Friday, 22 January 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ What I Did by Kate Bradley

πŸ“– Delighted to host today’s blog tour stop πŸ“–

21 January 2021

My thanks to the publisher for my ecopy of this book
And the invitation to be part of this blog tour.

Lisa is running.

She has taken her child, Jack, and she has run from his father.

Lisa thinks she's safe.

She's found a remote house where no one will be able to find them.

Lisa is about to wake up in her worst nightmare.

And now she must face what she's tried to escape.

Risking everything to protect her little boy, Lisa knows that in order to survive she will have to fight, but it's hard to face someone you loved, especially someone you still love, who knows who you really are - and what you are really capable of.

Family is everything. What would you do to protect it?

πŸ“–  My Thoughts...

This fast paced contemporary psychological thriller hits the ground running with an opening chapter which sets the seal for a terrifying story which is cleverly split between time frames which are quite simply explained as now and before. In both sections we get to know Lisa who is caring for her boy, Jack, in an atmosphere which is fraught with danger. With little option, but to get to a place of safety, Lisa must go away with Jack in order to stop the abuse which threatens to engulf both of them.

This deadly spiral of domestic abuse is, at times, a gripping and uncomfortable read but the author does a great job of making everything seem really plausible and so scarily realistic that these characters could, so easily, be people you meet in your daily life. Such is the sympathetic rendering of the story that it becomes very easy to make an emotional connection with the main characters and even though the story is fraught with danger and dreadful abuse, there's a compulsion to read on just to make sense of the many twists and turns which this talented author has inserted into the plot. I was genuinely surprised with how the story eventually played out.

What I Did is a clever psychological thriller which grabs your attention from the start and doesn't let you escape until the whole of this compelling story is told.

 πŸ“–  About the Author πŸ“–  

Kate Bradley worked for many years managing service for people who are marginalised by society; her world has taken her into prisons, metal health hospitals and alongside the homeless. She currently works in education. He holds a first class degree in English Literature, in addition to qualifications in creative writing and teaching. Kate lives in a small coastal town just outside Brighton with her husband and sons.


Twitter @kate_bradley #WhatIDid


Thursday, 21 January 2021

πŸ“– Publication Day Review ~ All My Lies are True by Dorothy Koomson


πŸ“– Happy Paperback Publication Day πŸ“–


21 January 2021

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

Verity is telling lies... and that’s why she’s about to be arrested for attempted murder.

Serena has been lying for years... and that may have driven her daughter Verity, to do something unthinkable. 

Poppy’s lies have come back to haunt her... so will her quest for the truth hurt everyone she loves?

30 years ago, teenagers Poppy Carlisle and Serena Gorringe were put on trial for the murder of their teacher. Poppy was convicted. Serena walked free. 10 years after Poppy’s release from prison, and now with families of their own, both women have spent a lifetime trying to forget. But time is no healer. The story is not theirs alone; their families have lived it too. Will the truth of what happened that night ever come to light, or will the abuses of the past destroy everyone they love? A story about family, obsession and psychological abuse, it seems that everyone lies... but whose lies are going to end in tragedy?

πŸ“– My thoughts..

Anyone who has read The Ice Cream Girls will wonder what happened to Poppy and Serena in the years following their dramatic arrest and court appearance. Thankfully the author felt that it was now time to write a sequel, even though initially she said she wouldn't, and I'm really pleased that we have in All My Lies are True a worthy continuation of this compelling story.

All my Lies are True picks up the story several years after the first story finished. Poppy is out of prison and Serena has been living her life seemingly unscathed in the intervening years. However, scars run deep, and although neither women have much contact with the other they remain ever present in each other's thoughts. The passage of time doesn't dim the connection but there is now a new generation for whom the troubles of the past are about to threaten the future. When the events of the present, and I'm not going to say what they are as that would spoil everything, start to spiral out of control then the whole sad and sorry cycle is about to start all over again.

The story is beautifully told, with a scarily realistic edge, and with central characters who get right inside your head and who you invest in from the first page. Some I liked more than others and there's one in particular I was wary of from the start but that's what makes the story so compelling, characters who you believe one minute, and then start to doubt at other times. The story is told from different timelines and several points of view, that of Verity, Serena's grown up daughter, Serena herself, and also Poppy, each of them have a story to tell and each is as compelling as the others.

All My Lies are True has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and because nothing is ever as it seems, I think, that's what makes this book such a riveting and engrossing read. My opinion is that you don't need to re-read the first book in order to get the most out of this follow up as the author gives enough back story for it all to make sense. However, if you've not done, then I do think that you would get more enjoyment if you first read The Ice Cream Girls. 

 πŸ“–  All My Lies are True by Dorothy Koomson is out in paperback today πŸ“– 

πŸ“–About the Author πŸ“–

Dorothy Koomson is an award-winning, global bestselling author whose novels include the Sunday Times bestsellers The Friend, That Girl from Nowhere, The Ice Cream Girls, The Woman He Loved Before, The Chocolate Run and My Best Friend’s Girl. Her books have been translated into more than 30 languages with sales that exceed 2 million copies in the UK alone. Dorothy’s books are powerful, thought-provoking and compelling ‘emotional thrillers’ where moral dilemmas are central and where the complex emotions of family and friendships are explored. 

Her third book, My Best Friend’s Girl, was selected for the Richard & Judy Summer Reads of 2006, and her novels The Ice Cream Girls and The Rose Petal Beach were both shortlisted for the British Book Awards in 2010 and 2013, respectively. A TV adaptation loosely based on The Ice Cream Girls was first shown on ITV1 in 2013. Her novels have all been Sunday Times Top 10 bestsellers including That Girl from Nowhere, When I Was Invisible, The Friend and Tell Me Your Secret. Dorothy was a 2018 Quick Reads author with The Beach Wedding which was also selected as a World Book Night giveaway title in the same year, with The Ice Cream Girls a 2019 World Book Night title.

Passionate about the importance of reading and literacy, Dorothy is a regular speaker in libraries and at festivals and supports the work of the National Literacy Trust, an independent charity that transforms lives through literacy and Little Green Pig, a Brighton and Hove based charity that offers free writing workshops for young people in need. Dorothy lives in Brighton (well, Hove, actually) and the city is an ever-present character in her novels.

Twitter @DorothyKoomson #AllMyLiesAreTrue



Wednesday, 20 January 2021

πŸ“– Book Review ~ The Burning Girls by C J Tudor


Michael Joseph
21 January 2021

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death

30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace

Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it's supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn't easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft's history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?

Who's sending them sinister, threatening messages?

And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft's secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn't touch them if not for Flo - anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft - and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest...

πŸ“– My Thoughts..

I always have a real sense of excitement when there is a new book out by this author as I know, from past experience, that she will never let me down and the story will be every bit as good as I want it to be. The Burning Girls is a story which is so fraught with danger and menace that just after reading a few pages I was already frightened of my own shadow!

Reverend Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo are sent to the tiny village of Chapel Croft to replace the last vicar who has died in tragic circumstances. Their arrival in the village is met with a great deal of mistrust and from the start it is obvious that the villagers are not going to give up their secrets easily. A series of events threaten not just Jack and Flo's safety but also their peace of mind and as tensions start to run high so danger is never far away.

This is one of those clever stories which is all to easy to spoil by giving away even a little snippet of something which later bears relevance so I won't do the author a disservice by recounting her clever plot. What I will say is that after reading all this author's books, and there are four, this one is my favourite, but then I've said that after each book, and that's just how good this writer is that after finishing you are always eager for more. 

The Burning Girls is not for the faint hearted and won't be everyone's choice but if you enjoy a deeply suspenseful novel with lots of genuinely creepy moments which make you jump at shadows and which give you a burning desire to sleep with the light on, then do give it a try. It's perfect escapism.

Note to self - don't go walking in the woods when you've just read a chapter of The Burning Girls..πŸ‘»

About the Author

C. J. Tudor lives in Nottingham, England with her partner and three-year-old daughter.

Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voice over and dog-walker. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time, and doesn’t miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much.

Twitter @cjtudor #TheBurningGirls


πŸ“– Published in hardback 21 January 2020 πŸ“–

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour Guest Post ~ You Don't Need Therapy by Alan Lucas


 Delighted to be able to share this guest post on today's blog tour stop

Beak Street Publishing
12 January 2021

My thanks to Midas pr for my invitation to be part of the blog tour
and to the author for this guest post

Changing your life isn’t that complicated when you know how, and when you know how You Don’t Need Therapy According to the World Health Organisation, there is a suicide every 40 seconds and in the UK alone, 16 people choose to end their lives every day. We have a chronic mental health problem. More and more people report they are struggling, yet therapy and medication, the conventional default solutions, are expensive and don’t seem to be working. You Don’t Need Therapy presents an alternative solution: The SYSO System® - an easily digestible and cost efficient one stop system that can be applied by anyone wherever they are on their journey. Resources available for self-improvement are plentiful, but can be overwhelming and confusing. There are over 160 recognised types of psychotherapy, endless counselling styles, coaching methods, healing techniques, retreats, seminars and book offerings, yet many people simply don’t know where to start or what to do next. You Don’t Need Therapy introduces a one stop solution, the SYSO System®, with 7 simple steps and 70 practical exercises so you can DO the changing, rather than just read about it. By following the steps, you will change how you think, which will change how you feel, which will change what you do, all as quickly as you choose. You will create a new filter through which you experience life and by changing the filter, everything will look different.

You don’t need therapy; you can sort your self out when you know how.

πŸ“– I'm delighted to welcome Alan to the blog today πŸ“–

Sort Your Self Out 

Hi, I’m Alan Lucas and I created a 7-step system to help people become more mentally healthy! It’s simply called the Sort Your Self Out system (The SYSO System) and if you follow the steps you can change your life. It’s that straightforward. 

However, the system will only work if you do! That’s why there are 70 practical exercises so you can really do the changing rather than just read about it. If you want your life to improve, you have to improve. If you want your life to be different, you have to be different, and if you want your life to change, you have to change. Notice the theme? It’s you! You have to ‘do’ things differently. 

People are seeking help for mental health problems at an unprecedented rate. In the UK one in four report experiencing mental health issues and 1 in 8 are receiving some form of ‘treatment.’ The most common prescribed solutions are therapy and medication, but these are expensive, not easy to access and often not that effective. As great as some therapy can be, the therapist doesn’t do the work for you anyway. You still have to do the changing. If you just knew what to do and had exercises to practice, then you wouldn’t need therapy. 

Everyone has things they are trying to change, but often we just struggle with the doing. The SYSO System, with 70 action activating exercises, focusses on making changes real. The 7 steps deal with the bigger questions that lie behind your life, and when you focus on these, then all the small stuff will fall into place. Want better relationships, health, finances? We often focus on strategies for achieving these goals in specific areas of our life, but if we focus instead on the bigger picture by becoming more aware, managing our mind, taking charge of our emotions, meeting our needs in healthy ways, having a clear purpose, appreciating our interconnectedness and raising our vibration, then our life will change on a whole new level in all areas. 

So, wherever you are on your journey, decide to take responsibility for your experience of life. Everything that has happened so far has been invaluable in giving you the foundations for the next part. Decide now to make the most of the rest of your life, and you will be doing everyone else the biggest favour too, as being the best version of yourself is the greatest gift you can give to others. When you light up you will feel great, but you will also be able to shine more brightly your light and warmth. Let’s all be the best we can. Let’s all be suns. 

You Don’t Need Therapy is out on 12th Jan and is available for pre order now. All profits to The SYSO Foundation which is a new charity providing free support and personal development resources to young people to help them avoid becoming messed up older people. 

About the Author

Alan Lucas was born and raised in Belfast during the troubles and from a young age wondered why people would choose to kill others just because they had developed different beliefs. After university, he worked as a ski instructor in the U.S, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe. He had a corporate career as a marketing boss at global sportswear brands Nike and Adidas and has founded various businesses. An entrepreneur, coach and motivational speaker, Alan is passionate about selfimprovement and helping people have more fun and fulfilling lives. He created the Sort Your Self Out system, and the EGO HERE® brand which donates its profits to the SYSO Foundation, providing personal development resources for young people to help them become the best versions of themselves. You Don’t Need Therapy is his debut book.

Twitter @SysoSystem #YouDontNeedTherapy


Monday, 18 January 2021

πŸ“– Book Review ~ The Museum of Desire by Jonathan Kellerman

Arrow Books
12 November 2021

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book


A mansion in Beverly Hills is leased out to host an event wild enough to herald the end of days.

The next day there isn’t a living soul to be seen. In the driveway sits a super-stretch limo, unlocked, with four bodies inside it. Nothing links the victims together. Each has been killed in a different way.

Now it’s up to brilliant psychologist Alex Delware and LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis to begin their grisliest and most baffling case yet.

As they struggle to make sense of the mass slaying, they will be forced to confront a level of evil that nothing can prepare them for.

πŸ“– My thoughts..

I'm very late to the party with this series as Museum of Desire is now the #35 book in the Alex Delaware series and as this is my first time reading of the partnership between psychologist Alex Delaware and LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis I entered this 35th crime scene with an air of trepidation just in case I couldn't pick up the back story. I needn't have worried as from the dramatic start to the story, with the discovery of a gruesome crime scene, I was completely hooked in by the story.
That this is a complex murder investigation is obvious as the story gets under way. Four bodies, all seemingly unconnected to each other, are found after a party has taken place at a prestigious mansion in Beverley Hills, and the more Sturgis investigates the more questions are raised which is why he relies heavily on psychologist Delaware helping out with profiling the perpetrator of this heinous crime. Both Delaware and Sturgis work well together as each complement the other and when one starts to falter the other gives the much needed boost needed to carry on with the complex investigation.

The story moves along at a cracking pace and there is never a moment when the momentum lapses or the tension lessens and I found that I really couldn't stop reading until I had discovered just why these disparate characters all ended up dying together in such dreadful circumstances. The author writes with knowledgeable conviction and has obviously invested such time and energy into the series that everything just gels beautifully together.

Museum of Desire is a fast action crime thriller with a decidedly gritty edginess so it's not for the faint hearted. However, I am sure that fans of the Alex Delaware series will find much to enjoy in this latest crime investigation.

About the Author

Jonathan Kellerman is the Number One New York Times bestselling author of more than forty crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher's Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, Twisted, True Detectives, and The Murderer's Daughter.


Sunday, 17 January 2021

🍴Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Christina Courtenay

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

🍴I'm delighted to welcome, author, Christina Courtenay to our Sunday Brunch today🍴

🍴Welcome, Christina. What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch? 

I’ll bring a huge platter of sushi – all kinds except for eel and mackerel – it’s the perfect food for lunch any day! For those who don’t like fish, there will be vegetarian ones, although I suppose I’d better bring some homemade bread as well with butter and various types of cheese just in case. 

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

None of the above, thank you – I’d prefer a Coke with ice and lemon, please. Or some elderflower cordial or homemade lemonade. 

🍴Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio

I’d prefer the kitchen table – it will be more comfortable and informal, and kitchens are usually cosy and warm. I hate eating al fresco as there are always insects and you get the sun in your eyes. 

🍴Shall we have music playing in the background? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you happy? 

Anything by Def Leppard – I love their songs – or a selection of upbeat 1980s pop songs. 

🍴Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today? 

I think it has to be my latest hero Hrafn Eskilsson, a Viking trader who has just returned from a very long journey to what he calls MiklagarΓ°r (present day Istanbul). He has a lot to tell us about his adventures, I’m sure! 

🍴Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch? 

Whichever Georgette Heyer book I can first lay my hands on – I love all her stories and never tire of them! 

🍴When you are writing do you still find time to read for pleasure? And is there a book you would like to read but haven’t had time for …yet! 

Yes, I read a lot in the evenings and long into the night – once I start a book I can never stop until I reach the end. (Thank goodness for Kindles so that my husband can still get to sleep.) There are some books I feel I ought to have read but haven’t got round to – like Anna Karenina – and maybe one day I will? But I prefer more light-hearted stuff and if I like the look of a book, I’ll make time for it no matter what. 

🍴What’s the oldest book on your book shelf? 

I still have some of my favourite children’s books (I’m a hoarder so never throw anything away unless I have to) and some old first edition Heyer books, but I think the oldest books I own are probably A Thousand and One Nights (it’s a series of four bound volumes given to me by my grandfather). 

🍴Where do you find the inspiration for your novels? 

Inspiration can be sparked by anything – a place, a house, a sound, an item – and for me it’s usually houses or things like castle ruins. However, now that I’m writing about the Viking era, I have been getting lots of ideas from the research I’ve done. I start off with a vague outline and once I dig deeper into the history, I start to see lots of possibilities. It does really help to visit the places in the story as well as there are some things, like sound/smell/touch, you can’t find by reading about it. Being there will spark new plot possibilities, which is always good. 

🍴Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer? 

I write on my laptop so I can sit anywhere. I have a bad back so I’m often found on the floor leaning against the sofa with a huge cushion behind me – I find chairs very uncomfortable for any length of time. Also, my very elderly dog likes me to be down on his level. His dog bed is right next to me wherever I am. 

🍴When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing? 

If I know I have a deadline I’m usually very focused. It’s easy to become distracted by social media and I sometimes have to make myself stop looking at Twitter or whatever, but I can be very disciplined if I have to. As soon as I’m into my story, I forget everything else and I find that the best way to immerse myself in the imaginary world is to read the last chapter I wrote and just carry on from there. 

🍴Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs? 

A laptop, an internet connection, great author friends and lots of chocolate! (My stories are mostly fuelled by Bourneville and the occasional Ferrero Rocher). 

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

My latest novel is The Runes of Destiny, a Viking time travel story where Linnea, a 21st century woman, travels back in time to the Viking age. She’s taken captive and finds herself in the power of Hrafn, a Viking trader, who claims her as his thrall and takes her on a journey across the seas to sell her for profit. Although lost and confused, Linnea is determined to find a way back to her own time, but there’s a connection forming with Hrafn. Can she resist the call of the runes and accept her destiny lies here … 

I’m now working on the sequel, Whispers of the Runes, which features Hrafn’s brother Rurik and Linnea’s best friend Sara. They get caught up with the so-called Great Heathen Army that rampaged through Britain in the 870s AD and have to stick together to survive.

🍴Christina, where can we follow you on social media?🍴

Twitter @PiaCourtenay




More about Christina

Christina Courtenay writes historical romance, time slip and time travel stories, and lives in Herefordshire (near the Welsh border) in the UK. Although born in England, she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden – hence her abiding interest in the Vikings. Christina is a former chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several awards, including the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel twice with Highland Storms (2012) and The Gilded Fan (2014). The Runes of Destiny (time travel published by Headline 10th December 2020) is her latest novel. Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).


Thank you for taking part in Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo

Follow us Twitter @jaffareadstoo #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo

Saturday, 16 January 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

πŸ“– Delighted to be sharing my book review on today's blog tour stop πŸ“–

Bantam Press
18 January 2021

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

An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she's taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother's recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it's beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous - as does her brother, Isaac.

And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancΓ©e Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin's unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she's the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they're all in...

My thoughts...

High in the Swiss Alps a new minimalist hotel opens, however, it is not without controversy, as Le Sommet sits on the footprint of what was once a rather grim sanatorium for people with tuberculosis. Local opposition runs high and there are those who would rather the hotel just didn’t exist.

Police Detective, Elin Warner and her partner, Will Riley, have been invited to the hotel to celebrate Elin’s brother’s engagement to Laure who is the assistant manger of the hotel. Emotions run high especially for Elin who is currently on extended sick leave with PTSD. When Laure goes missing, leaving no clues to her disappearance, Elin needs to draw on all her emotional, and professional, strength to try to figure out just what is going on at Le Sommet.

What then follows is a decidedly chilly story which has all the necessary elements of surprise needed for a thrilling whodunnit. The icy setting, against a snowy backdrop heightens the claustrophobic nature of the story and as Elin gets drawn deeper into the investigation, so her own insecurities start to come to the fore.

Right from the start there is an undercurrent of unease, which surrounds, not just the hotel, but also the people associated with it and when atrocious weather causes some guests and staff to be stranded at Le Sommet this creepy sense of unrest is made so much worse when a gruesome discovery is made.

The claustrophobic nature of being high in the Swiss Alps in a creepy and isolated hotel in the middle of a swirling snowstorm and with so many people staying at the hotel who have hidden agendas then you have all the right ingredients for a decidedly chilly and very atmospheric read.

The Sanatorium is a commendable debut by a talented new voice in the psychological thriller/crime fiction  genre.

About the Author

Sarah Pearse lives by the sea in South Devon with her husband and two daughters. She studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick and worked in Brand PR for a variety of household brands. After moving to Switzerland in her twenties, she spent every spare moment exploring the mountains and still has a home in the Swiss Alpine town of Crans Montana, the dramatic setting that inspired her novel. Sarah has always been drawn to the dark and creepy - remote spaces and abandoned places - so when she read an article in a local Swiss magazine about the history of sanatoriums in the area, she knew she’d found the spark of the idea for her debut novel, The Sanatorium. Her short fiction has been published in a wide variety of magazines and has been shortlisted for several prizes.

Twitter @SarahVPearse #TheSanatorium

Instagram @sarahpearseauthor


Friday, 15 January 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ The German Girl by Lily Graham

πŸ“– Delighted to share my book review on today's blog tour stop πŸ“– 

12 January 2021

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

Our parents were taken. And if we go home, the Nazis will take us too…’

Hamburg 1938. Fifteen-year-old Asta is hurrying home from school with her twin brother Jurgen. The mood in the city is tense – synagogues have been smashed with sledgehammers, and Asta is too frightened to laugh as she used to.

But when she and Jurgen are stopped in the street by a friend, her world implodes further. Her Jewish parents have been dragged into the streets by German soldiers and if she and Jurgen return to their house, they will be taken too.

Heartbroken at the loss of her parents, Asta knows they must flee. With her beloved brother, she must make the perilous journey across Germany and into Denmark to reach their only surviving relative, her aunt Trine, a woman they barely know.

Jammed into a truck with other refugees, Asta prays for a miracle to save herself and Jurgen. Crossing the border is a crime punishable by death, and what she and Jurgen must embark on a dangerous crossing on foot, through the snowy forest dividing Germany and Denmark. And when barking dogs and armed soldiers find Jurgen and Asta escapes, she must hold on to hope no matter what. One day she will find her twin, the other half of herself. Whatever the price she has to pay..

My Thoughts..

Jewish twins, Asta and Jurgen are a just a couple of ordinary teenagers who enjoy living their lives with their parents in the city of Hamburg. However, it's now 1938, and as the political arena starts to change in Germany so the family face particular hardship when animosity towards the Jewish population starts to creep into their everyday lives. With unspeakable horror, Asta and Jurgen witness their parents being forcibly removed from their house but thanks to the kindness of their neighbours the twins are able to flee the city and undertake a perilous journey to find their only other relative in Denmark.

The story which follows is an emotional roller-coaster which sees the twins placed in grave danger as they make their way through a country in turmoil. The author writes with emotional conviction and brings to life the danger and despair of those who are, quite literally, running for their lives. Told in two time frames which begin primarily in Northern Sweden in 1995, before switching to WW2 Germany, I thought that both sections have a strong historical authenticity and I felt just at comfortable in the cold and ice with the old man and his granddaughter in Sweden as I did in the fierce distraction in the forests of Southern Jutland in late 1938.

Beautifully and emotionally written The German Girl is a heartbreaking story of hardship, despair and unerring bravery in the face of great tragedy.

(Just a note to say that this story was previously titled : The Flight of Swallows)

Lily has been telling stories since she was a child, starting with her imaginary rabbit, Stephanus, and their adventures in the enchanted peach tree in her garden, which she envisioned as a magical portal to Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree. She’s never really got out of the habit of making things up, and still thinks of Stephanus rather fondly.

She lives with her husband and her English bulldog, Fudge, and brings her love for the sea and country-living to her fiction.

@Bookouture #BooksonTour

@lilygrahambooks #TheGermanGirl


Thursday, 14 January 2021

πŸ“– Publication Day Book Review ~ The Appeal by Janice Hallett


Happy Publication Day 


14 January 2021

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book


Dear Reader,

Enclosed are documents relating to the events surrounding the Fairway Players' staging of All My Sons, and the tragic death of one of its members. Another member is currently in prison for the crime. We have reason to suspect that they are innocent, and that there were far darker secrets that have yet to be revealed.

We believe that the killer has given themselves away. It's there in writing, hidden in the emails, texts, and letters. In the events surrounding the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick, and the question of whether that money was truly being used to fund her life-saving cancer treatment. Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth? Do you dare?

My Thoughts..

I was fortunate to win a copy of The Appeal in a competition run by the publishers and I was really excited by the prospect of reading the book as I had heard whispers amongst my review contacts on social media that this book was one to watch and I haven't been disappointed.

Written in an entirely different style, that of epistolary emails, news clippings and text messages, the story moves between the various cast members of the Fairway Players, a local amateur dramatic group which is run by the enigmatic Hayward family. Stricken with the devastating news that the young daughter of one of their cast members is seriously ill, the Fairway Players decide to launch a huge fund raising campaign so that the little girl can get the medication needed to keep her illness at bay. And that is all I can tell you without spoiling the plot, the rest you'll have to discover for yourself.

I have to admit that it took me a little while to get used to the format and to get the characters firmly placed in my mind but once I had them all in my imagination the story just flowed beautifully and even though the style of writing is unusual it is refreshingly different and gives an insight into the unstable nature of all those players who are such an integral part of this cleverly designed plot. There are cleverly placed clues within the body of the story and many times I found myself backtracking to get something clear in my head but to be honest I didn't work out the real culprit of the story until the grand reveal.

The Appeal was the first book I read in this new year of reading and even now days after finishing reading I am still wondering about the story. The challenge of this book is in the blurb 'in a town full of secrets, someone was murdered, someone went to prison and everyone is a suspect - can you discover the truth?'  All the details are there if you look for them and it's a great deal of fun to try and work everything out for yourself.

About the Author

Janice Hallett studied English at UCL, and spent several years as a magazine editor, winning two awards for journalism. After gaining an MA in Screenwriting at Royal Holloway, she co-wrote the feature film Retreat. The Appeal is inspired by her lifelong interest in amateur dramatics. Her second novel, The Twyford Code, will be published by Viper in 2022. When not indulging her passion for global adventure travel, she is based in West London.(source:publisher)

Twitter @JaniceHallett #TheAppeal


Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Blog Tour ~ The Dark Room by Sam Blake


Delighted to share my book review on today's blog tour

7 January 2021

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book and to Random Things Tours for my
invitation to the blog tour today

Hare's Landing, West Cork. A house full of mystery...

Rachel Lambert leaves London afraid for her personal safety and determined to uncover the truth behind the sudden death of a homeless man with links to a country house hotel called Hare's Landing.

New York-based crime reporter Caroline Kelly's career is threatened by a lawsuit and she needs some thinking space away from her job. But almost as soon as she arrives, Hare's Landing begins to reveal its own stories - a 30-year-old missing person's case and the mysterious death of the hotel's former owner.

As Rachel and Caroline join forces, it becomes clear that their investigations are intertwined - and that there is nothing more dangerous than the truth...

My Thoughts..

The intriguing opening chapter of The Dark Room sets the scene for a convoluted mystery which has all the elements of surprise needed to keep you guessing. 

In London, a homeless man, known only as Alfie Bows, is found dead in mysterious circumstances, and not only does this bode ill for those who have been filming his life in a documentary but it also puts into danger the lives of two women when they each visit the mysterious Hare's Landing, a hotel  in West Cork. Hare's Landing is a place of secrets and the brooding nature of the hotel, and the distrustful nature of those around it, all help to maintain this illusion throughout the story. 

The two female protagonists each have their own reasons for being at Hare's Landing. After some unsettling disturbances, Rachel Lambert flees her home in London determined to investigate more about Alfie Bows and his connection to Hare's Landing. Meanwhile New York journalist Caroline Kelly has returned to her native Ireland in order to re-think her career and is little prepared for what she gets involved in whilst staying at Hare's Landing. The brooding nature of Hare's Landing is maintained throughout and as Rachel and Caroline become more and more involved in a missing person mystery so the tension starts to build up.

The author writes well and brings a nice air of mystery without becoming too fanciful. I was intrigued by Hare's Landing, it's such a gloomy old place, and so well described that it very easily becomes another character in the plot and an integral part of the story.

The Dark Room is an intriguing and mysterious thriller with enough twists, turns and red herrings to keep you turning the pages.

About the Author

Sam Blake is a pseudonym for Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin, the founder of The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and the hugely popular national writing resources website She is Ireland's leading literary scout and has assisted many award-winning and bestselling authors to publication. As Sam Blake, she has written four previous novels and has topped the Irish bestseller chart.

Twitter @SamBlakeBooks #TheDarkRoom



Monday, 11 January 2021

πŸ“– Mini Blog Blitz~ Beneath Cornish Skies by Kate Ryder


πŸ“– Delighted to be hosting a stop on this blog blitz today πŸ“–

Aries and Aria
January 2021

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

To an outsider,Cassandra Shaw's life looks perfect. She lives in a beautiful, luxurious house in the English countryside, with a handsome, wealthy boyfriend who insists she needn't do a day’s work in her life. But Cassie knows that something is not right. Her boyfriend has grown colder, treating her more like a housekeeper than a future wife. And her time feels empty and purposeless.

Cassandra has always been riddled with insecurities and self doubt, but, just for once, she decides to take a chance on a new beginning. She answers an advert for a live in nanny, dog walker, cook and all round 'Superhuman' for a family living in a rambling manor house on the rugged North Cornish coast. The work is hard and tiring, but Cassie has never felt so fulfilled. 

As Cassie learns to connect with the natural beauty unfolding around her, Cornwall starts to offer up its secrets. Soon, Cassie starts wondering if she was drawn to this isolated part of the coast for a reason. Why was she guided to Foxcombe Manor? What are the flashes of light she sees in the valley? Is it her imagination or does someone brush past her? And who is the mysterious man living deep in the woods? 

A beautiful romance with a hint of ghostliness, Beneath Cornish Skies is for anyone who has ever longed to start their lives again.

My Thoughts..

Cassandra Shaw seems to have everything she desires but underneath the facade of her seemingly perfect life, with her successful boyfriend, Sandra is deeply unhappy. When the circumstances of her relationship go badly wrong she is forced to make a daring decision and leaving everything behind she takes up a paid position as a family help at the beautiful Foxcombe Manor, in Cornwall. 

What then follows is a really lovely story which allows Cassandra the chance to become known as Cassie and the opportunity, finally, to become the person she has always wanted to be. Instinctively attuned to the nuances of nature, Cassie soon finds that she is irresistibly drawn to the area around Foxcombe and is sensitive not just to its ever changing  moods but also to its deeply haunting atmosphere. 

The author has portrayed Cassie's indecision beautifully and brings her awakening to life with deliciously light touches. I so enjoyed watching how Cassie's character grew in confidence as the story progressed and the intriguing paranormal elements added just the right amount of mystery without becoming overly gothic. The story flows so quietly that I could almost hear the whisper of the trees as Cassie explores the area on Caspian, her glorious Arabian horse and when she comes into contact with the mysterious inhabitant of a cottage deep in the adjoining woodland, Cassie's life is about to be changed forever.

Beneath Cornish Skies is a beautifully written romance story which looks closely at a life which has been influenced by tragedy but which comes awake with the promise of love and a second chance at happiness.

About the Author

Kate Ryder is an award winning, Amazon Kindle international best seller who writes timeslip and romantic suspense in a true to life narrative. On leaving school she studied drama but soon discovered her preference for writing plays rather than performing them! Since then, she has worked in the publishing, tour operating and property industries, and has travelled widely.

Kate is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and the Society of Authors. In 2017, she signed a 4 book contract with Aria (digital imprint of award winning independent publisher, Head of Zeus).

Summer in a Cornish Cove, a contemporary romantic suspense set on the Lizard Peninsula, gained her a nomination for the RNA's 2018 Joan Hessayon award, while its standalone sequel, Cottage on a Cornish Cliff, reached the heady heights of #2 in Kindle Literary Sagas 'Secrets of the Mist', a mysterious time slip romance, not only achieved #1 Kindle best seller flags in the UK, Canada and Australia, but also reached #49 in Amazon UK Paid Kindle. In the original, self published version (The Forgotten Promise) it was awarded the first Chill with a Book "Book of the Month".

Originally hailing from the South East of England, today Kate lives on the Cornish side of the beautiful Tamar Valley with her husband and a collection of animals.

Twitter @KateRyder_Books #BeneathCornishSkies



Sunday, 10 January 2021

🍴 Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Francesca Capaldi

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

🍴I'm delighted to welcome, author, Francesca Capaldi to our Sunday Brunch today🍴

🍴Good morning, Francesca. What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?

I've brought poached eggs on toast, with some slices of avocado. I absolutely adore eggs.

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

A nice warming cup of English breakfast would be very welcome, thank you.

🍴Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio?

If the weather were better, I'd love to sit outside on the patio, but given how grim it is out there, sitting around the kitchen table would be far cosier.

🍴Shall we have music playing in the background?  And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you happy?

Music would be good. One of my favourite songs has always been the beautiful Gershwin number, Summertime, from Porgy and Bess. It has to have the full orchestral background. The Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong version is a good one. Even in the midst of winter, it makes me think of walking on a beach on a balmy summer day.

🍴Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today?

I've brought along Frodo Baggins, from The Lord of the Rings. As much as I enjoyed Peter Jackson's films, I think he made Frodo a little wimpish and missed the opportunity to show his real heroism and the sacrifices he made. He showed how the smallest and seemingly least important of people can make a real difference.

🍴Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch?

It would have to be The Herb of Grace by Elizabeth Goudge. It's the middle book of the Elliots of Damerosehay series, and the one I read first, before I realised there were two others. It's always remained my favourite. It's so beautifully written and transports me back to the time (the late 40s) and place of the wonderful mediaeval inn featured, which, when seen through the eyes of the children, is particularly magical. The characterisation is wonderful.

🍴When you are writing do you still find time to read for pleasure? And is there a book you would like to read but haven’t had time for …yet!

I don't get to read fiction as much as I'd like when I'm writing, as I tend to read a lot of research books. Having said that, I enjoy reading most of them, so I suppose you could say I'm still reading for pleasure! On my shelves I have a number of books I've still to read, in particular a few by Santa Montefiore.

🍴What’s the oldest book on your book shelf?

It's The Windsor Magazine, Volume XX, June to November 1904, which is a compilation of the Windsor Magazines. It belonged to my parents, who picked it up at a jumble sale back in the 1960s. It's full of short stories and articles of the time and a real dip into the past.

🍴Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?

All sorts of places. My very first (unpublished) novel, a YA set in a cafΓ©, was inspired by my own childhood and teens in my father's cafΓ©, as was one of my unpublished contemporaries and a series I had published in The People's Friend, Happy Days at the Criterion. The Valleys series was inspired by my great grandfather Hugh Morgan's World War 1 record, which popped up one day on Ancestry as a 'Hint'.

🍴Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer?

Recently I've taken to writing in the dining room, as I have a view of the garden from there and the table is bigger than my desk in the study. In the summer I like to sit in the garden. I much prefer writing in the summer than the winter. It's because of the longer, lighter days. And it's warmer!

🍴When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing?

Deadlines tend to make me more focussed, so I find it easier to complete my writing tasks when I have one.

🍴Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs?

Patience, realism, tenacity and flexibility. Writing a book or short story a publisher wants can take a long time, often years. You need to have the ability to soldier on, be realistic as to how good your writing really is, not take offence at critiquing and suggestions and be willing to edit what you've written to make it publishable.

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

My latest novel is War in the Valleys, the second of the Valleys series, focussing on Violet's story, and takes place between July 1916 and August 1917. Violet, with two small children and little money coming in, takes in a relative to help ends meet, but it turns out to be a really bad idea…

Hera Books
November 2020

🍴More about Francesca πŸ΄

Several years ago, Francesca Capaldi pursued a childhood dream and joined a creative writing class. Lots of published short stories and four pocket novels later, she’s now explored her mother’s ancestral history for a series of novels set in a Welsh colliery village. A history graduate and former teacher, she hails from the Sussex coast but now lives in Kent with her family and a cat called Lando Calrissian.


 πŸ΄Francesca, where can we follow you on social media?🍴




Write Minds Blog

Thank you for taking part in Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo

Thank you so much for inviting me, Jo. 

Follow us Twitter @jaffareadstoo #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo