Monday, 24 February 2020

Blog Tour ~ Saturday's at Noon by Rachel Marks


Delighted to be part of this blog tour

44600961
Penguin
6 February 2020

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



Emily just wants to keep the world away. She doesn't want anyone to know all the ways her life is messed up. Going to anger management every Saturday, talking to strangers, was not part of the plan. Jake just wants to keep his family together. Somehow, he's messed everything up. Going to anger management is now his best hope to save his marriage and bond with his six-yearold Alfie. Emily can't understand why Jake - who seems to have it all - is there. Jake can't understand why Alfie - who never likes strangers - lights up around spikey Emily. Everything they think about each other is about to change. But can they change how they feel about themselves?


What did I think about it..

When Jake and Emily meet on Saturdays at noon at an anger management group, neither of them want to be there, and they always seem to rub each other up the wrong way. However, as the course progresses and when Emily meets Jake’s six year old, autistic son, Alfie, a definite bond forms between Emily and Alfie, which completely surprises Jake as Alfie doesn’t usually connect very easily with strangers.

What then follows is the story of three very special characters whose lives intertwine in a remarkable story which looks at all the complexities of  life, love, parenting, marriage, and also of caring for a child with autism, in a very readable and relatable way. The author has done a great job of highlighting the challenges faced with looking after a child with complex needs and yet does so with humour, empathy and a realistic approach to telling it exactly as it is. Both Jake and Emily’s individual stories are no less compelling and I quickly became very fond of Alfie whose sparkling personality shines through with every well written word, and yet, it was Emily, I think, who, for me, held the story together, she was feisty and funny and filled with so much angst and quirky humour, that it was really interesting to see how her character progressed throughout the whole of the story.

Recommended ✅ Absolutely. Saturdays at Noon is a commendable debut novel, which is both emotional and thought provoking in equal measure. I’m already excited to see what this emerging author writes next.



Rachel Marks studied English at Exeter University before becoming a primary school teacher. Despite always loving to write, it wasn't until she gained a place on the 2016 Curtis Brown Creative online novel writing course that she started to believe it could be anything more than a much-loved hobby. Saturdays at Noon is her first novel.


Twitter @Rachel1Marks #SaturdaysatNoon

@PenguinUKBooks




Sunday, 23 February 2020

Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Cass Grafton



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 writer, Cass Grafton






☼Good morning, Cass! Happy Sunday!


I’m very excited about joining Jo and Jaffa for Sunday brunch today; thank you so much for having me! 


What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch? 

Bacon! They don’t have back bacon as we know it here in Switzerland, so it’s our first go-to food whenever we are home in the UK. 


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

Bucks Fizz, please! 


Which of your literary heroes are joining us today? 

Well, as you didn’t specify a limit, I’ll say—in no particular order—Agatha Christie, Marian Keyes, JK Rowling, Jane Austen, Jilly Cooper and if there has to be a boy—no offence, but I do love a girlie get-together—JRR Tolkien. 


What’s the title of the book nearest to you? 

The Penguin Classic Baby Name Book - for research purposes, honest! 


What’s the oldest book on your book shelf? 

An early edition of Fanny Burney’s Evelina, dated 1810. 


Which book do you really want to read but haven’t had time for …yet! 

Too many to list, Jo and Jaffa! My TBR wish-list is longer than the yellow brick road! 


Do you have a guilty reading pleasure, and if so will you tell us about it? 

It’s not so much a guilty pleasure, more of a confession. I’ve been a bookworm since childhood, but now I’m writing, I find it really hard to make room in my mind for reading. Shocking, isn’t it? I just get so close to my characters, they talk to me, they are my constant companions even after I’ve written ‘The End’, so getting into someone else’s story whilst writing my own is incredibly difficult. 

I’m not happy about it, but I don’t know how to resolve it either! 


If the house was on fire which book would you rescue? 

My cherished ‘Peacock’ edition of Pride & Prejudice.  


Do you have a reading/writing playlist on Spotify, or a favourite CD to listen to when reading/writing? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel happy? 

Yes. If I’m writing historical fiction, I listen to a playlist of soundtracks from movie adaptations of classic novels. More recently, I’m writing contemporary romance, so every season I create a new playlist of current tunes I love. Some of them I discover through my daughter’s posts on Instagram stories. My MC is usually much younger than me, so it helps me feel their character more. 

A recent favourite that always makes me feel upbeat is Dance Monkey by Tones & I. 


Do you have a favourite place to settle down to read/write? 

I love to read when I’m travelling. As for writing, I have a desk under a window looking out over our small Swiss town of Rafz, and I’ve never had a problem writing there. Well, perhaps sometimes, when what’s happening outside distracts me. August can be the worst, because it’s grape-picking time up in the vineyards, and I love watching the line of tractors and trailers with their vast buckets of grapes lining up at the small weigh-station opposite. 


Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs? 

On a practical side, something to write on and with; imagination; writing time; writing friends. 


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

My latest release, The Cottage in a Cornish Cove, is the first in a series of contemporary rom-coms set in beautiful Cornwall. 



My main character is Anna, who was orphaned as a baby and raised by indifferent relatives, so much of her happiness as a child came from the long summer holidays spent with an elderly family friend, Aunt Meg, in Polkerran (also known as ‘the Cove’). 

With Aunt Meg’s passing, Anna relocates to the Cornish seaside village where she was once so happy, hoping to perhaps open a B&B—and perhaps cross paths with Alex Tremayne again, a local boy she used to have a major crush on and who only had to walk past Anna to make her heart pound. 

Anna settles into her new life, busy making preparations to open her business and also working part-time for the reclusive and, to be honest, somewhat exasperating, Oliver Seymour. To her delight, Alex then returns to Polkerran and, what is more, seems to have finally noticed her. 

Then, just as Anna thinks everything she’s always wanted is within reach, a shock discovery puts her new life under threat, and she is in danger of losing everything she’s only recently gained. 

How can Anna hold onto the home she loves so much, and which of the two men in her life will come to her aid in her time of need? 

Other than that, I have a few works in progress, including the second in my Cornwall series, another co-write with Ada Bright of our time-travel romance series and a new uplifting women’s fiction novel with a quirky heroine. 

Though to be honest, my TBR pile really ought to be my work in progress!



An avid bookworm since childhood, Cass Grafton writes the sort of stories she loves to read heart warming, character driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters. 

She leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’. 

Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine but never in the same glass. She has two grown up children and currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband and imaginary cats, and England, where she lives with her characters.






Twitter @CassGrafton 

Instagram @cassgraftonauthor

Follow on Twitter  @Jaffareadstoo #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo



Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Paula Martin



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 writer, Paula Martin





☼Good morning, Paula! Happy Sunday!



What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch? 

As six of my novels are set in Ireland, how about some Irish ‘boxty’? It’s like a pancake but with grated potato added to the mixture –very tasty! 


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

I’d rather have a Latte, please! 


Which of your literary heroes are joining us today? 

How about Mr. Darcy and Jean Valjean? As long as they look like Colin Firth and Hugh Jackman, of course! 


What’s the title of the book nearest to you? 

‘The Emotional Thesaurus’ – a very useful resource for romance writers. 


What’s the oldest book on your book shelf? 

‘A History of Preston’ by Anthony Hewitson – a first edition, published in 1883. I was born and brought up in Preston in Lancashire, and this book was my ‘bible’ when I was studying local history. It was only a few years ago, when I was researching my family history, that I discovered Anthony Hewitson was actually married to my father’s aunt! 


Which book do you really want to read but haven’t had time for …yet! 

Any of the 100+ books on my Kindle which I still haven’t managed to read! I will admit, though, after seeing Les Miserables ten times on stage plus the film and anniversary concerts, I do keep promising myself I will read Victor Hugo’s book. 


Do you have a guilty reading pleasure, and if so will you tell us about it? 

I never feel guilty about reading anything! I honestly think an author can learn something from every book they read, even if it’s how not to do something. 


If the house was on fire which book would you rescue? 

The four (hardback) novels which I wrote in the late 1960s/early 1970s, as they are now out of print and irreplaceable. 


Do you have a reading/writing playlist on Spotify, or a favourite CD to listen to when reading/writing? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel happy? 

I don’t usually listen to any music when I’m reading or writing as I find it too distracting. However, if I’m writing about a seisun (informal music session) in an Irish pub, I may listen to some Irish songs, to get me in the mood! 


Do you have a favourite place to settle down to read/write? 

My main writing place is my PC in the corner of my study but I always have a notebook with me in case some inspiration strikes when I’m not at home. As for reading, the answer is – anywhere! I always have my Kindle with me. 


Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs? 

1) A notebook and pen. I don’t write my novels longhand, but always have a notebook on my desk to jot down reminders about my characters and things to check. 

2) PC/internet – it’s so much easier to research the factual information you need for your novels than it used to be in pre-internet days. 

3) Thesaurus – for the times when the exact word you need is eluding you. 

4) Not sure this is actually an ‘item’ but my 4th essential is a critique partner and/or beta reader – someone who will be honest and point out your errors, omissions or what doesn’t work for them. 


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

My last six novels are all set in Connemara in the west of Ireland. They are stand-alone novels with new heroes and heroines in each, but are linked by their location at ‘Mist Na Mara’, a Victorian house which was converted into an Arts Centre. 



My current work in progress is a completely new departure for me, as I usually write contemporary novels. However, I’m now working on a story set in Victorian times which is actually based (very loosely) on my great-great-grandfather who was a captain with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for about twenty years. 



Paula Martin lives near Manchester in North West England and has two daughters and two grandsons.

She had some early publishing success with four romance novels and several short stories, but then had a break from writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years.

She returned to writing fiction after retiring from teaching, and is thrilled to have found publishing success again with her contemporary romances.

Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places and has travelled extensively in Britain and Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East, USA and Canada. Her other interests include musical theatre and tracing her family history.


Twitter @PaulaRomances







Follow on Twitter  @Jaffareadstoo #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo






Saturday, 22 February 2020

Book Review ~ Springtime at Hope Hall by Pam Rhodes



Lion Hudson
21 February 2020

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

Springtime at Hope Hall is the first book in a new heart-warming trilogy by the familiar face of BBC Songs of Praise and successful author, Pam Rhodes.


Inspired by community halls that are the glue for so many people in Britain, Springtime at Hope Hall brings together a series of endearing stories and colourful characters who all congregate under one roof.

Its rooms are filled with gossipy grandmas, body popping teenagers, dance groups, a choir without one decent singer to their name, knitters who natter, caterers who bake glorious cakes, slimmer’s nibbling chocolate, and a nursery group where it’s the grown-ups who are near to tears.

It's all in a day’s work for administrator Kath, whose job it is to make sure Hope Hall offers something for everyone in the community. Kath has a wonderful team but she knows they are struggling. Their caretaker, Trevor, has a terminally ill wife and Maggie, their unflappable cook, has been left by her husband.

Whilst the team work to pull off their ambitious Centenary Easter Monday Fayre, Kath realises that reinforcements are needed. Brash, loud and inexperienced though she may be, Shirley comes onto the scene to save the day. The Fayre is a triumph but when Kath’s old flame unexpectedly arrives, she suddenly has some tough decisions to make…

Coming from Hope Hall are stories of struggle, passion, and joy. It’s a place that’s full of friends and neighbours with stories that will have you giggling one minute and dabbing your eyes the next. Like so many community halls dotted around the country, Hope Hall is at the heart of life and the local community.


What did I think about it..

The delightfully named Hope Hall is right at the heart of the community and provides a welcome meeting place for all sorts of people. From the tiny tots at the playgroup, to the old and bold in their armchair exercise group, there is never a moment when the warmth and friendliness of Hope Hall doesn’t work its own special kind of magic.

Beautifully organised by a happy band of people, Kath, the Hall’s administrator, hides her own sadness beneath an air of efficiency and as the story progresses it soon becomes obvious that some of the helpers who make Hope Hall such a roaring success, are at times, struggling with their own individual problems.

The author writes with a lovely light touch and brings warmth, empathy and understanding to each of the character’s individual stories and allows each of them to have their own special time in the spotlight. There are some poignant moments which tug away at your heart strings but there’s also some laugh out loud funny bits which help to connect everything together in a really meaningful way. I think what’s so lovely about Hope Hall is the way that both the place and the people are immediately relatable and anyone who has ever been part of a local project will recognise the similarities and appreciate just how vital these places are to small communities.

Springtime at Hope Hall is the first in a trilogy of novels which is based around those who bring Hope Hall to life and as I finished this first book I was already looking forward to the next story, Summer’s Out at Hope Hall is planned for April 2021.

Recommended : Absolutely ✅ especially if you enjoy beautifully written stories with a warm heart of gold.



About the Author



For more than three decades, Pam Rhodes has been the familiar face of BBC’s SONGS OF PRAISE, where she is known for her sensitive interviews with hundreds of people who face huge life challenges. Pam never forgets a story, and that rich tapestry of life experience has been wonderful inspiration for her down-to-earth, heart-warming books which now number more than twenty. Pam’s wide experience of Christian church life both in Britain and around the world has provided a backdrop for most of her novels, although her books always have a wide mainstream appeal. 

Pam cut her teeth in broadcast journalism, working widely in TV, Documentary and Radio, especially Premier Christian Radio where she presents her much-loved Sunday morning programme ‘HEARTS AND HYMNS’. She is often on the road compering evenings at churches and other large musical events across Britain, and she has been very active for years in her official roles with several national and local charities. Most dear to her heart is The Leprosy Mission of which she is a Vice President. The appeal video she made at Anandaban Hospital in Nepal raised over £4m in 2019. In January of 2020, her visit to Bangladesh will continue her determination to do all she can to eradicate leprosy from the world at long last.

Pam is a mum and a grandmother, and she and her husband Richard run a boarding cattery at their Bedfordshire home where they care for RSPCA cats who are looking for new owners.



Twitter @LionHudson #SpringtimeatHopeHall

@midaspr









Friday, 21 February 2020

Blog Tour - Blood will be Born by Gary Donnelly


Delighted to be hosting today’s blog tour stop


Allison and Busby
20 February 2020

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

DI Owen Sheen vowed never to return to Belfast, but he needs answers about his brother’s death. He’s on loan from the Met to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, though before he can dig into the past Sheen must babysit DC Aoife McCusker on her first murder investigation. As the case slides into chaos, can Sheen put his personal agenda aside? And will McCusker keep her job long enough to prove herself as a detective?


What did I think about it...

This first book in a proposed new crime series sees DI Owen Sheen return to his native Belfast after years of living away in England and working for the Met. His secondment to the Police Service of Northern Ireland in Belfast sees him paired with DC Aoife McCusker in her first murder investigation.

The murder investigation is complex and complicated and is filled with the shadow of the sectarian animosities that so blighted Belfast in the early 1970s. It would seem that even fifty years later the legacies of the past still threatens the hard earned peace of the present. Blood will be Born is a gritty and thought provoking crime novel which doesn't shy away from taking the reader right into the very heart of a complex and convoluted plot.

Personal agendas are very much part of the story, not just for those perpetrators who seek to do harm, but also for each of the lead investigators whose personal stories, running along side that of the investigation, help to bring a very human aspect to the story and helps them to develop as fascinating narrators. The perpetrators who seem hellbent on revenge do so with chilling accuracy, and I found that, despite the rather gritty aspects of their individual crimes, the story is strangely addictive and utterly compelling.

Blood will be Born is an exciting start to this crime new series and whilst there is a certain amount of getting to know the lead detectives, the clever combination of Sheen's experience over McCusker's enthusiasm is very cleverly done, and I enjoyed watching how their professional relationship developed over the course of the story. I am sure that, in future crime novels, this series will definitely go from strength to strength.


Recommended : Absolutely✅ Intricately plotted, fast paced and gritty, Blood will be Born is a fabulous start to a new series.


About the Author




GARY DONNELLY is a writer and teacher who was born and raised in Belfast. After attending a state comprehensive school, he read History at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and has lived and worked in London since the late 1990s.


Twitter @DonnellyWriter #BloodwillbeBorn

@allisonandbusby




Thursday, 20 February 2020

Blog Tour ~ Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano



On its publication day I am delighted  to host today's stop on this blog tour


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Viking
20 February 2020

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


One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles. There are 187 passengers aboard: among them a Wall Street millionaire; a young woman taking a pregnancy test in the airplane toilet; a soldier returning from Afghanistan; and two beleaguered parents moving across the country with their adolescent sons. When the plane suddenly crashes in a field in Colorado, the younger of these boys, 12-year-old Edward Adler, is the sole survivor.

Dear Edward recounts the stories of the passengers aboard that flight as it hurtles toward its fateful end, and depicts Edward's life in the crash's aftermath as he tries to make sense of the loss of his family, the strangeness of his sudden fame, and the meaning of his survival. As Edward comes of age against the backdrop of sudden tragedy, he must confront one of life's most profound questions: how do we make the most of the time we are given?


What did I think about it..

There’s a real sense of impending doom as you start to read Dear Edward as it’s known right from the start that the aeroplane journey isn’t going to end well, and yet there’s a feeing of intimacy as the passengers on board the flight from NewYork to Los Angeles become, over the course of the story, as familiar as friends.

The eponymous Edward of the story is only twelve years old when he has the dubious distinction of being the sole survivor of the air disaster. The story takes us, with meticulous precision, through the long, slow road of Edward's recovery and subsequent rehabilitation, which is harrowing and painful, and filled with grief, confusion and sorrow. Throughout the story the impact of Edward’s struggle to come to terms with what has happened never fails to connect on an emotional level.

I devoured Dear Edward in just a couple of sittings as I didn’t want to put the book down so I carried it from room to room just so I could squeeze in extra reading time when I really should have been doing something else. It’s poetic, powerful, beautifully observed, it made me laugh in places where I didn’t think I should laugh, and it also made me cry in places where the sadness was huge.

By the end of this special story I wanted everything in Edward’s world to be better and brighter to make up for a loss so great it threatened, at times, to engulf him.



Recommended: Absolutely ✅ it’s already a contender on my ‘books of the year’ list.



Ann Napolitano is the author of the novels A Good Hard Look and Within Arm's Reach. She is also the Assistant Editor of One Story literary magazine. She received an MFA from New York University; she has taught fiction writing for Brooklyn College's MFA program, New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies and for Gotham Writers' Workshop. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.


Twitter @napolitanoann #DearEdward


@VikingBooksUK




Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Book Review - A Springtime Affair by Katie Fforde


45893855
Arrow Publishing 
Century
20 February 2020

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

It’s the season of new beginnings for Helena and Gilly.


Gilly runs her own B&B business from her much-loved family home, which she doesn’t want to part with – at any price.

But that's before she meets handsome estate agent Leo, and soon she begins to wonder whether selling up might not be such a bad idea after all.

Meanwhile Gilly's daughter Helena has a budding romance of her own. A talented weaver, she's becoming very close to her new landlord, Jago, who's offered to help her at an upcoming craft fair.

It’s what friends do, and they are just friends. Aren’t they?

With spring in full bloom, Helena and Gilly begin to ask themselves the same question:

Might their new loves lead to happily ever after..


What did I think about it..

This is a lovely story which looks at the lives of mother and daughter, Gilly and Helena. Gilly runs a successful B and B from Fairacres, her much loved family home. All seems to be going well and the business is going from strength to strength, that is until she comes into contact with Leo, a charismatic and handsome older man, who seems intent on sweeping Gilly off her feet. At the same time, Gilly's daughter, Helena, a talented artisan weaver, finds that she is looking upon her landlord, Jago, with more than a friendly eye, that is, until long buried secrets threaten to upset their burgeoning relationship.

What then follows is the ups and downs of life in general and of the interesting dynamics between families when some family members seem to want things to go in a different direction, but more especially, the story is filled with all the warmth and wit and the canny observations on life and love which we have come to expect from this author's lovely series of romantic novels.

Light and easy to read with an abundance of lovely characters who have such delightful appeal and who collectively make A Springtime Affair such a pleasure to read. It has a little bit of everything, family upsets, problems around doing the right thing when some people expect more than you can give, and a lovely smattering of romance as both mother and daughter start to trust in the idea of being in love.


Recommended : ✅Absolutely. Beautifully written, nicely observed A Springtime Affair is the perfect antidote for a cold, wet and windy afternoon.


A Springtime Affair is published in ebook and hardcover by Century on the 20th September 2020




Katie Fforde lives in the beautiful Cotswold countryside with her family and is a true country girl at heart. Each of her books explores a different profession or background and her research has helped to bring these to life.


Twitter @KatieFforde #ASpringtimeAffair

@ArrowPublishing





Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Book Review ~ Under the Stars by Matt Gaw

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Elliot & Thompson
20 February 2020

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book


Moonlight, starlight, the ethereal glow of snow in winter ... When you flick off a switch, other forms of light begin to reveal themselves.

Artificial light is everywhere. Not only is it damaging to humans and to wildlife, disrupting our natural rhythms, but it obliterates the subtler lights that have guided us for millennia. In this beautifully written exploration of the power of light, Matt Gaw ventures forth into darkness to find out exactly what we're missing: walking by the light of the moon in Suffolk and under the scattered buckshot of starlight in Scotland; braving the darkest depths of Dartmoor; investigating the glare of 24/7 London and the suburban sprawl of Bury St Edmunds; and, finally, rediscovering a sense of the sublime on the Isle of Coll.

Under the Stars is an inspirational and immersive call to reconnect with the natural world, showing how we only need to step outside to find that, in darkness, the world lights up.


What did I think about it..

I rarely go out after dark any more, and so I too fail to notice the impact of the night and how the elements look so very different in fading light. In Under the Stars, the author takes us a journey from the dark into the light with a special lyrical magic brought to life by his powerful description of the night sky and of how this exploration, not only made him appreciate the beauty of the night, but also how in using his senses in a different way it gave him a much greater awareness of everything he saw and experienced.

The author writes with warmth and delicate balance, explaining everything he saw and felt with a fine eye for detail and a joyous pleasure at the mystical pull of observation. Filled with a plethora of facts that you never knew you needed to know, Under The Stars is a real feast for all the senses. The author takes us on an enlightening journey, from the lure of moonlight in coastal Suffolk, the gaudy brightness of the city of London, the sheer brilliance pulled from the natural light over dark skies, and the ethereal splendour of starlight over The Isle of Coll in the Inner Hebrides, there is so much to enjoy in this beautifully written exploration of the night sky in all its majesty and unique glory.

There is so much we take for granted in our world, that we fail to recognise the beauty of nature as it surrounds us and it’s only when we take away the obvious can we appreciate what is there for us to see if only we would take the time to slow down and really look to see what’s happening when we allow the night sky, and nature, to speak directly to us.

Recommended : ✅ Absolutely if you enjoy nature, star gazing, moon gazing or just reading a beautifully written observational book about the natural world.


Under the Stars is published in ebook and hardcover by Elliot and Thompson on the 20th February 2020


About the Author




Matt Gaw is a writer, journalist and naturalist who lives in Bury St Edmunds. His work has been published in the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Times. He works with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, edits Suffolk Wildlife, currently writes a monthly country diary for the Suffolk Magazine and is a director of the Suffolk Festival of Ideas.


Twitter @MattGaw

@eandtbooks

Amazon UK



Monday, 17 February 2020

Blog Tour ~ The Liar’s Daughter by Claire Allan



Delighted to host today's stop on this blog tour



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Avon Books
23 January 2020

My thanks to the publishers for my invitation to this blog tour

Joe McKee – pillar of the Derry community – is dead. As arrangements are made for the traditional Irish wake, friends and family are left reeling at how cancer could have taken this much-loved man so soon.

But grief is the last thing that Joe’s daughter Ciara and step-daughter Heidi feel. For they knew the real Joe – the man who was supposed to protect them and did anything but.

As the mourners gather, the police do too, with doubt being cast over whether Joe’s death was due to natural causes. Because the lies that Joe told won’t be taken to the grave after all – and the truth gives his daughters the best possible motive for killing him…


What did I think about it..

There are many undercurrents in this story which is so cleverly done that you find that your emotional connection to each of the characters starts right at the beginning, and as step siblings Ciara and Heidi face the worst of their fears it soon becomes obvious that the relationship they each had with the recently deceased Joe McKee is loaded with secrets and lies.

I really can’t say too much about this psychological drama without giving the game away as even the hint of a spoiler would completely ruin the impact of this cleverly controlled family story. There’s so much unspoken angst between Ciara and Heidi that’s it’s difficult to say which of their stories affected me the most but by the end I was left feeling quite shaken by both of them.  However, despite the rather dark themes which run through the story I enjoyed how this talented author took us through a whole range of emotions from sadness to rage, and back to rage again.

I’ve read all of this author's work to date and have been impressed with the strength of her story telling and how she makes each story so completely relevant to our modern society. The Liar’s Daughter is a sad yet powerful story of a dysfunctional family relationship which is so powerful in its message that the story will stay with me for a long time.


Recommended : Absolutely ✅ if you like well written family dramas






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 #TheLiarsDaughter

@AvonBooksUK









Sunday, 16 February 2020

Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Sandy Day


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'd delighted to welcome author, Sandy Day


Photo credit : Tony Hicks

☼Good Morning, Sandy. Happy Sunday !


What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?

For Sunday brunch I’m bring a delicious crustless quiche made with fresh farm eggs, swiss cheese, whipping cream, and bacon. It’s crustless because I’m keto! But that’s a story for another day. I hope you enjoy it.


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

I know, I’m strange, but in addition to not eating sugar, flour, or grains, I don’t drink caffeine. Who ever heard of a writer who’s not wired on coffee? Well, you have now. I love decaffeinated Earl Grey tea and decaf Americano. What on earth is Bucks Fizz?


Which of your literary heroes are joining us today? And what’s the oldest book on your book shelf?

Joining me today is my literary hero, Alice Munro. Let’s hope she’s not too quiet. The oldest book on my book shelf is a copy of her collection of short stories, Dance of the Happy Shades. I’ve probably read it a dozen times. I feel like everything I’ve ever learned about writing I learned from Alice Munro. Go small, go deep, and say the unspeakable.


What’s the title of the book nearest to you?

The closest book to me is My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante. I haven’t started reading it yet because I just can’t seem to find the time. My boss gave me the whole set. She always recommends great books, so I am looking forward to getting into this series. As soon as this crazy reality show of American politics is over, I’m going back to reading books instead of Twitter. Does Twitter qualify as a guilty reading pleasure even if it’s a pleasure that’s not very pleasant?



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Do you have a reading/writing playlist on Spotify, or a favourite CD to listen to when reading? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel happy? 

I created a playlist of classical music for the 2019 NaNoWriMo because I needed to block out the noise of my mother’s non-stop radio tuned to CBC while I wrote. But I only used it for a week or so after which I discovered that I preferred writing at night in my bed. I close myself into my quiet bedroom with my laptop and let my fingers fly. 


Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs? 

Thesaurus. Writing implement, either pen & paper or computer of some sort. Wikipedia. Time. 


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

My new novel is called Head on Backwards, Chest Full of Sand. It’s a tender story of love-obsession, chronicling a young woman’s coming of age in Canada during the height of the 1970’s women’s liberation movement. The book took me many years to write, in fact, parts of it were started back in the 1970s when I was a teenager. It’s fiction but it was inspired by a trip I took to visit my aunt on Cape Breton Island when I was seventeen.





A tender story of love-obsession, the second novel from Sandy Day, Head on Backwards, Chest Full of Sand chronicles a young woman’s coming of age during the height of the 1970’s women’s liberation movement.

Teetering on the edge of womanhood, clinging to the first love of her life as if her survival depends on it, 17 year-old Livvy is torn between subjugating herself for love and claiming her identity and independence. 

When Livvy, lovesick and artistic, spends the summer with the aunt she adores, she crosses paths with a cast of memorable characters in the coastal community of Margaree, Cape Breton Island. 

While Livvy’s cousins torment her, house renovations disturb her, an annoying young islander tries to befriend and teach Livvy to disco dance, Livvy prepares for the much anticipated arrival of her boyfriend, Kane. 

With poetic fluidity and breathtaking revelations Sandy Day draws you into Livvy’s obsession. Such a deep dive into the dire and agonizing crannies of a love-obsessed young woman establishes Head on Backwards, Chest Full of Sand as a memorable coming of age story.

For fans of The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Lives of Girls and Women, and The Bell Jar, Head on Backwards, Chest Full of Sand promises to immerse you in the world of a troubled but observant young woman coming slowly to terms with love, life, and all its messy relationships.



Sandy Day lives in Georgina, Ontario, Canada. She is the author of Head on Backwards, Chest Full of Sand; Fred's Funeral; Chatterbox Poems; and An Empty Nest. She holds a degree in English Literature from Glendon College in Toronto, where her professors included great Canadian writers, Michael Ondaatje and bp nichol. Sandy is a creative writing workshop facilitator, trained in the AWA method, by the Toronto Writers Collective. She sells dog halters on the side.




Twitter @jaffareadstoo #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo





Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Elizabeth Ducie


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 writer, Elizabeth Ducie







☼Good morning, Elizabeth! Happy Sunday!



What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?

Home-made muesli with lots of fresh berries and nuts (which is how I start most days) followed by bacon sarnies using crusty white bread, crispy bacon and brown sauce (which is NOT how I star my days usually)


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

Bucks Fizz every time.


Which of your literary heroes are joining us today?

Louisa May Alcott, as I’d love to hear what she thinks of the new film of Little Women, plus Jostein Gaarder, for reasons that will become obvious.


Little Women - The Penguin English Library (Paperback)


What’s the title of the book nearest to you?

The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder. I was introduced to this book some years ago and I use it as my literary advent calendar, reading each chapter on the appropriate day in December. It is a story within a story and interweaves history, philosophy and religion beautifully. Every time I read it, I find something different.


What’s the oldest book on your book shelf?

In terms of the one I have owned for the longest, it is a copy of Alice in Wonderland, given to me as a birthday present in 1959. It’s a bit battered and some of the pages are falling out, but it’s still one of my favourites from childhood.


Which book do you really want to read but haven’t had time for …yet!

Not one book, but a whole series. I have loved watching Game of Thrones on TV, but would love to have time to read the original books. I love fantasy and spent years reading the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and (latterly) Brandon Sanderson. But GoT seems like such a huge undertaking and there are just so many other books on my TBR list.


Do you have a guilty reading pleasure, and if so will you tell us about it?

Not sure I feel much guilt about it, but I love reading the thrillers of Lee Child, James Patterson and Dan Brown. Not necessarily literature and frequently unbelievable story lines, but damn good stories and real page turners.


If the house was on fire which book would you rescue?

My hardback copies of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I bought them when I was a teenager; lovingly covered them in sticky-backed plastic to protect the dust sheets, and they have had pride of place on my shelves ever since.


Do you have a reading/writing playlist on Spotify, or a favourite CD to listen to when reading? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel happy?

I don’t listen to music when I am reading. But when I am writing I sometimes listen to classical music; no words, just stirring music. I love the Tarantella from The Nutcracker.


Do you have a favourite place to settle down to read?

No; I can read anywhere. I always have a book or an ereader with me and will grab a few moments whenever I can: on the bus, in a queue, in the loo, wherever.


Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs?

Like most writers, I suffer from SNS; that’s Shiny Notebook Syndrome. I always have a general one on the go, which I use for everything from taking notes in writing group meetings, through mind mapping story ideas, to preparing shopping lists. But I also use a separate one for each book or series of books I am writing. And I keep all of them. One day when I am a famous dead author, they may be worth something.

Lots of coloured pens and pencils for mind mapping; plus post-its and other bits of stationery.

Friends who understand our obsession with stationery and pander to it at every birthday and Christmas.

And on a more serious note: I would not be without Scrivener. It’s a wonderful piece of software that allows me to plan, draft, edit, and store research all in one place.


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

I have just taken a year off writing fiction, partly to get my series of non-fiction books, The Business of Writing finished and published; but also because I had just finished writing a series of thrillers set in the international drugs world, and needed to get the characters out of my head in order to make room for new ones. In November, I used NaNoWriMo to begin work on a new series, set right here in South Devon. They are going to be about a fictional village called Coombesford and although the first one is a cosy murder mystery, I have discovered some interesting folk live in that village and I am not quite sure yet whether they will all be crime-based or not. It’s early days yet, but I am having fun working my way through it. Oh, and those characters from the thrillers? They refused to leave, and I have therefore brought a couple of them with me into the new series.






Elizabeth Ducie trained as a scientist and worked in the international pharmaceutical industry for nearly thirty years before deciding she wanted to make a complete change of direction. She gave up the day job, began studying the craft of creative writing, and has now writes fiction and creative non-fiction more or less full-time. She is a fierce proponent of independent publishing and has produced four novels, three collections of short stories and a series on The Business of Writing, business skills for writers. She lives in Devon, is the editor of her town’s monthly community magazine, and in her spare time loves reading, watching live theatre or finding great new places to eat out with her husband, Michael.





Twitter @ElizabethDucie

@jaffareadstoo #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo





Saturday, 15 February 2020

Blog Tour ~ Real Life by Adeline Dieudonné (Roland Glasser Translator)



Delighted to host today's Blog Tour stop

World Editions Ltd
20 February 2020

My thanks to the author and random Things Tours for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of the blog tour.

At home there are four rooms: one for her, one for her brother, one for her parents … and one for the carcasses. The father is a big game hunter, a powerful predator; the mother is submissive to her violent husband’s demands. The young narrator spends the days with her brother, Sam, playing in the shells of cars dumped for scrap and listening out for the chimes of the ice-cream truck, until a brutal accident shatters their world.

The uncompromising pen of Adeline Dieudonné wields flashes of brilliance as she brings her characters to life in a world that is both dark and sensual. This breathtaking debut is a sharp and funny coming-of-age tale in which reality and illusion collide.


What did I think about it..

An unnamed narrator, a traumatised small boy, a submissive wife, a violent hunter, and a house with four rooms, all add up to a story which is as sinister as the four people who occupy its spaces.

Right from the start of Real Life I was completely drawn into this very dark, contemporary story, which is unlike any coming-of-age story I have ever read before. Raw, visceral and quite challenging there is never a moment when the narrative doesn't entice you into its secret places, drawing you further and further into the narrator's frightening world.

Real Life is not going to be to everyone's taste, as its thought provoking themes are really very dark, however, that's where the appeal of the novel lies, in that the story, so cleverly manipulated by the author makes you sit up and take notice of everything the young narrator is experiencing in her troubled home life. Thankfully, Real Life has some really special moments, with flashes of brilliance which linger and allow the lyricism of the language to flow seamlessly.

Written by a Belgian author, and beautifully translated, this story has rightfully won several French literary awards, and after finishing this powerful story, in one sitting, I can well understand why such high praise has been heaped upon it. 



About the Author




ADELINE DIEUDONNÉ was born in 1982 and lives in Brussels. A playwright and short-story writer, her first novella, Amarula, was awarded the Grand Prix of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles. Two further booklets were published by Editions Lamiroy in 2017: Seule dans le noir and Bonobo Moussaka. Real Life was recently awarded the prestigious Prix du Roman FNAC, the Prix Rossel, the Prix Renaudot des Lycéens, and the Prix Filigrane, a French prize for a work of high literary quality with wide appeal. Dieudonné also performs as a stand-up comedian.

ROLAND GLASSER is an award-winning translator of French literature, based in London.


Twitter #RealLife

@WorldEdBooks

@RKbookpublicist

#RandomThingsTours