Thursday 31 January 2019

Blog Tour ~ Oh I Do Like To Be by Marie Phillips

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to be hosting today's final stop on the 

Oh I Do Like To Be Blog Tour

24 January 2019

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

Shakespeare clone and would-be playwright Billy has just arrived in an English seaside town with his sister Sally, who was cloned from a hair found on the back of a bus seat. All Billy wants is a cheap B&B, an ice cream and a huge hit in the West End. Little does he know that their fellow clones Bill and Sal are also residents of this town. Things are about to get confusing - cue professional rivalry, marital discord and a family reunion like no other.

This modern update of The Comedy of Errors is what you get when Gods Behaving Badly author Marie Phillips decides to write an important, scholarly work about the life of William Shakespeare, reads the complete works, including the long poems nobody likes, and then decides to turn it into a witty, delightful romp that you can probably finish reading in an afternoon with two tea breaks.

My thoughts about it..

I'm not really sure how to describe Oh I Do Like To Be without giving too much away except to say that it's quirkily different. Set in an English seaside town, the story flits between two lots of crazy characters and is at first a little confusing until you work out just which of characters are taking centre stage.

Oh I Do Like To Be is a light hearted romp, which gives more than a shout out to Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors, and if you keep in your head the fact that, Billy and Bill,  the two male leads are clones of the great bard William Shakespeare then the story all starts to make perfect sense.It's a comfortable 159 pages long, so it's perfectly possible to read the story over the space of an afternoon and whilst I was reading I was reminded of those farce like comedies which were so popular once on television, the ones with multiple characters running round like headless chickens always just slightly out of sync with each other.

Oh I Do Like To Be is fun and frivolous, charmingly written and  doesn't take itself too seriously and that's what I enjoyed the most about reading it.

About the Author

Marie Phillips is the author of the international bestseller Gods Behaving Badly and The Table of Less Valued Knights, which was long listed for the Baileys Prize. With Robert Hudson, she wrote the BBC Radio 4 series. 

Warhorses of Letters and Some Hay in a Manger. Under the name Vanessa Parody, she co-wrote Fifty Shelves of Grey, a spoof of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Twitter @mpphillips #OhIDoLikeToBe



Wednesday 30 January 2019

Review ~ Never Do Harm by Mirren Jones

EM People

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

Hugh is a successful hospital consultant, arrogant, egotistical and hugely ambitious. He is admired and loathed in equal amounts by his colleagues, and humours his long-suffering wife Anne. His lifelong friend Alan is a hardworking General Practitioner, valued by his patients, if not by his partners and staff. He’s on the cusp of burn-out, and increasingly cynical about life, yet still loved by his magnetic wife Simone – a French sculptress of bronze figurines.

Like all doctors, they took the Hippocratic Oath, swearing to ‘Never Do Harm’, and keep it for 30 years. But in private life must the value still apply? What if temptation arises? Can betrayals remain secret? Who is being harmed?

The novel sweeps from France to Edinburgh, largely set in the Scottish National Health Service in the new millennium, a challenging time of intense organisational change.

By turns dark and humorous, this psychological drama explores the meaning of ‘harm’ – both intended and unintentional, and begs the question: HOW FAR CAN YOU EVER TRUST ANYONE?

My thoughts about it..

Hugh and Alan have been friends for a long time, both are successful doctors, each committed to their specialty however, Alan's life as a stressed out GP is very different to Hugh, who as a successful hospital consultant has rather more free rein on his enterprises. The two men are completely different in both characters and outlook and it is these differences which will, eventually,  have dramatic consequences on their friendship.

Moving forwards and backwards in time, Never Do Harm dissects the minutiae of friendship, looking at the events which bind these two men, and their respective families together, and also revealing secrets which, despite every effort at concealment, have the ability to shatter everything that once held true. I enjoyed getting to know both of these characters, Hugh and Alan are both very different men, one I like rather more than the other, but I could see just how easily the faults and failing of both men had the potential to ruin lives.

This is a really interesting look at the way professional life impacts on personal circumstances. Hugh and Alan each have their own way of coping but in a cash strapped NHS, Alan finds that working in general practice is draining him of enthusiasm and energy, and whilst Hugh seems to flit from one successful appointment to another, his more mercurial personality doesn't always endear him to his colleagues.

The writing partnership between these two authors works well. The transition between who is writing is seamless and I never had the impression of a clunky changeover in writing technique. I enjoyed the way the narrative moved between places and time-frames and how the plot was revealed slowly so that the denouement when it comes is all the more shocking.

Never Do Harm is a perceptive look at male friendship and how circumstances, once so solid, can very easily crumble into tiny pieces.

Mirren Jones is the pseudonym for the creative writing partnership of Marion Duffy and Elaine Atkins.

They have been writing together for over 20 years. Previously, as academic researchers and teachers this was non fiction, including two books published by Radcliffe Health. In 2008, after a major change in both their lives and careers, they produced their debut novel, 'Eight of Cups', and have just published their second, a psychological drama entitled 'Never do Harm'. The sequel to Eight of Cups, the second in the Dalmeny Girls Trilogy is now under construction!

MIRREN represents Marion, being the Scottish version of her name, and JONES represents Elaine - a true Welsh girl.

Twitter @MirrenJones

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Review ~ A Friend in Deed by G D Harper

28 January 2019

My thanks to the author for sharing his book with me and for my review copy of A Friend in Deed

Duncan Jones, freelance political journalist and blogger, loses his weekly column at a national newspaper and turns to investigative reporting. The chance remark of a friend leads him to suspect that the Russians are directing the new British government's policies and decisions. As he visits Moscow and Ukraine to discover more, scandal follows intrigue, dark forces attempt to silence him by whatever means possible and he turns to an unlikely ally for help. A Friend in Deed is the story of how one man confronts the traumas in his past and works out how to resolve them.

My thoughts about it..

A Friend in Deed is set sometime in our near future when the political arena is just as complicated as it is today. A new political party, aptly named, Act Now!, has emerged and is currently occupying the seat of power in Whitehall. Duncan Jones is a freelance reporter who is finding it increasingly difficult to eke out a living as an investigative journalist as newspapers, already in decline, are only interested in hard hitting stories.

When Duncan gets insider knowledge about the possible connection between the Russians and the British government, his journalistic interest is roused and before too long he is heading into a very dangerous situation which has dramatic consequences, not just for Duncan's future, but which also threatens to expose secrets from his past.

A Friend in Deed is a cleverly controlled psychological thriller which rattles along at a fast pace, and  introduces some very nefarious characters, both in this country and abroad, who are more than rattled by Duncan's determination to discover the depth of corruption. There are some very detailed descriptions of mysterious and deadly political shenanigans which, in a supposed post Brexit, post Trump world, I found to be scarily credible.

The author writes well, and has created some memorable characters bringing them to life in a very credible way. The fast pace of the story helps to keep up the momentum, which was quite tense in places, especially when discovering more about some very dodgy Russian dealings. The consequences of discovering what was going on in some very dangerous places made the story all the more exciting.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting up again with Duncan Jones who I met first in this author's previous novel, Love's Long Road. Throughout this continuation, there are some hints to what went on in that book but I don't think it's essential to have read it as this story works as a standalone and yet, as with all series, it is best to start at the beginning for greater enjoyment.

The final part of the trilogy Silent Money is currently a work in progress.

GD Harper has won a 2016 Wishing Shelf Award Red Ribbon, been shortlisted at the UK Festival of Writing for Best First Chapter, longlisted in the 2017 UK Novel Writing Competition and placed third in the Lightship Prize for first-time authors.

Twitter @harper_author


Monday 28 January 2019

Blog Tour ~ Apple of My Eye by Claire Allan

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to host today's stop on the Apple of My Eye Blog Tour

Avon Books
24 January 2019

My thanks to the publishers and to Sabah for the invitation to be part of this blog tour

When a mysterious note arrives for six months pregnant Eliana Hughes, she begins to doubt every aspect of her life – from her mixed feelings about motherhood to her marriage to Martin, who has become distant in recent months.

As the person behind the note escalates their campaign to out Eli’s husband as a cheat, she finds herself unable to trust even her own instincts, and as pressure builds, she makes a mistake that jeopardises her entire future.

Elsewhere, someone is watching. Someone who desperately wants a baby to call their own and will go to any lengths to become a mother – and stay a mother…

My thoughts about it..

With mixed feelings about her six month pregnancy, and a constant sensation of nausea, Eliana needs to use every ounce of her strength to maintain both her relationship with her husband, Martin, and also her demanding job as a Senior Staff Nurse in a hospice. When a note arrives at her work place claiming that Martin is  being unfaithful, the seeds of doubt are sown, and Eliana discovers that her settled life is about to take a very different, and difficult, direction. With her doubts about her marriage escalating, Eliana turns to someone she knows she can trust for comfort and reassurance.

What then follows is a cleverly controlled psychological suspense story which is expertly told by two very different narrators. Two people who you know you should trust to get the story right, however, there are elements of doubt in each story line and that is what make reading this book so compelling. The author certainly knows how to keep the tension alive with twists and turns appearing on every page, and whilst I had, sort of, sussed out quite early on just what was going on and with whom, there were still some cleverly contrived moments which took me completely surprised.

I read the book in one sitting as the story intrigued me and kept me turning the pages. I especially liked the hospice references and thought that this section of the story was particularly well written, so extra kudos to the author for writing about hospice care so thoughtfully.

Apple of My Eye is a clever and suspenseful psychological thriller, and fans of this author's previous book, Her Name was Rose, will be delighted with this latest offering from this talented writer.

A former journalist and columnist, Claire Allan has been writing fiction since 2006.

An Irish Times bestseller, she has tackled issues from post-natal depression, infertility, and dementia through to writing a based-on-a-true-story book about a couple reunited after 50 years apart. She has now decided to unleash her dark side!

Married with two children, two cats and a mad puppy she is happiest lost in a good book. She has kissed Michael Buble.

Twitter @ClaireAllan #AppleofMyEye


Sunday 27 January 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Puppet Show by M W Craven

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to host today's stop on The Puppet Show Blog Tour

The Puppet Show (Washington Poe, #1)
Little Brown Book Group
24 January 2019
Washington Poe #1

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

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District's prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he's ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive..

My thoughts about it..

Cumbria in the English Lake District has one of the highest concentration of prehistoric stone circles and when bodies start to be discovered in the centre of some of these circles, their horrific injuries are not for the faint hearted nor is the hunt for the perpetrator whose specific modus operandi instills fear into the hearts of the police investigators.

Washington Poe, is an ex-detective inspector who is back working with the Serious Crime Analysis Section. Poe has something of a chequered past, but he has been brought back from suspension to help with this latest inquiry, and teaming him with Tilly Bradshaw, a brilliant computer analyst, is inspired, as socially awkward, Tilly, and the rather maverick, Poe make a great, but unusual, partnership. Working alongside them, and trying to keep this unusual paring in order, is the recently promoted DI Stephanie Flynn, who heads the Serious Crime Analysis Section, and who must try to keep one step ahead of a serial killer whose evil knows no bounds.

I romped through the story at great speed because I quite simply couldn't put the book down for more than a few minutes and whilst I made a restorative cup of tea I looked around me to make sure that I wasn't high up on the Cumbrian fells watching another body burn in the shadow of an ancient stone sentinel. The dark and edgy story line sits well against the brooding nature of the landscape which is so beautifully described that you feel as if you walk alongside Poe as he goes about the meticulous business of catching a killer. And yet, even though the story is really very, very dark, interspersed throughout are some wonderful light moments between Poe and Tilly which made me laugh and came as a welcome relief from what was really happening as the story unfolded.

There's so much going on in The Puppet Show that it's really difficult to know where to start without giving any of the game away, so I won't say anything more about the twisting nature of the plot except that it needs to be read with no prior knowledge of the direction the story is heading, so that, the final shocking denouement, when it comes, will be as much of a surprise to you, as it was to me.

The Puppet Show is a dark, suspenseful read which kept me on the edge of my seat and is everything you want, and so much more, from a compelling new crime series. 

Book Two - Black Summer is already high on my wish list..

M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals . . .

M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country..

Twitter @MWCravenUK #ThePuppetShow


Saturday 26 January 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Earl's Irresistible Challenge by Lara Temple

On Hist Fic Saturday

Jaffareadstoo is thrilled to be hosting today's stop on 

The Earl's Irresistible Challenge Blog Tour

December 2018
Book#1 in the Sinful Sinclair Series

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

Could this infamous rake finally have found his countess? Part  One of The Sinful Sinclairs. 

When Lucas, Lord Sinclair, receives a mysterious summons from a Miss Olivia Silverdale he’s skeptical about whether he can help her. But Olivia, although eccentric, is in earnest about her quest to restore her late godfather’s reputation. Lucas’s curiosity is piqued, and not just by Olivia’s intelligent eyes and lithe form. A new challenge quickly presents itself: keeping Miss Silverdale at arm’s length!

My thoughts about it..

Olivia Silverdale is a woman on a mission to find out as much as she can about the circumstances surrounding her godfather's untimely demise. To do so she enlists the help of Lucas, Lord Sinclair, a man whose reputation as one of the 'Sinful Sinclairs' goes before him and yet, against Lucas's better judgement, Olivia's feisty eccentricity appeals to him in more ways than one.

The Earl's Irresistible Challenge gets off to a really good start and pretty soon I was completely entranced by Olivia, who, it must be said can be a little bit exasperating at times, however, her steely determination shines through and her ability to handle the irrepressible Earl is to her credit. Lucas is a completely different sort of character, a bit of a rogue most certainly, and yet, his handsome good looks and smouldering passion is, for me, what sets the story alight.

I found much to enjoy in this story which is the first that I have read by this author. Her sense of style and light and easy touch brings both place and people alive. The hoi poloi of Regency London with all of its complicated social nuances comes to life, and whilst perhaps, Olivia is allowed rather more freedom than some Regency young ladies, her strength of character is what makes her so appealing as a leading lady.

With a real sense of history and a good sized dollop of smouldering passion, The Earl's Irresistible Challenge gets the Sinful Sinclairs miniseries off to a really good start. I'm already looking forward to meeting up again with the Sinclairs in the not too distant future.

Lara Temple writes strong, sexy regency romances about complex individuals who give no quarter but do so with plenty of passion. After moving around the world for her career as a financial analyst and business consultant she returned to her childhood love of making up stories, and was surprised to discover that other people don’t mind reading them. 

She lives with her husband and two children who are very good about her taking over the kitchen table for her writing (so she can look out over the garden and dream while Oscar the dog keeps her feet warm by sitting on them as she works). 

The Earl’s Irresistible Challenge (out December 2018) is the first in her Sinful Sinclair series. In May 2019 Unlaced by the Highland Duke, part of a four book series with three other Harlequin Mills & Boon authors will be released.

Twitter @LaraTemple1

Friday 25 January 2019

Blog Tour ~ In Safe Hands by J P Carter

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to host today's stop on the In Safe Hands Blog Tour

24 January 2019

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

The first book in a gripping new crime series featuring DCI Anna Tate.

When nine children are snatched from a nursery school in South London, their distressed parents have no idea if they will ever see them again. The community in the surrounding area in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that's what they're saying.

But DCI Anna Tate knows that nothing is impossible, and she also knows that time is quickly running out. It’s unclear if the kidnappers are desperate for money or set on revenge, but the ransom is going up by £1million daily. And they know that one little boy in particular is fighting for his life.

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DCI Anna Tate has ever worked on – not only because nine children are being held hostage, but because she’s pretty sure that someone close to them is lying…

My Thoughts about it..

The day started out like any other at the Peabody Nursery School in Rotherhithe in South London but before the day is out nine children will have been abducted and the lives of the parents and nursery teachers will never be the same again. DCI Anna Tate is the SIO in charge of this fast moving police procedural drama and from the very start the action moves at a lively pace, secrets start to unfold, people's lives start to be uncovered and the way forward is often hampered by people who are quite simply not telling the truth.

I was hooked on this story from its opening prologue and I didn't look up except to make restorative cups of tea until I had finished the story in one sitting. It's compelling reading for all sorts of reasons, not just the very human drama which is unfolding, which is every parents worst nightmare, but also the mystery which is at the centre of DI Tate's personal life which is just as beguiling and which also starts to unravel as the story progresses.

In Safe Hands tugs away at your heartstrings, how could it not with nine three and four year olds abducted and in danger, but you also get a real sense of the parents' anguish and of the desperate police search for the perpetrators, which all feels authentic and quite believable.

The author writes well and certainly knows how to crank up the tension, keeping the momentum from start to finish. This is the first book in a proposed set of stories which feature DCI Anna Tate, the second book, At Your Door,  is due out in August 2019. Can't wait for that one 😉

About the Author

J P Carter is the pseudonym of a bestselling author who has also written sixteen books under the names Jaime and James Raven. Before becoming a full time writer he spent a career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and television producer. He was for a number of years director of a major UK news division and until recently co-owned a TV production company. For a while he was also a part-time professional magician. He’s married and divides his time now between homes in Hampshire and Spain.

Twitter @JPCarter #InSafeHands


Thursday 24 January 2019

Social Media Blast ~ Village of the Lost Girls by Agustín Martínez

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to be part of today's Social Media Blast 


Village of the Lost Girls by Agustín Martínez

24 January 2019

Village of Lost Girls is a breath-taking missing persons thriller set under the menacing peaks of the Pyrenees. Five years after the disappearance of eleven-year-old Ana and Lucia from the village of Monteperdido, Ana reappears unexpectedly inside a crashed car next to the body of an unknown man. The case immediately reopens and a race against time begins to discover the identity of the dead man and who was behind the girl’s kidnapping. And most importantly, where is Lucia and is she still alive?

My thoughts about it..

Five years ago, best friends, Ana Montrell and Lucía Castán disappeared on their way home from school. For their families and the small village of Monteperdido high in the Spanish Pyrenees life would never be the same and despite a widespread search the eleven year old girls had, quite simply, vanished. And then, miraculously five years later, Ana is found unconscious but alive in the wreckage of a car and the investigation is re-opened. This time around the inquiry is led by a new team of investigators, Inspector Sara Campos and her boss Santiago Bain, from Madrid's head office must go back to the very beginning of the case to look at all of the evidence as they race against time to discover the whereabouts of the other missing girl.

Village of the Lost Girls is a multi layered and intense psychological thriller which looks at the mystery on various levels, from the complexity of the girls’ disappearance five years ago, to the almost impossible task of tracking down the perpetrator in a village which doesn’t give up its secrets easily. The brooding and unforgiving nature of the landscape adds its own mysterious and forbidding presence to the overall darkness of the story.

I really enjoyed this book, and even though it’s quite a hefty read coming at at nearly 500 pages, I fairly rattled through it, trying, and sometimes failing, to keep one step ahead of the investigation. There were several twists which I didn’t see coming and throughout the whole of the story there is a real sense of foreboding which gives the story its dark and creepy edginess.

Beautifully translated into English by the award-winning Frank Wynne, Village of the Lost Girls is an atmospheric and complex thriller which had me guessing from start to finish.

Agustín Martínez was born in 1975 and studied Audiovisual Communications in Madrid. Today, he is one of Spain's most renowned screenwriters who has worked on some of the country's most popular crime series. On a holiday trip with his family to the Pyrenees he overheard the locals talking about the case of a missing child. The idea for Village of the Lost Girls, his first novel, was born and has been translated into many languages since.

Twitter @QuercusBooks #VillageoftheLostGirls

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Pluckley Psychic Historical Society by Grahame Peace

 Jaffareadstoo is delighted to host today's  final stop on the 

The Pluckley Psychic Historical Society Blog Tour

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

The Pluckley Psychic Historical Society is based in Pluckley, Kent, the most haunted village in England. Its founding members are the noted academic, historian, and Cambridge scholar Winston Hatherton, the white witch Florence Dearden, and the celebrated medium Jocasta Bradman. They are assisted by an 18th-century super-ghost called Jasper Claxton, although none of the society members are aware that Jasper is a ghost. 

This is the third book in ‘The Ghost from the Molly-House’ series, and this book describes how the Psychic Historical Society was set up and goes back to the group's first two official cases in 1919, just after the end of the first world war. The first story, ‘The Jewellery Box’ involves a 16th-century jewellery box made from precious metals, which is found buried in a garden and reveals a 400-year-old mystery. 

The second story, ‘The Book of Souls’ is set in Huddersfield, England, at a place called Jubilee Tower or Castle Hill, which was built to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria and is on the site of ancient bronze and iron age settlements dating back 4000 years. An old book of spells is found, and once opened, it appears to have released something ominous. 

The Ghost from the Molly-House series is a collection of amusing paranormal mysteries, which will appeal to fans of history, period detective novels, tales of haunted houses, and all things that go bump in the night. Although this is the third book in the series, the novel can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story in its own right. 

My thoughts about it..

Well, this one took me by surprise. First off the title intrigued me, and then, I discovered, in the introduction, that Pluckley in Kent really exists and is considered to be one of the most haunted villages in England. That's when the whole idea of a couple of stories based around paranormal activities headed by a group of quirky 'ghost hunters' started to appeal.

There are two stories in this volume : The Jewellery Box which is set in the village of Pluckley focuses on some dark events which have been stirred up by the discovery of an old jewellery box in the grounds of the 15th century Marcheford House. This is an atmospheric story nicely interspersed with historical detail and some ghostly paranormal activity.

The Second Story: The Book of Souls was altogether darker in content and its setting in the north of England  gave the story, if anything, a more mysterious air than the first, however, as the stories follow chronologically in time, one set in February, and the other in March 1919, there's still a nice blend of continuity between them both.

I think what works the most is the clever blend between the historical background and the lure of the paranormal mysteries. There's a nice authentic feel to the story which backs up the amount of research which has obviously been done and I think the author has done a good job at creating atmosphere so that the mysteries at the heart of The Pluckley Psychic Historical Society certainly come to life in a light hearted way.

Whilst this is the third book in The Ghost from the Molly-House series it is perfectly possible to read it as a stand-alone. It’s a light hearted paranormal / historical mystery with bags of personality and two interesting story lines.


I was born in Huddersfield in England where I have lived for most of my life. I've always enjoyed writing, but I actually worked for many years in Mental Health. Since I retired writing has become my full-time occupation. My fictional book genres are humour, paranormal-historical-fantasy, mysteries, and fashion. I'm currently working on my next book 'The Psychic Agency'. Which is the fourth in 'The Ghost from the Molly House' series, and will be out next year. I don't write horror as such, my books tend to revolve more around the paranormal, hauntings, history, and the mysterious with some humour, so you won't find a lot of gore.

Twitter @GrahamePeace #PluckleyPsychic


Tuesday 22 January 2019

Blog Tour ~ Maybe This Time by Jill Mansell

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to be hosting one of today's stops on the Maybe This Time Blog Tour

Headline Review
22 January 2019

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

When Mimi first visits her dad's new home in the Cotswolds, she falls in love with Goosebrook and the people who live there. (Well, maybe not snooty Henrietta, who lets Mimi walk miles in the rain rather than give her a lift.) 

There's Paddy, with his flashing eyes and seductive charm. Friendly and funny Lois makes Mimi laugh. And seriously gorgeous Cal is welcoming and charismatic. Though Mimi loves her city life and her career, she'd be very happy to return to Goosebrook if it means seeing more of him. 

Life is about to take some unexpected and shocking twists and turns. And Mimi's path and Cal'sare set to cross again and again - but will it ever be the right time for both of them?

My thoughts about it..

Sitting down with a new Jill Mansell book is like the pleasure you feel when you kick off your shoes after a hard day at work, or taking that first sip of a restorative cup of tea after a busy day shopping, or even when sitting in the window seat of your favourite coffee shop to simply watch the world go by. Those first few words of the opening chapter, the delicious glimpse of a whole new set of characters, and the promise of the story to come, is one of the most comforting of reading sensations. 

Maybe This Time moves along quickly and spans quite a few years during which time we get to see the central character Mimi develop and grow in personality, and we also meet up with the lovely characters, especially Cal, who both live and work in the idyllic Cotswold village of Goosebrook where Mimi spends time with her dad, and her dad’s partner Marcus.

It’s really difficult to reveal very much about Maybe This Time without giving the whole thing away and, as always, it’s best to read the book without any massive spoilers from me, so, all I will say is that the story has everything I have come to love about this author’s writing. There’s a whole bunch of quirky characters, some will tug away at your heartstrings, others will exasperate you and some you will actively fall in love with, but throughout the whole of the story, Mimi’s likeable personality keeps shining through.

Maybe This Time is a lovely light hearted story, beautifully written and with all the right ingredients for a deliciously good read, it has a likeable heroine, a dishy hero and whilst you sort of know where the story is heading there more than enough twists and turns before the ending to keep the whole story ticking along really nicely. 

Having read all that this author has written over the last few years, I think that Maybe This Time stands up with some of the best of her writing.

Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers including The One You Really Want and Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay. Take a Chance on Me won the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding achievement award.

Jill’s personal favourite amongst her novels is Three Amazing Things About You, which is about cystic fibrosis and organ donation; to her great delight, many people have joined the organ donor register as a direct result of reading this novel. 

Jill started writing fiction while working in the field of Clinical Neurophysiology in the NHS, but now writes full time. She lives in Bristol with her family.

Twitter @JillMansell #MaybeThisTime

@HeadlineFiction @Headlinepg

Amazon UK

Monday 21 January 2019

Review ~ Live Happy by Bridget Grenville-Cleave and Dr Ilona Boniwell

Modern Books
21 January 2019

My thanks to the publishers and also to Alison Menzies PR for my copy of this book

Live Happy: 100 Simple Ways to Fill Your Life with Joy 

Scientifically rigorous, practical & accessible. Part self-help book, part psychology primer and written by leading experts, it contains the latest thinking on positive psychology. 

100 neat pieces of advice from practical steps to more aspirational long-term goals:

· Say hi to the neighbours
· Have a regular bedtime
· Dance more
· Improve your luck
· Embrace Ageing

Written by Experts - the authors are great communicators, and experts in the field of Positive Psychology. They back each tip up with scientific research.

My thoughts about it..

Monday 21st January is 'Blue Monday' is described as the saddest day of the year however, with this little book, which is filled with happiness, all depressing thoughts are instantly chased away.

The content of Live Happy is as sunny as its perfectly designed cover, I mean, who could fail to be unhappy when looking at the tranquil blue dragonfly background and the sunshine yellow dandelion clock which just screams of lazy days of sunshine.

It's all too easy to become worried and anxious about events which are beyond our control and so Live Happy is about finding good in all the positives, encouraging us to banish negativity and to embrace everything about what's happy about our lives right now this minute. And there's lots of really interesting snippets of positivity to be found amongst the 100 simple ways to enjoy your life, all of which are backed up by proper scientific research and sound common sense

Here are a few of my favourite things:

Number 21 - Realise Your potential  is about breaking down goals into manageable steps and in doing so build confidence.. 

Number 23 - Boost Your Vitality stresses the importance of a balanced diet, regular exercise and a good night's sleep..

Number 65 -  Small Acts of Kindness, doing good deeds, however small, helps us to feel more positive about ourselves and other people..

And my absolute favourite is Number 71 - Take Care of an Animal - those who are pet owners will already know the joyous benefits to be had from living with and caring for our furry companions.

I've really enjoyed reading through this beautifully presented little book, there's so much to enjoy and also so much to learn, and whilst it will certainly boost your mood on Blue Monday it  will also encourage a real sense of purpose for every day of the year, when, if you look hard enough, there is always something to feel happy about 😊

About the Authors

Bridget Grenville-Cleave is an Charter Member of the International Positive Psychology Association and holds an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology. She is also a qualified life coach and NLP ( neuro -linguistic programming) practitioner.

Dr Ilona Boniwell is an academic psychologist and practitioner, specialising in Positive Psychology and well-being. She founded the European Network of Positive Psychology and acted as the main consultant for the BBC series The Happiness Formula and is the author of Positive Psychology in a Nutshell.

Twitter @modernbook  #LiveHappy


Amazon UK

Sunday 20 January 2019

Review ~ ikigai & other Japanese words to live by by Mari Fujimoto and David Buchler

Modern Books
24 January 2019

My thanks to the publisher and also to Alison Menzies PR for my copy of this book

This little book goes beyond the obvious - Ikigai and Wabi-Sabi - to provide concepts for all aspects of daily life. Perfect to dip in and out of, seven categories can be explored in any order and cover the benefits of courtesy, calm, gratitude and a reverence for the natural world. 

My thoughts...

There's something about this small but perfectly formed little book which really appeals to all the senses. Firstly, it's just the right size to hold comfortably and the beauty of its cover draws the eye, not just to consider the artistic effect of the negative space around the central image, but also to contemplate the classic beauty of the snow covered tree which helps to focus the attention on what's to come inside the book.

Harmony, Beauty, Nature, Mindfulness, Gratitude, Time, Respect

Divided into seven broad themes which can be explored in any order, each of the sections compliment each other in quite special ways. There is something profoundly beautiful to be found both in the words themselves and in the way in which they are presented, so that the idea of peace and tranquility is ever present.

After the boisterous activity of Christmas I found this book to be a real tonic. Each of the concepts struck a chord with me but I was especially drawn towards the Mindfulness section and the way in which each thought process is beautifully demonstrated in both words and pictures.

I found it best to read this book quite slowly, as it's not something to be rushed, it's rather more about the idea of considering what you are reading thus allowing the themes, as you read them, to perform their own sense of literary magic. I have a few books which I keep in my arsenal of books to treasure and without doubt, ikigai & other Japanese words to live by is one of those hidden treasures which everyone should have on their special book shelves.

Ikigai is warm and gentle, thought provoking and enlightening and a real oasis of calm in a sometimes deeply troubled world.

About the Authors

Enlightening definitions are provided by Mari Fujimoto, Director of Japanese Studies at Queens College, New York while Tokyo resident and Japanophile, David Buchler complements these with meditations on important themes in Japanese culture. The book also features traditional Haiku & imagery by internationally acclaimed landscape photographer, Michael Kenna. 

Twitter @modernbooks

Amazon UK

Saturday 19 January 2019

Hist Fic Saturday~ The Magick of Master Lilly by Tobsha Learner

On Hist Fic saturday

Let's go back to ...1641

1 November 2018

In 1641, the country of England stands divided. London has become a wasps' nest of spies, and under the eyes of the Roundheads those who practice magic are routinely sent to hang.

Living in exile in the Surrey countryside is the Master Astrologer and learned magician William Lilly. Since rumours of occult practice lost him the favour of Parliament, he has not returned to the city. But his talents are well-known, and soon he is called up to London once more, to read the fate of His Majesty the King.

My thoughts about it..

There's an awful lot going on in this novel which looks not only at the way superstition and astrology was used to try to make sense of a world that was becoming increasingly dangerous, but it also covers the interesting and complex time which we associate with the English Civil War.

William Lilly is both a magician and astrologer who gets caught up in the momentous events of this time and who, it would seem, is able to accurately predict some aspects of future events, however, to do so in such a difficult time was not only dangerous but in some situations perhaps even a little foolhardy.

Whilst it took me a while to get into this story, and I'm still not altogether sure, even by the end of the story, that I really liked Master Lilly, and yet, there is no doubt that he was a fascinating character and the fact that he actually existed makes the story all the more interesting. Once I became more used to the author's distinct style of writing I found the novel to be an enjoyable and thought-provoking read and it was certainly interesting to have an altogether different interpretation of this, rather complicated, period in English history. 

The author writes well and it is obvious from the historical content within the story that a great deal of research has been done about the life of Master Lilly. All the sights, sounds and sensations of the seventeenth century come realistically to life which help to create a memorable atmosphere and some truly unforgettable characters.

Tobsha Learner was born and raised in England; she now divides her time between Australia, the UK and the USA. She is well known in Australia as an author and playwright.

Friday 18 January 2019

Book Feature ~ The Darkest Hour Anthology, WWII Tales of Resistance

22 January

WW2. When the world falls to terror and tyranny reigns… far would you go to resist?

Would you risk your own life or the lives of the ones you love?

From a young Jewish woman in love fighting her way out of the Warsaw ghetto, to a Czech assassin rising above his fears for an attempt on a Nazi Hangman’s life, to a daughter who vows to avenge her family by taking down a Japanese commander, and a French boy's touching act of defiance no matter how small.

Come and get a glimpse of the invisible side of WWII - the Resistance, those who refuse to bow down to brutality.

Hold your breath and hope for the best in the darkest of times, when our heroes and heroines risk all to defy evil so the light of freedom will shine over their countries again.

The Darkest Hour Anthology, WWII Tales of Resistance includes ten never before published novellas by ten of today’s bestselling WWII historical fiction authors.

Bubbe’s Nightingale by Roberta Kagan
Catriona’s War by Jean Grainger
Reluctant Informer by Marion Kummerow
Killing the Hangman by Ellie Midwood
The Moon Chaser by Alexa Kang
Enemy at the Gate by Mary D. Brooks
The Occupation by Deborah Swift
Code Name Camille by Kathryn Gauci
Sound of Resistance by Ryan Armstrong

All proceeds will be donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

 in Washington DC 

My thanks to the author for my ecopy of this novella

I was approached by John R. McKay the author of one of the novellas which can be found in this anthology.

V for Victory tells the story of thirteen year old Charles Mercier who has a fierce determination to see his beloved Paris free of Nazi oppression.

There's a tendency to suppose that all resistance fighters during WW2 were adults but this novella shows that young people, who we would consider still to be children, had just as much passionate zeal when it came to fighting for what they believed to be right. Thirteen year old Charles Mercier is moved to dramatic action when one of his schoolteachers draws a V for Victory sign on the blackboard and so with a fierce determination Charles sets out to do his bit for the war effort.

For a novella, V for Victory packs a powerful punch both in terms of creating the scene, which it does very well, I especially enjoyed the vivid description of the German army's triumphant march along the Champs Élysées, and also in terms of story content which is filled with a real sense of both history and adventure. It's quite poignant in places which goes to show just how scary it must have been to live during this dark time in world history and how brave Charles was as he tried to put right some of the wrongdoings.

V for Victory is just one of the ten stories on offer in this anthology and from reading the descriptions of each of the individual stories I am sure that they all do justice to the subject of the resistance during WW2.

The anthology will be published on the 22nd January 2019 and is donating all proceeds to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. The collection will be available in this  for just a few months. It is available to pre-order now from Amazon UK

Twitter #darkesthouranthology