Category: Book Review (non-blog tour)

Audiobook Review | “Call to Arms” (Book Four: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison Campbell

Posted Sunday, 27 May, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Call to Arms” via Audiobookworm Promotions who is working directly with the author Rachel Amphlett in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What held me in the throes of “Hell to Pay” and why I was itching for the next novel:

One nod of appreciation I have for Ms Amphlett is how she builds the tension and the back-story of this series – she tempts you at first with little nuggets of interest which start to paint the fuller picture behind Kay Hunter but then, she focuses on her days at work; how she interacts with her team and how they in turn perceive her whilst never giving us too many details about the purpose behind the series until you reach the fourth installment – where all the loose threads start to pool together, forming a tapestry of insight all of their own.

I was pushed so far outside my zone of comfort for a ‘hard-boiled Thriller’, I nearly did not know what to do to make my way through this installment – except, I remembered how Ms Amphlett would only take me ‘this far’ into the gritty bits before a ‘full stop’ would occur and a re-direction would happen to where I would either be blessedly back round in the team bantering out the case from all points of perspective or we’d happily enter one of the segue sequences where a lighter part of either Kay or one of the other members of her team would give us the pause we needed to reclaim the breath we’d forgotten to release!

I fell hard for this series from day one – from Scared to Death, thereby realising I would be a goner long before the series would end. In this, I knew I might hit sequences of the stories where I’d feel emotionally taxed and gutted as Kay – feeling as if I’d lived her life as dearly omnipresent as Alison Campbell and feel blessed by the pen of Ms Amphlett for taking me on this journey with Kay Hunter – as this is a series which pushes you, challenges you and gives you a reason to find a door of empathetic compassion to feel attached to the characters, the author and the narrator in one beautiful circle.

I might need to take a short break from disappearing into Call to Arms, the fifth installment and I am aware the sixth installment is already being written. The hardest part to resolve of course is how cleverly written the darker bits are constructed – of how everything pulls together in a believable execution of where you don’t feel short-changed but rather full of shock as much as Kay. Amphlett has a true gift for this kind of story-telling and I am blessed to have been introduced to her style on this blog tour.

-quoted from my review of Hell to Pay

Emotionally I was shattered, dear hearts after finishing Hell to Pay – I had this seriously emotional reaction to the end of the audiobook – being I was listening to it at a public library notwithstanding, when I finally hit the stop button and took full stock of my bearings, I was a muddled mess of emotions – finding myself surrounded by other patrons, who either were listening to audiobooks themselves, music or playing games – as everyone either had their own set of earphones plugged in, readily engaged with their own computers or the library’s and quite a number of them had a book in hand as well! To feel the kind of immersive experience I had felt in that kind of public environment is a true credit to both the author and the narrator – as I quite literally was hugged so dearly close to #KayHunter, I did not even realise the time nor hour or anything going on at the library itself!

As I pulled away my thoughts to contemplate what I had heard and the realisations of those revelations soaking in to the full measure of what they implied, I knew I had to take a brief hiatus before retreating back inside Call to Arms. Of course, mother nature would love to enthrall me with a delayed Spring (ie. a horrid burst of pollen season after a delightfully extended Winter) where rainshowers and thunderstorms alternated themselves for more than a fortnight – proving that sometimes even when your ready to soak into a beloved audiobook series, patience is a virtue you’ve mastered in order to await what is next in line for your bookish heart!

I hadn’t sorted out the timeline of my re-entrance either – which is why I was dearly surprised and happily reunited with Kay Hunter on this fifth blog tour – technically ‘second’ as the first four novels were in a combo-tour but I always felt they were four separate tours, as they were equally focusing on each of the novels in turn rather than in a mix-match of the stories out of sequence wherein happily all the bloggers taking part focused on the series in order of sequence rather than referencing them out of turn. It is quite lovely how the Audiobookworm organises her audiobook tours, in other words – especially for those of us keen on serial fiction!

With the time decided for me, I only had to set my heart and mind to re-enter into Kay Hunter’s shoes – something I almost fought at first, as so much was still hanging in the wind for our dear heroine – the one thing I did hope for her though, is a proper turning of tides – she puts her heart and soul into her job, loves her husband with a fierce protective passion and deserves a bit of goodwill coming her way to where her adversities could surely take a hiatus of their own!

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Audiobook Review | “Call to Arms” (Book Four: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison CampbellCall to Arms
Subtitle: A Detective Kay Hunter novel
by Rachel Amphlett
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Alison Campbell

Loyalty has a price.

Kay Hunter has survived a vicious attack at the hands of one of the country’s most evil serial killers.

Returning to work after an enforced absence to recover, she discovers she wasn’t the only victim of that investigation.

DI Devon Sharp remains suspended from duties, and the team is in turmoil.

Determined to prove herself once more and clear his name, Kay undertakes to solve a cold case that links Sharp to his accuser.

But, as she gets closer to the truth, she realises her enquiries could do more harm than good.

Torn between protecting her mentor and finding out the truth, the consequences of Kay’s enquiries will reach far beyond her new role…

Call to Arms is a gripping murder mystery, and the fifth in the Detective Kay Hunter series:

1. SCARED TO DEATH
2. WILL TO LIVE
3. ONE TO WATCH
4. HELL TO PAY
5. CALL TO ARMS

A page-turning murder mystery for fans of Peter Robinson, David Baldacci and Harlen Coben.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B07B75S6TJ

Also by this author: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay

Also in this series: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay


Genres: Crime Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Police Procedural, Thriller


Published by Saxon Publishing

on 5th March, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 6 hours, 28 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Saxon Publishing

Order of the Kay Hunter Detective series:
Scared to Death | Book One (see also Review)
Will to Live | Book Two (see also Review)
One to Watch | Book Three (see also Review)
Hell to Pay | Book Four (see also Review)
Call to Arms | Book Five

About Rachel Amphlett

Rachel Amphlettt

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore's TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

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Posted Sunday, 27 May, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), British Literature, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Detective Fiction, England, Good vs. Evil, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Psychological Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Sociological Behavior, True Crime

Book Review | “Idyll Fears” (Book Two: of the Thomas Lynch Novels) by Stephanie Gayle

Posted Friday, 4 May, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Borrowed Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of “Idyll Fears” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. The copy of “Idyll Threats” I borrowed via interlibrary loan through my local library I was not obligated to post a review as I am doing so for my own edification as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

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On why I thought I’d enjoy this series and how I approached starting to read it:

As this is a series in progress, I wanted to seek out the first novel in the series Idyll Threats – seemingly easy at first, as it was simply a matter of queuing into my ILL-cat (ie. Interlibrary loan catalogue) to fetch a copy and then awaiting the book to arrive. However, the trouble ensued shortly after it was borrowed as for whichever reason, the copy I had been sent by the lending library not only smelt oddly but it was difficult to read – the ordour and the condition of the pages were quite horrid – I could barely handle reading a few passages, so I skipped around a bit in the opening chapters, trying to ascertain an instinct of insight into the lead character: Thomas Lynch before returning it to the library with a critical complaint on its condition.

What I gathered in my short readings was a man who reminded me of Jesse Stone but without the warm sympathetic personality; Lynch was hardened, not just due to life but due to the fact he was living within a region where there is staunch prejudice towards different lifestyles – as he’s an openly gay police chief, you can well imagine the difficulties he faces on the job and in his down-time.

I was a bit concerned with the undertone of the series, as at first reading, I noticed the series is ‘clipped and short’ in both temper and style. It’s hard to put it into words, but this had a decidedly ‘different’ approach to telling a police procedural story. In many regards, I was aching for Jesse Stone to walk into scene as Lynch himself is hard to approach – his personality is edgy at best but it’s his dedication to the job and to the citizens he’s protecting which does (sort of) win you over. I say this as even before I picked up Idyll Fears, I had a keen suspicion what I forethought about the series was ill-placed, as this could soon become a DNF for me instead. Still. Despite the false-starts, I kept trying to begin reading it – to see if I could gleam insight into who Lynch is and to gather a better feel for how Gayle plots us through his life.

In essence, wherein I warmed immediately to Marjorie Trumaine, Anna Blanc, Hiro Hattori and even Samuel Craddock – the four investigators I love most from Seventh Street Books authors, Lynch unfortunately was a hard person to feel inclined to know more about simply because I found the series more than a bit off-putting by how it was told and developed. It had nothing to do with Lynch being openly gay either – as I regularly read LGBTQ+ stories wherein there are many lead characters who are gay or lesbian including my beloved sleuthing series spearheaded by the lovely Willa Cather and Edith Lewis. No, it has to do with tone, delivery and the undercurrents of how this series is set to life – it just didn’t jazz well with me to be honest.

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Book Review | “Idyll Fears” (Book Two: of the Thomas Lynch Novels) by Stephanie GayleIdyll Fears
Subtitle: A Thomas Lynch Novel
by Stephanie Gayle
Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL), Direct from Publisher

Police Chief Thomas Lynch investigates the disappearance of a six-year-old boy with a serious medical condition while coping with disrespect from townspeople and colleagues who don’t like the fact that he’s gay.

It’s two weeks before Christmas 1997, and Chief Thomas Lynch faces a crisis when Cody Forrand, a six-year-old with a life-threatening medical condition, goes missing during a blizzard. The confusing case shines a national spotlight on the small, sleepy town of Idyll, Connecticut, where small-time crime is already on the rise and the police seem to be making mistakes left and right. Further complicating matters, Lynch, still new to town, finds himself the target of prank calls and hate speech that he worries is the work of a colleague, someone struggling to accept working with a gay chief of police.

With time ticking away, Lynch is beginning to doubt whether he’ll be able to bring Cody home safely…and whether Idyll could ever really be home.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9781633883574

Genres: Crime Fiction, LGBTQIA Fiction, Police Procedural


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 5th September, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 320

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Stephanie Gayle

Stephanie Gayle Photo Credit: Sayamindu Dasgupta

Stephanie Gayle is the author of Idyll Threats, the first Thomas Lynch Novel, and My Summer of Southern Discomfort, which was chosen as one of Redbook’s Top Ten Summer Reads and was a Book Sense monthly pick. Gayle has also published stories and narrative nonfiction pieces, including two Pushcart Prize nominees.

Photo Credit: Sayamindu Dasgupta

The Thomas Lynch Novels:

Series Overview: A gay police chief in small-town Connecticut must deal with close-minded attitudes and threats to his career while he investigates serious crime.

Idyll Threats by Stephanie GayleIdyll Fears by Stephanie Gayle

Idyll Threats | Book One | Synopsis

Idyll Fears | Book Two

Idyll Hands | Book Three | Synopsis ← forthcoming release September, 2018!

Converse via: #ThomasLynch + #Mysteries

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Posted Friday, 4 May, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, Prometheus Books, Small Towne USA, Texas, Vulgarity in Literature

Audiobook Review | “Hell to Pay” (Book Four: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison Campbell As this is the fourth and final Kay Hunter audio I have, there is an ache in my heart for having to leave on such a wrenching note as this but have a resolve of hope for what shall meet me in ‘Call to Arms’,…

Posted Thursday, 19 April, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Hell to Pay” via Audiobookworm Promotions who is working directly with the author Rachel Amphlett in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

What held me in the throes of “One to Watch” and why I was itching for the next novel:

I enjoyed watching Barnes and Kay sleuth together – they have a working partnership which aides them well on the job. Their bantering keeps the grim bits of their jobs at bay but it’s quite telling how comfortable they are with each other by how they work together to not just interview people interlinked to their investigations but how they brainstorm what they learn could lead their team towards understanding what went wrong in regards to the person who died. They each yield to each others’ strengths and make their hours go by easier for the understanding they share together. Their scenes have become some of my favourites, which worries me in some regards – as true to the nature of these kinds of stories, once you start to favour certain characters – their either the ones who are placed in danger or the ones who can become the ones you never should have trusted to begin with – ergo, I cautioned myself not to let anyone go overlooked as Kay continues to sort out who is conspiring against her; even Barnes!

There is so much anger percolating round the edges of One to Watch – where the parents are voicing their concerns with the kind of angered responses you’d expect them to have due to the circumstances but what was a bit muddling for Kay and her team to sort out who was involved and why this particular party was clouded over by a darkness of murder.

Larch isn’t my favourite character by half – not just because of his insistence of making Kay’s life harder through her continued persecution but because of his mannerisms and personality. He isn’t a team player, he likes to micromanage his team and you never feel he has trust in anyone under him. It leads to an uneasy tension between the detectives but also, for Kay to find her way forward when she’s constantly feeling she’s under the knife of his suspicious mind.

We gain more leverage into understanding Kay and Adam’s close relationship in their marriage by seeing his kindness for fixing the grave of their child. As this is a death they hadn’t prepared for happening and it was one which was somberly difficult to transition past, especially with the hangover effect of what Kay is facing at the precinct. Even after they decide to donate the clothes, you can feel the weight of their loss still being present in everything they do. They are allowing themselves the time to negotiate their grief, but as life rarely allows us to ‘take time off’ from everything else – it is in the background and foreground of all their hours.

The interesting bit for me was watching how this story developed mostly out of the investigation bits – of having to follow alongside the detectives as they did the grunt work, tried out leads which might have made sense in the moment of discovery but perhaps did not quite align in the end with the narrative of the crime. It is here, we start to see how Amphlett is building her world around Kay Hunter but also, of how due to her personal research, how she is opening up the components of being a detective like Kay Hunter is regulated through the proper order of how to investigate and what goes into following through with an investigation hinged to trace and forensic evidence.

She also only reveals ‘so much’ in regards to the furthering compounding conspiracy behind who is trying to destroy Kay Hunter – you aren’t sure what their motives are except that nothing is off the table for what they are willing to do in order to seek out new ways in which to give her a headache of adversity.

As you pull into this part of the series, you have to remain patient as it’s an overlay of the whole series – meaning, each installment draws both Kay Hunter and the reader one step closer to understanding the back-story of what is happening, but it’s the who, why and how which is being left open until what I presume is the conclusion of the series. I was slightly hoping it wouldn’t conclude the series – but perhaps offer a new arc of suspense to follow in it’s wake, or a redirection of purpose for all the characters involved. Similar to what they did after Rizzoli and Isles resolved their individual narrative arcs within Rizzoli & Isles.

Either way – these audiobooks narrated by Alison Campbell, truly are a reflection of the author’s agility in creating a believable world in which Kay Hunter is walking a tightrope between her civic duty as a detective and the vows she is committed to upholding to Adam. Somehow, I have a feeling she is going to have to make a choice between the two – the job or her husband, before someone else makes a choice she isn’t willing to make on her own. In this, Amphlett holds your attention to see how everything will come back round to centre, including how the supporting cast will either shock us or keep the traction we’re all presuming to be the course they are set to walk.

-quoted from my review of One to Watch

By the end of ‘One to Watch’, I was quite certain I was going to be moving into the harder bits of the character arc surrounding Kay Hunter. Everything was leading into this sequence of pulling back the layers of the conspiracy against her – whilst anchouring us directly into her working relationships with her team. It was there, I realised – depending upon how ‘Hell to Pay’ played out – I was either going to find myself treading water or finding myself able to swim.

There are portions of this series which are dearly beloved – especially in regards to adaptation on behalf of the work by Alison Campbell. Combined with the taut and authentic writing styling by Ms Amphlett – this series hugs close to it’s roots in a police procedural drama where an investigative team becomes an endearing part of your life during the hours in which you are following alongside their investigations. Yet, there are moments where you feel if you are quite prepared to go through all of their cases – as the darker shades of humanity are aptly explored, revealled and tackled from multiple points of view.

The key difference from the first novels in the series and the latter two I’ve been listening to is the absence of switching perspectives in tandem between Kay and her current ‘unknown’ villain. The focus is honed more into her team and the ways in which the team finds their rhythm with working with each other on the cases which make them feel restless in their off hours. These are the kinds of cases that are hard to shift out of one’s conscience and the hardest to resolve, even if you’re able to close the case.

I was hoping the bits of what I loved about the series would swing back into the central thread of the upcoming stories – where though terrifying gutting her job is there is a hopefulness about it as well – of how she is choosing to serve the dead and honour the lives lost. I was hopeful on the back half of the series – perhaps, even after the main obstacle is overturned (in regards to who is forcing Kay to remain on high alert) Kay can either make peace with the job itself or find a new path to pursue adjacent to being a detective. Perhaps a new beginning for her and Adam but still able to give her life in dedication in helping others overcome the worst bits of their lives?

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Audiobook Review | “Hell to Pay” (Book Four: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison Campbell As this is the fourth and final Kay Hunter audio I have, there is an ache in my heart for having to leave on such a wrenching note as this but have a resolve of hope for what shall meet me in ‘Call to Arms’,…Hell to Pay
by Rachel Amphlett
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Alison Campbell

When a road traffic accident on a dark autumn night uncovers a disturbing conspiracy, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter's investigation exposes a ruthless serial killer exploiting vulnerable young women.

With her enemies unmasked and her career spiraling out of control, Kay's determination to seek vengeance for the victims brings her dangerously close to those who want to silence her.

Undeterred, she uncovers the real reason behind a plot to destroy her career and sets in motion a terrifying chain of events.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B079HQNK1Y

Also by this author: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Call to Arms

Also in this series: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Call to Arms


Genres: Crime Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Police Procedural, Thriller


Published by Saxon Publishing

on 1st January, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 7 hours, 14 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Saxon Publishing

Order of the Kay Hunter Detective series:
Scared to Death | Book One (see also Review)
Will to Live | Book Two (see also Review)
One to Watch | Book Three (see also Review)
Hell to Pay | Book Four
Call to Arms | Book Five | Synopsis

About Rachel Amphlett

Rachel Amphlettt

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore's TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

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Posted Thursday, 19 April, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), British Literature, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Detective Fiction, England, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Good vs. Evil, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Psychological Suspense, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Sociological Behavior, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, True Crime

Book Review | “Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker” by Stephen Galloway #BloggingForBooks

Posted Sunday, 15 April, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I decided to join the “Blogging for Books” programme (on 9th July, 2014) which is a book for review programme created by the Crown Publishing Group. As a book blogger you are offered books in exchange for an honest review on your book blog as well as the ability to reach new readers when you cross-post your review to the Blogging for Books website. The benefit for the blogger is exposure as a reviewer as they put direct links back to your blog post on the book you select to review as well as your homepage.

I received a complimentary copy of “Leading Lady” direct from the publisher Crown Archetype (an imprint of Crown Publishers), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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A book blogger’s note of gratitude to Blogging for Books:

It’s hard to admit you’ve forgotten about a book you requested for review, but sometimes it’s the easiest explanation to give as is the case with Leading Lady. I remembered I had requested it closer to the time it arrived last year, but so much happened between that moment and the months afterwards to where I quite literally did manage to forget I had this book on my shelf awaiting to be read! Then, after a hard ending to [2017] and a difficult start to [2018] – you could say, this is the first time I could theoretically get myself re-interested in reading it!

I was properly shocked hearing the Blogging for Books programme was ending – as I did enjoy my brief time participating in the programme – I will miss the insight it gave towards the Non-Fiction releases I was earnestly starting to appreciate getting to know a bit better as I had overlooked seeing which ones were in queue for years, as it was only in the last few years where Non-Fiction has attracted my attention.

I also enjoyed getting to know their INSPY line of Fiction and Non-Fiction – observing their releases and also, finding that they regularly publish a lot of lovely releases for those of us who are foodies at heart by way of cookbooks or books centred on all things divinely kitchenary.

What truly motivated me to request Leading Lady was finding the story itself – I felt pulled into the premise behind who Sherry Lansing was and I wanted to know more about her life. I grew up with a healthy passion of following beloved tv series and motion pictures alike – both interests are still a big part of my life, even if I regularly opt-out of new releases in favour of classical ones. It takes me a bit longer these days to find newer releases I can sink my teeth into – the last of which were: The Mountain Between Us and Murder on the Orient Express – I was quite gobsmacked I found two so close together I loved! Sadly, this is far more rare these days than it had been even a decade ago where I would find several releases a month I would embrace rather than a handful of releases a year if I’m lucky in the years since.

I suppose in a way, I was intrigued by the premise of finding out more about the back-the-camera world of motion pictures. The allure was also appealling to learn about how a woman grew to become the head of studios previously only held by men. I mostly wanted to learn how she exchanged one life for a new one – how she forged her path and how she found her passions in life to sustain the legacy she gave to each industry she endeavoured to give her heart and life.

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Book Review | “Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker” by Stephen Galloway #BloggingForBooksLeading Lady
Subtitle: Sherry Lansing and the making of a Hollywood groundbreaker
by Stephen Galloway
Source: Publisher via Blogging for Books

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 978-0307405937

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Current Events, Film History | Classic Hollywood, Interviews & Conversations, Motion Pictures and/or Television, Non-Fiction, Travelogue, Women's Studies


Published by Crown Archetype

on 25th April, 2017

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 416

 Published By: Crown Archetype

(an imprint of Crown Publishing Group)

Available Formats: Hardcover, Ebook, Audiobook and forthcoming Trade Paperback

Converse on Twitter via: #SherryLansing & #BloggingForBooks

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Posted Sunday, 15 April, 2018 by jorielov in Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Blogging for Books, Book Review (non-blog tour), Non-Fiction

Audiobook Review | “One to Watch” (Book Three: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison Campbell

Posted Thursday, 12 April, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “One to Watch” via Audiobookworm Promotions who is working directly with the author Rachel Amphlett in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What held me in the throes of “Will to Live” and why I was itching for the next novel:

This soon became a rather complex arc where it truly foretold the author’s intricate way of giving us a riveting story in which to feel enthralled. She even gave Kay and Adam more heartache of concern over their personal safety as much as the boundaries between private life and public service. The further we dig into the series itself, the more alarming it is to realise what Kay is facing in her career – how sometimes there are people who working against you even when your simply trying to do right by those your entrusted to protect.

What was really cagey was someone was trying to drive Kay absolutely crazy by how they were ribbing her already vexed angst with confounding disbelief how records were consistently being re-arranged, re-written and edited. The records in question were connected to the case which had placed Larch on her trail – where nothing she did was good enough and everything she did was a new reason to give her grief from Larch. This was a nod towards how electronic records are too easily erased or altered outright without having a hard-copy to back-up the proof of what they contained originally.

As you move through the series itself, you start to observe the cascading effect of everything – how what you know from one installment feeds into the second and I am sure will continue to carry forward until the dramatic conclusion of where Kay Hunter finds herself in opposition with an unknown foe. It is this thrilling element of unknowns which keeps you hitched inside the series itself but you can’t forsake each of the individual cases to pick up on the subtle clues being added to the back-story of why Kay Hunter is being professionally attacked and challenged.

You become invested in her life and the lives of her detectives under her – especially when the new recruits to her team like Gavin and Carris prove they are not just incredibly brave and dedicated to the job but they give her a new hope to hang tight to prove one way or the other, she is not at fault for whatever is coming down in the future against her. In that regard, the last time I was caught up in a conspiracy against a lead character, it was when Beckett couldn’t sort out what was the truth about her mother’s death on Castle. I have more hope for Kay Hunter to have a better ending than Beckett had herself as Castle simply derailed after awhile.

Right now – I feel hungry for more of the series – as I have yet to truly solve one of the cases ahead of Kay and her team! Each time I think I have it sorted, Ms Amphlett happily throws me for a loop, adds another twist or gives me something to chew on whilst I wonder ‘how did I not see that coming?’ – she’s a brilliant plotter when it comes to a Contemporary Thriller – as you can’t help but listen to her stories straight through – not that I had the luxury of this as I had to break it into a few different listening sessions – but she wills you to want to do that! The absences keep the intrigue level at a high height of curiosity and by the time you listen to the ending chapters, your musefully happy for tucking into the Kay Hunter series! Literally, your mind swirls with everything you learn and you can only hope in the end, Kay and her colleagues can walk away like your favourite tv serial characters.

-quoted from my review of Will to Live

Similar to The X-Files, I have the tendency to truly hone in on the sub-plot which to me feels like the entire arc and anchour to a series – in the vein of how the conspiracy surrounding Kay Hunter and the person(s) who are attempting to dishonour her are what are motivating me forward after each installment. I am appreciating the tightly conceived mysteries threading through the series, but there is a moment of curiosity solely keen on finding out who is marking Kay Hunter as one to take-down when by all appearances, she’s a dedicated detective committed to her job and to her husband. She takes the cases seriously and she enjoys the bantering in the office with her fellow colleagues but she could do without the added stress she’s subjected to by Larch (the one character I wouldn’t trust if I were her).

As you move further into the series, you start to see new layers of interest towards this angle of theory surrounding Kay; each piece in of itself is a telling component of the building climax, wherein your unsure if your fully prepared for the ‘ending’ of how it will either come fully out into the surface or if there will be a showdown – as similar to what I voiced before, it does echo the issues Det. Beckett felt crushed under (ie. Castle) whilst it also echoes the trials and adversities of Rizzoli & Isles – these are fiercely strong women in law enforcement stories who are dealing with incredibly difficult issues from a nemesis they never quite understand until they can sort out their identity. Sadly, even then, sometimes the truth leads to more questions than a resolution.

I was contemplating where this was going to take us before I entered One to Watch – as I knew the titles had a duality of purpose – except, in this one regard, I was hoping it might leant itself to drawing us closer to the conspiracy rather than being the bridge clue into the mystery. I have a feeling when I finish my listening of Hell to Pay, I am going to be in withdrawal for Call to Arms!

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Audiobook Review | “One to Watch” (Book Three: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison CampbellOne to Watch
by Rachel Amphlett
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Alison Campbell

Sophie Whittaker shared a terrifying secret. Hours later, she was dead.

Detective Kay Hunter and her colleagues are shocked by the vicious murder of a teenage girl at a private party in the Kentish countryside.

A tangled web of dark secrets is exposed as twisted motives point to a history of greed and corruption within the tight-knit community.

Confronted by a growing number of suspects and her own enemies who are waging a vendetta against her, Kay makes a shocking discovery that will make her question her trust in everyone she knows.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B075ZY63PY

Also by this author: Scared to Death, Will to Live, Hell to Pay, Call to Arms

Also in this series: Scared to Death, Will to Live, Hell to Pay, Call to Arms


Genres: Crime Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Police Procedural, Thriller


Published by Saxon Publishing

on 3rd October, 2017

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 7 hours, 27 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Saxon Publishing

Order of the Kay Hunter Detective series:
Scared to Death | Book One (see also Review)
Will to Live | Book Two (see also Review)
One to Watch | Book Three
Hell to Pay | Book Four | Synopsis
Call to Arms | Book Five | Synopsis

About Rachel Amphlett

Rachel Amphlettt

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore's TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

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Posted Thursday, 12 April, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), British Literature, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Detective Fiction, England, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Good vs. Evil, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Psychological Suspense, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Sociological Behavior, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, True Crime