Sunday, 19 January 2020

Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Anne Cater


On this quiet Sunday morning why don't you put the kettle on, make your favourite breakfast, and settle down for Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo



I'm delighted to welcome Anne Cater, blogger over at Random Things Through My letterbox





☼ Good Morning, Anne. Happy Sunday!


What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?

A stack of beautiful fluffy pancakes, with maple syrup and crispy bacon


Would you like a pot of English Breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?

Oh, tea for me please


Which of your literary heroes are joining us today?

It's an all-female cast for me; Margaret Atwood, Barbara Taylor-Bradford and Marian Keyes


What’s the title of the book nearest to you?

The Prisoner's Wife by Maggie Brookes - it's just arrived. It's a 2020 publication, published by Century in April 2020 

48890235
Century 2020

What’s the oldest book on your book shelf?

A copy of The Flower Fairies of the Trees by Cicely Mary Barker - given to me for Christmas in 1974


Which book do you really want to read but haven’t had time for …yet!

The Labyrinth of Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - the latest in one of my all time favourite series. It's a huge tome at 832 pages and I've just not plucked up the courage (or found the time) to read it yet!

46377291. sy475
W&N
2019

Do you have a guilty reading pleasure, and if so will you tell us about it?

I never feel guilty about reading .... however, I do love Heat and Closer magazines! 


If the house was on fire which book would you rescue?

Oh my goodness! What to choose?? I think I'd just grab as many as I could carry


Do you have a reading playlist on Spotify, or a favourite CD to listen to when reading? And if so will you share with us a favourite song, or piece of music that makes you feel happy?

I don't tend to listen to music when I'm reading but I do love music. I have lots of favourites, but anything by Yorkshire 90s rock band Little Angels will always make me happy - brings back so many memories of following them around on tour. 

Do you have a favourite place to settle down to read?

I read anywhere but on the settee with a fleece and lots of cushions, and usually Costa the cat is a favourite. Or, on a sunbed in the Greek sunshine!

Give us four essential items that a blogger absolutely needs?

A diary! 

A decent laptop / PC

Good internet access

Time! 

Tell us a little about your blog and why you are so passionate about books and reading?

Random Things Through My Letterbox is almost nine years old and totally changed my life. I've always reviewed books online but having my own personal space is wonderful. I'm free to post what I want to, when I want to. I don't remember ever not being able to read, or having a book on the go. Books are as important to me as eating. 


Facebook

Twitter @annecater

Twitter @jaffareadstoo #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo




Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Jordan Bell


On this quiet Sunday morning why don't you put the kettle on, make your favourite breakfast and settle down for Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo




I'm delighted to welcome author, Jordan Bell to Sunday Brunch




Credit Jordan Bell

☼ Good Morning, Jordan. Happy Sunday!


What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?


Home-made scones with jam, cream and lemon curd.


Would you like a pot of English Breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?

EBT for me! Milk, one sugar, thank you.


Which of your literary heroes are joining us today?

If it's OK to ask people who have passed on, I'd like to invite Rumer Godden to join us - her children's books were a lifeline to me as a young reader, especially Miss Happiness and Miss Flower - small stories with big emotions inside them, a great way to start understanding for myself what it means to be a person. I'd love to talk with her about writing for children - her books made complexity simple enough for children, without "dumbing it down". 


What’s the title of the book nearest to you?

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway - an absolute gem of a book and a great place to start with his collected stories (if you can get past the slightly strange name of his protagonist!).

13536263
Vintage
2012

What’s the oldest book on your book shelf?

A first edition English copy of The Never-Ending Story by Michael Ende, printed in red and green ink. I had a copy as a child, read it on multiple occasions, then lost it growing up and was terribly sad. My husband tracked down a copy for me for a birthday one year. Very precious. I'm just waiting for my daughter to get a little older before I read it to her.


Which book do you really want to read but haven’t had time for …yet!

Would you believe Philip Pullman's The Book of Dust (Vol 1) is still sitting on my shelf after it was gifted to me last year by my sister? I loved His Dark Materials so much that I have been scared to take it down and open it.

9307699. sy475
David Fickling Books
2017

Do you have a guilty reading pleasure, and if so will you tell us about it?

Just reading too late up into the night...one more chapter, one more chapter. I remember when I discovered as a child that if I hid a torch under my pillow, I could keeping reading after "lights out" - what a relevation!


If the house was on fire which book would you rescue?

Probably my passport - boringly practical but they are such a hassle to get re-issued! If it was a very small fire, probably photo albums or some of my daughter's hand-written and illustrated stories.


Do you have a reading/writing playlist on Spotify, or a favourite CD to listen to when reading? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel happy?

I can't write when there are lyrics, so I often listen to eg Vivaldi or Bach - or I work in silence. I find silence very soothing.


Do you have a favourite place to settle down to read?

Oooh, in a cafe, by myself, in a comfy chair with a hot chocolate in front of me. And maybe a little cake.


Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs?

Peace and quiet to write, a notebook/notes app for jotting down ideas, someone to encourage them when they are feeling very stupid at what they do and a supply of little snacks to keep them sustained.


What can you tell us about your latest novel, or your current work in progress?

I write a series called Aunt Jodie's Guides - Aunt Jodie, a biologist, takes her niece and nephew, Sophie and Matt, on science adventures.




 


I have just published Aunt Jodie's Guide to Evolution, a STEM-focussed book for children in primary school, illustrated by Gabriel Cunnett, which unpacks the science of evolution.

©Gabriel Cunnett credit Alice Robinson

It makes a great gift for a smart, curious child, and is available online at www.gumroad.com/jordanbell . I'm currently working on Aunt Jodie's Guide to Climate Change, as I think this is something that many children are going to have to wrap their heads around in the next few years, sadly. After that I will probably start working on Aunt Jodie's Guide to the Human Body, as that's what my readers have said they'd like to see next. For behind-the-scenes peeks at the process, search "Aunt Jodie's Guide" on Facebook and join either the Page or the Group!


Website

Twitter @AuntJodiesGuide


Twitter  @jaffareadstoo #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo




Saturday, 18 January 2020

Blog Tour and Giveaway ~ Beyond the Moon by Catherine Taylor



On Hist Fic Saturday

Delighted to host one of today's Blog Tour Stop






“Outlander meets Birdsong is this haunting debut timeslip novel, where a strange twist of fate connects a British soldier fighting in the First World War and a young woman living in modern day England a century later. Shortlisted for theEharmony/Orion Write Your Own Love Story Prize 2019”


In 1916 1st Lieutenant Robert Lovett is a patient at Coldbrook Hall military hospital in Sussex, England. A gifted artist, he’s been wounded fighting in the Great War. Shell shocked and sufferingf from hysterical blindness he can no longer see his own face, let alone paint, and life seem increasingly hopeless.

A century later in 2017, medical student Louisa Casson has just lost her beloved grandmother her only family. Heartbroken, she drowns her sorrows in alcohol on the South Downs cliffs only to fall accidentally partway down. Doctors fear she may have attempted suicide, and Louisa finds herself involuntarily admitted to Coldbrook Hall now a psychiatric hospital, an unfriendly and chaotic place.

Then one day, while secretly exploring the old Victorian hospital’s ruined, abandoned wing, Louisa hears a voice calling for help, and stumbles across a dark, old fashioned hospital room. Inside, lying on the floor, is a mysterious, sightless young man, who tells her he was hurt at the Battle of the Somme, a WW1 battle a century ago. And that his name is Lieutenant Robert Lovett...

Two people, two battles: one against the invading Germans on the battlefields of 1916 France, the other against a substandard,uncaring mental health facility in modern day England. Two journeys begun a century apart, but somehow destined to coincide and become one desperate struggle to be together.

Part WW1 historical fiction, part timeslip love story and at the same time a meditation on the themes of war, mental illness, identity and art. Beyond The Moon sweeps the reader on an unforgettable journey through time


What did I think about it..

There's a tendency for time-slip novels to either work, or not, some, in my opinion, never get it right and I abandon them pretty quickly, so it was with a little trepidation that I started a novel which purports to be Outlander meet Birdsong as that's a huge mountain to climb.

I was quickly drawn into Beyond the Moon with the opening chapter which begins in 1916 at Coldbrook Military Hospital where we meet with Robert Lovett who is recuperating from the his time in Northern France having experienced some of the worst atrocities of WW1. I could quite comfortably have read more about this brave young man only to be quickly plunged, in Chapter two, into the 21st Century world of Louisa Casson who wakes up to find herself unexpectedly in hospital after a traumatic event at Beachy Head.

What then follows is a cleverly controlled time-slip novel which looks at the effect of grief and loss on the human spirit whilst at the same time incorporating into the story an unusual and quite compelling love story. Moving forwards and backward in time we start to understand just how damaged Robert and Louisa really are, and by opening up their individual stories we gradually get a good idea of what makes them act in the way that they do.

The author writes well and controls the dual time narrative with ease, There's also a scarily realistic edge to the story, particularly in the descriptions of Robert's experiences during WW1, and also of Louisa's care in a 21st Century psychiatric facility, both of which are quite difficult  but equally compelling to read.

From the very beginning of the novel the story exceeded my expectations and I have thoroughly enjoyed travelling Beyond the Moon alongside Robert and Louisa.




Catherine Taylor was born and grew up on the island of Guernsey in the British Channel Islands. She is a former journalist, most recently for Dow Jones News and The Wall Street Journal in London. Beyond The Moon is her first novel. She lives in Ealing, London with her husband and two children.

Twitter @CathTaylornovel





Giveaway to Win 5 x PB Copies of Beyond The Moon (Open INT) 

*Terms and Conditions Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below. 

The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. 

Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.





Friday, 17 January 2020

Book Birthday Blitz ~ The Perfect Match by Zoe May



Delighted to be part of this Book Birthday Blitz


HQ Digital
January 2018
My thanks to the author for my copy of this book
Rachel's Random Resources for the opportunity to be part of this book birthday blitz


Sophia Jones is an expert in all things online dating: the best sites, how to write a decent bio, which
questions to ask and the right type of photos to use. The only thing she’s not so great at? Picking the guys...

After sitting through yet another dreadful date with a man who isn’t quite what she expected, Sophia is just about ready to give up on the whole dating scene. But her flatmate, Kate, persuades her to give it one more chance, only this time she must create a profile describing her ‘perfect’ man.

Yes, he must look like Robert Pattinson and needs to own a multi-million pound business, but there are a couple of other breakers, too! So, when a guy comes along who ticks every box, surely there’s got to be a catch?


What did I think about it..


Sophia thinks that she is something of an expert when it comes to dating sites as she's used so many of them but after 71 dates she always seems to end up with the weird guy. After another awful date night with a guy who was more interested in his udon noodles than Sophia, she decides with the help of her flatmate, Kate, to give this dating lark another go. Listing the credentials of her absolutely perfect match Sophia thinks that she is facing an impossible task trying to find her 'Mr Perfect', but then the fickle finger of fate has a funny way of intervening.

When then follows is a light-hearted romantic comedy which looks at all the quirky aspects of internet dating whilst at the same time being an entertaining and fun read. I enjoyed getting to know Sophia, although there were times when she exasperated me, but the author does a great job of creating a very modern day scenario with a feisty and realistic heroine. The author writes well and has created a set of likeable and believable characters who drive the story forward and I particularly enjoyed that I didn't always know what was going to happen next for Sophia, and her friends.

A Perfect Match is a delightful rom-com which is just the pick up needed for a dark and dreary afternoon.


About the Author




Zoe May lives in southeast London and writes romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She worked in journalism and copy writing before writing her debut novel,Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe could not resist writing anovel about dating, since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!Perfect Match was one of Apple's top-selling books of 2018. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association's Joan Hessayon Award, with judges describing it as 'a laugh out loud look atlove and self-discovery - fresh and very funny'.As well as writing, Zoe enjoys walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading! She adores animals and if she's not taking a photo of a vegan meal, she's probably tweeting about the dairy industry. Sheis half Greek and half Irish and can make a mean baklava. Zoe has a thing for horror films, India,swimming, hip hop and Radiohead. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of handbags having spent several years working in fashion copywriting and could probably win Mastermind if this was her specialist subject.

Zoe loves to hear from readers, you can contact her on:

Twitter and Instagram at: @zoe_writes








Thursday, 16 January 2020

Blog Tour ~ The Other You by J S Monroe



Jaffareadstoo is delighted to be part of this blog tour


Head of Zeus
9 January 2020

My thanks to the publishers and Midas PR for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of the blog tour
Kate used to be good at recognising people. So good, she worked for the police as a Super Recogniser, identifying criminals in crowds of thousands. But six months ago, a devastating car accident led to a brain injury. Now the woman who never forgot a face can barely recognise herself in the mirror.

At least she has Rob. Kate met him just after her accident, and he nursed her back to health, in his high-tech, modernist house on the Cornish coast. When she’s with him, the nightmares of the accident fade, and she feels safe and loved.

Until, one day, Kate looks at Rob anew. And knows, with absolute certainty, that the man before her has been replaced by an impostor. A doppelgänger. Is she right? Have her old recognition skills returned? Or is it all in her damaged mind?

Gripping, emotive, original and complex, The Other You is a psychological thriller that explores memory and identity, paranoia and pretence – and asks whether we ever truly know the people we love.

What did I think about it..

After a devastating car accident, Kate struggles to put the pieces of her life back togther, but she does so safe in the knowledge that her boyfriend Rob is going to be there for her and has her best interests at heart. Living in Rob's beautiful hi-tech house on the Cornish coast gives Kate the opportunity to rebuild her life, however, all is not well in this Cornish paradise and when some odd things starts to happen, Kate starts to look again at her relationship with Rob.

What then follows is a clever psychological suspense story that looks at the issues of trust and deception and which follows the trajectory of Kate's life very closely especially as she tries to understand a series of bewildering turn of events which threaten her safety. The story moves along at a cracking pace and I was soon gripped by what was happening in Kate's life. Her unique skill as a Super Recogniser, which is the ability to recognise individual facial characteristics from hundreds of random faces, is an absolutely fascinating concept, and the author works this, very cleverly, into the narrative.

The Other You is a fast action and pacy psychological suspense story which had me on the edge of my seat. I had no idea where the story was heading which makes the final denouement, when it comes, all the more terrifying.



About the Author




J.S. Monroe read English at Cambridge, worked as a foreign correspondent in Delhi, and was Weekend editor of the Daily Telegraph in London before becoming a full-time writer. His psychological thriller Find Me became a bestseller in 2017, and, under the name Jon Stock, he is also the author of five spy thrillers. He lives in Wiltshire, with his wife and children.

Website

Twitter @JSThrillers #TheOtherYou

@HoZ_Books

@midaspr









Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Blog Tour ~ A Messy Affair by Elizabeth Mundy


Delighted to be hosting today's stop on this Blog Tour


Constable
2 January 2020

My thanks to the publishers and Rachel's Random Resources for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of this blog tour

The only way is murder... 

Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner working in London, is forced to brush up on her detective skills for
a third time when her cousin Sarika is plunged into danger. 

Sarika and her reality TV star boyfriend Terry both receive threatening notes. When Terry stops calling, Lena assumes he’s lost interest. Until he turns up. Dead. Lena knows she must act fast to keep her cousin from the same fate. 

Scrubbing her way through the grubby world of reality television, online dating and betrayed lovers, 
Lena finds it harder than she thought to discern what’s real and what’s just for the cameras.

What did I think about it..

Lena Szarka is a full time cleaner who works in London, however, her access into the fascinating lives of her clients also lends itself to Lena's other fascinating pre-occupation, which is that of part-time sleuth. Her occasional, and sometimes reluctant, helper is her cousin Sarika whohas recently become involved with a young man who is something of a reality TV star. When Terry Tibbs, Sarikas’s boyfriend, is found dead in a hotel in very suspicious circumstances, Lena has to put all of her sleuthing skills to good use in order to find out just what has happened to Terry. 

What then follows is a light crime mystery which looks at the strange and unrealistic world of the ‘celebrity’ TV star, and of the depths that people will sink to in order to cover up a crime. The story is filled with all sorts of shenanigans and Lena has her work cut out in order to discover just what is going on in this strange world that she has inadvertently uncovered. I have enjoyed getting to know Lena, she's a feisty and determined heroine, and her, sometimes, unorthodox sleuthing skills made me smile. There's a quirky sense of atmosphere, and with more than enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, the story was entertaining right until the end. 

A Messy Affair is the third book in the Lena Szarka series of mystery/crime novels and, whilst I think it would have been better for me if I had read this series from the beginning, I was able to quickly pick up the story, and I soon discovered that Lena’s idiosyncrasies are easily observed and her quirky personality is nicely explained.





Elizabeth Mundy’s grandmother was a Hungarian immigrant to America who raised five children on a chicken farm in Indiana. Elizabeth is a marketing director for an investment firm and lives in London with her messy husband and two young children. She writes the Lena Szarka Mysteries, featuring a Hungarian cleaner as detective.



Twitter @ElizabethEMundy







Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Book Review ~ The Missing American by Kwei Quartey

Cover of The Missing American
Allison & Busby
14 January 2020
My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book


Gordon Tilson is a lonely widower who befriends a young woman online. When her sister is injured in a car accident, he sends her thousands of dollars to cover the hospital bill and runs off to Ghana to surprise his new love. But he soon disappears without a trace…

Frustrated by the inadequacies of the local police in Accra, his son Derek turns to a PI agency for assistance where there is a new detective on the scene determined to prove her worth…


What did I think about it..

The Missing American is an interesting crime novel which is set in Ghana, a place the author obviously knows well, and he puts this knowledge to good use in the way that the place and the people are made to feel authentic.  

It took me a little time to settle into the story as there is a lot going on and quite a few characters to get to grips with, however, once the story started to take off and I became more invested in the characters I started to settle into the story with more interest. The private detective connected with this complicated case is Emma Djan, she's an interesting character and her search for the eponymous missing American takes her into the dark and dangerous world of internet crime and her quest to root out corruption makes for interesting reading.

The author writes well and brings a complexity to the story, handling the crime at the heart of the novel in a competent way. There's a sense of mystery throughout the story and the author does a tidy job of bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together, I enjoyed trying to second guess where the story was heading.

The Missing American is the start of a new series of crime novels featuring Emma Djan.


About the Author

Author Kwei Quartey



Kwei Quartey was born in Ghana, but moved to the USA to complete his medical training at a time of political unrest between students and the then military government, He practiced as physician for more than twenty five years while simultaneously writing, before deciding to become a full time novelist in 2018. His previous work has been published to great critical acclaim and had appeared on the Los Angeles best seller list.

@Kwei_Quarty

@AllisonandBusby