Sunday, 21 July 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Scribe by A A Chaudhuri

It's great to be hosting today's blog tour stop for this crime thriller

Endeavour Media
1 July 2019

A Kramer and Carver Thriller #1

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be art of h blog tour

Making it as a lawyer has always been a cutthroat business. But now that a sadistic serial killer is on the loose the consequences could prove deadly…

A killer is targeting former students of The Bloomsbury Academy of Law. The victims – all female – are gruesomely butchered according to a pattern corresponding with the legal syllabus. 

Even more disconcerting are riddles sent by the killer to investigating officer, Chief Inspector Jake Carver, offering clues as to who is next and where they will die.

Up-and-coming lawyer Madeline Kramer, a former classmate of a number of the slain, soon finds her life turned upside down by the savagery. And when she decides to help Carver track down the killer, she places herself in mortal danger. 
Can Maddy unscramble the complex riddles, save her own life and those of others destined to die?

What did I think about it...

A sadistic serial killer seems to be targeting young professional women in the city of London, and the killer's modus operandi seems to fit an unusual, and rather gruesome pattern, however, keeping one step ahead of this devious and dangerous perpetrator keeps Chief Inspector Jake Carver and his investigative team on their toes. When Carver makes the acquaintance of Madeline Kramer, herself a lawyer in the city, and a former class-mate of some of the murdered women, they forge a bond which will prove to be extremely useful to the way the investigation proceeds.

I thought that this was a clever crime/thriller which doesn't focus too much on the police procedural aspect, although, of course, it does form a big part of the story but which rather gives us more of an insight into the characters who make up the main cast of the novel. There are some interesting people in the story, and as any one of them could be the killer I had great fun trying to see if I could guess who was responsible for some pretty heinous crimes. I didn't work out whodunit until just before the big reveal and then it was like a light-bulb moment with everything then falling into place.

This is the first book in the Kramer and Carver series and together they make an interesting combination, there is a spark of attraction between them but each have their complications and it will be fascinating to see just how their association plays out in future novels. That the series has huge potential is not in doubt as the writer has huge scope to take Madeleine Kramer and Jake Carver on many more intricate adventures and I look forward to meeting up with them again before too long.

Twitter @AAChaudhuri #TheScribe




Thursday, 18 July 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Thunder Girls by Melanie Blake

🎸 It's great to be hosting today's blog tour stop for this exciting debut  🎸

Pan Macmillan
11 July 2019

My thanks to the publishers and edpr for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of this blog tour


Chrissie, Roxanne, Carly and Anita, an eighties pop sensation outselling and out-classing their competition. Until it all comes to an abrupt end and three of their careers are over, and so is their friendship.


Thirty years later, their old record label wants the band back together for a huge money-making concert. But the wounds are deep and some need this gig more than others.

In those decades apart life was far from the dream they were living as a member of The Thunder Girls. Breakdowns, bankruptcy, addiction and divorce were a constant part of their lives. They’ve been to hell and back, and some are still there.


Can the past be laid to rest for a price, or is there more to this reunion than any of them could possibly know? Whilst they all hunger for a taste of success a second time around, someone is plotting their downfall in the deadliest way possible...

What did I think about it..

We've all seen those pop bands who do well only to then split up, with one going solo and the rest left to try to eke out some sort of living once the limelight has faded. That's what happens to The Thunder Girls at the start of the story and then we push forward 30 years to discover what's happened to them in the intervening years, just as their old record label try to entice them back together for one last concert.

This is a really fun read about the music industry, about what goes on behind the scenes, and of the maneuverings, shenanigans and downright back-biting between the four women who collectively make up The Thunder Girls. I enjoyed getting know Chrissie, Roxanne, Carly and Anita, some, I have to say that I liked more than others, but I think that's where the charm of the book lies, in that you won't like all of them, but the author does a great job of bringing the characters to life in a such a entertaining way that you can't help but be drawn into their story.

I'm not going to say anything about what happens over the course of the story except to say that I was gripped from the first page and read the book more or less in one sitting as I couldn't wait to see what would happen next to Chrissie, Roxanne, Carly and Anita. I have to say though, that parts of the story made my jaw drop,  other parts made me laugh out loud, and there's a dinner part get-together which had me in fits of giggles, and yet, there are also parts of the story which are quite poignant and rather emotional. By the end of the novel I was cheering for The Thunder Girls and hoped that everything would work out for all of them 😊

The Thunder Girls is a real blockbuster of a summer read by an author who knows the music industry like the back of her hand and who brings a lively enthusiasm to this her debut novel.


About the Author

Melanie Blake is an author, playwright and a former music manager. She is head agent at Urban Associates. The Thunder Girls has been adapted for the stage and will have its world premiere at the Lowry Theatre in Salford this September. Melanie Blake lives in London.

Twitter @MelanieBlakeUK #TheThunderGirls




Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Review ~ Bloom by Ruth Kassinger

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Elliot & Thompson
4 July 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

...From Food to Fuel, The Epic Story of How Algae Can Save Our World...

There are as many algae on earth as stars in the universe, and they have been essential to life on our planet for aeons. Algae created our oxygen-rich atmosphere, abundant oceans and coral reefs. Crude oil is made of dead algae, and algae are the ancestors of all plants.

Today, seaweed production is a multi-billion-dollar industry, with algae hard at work to make your sushi, beer, paint, toothpaste, shampoo and so much more. Delving into science and history, in this revelatory book Ruth Kassinger takes readers on an around-the-world, behind-the-scenes, and into-the-kitchen tour. We'll meet the algae innovators working towards a sustainable future: from seaweed farmers in South Korea, to scientists using it to clean the dead zones in our waterways, to the entrepreneurs fighting to bring algae fuel and plastics to market.

What did I think..

I must admit that reading a book about algae was never on my list of 'must reads' and yet once I started to delve into this fascinating book I was constantly surprised at how how important algae is, not just to our environment, but also just how much is in our food , fuel and household products.

The author is a scientist and absolutely knows her subject and there is a definite scientific approach to how the book is divided but it is no less readable for that, in fact, I was pleasantly surprised at just how easy to understand it was and I never felt bamboozled by too much intricate and unfathomable detail but rather became absolutely fascinated to learn how algae visionaries are working towards a sustainable future using  algae and its many components.

The book is divides in four sections which cover:

I) In the Beginning
II) Glorious Food
III) Practical Matters
IV) Algae and the Changing Climate

Each are equally interesting but I think that Glorious Food and its subsections fascinated me the most with perhaps the chapter entitled Welshman's Delight which is about the use of seaweed in cooking.  Who knew that 25 million tons of Seaweed are harvested every year world wide - there are recipes at the end of the book if you want to try !!

Bloom is not a book to rush through, rather than flip through at top speed I chose to read slowly and became increasingly fascinated by just how much algae has been influencing my world. Algae's reach is huge and it will be interesting to see just how much in this book comes to pass, indeed much of it is already happening. One thing is guaranteed though, I will never look at a piece of seaweed again without contemplating its importance.

Imagine that there are as many different algae on earth as there are stars in the night sky - now I know that algae isn't anywhere near as pretty as a twinkling star but after finishing this book I have a whole heap of respect for just how poor a place our world would be without algae!

Twitter @RKissinger #Bloom




Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Blog Tour ~ Truth or Die by Katerina Diamond

It's great to be hosting today's blog tour stop for this psychological thriller

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11 July  2019
DS Imogen Grey #5

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of this blog tour

Sometimes the past comes back to kill you...

Their darkest secrets won’t stay buried forever…

The butchered body of a professor is found in a private office of Exeter University. It is the first in a spate of horrific murders that shakes the city to its core.

Who would target a seemingly innocent man, and why? DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles turn to his students for answers, but their investigation turns up no leads. Someone must know more than they’re letting on…

As the body count rises, the police have to look into the past to uncover the person responsible before it’s too late.

But are they brave enough to face up to the truth?

What did I think about it...

Truth or Die sees DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles embroiled in yet another complicated crime case in which both of them will be tested to their absolute limits. This time however, its not just the perpetrator who is keeping them on their toes, but also secrets from the past cast a shadow on their own investigative skills.

As always, the story moves along at a fast pace, and this latest series of unexplained and rather gruesome murders carries all the hallmarks of this talented author's ability to hold the reader in rapt attention. The many twists and turns kept me guessing and whilst there were times when I thought I had the whole thing worked out, only to then become completely bamboozled when the story veered off in another unexpected direction.

DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles are a great duo and I have enjoyed watching how their relationship has developed since the first book in the series, they have so much history together and their combined efforts at solving the most heinous of crimes is done with great attention to detail. New readers might find that they lose something in the understanding of this relationship so that this latest development, and I'm not going to say what happens between them, but it may lose some of its impact of you don't know much about them as people!

Truth or Die is the fifth book in the series which has seen the author go from strength to strength and whilst it is much better to read the series from the start so that you pick up on the intricacies of the Grey and Miles relationship, it is also possible to read each book as a standalone crime story.

Truth or Die is a great whodunit and is an entertaining, if rather dark, summer read 😉

Katerina Diamond was born in Weston in the seventies. She moved to Thessaloniki in Greece and attended Greek school where she learnt Greek in just 6 months. After her parents’ divorce, they relocated to Devon. After school, and working in her uncle’s fish and chip shop, she went (briefly) to university at Derby, where she met her husband and had two children. Katerina now lives in the East Kent Coast with her husband and children.

Twitter @TheVenomousPen


Saturday, 13 July 2019

His Fic Saturday ~ Lancelot by Giles Kristian

On His Fic Saturday

Let's go back to ....Arthurian Britain

2 May 2019

My thanks to A M Heath, Author's Agent,  for my Twitter prize copy of this book

Set in a 5th century Britain besieged by invading bands of Saxons and Franks, Irish and Picts, Giles Kristian's epic new novel tells - in Lancelot's own words - the story of the most revered yet reviled of all Arthur's knights, the warrior who fought at his lord's side - yet stole his wife. This is the story of one of the great figures of British myth and legend - a story ready to be re-imagined for our times.

What did I think about it..

The myths and legends of our isles and islands form the backdrop to our history and there is no legend finer that that of Lancelot, King Arthur and Guinevere. Born in Gaul, son of King Ban and Queen Elaine, Lancelot and his family are forced to flee following the destruction of their court by the villainous, King Claudas. However, for Ban's straggling court taking refuge is no guarantee of safety and Lancelot soon discovers that his life is about to take a very different turn. His association with the Lady Nimue and his first introduction to the druid, Merlin, is done with fine attention to detail both in using what is known in legend, and also by describing realistically what it may have been like to grow to maturity in 5th century Britain, when marauding Saxons, Franks and Picts were constant sources of danger.

There's a sense, right from the start of the story, that Lancelot is bound for greatness and the author takes us through Lancelot's progression from green boy, to glorious knight, with such a perfect eye for detail that the rich appreciation of this warrior knight's contribution to the mythology of our landscape is embedded with every word.

I was quickly drawn into the story and mesmerized by the richness of the historical detail which is wonderfully descriptive and yet, there's also a magical lyricism to the language which reflects the storytelling ability of those troubadours who sat in smoky halls recounting tall tales of forgotten lands and brave warriors. What emerges, in sublime detail, is a complete picture of Lancelot, the man of legend, who grew from frightened boy, into a man of worth, and whose love for a beautiful and captivating woman would eventually bring down a kingdom.

There is no doubt that the author is absolutely at the top of his game and continually brings history alive in stunning detail. It is my belief that Lancelot is one of his strongest books to date and I don't say that lightly, as I still think that his novel The Bleeding Land about the English Civil War is one of the best historical novels I have read on that difficult subject, and yet, in terms of emotional connection and bringing complicated mythology to life, Lancelot surpasses everything I thought I knew about the Arthurian legend. It's brilliant and bold, strong and tender, and re-imagined so beautifully that you feel as if you have stepped back in time with Arthurian Britain opened up to scrutiny and with Lancelot's destiny as painful and as poignant as ever.

Family history (he is half Norwegian) and a passion for the fiction of Bernard Cornwell inspired the author to write. His best selling trilogies 'Raven' and the 'Rise of Sigurd' have been acclaimed by his peers, reviewers and readers alike. The novels The Bleeding Land and Brothers' Fury tell the story of a family torn apart by the English Civil War and he co-wrote Wilbur Smith's No.1 best seller,Golden Lion. With Lancelot Giles plunges into the rich and swirling waters of our greatest islands 'history': the Arthurian legend. Giles Kristian lives in Leicestershire.

Twitter @GilesKristian



Friday, 12 July 2019

Review ~ Sven and the Purse of Silver by Michael E. Wills

Silverwood Books
May 2019

Illustrated by Viviene Shepphard

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book
Sven’s father is a prisoner in a faraway country. There is a way to get him free and Sven knows how to do it, but he will need help. An offer of assistance comes from a very unexpected and frightening source. Will Sven be brave enough to accept it?

What did I think about it..

Our introduction to nine year old Sven, who lived a thousand years ago in a place called Sweden,  starts this adventurous story which is aimed at younger readers.

Sven watched his father set sail to the Land of the Rus with his words echoing that he would return to Sven.. "when the birds fly south before the winter.. I will be coming home with silver and presents for your mother and you.." But although he watched and waited, Sven's father did not return as promised, and therein starts Sven's intrepid adventure to rescue his father from the Land of the Rus.

The story is aimed at younger readers and is simply told but with enough adventure to hold the imagination and there are some quite beautiful illustrations which really help to bring the narrative alive. I can well imagine that young readers will thoroughly enjoy Sven's adventures because he is quite an intrepid character. His quest to find his father is filled with a sense of danger and a lovely magical element which reminded me of an adventuresome fairy story.

Coming in at 35 pages, Sven and the Purse of Silver is just the right length of story for a comfortable bedtime read and I am sure that confident young readers will find much to enjoy when Sven's adventure gets underway. Equally, it's also the right sort of length to be comfortably read over a couple of evenings as a bedtime story and I would imagine that the grown up will enjoy it too, I know I did !

Sven and the Purse of Silver is out now and published by Silverwood Books

Michael Wills was born in Newport on the Isle of Wight and attended the Priory Boys School and Carisbrooke Grammar. He trained as a teacher at St Peter’s College, Birmingham, before working at a secondary school in Kent.

Twitter @MWillsofSarum


Purchase Link

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Review ~ The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew by Milly Johnson

 ✨ And it's a very Happy Publication Day for this wonderful summer read 

11 July 2019

My thanks to the publishers and edpr for my copy of this book

Behind every successful man is a woman. 

Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

Sophie Mayhew looks like she has the perfect life. Wife of rising political star John F Mayhew her glamour matches his looks, power, breeding and money. But all is not as it seems on the surface. And Sophie has had enough.

Stepping out of his shadow and taking time away to think, she finds herself part of a community that warms her soul and makes her feel as if she is breathing  properly for the first time. Now she must decide where does her future lie?

What did I think about it..

Blonde, beautiful, and with impeccable breeding, Sophie Mayhew is the perfect trophy wife for an up and coming politician. Always relied upon to do and say the right thing, Sophie astounds the gathered media when the words she utters are not those of her husband's spin doctor, whose attempt to mitigate John's latest misdemeanor backfires spectacularly. Fleeing to a place of safety, Sophie takes a good long look at her life, and finds comfort and friendship in the most unlikely of places.

In many ways this is a very timely novel especially in light of the political shenanigans which, quite possibly, go on behind the scenes as spin doctors seek to mitigate mistakes made by those who seek high office, and yet, this is not a political book. It's a lovely warmhearted story of a magnificent woman who has, quite simply, reached the end of her tether, and who looks to heal the wounds of indifference by going to the one place her husband would never look to find her.

As always, the author writes with an instinctive eye for what makes people tick and with such warmth that I can hear her characters speaking very clearly to me as they go about their literary adventures. Sophie is, perhaps, one of my favourite characters ever and I found that I was cheering with glee one minute as she deals with a dreadful situation, and then reading with a huge lump in my throat the next as she attempts to find out just what she wants from her life. Such is the pull of the story that, I quite literally, carried the book from room to room as I didn't want to put it down. There's an amazing cast of strong characters and I won't say too much about them as I don't want to give any thing away but I found that my heart melted on more than one occasion ♡

I think, as readers, we all have a literary first aid box, you know it well, it's that group of authors who will never let you down, whose stories bring you entertainment and laughter, and whose words comfort you when you're feeling down and a bit jaded. Milly Johnson is, most definitely, in my literary first aid box, she makes me laugh out loud, she also makes me cry, but consistently her good Yorkshire commonsense and sound judgement make her novels, for me, such a joy to read.

The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew kept me engrossed from start to finish and it's high on my list as a magnificent summer read.

MILLY JOHNSON is a Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling author of sixteen novels with millions of copies of her novels sold to date. Known as the‘Queen of Feel-Good Fiction’, Milly’s novels always feature friendship,family, love, betrayal, good food and that little bit of magic in life that sometimes visits the unsuspecting. Milly is a columnist for her local newspaper and is an experienced broadcaster on radio and TV. She is also patron of several local charities with community, literacy and animal welfare issues close to her heart.

  Twitter @millyjohnson #BeMagnificent