Wednesday 31 July 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott

It's such a thrill to be involved in the Pre-Publication Blog Tour for this exciting historical novel

 ✴ I am absolutely delighted to be able to reveal this stunning book cover 

Simon & Schuster
October 2019
512 pages
ISBN13: 9781471186394

...Until she knows her husband’s fate, she cannot decide her own...

An epic debut novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I

1921. Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so she beings to search.

Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother.

And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth.

What did I think about it ...

I was really excited about this book when I read the blurb and saw the proof copy when it arrived from the publishers. I always seem know when a book is going to be rather special, it's that indefinable 'something' which speaks to me from seeing and touching the cover.

The Photographer of the Lost starts in 1921, in the aftermath of the First World War, as those relatives who are bewildered by loss cling to any conceivable hope that their loved ones, who are amongst the many hundreds of thousands who are still missing, may, by some miracle, still be found alive. Those who have been to the battlefields of Northern Europe will understand the sheer size of the war cemeteries and can therefore imagine just how traumatic it must have been, in the chaotic aftermath of war, when grieving relatives desperate for something to focus their grief, clutched at absolutely anything in order to gain even a modicum of comfort.

From the start of the story we are introduced to Edie, whose  husband, Francis is amongst the missing, and also to Harry, himself a war survivor, and also Francis' brother, who is now using his considerable skill as a photographer to travel around the grave sites and battlefields of northern France and Belgium, taking photographs, in the hope of bringing comfort to those who are grieving beyond measure.

I'm purposely not spoiling this novel by recounting any detail as that would do the author a great disservice, as the story, not published until October, deserves to be read without any spoilers from me. However, it's safe to say that I was absolutely fascinated by the author's ability to bring such a poignant period in history alive with such emotional detail, and switching as it does between two different time frames, not only brings the events of WW1 into focus, but also adds a poignant reminder of those lives which were lost in dreadful circumstances but were never forgotten by those who stayed at home and waited.

And that is really where the remarkable strength of this novel lies, and I started by saying that just holding the proof copy suggested to me that this book was about to be rather special, and now that I've been privileged to read an early copy I am even more convinced that The Photographer of the Lost is very special indeed.

The Photographer of the Lost will be published in hardback in October by Simon & Schuster

And now, thanks to the kind permission of the publishers I can the share the stunning book cover today.

About the Author

Photo Credit : Johnny Ring

Caroline Scott is a freelance writer and historian specializing in WWI and women’s history. The Photographer of the Lost is partially inspired by her family history.

Twitter @CScottBooks #PhotographeroftheLost



Amazon UK

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 The Photographer of the Lost to one lucky UK winner.

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Tuesday 30 July 2019

Instagram and Blog Tour ~ Fairlight Moderns

I'm really thrilled to be part of the Fairlight Moderns Blog Tour  

The Nail House by Gregory Baines

Fairlight Moderns
1 August 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this novella and the opportunity to be part of this blog tour

Lindon, an Australian project manager with a failed marriage behind him, is lured to China with the promise of a lucrative salary. His task: to solve the problem of a ‘Nail House’, the home of a stubborn old man who refuses to relocate, even as the bulldozers move in and the skyscrapers grow around him.

But as Lindon negotiates with the old man’s family, he finds sense where there is none. And love where there is war.

My thoughts..

Lindon has relocated to China having left a failed marriage behind in Australia. He soon finds that his new role as a project manager for a construction company hits problems right from the start as he discovers, to his cost, that he must first demolish a building which is known as a 'Nail House', a term  used when the owner of a property is offered money, so that the house in which they live can be demolished, but they refuse to budge despite a financial incentive.

Zhen Yi's parents live in the eponymous Nail House, and whilst Zhen is hoping to move away to live with her fiancรฉ, she gets caught up in the complications concerning her family home, and so the repercussions linger, with both Lindon and Zhen Yi being drawn together over the space of the story. I was drawn into the complicated process of both of their lives, Lindon seems rather a gloomy individual, he's definitely out of his comfort zone in an unfamiliar environment, and struggles with lots of complicated emotions. Zhen Yi's confusion at her family's involvement only add to her overall sense that her life is spinning out of control.

The novella comes in at just around 152 pages and can be comfortably read in an afternoon, however, whilst it is a quick read, it's definitely not light on content. It's interesting to see how the story plays out with both Lindon and Zhen Yi's alternate chapters giving great insight into what is evolving from their own perspective.

The author writes knowledgeably, and manages to convey both atmosphere and intrigue. whilst at the same time keeping alive the integrity of the culture in which the story is set.

For Summer 2019 a collection of new short modern fictions from around the world

Atlantic Winds by William Prendiville Minutes from the Miracle City Milton in Purgatory 

The Therapist The Nail House

About the Author

Gregory Baines lives just outside Canberra, Australia. He has an arts degree from Newcastle University. He lived in China for thirteen years, where he also met his wife. There he wrote his first novel and had short stories published in anthologies and online.

Twitter @FairlightBooks #FairlightModerns

Monday 29 July 2019

Review ~ Ten Poems about Love from Candlestick Press

๐Ÿ’˜ Jaffareadstoo is delighted to share this latest poetry pamphlet from Candlestick Press ๐Ÿ’˜

Candlestick Press
July 2019

This second edition of Candlestick's popular mini-anthology calls at every stop on love’s roller-coaster journey – from the first dizzy declarations of passion, to the clear-eyed devotion of a couple in old age. In one of the most celebrated of modern love poems, we sense the boundless optimism of love at full tilt:

“…you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you”

from ‘i carry your heart with me’ by ee cummings

Along the way there’s also humour and warmth in the form of a battered straw hat that has come to symbolise what it means to be together for the long haul. These are poems that capture all the light and shade of love; poems to make you think and feel.

The selection is edited and introduced by Lorraine Mariner, a poet and librarian who works at the National Poetry Library in London.

My thoughts about it..

We tend to think of love poetry around Valentine's day, a special wedding day, or an anniversary, but this beautifully designed pamphlet reminds us that love is all around us everyday.  As an angst ridden teenager I dabbled in mediocre love poetry, which thankfully has now been relegated to the recycle bin, but it goes to show that all of us have the ability, perhaps not to write love poetry, but to appreciate it when it's done as beautifully as these ten poems so clearly demonstrate. 

Lorraine Mariner has done a wonderful job in bringing together this poignant collection with such a sense of vibrancy. I loved Love Poem which she wrote to celebrate her sister's wedding. It's also lovely see included  i carry your heart with me by e.e cummings which is so perfect for weddings, but the one that brought me to tears was A Marriage by R. S. Thomas which reminded me so much of the fifty years my parents spent together before my father's untimely death:

"...Fifty years passed,
love's moment
in a world 
in servitude to time...."

It's so difficult for me to pick out an absolute favourite as each poem conjures something special, and there's such a sense of frankness and honesty to each of them, which reminds us that love is itself flawed and  uniquely vulnerable ♡

Ten Poems about Love is deservedly romantic and makes a perfect gift for a wedding or special anniversary.

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

Twitter @PoetryCandle

Saturday 27 July 2019

Blog Tour ~ Secrets of the Homefront Girls by Kate Thompson

On Hist Fic Saturday 

It's a real pleasure to host today's Blog Tour stop

and go back to ...1939

Hodder Book
25 July 2019
Homefront Girls #1

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

1939. ‘Beauty as Duty’ was an official propaganda campaign, backed by Winston Churchill, encouraging women to continue to pursue fashion and beauty despite the hardship that they had to endure, and discouraging the notion that devoting attention to their appearances was trivial or petty.

Although England may be at war, for the young women working the lipstick production line at Yardley's cosmetics factory in East London, it's business as usual. For headstrong and flirtatious Renee Gunn, that means taking Esther, a young Austrian refugee, under her wing and teaching her how to be a true cockney. But when Lily, Renee's older sister, suddenly returns home after six years away, it's clear that life in Stratford is changing for good. In the face of the Blitz, could the secrets that Renee, Lily and Esther are keeping be the most dangerous weapon of all?

The richly colourful characters and events in Secrets of the Homefront Girls are inspired by Kate’s research, speaking to those who worked at Yardley, and even reuniting factory friends after 70 years.

What did I think about it...

I must admit that I never gave much thought to just how necessary it was, during the war years, for cosmetic production to continue, for as long as it could, and yet, in the confusion of wartime it was even more important for women to feel that they had those important beauty products which made them feel special.

'Beauty as a Duty' was something which was actively encouraged, and in Secrets of the Homefront Girls we go right into the heart of the industry and spend time in the Yardley cosmetic factory in Stratford, East London. There we meet a delightful group of feisty young women who work in the factory on the lipstick production line, and, with the newly returned, Lily Gunn as their line manager, we soon become part of their group and become emotionally involved in the nitty-gritty of their lives.

They're a lively bunch, and yet, there is a real sense of togetherness and camaraderie as their strong fighting spirit makes them all the more determined to survive the war in their own inimitable style. However, it’s obvious from the start that there are some deeper elements to the story, particularly around Esther, a young Jewish refugee, who has arrived in the East End after fleeing persecution in Austria, and also around the abject poverty and indiscriminate violence of the East End. The sections of the story which focus on the effects of the Blitz are particularly well done and I must admit to shedding a few tears. The author handles the darker elements of the story with compassion and a fine eye for historical accuracy.

Secrets of the Homefront Girls revolves around stories of friendship, love, and of the family we make for ourselves, who might not always be related by blood, but who stick together through good times and bad. And as always, the author writes with huge warmth and brings a real sense of authenticity to both people and place. From the author notes at the end of the story it is obvious that a great deal of research has been done in order to do justice to the strength of spirit of those Yardley Girls who lived and worked in the East of London during the momentous war years.

This is the first book in the series and I have really enjoyed getting to know all of the Homefront Girls and have followed their adventures with great interest so that I was really sorry to say goodbye to them. However, it’s not the end of their adventures, as book number two - Secrets of the Lavender Girls - is due to be published in 2020.

Secrets of the Homefront Girls is published now in paperback and ebook by Hodder.

About the Author

Kate Thompson is an award winning journalist, ghost writer and novelist, who has spent the last two decades in the UK mas market and book publishing industry. Over the past eight years Kate has written nine fiction and non fiction titles, three of which have made The Sunday Times top ten bestseller list, Secrets of the Homefront Girls is her tenth book.

‘My research has taken me into the homes of so many women and I have listened rapt as they explained how they lived through cataclysmic times. It is often the quiet voices, which are the most revealing. Working-class women and their unassuming thoughts and feelings tell us so much about how difficult, but also how rewarding it was to be a woman in pre-welfare state Britain.’

©Kate Thompson

In 2020, Yardley celebrates its 250th anniversary.

Twitter @katethompson380 #SecretsoftheHomefrontGirls


Friday 26 July 2019

Blog Tour ~ A Cornish Affair by Jo Lambert

☀ It's great to be involved in this summer blog tour 

Choc Lit
18 June 2019

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

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.

The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.

But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core.

What did I think about it..

I've spent an enjoyable couple of afternoons in the beautiful Cornish town of Carrenporth, getting to know Cat Trevelyan, whose family owns one of the local hotels, and the blissfully handsome, Luke Carrack, whose return to the town, after an absence, is causing something of a  consternation amongst the ladies.

Throughout A Cornish Affair there's a real sense of community, and the little Cornish town comes alive with all of its quirky characters. I especially enjoyed getting to know Cat and her family, and of the role they play in the local community, and in particular, the antics of Aunt 'Em' and her friends made me smile, and yet, it is in Cat's burgeoning relationship with the enigmatic, Luke Carrack where the story starts to get a more complicated romantic edge.

Whilst the story is undoubtedly about love and relationships, and believe me, Cat and Luke don't make things easy for themselves, it's also about family, friendship, and the ties of  loyalty and of the deep and, sometimes, complicated secrets which can so often linger if left unchallenged for far too long.

I enjoyed the way the author immerses the reader and makes everything feel so believable, so that the pages almost turn themselves. I was really sorry to say goodbye to all of the characters, especially Cat and Luke, but I guess that's the sign of a good story which has been well told.

A Cornish Affair is a lovely summer story which is such a joy to read on a lazy afternoon. So tuck yourself away in your favourite shady spot, with a glass of something ice cold to hand, and escape to the Cornwall of this talented author's imagination.

Jo Lambert lives on the eastern edge of Bath with her husband, one small grey feline called Mollie and a green MGB GT. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. She has been writing since 2008. Her first five books, a set of linked romantic sagas following the lives of several families in West Somerset, was followed in 2015 by Summer Moved On, a contemporary romance set in South Devon. A sequel, Watercolours in the Rain followed in 2017, 

In June 2018 Jo signed to Choc Lit and her debut A Cornish Affair, set in North Cornwall, has just been published. Jo is currently working on another coastal romance, this time set in South Cornwall.

When she isn't writing she reads and reviews. She also has an active blog. Jo loves travel, red wine and rock music and she often takes the odd photograph or two.

Twitter @jolambertwriter



Thursday 25 July 2019

Review ~ The July Girls by Phoebe Locke

44790394. sy475
25 July 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost. 

Addie has a secret. On the morning of her tenth birthday, four bombs were detonated across the capital. That night her dad came home covered in blood. She thought he was hurt in the attacks - but then her sister Jessie found a missing woman's purse hidden in his room. Jessie says they mustn't tell. She says there's nothing to worry about. But when she takes a job looking after the woman's baby daughter, Addie starts to realise that her big sister doesn't always tell her the whole story. And that the secrets they're keeping may start costing lives.

What did I think about it..

July is not a safe month in the city of London because for several years on the same date a woman has been taken by a perpetrator who leaves no clues and who despite the best efforts of the police has never been found.

Since her mum left home, Addie has been brought up by her dad and older sister, Jessie. Addie and Jessie are particularly close knit, as Jessie, in the absence of their mum has done everything for Addie, from making sure that she was clothed and fed, to arriving at school on time, however, everything changes when, on Addie's tenth birthday, their dad comes home covered in blood.

What then follows is a particularly tense thriller which grips from the very beginning and which leads you into some very dark places. It's not really about what is happening with the investigation into the missing girls, but of course, that's always there in the background, it's rather more about how living under an air of suspicion affects both Jessie and Addie as they try to move forward.

I remember being really impressed with this author's debut novel, The Tall Man which was published in 2018 and which captured my imagination, the story's delicious creepiness made me jump at shadows, so I was really excited to read this, her second novel. In my opinion, The July Girls feels an altogether different read, it's very, very polished, and is written with such confidence, that I was absolutely bowled over, not just by the strength of the story, but of the author's uncanny ability to get right into the heart of such a deeply complex mystery, and by allowing everything to feel so beautifully authentic.

I'm not going to spoil it by recounting much about the nitty-gritty of the story but if you like unputdownable mysteries which capture your attention from the very beginning then I'm sure you'll love it as much as I did.  I started reading The July Girls early on a sunny day in the garden and didn't look up, except for restorative cups of tea, until I had finished the story in one sitting. It's definitely one of my best reads of the summer, so far ๐Ÿ’ฎ

The July Girls is published by Wildfire Books on the 25th September 2019

About the Author

Phoebe Locke is the pseudonym of full-time writer Nicci Cloke. She previously worked at the Faber Academy, and hosted London literary salon Speakeasy. She lives and writes in Cambridgeshire. Phoebe Locke is the author of two psychological thrillers, THE TALL MAN, published 2018, and THE JULY GIRLS, out now.

Twitter @phoebe_locke #TheJulyGirls



Wednesday 24 July 2019

Review ~ A Hitch in Time by Andy Smart

A Hitch in Time cover
AA Publishing
25 July 2019

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

Combining comedy memoir, travel writing, and a wealth of unbelievable hair-raising situations, this autobiographical extravaganza chronicles the amazing early life of 80s comedy legend and Edinburgh veteran Andy Smart. Whether it’s running with the bulls in Pamplona, juggling with pig’s kidneys in Covent Garden, sharing a sherry with Samuel Beckett or sleeping on the beach in Biarritz, Andy’s travels in the late 70s and early 80s comprised a series of jaw-dropping, bizarre and gut-wrenching scenarios from which, amazingly, he emerged unscathed.

What did I think about it..

A Hitch in Time captures the life of this funny man in so many ways and from the start of Andy's story I found myself laughing at loud at some of his antics and of his uncanny ability to hitch a lift with a host of quirky individuals who add so much comedy to the story. There's some serious stuff as well but throughout the whole of this memoir, the author's ability to make you laugh shines through it all.

From his student days in Liverpool, to running with the bulls in Pamplona and all stops in between there is never a dull moment or a minute when the author's natural exuberance doesn't shine through. And so easy is the narrative that it really feels as if you are sitting opposite the author in a pub somewhere and enjoying a pint or two as he recounts his latest escapade, and believe me this guy has had some really funny adventures.

There's a few that really stand out, especially the dare he took to travel by hitching a ride from Liverpool to Ben Nevis, climbing the mountain, and then hitching back to Liverpool and all within twenty four hours - now that really does take some skill, and whether he succeeds or not is for you to discover for yourself! Or of the times when he was hungry and strangers paid for his breakfast and those drivers who went out of their way to take him to places. It's not all about his travels though and there are lots of recollected moments from his childhood and of his family and friends which add a different dimension to the book.

A Hitch in Time is an enjoyable travel memoir which would make a great holiday read especially if you're travelling around Europe. It's published on the 25th July by AA Publishing

About the Author

Eighties comedy legend Andy Smart is one of Britain’s most versatile performers. A huge star of the 1980s, Andy is one of the revered veterans of The Comedy Store - London’s internationally renowned and only full-time comedy venue. 1985 saw the birth of the Comedy Store Players, an improvisation group which Andy joined from the start alongside the likes of Paul Merton and Mike Myers. Andy continues to this day to perform hilarious improvised stand-up at the club every Sunday and Wednesday.

Twitter @AndyCSP #AHitchInTime



Tuesday 23 July 2019

Summer Read ~ Come Rain or Shine by Pam Weaver

Pan Books
13 June 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

1947. Cousins Veronica (Ronnie) and Sheila are given the opportunity to run their grandfather’s business, a local garage, in Worthing. Ronnie’s ne’er-do-well brother Leslie is furious – as the man of the family, he believes the business is rightfully his. But their grandmother is adamant that Leslie is not to be trusted . . .

After serving in the ATS in the war, Sheila is a trained mechanic, while Ronnie discovers she has a talent for numbers and a shrewd business head. Despite the garage having run into huge debts in the previous years, the girls are determined to make it work.

Initially filled with enthusiasm, Sheila and Ronnie are shocked by the challenges they face, as well as dealing with their own heartache and loss. But come rain or shine, can true friendship withstand even the fiercest of storms?

What did I think about it...

Come Rain or Shine looks at how women stepped up in the years after the Second World War ended and continued the traditional male roles which didn't always sit very easily, especially for those men who were resentful of women doing, essentially, a man's job. But with their grandfather's car repair business struggling, cousins Ronnie (Veronica) and Sheila are given the opportunity by their grandmother to run the garage as Sheila, having learned car mechanics in the ATS, and Ronnie, with a head for numbers are both ideally suited to make a success of the business. However, Ronnie's brother, Leslie, is absolutely livid as he feels that the business should his by rights and seems determined to bring trouble to the girls.

What then follows is a family saga which looks at the petty squabbles and unwarranted jealousies which can soon fester and cause deep rifts. Ronnie and Sheila do their best to carry on, both nursing their own troubles, but when they also discover a long buried family secret it makes their lives even more complicated, and yet, it opens up a side of their family which they never knew existed.

Come Rain or Shine is the story of two strong and determined young women who made the best of what life threw at them and who survived against the odds, always hoping for happiness around the corner. As always, the author  takes the reader on a wonderful journey into a bygone time, she writes with a natural ability and brings place and people alive with warmth and compassion. Her knowledge of this historical period and of the local area around Worthing is exemplary and she always makes her characters so believable that they could be your own relatives who have popped up to say 'hello'.

Come Rain or Shine is published by Pan Books and is out now in paperback and ecopy and is a perfect read for an afternoon in the garden with a nice cup of tea.

Pam's saga novels are set in Worthing during the austerity years. Pam's inspiration comes from her love of people and their stories and her passion for the town of Worthing. With the sea on one side and the Downs on the other, Worthing has a scattering of small villages within its urban sprawl, and in some cases tight-knit communities, making it an ideal setting for the modern saga.

You can discover more about Pam's bestselling sagas by clicking here


Monday 22 July 2019

Blog Tour ~ Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

It's great to be involved in the blog tour for this exciting psychological thriller

Then She Vanishes
Penguin Books
ebook 27 June
Paperback 8 August 2019

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

Everything changed the night Flora Powell disappeared.

Heather and Jess were best friends - until the night Heather's sister vanished. Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she's avoided for so long:

What really happened the night Flora disappeared?

What did I think about it..

The story starts with a dramatic opening and this sense of drama continues throughout the whole of this clever psychological thriller. Heather and Jess grew up in the sleepy seaside town of Tilby, and Jess spent more time with Heather's family than she did with her own indifferent mother. The Powell's looked after her, and so when Jess, Heather's older and more lively sister, goes missing it affects Jess just as deeply as the rest of the family. Years later, Jess has returned to Tilby and is working as a journalist on the local paper, and as tragedy strikes again, she is once again gets caught up in the deadly secrets which surround the Powell family.

The She Vanishes is a complex suspense story which not only looks at the minutiae of a family caught up in a devastating tragedy, but which also takes in the wider picture of how such a catastrophic event can have so many repercussions. I enjoyed how the story was told in different voices which brought the main characters to life in a believable way and it was interesting to see Jess working on the local paper and her conflicting emotions as she is torn between bringing a newsworthy story to life, whilst at the same time having sympathy towards Heather and her family.

I thought the overall effect of story was good, it kept my attention throughout, and whilst the secret at the heart of Flora's disappearance forms most of the mystery, it doesn't make up the whole, as  it is obvious from the opening chapter that there are deeper issues at play here.

Then She Vanishes is a gripping psychological thriller which will be published in paperback by Penguin on the 8 August. It is currently available as a kindle book for just  99p

It's a great afternoon in the garden kind of story ๐Ÿ˜Š

Claire Douglas has worked as a journalist for fifteen years writing features for women's magazines and national newspapers, but she's dreamed of being a novelist since the age of seven. She finally got her wish after winning the Marie Claire Debut Novel Award, with her first novel, The Sisters, which was followed by Local Girl Missing, Last Seen Alive and Do Not Disturb, all Sunday Times bestsellers. She lives in Bath with her husband and two children.

Twitter @DougieClaire #ThenSheVanishes


Sunday 21 July 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Scribe by A A Chaudhuri

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

Endeavour Media
1 July 2019

A Kramer and Carver Thriller #1

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

Making it as a lawyer has always been a cutthroat business. But now that a sadistic serial killer is on the loose the consequences could prove deadly…

A killer is targeting former students of The Bloomsbury Academy of Law. The victims – all female – are gruesomely butchered according to a pattern corresponding with the legal syllabus. 

Even more disconcerting are riddles sent by the killer to investigating officer, Chief Inspector Jake Carver, offering clues as to who is next and where they will die.

Up-and-coming lawyer Madeline Kramer, a former classmate of a number of the slain, soon finds her life turned upside down by the savagery. And when she decides to help Carver track down the killer, she places herself in mortal danger. 
Can Maddy unscramble the complex riddles, save her own life and those of others destined to die?

What did I think about it...

A sadistic serial killer seems to be targeting young professional women in the city of London, and the killer's modus operandi seems to fit an unusual, and rather gruesome pattern, however, keeping one step ahead of this devious and dangerous perpetrator keeps Chief Inspector Jake Carver and his investigative team on their toes. When Carver makes the acquaintance of Madeline Kramer, herself a lawyer in the city, and a former class-mate of some of the murdered women, they forge a bond which will prove to be extremely useful to the way the investigation proceeds.

I thought that this was a clever crime/thriller which doesn't focus too much on the police procedural aspect, although, of course, it does form a big part of the story but which rather gives us more of an insight into the characters who make up the main cast of the novel. There are some interesting people in the story, and as any one of them could be the killer I had great fun trying to see if I could guess who was responsible for some pretty heinous crimes. I didn't work out whodunit until just before the big reveal and then it was like a light-bulb moment with everything then falling into place.

This is the first book in the Kramer and Carver series and together they make an interesting combination, there is a spark of attraction between them but each have their complications and it will be fascinating to see just how their association plays out in future novels. That the series has huge potential is not in doubt as the writer has huge scope to take Madeleine Kramer and Jake Carver on many more intricate adventures and I look forward to meeting up with them again before too long.

Twitter @AAChaudhuri #TheScribe




Thursday 18 July 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Thunder Girls by Melanie Blake

๐ŸŽธ It's great to be hosting today's blog tour stop for this exciting debut  ๐ŸŽธ

Pan Macmillan
11 July 2019

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


Chrissie, Roxanne, Carly and Anita, an eighties pop sensation outselling and out-classing their competition. Until it all comes to an abrupt end and three of their careers are over, and so is their friendship.


Thirty years later, their old record label wants the band back together for a huge money-making concert. But the wounds are deep and some need this gig more than others.

In those decades apart life was far from the dream they were living as a member of The Thunder Girls. Breakdowns, bankruptcy, addiction and divorce were a constant part of their lives. They’ve been to hell and back, and some are still there.


Can the past be laid to rest for a price, or is there more to this reunion than any of them could possibly know? Whilst they all hunger for a taste of success a second time around, someone is plotting their downfall in the deadliest way possible...

What did I think about it..

We've all seen those pop bands who do well only to then split up, with one going solo and the rest left to try to eke out some sort of living once the limelight has faded. That's what happens to The Thunder Girls at the start of the story and then we push forward 30 years to discover what's happened to them in the intervening years, just as their old record label try to entice them back together for one last concert.

This is a really fun read about the music industry, about what goes on behind the scenes, and of the maneuverings, shenanigans and downright back-biting between the four women who collectively make up The Thunder Girls. I enjoyed getting know Chrissie, Roxanne, Carly and Anita, some, I have to say that I liked more than others, but I think that's where the charm of the book lies, in that you won't like all of them, but the author does a great job of bringing the characters to life in a such a entertaining way that you can't help but be drawn into their story.

I'm not going to say anything about what happens over the course of the story except to say that I was gripped from the first page and read the book more or less in one sitting as I couldn't wait to see what would happen next to Chrissie, Roxanne, Carly and Anita. I have to say though, that parts of the story made my jaw drop,  other parts made me laugh out loud, and there's a dinner part get-together which had me in fits of giggles, and yet, there are also parts of the story which are quite poignant and rather emotional. By the end of the novel I was cheering for The Thunder Girls and hoped that everything would work out for all of them ๐Ÿ˜Š

The Thunder Girls is a real blockbuster of a summer read by an author who knows the music industry like the back of her hand and who brings a lively enthusiasm to this her debut novel.


About the Author

Melanie Blake is an author, playwright and a former music manager. She is head agent at Urban Associates. The Thunder Girls has been adapted for the stage and will have its world premiere at the Lowry Theatre in Salford this September. Melanie Blake lives in London.

Twitter @MelanieBlakeUK #TheThunderGirls




Wednesday 17 July 2019

Review ~ Bloom by Ruth Kassinger

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Elliot & Thompson
4 July 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

...From Food to Fuel, The Epic Story of How Algae Can Save Our World...

There are as many algae on earth as stars in the universe, and they have been essential to life on our planet for aeons. Algae created our oxygen-rich atmosphere, abundant oceans and coral reefs. Crude oil is made of dead algae, and algae are the ancestors of all plants.

Today, seaweed production is a multi-billion-dollar industry, with algae hard at work to make your sushi, beer, paint, toothpaste, shampoo and so much more. Delving into science and history, in this revelatory book Ruth Kassinger takes readers on an around-the-world, behind-the-scenes, and into-the-kitchen tour. We'll meet the algae innovators working towards a sustainable future: from seaweed farmers in South Korea, to scientists using it to clean the dead zones in our waterways, to the entrepreneurs fighting to bring algae fuel and plastics to market.

What did I think..

I must admit that reading a book about algae was never on my list of 'must reads' and yet once I started to delve into this fascinating book I was constantly surprised at how how important algae is, not just to our environment, but also just how much is in our food , fuel and household products.

The author is a scientist and absolutely knows her subject and there is a definite scientific approach to how the book is divided but it is no less readable for that, in fact, I was pleasantly surprised at just how easy to understand it was and I never felt bamboozled by too much intricate and unfathomable detail but rather became absolutely fascinated to learn how algae visionaries are working towards a sustainable future using  algae and its many components.

The book is divides in four sections which cover:

I) In the Beginning
II) Glorious Food
III) Practical Matters
IV) Algae and the Changing Climate

Each are equally interesting but I think that Glorious Food and its subsections fascinated me the most with perhaps the chapter entitled Welshman's Delight which is about the use of seaweed in cooking.  Who knew that 25 million tons of Seaweed are harvested every year world wide - there are recipes at the end of the book if you want to try !!

Bloom is not a book to rush through, rather than flip through at top speed I chose to read slowly and became increasingly fascinated by just how much algae has been influencing my world. Algae's reach is huge and it will be interesting to see just how much in this book comes to pass, indeed much of it is already happening. One thing is guaranteed though, I will never look at a piece of seaweed again without contemplating its importance.

Imagine that there are as many different algae on earth as there are stars in the night sky - now I know that algae isn't anywhere near as pretty as a twinkling star but after finishing this book I have a whole heap of respect for just how poor a place our world would be without algae!

Twitter @RKissinger #Bloom




Tuesday 16 July 2019

Blog Tour ~ Truth or Die by Katerina Diamond

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

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11 July  2019
DS Imogen Grey #5

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

Sometimes the past comes back to kill you...

Their darkest secrets won’t stay buried forever…

The butchered body of a professor is found in a private office of Exeter University. It is the first in a spate of horrific murders that shakes the city to its core.

Who would target a seemingly innocent man, and why? DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles turn to his students for answers, but their investigation turns up no leads. Someone must know more than they’re letting on…

As the body count rises, the police have to look into the past to uncover the person responsible before it’s too late.

But are they brave enough to face up to the truth?

What did I think about it...

Truth or Die sees DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles embroiled in yet another complicated crime case in which both of them will be tested to their absolute limits. This time however, its not just the perpetrator who is keeping them on their toes, but also secrets from the past cast a shadow on their own investigative skills.

As always, the story moves along at a fast pace, and this latest series of unexplained and rather gruesome murders carries all the hallmarks of this talented author's ability to hold the reader in rapt attention. The many twists and turns kept me guessing and whilst there were times when I thought I had the whole thing worked out, only to then become completely bamboozled when the story veered off in another unexpected direction.

DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles are a great duo and I have enjoyed watching how their relationship has developed since the first book in the series, they have so much history together and their combined efforts at solving the most heinous of crimes is done with great attention to detail. New readers might find that they lose something in the understanding of this relationship so that this latest development, and I'm not going to say what happens between them, but it may lose some of its impact of you don't know much about them as people!

Truth or Die is the fifth book in the series which has seen the author go from strength to strength and whilst it is much better to read the series from the start so that you pick up on the intricacies of the Grey and Miles relationship, it is also possible to read each book as a standalone crime story.

Truth or Die is a great whodunit and is an entertaining, if rather dark, summer read ๐Ÿ˜‰

Katerina Diamond was born in Weston in the seventies. She moved to Thessaloniki in Greece and attended Greek school where she learnt Greek in just 6 months. After her parents’ divorce, they relocated to Devon. After school, and working in her uncle’s fish and chip shop, she went (briefly) to university at Derby, where she met her husband and had two children. Katerina now lives in the East Kent Coast with her husband and children.

Twitter @TheVenomousPen