Sunday 15 October 2023

Book Review: Hunter's Secret by Val Penny



Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is called to the scene of a murder. DCs Tim Myerscough and Bear Zewedu found a corpse, but when Hunter arrives it has disappeared, and all is not as it seems.

Hunter recalls the disappearance of a dead body thirty years earlier. The Major Incident Team is called in but sees no connection – it is too long ago. Hunter is determined to investigate the past and the present with the benefit of modern DNA testing.

Tim has other problems in his life. His father, Sir Peter Myerscough, is released from jail. He, too, remembers the earlier murder. There is no love lost between Hunter and Sir Peter. Will Hunter accept help from his nemesis to catch a killer?
Hunter’s own secret is exciting and crucial to his future. Will it change his life? And can he keep Edinburgh safe?


This is the sixth book in Val Penny's series about Hunter Wilson, her Edinburgh based Detective. Often by this stage series can become formulaic but Penny has avoided this with a tense thriller, which brings Hunter's past squarely into the present. The book is well written with a storyline that engrosses and holds the readers attention throughout. From the opening flashback to the final denouement, the story takes us through numerous twists and turns, enough to keep the most hardened crime aficionado happy. As a crime lover myself, I enjoyed it immensely. Edinburgh is brought vividly to life and having been there countless times I say this with authority. I enjoyed getting to know Hunter more deeply, almost seeing inside his psyche. Another excellent thriller from the pen of Val Penny.

Author Bio

Val Penny has an Llb degree from the University of Edinburgh and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer but has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store.

Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories,nonfiction books, and novels. Her novels are published by SpellBound Books Ltd.

Val is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and their cat.


Website -

Amazon Author Page -

Author Facebook Page -

Author Twitter Page @valeriepenny

Author Instagram Page

Monday 4 September 2023

Book Review by Mason Bushell


Whilst I am usually a crime thriller sort of girl, I am trying to push myself out of my comfort zone and I do like a short story. So, today's review, A Gentle Nudge by Mason Bushell, is a slim volume of short stories. 


Stories to soothe your soul.

In a world drowning in negativity and dark events, we all need a little light and hope. With a little adventure, romance and even music, these short stories will give your hopes and dreams a nudge as they draw a smile.

A Gentle Nudge by Mason Bushell wraps you in calm.


The subtitle of the book is stories of hopes, dreams and kindness to draw a smile. The book delivers what it promises and does it well. Reading it is like being wrapped in a warm blanket of comfort, a surfer antidote to the endless bad news we consume on the news each day. The stories are short and each can be read in just a few minutes. The prefect book to pick up and put down; definitely one for the commute. Each story is unique and draws the reader in, telling a tale which tugs at the emotional heartstrings. This is not a long book but it does not need to be. The stories should be savoured, thought about, and remembered long after they have been read. As well as entertaining they also help us to think about our own lives. This is definitely a book I would recommend.

If you would like to buy the book you can do so via the links below

You can find out more about Mason via

That's it for another day, Bookaholics. I will be back soon with another review. Until then, keep reading and keep writing. 

Monday 10 July 2023

Book Review: Hunters Blood by Val Penny


Good afternoon, Bookaholics. I'm delighted to be back with a review of another book for you and it's a real cracker. 


Mutilation and murder outrage…It’s about to get very personal for DI Hunter Wilson.

When DI Hunter Wilson learns three elderly women have died in mysterious circumstances he is horrified to realise that he is the only person who has met each of them.

As he scrutinises the evidence he concedes that he must accept help from the Major Investigation Team to solve the triple murder.

When a breakthrough comes from unlikely source , Hunter finds himself in a race against the clock.

What exactly did the witness hear?

Do the victims really deserve justice? or were they targeted for their own past crimes.


I love Penny's Hunter series and I was looking forward to reading this one, newly released under a new publisher. Both the author and the publisher have played a blinder. The book is extremely well written, the plot detailed, and the pace so fast you are dragged along at speed. I felt like I was being hurtled around twists and turns, so much so I was dizzy. It was a thrilling ride. I love the character of Hunter and we get to know so much more about him in this book. The author is a skilled writer and this is evident from the first word to the last. The characters are realistic and, having been to Edinburgh numerous times, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, the setting is equally as realistic. The city is used as a background and one sees the darkness that lurks beneath and behind the beautiful city seen by tourists. It forms a dark backdrop to the story. The storyline is well crafted which leads to a story which keeps the reader enthralled and entertained. Kudos to the author for the achievement.

If you like well crafted crime fiction which will literally keep you on the edge of your seat and gasping, you should grab this one immediately.

Thank you to the publisher for an ARC of this book. At no point was I asked to write a positive review and my review is based on my reading and enjoyment of the book. 

There we have it for another week, Bookaholics. Grab the book, grab a coffee, put your feet up and settle down for a great read. See you soon and until then, keep reading and keep writing. 

Sunday 14 May 2023

Book Review: Death in. Shetland Lane by Marsali Taylor


Hello, Bookaholics, I am absolutely delighted to be part of the book tour for Marsali Taylor's latest book, Death in Shetland Lane. I am a great lover of this series and I was very much looking forward to reading this one? Did it live up to expectations? - read on to find out.


Days before the final Shetland fire festival, in broad daylight, a glamorous young singer tumbles down a flight of steps. Though it seems a tragic accident, sailing sleuth Cass Lynch, a witness at the scene, thought it looked like Chloe sleepwalked to her death.

But young women don't slumber while laughing and strolling with friends. Could it be that someone's cast a spell from the Book of the Black Arts, recently stolen from a Yell graveyard?

A web of tensions between the victim and those who knew her confirm that something more deadly than black magic is at work. But proving what, or who, could be lethal - and until the mystery is solved, innocent people will remain in terrible danger...


I can categorically state that this, the latest book, did meet my expectations and then some. Taylor has crafted a story that had me hanging on to every word - I would expect nothing less from this consummate wordsmith. It is well plotted with a storyline that surprises, intrigues and leaves the reader breathless. Yes, I know it's a cliche, but one I use proudly. From the opening historical prologue to the final page the tension is played out well. Cass as a character continues to grow and yet she si the same old Cass; someone who feels like an old friend. The other characters are well drawn and believable bringing their own unique slant to the overall narrative and mystery. Of course, Shetland, sailing and boats are characters in themselves. All of these are portrayed well, allowing a glimpse into life both on the island and on the sea, without overwhelming. One is allowed a glimpse of these in a way which educates those who know little about them but without the rider feeling they are out of their depth. Please excuse the pun. Bring all this together and you are faced with a cracking read which will not disappoint. I can highly recommend it. 

Marsali Taylor

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland’s scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland’s distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.



That's it for another week Bookaholics. I hope you enjoy eh book as much s I did. See you all soon, but until then, keep reading and keep writing. 

Monday 20 March 2023

Book Review: The Dangerous Dance of Emma JJ by Annie Try

Hello, bookaholics, I am back with another fabulous book for you. What a treat lies ahead. 

I love Annie Try books, so when the publisher asked me to be part of this blog tour, I jumped at the chance. Emma is a looked after child with a secret at her very core. Of course, all of this brings its own emotional baggage. This could be a depressing book but it is very definitely not. Emma, is a relatable character and even though this book is for young adults I, as an adult, was rooting for her every step of the way. She shows courage and strength of character, supported at every turn by her best friend and boyfriend. The relationships are described well and are believable and the characterisation is spot on. When Emma discovers dance, her life is transformed through her passion for dancing and the reader almost feels her come alive. The book is structured well and leads the reader through the highs and lows of the teenage life. The author has a real grasp of the teenage psyche and this shines through in every carefully chosen word. 

I like the way the author has not shied away from the impact of past trauma on a young person. This is handled sensitively and is an important part of the storyline. It takes great skill to do so. It does have some faith aspects but this is woven into the story in a way which does not overwhelm. It is handled sensitively and allows the reader to think about matters of faith. 

Although this is a story for Young Adults I would also recommend it to adults. A well thought out, well written book which would have wide appeal.

If you would like to find out more about Annie Try and her work you can find her via the links below.

Thanks for reading my bookaholic friend. I will be back soon with another great read. Until then, keep reading and keep writing. 


Monday 30 January 2023

Book Review: Hunter's Force by Val Penny


Hello, my Bookaholic friends, I have another book review for you and this is one you will not want to miss. 

I would like to start by saying I love this cover. It gives a real Tartan Noir vibe and this book certainly sits squarely in the Tartan Noir genre. The atmospheric cover carries over into the book itself which has atmosphere aplenty. 


Hunter by name – Hunter by nature.

Can DI Hunter Wilson keep Edinburgh safe when he is the hunted?

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is woken in the early hours of the morning by a call from his son. Cameron’s flatmate has been murdered.

Why would anybody want to kill a young woman recently arrived in the city?Hunter must call in the new Major Incident Team (MIT), however his ability to be involved in the case is severely compromised when someone from his past resurfaces with revenge on their mind

When Hunter goes missing, and his team struggle to find the clues they need to locate hm. Who would want to stop Hunter in his tracks?

Meanwhile, Hunter's team must also work closely with the MIT and with or without him, solve the murder in this taut crime thriller.


I love the D.I. Hunter Wilson crime thrillers and was excited to read this new edition of Hunter's Force. I was not disappointed. What a cracking, on the edge of your seat, up way past bedtime, read it was. 

This thriller is essentially a taut game of cat and mouse, where one is never sure who is the cat and who is the mouse. The hunter has become the hunted, whilst he is still the hunter. If you are confused, please do not be. This book is beautifully written and the stories flows well. The plot is strong and the tension ebbs and flows at just the right pace, meaning the redder is often breathless as the story unfolds. The characters are sublimely drawn, so one feels they know them intimately. Yes, even the ones you wouldn't want to know intimately in real life. In the pages of this book they give the action an extra frisson of both danger and excitement.

The setting is described perfectly and I felt I was on the streets of Edinburgh. Even if the reader has never been there, they will leave the book feeling like they have visited and know it well.

All of this is possible because Penny is an expert wordsmith who uses every carefully chosen word to its best effect. This is a book which will leave you both satisfied and wanting more. I would recommend this book and the series to you. 

Author Biography 


Val Penny has an Llb degree from the University of Edinburgh and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer but has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store.

Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories, nonfiction books, and novels. Her novels are published by SpellBound Books Ltd.

Val is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and their cat. 

Grab your copy of Hunter's Force today.

That's it for another week Bookaholics. See you soon and until then keep reading and keep writing. 

Wendy H. Jones

Wendy H. Jones is an award-winning, international best-selling author who writes adult crime books, young adult mysteries, children's picture books and non-fiction books for writers. She is also a writing and marketing coach, runs the Writing Matters Online School and is the CEO of Authorpreneur Accelerator Academy, The president of the Scottish Association of Writers and hosts The Writing and Marketing Show podcast. She is currently writing a series of historical fiction novels based around the life of a 19th Century Surgeon in the Royal Navy. 


Amazon Author Page

Saturday 22 October 2022

Book Review: The Continued Times of Isabella M. Smugge by Ruth Leigh

Hello, Bookaholics, it's a lovely day for a book review. Well, it's always a good day for a book review and today I bring you one which is absolutely fabulous, darlings. 

If you haven't read the first two books in the series, then you really should do now, as these books need to be read in order to get the full effect of Issy and her development as a character. I mean, seriously, rush and get them as they are superb. So, what of this one.


Now in her third year of living the rural dream, starry Instamum Issy Smugge is up against it. A single parent of four with an award-winning brand, a gin-swigging mother convalescing upstairs and a distraught relative craving a shoulder to cry on, her diary and listed Regency home are bursting at the seams!
Of course, she can count on lively support from the colourful playground mums – and then there’s always Tom, the startlingly good-looking vicar, and his angelic wife, Claire.
But as pressure begins to mount, long-buried memories surface and difficult decisions need to be made. How will our heroine cope with painful emotions? (Clue: no filter!) And when the influencer needs influencing, who will show her the way? 


Yes, everyone's favourite mumfluencer is back in The Continued Times of Isabella M. Smugge, the third book in the Issy Smugge (rhymes with Brugge of course) series. She is now the parent of four, one a brand new baby, and doing it alone apart from help from a housekeeper, a part-time nursery nurse, a gardener and a manicurist. To add insult to injury her insufferable mother has had a stroke and is installed in one of the spare rooms whilst she recovers. Issy, in her own inimitable style, is nursing her, meaning she is paying for the round the clock, wall-to-wall nursing staff who are doing all the heavy lifting. Literally. And don't forget the fact Issy still has her image as a mumfluencer to maintain - her adoring fans expect, actually demand, it of her. How is one woman expected to cope. This is the question she asks herself and yet cope she does - in her own fabulous way. Issy's character grows throughout the books; she is definitely becoming more likeable and, dare I say, human. Not that she isn't in the first two books but she is definitely mellowing and growing as a person as the series proceeds.

Where the book, and all the others in the series, stands out is in characterisation. All the characters are expertly drawn and, love them or hate them, they are real. Each has their own foibles and I love finding out more about them as the books progress. On opening the pages of this book I felt I was meeting with family and friends once more. This is the sign of a well written series, one which I love. I loved this book just as much, possibly even more, than the others. Leigh has a way with words which she uses to great effect to entertain and delight. 

This is Christian fiction but the Christianity is weaved in in a way which does not overwhelm and is extremely natural. At times Issy feels like she is living in a parallel universe with the 'church speak' but this is handled well and explained. Whilst Christians would enjoy this book I believe non-Christians would enjoy it just as much.

Another triumph from the pen of Ruth Leigh and I hope there will be many more Issy books to come. 

Signed copies complete with merchandise can be ordered via Ruth's website ( and from good bookshops, Eden, Waterstones and Amazon from 22nd October. In Suffolk, Issy Smugge is stocked by Woodbridge Books, Dial Lane Books in Ipswich and The Halesworth Bookshop.

I was given an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. At no point was I asked to provide a positive review and this is based on my reading and enjoyment of the book.