#Blogtour: Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul @GillPaulAUTHOR @headlinepg @Phoebe_Swinburn

51ut3ChVGVL._AC_US218_

 

Book Description:

Two women who challenged the Crown.
Divided by time. Bound by a secret…

1911
At the age of fifteen, carefree Mary Kirk and indomitable Wallis Warfield meet at summer camp. Their friendship will survive heartbreaks, separation and the demands of the British Crown until it is shattered by one unforgivable betrayal.

1997
Rachel’s romantic break in Paris with her fiancé ends in tragedy when the car ahead crashes. Inside was Princess Diana. Back in Brighton, Rachel is haunted by the accident, and intrigued to learn the princess had visited the last home of Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, only hours before the crash. Soon, the discovery of a long-forgotten link to Wallis Simpson leads Rachel to the truth behind a scandal that shook the world…

Richly imagined and beautifully written, ANOTHER WOMAN’S HUSBAND is a gripping, moving novel about two women thrust into the spotlight, followed by scandal, touched by loss.

My Review:

I loved Gill Paul’s first book, The Secret Wife, so when an opportunity arose to be on the blog tour for her new book I happily volunteered.

It was fascinating to learn more about Wallis Simpson and discover more about her early life.  I felt she was quite a complex character and I could never work out whether i liked her or not.  At times I felt desperately sorry for her as she definitely goes through some tough moments but at others I just wanted to shake her as I found her so uncaring.  The story line relating to Diana’s death was also very interesting.  I do remember seeing it on the news but I hadn’t remembered a lot of the facts and figures or the conspiracy theories surrounding her death.

The author does a great job of transporting the reader back in time to Wallis’s early years and capturing the lifestyle that was lead then.  I loved the descriptions of the clothes and parties, I really wanted to be there too! It was a time of a great shift in attitude towards women and I thought it was clever how this was portrayed through the characters of Mary and Wallis.  The national outpouring of grief from Diana’s death as well as the frenzy to try and discover the truth is also perfectly captured and described.

The story has such a great flow to it which makes it very easy to read and gradually draws the reader in as more of the story is revealed. It really kept me guessing as to how the two stories would fit together which was unusual for me as normally I do manage to figure it out.

This is Gill Paul’s fifth book and I really look forward to reading more from her.  She is brilliant at writing atmospheric and engaging historical fiction and is fast becoming one of my favourite authors!

Thank you to Phoebe Swinburn and headline publisher s for my copy of the book and for letting me be a part of the blog tour.

About The Author:

IMG_20170816_211344

Gill Paul writes historical fiction, including The Secret Wife (about the Romanovs), No Place for a Lady (set during the Crimean War), Women and Children First (set on the Titanic) and The Affair (set in 1960s Rome during the making of the Burton-Taylor Cleopatra film).

She also writes a historical non-fiction, including A History of Medicine in 50 Objects and a historical Love Stories series.

And she writes on nutrition and health, after studying to be a doctor then changing her mind…

Gill lives in London and swims in an outdoor pond all year round. Bonkers!

IMG_20170816_203147

 

Girl Zero by A. A. Dhand @aadhand @TransworldBooks

51hIit65hdL

 

Book Description:

There are some surprises that no-one should ever have to experience. Standing over the body of your beloved – and murdered – niece is one of them. For Detective Inspector Harry Virdee, a man perilously close to the edge, it feels like the beginning of the end.

His boss may be telling him he’s too close to work the case, but this isn’t something that Harry can just let lie. He needs to dive into the murky depths of the Bradford underworld and find the monster that lurks there who killed his flesh and blood.

But before he can, he must tell his brother, Ron, the terrible news. And there is no predicting how he will react. Impulsive, dangerous and alarmingly well connected, Ron will act first and think later. Harry may have a murderer to find but if he isn’t careful, he may also have a murder to prevent.

My Review:

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that had me hiding in the kitchen from the kids, desperately trying to fit another couple of pages in but that is exactly what I found myself doing with this book.  Girl Zero was a dark, twisty and thrilling book that I found hard to put down.

Harry is a brilliant main character! Torn between family loyalty and his job he is determined to track down his niece’s killer.  His clever, though unorthodox, techniques definitely get him the results he wants and earns him a grudging respect from his colleagues.  He is shown to have a softer side too.  As the novel progresses we learn that he is heartbroken to be estranged from his family and is finding the separation tough.  His relationship with his brother is further tested by their different approaches to finding the killer and discovering what Tara, his niece, was involved in.  This effects his judgement at times and it was quite poignant to see him struggling with the different pressures in his life.

The book is set in modern day Bradford but a very dark and unlawful one.  Here criminals rule the town and many areas have fallen into disrepair or become huge trouble areas.  The atmosphere throughout the book is very tense as we learn more about the criminal activity present in Bradford.  There is a feeling of hopelessness hanging over Bradford that makes it feel like something is going to happen any moment.  These feelings of uncertainty and expectation had me hooked from page one and I kept turning the pages faster and faster to find out how the story progressed.

The information regarding religion, especially the differences between Muslims and Sikhs was very interesting.  I must admit to not knowing a lot about the two religions so it was fascinating to find out more about it.  The cultural expectations from parents and the upholding of family honour are subjects that you often read about in the papers so it was great to read about it from a different point of view.

This is the author’s second novel but the first that I have read.  Girl Zero is actually the second book in the Harry Virdee series but it reads fine as a stand alone.  I certainly didn’t feel that I was at a disadvantage not reading the books in order.

A huge thank you to the author for sending me as copy if his book in exchange for an honest review.

About The Author:

th (7)

A.A. Dhand was raised in Bradford and spent his youth observing the city from behind the counter of a small convenience store. After qualifying as a pharmacist, he worked in London and travelled extensively before returning to Bradford to start his own business and begin writing. The history, diversity and darkness of the city have inspired his Harry Virdee novels.

Cover Reveal: Fatal Masquerade by Vivian Conroy @vivwrites @HQDigitalUK

Image-1_1

I’m very excited to be doing my first cover reveal for the fantastic sounding Fatal Masquerade by Vivian Conroy.   This is currently available to pre-order for £1.99 on amazon and will be published on the 4th October 2017.  I will be sharing my review in October as part of the blog tour but first her is a little bit about the book and the author!

Book Description:

Lady Alkmene and Jake Dubois are back in a gripping new adventure facing dangerous opponents at a masked ball in the countryside.

Masked danger…

Lady Alkmene Callender has always loved grand parties, but when she receives an invitation to a masked ball thrown by Franklin Hargrove – oil magnate, aviation enthusiast and father of her best friend, Denise – she’s never seen such luxury. The estate is lit up with Chinese lanterns in the gardens, boats operated by footmen float across the pond and the guest list features the distinguished, rich and powerful!

But below the glamour, evil is lurking. When a dead body is discovered, it forces Lady Alkmene to throw off her mask and attempt to find the true killer before Denise’s family are accused. If only her partner, Jake Dubois, weren’t hiding something from her…

This case might just be more dangerous than either of them could have imagined.

Fatal Masquerade is the fourth book in the series but can be read as a stand alone. The other books available in the series are:

Image-1

About The Author:

Vivian Conroy discovered Agatha Christie at 13 and quickly devoured all Poirot and Miss Marple stories. Over time Lord Peter Wimsey and Brother Cadfael joined her favorite sleuths. Even more fun than reading was thinking up her own fog-filled alleys, missing heirs and priceless artifacts. So Vivian created feisty Lady Alkmene and enigmatic reporter Jake Dubois sleuthing in 1920s London and the countryside, first appearing in A PROPOSAL TO DIE FOR (published by Carina UK/Harper Collins). Now she has created the contemporary Country Gift Shop Mysteries published by HQ Stories.

Little Bird by Sharon Dempsey @svjdempz @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681

LittleBird alegra sans + ancona cd FINAL

Book Description:

Some secrets are best kept quiet.

Declan Wells, a forensic psychologist, has a lot on his plate. He has been struggling with the aftermath of a car bomb, which has left him in a wheelchair, his wife has been dutiful but Declan is certain she is having an affair, and his eldest daughter Lara’s new property developer husband, has dubious business practices.

Meanwhile, Anna Cole is running away from her mother’s death and a stale relationship. On secondment to the Police Service of Northern Ireland from Wales, Anna hopes that she can throw herself into work to distract herself from her guilt.

Then the murders begin and the killer leaves behind some very strange messages.

My Review:

I haven’t had much luck with crime books recently, but I’m pleased to say that Little Bird has broken my rut!

The book starts off really strongly with a thrilling chase through the woods and doesn’t really let up until the end, making it quite difficult to put down.  The story is told from three different point of views, Anna the police detective and her investigation, Declan the father of one of the murdered girls and the murdered himself.  This makes the story very interesting as you get a much more rounded view of what has happened.

The part telling the murderers side of the story was very chilling.  I felt like I was getting into his mind, as I was able to know what he was thinking as he murdered.  The thing that struck me most about him was how normal he seemed which added to the uneasiness I felt about him.

Anna was a great main character.  She knows what she wants and sets out to get it regardless of what others think.  This can, at times, make her seem quite cold and uncaring though.  She wasn’t a stereotypical police woman always fighting for her rights and trying to pick up any discrimination in the force.  Instead she let her work do the talking, confident that people would realise she was doing a good job.

Trigger warning: There is a bit of animal cruelty and taxidermy in the book which might upset people as it is quite descriptive at times.

This is Sharon’s debut novel and I look forward to reading more from her.  Thank you to Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books for my copy and the chance to be on the blog tour.

About The Author:

Sharon Dempsey is a Belfast based writer of fiction and non-fiction books, with four health books published. She facilitates therapeutic creative writing classes for people affected by cancer and other health challenges and runs a creative writing group for young people, called Young Scribblers, at the Crescent Arts Centre.

Sharon studied Politics and English at Queen’s University and went on to City University, London to do a postgraduate diploma in journalism.  She has written for a variety of publications and newspapers, including the Irish Times.

Through the Arts Council NI’s Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP), Sharon was awarded funding, which she used to acquire mentoring from, bestselling Irish crime writer, Louise Phillips. Louise was a great support while Sharon was writing Little Bird, her first crime novel.

Links:

Titter Twitter:@svjdempz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SharonDempsey13

Blog: https://1stchapterdempsey.wordpress.com

BLOG TOUR (4)

The Companion by Sarah Dunnakey @SarahDeeWrites @orionbooks @Leanne_Oliver1

51o5kemhql

Today I’m delighted to be on the blog tour four the fabulous The Companion by Sarah Dunnakey.  Huge thank you to Leanne Oliver and Orion Books for my copy of this book and for the chance to be on the blog tour.

Book Description:

How do you solve a mystery when the clues are hidden in the past?

The Companion is a beautiful and powerfully-told story of buried secrets, set between the 1930s and the present day, on the wild Yorkshire moors.

Billy Shaw lives in a palace. Potter’s Pleasure Palace, the best entertainment venue in Yorkshire, complete with dancing and swing-boats and picnickers and a roller-skating rink.

Jasper Harper lives in the big house above the valley, with his eccentric mother Edie and Uncle Charles, brother and sister authors who have come from London to write in the seclusion of the moors.

When it is arranged for Billy to become Jasper’s companion, Billy arrives to find a wild, peculiar boy in a curiously haphazard household where nothing that’s meant is said and the air is thick with secrets. Later, when Charles and Edie are found dead, it is ruled a double suicide, but fictions have become tangled up in facts and it’s left to Anna Sallis, almost a century later, to unravel the knots and piece together the truth.

My Review:

The sense of atmosphere the author creates is stunning.  I loved the descriptions of the pavilion and all the fun that could be had there.   I so wanted to go there and experience it all for myself.  The brightness and fun of the pavilion is contrasted brilliantly with the loneliness and wildness of the moors which helped create a claustrophobic effect around High Hob and the residents there.

The friendship between Billy and Jasper was an interesting one.  I enjoyed reading about their childish adventures on the moor and the games they played.  It made me feel nostalgic for my own childhood as I remember trying to hunt pretend beasts.  However you always felt there was a slightly sinister edge to it, especially in some of the challenges Jasper set Billy.  Their relationship is also made more complicated by their differences in class and that Billy was technically an employee at High Hob.

Billy was my favourite Character in the book and it was lovely to hear the story from his innocent point of view.  The love he clearly has for his family and the pavilion leaps from the page and is very touching to read about.  He only seems to need simple things in life but it upsets him when these needs, mainly visits to his family, are unable to be met.

The story is told from both Billy’s and Anna’s point of view in alternating chapters, and I enjoyed both sides or the story and the slow unravelling of the mystery of the Harper’s deaths.  This made the story very addictive and I found myself flying through the chapters trying to discover more about the Anna and Billy’s story.

This is Sarah’s third novel but The Companion is the first book by her I have read so I really look toward to reading more from her.  If you like Kate Morton or Victoria Hislop you will love this book!

About The Author:

th (6)

When she’s not writing fiction, Sarah writes and verifies questions and answers for a variety of TV quiz shows including Mastermind, University Challenge and Pointless. She has an honours degree in History and has previously worked as a librarian, an education officer in a Victorian cemetery and an oral history interviewer.

Sarah has won or been shortlisted in several short story competitions and her work has been published in anthologies and broadcast on Radio 4. In 2014 she won a Northern Writer’s Award, from New Writing North after submitting part of The Companion. She lives with her husband and daughter in West Yorkshire on the edge of the Pennine Moors. Follow her on Twitter @SarahDeeWrites

img_7891

#blogtour: Red Is The Colour by Mark Fowler @MFowlerAuthor @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681

51ZruFDiLsL._AC_US218_ (1)

Today I am pleased to be on the blog tour for Red Is The Colour by Mark Fowler.  Thank you to Sarah Hardy for the copy and for swapping days with me.

Book Description:

A GRIPPING NEW POLICE THRILLER

Bullying. Corruption. Murder.

It is the summer of 2002. The corpse of a 15 year old boy, who has been missing for thirty years, is discovered in Stoke-on-Trent. The city is on the cusp of change and Chief Superintendent Berkins wants the case solved quickly.

DCI Jim Tyler has arrived from London under a cloud, moving to Staffordshire to escape his past. He is teamed up with DS Danny Mills to investigate the case, but there is tension between the detectives.

When the dead boy’s sister comes forward, describing a bright, solitary child, she points a finger at the school bullies, which puts important careers at stake.

Then one of the bullies is found brutally murdered and when Tyler and Mills dig deeper they start to suspect a cover-up.

What is the connection between the death of a schoolboy in 1972 and this latest killing?

With the pressure building, and the past catching up with DCI Tyler, will he and DS Mills be able to put aside their differences in order to catch a cold-blooded killer.

My Review:

This is quite an old fashioned type of crime book.  It isn’t fast paced and there aren’t a lot of twists or sudden reveals in it.  Instead the policemen set about unraveling the story slowly through face to face interviews and research rather then relying on crime databases and forensics.

At it’s heart, is a very poignant and real issue that can effect everyone in their lifetime – bullying.  As the story unravels and you discover more about the victim, you can’t help but feel sorry for the lonely boy and the suffering he experienced.  It also helps raise some important issues like who should have stepped in to stop bullying and why didn’t they.  This is a continuing theme throughout the book with hints as to a cover up often mentioned.

The book also highlights the difference in the methods used for discipline and punishment in the 1970’s compared to now.  I think it’s fair to say some of them would definitely not be allowed now!

The central partnership of DCI Taylor and DC Mills was an fraught and interesting one.  The two men are very different from each other with different methods of doing things.  They dislike each other almost instantly which makes having to work together quite hard.  Their banter or arguments did help provide some much needed comic relief throughout the novel.

This is Mark L. Fowler’s fourth book, but it is the first that I have read.  I do wonder if there will be a sequel to this book using the same characters as I would like to follow their story more.

Thank you to Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books for the ARC and the chance to be on the blog tour.

About The Author:

th (5)

Mark L. Fowler is the author of the novels Coffin Maker, The Man Upstairs, Silver, and Red Is The Colour, and more than a hundred short stories. His particular interests are in crime and mystery, psychological thrillers and gothic/horror fiction.

His first published novel, Coffin Maker, is a gothic tale set between our world and the Kingdom of Death. In the Kingdom the Coffin Maker lives a solitary existence, and every coffin he completes signals the end of a life in our world. One day he discovers that he is to be sent two apprentices, amid rumours that the devil is arriving on Earth.

Mark’s second novel, The Man Upstairs, features the hard-boiled detective, Frank Miller, who works the weird streets of Chapeltown. Having discovered that he is in fact the hero of twenty successful mystery novels, authored by The Man Upstairs, Frank has reasons to fear that this latest case might be his last.

In 2016, Silver, a dark and disturbing psychological thriller was published by Bloodhound Books. When a famous romance novelist dies in mysterious circumstances, she leaves behind an unfinished manuscript, Silver. This dark and uncharacteristic work has become the Holy Grail of the publishing world, but the dead writer’s family have their reasons for refusing to allow publication.

Red Is The Colour is Mark’s latest book, a crime mystery featuring two police detectives based in Staffordshire. The case involves the grim discovery of the corpse of a schoolboy who went missing thirty years earlier. Red Is The Colour is the first in a series featuring DCI Tyler and DS Mills, and will be published in July 2017 by Bloodhound Books.

The author contributed a short story, Out of Retirement, to the best-selling crime and horror collection, Dark Minds. Featuring many well known writers, all proceeds from the sales of Dark Minds will go to charity.

A graduate in philosophy from Leicester University, Mark lives in Staffordshire, and is currently writing a follow up to Red Is The Colour. When he isn’t writing he enjoys time with family and friends, watching TV and films, playing guitar/piano and going for long walks.

Follow The Blog Tour:

If you liked the sound of this book and want to find our more do follow the blog tour and have a look and these bloggers reviews!

IMG_20170729_210636

#blogtour: After I’ve Gone by Linda Green @LindaGreenisms @QuercusFiction @Hannah_Robbo

9781786483034

 

I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for the fantastic After I’ve Gone by Linda Green.  Thank you to Hannah Robinson Cowie and Quercus Fiction for the chance to be on the tour.

After I’ve Gone is out now and currently only 99p on kindle.

Book Description:

YOU HAVE 18 MONTHS LEFT TO LIVE . . . On a wet Monday in January, Jess Mount checks Facebook and discovers her timeline appears to have skipped forward 18 months, to a day when shocked family and friends are posting heartbreaking tributes to her following her death in an accident. Jess is left scared and confused: is she the target of a cruel online prank or is this a terrifying glimpse of her true fate?
Amongst the posts are photos of a gorgeous son she has not yet conceived. But when new posts suggest her death was deliberate, Jess realises that if she changes the future to save her own life, the baby boy she has fallen in love with may never exist.

My review:

I really enjoyed this book, it will definitely be on my list as one of the best books I have read this year.  I was drawn into the story straight away and found it very hard to put down.  The author has a great style that just flows beautifully which makes it very easy to read.

I absolutely loved the main character Jess.  She is feisty, independent and just seems to really enjoy life.  I liked that she seemed really human and that she had flaws which did cause her some problems in her day to day life.  It was quite poignant to read about her past problems and to see her struggle with her choices for the future.  At times these struggles were almost tangible and you really felt for her with the decisions she had to make.

The story was quite realistic, especially as it involved the use of social media which we all know the dangers of and are aware of what some people might be capable of on it.  The inclusion of Facebook status’s, complete with profile pictures, helped to bring the story to life and seem more realistic.

This isn’t a fast paced, twisty thriller it’s a lot more subtle than that.  The author reveals the clues slowly giving the reader plenty of time to get to know the characters.  You get a feeling early on that something is not quite right and this general feeling of unease builds up to a brilliant, climatic ending!

I did guess fairly early on who had killed Jess but I think this was actually the authors intention and if anything actually added to my enjoyment of the book as I willed Jess to figure it out and have the happy ending I felt she deserved.

I think this book would be perfect for fans of The Girl Before and One Little Mistake as I felt the styles were similar, though it would suit anyone who loves just a great book with a fabulous story line!

This is the first book by Linda Green but it definitely won’t be the last and I will look forward to reading more from her in the future!

About The Author:

th (4)

I was born in North London in 1970 and brought up in Hertfordshire. I wrote my first novella, the Time Machine, aged eight, but unfortunately the pony-based time travel thriller genre never caught on. Shortly after which I declared in my school memory book that my ambition was to have a novel published (I could have been easy on myself and just said ‘to write a novel’ but no, I had to consign myself to years of torture and rejections). I was frequently asked to copy out my stories for the classroom wall (probably because my handwriting was so awful no one could read my first draft), and received lots of encouragement from my teachers Mr Roberts, Mrs Chandler (who added yet more pressure by writing in my autograph book when I left primary school that she looked forward to reading my first published novel!) and Mr Bird (who taught most of Spandau Ballet English).

My first publication came when I was thirteen and my Ode to Gary Mabbutt won second prize in the Tottenham Weekly Herald ‘My Favourite Player’ competition. At fifteen I won the Junior Spurs Football Reporter of the Year Competition and got to report on a first division football match from the press box at White Hart Lane (I got lots of funny looks and none of the male journalists spoke to me.)

At sixteen I embarked on ‘A’ levels and a journalism course at De Havilland College, Hertfordshire, and my college magazine interview about football hooliganism with local MP and football club chairman David Evans made a double page spread in Shoot! magazine (he denied everything he said and they never paid me) and back page headlines in several national newspapers (only a nice man at the Daily Star bothered to check the story with me).

I joined my local newspaper, the Enfield Gazette, as a trainee reporter at eighteen. During a ten year career in regional journalism I worked as a reporter on the Birmingham Daily News, news editor on the Birmingham Metro News and Chief Feature Writer on the Coventry Evening Telegraph, winning Highly Commended in the Feature Writer of the Year category of the 1997 Press Gazette Regional Press Awards.

I loved working on regional newspapers but by 1998 my features were getting too long and the urge to write a novel had become too great so I left my staff job to write my first novel and work as a freelance journalist. I have written for The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday, The Times Educational Supplement, The Big Issue, Wanderlust and Community Care Magazine. I’ve also had a short story published in Best magazine

I found the writing and working from home a very solitary process so also worked as co-ordinator of the Birmingham Bureau of Children’s Express, a national charity which ran a learning through journalism programme (they’re now called Headliners) for young people and taught journalism to schoolchildren for the National Academy of Writing. After I moved north in 2001, I qualified as an adult education tutor and taught creative writing classes to students aged between 18 and 82 for the Workers Educational Association across Calderdale, West Yorkshire.

After more than a hundred rejections from agents for my first novel (and more rewrites than I care to remember) I finally got an agent but still couldn’t get a publisher. I started work on my second novel I DID A BAD THING in 2003, finished the first draft and gave birth to my son (almost on the same day) in 2004, rewrote the novel and got a new agent in 2005, obtained a two-book deal with Headline Review in 2006.

I Did a Bad Thing was published in paperback in 2007, made no 22 in the official fiction bestsellers list and has sold more than 80,000 copies. 10 Reasons Not to Fall in Love was published in paperback in 2009, reached no 16 in the official fiction bestseller charts and has sold more than 77,000 copies. Both novels were also long-listed for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Following the success of my first two novels I got another two-book deal from Headline Review, with Things I Wish I’d Known was published in 20110, made the official UK top thirty fiction chart and has sold more than 40,000 copies. And Then It Happened was published in 2011 and made the official top forty fiction chart.

I then moved to my current publisher Quercus, who published The Mummyfesto in 2013. The idea of three mums setting up their own political party caught the media’s attention and I was interviewed on Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour. In 2014 my sixth novel The Marriage Mender was published. My new novel While My Eyes Were Closed is due out later this year.

I live in West Yorkshire (which is great, especially when it stops raining), have a really weird accent which means I can do Yorkshire, London and the Midlands in the same sentence without realizing it, am married to Ian, a sports photographer for a national newspaper, and have an 11-year-old son, Rohan, whose favourite authors are Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, Philip Pullman and Michael Morpurgo.

I enjoy travelling (though I haven’t been anywhere more exotic than Lyme Regis since I became a mum) and have trekked after wild orang-utans in Borneo, been to the edge of the Arctic Circle to see polar bears and as far south as Tierra del Fuego to photograph penguins (yes, I know it would have been easier and cheaper to go to Chester zoo!).

And here are a few of my favourite things:
Novel: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Author: Margaret Atwood.
Music: Florence and the Machine, Adele, Blondie, Beth Orton, Gabrielle Aplin.
Films: The Shawshank Redemption, Dead Poets’ Society, Truly, Madly, Deeply.
TV: Newsnight, Question Time, W1A, Have I Got News for You.
Food: Red peppers, mangos, toasted pine nuts, pesto sauce, Green & Blacks Maya Gold chocolate, strawberries, houmous and oven-roasted tomatoes (not all eaten at the same time!).
Places in the world: Pokhara, Nepal; Tanjung Puting National Park, Borneo; Churchill, Canada; Homer, Alaska, Hebden Bridge, England.

And a few of my least favourite things.
If I was on Room 101 my selections would be:
Women in unsuitable footwear (eg: white stilettos for muddy canal towpaths)
Tights (the 15-denier American tan variety)
Thomas the Tank Engine stories (those engines are so mean and miserable)
Candyfloss (I don’t do pink and sweet)
The notice on pay and display machines which says ‘overpayments accepted’ (big of them!).

Follow The Blog Tour:

If you liked my review and want to find out more do follow the blog tour and see what these other fab bloggers think too!

After I've Gone Blog Tour

 

#blogtour: Cast Iron by Peter May @authorpetermay @AlainnaGeorgiou @riverrunbooks

51ZZ3cJ8f7L._AC_US218_

 

Today I am delighted to be on the blog tour for Cast Iron by the fabulous Peter May, who is one of my favourite authors.  Thank you to Alainna Georgiou and River Run books for giving me the opportunity to be on this tour.

I have a special extract to share with you, but first here is a little bit about the book.

Book Description:

THE GIRL IN THE LAKE

In 1989, a killer dumped the body of twenty-year-old Lucie Martin into a picturesque lake in the West of France. Fourteen years later, during a summer heatwave, a drought exposed her remains.

THE MAN ON THE CASE

No one was ever convicted of her murder. But now, forensic expert Enzo Macleod is reviewing this stone-cold case – the toughest of those he has been challenged to solve.

THE SKELETON IN THE CLOSET

Yet when Enzo finds a flaw in the original evidence surrounding Lucie’s murder, he opens a Pandora’s box that not only raises old ghosts but endangers his entire family.

Extract:

CHAPTER ONE
LOT-ET-GARONNE, FRANCE, 2003
The cool air that came with the night was dissipating along with the early morning mist. Already he could feel the heat rising up through the earth, and soon the sky would be a burned-out dusty white. Like yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. He had read in La Dépêche that the death toll was climbing, the elderly worst affected by temperatures now soaring into the mid-forties. Eleven thousand and mounting. This summer heatwave had scorched the earth, killing trees and bushes, burning leaves brittle and brown to tumble like autumn in August.

It was some months since he had come down to the lake, a primal need to sit in solitary silence with a line in the water, caring not in the least whether the fish would bite – though they usually did. His baby boy was just two days old, and both he and his mother were still in the hospital after a difficult birth.

He glanced west across a shimmering landscape, seeing the undulations of burned fields and the skeletons of trees beyond, to where the caves in these chalk hills once provided refuge for resistance fighters when the German occupiers came looking for them.

The slope here was steep, fallen leaves crackling beneath his feet as he made his way through the trees. And then he saw it, shocked for a moment, and stopped. The lake simmered a chemical green in light already thick with heat, and was half or less its usual size. He stepped through dry, breaking undergrowth to his habitual spot, and saw that the water was four metres down, perhaps more. From here, he walked out on to cracked sloping mud, where his line had once snagged
fish, and gazed down at the water below.

All the streams that ran into the lake had long since dried to a trickle, but the farmers, with more need of water than ever, had continued to draw on it, sucking it dry. Unless this canicule broke soon, there would be nothing of it left. And he wondered if the fish it supported would last the summer.

He started tracking west around the perimeter, a great swathe of exposed lake bed, parched and brown, cut deep into the land like a scar. All manner of detritus was exposed, both natural and man-made. The carcasses of long-dead trees. The skeleton of a pram.

In all the scorched mud and desiccated slime, a flash of blue caught his eye. Pale and bleached by water and sun, just above the new waterline. He stumbled over uneven ground, drawn by the incongruous flash of colour in all this withered landscape. There were streaks of white in the baked mud around it, and he saw that it was a blue plastic bag. Only half of it was visible, the rest of it set solid in the mud.

He laid his rod and his bag on the ground and crouched down beside it, curious. There was something inside. The plastic was brittle with age and tore easily beneath his fingers, and he found himself looking down into the black sockets of a skull that had once held eyes. Long, yellowed teeth were exposed in a ghastly grimace, grinning out at him as if amused by his shock. He recoiled at once, and sat down heavily. And
it was only then he realised that those white streaks set into
the dry lake bed around him were the remaining bones of a
human skeleton.

About The Author:

download

Peter May’s books have sold several million copies worldwide and have won awards in the UK, the USA, and France.

He is the author of:
– the internationally best-selling Lewis Trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland
– the China Thrillers, featuring Beijing detective Li Yan and American forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell
– the critically-acclaimed Enzo Files, featuring Scottish forensic scientist Enzo MacLeod, which is set in France
– several standalone novels including the multi award-winning Entry IslandRunaway, and his latest, entitled Coffin Road, which see a return to the Outer Hebrides (January 2016, Quercus UK).

He has also had a successful career as a television writer, creator, and producer.
One of Scotland’s most prolific and successful television dramatists, he garnered more than 1000 credits in 15 years as scriptwriter and script editor on prime-time British television drama.
He is the creator of three major television drama series and presided over two of the highest-rated drama serials in his homeland before quitting television to return to his first love, writing novels.

Born and raised in Scotland he lives in France.

Follow The Blog Tour:

If you liked the sound of this book, do follow the book tour and see what the other fantastic bloggers think too!

Cast Iron blog tour poster

 

 

#blogtour: The Cardinal’s Man by M.J Sinclair @bwpublishing

51GAftQBYZL._AC_US218_

Book Description:times 

SPELLBINDING TALE SET IN CARDINAL RICHELIEU’S FRANCE

With enemies advancing on all sides and Cardinal Richelieu’s health failing, France is at breaking point. Yet salvation may arrive in the most unlikely form…

Born into poverty and with terrible deformities, Sebastian Morrais a dwarf with the wit of Tyrion Lannister and three foot, four inches of brazen pluck. Through a mixture of brains and luck, he has travelled far from his village to become a jester at the royal court. And with a talent for making enemies, he is soon drawn into the twilight world of Cardinal Richelieu, where he discovers he might just be the only man with the talents to save France from her deadliest foes.

My Review:

The Cardinal’s man is fantastic historical fiction.  It’s both compelling and very interesting, a book I definitely recommend reading!

Sebastian is a brilliant main character, a truly unlikely hero that constantly has to fight against all the prejudices other people have against him due to his diminutive size.  It was heart breaking at times to read about how he dealt with these prejudices, not letting his tormentors get away with this abuse, although this does sometimes lead him into trouble.  He is a very easy character to get behind and cheer on which I found myself doing through out the book.  I thought he was a very entertaining character too and I found that I wanted to keep reading to discover what he would do next. One of the most poignant bits of the book is that Sebastian is actually very intelligent but is never given the chance to show people this as people are quick to assume that because he is small in body then is small in intellect too which he proves isn’t true throughout the book.

The Cardinal was another interesting character and one that I couldn’t decide whether I liked or not.  On one hand he was one of the only people to give Sebastian a chance and recognised his intelligent which was a great confidence boost for Sebastian but the fact that he wouldn’t standup for Sebastian against his bullies meant that I didn’t like him much and thought him a bit of a cold fish!

The author does a great job setting the scene for this book.  I really felt like I was in 17th Century France experiencing life alongside Sebastian.  The huge divide between rich and poor at the time is well described as is the unrest that the poor felt at being taxed to breaking point to help fund more wars.  At times you could almost feel their hatred for the rich coming off the page.  Of course, as we know now, this unrest helped cause The French Revolution almost a hundred years later.

I love learning about new periods of history and I must confess that I knew nothing of Cardinal Richelieu and his influence in France.  The author cleverly integrates actual historical events into the story which was fascinating to read about.  I always enjoy being able to look up such events on the internet to learn more, so this was a huge bonus for me.

This is M. J Sinclair’s début novel and I very much look forward to reading more from him.  A huge thank you to Black and white publishers for my copy of this book.

About The Author:

The only child of two writers, M.G. Sinclair grew up in a world that revolved around literature. Breaking the family tradition, he rebelled and joined the corporate world, where he worked as a copywriter and marketing executive. However, unable to escape the inevitable, he has now completed his debut, a historical novel inspired by a trip to the Prado in Madrid.

Follow The Blog Tour: 

I am the last stop on the blog tour, but if you liked my review and want to find out what other bloggers thought please do visit these blogs and check out their reviews too!

blogtour

 

The Child by Fiona Barton @figbarton @BeckyShort1 @TransworldBooks

51BM-4SK0wL._AC_SX118_SY170_

Book Description:

When a paragraph in an evening newspaper reveals a decades-old tragedy, most readers barely give it a glance. But for three strangers it’s impossible to ignore.

For one woman, it’s a reminder of the worst thing that ever happened to her.

For another, it reveals the dangerous possibility that her darkest secret is about to be discovered.

And for the third, a journalist, it’s the first clue in a hunt to uncover the truth.

The Child’s story will be told.

My Review:

This book is so good! It’s definitely one of the most clever and compelling books I have read this year.

What struck me most about this book was that the author gives the reader plenty of time to get to know the main characters i.  Through out the book you discover a lot about their past and what makes them tick.  This helped me be a lot more engaged with the characters and therefore more interested in their story.

The story is told from the point of view of three character; Kate a journalist investigating the case, Angela a bereaved mother whose child was snatched from a maternity ward and Emma a shy, slightly odd woman who is deeply affected by the story of the child’s body being discovered.  My favourite character was Kate.  Regular readers of my blog will know that I really like strong female characters and Kate is definitely that.  I thought it was great that she was an older lady as strong female characters are normally younger women, just starting out.  I loved how she was trying to reinvent herself to stay on top and that she wasn’t prepared to go quietly and let the youngsters win.  I also had a lot of sympathy for Angela.  As someone who has also lost a child, albeit in different circumstances, I understood her behavior and her actions.  At times her grief was almost tangible which was very poignant to read about.

The writing flows well and really draws the reader in.  I was soon emersed in the story, almost without me being fully aware of it or realising why I found the story so addictive.  The events in the book all seemed very natural and not forced at all.  There are no weird coincidences or connections between the events it was very life like which is perhaps why it’s so intriguing as you feel like this could happen.

The twist towards the end really took me by surprise.  I thought I had figured it all out but it turns out I was very wrong.  I love it when this happens, as I read quite a lot I normally do guess so its always nice when I can’t!

This is the second book by Fiona Barton I have read as I have previously read her début The Widow and it definitely won’t be my last.  I actually thought The Child was better than The Widow which I hadn’t thought possible, so I really look forward to her next book!

Thank you Becky Short and Transworld publishers for my copy of this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Rating: 5/5 stars

About the author: 

th (3)

My career has taken some surprising twists and turns over the years. I have been a journalist – senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at The Mail on Sunday, where I won Reporter of the Year at the National Press Awards, gave up my job to volunteer in Sri Lanka and since 2008, have trained and worked with exiled and threatened journalists all over the world.

But through it all, a story was cooking in my head.

The worm of my first book infected me long ago when, as a national newspaper journalist covering notorious crimes and trials, I found myself wondering what the wives of those accused really knew – or allowed themselves to know.

It took the liberation of my career change to turn that fascination into a tale of a missing child, narrated by the wife of the man suspected of the crime, the detective leading the hunt, the journalist covering the case and the mother of the victim.

Much to my astonishment and delight, The Widow was published in 36 countries and made the Sunday Times and New York Times Best Seller lists.

It gave me the confidence to write a second book ,The Child, in which I return to another story that had intrigued me as a journalist. It begins with the discovery of a newborn’s skeleton on a building site. It only makes a paragraph in an evening newspaper but for three women it’s impossible to ignore.

The Child will be published in June 2017 and I am embarking on my next novel. My husband and I are still living the good life in south-west France, where I am writing in bed, early in the morning when the only distraction is our cockerel, Titch, crowing.