Thursday, 18 August 2022

πŸ“– Publication Day Review ~ Hope to Die by Cara Hunter

Paperback 18 August 2022

DI Adam Fawley #6

My thanks to the publisher for the invitation to read this novel

When a body is found in a farmhouse in a gruesome state, DI Adam Fawley is one of the first on the scene. The murder leads Fawley to a convoluted investigation from the past, and a family torn apart by a devastating crime involving the disappearance of a child.

Can Fawley piece together the facts of history with the clues in the present? Sometimes the truth is the hardest answer to face up to...

πŸ“– My Review..

From the start of this series we have observed DI Adam Fawley's life in various stages, sometimes sad, sometimes crazily mixed up, occasionally misdirected, but always absorbing, so it's a real pleasure in Hope to Die to see him enter a more settled period in his life. However, that doesn't mean that his professional life is any less exciting, far from it as Hope to Die hits the ground running with a gruesome discovery in an isolated farmhouse. The elderly couple who live at Gantry Manor are naturally bewildered by what appears to be a burglary gone wrong at their rural hideaway but there's something about Mr and Mrs Swann which just doesn't quite add up. As always, Fawley and his team are soon on the case and are determined to leave no stone unturned and no clue uninvestigated but even these hardened detectives are unprepared for what they are about to discover about the couple at Gantry Manor.

I raced through Hope to Die at top speed, not because it's light on content, far from it, it's just that once started it's very easy to become so immersed that you don't notice time passing. I love the speed of the story, the way it enfolds you, quickens your imagination and all credit to this talented writer for keeping everything so realistic, from police interviews, emails, news and Netflix documentary transcripts it reads like a true crime broadcast. There are twists and turns aplenty, lots of emotional content, and a family drama which reveals its secrets ever so slowly but when all is revealed it makes you gasp out loud.

Clever , sophisticated, and brilliant, long may DI Adam Fawley and his team reign supreme. I'm already looking forward to the seventh in the series, and beyond, as this creative author has the unique ability to keep the stories fresh and true, and cunningly addictive.

🍫Best read with.. a snickers bar and a cup of tea, heavy on the sugar πŸ˜‹

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

Hope to Die was published in eBook on the 22 July and is out in paperback today.

Twitter @CaraHunterBooks #HopetoDie


Tuesday, 16 August 2022

πŸ“– Book Review ~ Lake of Echoes by Liza Perrat


Perrat Publishing
28 June 2022

Sainte-Marie-du-Lac Series #1

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

A vanished daughter. A failing marriage. A mother’s life in ruins.

1969. As France seethes in the wake of social unrest, eight-year-old Juliette is caught up in the turmoil of her parents’ fragmenting marriage.Unable to bear another argument, she flees her home.

Neighbours joining the search for Juliette are stunned that such a harrowing thing could happen in their tranquil lakeside village.

But this is nothing compared to her mother, Lea’s torment, imagining what has befallen her daughter. LΓ©a, though, must remain strong to run her auberge and as the seasons pass with no news from the gendarmes, she is forced to accept she may never know her daughter’s fate.

Despite the villagers’ scepticism, LΓ©a’s only hope remains with a clairvoyant who believes Juliette is alive.

But will mother and daughter ever be reunited?

πŸ“– My Review...

In the summer of 1969, eight year old, Juliette Bellefontaine lives with her parents, LΓ©a and Bruno, and her grandmΓ¨re, Mamie Louise, at the Auberge de LΓ©a which is situated near the atmospheric, Lac du HΓ©ron. This picturesque lake is a place of natural beauty however, it also has a brooding presence which is made all the more forbidding when Juliette goes missing after being upset by yet another noisy argument between her mother and father. Juliette's disappearance is quite out of character as she is normally a bright and sunny little girl, who enjoys playing with her friends, or running around with her dog, Belle, and yet with no real clues as to her whereabouts the local gendarmerie have to conclude that Juliette may well have been taken against her will. 

What then follows is a tense story of a mother's unwillingness to accept that she will never see her daughter again and of the effect that suspicion and mistrust has on a small community. This is a place where it would seem that whilst everyone knows each other's business there are still dangerous secrets deep in the heart of this rural community. The oppressive atmosphere of the late 1960s comes alive with a definite sense of foreboding which strikes right at the heart of the story and there is a sense of creeping unease which is skillfully handled by an author who knows just how to keep the suspense alive without ever compromising on the emotional pull of the story.

Beautifully written, rural France comes alive in the minutest detail and with an intricate and suspenseful mystery at its core, Lake of Echoes sees the successful start of a new historical mystery series by this talented writer.

🍷Best Read with..a slice of Mamie Louise's lemon chiffon pie

About the author

Liza grew up in Australia where she worked as a general nurse and a midwife. When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her family for twenty-nine years, working as a medical translator and a novelist.

Several of her short stories have won awards, and been published in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture are published in international magazines such as France Magazine, France Today and The Good Life France.

Sign up for Liza’s occasional newsletter about new book releases and receive a FREE copy of Friends & Other Strangers, her award-winning collection of Australian short stories.

If you enjoy Liza’s books, follow her on BOOKBUB




TWITTER @LizaPerrat

Universal Retail book link

Monday, 15 August 2022

πŸ“– Publication Day ~ Britain by Night by Mark McNeill

Amberley Publishing
15 August 2022

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

The landscape of Britain is transformed at night when its man-made and natural landmarks are illuminated against a backdrop of magnificent stellar skyscapes. In the heart of our cities iconic structures are picked out and away from the built-up areas in our darker spaces the astral and lunar world takes to the stage alongside the landscape.

In Britain by Night, photographer Mark McNeill has captured a huge variety of night scenery and skyscapes that show both natural and man-made Britain in a new light. He takes his camera from Scotland, the North East, the Lake District and the rest of the North West including Liverpool and Manchester, to Wales, the Midlands including Birmingham, the East of England, London, the South Coast and the South West. 

The images captured range from iconic locations such as the Sycamore Gap in the Northumberland National Park framing the Milky Way, the Ribblehead Viaduct, the Forth Viaduct, Jodrell Bank beneath the moon, to familiar landmarks such as the Cutty Sark picked out by light and the Liverpool skyline, our magnificent coast, atmospheric lakeside and mountain shots, and much, much more.

Look through these photographs and you will quickly see the fascination of the night-time world of Britain beneath the stars.

πŸ“– My review..

Over the last couple of years I think we have all come to appreciate the natural world and perhaps we now see our environment in a more enlightened way, but do we ever stop to consider what is happening when our night-time world goes dark? 

In Britain By Night photographer, Mark McNeill shines the spotlight, not just on places of natural beauty but also on the urban landscape of our towns and cities and this lovely book offers a tantalising glimpse into a fascinating world of night-time photography where images, colour and shape take on a very different form. The night sky offers a unique perspective and photographers especially love the challenge of capturing dark skies awash with myriad stars, or using their photographic skill to bring familiar landscapes to life in a kaleidoscope of colour.

The photographic images in Britain by Night are many and varied, some capturing iconic views which are instantly recognisable whilst others perhaps not so well known but equally captivating. I have really enjoyed looking through the 130 illustrations, which bring back memories of places I have visited like Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Hermitage Castle in the Scottish borders and South Stack on Anglesey. Other images are places on my doorstep right here in the North West and having seen Media City in Salford many times in day light I was beguiled by its night time persona. However, no matter where you are in Britain there are multi-coloured images which will capture your attention and encourage an interest in our nocturnal landscape.

Britain By Night is a fascinating look at Britain under the stars by a talented and skillful photographer whose passion for his art comes across in his fine attention detail and his emotional connection to the rural, and urban, landscape around him.

πŸ“· Best read with... a flask of coffee and camera on a tripod.

Mark McNeill is a professional photographer based in the North West of England. He specialises in landscape photography and also has a particular interest in night-time photography and astrophotography. In 2018 he was highly commended in the prestigious Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition held by the Royal Observatory Greenwich celebrating the very best in astrophotography across the globe, judged by a panel of experts from the worlds of art and astronomy.

Twitter @marksmcneill #BritainByNight


Sunday, 14 August 2022

☀ Summer Picnic with Jaffareadstoo ~ Michael Anthony

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to welcome you all to our Summer Picnic

Summertime is here

☼ I'm delighted to welcome Michael Anthony to our Summer Picnic 

Welcome, Michael. Which favourite foods are you bringing to our summer picnic?

Tacos and nachos!

What would you like to drink? We have white wine spritzers, locally brewed beer, traditional Pimms, sparkling elderflower cordial or a thermos of tea or coffee?

Thermos of green tea and thermos of black tea.

Where shall we sit, by the pool, on a beach, in the garden or in the countryside?

Pools and beaches are too crowded, let’s go with secluded countryside underneath a tree.

Do we have a wicker hamper, tablecloth and cutlery, or is everything in a supermarket carrier bag?

A good picnic involves a little hiking, so I’ll go with throwing everything into a convenient backpack.

Which of your literary heroes (alive or dead) are joining us on the picnic today?

Joseph Heller (dead), E. M. Remarque (dead) and Yuval Noah Harari (alive)

Do you have favourite place to have a summer picnic?

I enjoy a good local park picnic; easy access is key for me as it assures more picnics.

Do you have a summer music playlist? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel happy?

When I listen to music—much to the disdain of my wife—I enjoy listening to the same song on repeat, so my playlist is usually just one song on repeat. One song I’ve been loving lately, and playing a hundred times in a row, is Smith Hill by Deer Tick.

Which summer read are you bringing with you today?

“The Secret to Superhuman Strength,” by Alison Bechdel.

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!

It depends on what type of writing zone I’m in. If I’m in a good spot and able to write a few hours each day, then I’ll keep my reading to a minimum and focus only on my writing, but if I’m struggling with my writing, or not getting into the grove then I’ll read more often. I’ve got too many books on my list that I’d liked to read that I’ll worry I’ll never get to; mainly, though, the books that come to mind are all the “classics” that I haven’t had a chance to read yet.

Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?

The ideas for all my stories come to me randomly, whether walking through the woods, taking a shower, driving during my morning commute, or lying-in bed at night.

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

With a full-time day job, and two children under the age of eight, I find the best place to write is anywhere that offers a quiet moment, my basement, a coffee house, kitchen table in the early mornings or late night. My favourite season to write is the fall, I find the changing of the leaves inspiring.

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

I do work well under deadlines, but the only time I have a writing deadline is when I have a book deal, and by the time I have a book deal I’ve already been working on a project for years and any deadline thus seems less intimidating.

Give us four essential items that a writer needs?

Paper. Pen. An idea. And a quiet space!

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

My latest book, “Just Another Meat-Eating Dirtbag: A Memoir,” is a graphic memoir (memoir in graphic novel form) that details the growing problems in my relationship as my girlfriend becomes a vegan and animal rights activist (and I try to turn her back into a meat-eater, think that it will help safe our relationship!).

Book Blurb:

A rough-and-tumble Iraq War veteran is young and in love, and the last thing on his mind is food and the ethics of eating meat. But when his girlfriend becomes a vegetarian and animal rights activist, suddenly food is all he thinks about.

A true story of how love and vegetarianism can triumph over all else. Love, heartache, and the rest of the ingredients that make a reader laugh, smile, stop-and-think, are all found in this enthralling graphic memoir. Amidst the stories of love and frustration, there are treatises on food, vegetarianism, and the ethics of the animal rights movement (some of it juxtaposed against Michael’s graphic wartime experiences). Told with Michael’s sardonic perspective and the delightful artwork of debut graphic novelist Chai Simone, this is a journey of true love gone temporarily astray.

Michael, where can we follow you on social media?

More about Anthony

Michael Anthony is the author of the award-winning and acclaimed memoirs: "Civilianized," "Mass Casualties," and "Just Another Meat-Eating Dirtbag". Michael’s writing has been called “strong … and starkly honest…”–Publisher’s Weekly, “Dark Humored,” –Kirkus, “smart and mordantly funny,” –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and “gut punching…” –Mary Roach. His writing has appeared in several anthologies; all across the web; and he has been featured in several documentaries regarding military service, philosophy, and comedy. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University and has worked as a military consultant for award-winning theater and art installations.

Thank you for sharing your Summer Picnic with us today

Follow on Twitter #SummerPicnicwithJaffareadstoo

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Hist Fic Saturday ~ In the Shadows of Castles by G K Holloway

 On Hist Fic Saturday

Lets go back to ...1066

Silverwood Books
17 June 2020
Book #2 The 1066 Saga

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

It's the 1060s, and William of Normandy is establishing a new and brutal regime in England, but there are those who would defy him. As Norman soldiers spread like a plague across the land, resistance builds, but will it be enough to topple William and restore the rightful king to his throne? The English have the courage to fight, but the Normans, already victorious at Hastings, now build castles seeking to secure their tenuous foothold in these lands.

And what of the people caught up in these catastrophic events? Dispossessed but not defeated, their lives ripped apart, the English struggle for freedom from tyranny; amongst them, caught up in the turmoil, are a soldier, a thane and two sisters. As events unfold, their destinies become intertwined, bringing drastic changes that alter their lives forever.

Firmly embedded in the history of the Conquest, 'In the Shadows of Castles' is ultimately a story of love, hope and survival in a time of war.

πŸ“– My Review..

The aftershock of the Norman conquest in 1066 reverberated around the land and as King William sets out to make his mark on this new England so there was discord and mistrust from those who had much to lose and little to gain. The victorious Normans with complete disregard for local customs and their distinct penchant for castle building didn't endear themselves to those people who fought so bravely for the right to keep their own land. The English are determined that the Normans won't prevail but vengeance is rife and trouble is never far away in this exciting historical adventure.

Steeped in a genuine sense of history In the Shadows of Castles follows on from the previous book in this 1066 collection and we pick up the story as William is about to be crowned on Christmas Day, taking a prize he considered worth fighting for and nothing, and no-one, was ever going to thwart what he saw as his destiny. For Bondi Wynstanton, former royal housecarl to King Harold, and a survivor of the Battle of Hastings, life is about to get more complicated than he could ever have imagined and as we follow his story and that of other fictional characters so we get a sense of what life may have been like for a country defeated but never truly conquered.

By blending adventurous fiction with known historical facts the author's genuine passion and enthusiasm for his subject comes across and this story paints a vivid picture of life in the early days of Norman rule. There is no doubt that this was a time of deep mistrust, inherent danger and indiscriminate brutality and this comes across in a comprehensive and imaginatively described story.

However, whichever side of the divide you associate with, be it English, or Norman, there is no doubt that this unruly time in our history is testament to the strength and resilience of the English, Scots, Danes, and yes, French, who all had their own important role to play in the combined history of our country.

🍷Best read with.. a riotous banquet and lots of good English ale..

Twitter @GlynnHolloway 


Thursday, 11 August 2022

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ The Split by Amanda Brookfield


10 August 2022

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

Two decades on from a passionate courtship and marriage, Lucas and Esther are getting divorced.

For Esther, it’s proving hard not to feel bitter watching Lucas enjoying his successful career, not to mention the attentions of his gorgeous, intelligent, and predictably younger lover. She meanwhile is struggling to forge a new life for herself, navigating the pitfalls of modern dating, while trying not to despair at the cost of living as a single woman of a certain age.

Then Lucas faces a shattering accusation at the same time as their children Dylan and Lily, start to implode. When Dylan runs away, and as his father fights to save his reputation, Lucas and Esther find themselves back in each other’s lives, whether they like it or not.

Has too much water passed under the bridge, or will long-forgotten loyalties and feelings bring the family back together, just when they need each other the most?

πŸ“– My review..

Family breakdowns are never easy and after twenty years of marriage Esther is struggling to come to terms with her divorce. Her ex-husband Lucas seems to be forging ahead with a predictably younger lover whilst Esther is floundering in the pitfalls of entering a modern dating arena for which she has no real enthusiasm. With her grown up children facing their own personal crossroads, Esther must learn to be more resilient in the face of adversity and it is this theme which runs throughout the story. 

Esther has a strength which at the start of the novel she is unaware of and the gradual blossoming of her character is what kept me turning the pages.  Lucas, on the other hand, is a whole different sort of character, and not a  person I warmed to easily, and yet his part in this cautionary tale is just as fascinating, especially when his professional reputation, so carefully cultivated over years, is facing a downward spiral.

The story flows well, albeit a little slow at the start, which I think is quite intentional as it gives us the opportunity to get to know the characters and to understand the family dynamic, so when things start to heat up, we are already invested in the the minutiae of family life, and the ties, although rather fractured, which attempt to hold the family together.

The Split is an enjoyable, quietly introspective family drama which looks at the pitfalls of a marriage breakup and the effect that this has on every part of family life going forward into the future.

Best read with..a glass of Sauvignon Blanc

About the Author

Amanda Brookfield is the bestselling author of 16 novels including Good Girls, her first book for Boldwood, Relative Love and Before I Knew You, as well as a memoir, For the Love of a Dog starring her Golden Doodle Mabel. She lives in London and has recently finished a year as Visiting Creative Fellow at University College Oxford.

Twitter @ABrookfield1 #TheSplit

@BoldwoodBooks #BoldwoodBloggers @BookandTonic


Monday, 8 August 2022

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ The Party House by Lin Anderson


Pan Macmillan
4 August 2022

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

Devastated by a recent pandemic brought in by outsiders, the villagers of Blackrig in the Scottish Highlands are outraged when they find that the nearby estate plans to reopen its luxury ‘party house’ to tourists.

As animosity sparks amongst the locals, part of the property is damaged and, in the ensuing chaos, the body of a young girl is found in the wreck. Seventeen-year-old Ailsa Cummings went missing five years ago, never to be seen again – until now.

The excavation of Ailsa’s remains ignites old suspicions cast on the men of this small community, including Greg, the estate’s gamekeeper. At the beginning of a burgeoning relationship with a new lover, Joanne, Greg is loath to discuss old wounds. Frightened by Greg’s reaction to the missing girl’s discovery, Joanne begins to doubt how well she knows this new man in her life. Then again, he’s not the only one with secrets in their volatile relationship..

πŸ“– My review..

During the recent pandemic, the villagers of Blackrig became understandably suspicious of tourists who visit their beautiful corner of the Scottish Highlands. However, with the easing of restrictions, plans are in motion to reopen the local hunting and shooting estate, bringing another set of tourists to the aptly named Party House. Greg Taylor is the estate ghillie and on a trip down to London to promote An Druim Dubh, Greg meets Joanne, a journalist and blogger. The attraction between Greg and Joanne is instant and passionate and Greg is delighted when Joanne accepts his invitation to stay with him in the Highlands. However, Joanne has her own agenda for travelling to Blackrig, a stay which is made all the more complicated when the startling discovery of a young woman's body is made on the eve of The Party House reopening.

What then follows is a cleverly thought out psychological thriller which has all the elements of a good cat and mouse chase. The villagers of Blackrig have good reason to fear strangers and the opening up of a murder investigation naturally causes tempers to fray and emotions to run high. The tension is pulled tight throughout the story and there are several twists, turns and red herrings which all add a sinister edginess to the story. The Party House itself soon becomes another character in the novel. Its secluded position, deep in the woods, with the beautiful emerald lochan close by, all add to the brooding sense of atmosphere. I enjoyed the post-pandemic setting of the novel and felt that this added to the sense of suspicion and the wariness of locals towards tourists. The murder mystery is naturally at the centre of the novel and I enjoyed fitting together all the pieces of this complicated puzzle.

The Party House is a change of direction for Lin Anderson who is perhaps best known for her very successful Rhona Macleod series of crime novels. I have really enjoyed this foray into psychological thriller territory and I do hope we see more of this genre from this talented writer.

🍺Best read with..a wee dram of good Scotch whisky

About the Author

Lin Anderson is best known as the creator of the forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod series of crime thriller novels, and for her part in founding the annual 'Bloody Scotland' crime writing festival.

Twitter @Lin_Anderson# ThePartyHouseBook



Sunday, 7 August 2022

☀ Summer Picnic with Jaffareadstoo ~ Becca Day

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to welcome you all to our Summer Picnic

Summertime is here

 I'm delighted to welcome Becca Day to our Summer Picnic 


Welcome, Becca. Which favourite foods are you bringing to our summer picnic?

I love a good chicken BLT in a crusty baguette. That’s the ultimate picnic food for me. If I had to choose something to go with it I’d want a tub of juicy watermelon.

What would you like to drink? We have white wine spritzers, locally brewed beer, traditional Pimms, sparkling elderflower cordial or a thermos of tea or coffee?

I do love a glass of Pimms in the summer, but bring that thermos of coffee too please. I’m a mum of two and need regular doses of caffeine into my bloodstream otherwise I just don’t work!

Where shall we sit, by the pool, on a beach, in the garden or in the countryside?

Ooh, let’s do the pool. The beach is nice in theory but sandy sandwiches – not so much! Is there perhaps a pool overlooking a beach?

Do we have a wicker hamper, tablecloth and cutlery, or is everything in a supermarket carrier bag?

Well, I actually pride myself on owning a real wicker picnic basket that I use all the time, so let’s use that. We can skip the cutlery and tablecloth. I’m not that fancy.

Which of your literary heroes (alive or dead) are joining us on the picnic today?

I think I’ll have to use this opportunity to pick the brains of Stephen King!

Do you have favourite place to have a summer picnic?

The pool overlooking the beach sounds like it would quickly become my favourite. But in reality there’s a little stretch of green right outside our house, and I love taking the kids and my dog there for a picnic.

Do you have a summer music playlist? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel happy?

I’m obsessed with country music, which my husband teases me endlessly about. The soundtrack to Nashville plays on a loop on my phone and always makes me happy.

Which summer read are you bringing with you today?

I’m not sure if this counts as a ‘summer read’, but I’m currently reading a proof of The Ugly Truth by Lauren North and would LOVE an hour’s peace away from the kids to finish it.

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!

I have to make time for reading, because it helps keep my inspiration flowing. The book that has sat on my TBR pile for the longest is Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I want to read it so that I can watch the series with Reese Witherspoon.

Penguin  2014

Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?

From all over the place. Sometimes it’s something that’s happened in real life that I’ve seen on the news or covered in true crime documentaries. Sometimes it’s thinking about how I wish a movie would have ended. And sometimes random ideas just enter my brain that I can’t stop thinking about.

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

It’s clichΓ©, but I do love writing in coffee shops. If it’s winter and freezing outside but nice and warm in the shop that’s even better.

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

I’m not very easily distracted when writing to a deadline, because they stress me out so much I can’t face the thought of not writing every day. When I’m not on a deadline, that’s another story!

Give us four essential items that a writer needs?

Coffee. Notebooks that are too pretty to be written in. Airplane mode to stop you doing ‘research’ while writing. A proper chair that supports correct posture.

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

My next novel, All Her Little Lies, is coming out in November 2022. It follows a woman called Alex who stumbles upon a dead body and, thinking her son is the murderer, decides to clean up the crime scene and dispose of the body to protect him.

Current Book

Welcome to Kensington Grove, the safest place to call home...

Jodie Madison can't think of a better place for a fresh start than the exclusive, gated community of The Grove. But from the moment she passes through the wrought iron gates, she starts to suspect she's made a mistake.

Despite her vow to keep apart from the other residents, Jodie can't help but feel drawn to her unnerving neighbour, Norah Williams, and terminally ill daughter, Lacey. Jodie knows she should stay away, but something draws her in.

When a murder shocks The Grove, Jodie vows to do everything in her power to save Lacey from her mother. But as more secrets emerge from Norah's shadowy past, Jodie is faced with the unthinkable - Norah's not so different to herself, and neither woman is innocent.

The past won't stay hidden forever. And The Grove will be an unforgiving witness.

More about Becca

Becca Day lives in the middle of the woods in Surrey with her husband, daughter and cocker spaniel. She studied acting at Guildford College and went on to start her own Murder Mystery theatre troup. It was this move that inspired her love of crime fiction, and when she sold the company she threw herself head first into crime writing. Her short fiction has won several prizes and The Girl Beyond The Gate is her first full-length novel. Aside from writing, she is also an avid reader and runs Reading Parties with fellow author William Shaw.

Becca, where can we follow you on social media?

I’m @authorbeccaday on all platforms. I also have a YouTube channel where I share writing tips, querying tips and general tidbits from my author journey.

Twitter - @authorbeccaday

Facebook page - @authorbeccaday

Instagram - @authorbeccaday

Website –

Becca, thank you for sharing your summer picnic with us today.

 Follow us on Twitter @jaffareadstoo #SummerPicnicwithJaffareadstoo


Friday, 5 August 2022

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ A Child of the East End by Jean Fullerton


4 August 2022

My thanks to the publisher and edpr for my copy of the book
and the invitation to the blog tour

Sorrow and joy in London's oldest suburb..
Welcome to the East End.

Life in Cockney London was tough in the post-war years. The government's broken promises had led to a chronic housing shortage, rampant crime and families living in squalor. But one thing prevailed: the unbeatable spirit of the East End, a tight-knit community who pulled through the dark times with humour and heart.

Drawing on both family history and her own memories of growing up in the 1950s and '60s, as well as her working life as a district nurse and local police officer, Jean Fullerton vividly depicts this fascinating part of London - from tin baths, to jellied eels, to tigers in a Wapping warehouse.

A Child of the East End by Jean Fullerton published on the 4th August by Corvus, in paperback original, priced £8.99

πŸ“– My review..

I have enjoyed reading Jean Fullerton's novels over the years and have always been impressed by the way she brings the East End of London to life in such an authentic way. Her remarkable ability to get right into the heart of the community springs from her own background of growing up in the places she writes about so vividly.

In A Child of the East End we meet Jean in 1954 when she lived with her family in a small workers' cottage in London's East End. Surrounded by extended family, and friends, Jean's upbringing was typical of the time, and whilst material possessions were in short supply in houses with no indoor plumbing, there was never any shortage of friendship and support amongst those who called the place home. Tight knit communities, who saw both the best, and the worst of times, encouraged a deep seated loyalty and the unique ability to make the best of what you'd got but still reach for something better.

I've really enjoyed reading this memoir which takes us from the mid-1950s, through to the late 1970s, and found it to be a fascinating journey through the social history of the post-war generation, inviting us into the East End of London during some momentous years of change. The author's warm personality come shining through as does her love for her family, the area she lived in and her genuine rapport with everyone she comes into contact with. I enjoyed the different chapters and found much to enjoy as we get to observe all aspects of the author's life, the good, the bad and even, at times, the sad and the challenging.

A Child of the East End is a beautifully written memoir with a fascinating insight into the author's life growing up in this vibrant part of East London.

🍴Best read with..a plate of jellied eels

About the Author

Jean Fullerton is a native East Londoner and authentic cockney. Born within the sound of Bow Bells, as a child she lived in a derelict one-up one-down cottage by London Docks before being rehoused as part of the post-war slum clearances

Because of her love of history, Jean hoped to become a theatrical costumier, starting out as a general dogsbody in a local clothing factory before working her way up to being a patter cutter at Jaegers. Clearly not the next Mary Quant, Jean decided take a completely different career  pathway and at twenty-three joined the Metropolitan Police Force, an 'eye-opener even for a street wise East End girl'.

After taking time off to have children, Jean trained as a Registered Nurse once her youngest went to school and spent most of her working life in the East End of London. She is also a qualified teacher and has lectured on community nursing at a London University.

The author of nineteen historical novels, including The Ration Book series, Jean now writes full time. 

Twitter @JeanFullerton_ #AChildoftheEastEnd



Thursday, 4 August 2022

πŸ“– Publication Day Review ~ The 6:20 Man by David Baldacci


4 August 2022

My thanks to the publisher and Laura Sherlock PR for my copy of this book

Every day without fail, Travis Devine puts on a cheap suit, grabs his faux-leather briefcase, and boards the 6:20 commuter train to Manhattan, where he works as an entry-level analyst at the city’s most prestigious investment firm. In the mornings, he gazes out the train window at the lavish homes of the uberwealthy, dreaming about joining their ranks. In the evenings, he listens to the fiscal news on his phone, already preparing for the next grueling day in the cutthroat realm of finance.

Then one morning Devine’s tedious routine is shattered by an anonymous email: She is dead.

Sara Ewes, Devine’s coworker and former girlfriend, has been found hanging in a storage room of his office building—presumably a suicide, prompting the NYPD to come calling on him. If that wasn’t enough, Devine receives another ominous visit, a confrontation that threatens to dredge up grim secrets from his past in the Army unless he participates in a clandestine investigation into his firm.

This treacherous role will take Travis from the impossibly glittering lives he once saw only through a train window, to the darkest corners of the country’s economic halls of power…where something rotten lurks. And apart from this high-stakes conspiracy, there’s a killer out there with their own agenda, and Devine is the bullseye.

πŸ“– My Review..

Travis Devine travels to work on the 6:20 train every morning. Deep in thought he glances out of the window to see a beautiful young woman take a skinny dip in a pool and therein starts a journey which will see Devine immersed in the high octane world of financial skullduggery. An ex-army veteran Devine knows how to look after himself and even though his self imposed exile working as a financial analyst for a prestigious finance company is mind numbingly boring, things are about to become a whole lot livelier when the body of a co-worker is found and Devine gets inadvertently drawn into an untidy NYPD investigation. 

With an exciting new protagonist, this high action thriller hits the ground running with a complex and volatile murder mystery which sees Devine pitting his considerable wits against a series of villains who seem determine to drag him into the investigation. However, leaving no situation unchallenged is something Devine does with serious aplomb and by bringing the shady dealings of Manhattan’s financial district to life there is never a moment when the story doesn’t pull you in. Occasionally, there were times when I had to suspend belief, after all this is fiction, however, the story kept my attention and I found, towards the latter part of the story, that  I turned the pages faster to see where it would all end. I wasn’t disappointed πŸ˜‰

The 6:20 Man is a clever, sophisticated and entertaining thriller, with more than enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and with a likeable lead character who I rather hope we will see more of in future novels. Whilst this is a standalone thriller, the ending certainly lends itself to this being the start of an exciting new series.

🍺Best read with.. a cold beer and slices of pizza

About the Author

David Baldacci is one of the world's best selling thriller writer. He has sold over 150 million copies worldwide and his books are published in over 45 languages. A former trial lawyer with a keen interest in world politics, he has specialist knowledge of the US political system and intelligence services, and his first book, Absolute Power, became an instant international bestseller with the movie starring Clint Eastwood a major box office hit. He has since written more than forty bestsellers featuring most recently Amos Decker, Aloysius Archer , Atlee Pine and John Puller, David is also the co-founder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across the US. David lives in his native Virginia.

 Twitter @davidbaldacci #The620Man