu just seems to come to life and jump right off the pages. She also doesn’t get too focused on small details, driving the plot and characters forward. \she also made me constantly hungry…seriously, where’s a damn honeycake when you need it??

Dagan was also a cute little cinnamon roll that I just wanted to protect half the time,m but the fact that he was always respectful of Kammani’s boundaries really made him such a great character, even when he thinks he’s pushed himself too far across a line, he’s quick to apologize and make amends as best he can.

[Disclosure: Nasu was my favorite, no regrets.]

I preordered this book because I mean, why wouldn’t I with a title like ‘Gravemaidens?’ But I’m super glad I did because I’ll be rereading this closer to the time of the second book’s release.

SO on that note, four massive cups of coffee from me for this amazing debut novel. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for a copy of this in exchange for my honest opinion!

 

About the Author

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Kelly Coon is a young adult author represented by Kari Sutherland of Bradford Lit, an editor for Blue Ocean Brain, a member of the Washington Post Talent Network, a former high school English teacher, and the author of two test prep guides, ACT STRATEGY SMART and ACE THE ACT.
Kelly was the test prep expert for About.com for seven years, and has been published with both Scholastic and MSN in the education arena. In the parenting realm, Kelly has been published in The Washington Post, Scary Mommy, ParentMap, Folks, and others sites, regaling tales of life in the trenches with her three boys. She adores giving female characters the chance to flex their muscles and use their brains, and wishes every story got the happy ending she’s living near Tampa with her sons, brilliant husband, and a rescue pup who will steal your sandwich. Gravemaidens is her debut novel.

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

She Lies In The Vines – Blog Tour

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Blurb:
Four years ago Eliza Dacey was brutally murdered.
Within hours, her killer was caught.
Wasn’t he?

So read the opening titles of Jack Quick’s new true-crime documentary. 

A skilled producer, Jack knows that the bigger the conspiracy, the higher the ratings. Curtis Wade, convicted of Eliza’s murder on circumstantial evidence and victim of a biased police force, is the perfect subject. Millions of viewers agree.

Just before the finale, Jack uncovers a minor detail that may prove Curtis guilty after all. Convinced it will ruin his show, Jack disposes of the evidence and delivers the finale unedited: proposing Curtis is innocent.

But when Curtis is released, and a new victim is found bearing horrifying similarities to the original murder, Jack realizes that he may have helped a guilty man out of jail. And, as the only one who knows the real evidence of the case, he is the only one who can send him back…

Book Information:
Title: She Lies In The Vines
By: Benjamin Stevenson
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton
Format: Paperback original, £8.99
Publication Date: September 5, 2019

 

My Review

Jack Quick had a podcast and then he was given a chance to turn that into a true-crime tv documentary and he decided to reveal the injustices of the justice system. Police bias, shoddy investigating and circumstantial evidence led to Curtis Wade being convicted of murdering Eliza Dacey.

This equates to Curtis Wade being innocent…doesn’t it?

Jack Quick is certainly a different sort of MC, I really was impressed that Stevenson gave us a male MC with bulimia, something we so often forget can affect everyone. Another thing that was well written was the fact that there was no magic cure for it, that it stays with him and is something he constantly struggles with. Too easily do we write away difficult things with a wave of a ‘wand’ but Stevenson doesn’t do this and so I respect that.

Another thing about Jack Quick is that he makes decision after decision and he never knows how it will play out, this leads to many consequences (for better or worse you decide) and that’s something I always feel is important, especially in a thriller.

The book is divided into sections and to divide them, it’s set up like a TV episode script and that was actually a lot of fun to read, I found myself really happy to get to a new section just to read those bits alone.

There’s a lot going on in this book, just when you think you’ve figured it out, or rather Jack has it figured out, you’re left with more questions and more explanations. Now this was something that as we got toward the end that I wasn’t sure worked in its favour, but I tell you what, I did enjoy the ending tremendously.

I think that how it ended was extremely fitting and I applaud Stevenson for leaving it that way.

Obviously I’m not going to put spoilers so you’ll have to read to find out what I mean.

The crime takes place in a small town where everything is dependent on wine, wineries, and vineyards, one person’s in particular and because of this we get to see how that can be a bad thing but we also do see some redeemable characters as well and I think the absolute best part of all of this was the angle of the true-crime documentary.

This is a huge reminder that TV is still just that, TV. Interviews, evidence, towns, they can all be edited to appear how someone wants you to view it. Jack seems to forget that he has, whether he truly meant to or not, manipulated an audience into seeing things the way he wants them to and this is part of the consequences I was talking about, because what happens when he wants to try and attempt to dig for the real truth? Would anyone believe him, and how could he convince those who were convinced by him before that he may have been wrong?

A great thriller, perfect for this summer set in Australia in some ‘wine country’ and giving us twists and turns to no ends. Three and a half cups of coffee from this caffeinated reader!

**I want to thank Hodder & Stoughton for a chance to be on this blog tour and for a proof copy, which in exchange for, I have given my honest review.**

 

About the Author

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https://www.penguin.com.au/authors/benjamin-stevenson
Benjamin Stevenson is an award-winning stand-up comedian and author. He has sold out shows from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival all the way to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Off-stage, Benjamin has worked for publishing houses and literary agencies in Australia and the USA. He currently works with some of the world’s best-loved authors at Curtis Brown Australia.

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