Sunday, 15 September 2019

Review ~ Butterfly In Frost by Sylvia Day

Montlake Romance
27 August 2019

My thanks to Midas PR for my copy of this book

Teagan Ransom has finally settled in a place she can call home, spending time with new friends she adores, focusing on a fulfilling job, whilst reconciling the past and laying the groundwork for the future.

That is until Garrett Frost moves in next door. He’s obstinate and too bold, a raging and disruptive force of nature. Teagan recognizes the ghosts that haunt him, the torment driving him. Garrett would be risky in any form, but wounded, he’s far more dangerous. Tegan fears he could pull apart everything she has worked so hard to build, but Garret’s too determined…and too tempting.

Emotional and heartrending, Butterfly in Frost marks a brilliant return by global sensation Sylvia Day, the No.1 international multi-million bestselling author of the Crossfire saga.

What did I think about it...

Teagan Ransom and Garrett Frost are new neighbours but their relationship is far from settled and despite there being an uneasy truce between them, there is, at times, a smouldering attraction which threatens to engulf them. And as the story progresses and we get to learn more about Teagan and Garret so an interesting story starts to emerge. There are some great moments within the story and for those who have read the Crossfire series there are a couple of references towards the characters who featured in this best selling series.

Fans of this author's work will already know that she writes about alpha males and feisty females and Butterfly in Frost is no exception, with the erotic content fairly sizzling on the page, and yet, far from being merely gratuitous sexual encounters, her novels are invariably imbued with heat, heart and passion. Teagan and Garrett are both fascinating characters, each with their own particular brand of angst which the author explores and during the course of the story we find out just how damaged they have both been by life circumstances.

Butterfly in Frost is a quick read, more novella length than novel, but I think that the author says everything she needs to within the space of the story. However, I wouldn't be at all surprised, now that the author has tested the waters with Teagan and Garrett, to see a full length novel, about these two fascinating characters, to emerge at some point in the future.

Read an extract from Butterfly in Frost by clicking here.

About the Author

Sylvia Day is the No.1 New York Times, No.1 USA Today & No.1 international bestselling author of over twenty award-winning novels translated into 41 languages. With tens of millions of copies of her books in print, she is a No.1 bestseller in 28 countries. Sylvia served as the 22nd President of Romance Writers of America and presently serves on the Authors Guild’s Board of Directors. Sylvia’s work has been coveredin Time, Variety, People, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Associated Press, USA Today, and Entertainment Weekly.

Twitter @SylDay #ButterflyInFrost


Saturday, 14 September 2019

Review ~ The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The second book in the new Bellatrix collection

A creatively curated list of empowering diverse YA novels by leading female voices

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Hachette Children Books
19 September 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

On the eve of her divining, the day she'll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.

Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn't understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate..

What did I think about it..

Stories about the brides of Dracula are not my usual genre but when approached to read and review this re-imagining of an old story by talented writer Kiran Millwood Hargrave, I was delighted to have the opportunity to read a version of a classic vampire story which is aimed at young adult readers.

Seventeen year old twins, Lil and Kizzy, are about to come of age and discover their fate in a divining ceremony  but then something catastrophic happens to their settlement and the twins are abducted and taken by force as the captives of Boyar Valcar who rules his community with cruelty and oppression. Lil and Kizzy, in mourning for all they have lost, are sent to work in the castle kitchens, however, their beauty and feisty nature brings them both to the attention of Boyar Valcar with disastrous consequences.

The author writes well, with an understanding of her target audience, and with imaginative flair for detail, she brings the story to life in lively detail. I enjoyed following Lil and Kizzy's adventures, and particularly Lil's close relationship with Mira, who is a fellow captive, and which adds a very different dimension to the story.

The Deathless Girls brings a nice awareness of the legend to a younger audience and allows a more modern day feminist approach with feisty young women who know their own mind. This is now the second book in the Bellatrix series of YA novels which continues the theme of re-telling a classic in a more modern way.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave is an award winning poet, playwright, and bestselling novelist. Her debut novel for children, The Girl of Ink & Stars won the Waterstones Book Prize and the children's Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. Her work has been long and short listed for several other major prizes, including costaAward and th CILIP Carnegie Award. The Deathless Girls is her first novel for Young Adults.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave is a graduate of Oxford and Cambridge Universities and lives by the river in Oxford with her husband and cat.

Twitter @Kiran_MH #TheDeathlessGirls


About Bellatrix

The Bellatrix collection aims to publish gripping, powerful YA novels by leading female voices. In literature as in life women past and present have countless stories untold, mis-told or simply unheard. The Bellatrix series will range from gothic, to thriller, humour to romance. Each story will be unique re-telling of a classic, given a feminist slant, and connected by one main goal - the passion and determination to tell the whole story.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Book Review ~ Moments: An Autobiography in Verse by Daphne Denley

Crumps Barns Studio

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this poetry book

Like many of us, Daphne Denley is a fully signed-up apprentice of mid-life mayhem. She is a mother trying to adjust to her daughter’s grown up tastes. And she is a loving wife who has had her life turned upside down by her husband’s devastating diagnosis.

This collection of poems is an autobiography in verse. In turns heartfelt, familiar and beautifully observed, Daphne explores each of life’s Moments – and in the process shows us how, even in the worst of times, hope can return in the end.

My thoughts..

It's always a real pleasure to feature poetry on the blog, especially when that poetry is by a writer who shares the personal moments of her life in emotional poetry which is both heartwarming and heartfelt.

This poetry collection covers a whole range of emotions in reflective pieces which are scattered throughout and which take us on a journey through the poet's thoughts and feelings about what was going on in her life at the time of writing. And whilst this is a very personal collection, which has deep meaning for the author, the strength of the verses also struck a chord with me, and I felt like I was travelling alongside the writer on an intimate journey.

This collection of 55 poems covers a wide range of topics, from the beautiful simplicity of the opening poem, Sweet Dreams, about a mother with her baby, and as a new grandmother I can identify with its beautifully expressed sentiment, to the succinctness of the finishing poem Cheers, and in all the poems in-between there is something to enjoy in verses which are not overly complicated but which reflect those autobiographical moments in life which are so precious to us all.

About the Author

Daphne Denley is a poet and song-writer. This is her first published collection of poetry. She lives on the edge of Rodborough Common with her husband and daughter.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Review ~ NEXUS by Alison Morton (Giveaway)

📖 Happy Publication Day 📖

12 September 2019

Roma Nova #4.5

My thanks to the author for my ecopy of this book

Mid 1970s. Ex-Praetorian Aurelia Mitela is serving as Roma Nova’s interim ambassador in London. Asked by a British colleague to find his missing son, Aurelia thinks it will only be a case of a young man temporarily rebelling. He’s bound to turn up only a little worse for wear.

But a spate of high-level killings pulls Aurelia away into a dangerous pan-European investigation. Badly beaten in Rome as a warning, she discovers the killers have kidnapped her life companion, Miklós, and sent an ultimatum: "Back off or he’ll die."

But Aurelia is a Roma Novan and they never give up…

What did I think about it..

Nexus means a connection which links one or more things and that is just what happens in this clever novella which fits expertly between AURELIA and INSURRECTIO in the Aurelia Mitela Roma Nova adventures, and those readers who have read these alternate history novels will certainly recognise some of the characters who bring this story to life.

We catch up with Ex-Praetorian, Aurelia Mitela in the 1970s when she is serving as Roma Nova’s interim ambassador in London. Living with her eleven year old daughter, Marina, and continuing her close relationship with Miklós, Aurelia's life should be on an even keel but then she has a conversation with Harry Carter, a senior intelligencer, who is deeply concerned about his son, Tom, who has been missing for three days. Once she learns more about Tom's disappearance, Aurelia is determined to do all she can to discover his whereabouts, but, in doing so, puts her family at risk, and herself in grave danger.

I rather like this idea of connecting existing novels with a well placed novella and the author does this really well, bringing such attention to detail that you don’t feel cheated by reading a shorter story which doesn’t meet expectations. NEXUS is packed with everything we have come to expect, strong and determined women, a central plot which is both dramatic and exciting and a whole host of bad guys who come straight out of central casting.

With her usual panache the author has given us another exciting Roma Nova adventure which is filled with all the trademark details we know and love about ROMA NOVA. Whilst, of course, it is completely possible to read NEXUS as a standalone story, I read this one comfortably over the space of an afternoon, however, my best advise would be to start at the very beginning and enter the Roma Nova of this talented writer’s imagination.

Author of INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO, AURELIA, INSURRECTIO and RETALIO Roma Nova alternate history thrillers, CARINA (novella) and ROMA NOVA EXTRA (short stories). NEXUS (novella) out 12 September

Audiobooks available for the first four of the series: click here 

Subscribe to the author's newsletter: click here   (Free ebook!)

Twitter @alison_morton #RomaNova

✨✨Thanks to Alison's generosity here's the chance to win an e-copy of NEXUS✨✨
 (open internationally)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Love Child by Rachel Hore

🌠 Delighted to host today's final stop on this exciting blog tour 🌠

Simon & Schuster
5 September 2019

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

London, 1917 When seventeen-year-old Alice falls pregnant, she is forced by her father and stepmother to give up the baby. She simply cannot be allowed to bring shame upon her family. But all Alice can think of is the small, kitten-like child she gave away, and how the father, a young soldier, so beloved, will never have the chance to know his daughter. Meanwhile, Edith and Philip, a couple unable to have children of their own, secretly adopt a baby girl, Irene, given up by a young unmarried mother. Irene grows up knowing that she is different from other children but no one will tell her the full truth. As two extraordinary stories intertwine across two decades, will secrets long-buried at last come to light?

What did I think about it...

Seventeen year Alice has no choice but to give up her baby for adoption as to bring up an illegitimate baby in 1917 is near on impossible especially when Alice cannot rely on her well-to-do parents to support her choice. This decision will affect Alice as she goes through her life and she never forgets the tiny baby she gave away.

Irene grows up knowing that she doesn't quite fit with her family and although she is cared for by her adoptive parents she senses that something just doesn't quite feel right and her life is a constant struggle to try to fit in.

What then follows is a really lovely story which spans the early years of the twentieth century and highlights the changing social situations for those who were left to pick up the pieces after the Great War. On the surface circumstances seem to offer more opportunities for women but as Alice discovers searching for independence is not always an easy path to take and her training as one of the first women GPs is fraught with both prejudice and misunderstanding. With a skilful hand and a fine eye for historical detail the author cleverly weaves together several story strands bringing everything together with such authenticity that I immediately felt as if I was part of Alice and Irene's troubled journey.

The Love Child highlights the dilemma of illegitimacy and of the social prejudice of the early twentieth century and brings to life a strong story of two women who have to learn to deal with the hand that fate has dealt them but they do so in their own indomitable style. The author has captured the essence of this troubled time, and writes so beautifully that it has been an absolute pleasure to read The Love Child. I enjoyed getting to know both Alice and Irene, and ultimately wanted everything to work out well for both of them, however, whether it does or not is for you to find out for yourselves. 😊

The Love Child captured my attention from the very beginning and it quickly became on of those difficult to put down stories, so much so, I carried it from room to room, reading whenever I could find a spare minute. I’ve now read several of this author’s excellent stories and, without doubt, The Love Child is my favourite to date.

About the Author

Rachel Hore worked in London publishing for many years before moving with her family to Norwich, where she teaches publishing and creative writing at the University of East Anglia. She is married to the writer D. J. Taylor and they have three sons. Her latest novel, Last Letter Home, was a Sunday Times bestseller and a Richard and Judy Book Club pick for 2018.

Twitter @Rachelhore #TheLoveChild



Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Blog Tour ~ A Matter Of Interpretation by Elizabeth Mac Donald

🌠 Delighted to be part of this exciting Instagram and Blog Tour 🌠

A Matter of Interpretation
Fairlight Books
5 September 2019

My thanks to Fairlight Books for my copy of this book
and to Claire at Maxwell PR
It’s thirteenth-century Europe and young monk, Michael Scot, has been asked by the Holy Roman Emperor to translate the works of Aristotle and recover his ‘lost’ knowledge.

The Scot sets to his task, travelling from the Emperor’s Italian court to the translation schools of Toledo and from there to the Moorish library of Córdoba. But when the Pope deems the translations heretical, the Scot refuses to desist. So begins a battle for power between Church and State – one that shaped how we view the world today..

What did I think about it..

A Matter of Interpretation is a complex historical story which takes a little while to get into as, initially, there's rather an abundance of characters to keep up with, however, once the narrative captured my imagination, I was definitely transported back to a rather unpredictable time in European history, and became involved in the complex struggle between the Holy Roman Emperor and the Papacy. The main protagonist of the story is Michael Scot, a monk, who is tasked with the job of translating the works of Aristotle, but when the Pope declares these translations heretical it opens up a complicated power struggle.

A Matter of Interpretation is a difficult story to try to explain, so I guess the answer to that is not to try, that way I don't give too much away, or do the author a disservice by explaining her creation in a way that doesn't do it justice. However, what comes across is the author's passion for this period in history and her unique writing style brings the medieval world alive in quite a literary way. Whilst the story is, of course, a fictional account, Michael Scot is known to have existed and the author takes the facts of his life and weaves them into a fictional tale of historical complexity.

A Matter of Interpretation is a well presented book with a sumptuous cover which reminded me of a beautifully illustrated medieval manuscript. It's also a commendable debut novel by a talented historical fiction writer.

About the Author

Born in Dublin, Elizabeth is an academic who lives in Italy, where she teaches English at the University of Pisa. She is a widely published author of short stories, essays and translations of literary works into Italian. A Matter of Interpretation is her debut novel. In her spare time, Elizabeth sings in the choir of the Scuola Normale, Pisa.

Twitter @bizzieauthor #MatterOfInterpretation



Monday, 9 September 2019

Blog Tour ~ Boxer Boys Collection by Nick Rippington

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to be part of the Boxer Boys Collection Blog Tour

Boxed Collection out 9th September

My thanks to the author and to Books On The Bright Side for my invitation to this blog tour

Some Family feuds just won’t go away… For 40 years the Dolans and the Marshalls have lived side by side on the same rundown housing estate in east London. While teens Gary Marshall and Arnie Dolan forge a close friendship, fighting constant battles to survive both on the streets and closer to home, the relationship between their parents is complicated and, at times, toxic. Gradually family secrets emerge which have their roots in the early 80s… and Gary and Arnie realise their entire upbringing was built on lies.

Here are my thoughts on Spark Out

Spark Out starts with real insight into what makes this crime fiction series so compelling. Written as it is with a fine eye for detail and a compelling turn of phrase, the author doesn't shy away from recreating a fairly bleak time in our history. A time when there was social injustice on a wide scale and where the growing discontent between the have and the have nots seemed to grow ever wider.

For 'Big Mo' Dolan, taking the Thatcherite philosophy of getting on his bike to find work opens up a whole new meaning to the term job seekers. Wanting to do right by his family and still earn the respect he thinks is his due, means that Mo has some difficult choices ahead of him, and this forms the basis of how his life starts to unfold in the rough and violent world where only the most craftiest of individuals can hope to survive with any sign of longevity.

I think that the author really gets to grips with this fierce and ferocious way of life. Always telling it like it is, there is, quite simply, no room for sentimentality in the world that Mo inhabits. Dark and gritty violence is sometimes the only language that the people in Mo’s world understand and the author brings this world to life in graphic detail. And yet, there is also a perceptive side to the story, particularly, in the way that Mo’s long suffering wife, Beryl deals with her relationship with her husband, and also the effect on Mo’s son, Chuck, who is doomed to be forever in his father’s shadow. 

The author has done a commendable job of bringing this destructive world to life whilst still maintaining the notion that the idea of family rises above everything else.

Dark and gritty, Spark Out continues this gangster series with characteristic style.

About the Author

NICK RIPPINGTON is one of the victims of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal you never hear about. 

As the newspaper’s Welsh Sports Editor, he was made redundant with two days notice when Rupert Murdoch closed down Europe’s biggest-selling tabloid in 2011. 

On holiday at the time, Nick was never allowed back into the building, investigators sealed off the area with crime scene tape and seized his computer, which contained all the secrets to his Fantasy Football selections.

Handed the contents of his desk in a black bin bag in a murky car park, deep throat style, Nick was at a crossroads – married just two years earlier and with a wife and 9-month-old baby to support. Options were limited but self-publishing was booming. Having hit on an idea for a UK gangland thriller taking place against the backdrop of the Rugby World Cup, in 2015 he produced Crossing The Whitewash.

The book was praised by many, received an honourable mention in the genre category of the Writers’ Digest self-published eBook awards and more than 25 five-star reviews on both sides of the pond. 

Almost two years after Crossing The Whitewash came the second in the Boxer Boys series, a prequel called Spark Out, which was released in paperback on July 1 and for Kindle on July 10, 2017. The book received an award for best cover of 2017 with the Chill With A Book website, along with a readers award, before receiving the IndieBRAG medallion from a prestigious site covering Independent writers and publishers throughout the world.

The third book in the Boxer Boys series Dying Seconds, a sequel to Crossing the Whitewash, was released in December 2018.

Married to Liz, Nick is now a full-time back bench designer on the Daily Star sports desk and has two daughters – Jemma, 36, and Olivia, 8. A Bristolian at heart, he lives near Ilford, Essex. In the past he has worked for the Sunday Mirror, Wales on Sunday and Media Wales in Cardiff as an executive editor.

Twitter @nickripp #BoxerBoysCollection


Sunday, 8 September 2019

Review ~ The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

✨✨ Out now in paperback ✨✨

1 August 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my paperback copy of this book

1826, and all of London is in a frenzy. Crowds gather at the gates of the Old Bailey to watch as Frannie Langton, maid to Mr and Mrs Benham, goes on trial for their murder. The testimonies against her are damning - slave, whore, seductress. And they may be the truth. But they are not the whole truth.

For the first time Frannie must tell her story. It begins with a girl learning to read on a plantation in Jamaica, and it ends in a grand house in London, where a beautiful woman waits to be freed.

But through her fevered confessions, one burning question haunts Frannie Langton: could she have murdered the only person she ever loved?

A beautiful and haunting tale about one woman's fight to tell her story, The Confessions of Frannie Langton leads you through laudanum-laced dressing rooms and dark-as-night back alleys, into the enthralling heart of Georgian London.

I was thrilled to be invited onto the blog our for this exciting historical novel and I'm so pleased that its paperback publication now gives me the opportunity to re-post my original review. I thought the hardback cover was impressive but this dark green cover really captures the brooding essence of the story...

In London, in 1826, Frances Langton stands in the Old Bailey, accused of murdering her employers in a dramatic and heinous crime. However, as Frannie’s sad and sorry life story starts to emege we learn so much about this complicated woman who started life on a Jamaican plantation where she once lived as a house slave. 

Never quite sure of her parentage, Frances comes to London with her slave owner, Mr. Langton, where she is given into the employment of George and Marguerite Benham. Once she is settled in the household Frannie's wit and intelligence attracts the attention of the unconventional Marguerite whose moral standards are, it must be said, rather unusual for the time. However, as it turns out, Frannie’s time with the Benham’s in their household, means that she exchanges one kind of servitude for another, with, as it turns out, disastrous consequences. 

The Confessions of Frannie Langton is a really fascinating historical narrative which is made all the more interesting for shining a spotlight on a terribly shameful past, and which then,very cleverly, links the way in which Frances, a woman who was conflicted by her gender, race and class, was forever let down by her lowly station in life. 

The Confessions of Frannie Langton is a very clever debut, beautifully written with a distinctly authentic feel,  it is one of those fascinating, but cautionary, stories which stays with you long after the last page is finished.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton was Waterstones book of the month in August 

About the Author

Sara Collins studied law at the London School of Economics and worked as a lawyer for seventeen years. In 2014 she embarked upon the Creative Writing Masters at Cambridge University, where she won the 2015 Michael Holroyd Prize of Re-creative Writing and was shortlisted for the 2016 Lucy Cavendish Prize for a book inspired by her love of gothic fiction. This turned into her first novel, The Confessions of Frannie Langton.

Twitter @mrsjaneymac #FrannieLangton


Saturday, 7 September 2019

His Fic Saturday ~ The Garden of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans

On Hist Fic Saturday

Let's go back to .....1919

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5 September 2019
My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

✨✨ Out now in paperback ✨✨

Nightingale House, 1919. Liddy Horner discovers her husband, the world-famousartist Sir Edward Horner, burning his best-known painting The Garden of Lost and Found days before his sudden death.

Nightingale House was the Horner family’s beloved home - a gem of design created to inspire happiness - and it was here Ned painted The Garden of Lost and Found, capturing his children on a perfect day.

One magical moment. Before it all came tumbling down...

When Ned and Liddy’s great-granddaughter Juliet is sent the key to Nightingale House, she starts a new life with her three children, and opens the door onto a forgotten world. The house holds its mysteries close but she is in search of answers.

For who would choose to destroy what they love most? Whether Ned’s masterpiece - or,in Juliet’s case, her own children’s happiness.

Something shattered this corner of paradise. But what?

What did I think about it...

I really enjoyed this book when I posted my review when part of the blog tour earlier in the year. It is with pleasure that I re-post my review on the book's paperback publication.

Set between two times frames we meet with Juliet Horner in the present time who is a descendant of Ned Horner, a respected Edwardian artist whose most famous art work was destroyed many years ago in a fire. When Juliet’s home circumstances change she takes her three lively children back to Nightingale House, the now dilapidated residence which was once Ned’s home and which has been owned by various members of Juliet’s family since the house was built in late 1800s.

Moving seamlessly between two frames a complicated story of hurt and despair starts to be revealed and without giving too much away about the historical part of the novel, it’s safe to say, that both time scales have their own unique strength. I was just as comfortable reading about the goings on in the Edwardian era as I was in learning all about Juliet and her complex family drama in the present day.

The author has given us such an absolute gem of story that once I started The House of Lost and Found I found that I really couldn’t put the book down. The story is beautifully reminiscent of a bygone time with all of the social and moral predicaments which so blighted the early years of the twentieth century. And yet, the modern day dilemmas of infidelity, marriage breakdown and complicated motherhood are also highlighted with a genuine sense of reality.

The Garden of Lost and Found brings the world of art to life in a glorious tale of long lost treasure and devastating family secrets which, in the hands of this talented writer, reach out from the past to threaten the future.

I’ve now read several of this author’s excellent books and, without doubt, The Garden of Lost and Found, is my favourite story to date.

About the Author

Harriet Evans is the author, Going Home, A Hopeless Romantic, The Love of Her Life, I Remember You, Love Always, Happily Ever After and Not Without You. Before becoming a full time writer Harriet was a successful editor for a London publishing house. She lives in London with her family.

Twitter@HarrietEvans #GardenOfLostAndFound


Friday, 6 September 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to host today's Blog Tour stop

Lake Union Publishing
1 September 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
and to ed public relationsr for my invitation to his blog tour

Berlin, 1989. As the wall between East and West falls, Miriam Winter cares for her dying father, Henryk. When he cries out for someone named Frieda – and Miriam discovers a hidden Auschwitz tattoo – Henryk’s secret history begins to unravel. Searching for more clues about her father’s past, Miriam finds a stained and faded uniform from the Ravensbrück women’s camp concealed in her parents’ attic. Hidden in its seams are dozens of letters; letters to Henryk from a woman called Frieda. With the help of a mysterious stranger encountered in the local library, the letters secrets are revealed. They expose horrific truths; truths about life in the camp and the fate of young women experimented on by the Nazis: the ‘Rabbit Girls’. Amidst the stories of sacrifice and endurance – and against the backdrop of her own crumbling marriage – Miriam pieces together a love story that has been hidden away in Henryk’s heart for almost fifty years.

What did I think about it...

Miriam Winters is caring for her dying father, Henryk, in the apartment which was once the family home and a place that she hasn't returned to in several years. The reason for her estrangement with her family becomes apparent as the story progresses and give a chilling edginess to what is a very powerful story.

The Rabbit Girls is set in Berlin in 1989 when the wall has just fallen, and east meets west for the first time in many years. This momentous change runs alongside Miriam's story and of her friendship with Eva who has transitioned from the east, and it is her support which helps Miriam come to turns with the tragic events of Henryk's past life. The narrative alternates between Miriam's story in 1989, which is a strong story on its own merits and yet, it is Henryk's story of what happened to him and his lover, Frieda, during the latter years of WW2 which is a powerful reminder of the atrocities of war.

To say more would give far too much away and this is one of those stories which is best read with no idea of where the story is leading, that way you will become as emotionally affected as I was by what took place during the Holocaust, and particularly about the atrocities which were perpetrated against a group of women known as The Rabbit Girls who were held at Ravensbrück women's camp.

The book is rather slow in places which I think is quite deliberate as it allows a certain ambiance to develop and the instability of Miriam as our narrator in 1989 adds an unpredictability to way the events of her individual story unfolds, and yet, as the story of Henryk and Frieda's connection emerges the story becomes all the more powerful and I read through parts of Frieda's story with a huge lump in my throat. I grew to really enjoy Miriam's company, she is a worthy heroine who has been through a particularly hard time and parts of her story were especially difficult to read as was Frieda's descriptions of her very troubled life.

The Rabbit Girls is a strong and decisive story, written with passionate intensity and a strong sense of history and even though Miriam and Frieda's stories are very different, both of these women will stay with me for a very long time. 

About the Author

Anna Ellory is a former nurse from Bath. She recently completed an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, where she was mentored by author Fay Weldon. Anna was inspired to write The Rabbit Girls as a way of shining a light on the cruelties of human experimentation in Ravensbrück and the experiences of women and children in the Holocaust. She was also inspired by the real-life story of Stanislawa Leszczyńska, a Polish midwife who delivered over 3000 babies in Auschwitz.

Twitter @AnnaEllory #TheRabbitGirls



The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory is out now, published by Lake Union, priced £20.00 in hardback and available as an audiobook from Audible.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

A very Happy Publication Day to Scorpions in Corinth by J M Alvey..

✨✨Happy Publication Day✨✨

Published by Orion on 5th September 2019, paperback original, £8.99. Also available in eBook. 

5th September

My thanks to the publishers for the opportunity to share this information
Popular playwright Philocles and his actors are hired to take his latest play to Corinth, to promote goodwill between the two cities. But on arrival, their guide and fixer Eumelos drops dead - a victim of poison. 

Philocles is convinced someone is out to sabotage the play, and to find out who - and why - he must first uncover the murderer. 

But in Corinth the ruling oligarchs seem more interested in commerce than justice. And with the city's religious brotherhoods pursuing their own vicious rivalries, asking the wrong questions could get an outsider like Philocles killed . . .

About the Author

J M Alvey studied Classics at Oxford in the 1980s. As an undergraduate, notable achievements in startling tutors included citing the comedic principles of Benny Hill in a paper on Aristophanes and using military war-gaming rules to analyse and explain apparent contradictions in historic accounts of the Battle of Thermopylae. Crime fiction was always relaxation reading and that love of mysteries and thrillers continued through a subsequent, varied career, alongside an abiding fascination with history and the ancient world. These interests have all now come together in the first adventure of Philocles Hestaiou, comic playwright and pen for hire in classical Athens.

Twitter @AlveyAuthor


A very Happy Publication Day to The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason



5 September 2019

My thanks to the publishers for the opportunity to share the details of this book

Is there anybody there?
One knock for yes
Two knocks for no


1976. Loo and her sister Bee live in a run-down cottage in the middle of nowhere, with their artistic parents and wild siblings. Their mother, Cathy, had hoped to escape to a simpler life; instead the family find themselves isolated and shunned by their neighbours. At the height of the stifling summer, unexplained noises and occurrences in the house begin to disturb the family, until they intrude on every waking moment . . .


Loo, now Lucy, is called back to her childhood home. A group of strangers are looking to discover the truth about the house and the people who lived there. But is Lucy ready to confront what really happened all those years ago?

The Girls meets The Little Stranger in this dark and captivating debut about sisterhood, family secrets, and a dangerous game that becomes all too real.

Amanda Mason was born and brought up in Whitby, North Yorks. She studied Theatre at Dartington College of Arts, where she began writing by devising and directing plays. After a few years of earning a very irregular living in lots of odd jobs, including performing in a comedy street magic act, she became a teacher and has worked in the UK, Italy, Spain, and Germany. She now lives in York and has given up teaching for writing. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies. The Wayward Girls, her debut novel, was longlisted for the Deborah Rogers prize.

I'm so excited by this story which is published today 

I will be sharing my book review very soon
 so watch this space !!

Follow on Twitter @amandajanemason #TheWaywardGirls #KnockOnce


Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Blog Tour ~ From the City, From the Plough by Alexander Baron

Absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this exciting Blog Tour

In September 2019, to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, IWM will launch a wonderful new series with four novels from their archives all set during the Second World War – Imperial War Museums Wartime Classics.

Originally published to considerable acclaim, these titles were written either during or just after the Second World War and are currently out of print. Each novel is written directly from the author’s own experience and takes the reader right into the heart of the conflict. They all capture the awful absurdity of war and the trauma and chaos of battle as well as some of the fierce loyalties and black humour that can emerge in extraordinary circumstances. 

Living through a time of great upheaval, as we are today, each wartime story brings the reality of war alive in a vivid and profoundly moving way and is a timely reminder of what the previous generations experienced.

26 September 2019
£8.99 Paperback

My thanks to IWM and to Random Things Tours for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of this blog tour

From the City, From the Plough by Alexander Baron – A vivid and moving account of preparations for D-Day and the advance into Normandy. Published in the 75th anniversary year of the D-Day landings, this is based on the author’s first-hand experience of D-Day and has been described by Antony Beevor as ‘undoubtedly one of the very greatest British novels of the Second World War.’

 My thoughts about it..

The events of D-Day, now so long ago, with only a handful of war veterans who were actually there, proves that this novel is all the more timely as it gives a fictional account of the build up to D-Day as seen through the eyes of the men who made up the 5th Battalion of the Wessex Regiment. This group of soldiers, like so many battalions, was drawn from all aspects of life, from those who arrived covered in the dust and grime of cities, to the country boys who were more at home wielding a scythe, or ploughing a field, and yet in exceptional circumstances, this band of brothers grouped together to form a cohesive whole.

From the City, From the Plough, is the author's fictional account of a situation he experienced at first hand as he was one of the soldiers to go across the channel around D-Day. He writes with authority about the inertia of the long hot summer of 1944 when the soldiers of the 5th Battalion were waiting for action. The novel instills such a sense of reality that there were times when I forgot that I was reading a fictional account as it feels more as if you are living through every second of the interminable waiting with them.

When the action finally starts to happen there's a real sense of horror as the men struggled with ferocious German bombardment and of the sheer hard slog of trying to keep one step ahead of an enemy who was as dangerous as it was unpredictable. The novel tells a powerful story and doesn't describe the men of the 5th battalion as anything other than soldiers with faults and failings, some good, some bad, some who were typical opportunists, who were out for themselves, and others who were inherently good blokes with a sense of patriotic duty.

The book was published in 1948 and its first print run of 3000 copies sold out before publication. Since then the book has sold over one million copies, and it is hoped that this new IWM edition will bring this powerful story to a whole new readership.

From the City, From the Plough brings D-Day to life in a story which breaks your heart into a million pieces and it is one which will stay with me for a very long time.

About the Author

Alexander Baron was a widely acclaimed author and screenwriter and his London novels have a wide following. From the City, From the Plough was his first novel was his first novel.

Twitter @I_W_M #wartimeclassics



Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Blog Tour ~ Goldsboro Books Awards..


Launched in 2017, the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award is awarded annually to an outstanding work of contemporary fiction, rewarding quality storytelling in any genre. The winner of the Glass Bell will receive £2,000 in prize money, and a handmade, engraved glass bell. The jury of ten consists of team members from Goldsboro Books, DHH Literary Agency and The Dome Press. There is no fee, or limit to the number of books that a publisher may submit, allowing both established and debut authors a chance to win. The inaugural winner was Chris Cleave, for his extraordinary Everyone Brave is Forgiven (Sceptre), the moving and unflinching novel about the profound effects that the Second World War had on ordinary citizens back at home in Britain. Last year, the award went to John Boyne for his sweeping, poignant and comedic odyssey of post-war Ireland, The Heart’s Invisible Furies (Transworld).

A chilling dystopia, a ‘property thriller’ and the story of Truman Capote’s downfall are amongst the six titles shortlisted for the 2019 Glass Bell Award, which was announced at midday on Thursday 1st August.

Leading the shortlist is the international bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, which has sold almost a million copies worldwide, and was last week announced as the UK’s fourth bestselling book for the first six months of 2019. It is up against three thrillers – the Booker-longlisted Snap by celebrated crime writer Belinda Bauer, Our House by Louise Candlish, which won the British Book Award Crime & Thriller of the Year, and M.W. Craven’s CWA Gold Dagger-shortlisted The Puppet Show. Rounding off the shortlist are celebrated debuts Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott and VOX by Christina Dalcher. 

✨✨ The Winner will be announced on the 16th September ✨✨

Here are my thoughts on one of the nominated books

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Snap by Belinda Bauer (Transworld) On a stifling summer ’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters wait in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to return. ‘Stay in the car. I won’t be long,’ she’d said. But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever.

My Review..

SNAP gets off to a truly dramatic start, which sets the scene for much of the novel which, it must be said, I raced through with my heart hammering, desperate to find out what was going on and so eager to discover just a little bit more that I barely left the book alone for 5 minutes.

The characters in SNAP leap fully formed from the page, especially, Jack Bright who, at just eleven years old and with a head which is far too old for his young shoulders, takes on the responsibility of looking out for his two younger sisters in the aftermath of an appalling family tragedy. To say that that the Bright family have had a raw deal is an understatement and as the minutiae of their lives starts to be revealed so a mystery of epic proportions is revealed.

Running alongside Jack's story is that of disheveled cop DCI John Marvel who has been sent to the Somerset force in order to help out with a complex investigation to catch a thief who has, so far, eluded capture, and whose nickname of Goldilocks is particularly relevant. On the surface Jack and DCI marvel shouldn't have anything in common but eventually their stories start to merge with very interesting consequences.

In a sea of crime novels, which pretty much follow the same trajectory, SNAP stands out from the crowd and not just because the writing is absolutely crisp perfect with never a word wasted or an emotion unexpressed, but also, the rawness of its chilling edginess had me, quite literally, jumping at shadows. The precise and frightening detail which fleshes out Jack Bright's tortured character is something which will stay with me for a very long time.

There is no doubt that this author has a strong grasp of just what the reader wants from a crime thriller, a tight and taut plot-line, characters who scare you half to death, clues scattered throughout  like precious jewels, and more than enough tension to keep you awake at night. SNAP has all this, and more, in abundance, and is without doubt one of my favourite crime thrillers this year.

I've now read 4 of the 6 books which have been nominated for the Glass Bell awards and they are all worthy contenders.  I'm looking forward to seeing the winner announced on the 16th September.

About the Author


My thanks to FMcM Associates for my paperback copy of this book
and the opportunity to share the details of the Goldsboro Glass Bells Awards

Belinda Bauer grew up in England and South Africa and now lives in Wales. She worked as a journalist and a screenwriter before finally writing a book to appease her nagging mother. For her debut, Blacklands, Belinda was awarded the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year. She went on to win the CWA Dagger in the Library for her body of work. Her fourth novel, Rubbernecker, was voted Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Her eighth novel, Snap, was a Sunday Times bestseller. It was longlisted for the Man Booker prize and voted Crime & Thriller Book of the Year at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Her books have been translated into twenty-one languages.

Twitter @BelindaBauer #Snap

@GoldsboroBooks #GlassBell


Monday, 2 September 2019

Blog Tour ~ Home Truths by Susan Lewis

Jaffareadstoo is thrilled to be hosting this final day of the Blog Tour

Harper Collins
22 August 2019

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

How far would you go to keep your family safe?

Angie Watts had the perfect ordinary family. A new home. A beloved husband. Three adored children.

But Angie’s happy life is shattered when her son Liam falls in with the wrong crowd. And when her son’s bad choices lead to the murder of her husband, it’s up to Angie to hold what’s left of her family together.

Her son is missing. Her daughter is looking for help in dangerous places. And Angie is fighting just to keep a roof over their heads.

But Angie is a mother. And a mother does anything to protect her children – even when the world is falling apart… 

What did I think about it..

Struggling to cope after a family tragedy, Angie Watts finds that her life spirals into chaos and although she is doing everything she can to keep her family together, rising debts and an unscrupulous landlord forces her to the very brink of despair. It's impossible not to feel an emotional attachment to Angie and her family, especially when her teenage daughter tries to find her own solution to the family's problem with disastrous consequences.

I think Home Truths is a story of contrasts and shows human nature with all the faults and failings which so often cause families to go under, and yet, there is also goodness and kindness with  people who are willing to help when times get tough. The author writes from the heart and gives a compassionate and meaningful account of what could happen when faced with a lack of money and no real idea where the next meal is coming from, and yet, despite the rotten deal that life as thrown at her, Angie Watts is probably typical of many women in similar circumstances, willing to do anything in order to keep their families safe, warm and fed.

With this emotional family drama, the author has, once again, got right into the heart of a modern day problem, and as we discover over the course of the story, what happens to Angie Watts could, in certain circumstances, happen to anyone.The story is packed with drama, from the threat of drug running gangs, to homelessness and enforced prostitution, there is never a moment when the action slows, and yet the author succeeds in making this a very readable story, with genuine characters  and realistic situations which sparked my interest from the start.

About the Author

Susan Lewis is the bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. 

Following periods of living in Los Angeles and the South of France, she currently lives in Gloucestershire with her husband James, stepsons Michael and Luke, and mischievous dogs Coco and Lulu.

Twitter @susandlewis #HomeTruths