Thursday 30 January 2020

๐Ÿ“– Blog Tour ~ Payback by R C Bridgestock

๐Ÿ“– Thrilled to be part of the Blog Tour for this exciting new crime series ๐Ÿ“– 

The Dome Press
January 2020
DI Charley Mann #1

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

Charley Mann left Yorkshire for the Met and a fast-track career - but now she’s back, she’s in charge and the area’s first young, female DI. 

Her hometown, the Yorkshire countryside, and her old friends all seem unchanged but appearances can be deceptive. 

When a brutal murder is discovered, Charley is forced to question everything, and the interest of her ex - reporter Danny Ray - doesn’t make it easier.

๐Ÿ“– What did I think about it..

I tend to pick up a new crime series with something akin to trepidation as I have such high hopes and hate being let down. However, I knew, with absolute certainty, that anything new from this talented husband and wife duo was never going to let me down and, true enough, Payback is every bit as exciting as I expected.

Having spent four years away in the Met, Charley Mann has recently been promoted to Detective Inspector and is invited to head up an investigative team back in her home town of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire. However, Charley's appointment as the first young female DI is not without its difficulties and she has much to prove to those who would see her fail at her first murder investigation. So when she is thrown in at the deep end with a complex case, on her very first day,  Charley soon realises that being back home, with all of its associated memories, is never going to be straightforward.

Charley is a great protagonist, she'e feisty, tough as her proverbial wellington boots, and yet she also has both a dark edge and a vulnerable side which I found intriguing. That she doesn't suffer fools is eloquently shown in the way that she immediately sets to knocking her team into shape and I especially enjoyed the banter between the detectives as they go about piecing together the clues of this complex police procedural. The pace is fast and furious and there's plenty of action to keep the tension cranked up to high so that it soon becomes a real page turner of a crime investigation.

It must be said that this writing duo have all the necessary credentials to bring a modern day police department to life. They speak from their respective experiences as both a serving police officer and a police civilian supervisor so there is never a moment when the authenticity dips or becomes less than absolutely believable. I love how they introduce their characters with such realism as people with faults and failings, especially Charley, who has, it appears, so many secrets in her past that discovering them as the series progresses is going to be absolutely fascinating.

Payback is a dark and gritty start to what, I am sure, will be a tense and dramatic series. I'm already looking forward to seeing where the authors are going to go next with DI Charley Mann.

Recommended : Absolutely, if you enjoy gritty police procedurals with a feisty female lead detective  ✔

Bob was a highly commended career detective of 30 years, retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent. During his last three years, he took charge of 26 murders, 23 major incidents, over 50 suspicious deaths and numerous sexual assaults. He was also a trained hostage negotiator with suicide interventions, kidnap, terrorism and extortion. Bob was seconded to a protracted enquiry investigating alleged police corruption in another force. He worked on the Yorkshire Ripper and Sarah Harper murder, and received praise from Crown Court Judges and Chief Constables alike for outstanding work at all ranks, including winning the much-coveted Dennis Hoban Trophy. 

As a police civilian supervisor, Carol also received a Chief Constable’s commendation for outstanding work. 

The couple are the storyline consultants / police procedural on BAFTA-winning BBC1 police drama Happy Valley and series 3 of ITV’s Scott and Bailey, and are presently working with Scott Free Production scriptwriters on two commissioned TV drama series. 

The couple pride themselves on being up-to-date on past and present day UK police procedures, and as a result, Bob is regularly sought by UK television, radio and national and local newspapers for comment on developing major crime incidents etc. They have also taken part in BBC Radio 4 (Steve) PUNT P.I. 

Carol and Bob are also patrons and ambassadors for several charities.

Twitter @RCBridgestock #Payback


Wednesday 29 January 2020

Book Review ~ Poisoned at the Priory by Antony M Brown

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Mirror Books
23 January 2020

Cold Case Jury #4

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

Balham, 1876. When the newly-wed barrister Charles Bravo ingests a rare poison, all evidence suggests suicide. But in one of the most infamous inquests of all time, a coroner finds it to be an unlawful murder. So what really happened that day? 

With dramatic reconstructions of four main theories on how Bravo may have died, this fourth book in the popular 'Cold Case Jury' series picks apart the notorious case that gripped Victorian Britain - and continues to spark debate to this day.

Why did Bravo refuse any help, even when going through agonising pain? Was his wife, with her scandalous past, to blame? Or perhaps it was her ex-lover, jealous of her newfound happiness… or another sinister hand, moving silently?

What did I think about it..

I think what's so intriguing about this cold case crime is that since the unsolved death of newly wed barrister Charles Bravo in 1876 so many people have tried to figure out just whether a murder had indeed been committed, or whether the victim was,an alleged suicide.

In Poisoned at the Priory there's a comprehensive breakdown of the alleged crime, along with transcripts from witnesses and descriptions of exhibits used in the subsequent inquests, all of which add up to a meticulous examination of the clues and facts as they were presented to the Victorian jury. Also at the time of the inquest into Charles Bravo's death there was an unprecedented interest with all the popular newspapers carrying items of scurrilous gossip and dubious facts. The author puts forward a very comprehensive case, explaining the situation in intricate detail so that the lives of Charles Bravo, and his new wife, Florence, are opened up to scrutiny, and the scattered clues which ooze piece by piece help to bring their individual stories to life. So many times I thought I had the perpetrator, if there was one, into the frame, only for another theory to be put forward so that by the end of the story, there are still at least four possible solutions. However, I have come to my decision...and when you come to your decision head over to Cold Case Jury and leave your verdict!

Poisoned at the Priory is the fourth book in this Cold Case Jury series and whilst I haven't read the previous three books, something I plan to rectify as soon as possible, each of the books are complete standalone and describe, in great detail, a different unsolved crime in each book. 

Recommended : Yes, if you enjoy reading True Crime and following clues to make up your own mind ✔

Cold Case Jury Collection:

The Green Bicycle Mystery: The curious death of Bella Wright

Death of an Actress: A true story of sex, lies and murder on the high seas

Move to Murder

About the Author

Antony M. Brown's books are perfect for the armchair detective. He takes a cold case crime from British history, paints an intricate picture of the main characters while weaving in social history, and presents the reader with different scenarios leading up to the murder. He displays the evidence - both original and anything that has since come to light - and ends with his personal opinion of the likely outcome. The reader is then invited to give their own verdict via his website and become a member of the Cold Case Jury.

Antony's previous titles Move To Murder, Death of an Actress and The Green Bicycle Mystery are all standalone cases of unsolved British murders.


Twitter @TheMirrorBooks

Tuesday 28 January 2020

Book Review ~ American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

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Tinder Press
21 January 2010

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

Lydia Quixano Pรฉrez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

What did I think about it..

After a catastrophic event involving her family, Lydia Quixano Pรฉrez and her eight year old son, Luca, are forced to flee their Acapulco home in search of a safer life in the United States. However, this exodus is fair from straightforward and Lydia and Luca face atrocious danger as they become two of many others who are leaving Mexico in search of a better, and safer, life.

This book took me by surprise, not because the story was disappointing, far from it, the story telling is really very good indeed. It was more my reaction to the events of the story which surprised me as, perhaps naively, I had no idea that  immigrants leaving Mexico for the United States faced such a perilous journey. The author brings the situation alive in a meaningful and thought-provoking way and I must admit to having my heart in my mouth on more than one occasion as Lydia does what she needs to do in order to keep both her and Luca safe. The pace is fast and the

American Dirt is cautionary story of our time and is an absolute testament to the bravery and fortitude of the many thousands of immigrants who have made a similar journey a country teeming with danger in the same horrific and perilous circumstances.

Recommended Read -  Absolutely ✔

Jeanine Cummins is the author of four books: the bestselling memoir A Rip in Heaven, and the novels The Outside Boy, The Crooked Branch, and American Dirt. She lives in New York with her husband and two children.

Twitter @jeaninecummins


Monday 27 January 2020

Book Review ~ Ten Poems about Baking from Candlestick Press

Candlestick Press
January 2020

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this pamphlet

Poems still warm from the oven

These ten poems celebrate all that’s wonderful about baking – the time-honoured recipes, the patient kneading and stirring of ingredients, the sticky fingers in the mixing bowl.

Baking, the poems seem to say again and again, is a profoundly human art: a homemade summer pudding can create “a stillness lost in taste” at a dinner party with friends, while an old spice jar can transport us swiftly back to childhood:

“I opened one: faint kitchen scents (a trace

of fruit breads, Welsh cakes, and the kitchen warm

and welcoming from school) took shadow form:

allspice and nutmeg, cinnamon and mace...”

from ‘Spice Jars’ by DA Prince

These are poems for anyone who loves to bake, as much as for those who simply appreciate the glory of a well-made Victoria Sponge.

Helena Nelson is a poet and publisher – and a dab hand at choux pastry.

Poems by Harry Clifton, CJ Dennis, Cathy Grindrod, Grevel Lindop, Gill McEvoy, Graham Mort, Helena Nelson, Kenn Nesbitt and DA Prince.

Cover illustration by Alice Pattullo.

What did I think..

Baking smells are the substance of my childhood, I remember coming home from school to find newly baked bread, crisp shortbread biscuits and luscious lemon cake, layering the house with the delicious warmth that home baking instantly instills.

So it comes as no surprise to find that this group of talented poets have been inspired to capture the sensation of baking in ten thoughtful verses which take us on a culinary journey through the sights, tastes and aromas of baking, from the yeasty power of freshly made bread, to the culinary magic of cakes and pastries, Ten poems about Baking is truly an experience for all the senses.

So many of the poems resonated particularly Mrs PhilPott Makes a Cake By Helena Nelson in which a cake made for visitors 'will rise, like heaven, and then be gone'. There's nothing more welcoming than a slice of homemade sponge cake.

In How to make Apple Crumble, incidentally, my favorite of all puddings, Cathy Grindrod recreates this delicious delight in a totally new way:

'Smother your slivers of apple moon like a fresh snowfall. 
Make it white hot.
Take a cold spoon; dig deep into its creaking core'

All the poems have something very special about them and all credit to the poets involved who bring such a joy to their verses, instantly conjuring, like magic, the alchemy of creating something truly special with every whisk, mix and stir.

Ten Poems about Baking is a perfect gift for anyone who loves baking and, even better, for any one who loves to eat the delicious results. Win, win all round!

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.

Connect: /  @PoetryCandle

Sunday 26 January 2020

Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Sarah Hardy

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 Sarah Hardy who blogs over at By the Letter Book Reviews 

Sarah with James Bowen

☼ Good morning, Sarah. Happy Sunday!

What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch? 

Probably lots of snacks. I'm terrible for snacking. So plenty of nuts, crisps and dips.

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

I actually love green tea, especially the berry ones. Failing that it would have to be a G&T for me please.

Which of your literary heroes are joining us today?

 Is there a limit? There are so many I would love to be able to have sat around a table having a chat with. Enid Blyton and Sue Townsend would have to be two from my childhood. From my teens it would have to be Stephen King and James Patterson. As for current authors whose books I love, it would have to be Robert Bryndza and Noelle Holten.

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

When We Fall by Carolyn Kirby. Unexpected book post from No Exit Press. I actually read her previous novel which I really enjoyed so was over the moon to receive this one and can't wait to read it.

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No Exist Press
7 May 2020

What’s the oldest book on your book shelf? 

I have a couple of Stephen Leather books that my brother gave me about 5 years ago and he'd had them for quite a while before that. I used to have the full collection of Agatha Christie novels and also used to buy every book that came out by Stephen King. When I left home, my mum gave them away to a charity shop. Got to say I was a bit gutted when I realised but am sure they have given lots of other readers hours of enjoyment. 

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

Oh gosh, there are lots. Probably the main one is How To Fall In Love Again by Amanda Prowse. I've read Anna and Theo's story and this is the third and final one following Kitty's journey of which I hope we get some sort of conclusion for all of them.

Head of Zeus

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

Not really but I do tend to try and got to bed between and 9-10 so I can snuggle up in bed with a book and the guilty bit is I usually have a couple of biscuits or packet of sweets to enjoy whilst reading. Hence why I struggle to lose weight lol.

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

Not sure if it's cheating but my Kindle. It's a bit like my phone or keys. It has to be the next important thing that I panic about if I don't know where it is at all times.

Do you have a reading 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 actually listen to any music whilst reading. I find it distracts me to much as a lot of my favourite songs tend to have meanings behind them and memories so end up drifting off away from my book so tend not to listen to it.

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

Yes my bed. I love being able to fully relax and stretch out but only on a night time.

Give us four essential items that a blogger absolutely needs?

A diary to note down any blog tours I'm on or books that I've agreed to read and review for a publication date. 
Laptop, I would struggle to type my reviews and get my blog posts ready on anything other than my laptop. 
Notebooks, I actually also write down every book I agree to and what date i agree to them so I can keep check on where I am up to and highlight them when I've read them. I find it easier this way and also books that I have agreed to read but not to a date, they don't get forget about and I read them within a certain timescale. 
A good pen. Can you tell I love my stationery?

Tell us a little about your blog and why you are so passionate about books and reading? 

My blog is bytheletterbookreviews and I will have been blogging 5 years in April. I have always loved reading and when I became aware of blogs and book bloggers, I thought it was the perfect way to help shout about the books and authors I love and enjoy. It's a great community to be part of and following so many blogs, I am never spoilt for choice of what books and authors I should be reading. Having my blog has opened me up to so many new authors and publishers of who I would probably never have heard of if it wasn't for blogging. 

Twitter @sarahhardy681


Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Els Ebraert

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, Els Ebraert, blogger at BforBookreview

 ☼ Good Morning, Els. Happy Sunday!

What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch? 

Hmm good question. I think I will go for something that typical for Belgium and what’s a brunch with something sweet? So expect me to arrive with Belgian waffels and chocolate of course. 

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

I’ll go for a glass of Bucks Fizz, please 

Which of your literary heroes are joining us today? 

I would love to meet Angela Marsons, Emma Tallon and Lisa Regan. I could invite a lot more of course 

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

It’s ‘Murder at the Dolphin Hotel’ by Helena Dixon

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What’s the oldest book on your book shelf

I can’t really answer that. I have given all my paperbacks away for charity due to problems with my shoulder and I only have my Kindle now. The oldest books that are on there are only about 2 years old. 

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

I almost finished reading the series by Betty Rowlands with Melissa Craig and I am looking forward to read the last ones. 

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

No, not really. I cannot easily say no when I see a new blog tour with a book that I find interesting. I don’t know is that counts? But I have learned to say no because I have found out that a day only has 24 hours. :) 

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

Because I don’t have any paperbacks anymore, I simply have to take my Kindle, but I would certainly have rescued my Janet Evanovich series with Stephanie Plum 

Do you have a reading 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 would be too distracted when there is music playing, but I love to have Eurosport on while I read. 

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

In the summer in the garden, in the winter on the sofa and every night in my bed before I go to sleep 

Give us four essential items that a blogger absolutely needs? 

A diary or 2 for scheduling blog tours. I use one on my phone and a paper one, trustworthy, 

Punctuality and honesty 

Tell us a little about your blog and why you are so passionate about books and reading? 

I started my blog because I wanted to share my love for books and then suddenly I was introduced to the world of blog tours and I thought it was wonderful. Of course you cannot read every book and that’s why I always want to help to spread the word. I also do guest posts, Q&A, spotlight posts or extracts. Any way I can help authors or publishers and I try to read as much as possible. 

My mum read and my sister reads too and I always saw books in our house. We had a lot of comic books and we were a big fan of Agatha Christie. We went to the library and when we were young reading was one of the things young people did. And I still enjoy it many years later. 

Where can we find you on Social media? 

I am on Twitter and on Facebook and together with a very good friend I run a Dutch book group on Facebook as well. We have been doing this since June 2012 already. 

Twitter @BookReviewB

Saturday 25 January 2020

Hist Fic Saturday Blog Tour ~ Homecoming by Ellie Dean

On Hist Fic Saturday

I'm delighted to be part of this Blog Tour

And go back to ...1945

23 January 2020

Cliffehaven series #18

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

Peace has finally been declared in the Far East, but for those living at Beach View Boarding House, the news brings mixed emotions.

Peggy Reilly is devastated that her husband Jim will not be coming home for Christmas. And Sarah and Jane, who have lived at Beach View throughout much of the conflict, dread what they will find when they go back to Singapore.

Life in Cliffehaven is in a whirlwind of change as the men return from the war and Peggy’s evacuee chicks begin to spread their wings and start new lives in different corners of the world.

Peggy and Jim have longed to be together after so many years apart, but war has left them profoundly changed. Can they rekindle the loving, close relationship they’d shared before..

What did I think about it..

For those who have followed this popular series from the beginning, reading Homecoming is something of a bittersweet experience as it heralds the conclusion of the story for the inhabitants of Cliffehaven, and for those familiar characters who are picking up the pieces in the aftermath of WW2. However, for Peggy Reilly, and her husband, Jim, life is still very unsettled, as Jim, following the brutal events of the war with Japan, is still stationed in the Far East, with no indication of when he will be allowed home. Never downhearted for long, Peggy sheds her tears in private as she allows her life goes on in Cliffehaven, her unique ability to chivy people along is never far away.

This is a really lovely series and I must admit that I have only read a couple of the books but what I have loved is the author’s care and consideration towards, not just her characters, who are wonderfully authentic, but also to her readership who have invested emotionally with all those diverse characters who call Beach View Guest House Home. Sure there have been trials and tribulations aplenty but throughout the whole of the series, and particularly in this last book, there’s a real sense of  history, and whilst inevitably there’s the knowledge that the author is tying up loose ends, she also allows her lovely characters to have their own special moments in the spotlight.

The Cliffehaven series spans the momentous years of WW2, from 1939, through to the end of 1945, and does so with humour, sadness and love. Teeming with memorable moments Homecoming concludes the series with a fine eye for historical detail and the deep knowledge by the author of giving her readers exactly what they wanted in this touching finale.

If you are new to this author’s exceptional ability to bring history alive, it going to be advisable to start at the very beginning and enjoy the experience of the Cliffehaven series for yourself.

Ellie Dean

Twitter #EllieDean #Homecoming


Friday 24 January 2020

Blog Tour ~ The Home by Sarah Stovell

Thrilled to host today's stop on this Blog Tour

Orenda Books
10 January 2020

Thanks to the publishers and to Random Things Tours for my ecopy of this book
and the invitation to be part of the blog tour

When the body of pregnant, fifteen-year-old Hope Lacey is discovered in a churchyard on Christmas morning, the community is shocked, but unsurprised. For Hope lived in The Home, the residence of three young girls, whose violent and disturbing pasts have seen them cloistered away… As a police investigation gets underway, the lives of Hope, Lara and Annie are examined, and the staff who work at the home are interviewed, leading to shocking and distressing revelations … and clear evidence that someone is seeking revenge. 

A gritty, dark and devastating psychological thriller, The Home is also an emotive drama and a piercing look at the underbelly of society, where children learn what they live … if they are allowed to live at all.

What did I think about it..

Like the horror that continually engulfs them, Annie, Hope and Lara are lost and abandoned young souls caught up in a care system which offers neither hope, nor salvation, and which has continually let them down throughout the whole of their young and shattered lives.

Bound together in a bleak, cost cutting environment on the edges of the majestic scrutiny of the English Lake District, the three girls hide their secrets and keep their mouths shut but when the body of 15 year old Hope is found it opens up the residential care home, and its inhabitants, to a scrutiny which is as vicious as it is necessary.

Once you start reading The Home it suffuses your every waking thought, not just because the reasons for Hope’s untimely death are heartbreakingly tragic, but also because the story scrutinises the lives of these three very damaged young girls, and exposes all the horrific circumstances which have led them to live out their fragile lives amongst people who used, abused, and then tossed them aside.

The Home is by no means an easy read, in fact parts of it are really quite harrowing and I had to sometimes stop and take a moment or two to consider the emotional effect the words had on me, often trying to rationalise the horror by reminding myself that this was fiction, but, of course, at the same time acknowledging that some young lives in our social care system really are as harrowing as those of Annie, Hope and Lara's. And yet, for all the joylessness of their individual stories, they were all compelling characters, particularly Hope, whose tough exterior belies her vulnerability, her story, amongst the three, is the one that will stay with me for a very, long time.

I remember reading this author’s previous book, Exquisite, and being incredibly aware of her amazing and undeniable talent. Her impeccable ability in creating beautiful, and memorable, characters from the ashes of tragedy, is outstanding.

These broken girls, on the cusp of adulthood, filled with the scars of their past will break your heart into a million pieces, and in this third week of my new reading year I have found another thought-provoking, and all-consuming story to add to my Reads of 2020 list.

About the Author

Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, was called ‘the book of the summer’ by Sunday Times.

Twitter @SarahLovescrime #TheHome



Thursday 23 January 2020

Publication Day Review ~ The Other People by C J Tudor

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Penguin UK
Michael Joseph
23 January 2020

My thanks to the publishers for my ecopy of this book

She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl's face appear in the rear window.

She mouths one word: 'Daddy.'

It's his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.

He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.

What did I think about it..

In April 2016, Gabe was travelling home on the northbound stretch of the M1, returning to his wife and daughter, when he has a fleeting a glimpse of a little blonde head in the back of the clapped out car in front of him who looks remarkably like his five-year old daughter, Izzy. The rational part of his mind tells him that this couldn’t be possible, as Izzy is safely at home with her mummy, but the little blonde girl looks so much like Izzy...

What the follows is a creepy and menacing story which takes us on the nightmare journey that quickly becomes Gabe’s life. The only reason for his meagre existence is to find out what happened to his wife and daughter on that fateful night in April 2016, the night his life became a living nightmare. Gabe is doomed to travel up and down the motorway, forever searching for Izzy, a futile journey which is both heartrending and heartbreaking.

I’ve read The Other People with my heart beating a staccato, clicking the kindle pages faster and faster in order to understand the depth of Gabe’s utter despair and rationalise the insidious evil of the Other People.I’m conscious that I can’t say much about the story without giving far too many plot secrets away and this is one twisty turns story which deserves to be read without any spoilers.

The story draws you in with the depth of its emotion and the author very cleverly reveals just enough information at the right time, drip, drip, dripping little clues and small nuances which creep and crawl into your mind so that it becomes impossible to put the story down for more than a few minutes at a time.

The Other People is a very clever thriller which grabs your attention right from the very first sentence and doesn’t let you go until the chilling end of this fabulous story.

C. J. Tudor's love of writing, especially the dark and macabre, started young. When her peers were reading Judy Blume, she was devouring Stephen King and James Herbert. Over the years she has had a variety of jobs, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, dog walker, voiceover artist, television presenter, copywriter and, now, author. Her first novel, The Chalk Man, was a Sunday Times bestseller and has sold in over forty countries.

Twitter @CJTudor #TheOtherPeople


Publication Day Review ~ Stay Up with Hugo Best by Erin Summers

Tinder Press
23 January 2020

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

June Bloom is a broke, cynical twenty-nine-year-old writer's assistant on the late-night comedy show, Stay Up with Hugo Best. Hugo Best is in his sixties, a beloved icon of TV and humor, and a notorious womanizer. After he unexpectedly retires and a party is held for his now unemployed staff, June ends up at a dive bar for an open-mic night and prepares for the sad return to the anonymous comedian lifestyle. What she’s not prepared for is a run-in with Hugo at that dive bar. Nor for the invitation that swiftly follows: Hugo asks June to come to his mansion in Greenwich for the long Memorial Day weekend. “No funny business,” he insists.

June, in need of a job and money, confident she can handle herself, but secretly harboring the remains of a childhood crush on the charming older comedian and former role model, accepts. The exact terms of the visit are never spelled out, but June is realistic and clear-eyed enough to guess. Even so, as the weekend unfolds and the enigmatic Hugo gradually reveals himself, their dynamic proves to be much more complicated and less predictable than she expected.

At once hilarious and poignant, brilliantly incisive and terrifically propulsive, Stay Up with Hugo Best is an incredibly timely exploration of sexual politics in the #MeToo age, and the unforgettable story of one young woman’s poignant stumbling into adulthood.

What did I think about it..

Hugo Best is retiring from his late night network TV talk show after a life time in front of the cameras. Following Hugo’s retirement celebration, on the spur of the moment he invites his young assistant, June Bloom, to spend the Memorial Day weekend with him at his home in Connecticut, and promises "no funny business"...

What then follows is an unusual tale about Hugo and June’s connection with each other. Hugo, no longer the late night TV comedian, and June, an aspiring comedienne, now unemployed, strangely have much in common, as both of them are having coming to terms with some difficult changes in their lives. I always find comedians incredibly sad it's almost as if they use up all their fun and hilarity in their professional lives so that when they have the chance to ‘be themselves’ it all goes sadly wrong. 

Staying up with Hugo Best is a thought-provoking story about the peculiarities of life whether you’re at the brink of a career, like June Bloom, or facing a gloomy and despondent retirement, like Hugo Best. The author writes well, and all credit to her for giving us an interesting story about a couple of not terribly likeable protagonists who seems to be struggling to find their own specific niche, and yet, despite the best efforts of both lead characters, for me, there was a definite undercurrent of something akin to despair between them.

Staying up with Hugo Best  is published today by Tinder Press..

Stay Up With Hugo Best is the author's debut novel. 



Wednesday 22 January 2020

Blog Tour ~ All the Rage by Cara Hunter

Thrilled to be part of this Blog Tour for this exciting crime series

Penguin Random House
23 January 2020

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

History doesn't repeat itself. Does it?

A distressed teenage girl is found on the outskirts of Oxford. The story she tells is terrifying: grabbed off the street, a plastic bag forced over her head, then driven somewhere remote and subjected to an assault.

DI Adam Fawley is doing the best he can to investigate, but the teenager refuses to press charges. All he can do is try to ignore the sickening feeling he's seen something like this before...

But when another girl goes missing, Fawley knows his time is running out.

Because if he ignores the past any longer, this girl may not be coming back.

What did I think about it..

All the Rage sees DI Adam Fawley and his investigative team once again embroiled in a complicated and complex mystery which seems to have a foothold in the past, and yet, the situation in the present is very much central and pivotal to the story as a whole.

A teenager is found in a distressed state but when questioned Faith Appleford refuses to press charges despite the attack being extremely brutal. Faith has her own personal reasons for this lack of cooperation which further complicates an already difficult case. When another girl goes missing, DI Fawley realises that old secrets may well emerge in the race to bring the perpetrator to justice.

The story is suspenseful, dark and complicated and is everything, and more, from what we have come to expect from this series and this talented author. I've read the previous three books and thoroughly enjoy the way the author brings each of the characters to life, especially DI Fawley, who like all lead detectives, is something of a flawed character with a tragic past. However, Fawley is also a very realistic and believable character with an inbuilt integrity which shines through despite the appalling cases he, and his team, get to investigate.

All the Rage, as is usual with this series, had me trying to second all the way through, and just when I thought that I had the plot sussed, it would veer off in another unexpected direction so that I really didn’t see where it was heading, and that’s what makes this series so appealing. All the Rage has all the elements needed for a suspenseful crime read - complex, gripping, and totally unputdownable.

Cara Hunter is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling crime novels Close to Home, In the Dark and No Way Out, all featuring DI Adam Fawley and his Oxford-based police team. Close to Home was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick, was shortlisted for Crime Book of the Year in the British Book Awards 2019 and No Way Out was selected by the Sunday Times as one of the 100 best crime novels since 1945. Cara's novels have sold more than three quarters of a million copies worldwide. Cara Hunter lives in Oxford, on a street not unlike those featured in her books.

You can sign up for Cara's newsletter by clicking here

Twitter @CaraHunterBooks #AlltheRage


Tuesday 21 January 2020

Book Review ~ She by H C Warner

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23 January 2020

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

She’s everything he dreamed of. Isn’t she?

Ben can’t believe his luck when the beautiful Bella walks into his life, just when he needs her most.

Still bruised and vulnerable since breaking-up with long-term girlfriend, Charlotte, he falls head over heels in love.

But Bella isn’t quite the ideal partner that Ben believes her to be. She quickly decides that everything is better when it is just the two of them – making it harder for friend and family to stay in touch. And then a sudden death triggers a chain of events that throws Ben headlong into a nightmare…

Secrets, lies, vengeance, and betrayal are at the heart of this story about a family that is destroyed when their son brings home the perfect girl..

What did I think about it..

My mother had a saying that you’re alright until your family starts mixing with other folks’ families! I guess that saying is taken to the absolute extreme in She.

Ben meets beautiful Bella in a bar whilst he’s out with his best mate, Matt. Ben has just come out of a long term relationship and right from the start he feels an irresistible attraction towards Bella and is very quickly besotted by her charm and irresistible beauty. Their relationship develops at a rapid speed and before long Ben and Bella are fully committed to each other. However, all is not well in this romantic paradise and it soon becomes obvious that Bella isn’t quite as charming as she first appeared.

The story moves along really quickly and there’s definitely a temptation to read faster and faster as it becomes impossible to put the book down for more than a few minutes. The author has done a great job of making beautiful Bella both irresistible, and obnoxious, and I particularly enjoyed reading the second part of the novel which gives us the story from Bella’s point of view, reiterating Ben’s version of events, but cleverly adding Bella’s chilling perspective on their life together.

She is a beautifully written psychological suspense story with some fabulous twists and turns and is absolutely stuffed full of fascinating characters who you love to hate one minute, and then sympathise with the next! Although, to be honest, Bella is totally unlikable all the way through!

She is one of those 'reads in a day' kind of novels, so, set side a time when you have absolutely nothing planned and no reason to leave the room except for tea and biscuits and let this dark domestic noir entertain you from start to finish.

She is published by HQ on the 23rd January 2020..

Helen Warner is a former Head of Daytime at both ITV & Channel 4, where she was responsible for a variety of TV shows including Come Dine With Me, Loose Women, Good Morning Britain and Judge Rinder.

Twitter @HCWarnerauthor


Sunday 19 January 2020

Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Anne Cater

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 Anne Cater, blogger over at Random Things Through My letterbox

☼ Good Morning, Anne. Happy Sunday!

What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?

A stack of beautiful fluffy pancakes, with maple syrup and crispy bacon

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

Oh, tea for me please

Which of your literary heroes are joining us today?

It's an all-female cast for me; Margaret Atwood, Barbara Taylor-Bradford and Marian Keyes

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

The Prisoner's Wife by Maggie Brookes - it's just arrived. It's a 2020 publication, published by Century in April 2020 

Century 2020

What’s the oldest book on your book shelf?

A copy of The Flower Fairies of the Trees by Cicely Mary Barker - given to me for Christmas in 1974

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

The Labyrinth of Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - the latest in one of my all time favourite series. It's a huge tome at 832 pages and I've just not plucked up the courage (or found the time) to read it yet!

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

I never feel guilty about reading .... however, I do love Heat and Closer magazines! 

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

Oh my goodness! What to choose?? I think I'd just grab as many as I could carry

Do you have a reading 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 tend to listen to music when I'm reading but I do love music. I have lots of favourites, but anything by Yorkshire 90s rock band Little Angels will always make me happy - brings back so many memories of following them around on tour. 

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

I read anywhere but on the settee with a fleece and lots of cushions, and usually Costa the cat is a favourite. Or, on a sunbed in the Greek sunshine!

Give us four essential items that a blogger absolutely needs?

A diary! 

A decent laptop / PC

Good internet access


Tell us a little about your blog and why you are so passionate about books and reading?

Random Things Through My Letterbox is almost nine years old and totally changed my life. I've always reviewed books online but having my own personal space is wonderful. I'm free to post what I want to, when I want to. I don't remember ever not being able to read, or having a book on the go. Books are as important to me as eating. 


Twitter @annecater

Twitter @jaffareadstoo #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo