Sunday, 5 July 2015

Blog Tour : The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to be today's blog tour host

Author Photograph is courtesy of Philippa Gedge

Jonathan Freedland is perhaps better known as Sam Bourne.
With The 3rd Woman he has come out from behind his pseudonym to enthrall us with a fast paced thriller which grips from the very beginning.

Published 2nd July 2015
Harper Fiction


Journalist Madison Webb is obsessed with exposing lies and corruption. But she never thought she would be investigating her own sister’s murder.


Madison refuses to accept the official line that Abigail’s death was an isolated crime. She uncovers evidence that suggests Abi was the third victim in a series of killings hushed up as part of a major conspiracy.


In a United States that now bows to China, corruption is rife – the government dictates what the ‘truth’ is. With her life on the line, Madison must give up her quest for justice, or face the consequences…

My review :

In a world of lies only one woman can expose the truth

Under the pen name of Sam Bourne, Jonathan Freedland has already established himself as a talented and worthy author of suspenseful fiction. In The 3rd Woman, he has forgone the security blanket of publishing under his successful pseudonym, and has produced a really high octane thriller which takes as its starting point the sudden death of Abigail Webb, a young woman of flawless reputation. Madison Webb, a feisty and determined reporter, and Abigail’s older sister, will stop at nothing to find out why her sister died. When Madison discovers that two other young women have died in similar tragic circumstances she is determined, more than ever, to uncover the truth. However, as Madison delves deeper and deeper into this web of lies, her powers of observation are stretched to breaking point, and the discovery of scandalous behaviour at the highest level, will put her in grave danger.

Setting the story in a time when the United States has defaulted on its national debt, and has been usurped as a super power by China, adds an interesting dystopian element, and the otherworldly atmosphere which exists throughout feels frighteningly realistic. The short and concise chapters help maintain the snappiness of the suspense and allow the story to evolve in a believable and exciting way. The story line, as it develops, is tense, with elements of danger and there are some nasty situations which occur for Madison and her friends, all of which, had me turning the pages faster and faster, in order to see what happened next. I thought the ending was cleverly contrived and entirely convincing.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. There are more than enough twists and turns in the plot to keep you guessing, and I am sure that the legions of Sam Bourne fans will be delighted with this author's venture into writing under his own name.

My thanks to Hayley at Harper Fiction for my invitation to be part of this exciting blog tour
and to Killer Reads for introducing me to this book and author.


Saturday, 4 July 2015

Saturday WW1 Poet ...

Songs of the Great War


my theme for this month's 

WW1 Poetry  

Tune:- I want to go home 

I want to go home. I want to go home
I don’t want to go in the trenches no more
Where whizzbangs and shrapnel
They whistle and roar.
Take me over the sea
Where the Alleyman can’t get at me
Oh my! I don’t want to die.
I want to go home.

I want to go home, I want to go home
Coal boxes and shrapnel they whistle and roar
I don’t want to go in the trenches no more
I want to go over the sea
Where the Kaiser can’t shoot bombs at me
Oh my! I don’t want to die
I want to go home.

It must be remembered that these songs were usually sung by the lower ranks to keep up morale.

Whilst some of the sentiments may appear offensive to us, it must be remembered that these were very different times and must be viewed as such.


Friday, 3 July 2015

Review ~ The Mountain Can Wait by Sarah Leipcigar

Tinder Press

The story starts with an event which shapes the narrative so subtly, that at times, you almost forget just what tragedy started the story off. Such is the mesmeric quality of the novel that the pages pass silently, and almost without realising, you are drawn into a story about tangled relationships; namely, that of a father with his children, sons with their fathers, and lovers with lovers. It’s also the story of a Canadian mountain and its mercurial and beautiful landscape and the force that the environment plays in nurturing those souls who live within its harsh confines. The story is slow, almost meandering in style but this adds depth and even as an air of suspense pervades the narrative, its underlying message is one of lives being played out in the shadow of deep wrongdoing.

Beautifully written, the slow and measured writing style draws you in from the beginning, and rather than being a page turner with lots of action, the story is more of a slow burner, with subtle nuances and understated light and shade. To say more would be to spoil the effect of the story and do a complete disservice to the author, but what I will say is that days after finishing the novel, my thoughts return to this remote and beautiful place, and such is the emotional pull of the story, that I still stop and wonder just how everyone is doing and hope that they will be ok.

The Mountain Can Wait is a commendable debut novel by a talented new author. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Sarah Leipcigar was born and raised in Canada and low lives in London where she teaches creative writing to prisoners. Her short fiction has been short-listed for the Asham Award, he Fish Prize and the Birdport Prize. The Mountain Can Wait is her first novel.

Sarah Leipciger

My thanks to Tinder Press and Bookbridger for my review copy of this book


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Blog Tour : Little Black Lies ~ Sharon Bolton

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to be part of  Sharon Bolton's

Little Black Lies Blog Tour
29th June - 10th July


Sharon ~ A huge welcome to Jaffareadstoo and thanks for inviting us to be part of this exciting blog tour....

Where did you get the first flash of inspiration for Little Black Lies?

Books can be years in the making, and Little Black Lies was no exception. I can probably trace back its conception several years to a number of events: a dreadful car accident on the outskirts of Oxford in which several children were killed. Meeting a woman in my village who’d never recovered from the loss of her husband and children, also in a RTA, a couple of decades earlier. And then a random thought as I was out walking the dog one day: could three people, credibly, confess to the same crime?

Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about the story?

When a small child goes missing, the people of the Falkland Islands want to believe it a terrible accident. But this is the third child to vanish in as many years. And then a fourth…Three islanders, Catrin, her ex lover, Callum and former best friend Rachel are drawn into the hunt for the missing boys. But each of the three is hiding secrets. None of them can be trusted.

The stark beauty of the Falkland Islands has a central role in Little Black Lies. What made you choose this location and how did you research the island?

A tight-knit, preferably closed, community was essential to make this story work and islands, especially remote ones, are perfect. I was looking for an island setting that hadn’t been used before and, to the best of my knowledge, the Falkland Islands hasn’t. Researching the islands was a lot easier than it would have been a decade ago, because the Falklanders have embraced social media and there are lots of blogs, websites and Twitter accounts that I could follow. As well as the more usual reading, of course.

Whilst you are writing you must live with your characters. How do you feel about them when the book is finished? Are they who you expected them to be?

I tend not to have a very strong picture of my characters when I set out. I let them be defined by the story – in how they react to events, how they interact with each other. I enjoy the freedom of this approach, especially as characters rarely turn out exactly as I intended. Often, they are quite different, and as a result, so is the story.

What do you enjoy most about writing stories and do you write for yourself, or other people?

Both, in that I write the sort of stories I would most love to read, if anyone else were writing them; to that extent, I’m writing primarily for myself. But a huge amount of effort, mine and that of others, goes into a finished book. I wouldn’t put myself through that if I didn’t think a few other people would read and enjoy it.

Can you tell us what you are writing next?

A very dark love story, about a true-crime author, and a convicted murderer.

More about Sharon can be found on her website

Follow her on Twitter @authorsjbolton

My thanks to  Alison Barrow and  Becky Hunter at Transworld for their generous invitation to be part of this exciting blog tour. And of course, to Sharon  for giving so generously of her time.

Please take a look at the other blogs taking part in this tour for more exciting blog tour content

2nd July

Taught.  Tight.  Tremendous

These are the three little words that summarise, for me, Little Black Lies.

Taught, a lesson in the capriciousness of human nature. It's about how we can be taught lessons about life and that no matter how well we think we know ourselves, fate can easily overwhelm us, leaving us floundering in a dark place of despair. We can be consumed by grief and isolated in our loneliness, or we can rise above it and look to the future.

Tight, because the narrative is well controlled and purposeful. There are no superfluous words, no wasted moments, no unnecessary dialogue and no reason to put down the book once you start reading. The story is both bright and shiny as a new penny and dark as the pits of hell. It shows the both the best and the worst of people in the saddest of circumstances and gives us characters who are so realistic they really could be people you know. They are all superbly flawed, quite delicately drawn and ultimately, as you will discover, they are all going to be entirely responsible for their own actions.

Tremendous, storytelling from beginning to end. The Falkland Island comes alive in such glorious detail that I feel like I have steered a boat through the sheltered waters of Port William, travelled the island’s rough terrain with Callum and ridden my horse to the cliff edge with Rachel. I’ve stopped for coffee at Bob-Cats and listened to Rob Duncan on Falkland Island radio.  But more than any other thing I have walked every step of the story in Catrin’s shoes. Her story draws you in and she reaches out to you. She is both enticing as a kitten and as fierce as a snared animal. You hurt with her. You feel with her, and ultimately, you believe in her so much, that you really don’t want the story to end.


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Six in Six 2015....


The idea being that as the end of June approaches and we are then halfway through 2015, let us share the books we have read in those first 6 months. In fact let’s share 6 books in 6 categories, or simply just 6 books. Whatever you want to and the same book can obviously feature in more than one category.

Started by 

Here are some ideas for headings for your 6 book choices:

Six new authors to me
Six authors I have read before
Six authors I am looking forward to reading more of
Six books I have enjoyed the most
Six books I was disappointed with
Six series of books read or started
Six authors I read last year – but not so far this year
Six books that took me on extraordinary journeys
Six books that took me by the hand and led me into the past
Six books from the past that drew me back there
Six books from authors I know will never let me down
Six books I must mention that don’t fit nicely into any category
Six books I started in the first six months of the year and was still caught up with in July
Six trips to Europe
Six blogging events I enjoyed
Six bookish things I’m looking forward to
Six Espionage or Historical Novels I enjoyed
Six Cool Classics
Six Non-US/Non-British Authors
Six From the Non-Fiction Shelf
Six books that didn’t live up to expectations
Six books that I had one or two problems with but am still glad I tried
Six books that are related to The Great War or Second World War
Six bookshops I have visited
Six books I’ve read in an English translation

Here's my Six in Six

Six new authors to me :- 

1. Linda Huber

2. Fiona Neill

3. M J Arlidge

4. Joanna Courtney

5. Kate Rhodes

6. Rebecca Whitney 

Six authors I have read before

1. Elizabeth Chadwick

2. Pamela Hartshorne

3. Rebecca Mascull

4. Jodi Picoult

5. Elly Griffiths

6. Deborah Harkness 

Six books I have enjoyed the most

1. If You Go Away by Adele Parks

2. The Edge of Dark by Pamela Hartshorne

3. The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

4. The Silent Hours by Cesca Major

5. We are all Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman

6. You, Me and Other People by Fionnuala Kearney 

Six books that took me by the hand and led me into the past

1. The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland

2. Lamentation by C J Sansom

3. The Song of the Sea Maid by Rebecca Mascull

4. The Silvered Heart by Katherine Clements

5. Leopards of Normandy by David Churchill

6. The Chosen Queen by Joanna Courtney

Six trips to Europe

1. The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain (Paris)

2. Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum (Zurich)

3. A Spell in Provence by Marie Laval (France)

4. The Wedding Cake Tree by Melanie Hudson ( England and Europe)

5. Secrets of the Tower by Debbie Rix (Italy)

6. Wolf Winter by Cecelia Ekback ( Sweden)

Six books that are related to The Great War or Second World War

1. Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey (WW2)

2. The Silent Hours by Cesca Major (WW2)

3. I Can’t Begin to Tell You by Elizabeth Buchan (WW2)

4. The Last Pier by Roma Tearne (WW2)

5. Sail upon the Land by Josa Young (WW2)

6. Into the Unknown by Lorna Peel (WW2)

Here's to the next 6 in 6

Happy Reading.


Monday, 29 June 2015

Blog Tour : Greedily Yours by Emma Hamilton

A delicious new series from Bastei Entertainment

Published twice weekly from 15th June 2015, price £1.49 per eBook

Book 1 : Taste Test

About the book

Mia Maxwell loves food. She loves it so much that she’s made it her career.

Everything in Mia’s life appears to be perfect. By day, she runs a food PR consultancy and by night she’s a busy food blogger, delving into new recipes and sharing delicious meals she’s enjoyed. Her boyfriend Paul is always whisking her away on fantastic holidays around the globe, helping her forget his daily comments about her weight and his businesslike approach to their life together. After all, no relationship is perfect, is it?
When Mia’s work takes her down to the countryside of Cornwall to manage a local food festival run by the kindly Lord Trelawney, she takes an instant dislike to his grumpy son Tom, who makes his aversion to ‘pushy Londoners’ very clear. But as the festival gets underway, Mia is surprised to find that he shares her passion for food and cooking. As her time in Cornwall turns out to be far more eventful than she could have imagined, Mia has no idea that her whole life is about to be cast adrift…

**As part of this delicious blog tour I can share with you**

Aunt Agatha's Cornish Fish Pie

My mum taught me the potato pastry but I think she got it from a cookbook originally, I’m just not sure which one. Do I need to find out?? I just make up the base depending on what fish and vegetables I have but obviously I have read lots of recipes for fish pie, including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Rick Stein. 

For the pastry crust

300g of floury potatoes

250g of butter

250g of flour

A generous teaspoon of nutmeg

A good pinch of salt

Lots of ground black pepper

A dollop of clotted or double cream or Greek or Turkish yoghurt.

For the filling

A kilo of mixed fresh fish in season.

I like Haddock, Pollock, Salmon, Bream and Mackerel.

Chopped Squid can be good to add in too and seafood, mussels, cockles and crab, just see what your fishmonger has fresh.

3-4 red onions (depending on size)

4 cloves of garlic, chopped small or crushed

100 g of fresh tarragon, or a good bunch to your taste if you’re picking it from your garden or balcony.

3 grated carrots

A teaspoon of turmeric

A good shake of cumin seeds

A good shake of sweet paprika

A good squeeze of tomato puree - from a tube, about half the tube.

2 teaspoons of nutmeg

250 g of peas, frozen or fresh

1 fennel bulb including the fronds

2 large leeks, finely chopped

A good shake of seaweed, chopped nori works well

Rock salt / sea salt


Fish stock

Clotted Cream or Double cream or 10% Greek or Turkish yoghurt depending on how sour you like the taste to be.

1 lemon squeezed.

Flat leafed parsley if you want it.

Thyme or Lemon thyme if you have it.

You can alter all the ingredients depending on how many you’re making this for, I just chop and add as I feel. What you’re aiming for is a lovely creamy sauce with lots of fresh fish cooked down and then topped with a golden potato pastry crust. 

First you need to get the potatoes boiling for the pastry topping. Scrub and chop the potatoes up, if you don’t want to weigh them I take about 5 or 6 potatoes. Boil them in a pan of salted water. 

Then, chop and fry the onions and garlic, add in the grated carrot and the leeks and fennel and soften in butter or coconut oil and cook with the salt and pepper. Sprinkle in the Nori or seaweed to taste, the turmeric sweet paprika, the nutmeg and the tomato puree. When that has cooked down, add in the cumin seeds and then add in the fish and cook it gently on a medium heat, squeezing over the lemon juice and then adding in the fish stock gradually as everything is cooking to make sure nothing dries out. Whilst you leave that gently simmering, put on the oven and heat it to about 200 degrees or medium hot on a fan or top baking setting if you have one. 

Then prepare the pastry by cutting in the butter with the flour and salt and nutmeg until you have made fine breadcrumbs. Keep checking the fish base that it’s cooking gently and not drying out. 

By the time you have made the pastry the potatoes should be done. Drain them and then add in a pinch of salt, the dollop of clotted or double cream or thick yoghurt and the nutmeg and pepper and mash or pass through a potato ricer so the potato is really smooth. Add that to the flour and butter that is in crumbs and combine until the whole is a fluffy pastry. If you have the quantities right, you should be able to roll out a thick crust although it will be harder to handle than normal pastry. If it’s really falling apart, add in a little more flour and keep mixing until it binds together. Leave to sit a bit in the fridge or on the side. 

Meanwhile add the chopped tarragon and dried if you need it and clotted or double cream or thick yoghurt into the fish mixture and stir until it looks thick and creamy. Pour the lot in to a big pie dish, maybe around 30 cm long by about 20cm wide. Try and roll out the pastry and then place it on top, make a couple of cuts in the top of the pastry and if you want, fashion a little shape like a star or little fishes for the centre of the pie. If you really can’t roll out the pastry then dollop it on top as though it is normal mashed potato and make sure it completely covers the fish mixture underneath. It will still crisp up in the oven. Put the pie in the now hot oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the pastry is nicely golden brown and crisp. 

This is a messy dish so serve with a deep serving spoon to make sure you get all the creamy filling as well as a good helping of potato pastry topping. 

You can serve with green beans, broccoli or just on its own. 

About the Author

Emma Hamilton is the pen name for a food-loving journalist and writer. Once a staff producer and then freelance reporter for the BBC, CBC, and Deutsche Welle, she has also written for a number of magazines and newspapers, including The Guardian, BBC Magazines, The Mail on Sunday, Four Four Two and Italy Magazine. She has worked on a number of series and documentaries, including one about food and culture around the world. Emma spent six years reporting from Italy and has made radio programmes in many countries including Lebanon, Ethiopia, the USA, France, Germany, Russia, and Cameroon. When she’s not cooking, reading about food or eating it, she splits her time between presenting, producing and writing. She loves yoga, running, gardening and spending time with her husband, friends and family at home.

My Thoughts:

Taste Test is the first episode in an eight part serialisation of the Greedy Girls novellas and gives a tantalising taster of food, love and zesty adventure. We are introduced to Mia, a food blogger of Greedily Yours, whose four year on/off relationship with her boyfriend, Paul, forms part of the novella. But it is with her friend, Lizzie , who runs a cup cake cafe, where the fun lies.

A quick read at 79 pages, Taste Test is the perfect accompaniment to a lunch break in the park. Easily loaded onto your kindle, this lovely story is less than the price of meal deal and so much better for your waistline. The pages fly by, and by the cliff hanger ending, I was more than eager to start book Two...enticingly named ,Salty Tales...!

At the end of this novella are a series of delicious recipes of which Aunt Agatha's Fish Pie is one such scrumptious treat.

Bon Appetit !!

**Enter this Delicious Giveaway **

to win an e-copy of

Greedily Yours Episode 1 : Taste Test.

My thanks to Hayley at ED Public Relations for my invitation to join this lovely blog tour today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Sunday WW1 Poet...

This month's theme 


The Female Poets of the First World War

Nina Macdonald

A War time Nursery Rhyme 

Sing a Song of Wartime

Sing a song of War-Time,
Soldiers marching by,
Crowds of people standing,
Waving them 'Good-bye'.
When the crowds are over,
Home we go to tea,
Bread and margarine to eat,
War economy!

If I ask for cake, or
Jam of any sort,
Nurse says, 'What! In War-time?
Archie, cert'nly not!'
Life's not very funny
Now, for little boys,
Haven't any money,
Can't buy any toys.

Mummie does the house-work,
Can't get any maid,
Gone to make munitions,
'Cause they're better paid,
Nurse is always busy,
Never time to play,
Sewing shirts for soldiers,
Nearly ev'ry day.

Ev'ry body's doing
Something for the War,
Girls are doing things
They've never done before,
Go as 'bus conductors,
Drive a car or van,
All the world is topsy-turvy
Since the War began.

I can find very little information about this female poet other than she wrote a book of poems for children , possibly in 1918.

This poem scans like Sing a Song of Sixpence.

Rather poignant. isn't it?