Sunday 31 October 2021

πŸ‘» Halloween Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo

On this Halloween Sunday morning settle down to a Spooky Sunday Brunch 

πŸ‘»I'm delighted to welcome you to Jaffareadstoo’s Halloween Sunday BrunchπŸ‘»

πŸ‘»What favourite food are you bringing to this Halloween Sunday brunch?

Since it’s a Halloween Brunch I think we should have slices of creepy spider pizza, spiky witches fingers, bandage wrapped mummy hot dogs and a cauldron of spicy squash soup...

And who can resist: chocolate filled pumpkins, witches hat cupcakes, ghostly mallow puffs, and blood soaked toffee apples...

πŸ‘»Would you like a Halloween Mocktail, Boozy Apple Cider or a sinfully, dark hot chocolate with melty marshmallows?

You can never have too much chocolate so a sinfully, dark hot chocolate with melty marshmallows is just perfect for this cold Halloween morning...

πŸ‘»Where shall we eat brunch – in the haunted house, the eerie castle or the dingy dungeon?

You can’t beat a haunted house with resident ghosts and ghoulies...

My picture

πŸ‘»Shall we have ghostly music playing in the background, and if so do you have a favourite piece of spooky music?

The 1973 album Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield is the theme music to the horror movie, The Exorcist, so its perfect for a spooky Sunday brunch...

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

The American author, Edgar Allan Poe to entertain us with his tales of mystery and the macabre, Bram Stoker can bring Dracula and Mary Shelley is sure to entertain us with tales of Frankenstein.

Alma Books

πŸ‘»Which favourite spooky story will you bring to Sunday Brunch?

I'm not a huge fan of spooky stories but I think the early novels of Phil Rickman have a strong sense of the supernatural and made me jump at shadows as I read them - Candlelight, Curfew, December and The Chalice all scared me to death. The Man in the Moss was the first I read so I'll bring that to our Halloween brunch.

Atlantic Books

πŸ‘»Is there a Spooky book you would like to read but haven’t had the courage to read...yet!

I started Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill but it scared me so much I couldn't finish it, maybe one day ...!

I will "sell" my stepfather's ghost to the highest bidder



πŸ‘» Thank you for joining us have a fabulous Halloween πŸ‘»

Stay Safe..

Follow us on Twitter @jaffareadstoo #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo #Halloween

Saturday 30 October 2021

πŸ“– Halloween Read ~ Trick or Treat by Katerina Diamond


14 October 2021

DS Imogen Grey #7

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book

A stranger. A child. A liar who will stop at nothing…

When six-year-old Marcus is taken from outside his house on Halloween, there is only one witness: a frightened teen determined to keep himself hidden.

After an anonymous tip off, Detective Imogen Grey is called out to an expensive Exeter street, caught up in the buzz of the holiday. But when the police visit Marcus's house, his parents claim everything is fine. Imogen is sure there is more to the family than meets the eye. But just how much more, she could never have imagined…

What has happened to little Marcus? And will he ever come home?

πŸ“– My Thoughts..

Those who have read the previous books in this excellent crime series will be delighted to be back once again as DS Imogen Grey comes up against her most challenging case yet.

Six year old Marcus Carlyle is kidnapped from outside his house on Halloween in a stealthy manoeuvre which leaves behind no evidence and apart from an anonymous tip off the only witness is someone who has his own very good reasons to keep quiet. The story hits the ground running and with tensions running high DS Grey and her investigative team have to keep their wits about them in order to to keep one step ahead of perpetrators who are expert at keeping their tracks covered. As the case progresses, more and more secrets are uncovered and one of them is particularly difficult for DS Grey to figure out and presents a difficult challenge both in her professional life and also in her relationship with her boyfriend, Adrian Miles.

There are strands from the previous book Truth or Die which have particular relevance to this story so for that reason I think this book sort of struggles as a standalone read. I was interested to see in which direction the author would move the story as Truth or Die was left with something of a cliffhanger finish, I wasn't disappointed but I can't say why as that would spoil the overall effect of this fascinating story.

The author doesn't shy away from difficult topics and for that reason this series continues to go from strength to strength especially as the relationship between Imogen Grey and Adrian Miles gets more complicated. I am already looking forward to see what happens next in Book #8.

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

Twitter @TheVenomousPen #TrickorTreat


Friday 29 October 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ Under the Mistletoe by Sue Moorcroft

Thrilled to be hosting one of the blog tour stops today

Harper Collins
28 October 2021

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of the book
 and to Rachel's Random Resources for the invitation to the blog tour

Christmas. A time for family, friends – and rekindling old flames…

When Laurel returns to the village of Middledip, she’s looking for a quiet life. Adjusting to her recent divorce, she’s ready to spend some time getting back on her feet amidst the glorious snow-dusted countryside.

Yet, life in Middledip is far from straightforward. Coming to the aid of her sister, Rea, as she navigates her own troubles, Laurel barely has a moment to think about where her own life is going.

However, time stands still when she sees her old flame, Grady Cassidy – and it’s soon as if they’ve never been apart. But through her happiness, Laurel remembers why she left the village all those years ago, as she recalls a dark night and Grady’s once-wayward brother, Mac…

Can Laurel learn to forgive and forget? Or will her chances of Christmas under the mistletoe with Grady remain a dream?

πŸ“– My Thoughts..

Laurel's return to Middledip is not without its challenges as not only has she promised to be a support to her sister Rea, who has her own problems, but also returning to the place where she grew up opens up a whole batch of painful memories which Laurel has kept hidden for so long. Inevitably living back in the village brings Laurel back into contact with Grady and Mac Cassidy, the two brothers who are inextricably linked with Laurel's troubled past.

The story has some poignant content which is handled sensitively, and well, and whilst this gives a rather dark twist to the story there are also moments of sheer heartwarming loveliness. I especially enjoy how the village of Middledip plays such a central role in the novel and as we watch the villagers get ready for their festive celebrations so we begin to see Laurel's role start to develop and flourish. Laurel's expertise in bringing the village's art project to life is greatly appreciated by the villagers, and I enjoyed how the author included detailed descriptions of Laurel's artistic skills.

Whilst Under the Mistletoe has a decidedly romantic edge with the passion between the two main characters fairly sizzling on the page however, there is also much more than romance going on here which makes the story all the more tantalising.  

As always this talented author has delivered a bumper gift this festive season and Under the Mistletoe wraps everything up in a wonderful story which will tug away at your heart but will also leave you with a wonderful festive glow.

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author and has reached the coveted #1 spot on Amazon Kindle UK as well as top 100 in the US. She’s won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary. Sue’s emotionally compelling, feel-good novels are currently released by publishing giant HarperCollins in the UK, US and Canada and by other publishers around the world. She’s also well known for short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses.

Born in Germany into an army family, Sue spent much of her childhood in Cyprus and Malta but settled in Northamptonshire, England aged ten. She loves reading, Formula 1, travel, time spent with friends, dance exercise and yoga.

Twitter @SueMoorcroft #UnderTheMistlete



Thursday 28 October 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ Liberty Terrace by Madeleine D'Arcy


Thrilled to host a stop on this blog tour today

Doire Press
October 2021

My thanks to the publishers and Francesca at Midas PR for my copy of this book
and the invitation to the blog tour. 

Liberty Terrace by Irish fiction author Madeleine D’Arcy is a collection of short stories set in a fictional area of Cork City between 2016-2020, capturing the highs and lows of everyday life in the lead-up to and during the pandemic. 

Featuring a wide cast of characters from a Garda Superintendent and a young homeless squatter to a philandering husband and the mother of young autistic child – the residents of Liberty Terrace’s lives ebb and flow around each other, prompting readers to consider what it means to be human and be part of a community. Madeleine has poured herself into this book. As the mother of an autistic child herself – and a former Census Enumerator to boot – she brings her remarkable empathy and unique life experiences to life through the characters of Liberty Terrace.

πŸ“– My Thoughts..

Liberty Terrace is an interconnected set of short stories which takes us, between the years 2016-2020, into the fictional heart of this small corner of Cork City and into the lives of those inhabitants who call this place home. Each story is perfectly self contained and yet as you read through the collection there is a distinct sense of continuity even though the stories are many, and varied, just like the characters.

Wryly observant, with a fine sense of time and place, I read through each of the stories in sequential order. Interested to see just what would follow next, I found that I liked all of the stories equally and the author's clever writing ensures than none of them outshine each other in terms of content and impact. The author has picked up on the nuances of everyday behaviour, with a few quirks thrown in for good measure, especially in light of the characters completing the obligatory census return form. I enjoyed how each story had its own definite identity so although there is a common theme of community, there is also individuality of people and place. Touching on the months of the global pandemic we come right up to date with how some characters deal with the oppressive nature of lockdown and about how the pandemic was turning everyone into nervous wrecks.

Liberty Terrace is an interesting, observational anthology, with some great stories which, collectively, highlight the highs and lows of everyday life.

About the Author

MADELEINE D’ARCY is an Irish fiction writer. A former solicitor, she lived in the UK for 13 years before returning to live in Cork City with her husband and her son in 1999. Madeleine’s first Doire Press short story collection ‘Waiting for the Bullet’ was awarded the 2015 Edge Hill Readers’ Prize’ from Edge Hill University in Ormskirk. In 2010 she received a Hennessy X.O Literary Award for First Fiction as well as the overall Hennessy X.O Literary Award for New Irish Writer. Her stories have been short-listed and commended in many competitions, including the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen Short Story Competition, Fish Short Story Prize, the Bridport Prize and the SeΓ‘n Γ“ FaolΓ‘in Short Story Competition. Madeleine has been awarded bursaries by the Arts Council of Ireland and by Cork City Council. Madeleine was a scholarship student on the inaugural MA in Creative Writing 2013-2014 in University College Cork. Waiting for the Bullet is Madeleine’s debut collection of short stories.

About the Publisher

Doire Press was founded in the autumn of 2007 in Connemara by Lisa Frank, with skills and experience in editing and publishing, and by John Walsh, who had just received a publication award from the Galway County Council Arts Office to publish his second poetry collection, Love’s Enterprise Zone.

Since then, Doire Press has continued to blossom, finding its niche in publishing new and emerging writers who give voice to what it means to be Irish in a changing Ireland. Authors include Madeleine D’Arcy, Edward Boyne, Gerry Galvin, Susan Millar Du Mars, Adam White, Breda Wall Ryan, Willian Wall, Eamon Carr, Stephanie Conn, Simon Lewis, Amanda Bell, Annemarie NΓ­ ChurreΓ‘in, and Rosemary Jenkinson.

Twitter @MadeleineDL #LibertyTerrace

@Doirepress @Midaspr

πŸ“– Paperback Publiction Day ~ When the Music Stops by Joe Heap


Harper Collins
28 October 2021

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

This is the story of Ella. And Robert. And of all the things they should have said, but never did.

What have you been up to?’ 
I shrug, ‘Just existing, I guess.’ 
‘Looks like more than just existing.’ 
Robert gestures at the baby, the lifeboat, the ocean. 
‘All right, not existing. Surviving.’ 
He laughs, not unkindly. ‘Sounds grim.’
 ‘It wasn’t so bad, really. 
But I wish you’d been there.’ 

Ella has known Robert all her life. Through seven key moments and seven key people their journey intertwines. From the streets of Glasgow during WW2 to the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll of London in the 60s and beyond, this is a story of love and near misses. Of those who come in to our lives and leave it too soon. And of those who stay with you forever…

πŸ“– What did I think about it..

This time last year I was involved in the blog tour launch for this book. On its paperback publication day I am delighted to share my book review again.

When the Music Stops is a fascinating look through all the myriad facets which make up the minutiae of a life. From childhood, through to the infirmity of old age, we follow the story of Ella and Robert from their school days in wartime Glasgow, through to the London of the swinging sixties, and beyond, and each time their lives intertwine so little pieces of themselves are left behind.

Through seven important key points and with a continuous love for music, Ella's life is explored in detail, gently examining those moments which have been so important to her. Moving as it does between time frames, we begin to understand more about Ella, not just her past, but also her present, her regrets, and her successes, all of which give credence to her world which, in her eighties, has begun to be confusing to her.

I enjoyed following Ella's journey through her fascinating life and the interesting way the story evolves helps to keep everything flowing in a thought-provoking way. Ella's colourful life as a musician comes to life, in particular through the music scores which are scattered like jewels throughout the more pertinent moments of her life.

Taking inspiration from his own grandparents story, the author has written a beautifully, described look at love, loss, regrets and, ultimately, the treasure of keeping alive the memory of those people who capture our heart forever.

About the Author

Joe Heap was born in 1986 and grew up in Bradford, the son of two teachers. His debut novel The Rules of Seeing won Best Debut at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards in 2019 and was shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Reader Awards. Joe lives in London with his girlfriend, their two sons and a cat who wishes they would get out of the house more often.

Twitter @Joe_Heap_ #When the MusicStops


Wednesday 27 October 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ A Letter from Nana Rose by Kristin Harper


Thrilled to host one of today's concluding stops on this blog tour

25 October 2021

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

“My darling girls. You were once so happy in this house. Now I’m gone, all I ask is that you spend one last summer here together on Dune Island. And please forgive me, your Nana, for the secret I’m about to tell you…”

Arriving at the honeysuckle-covered beach house inherited from her beloved grandmother, recently heartbroken Jill hopes to convince her two feuding sisters not to sell a place so full of happy childhood memories. But the envelope waiting on the driftwood table changes everything. In her elegant handwriting, Nana Rose promises a new letter will arrive each day of the summer revealing a family secret she took to her grave.

Shaken, Jill anxiously awaits each letter filled with Nana’s bittersweet memories of her own sister who she loved more than anyone—and lost far too young. But why did Nana never speak of this tragic loss to her grandchildren?

Watching the sunset each night and wondering how well they really knew Nana Rose, Jill feels her family is closer than they’ve been in years. And after a chance encounter with blue-eyed tree surgeon Alex, she wonders if Nana believed being back on Dune Island would help Jill find love, too?

But when Nana’s final letter arrives, the revelation about how her sister died is more shocking than Jill ever imagined. Suddenly, despite the chance of happiness with Alex, selling the house seems the only way forward. Will Jill find a way to forge new bonds of sisterhood and save their inheritance, or will Nana Rose’s secret tear them all apart?

πŸ“– My thoughts..

Grieving the loss of their beloved Nana Rose, Rachel, Brooke and Jill meet once again at Nana Rose's house on Dune Island, Massachusetts. Filled with happy memories of holidays, and family gatherings, the sisters have to make the momentous decision to either keep, or sell, the estate. It soon becomes obvious that each of the women have different viewpoints and during the ten days they spend at the cottage, Brooke, Rachel and Jill have some big decisions to make which is influenced by the arrival of a series of letters from Nana Rose.

The author takes us right into the heart and soul of the novel and with clever flashbacks we move forwards and backwards through time learning about the sisters, and Nana Rose, in the process. The sisters are a good mix of personalities, sometimes they're frosty towards each other and I smiled at the petty bickering which is so reminiscent of sibling rivalry. The touristy life on Dune Island is brought to life and I enjoyed how the author took us around the place, sampling food from The Clam Shack and delicious sounding almond croissants from the bakery. There's a warm hearted intimacy to the story which makes you feel close to the characters just as if you are settling in, with them, to watch the beauty of the bay and see sunset over Dune Island.

Finding the secrets of the past is the only way to go forwards and in this lovely story, we learn so much more about the sisters as they try to set aside their differences in order to come up with a decision which works for all of them, just as Nana Rose wanted them to do.

Beautifully written with a charming observational style, A Letter from Nana Rose is such a pleasure to read. 

About the Author

Ever since she was a young girl, there were few things Kristin liked more than creative writing and spending time on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with her family. Eventually (after a succession of jobs that bored her to tears), she found a way to combine those two passions by becoming a women’s fiction author whose stories occur in oceanside settings. While Kristin doesn’t live on the Cape year-round, she escapes to the beach whenever she can.

Twitter @KHarperAuthor #ALetterFromNanaRose

@Bookouture #BooksOnTour

Tuesday 26 October 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout


It's my turn to host a stop on this blog tour today

Penguin Viking
21 October 2021

Lucy Barton #3

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

Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband - and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante. Recalling their college years, the birth of their daughters, the painful dissolution of their marriage, and the lives they built with other people, Strout weaves a portrait, stunning in its subtlety, of a tender, complex, decades-long partnership.

πŸ“– My Thoughts...

Those who have followed Lucy Barton's story in My Name is Lucy Barton and Anything Is Possible will be delighted to meet up again with Lucy and share her inimitable strength as she recounts this latest chapter in her life in which we meet her as she reconnects with her first husband, William. Lucy's relationship with William is complicated, each recognises a missing link in the other and yet their lives have moved into other areas and whilst that link is sometimes fractured when the need arises, each is there for the other. In this latest novel, William is at a crossroads in his life, and as the story starts to unfold so we begin to have a better understanding of what makes this rather melancholy man act, and react, in the way he does. 

I think what Oh William! brings to the literary table in this gentle continuation is the fact that although we think we know someone really well, we can never be truly sure just what elements of guilt, grief or trauma they carry within them. Filled with subtle nuances of silent introspection, we move through the story alongside Lucy and William as they start to unravel some shocking elements of their lives which have previously been hidden from the other. 

Beautifully characterised, and with the author's trademark ability to get right into the human psyche, Oh William! is a quietly reflective piece of writing and a worthy continuation of the series.

Elizabeth Strout is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author od Olive Ketteridge, as well as The Burgess Boys, Abide with Me, Amy and Isabelle, My name is Lucy Barton, Anything is Possible and Olive. again. She has also been nominated for the PEN/Faulkener Award, the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize. She lives in Maine.

Twitter @LizStrout #OhWilliam


@VikingBooksUK @PenguinUKBooks


Monday 25 October 2021

πŸ“– Author Interview ~ Alison Morton


 I'm delighted to welcome back to the blog author, Alison Morton

Alison it's such a pleasure to have you as our guest today

Where did you get the inspiration for Double Pursuit?

Well, the first book Double Identity was written in reply to a challenge by Conn Iggulden, the historical fiction author. While he’d endorsed INSURRECTIO, one of my Roma Nova thrillers, he (strongly) suggested I have a go at a contemporary thriller. So I did.

Readers (and reviewers!) seemed to like Double Identity and urged me to write a sequel. For myself, I really wanted to know what was next, professionally and personally, for Mel and Jeff.

How does Double Pursuit fit in with the previous book in the series?

Although it follows Double Identity chronologically, it’s written as a standalone. I dislike cliff-hangers or books written as episodes, so each story must be properly resolved. I wrote a short prequel to Double Identity (The Sand Beneath Her Feet) while drafting Double Pursuit and that links in with events in both books, but none of them is dependent on any of the others. (Readers can get a short copy of The Sand Beneath Her Feet free if they sign up to my newsletter.)

The second book in a series is sometimes considered more difficult to write – were there any challenges with this book, and if so, can you tell us how you overcame them?

Although I was familiar with military procedures and weapons, I had to research additional things such as shipping, the French presence in the Sahel in Africa, the Belgian military and the Italian police. Mel’s employer, the European Investigation and Regulation Service (EIRS) is tasked with the difficult, awkward or near impossible cases, so they often look into murky parts of life – more research!

You seem to have a penchant for feisty, female lead characters, is there anything of you in MΓ©lisende des Pittones?

Apart from saying I had six years in uniform in a specialist unit, I couldn’t possibly comment!

Your writing is very atmospheric – how do you ‘set the scene’ in your novels and how much research did you need to do in order to bring this series to life?

Thank you! I’m a ‘picture person’ so I visualise the scene in my mind and my fingers have to type furiously to keep up as I try to put the scene into words on the screen. I will have read up about the places if I don’t know them, plus here I must confess to using Google street view to walk/drive down places I don’t know.

What characteristics do you think make a good fictional detective and equally, what makes a good fictional villain?

They both have to be unique characters with plenty of quirks. Similarly, they’re probably both very determined. A fictional investigator must be persistent, dogged even, and not deterred from using their imagination as well as their logical brain. A villain must demonstrate a motivation a reader can understand such as envy, greed, resentment, insecurity, perhaps emotionally scarred, vain or neglected; they can’t just be ‘bad’ or ‘evil’.

Tell us about your writing day – are you disciplined, strictly 9 til 5, or are you more of a have a cup of tea and think about it sort of writer?

I’m a ‘fits and starts’ writer and tea flows throughout the day. I try to write in the morning, and sometimes I’m back at the keyboard in the evening. It depends on whether the characters are running around in my brain, hammering on the inside of my skull desperate to get out.

Can you tell us if you have another novel planned in this series?

I’m pretty sure there will be at least a third one, but not until next year. I have half a Roma Nova book drafted, the story of Julia Bacausa and Lucius Apulius meeting in the late fourth century leading to the foundation of Roma Nova.

Published 19 October

She’s hunting arms smugglers. But who is hunting her?

One dead body, two badly injured operatives and five crates of hijacked rifles.

In Rome, former French special forces intelligence analyst MΓ©lisende des Pittones is frustrated by obnoxious local cops and ruthless thugs. Despite the backing of the powerful European Investigation and Regulation Service, her case is going nowhere. Then an unknown woman tries to blow her head off.

As Mel and fellow investigator Jeff McCracken attempt to get a grip on the criminal network as well as on their own unpredictable relationship, all roads point to the place she dreads – the arid and remote African Sahel – where she was once betrayed and nearly died. Can Mel conquer her fear as she races to smash the network and save her colleague’s life?


Alison Morton writes award-winning thrillers featuring tough but compassionate heroines. Her nine-book Roma Nova series is set in an imaginary European country where a remnant of the ancient Roman Empire has survived into the 21st century and is ruled by women who face conspiracy, revolution and heartache but with a sharp line in dialogue.

She blends her deep love of France with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, historical and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected a BA in modern languages and an MA in history.

Alison now lives in Poitou in France, the home of the heroine of her latest two contemporary thrillers, Double Identity and Double Pursuit. Oh, and she’s writing the next Roma Nova story.

Twitter @alison_morton

Buying links

Thanks so much Alison for being such a super guest today.

Happy writing.

Sunday 24 October 2021

🍴 Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Kate Field

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 Kate Field to our Sunday Brunch today

Welcome. Kate. What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?

I’m being a traditionalist and bringing a pile of bacon butties. Crispy bacon, freshly-baked white bread and lashings of real butter… What could be better?

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

I don’t drink tea or coffee, so I suppose I’ll have to accept the Bucks Fizz!

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

As it’s October in north west England, I think it will have to be the kitchen table. Hopefully the autumn sun will shine on us through the windows and we’ll have a lovely view of the garden. I can’t imagine using a formal dining room again – ours has been an office for the last 18 months!

Shall we have music playing in the background, and if so do you have a favourite piece of music?

As we’re both northerners, shall we support a local band and listen to some Elbow? One of my favourites is One Day Like This. I love the soaring melody and the lyrics, and especially the way Guy Garvey pronounces the word ‘love’, in the same way I do!

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

I’m inviting Bertie Wooster as I think he would be huge fun. He’d tell great stories, sing silly songs and undoubtedly make us laugh. We’d better invite Jeeves too, in case Bertie gets into trouble.

Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch?

It’s so hard to choose a favourite book of all time, so I’m cheating slightly and bringing my favourite read of the year so far. It’s Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers. I love this sort of ‘quiet’ book, where the characters rather than action take centre stage. It’s beautifully written, gently humorous, and the ending is incredibly poignant.

Weidenfeld and Nicolson

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

Absolutely! Reading always comes first, and I can’t imagine a day without spending some time with a book. I’ve started listening to audiobooks over the last year too, so now I can escape into a book even when doing boring chores like ironing.

There are far too many books on my TBR pile that I haven’t had time to read yet, but one that I’ve been meaning to read for a long time is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I have a crochet blanket kit that was inspired by the book so I’d like to read it before I get started on that.

Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?

It can be anywhere: random conversations, newspaper stories, song lyrics, TV shows. Usually it’s a combination of several ideas that come together to form a story. The premise of Finding Home, for example, was initially inspired by an article in a newspaper about a random act of kindness. A few months later, I heard a radio interview with firefighter Sabrina Cohen-Hatton. She has achieved remarkable things after a difficult childhood and after being homeless as a teenager, and she gave me the idea for my lead character, Mim. The character and the premise fitted together perfectly and I couldn’t resist writing the story.

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

I don’t have a favourite place, but I find I’m most productive when I’m writing in the kitchen. I can’t listen to music when I’m writing, as it’s too distracting, but the white noise of the kitchen appliances seems to be a perfect backdrop. I think I’m more productive in winter too. In summer, it’s too tempting to get out into the countryside and enjoy a walk.

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

I’m used to working to deadlines in my day job, so I can be disciplined and focus on a writing deadline if I need to. My main problem is letting go when the deadline arrives. I always think I could make a book better with one more round of edits!

Give us four essential items that a writer needs?

I write my first draft by hand rather than on a laptop, so a good notebook and pen are my two main essential items. I also need peace and quiet – preferably an empty house, but that’s not been possible recently. Writers also need a thick skin to cope with the rejections and the bad reviews. I’m still trying to grow mine!

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

My latest novel is called Finding Home. It’s the story of Mim, who at the start of the novel is homeless, unemployed, and living in her car. She meets a couple who are stranded in Lancashire but desperately need to get to Devon for a family wedding. She offers to drive them to their seaside home, and this act of kindness changes her life in ways she hadn’t expected.

I hope it’s an uplifting and romantic read!

One More Chapter 

Kate, where can we follow you on social media?

Twitter: @katehaswords

More about Kate

Kate Field writes heartwarming and uplifting romantic fiction. She lives in Lancashire with her husband, daughter and cat. Kate’s debut novel, A Place to Begin Again, won the Joan Hessayon award for new writers.

Thank you, Kate for taking part in Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo.

Follow us on Twitter @jaffareadstoo #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo


Saturday 23 October 2021

πŸ“– Book Review ~ The Road from Cromer Pier by Martin Gore


July 2021
Cromer Pier Theatre Series #2

My thanks to the author and Ben Cameron for my signed  copy of this book

It’s ten years on from The Road to Cromer Pier, and Summertime Special Show Director Karen Wells has two potential headliners, but both have issues. Dare she take the risk? And Karen herself is at a crossroads. Will her mother Janet ever retire and allow her to run the pier theatre?

Meanwhile Janet’s nemesis, businessman Lionel Pemrose still has designs on the pier theatre, but he is facing growing financial problems. Bank manager Peter Hodson is haunted by a past indiscretion, and calls in recently widowed turnaround expert Tom Stanley. Can he keep the indiscretion a secret?

Tom is bereaved and has recently been made redundant from his own firm. He is too young to retire, and after years of long hours, suddenly finds himself unemployed. He pours his energies into the assignment, which could be his last hurrah.

Old enmities, loyalties and past mistakes surface as the future of the pier theatre is once again under threat, and those involved must deal with unresolved issues in their lives.

πŸ“– My Thoughts..

We pick up The Road from Cromer Pier some ten years after The Road to Cromer Pier and and even though I hadn't read the first book I've had no difficulty in engaging with the characters or feeling at home in the lovely Norfolk setting. 

Preparing for the Summertime Special Show at the theatre at the end of Cromer Pier presents its own set of challenges for theatre director, Karen, not just because her potential headline acts are both a little bit vulnerable but also Karen herself is desperate to move out of her mother's shadow in order to take over the running of the theatre. 

Once I was used to the place, and the people, I settled comfortably into the story. The author writes well and describes the atmosphere of life at the end of the pier with flair and imagination. I found myself warming to the characters, well, perhaps to some more than others, Lionel Pemrose, in particular, springs to mind, as a dastardly villain, but overall, the story of jobbing entertainers who do what they do for the love of their chosen profession comes nicely to life. However, as you would expect nothing in Cromer is straightforward and there are several challenges to be faced, with the ever present threat of financial troubles for one character who seems to have his finger in far too many dodgy enterprises and a dangerous domestic problem for another character which adds a sense of tension to the story.

The Road from Cromer Pier is a light, enjoyable read about the vagaries of life at the little theatre at the end of Cromer Pier.

About the Author

When he was nine years old, Martin Gore told his mother he wanted to be a writer. She told him to get a proper job. Now after a successful business career he is semi-retired and living his dream. Nine pantomimes, three plays and his third novel, The Road from Cromer Pier, now published.

So how did his creative side find its niche?

“I had the opportunity to resume writing in 2009 when I wrote my first pantomime for Walkington Pantomime Players. Since then, I’ve written eight pantomimes and three plays.”

He published his first novel, Pen Pals, in 2016. A family saga based in a Yorkshire mill town it is set mainly in the strike torn seventies, building on his experiences during his career in manufacturing.

His second book was based on a play he had written called The Road to Cromer Pier, which draws on childhood holiday experiences.

“It was Cromer every year. The nearest beach to Coventry. Seven hours on a bus with my brothers. No car. Fish and chips, football and cricket on the beach, and big copper pennies clunking into one-armed bandits. Then at night seeing the bright lights of the Pier Theatre from our holiday flat.”

The book was written with the help of Cromer Pier Theatre, who arranged interviews with the management and cast.

“Writing a work of fiction about a real place is a real challenge. The Cromer Pier Show is an iconic piece of British theatre, and is a West End standard show, so my story needed to reflect that too. The theatre couldn’t have been more supportive.”

“I’ve always loved theatre, particularly musical theatre, and have been involved in a lot of Amdram over the years, so writing about the theatre appealed, especially having seen the show as a child.”

“It’s a busy and happy retirement. I still enjoy my work as a Non-Executive Director, but I’m thoroughly enjoying fulfilling my statement to my mother all those years ago. Both of my parents loved the theatre and reading, so I think they’d be proud.

Twitter @AuthorGore


Friday 22 October 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ The Girl in the Maze by Cathy Hayward


Delighted to take part in this blog tour today

Agora Books

ebook 28 October 2021
paperback 25 November 2021

My thanks to Agora Books for my copy of this book
and to Peyton for the invitation to the blog tour

‘I would caution you against delving into the past. The past is often best left exactly where it is.’ 

Emma Bowen has never had a close relationship with her mother, barely speaking with her in the last years of her life. But after her mother’s death, Emma finds something that might just explain the distance between them. Discovering letters between her mother and grandmother, it seems to Emma that her mother has always been difficult. As she searches for answers about her own childhood, Emma is drawn into the mystery of her mother’s enigmatic life. The more she finds, the more lost she feels, but Emma is determined to uncover her mother’s past, and the secrets held within it, whatever the cost. An enthralling story of three women, generations apart, linked by one terrible tragedy.

πŸ“– My thoughts..

After her mother's death Emma Bowen discovers rather more about her mother than she could ever have imagined. In the last years of Margaret's life Emma's relationship with her was pretty much non-existent, which makes clearing the debris of her mother's life all the more difficult. Moving forwards and backwards in time we get a picture of the family events which shaped Margaret's personality and which altered the course of her life forever.

The story opens with a harrowing first chapter which I thought was exceptionally well written and which placed me distinctly in the moment, experiencing all the shock and confusion, so lost in the moment, that I found myself wincing in one particular spot. I think that sets the scene perfectly for the rest of the story which is sometimes quite shocking in nature, whilst at other times it is so delicately observational that it quite moved me to tears.

The eponymous girl in the maze is an intriguing premise for the story and as the plot starts to dance and twirl so the meaning behind the title becomes clearer. It's very much a story about motherhood, particularly the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters, a process which is in itself so complex that all the twists and turns in the story only adds to the perception that we never really know someone until we look deep inside their soul.

I read The Girl in the Maze until my eyes ached with tiredness as I couldn't bear to not know what happened to both Margaret and Emma and hoped that there would be some sort of resolution for both of them. There is a further complicated dimension when an intriguing third person enters into the story which only adds a delicious twist to what is an already complex family drama.

Beautifully characterised, and wonderfully descriptive, The Girl in the Maze is an exceptionally accomplished debut novel from an exciting new talent. I can't wait to see what Cathy Hayward comes up with next time.

Cathy Hayward trained as a journalist and edited a variety of trade publications, several of which were so niche they were featured on Have I Got News for You. She then moved into the world of PR and set up an award-winning communications agency. Devastated and inspired in equal measure by the death of her parents in quick succession, Cathy completed The Creative Writing Programme with New Writing South, out of which emerged her debut novel, The Girl in the Maze, about the experience of mothering and being mothered. It won Agora Books’ Lost the Plot Work in Progress Prize 2020 and was long listed for the Grindstone Literary Prize 2020. When she’s not writing (or reading) in her local library, Cathy loves pottering in second-hand bookshops, hiking, and wild camping. She lives in Brighton – sandwiched between the Downs and the sea – with her husband, three children, and two rescue cats – one of whom thinks he’s a dog.

Twitter @CathyHayward7 #TheGirlInTheMaze