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



Monday, 8 July 2019

Blog Tour ~ A Fatal Game by Nicholas Searle

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

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4 July 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
and the invitation to host today's blog tour stop

A terrorist attack has just hit a busy railway station. Jake Winter was the British intelligence officer in charge of stopping the attack and now his career, and his conscience, are in freefall...

Jake's next anti-terror operation has to be a success. He has got himself a new source - a young British Asian man, Rashid, recently returned, apparently disillusioned, from battle, who he hopes is the key to foiling the next attack and to getting Jake to the leader of the network. But is Rashid really working for British intelligence, or has Jake put his faith in the wrong man once again?

A Fatal Game is the story of an organization, and a single man, in a state of panic. And panic is the last thing you need when you're playing a game like this...

What did I think about it..

It's testament to the sign of our times when this glimpse into the mindset of a terrorist organisation, both from the insider dealings of the terrorists and also from those who seek to protect the public from harm, is such a fascinating and timely read.

When a surveillance goes horribly wrong, Jake Winter, a British intelligence officer, feels the full force of public condemnation but with a heightened sense of danger comes an obligation to get it absolutely right next time. Using contacts within a terrorist organisation is a brave and determined move but is not without considerable danger and it is this dangerous aspect which is explored in detail. A Fatal Game is one of those stories in which you're never quite sure who is working for whom, or indeed if any of the undercover operatives are truly what they seem, and therein lies the strength of the novel and is what kept me guessing until the end.

The author writes well and maintains a high level of tension throughout the story without compromising on the believability in the way the plot unfolds.  Reading of the author's background of working in intelligence for many years, it's obvious throughout the novel that he is writing about what he knows and he does so without ever seeking to over sensationalise the after effects of a terrorist attack and always with a keen sensitivity for those people who may have been caught up in such an atrocity in real life.

To say too much about the plot would give far too much away, as this, like all suspense stories, is best read without any spoilers, and in keeping it that way, the full force of the ending will impact on you as much as it did to me.

A Fatal Game out now and is published by Viking.

Nicholas Searle is the author of three novels. His first novel, The Good Liar was a Sunday Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger for the best debut crime novel. Before becoming an writer, Nicholas worked in British intelligence for more than twenty five years, he lives in Yorkshire.

Twitter #AFatalGame


Saturday, 6 July 2019

Hist Fic Saturday ~ The Highborn Housekeeper by Sarah Mallory

On Hist Fict Saturday

Let's have some Regency Romance

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Mills & Boon
June 2019

Saved from Disgrace #3

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

A disgraced lady

Turned lowly housekeeper

Earl’s daughter Nancy turned her back on the aristocracy when she fled a forced marriage, working as a cook and housekeeper. But in nursing an injured man back to health, Nancy uncovers a deep longing for the dangerously attractive Gabriel, and a surprise: he’s working to protect government secrets! She wants to help him. But to do so, Nancy will have to return to the life she once cast aside…

What did I think about it...

Nancy is travelling home, with her companion, when she comes across a man who has been gravely injured. Nancy's kind hearted nature is such that she cannot leave the man to fend for himself, however, making sure that Gabriel Shaw survives, not only puts Nancy in considerable danger, but also her contact with this very handsome stranger will open up the secrets of Nancy's past which she has successfully kept hidden for twelve years.

There's no doubt that Nancy is a fascinating enigma, she has an air of delicious mystery around her, and yet, as her connection to Gabriel shows, she has a passionate nature and a real zest for life. However, circumstances have made Nancy wary and rather cautious which makes her attraction to Gabriel all the more captivating. Gabriel is every bit as charming and dangerously addictive as all of this author's fine literary heroes. He is gloriously handsome and the powerful sexual attraction between Nancy and Gabriel sizzles right from the start which very quickly make this into a sparkling, and very passionate, romance.

The Highborn Housekeeper has all the trademarks of just what we have come to expect from this series. There is a large amount of danger and intrigue, especially when Nancy and Gabriel become involved in a secret investigation, but there's also a sizzling amount of passion which smoulders between the couple and which tests their burgeoning relationship to the absolute limits.

Those who have read books one and two in the Saved from Disgrace series will already be familiar with Nancy's story, indeed, she and her companion, Mrs Yelland, were active participants in Beauty and the Brooding Lord, and so, this story takes us very nicely into what happened next for them.

Of course, as with all the stories in this series, The Highborn Housekeeper is perfectly capable of standing on its own merits and is a complete story in itself but, as with all series and for greater enjoyment, it's best to invest in this series right from the beginning, and let these wonderful historical romances take you back to Regency England.

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Sarah Mallory was born in the West Country and grew up with a love of books and history. She has had over 40 historical novels published and won the Rona Rose Award from the Romantic Novelists Association in 2012 and 2013.

Twitter @SarahMRomance

Facebook as Melinda Sarah Mallory Hammond 

Friday, 5 July 2019

Books for Summer Reading...

Just a taster of the exciting summer reads

 coming on the blog in the next couple of months

   43558824. sy475   The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew

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Thursday, 4 July 2019

Review ~ Ten Poems about Bees from Candlestick Press

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to share this latest poetry pamphlet from
Candlestick Press

Candlestick Press
July 2019
Bees work hard, and there is something in their diligence that touches us. Most of us see only a fraction of their absorbing routines but their ‘bee-lines’ through our parks and gardens are more than enough to suggest their dedication:

“…they make a life for themselves that knows
no let-up through hours of exploration and return,
their thighs golden with pollen…”

from ‘Back they sputter’ by Eamon Grennan

Here are poems about getting stung and about a bee-keeping Divinity master in a boarding school whose hives are far more appealing than PE lessons. This heady mix of poems is sure to please anyone who delights in bees, flowers and gardens – or indeed the golden taste of honey!

The selection is introduced by environmentalist and broadcaster Brigit Strawbridge Howard.

Poems by Ciaran Berry, David Briggs, Miriam Darlington, Heid E. Erdrich, Eamon Grennan, Selima Hill, Carola Luther, Paula Meehan, Pascale Petit and Jean Toomer.

Cover illustration by Abby Cook.

What did I think about it...

There's something really special about watching bees meandering from flower to flower, collecting pollen as they go, and such is the power of their appeal, and indeed of their importance to our eco system, that they continue to fascinate and beguile us.

In this latest poetry pamphlet from Candlestick Press the humble bumble bee is the star of this collection of ten poems which give a varied interpretation of our fascination with the way bees open up and enrich our lives in so many different ways.

This poem, by Carola Luther perfectly captures the soporific nature of watching the lazy trail of a bee in high summer:

I watch the bees slow down the summer

"I watch the bees slow down in summer. Honeysuckle sink beneath their substance. Sunlit busbies stuffed with sleep and ochre powder making journeys, wavery, vague, full of remembered purpose..."

I have such admiration for beekeepers, and wherever possible buy local honey, so this lovely observational poem, Beekeeper, from Miriam Darlington pays tribute to all those intrepid bee keepers who work so tirelessly to protect this valuable species and bring us delicious honey.

" I know each one by heart
feel each hive beat with the need for air
crumple between sheets of cloud
like the rumble of an approaching storm..."

Ten Poems about Bees celebrates this enigmatic creature in unique way. Perusing this pamphlet is a perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon in the garden, with the gentle hum of bees to keep you company.

My thanks to ©Digital Images for my copy of this photograph

Candlestick Press is a small, independent press publishing sumptuously produced poetry pamphlets that serve as a wonderful alternative to a greetings card, with matching envelopes and bookmarks left blank for your message. Their subjects include Clouds, Walking, Birds, Home and Kindness. Candlestick Press pamphlets are stocked by chain and independent bookshops, galleries and garden centres nationwide and available to order online.

Twitter @PoetryCandle

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Blog Tour ~ A Walk in Wildflower Park by Bella Osborne

✨ I'm delighted to host today's blog tour stop for this wonderful summery novel 

27 June 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of this blog tour
A Walk in Wildflower Park was originally
 published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

Life’s not always a walk in the park..

Anna thought she’d found The One – until he broke off their engagement exactly a year before their wedding day. Hoping new surroundings will do her the world of good, she moves in to a place of her own on the edge of gorgeous Wildflower Park.

With the help and friendship of her neighbour Sophie, Anna quickly settles in and pledges to focus on her career, but a handsome new colleague seems determined to thwart her attempts at every turn. And when she receives a text from a mystery man, it looks as though an unlikely romance is on the horizon…

Is Anna about to be swept off her feet by someone she really shouldn’t be falling for? Or could this be the new start she needs and deserves?

What did I think about it..

Anna was expecting to marry her boyfriend, that is, until he broke off their engagement just a year before the wedding. Anna does her best to move on, she has a new home near Wildflower Park, a cat called Maurice, and a best friend and work colleague in Sophie. However, Sophie has her own set of problems with an inattentive husband, two unruly children, and another baby on the way.

Life for both women definitely has its share of ups and downs and over the course of the story we get to know both of them really well with most of the action taking place, both at home and in and around their workplace, where a handsome addition to the office dynamic adds a special sort of attraction for one of them.

The author has a lovely light touch and brings her characters to life in such a believable way that I felt like I was in the story with them. I especially love Maurice who is such a quirky character and brings some feline charm into the story.The several twists and turns help to keep the interest alive and a few extra subplots make the whole package into a really entertaining read.

A Walk in Wildflower Park  is a light and easy summer story, with some quirky characters who had me laughing out loud at some of their antics, and with a slight air of mystery which carries the story forward. I enjoyed watching how Anna's and Sophie's lives played out in the wider scheme of the story.

I've been jotting down my stories as far back as I can remember. Somehow life took over, I got a sensible job in project management and the writing has remained a passion. I live in The Midlands with my lovely husband and our wonderful daughter, who thankfully, both accept me as I am (with my mad morning hair and a penchant for skipping)

A Walk in Wildflower Park is available in ebook and paperback and is published by Avon

Twitter @osborne_bella #WildflowerPark


Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Blog Tour ~ You'll Never See Me Again by Lesley Pearse

✨ I'm delighted to host today's blog tour stop for this wonderful novel 

Michael Joseph
27 June 2019

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

Betty Wellows dreams of settling down to an ordinary life in the little fishing village of Hallsands in  Devon with her husband. But when he returns broken and haunted from the Great War, she finds herself persecuted by his distraught mother - and yearns to escape. It is only when a storm devastates the village that Betty sees her chance. 

Fleeing to Bristol and changing her name to Mabel Brook, she seeks a new life - only to discover destiny has other plans. Penniless and alone, Mabel suffers a brutal attack before being rescued by a psychic named Nora Nightingale. She gets her first taste of communications from the dead and realizes she may have this power herself. But Mabel fears her gift may be a terrible curse as it becomes ever harder to hide from the truth about who she once was - and the tragic life she left behind. Then, one day an all too real message from her past appears and Mabel is forced back to the very place she has escaped. A place of heartbreak, and perhaps even murder, she must confront her actions one last time in order to secure any hope of a future. 

Gripping, exhilarating and ever suspenseful, Lesley Pearse's You'll Never See Me Again is a tale of one woman's fight to escape her past and find her destiny.

What did I think about it...

The novel's dramatic opening chapter sets the scene for this latest historical saga by one of my favourite authors. Betty Wellows can only dream of the life she had before her young husband was tragically damaged whilst fighting in the Great War. His return home, suffering with shell shock, means that Betty must move in with her harridan of a mother in law who makes Betty's life a complete misery even to sending Betty out in a violent storm. At the end of her tether Betty decides to use the advantage of the storm to disappear and start a new life under an assumed name, and it is this new life as Mabel Brook which forms the heart of the story.

I loved getting to know to know Mabel, she is a very resilient young woman and despite several hardships she makes the best of every situation she finds herself caught up in. This is what this author does so well, she brings alive characters who, over the course of the story, you get to know and love. I really wanted everything to work out for Mabel as she deserves a happy and settled life, but, of course, she has to work through some pretty tough situations before the ending becomes clear.

The author is the absolute queen of the historical saga and writes with such love and passion that every book she delivers is filled with an abundance of rich and varied characters and each story succeeds in delighting her audience of loyal readers. You'll Never See Me Again has everything that this author does so well, a strong female lead character, an authetic historical background and more than a hint of intrigue, danger and compassion. I loved it ♡

You’ll Never See Me Again by Lesley Pearse is out now, published by Michael Joseph, priced £20 in hardback.

About the Author 

©Charlotte Murphy

Lesley Pearse is a global No.1 bestseller with fans across the world and sales of over 10 million copies of her books to date. One of the nation’s best-loved storytellers, Lesley is a master of the gripping story line, always introducing her readers to characters that are impossible not to care about or forget. With a ‘Lesley Pearse’ book purchased every 4 minutes in the UK, there is no formula to her books or easily defined genre and, whether historical drama like her No.1 bestselling Belle trilogy or the emotionally powerful Trust Me based on the true-life scandal of British child migrants sent to Australia in the post-war period, she always engages the reader completely.You’ll Never See Me Again is Lesley’s 27th novel.

Lesley Pearse was told as a child that she had too much imagination for her own good. She left home at 15 and headed to London where she worked her way through many jobs – from corsetry sales in Cooks of St. Pauls (featured in Dead to Me), to musician’s muse (her second husband was a musician managed by Don Arden) to bunny girl to nanny; from gift shop owner to dressmaker – finally finding her true vocation when she became a published author age 49. Since then Lesley has become an internationally bestselling author, with over 10 million copies of her books sold worldwide. 

A true storyteller and a master of gripping storylines, there is no set formula for a Lesley Pearse novel although strong heroines and difficult circumstances are pervasive. Whether historical adventures such as Gypsy or Never Look Back or the passionately emotive Trust Me, Lesley is inspired by stories of courage and adversity and often gives voice to women lost in history and people damaged by their childhood experiences. She is passionate about her research and her stories have taken her far and wide; from Alaska to the Crimea. Lesley now lives in Torquay in Devon where she loves to spend time walking on the beach with her grandchildren and dogs. A fantastic speaker and committed and passionate fundraiser for the NSPCC, Lesley is a much sought-after guest at literary lunches, library events and festivals up and down the country.

Twitter @LesleyPearse #LoveLesley



Monday, 1 July 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Missing Wife by Sam Carrington

I'm delighted to host today's blog tour stop for this psychological suspense novel

27 June

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

Imagine turning up to your own party, and recognising no one. Your best friend has just created your worst nightmare.

Louisa is an exhausted, sleep-deprived new mother and, approaching her fortieth birthday, the very last thing she wants to do is celebrate.

But when her best friend Tiff organises a surprise party, inviting the entire list of Lou’s Facebook friends, she’s faced with a new source of anxiety altogether: a room full of old college classmates who she hasn’t spoken to in twenty years.

And one person in particular she never expected to see again is there – her ex-boyfriend from college, the handsome and charismatic Oliver Dunmore. When Oliver’s wife Melissa goes missing after the party, everyone remembers what happened that night differently. It could be the alcohol, but it seems more than one person has something to hide.

Louisa is determined to find the truth about what happened to Melissa. But just how far does she need to look…?

Here's what I thought about it..

Not everyone loves a surprise party, and for Louisa, celebrating her 40th birthday is not a priority as she's also a sleep deprived new mum. Struggling to adjust to motherhood despite having a teenage daughter, Louisa just wants to sleep rather than party, but her husband and best friend think a party will help to boost her mood. However, the party brings Louisa into contact with lots of her Facebook friends she doesn't really know and also brings an unexpected reunion with her ex-boyfriend Oliver which opens up a hole heap of secrets that Louisa would rather have kept buried.

I enjoyed the rather slow build up of the story so that we get to know more about Louisa, and also about her best friend, Tiff, who seems to be supportive one minute, and then secretive the next. Louisa is something of an enigma and her bouts of anxiety and episodes of amnesia add an interesting aspect to the story. However, I think that this is one of those complex suspense stories where in places you have to suspend belief, especially towards the end of the novel which I felt opened up more questions than answers, and as there is more than one unreliable narrator you are never quite sure if the truth is being told by any of them 😉

The Missing Wife is an interesting psychological suspense story, and the author adds enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. Even though there were times when I had to stop and consider would someone really do that, overall, the story kept entertained from start to finish.

About the Author

Sam Carrington lives in Devon with her husband and three children. She worked for the NHS for 15 years, during which time she qualified as a nurse. Following the completion of a Psychology degree she went to work for the prison service as an Offending Behaviour Facilitator.

Her experiences within this field inspired her writing. She left the service to spend time with her family and to follow her dream of being a novelist.

The Missing Wife  is out now in e-book and paperback and is published by Avon 

Twitter @samcarrington_1 #TheMissingWife


Sunday, 30 June 2019

Review ~ Death by Dark Waters by Jo Allen

9 May 2019

My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read her book

The first in the gripping, Lake District set, DCI Jude Satterthwaite series.

When a grass fire flares on a lakeside fell during a hot, dry summer, what looks like an accident turns out to be arson — and, when the body of a child is discovered in a burned out building, Jude and his team are faced with a murder inquiry. The child’s father is a businessman with many enemies and a deep-rooted mistrust of the police — but is the death of his son enough, or are must more innocents die to satisfy a killer’s thirst for revenge? And will Jude’s analytical mind and Ashleigh’s intuition combine to catch the killer before it’s too late?

What did I think about it..

The story starts with one of those menacing grass fires which can so easily get out of control except this one culminates in a suspected murder. The detectives, led by DCI Jude Satterthwaite, have few clues to go on in their quest to find out more about the tragically young victim, and that’s where the strength of the story lies as we get to watch the investigative team put together the pieces of the puzzle.

As this is the first book in a proposed series, the author uses the novel to flesh out the main characters, especially Satterthwaite, and as we start to get to know something of his rather troubled past, so we begin to understand a little more about this enigmatic, and rather, taciturn detective. The other characters who play their own individual roles, especially DS Ashleigh O’Halloran, a new recruit to the investigative team, add their own brand of light and shade.

I think that Death by Dark Waters is a good start to this new series, especially as the potential for further police procedural investigations is high.. The author writes well and keeps the momentum of the story alive, with good attention to detail, interesting characterisation, and a complex mystery to keep you guessing.

With its setting against the dramatic backdrop of the English Lake District Death by Dark Waters certainly gets the series off to a good start and I look forward to seeing where this series takes us to next.

Jo Allen is the author of six contemporary romance/romantic suspense novels published by a small independent publisher (Tirgearr) and a further three self-published romantic suspense novels. She is a member of the Crime Writers Association. I’m also a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, for whom I am a reader for their New Writers’ Scheme.

Death by Dark Waters is out now in e-book or paperback and is published by Aria Fiction.

Twitter @JoAllenAuthor