Thursday, 18 January 2018

The Bat by Jo Nesbo


Harry Hole is sent to Sydney to investigate the murder of Inger Holter, a young Norwegian girl, who was working in a bar. Initially sidelined as an outsider, Harry becomes central to the Australian police investigation when they start to notice a number of unsolved rape and murder cases around the country. The victims were usually young blondes. Inger had a number of admirers, each with his own share of secrets, but there is no obvious suspect, and the pattern of the other crimes seems impossible to crack. Then a circus performer is brutally murdered followed by yet another young woman. Harry is in a race against time to stop highly intelligent killer, who is bent on total destruction.

This is the first Harry Hole novel in the series and seeing as The Snowman was to be released in the cinema in October, I decided to start right from the start of the series to get acquainted with Harry Hole. The blurb sounded great and I was really excited that I picked it up in my local library but unfortunately I couldn't and didn't get on with it, I just felt it was too long winded and dragged out and boring in parts.  The only thing that I got from the book was a background to Harry Hole's character. I guess I just expected more from this seeing as EVERYONE raves about Jo Nesbo but I will definitely read the next installment in the series and I really hope that it will be better than The Bat as it saddened me that I have to say this about the book.  Just because I didn't get on with it doesn't mean that someone else won't so give it a go and see.

The Bat is available from all good bookstores, libraries & is available on Kindle which is currently £3.99 at the time of publication of this review.

Monday, 15 January 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ That Girl by Kate Kerrigan


Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for That Girl by Kate Kerrigan where I welcome Kate to my blog once again where she has kindly taken part in a Q&A session. I was thrilled to be asked by Melanie Price from Head of Zeus to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the extract so without further ado, here is the Q&A:



When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I was always searching out creativity from when I was a small child. In this order  I wanted to be a ballet dancer, musician, actress and artist – but failed at them all. Like all teenagers I wrote bad poetry (although I think my teenage son writes beautiful poetry!) then in my late teens I began writing stories simply to amuse myself. Having flunked out of school at fifteen – I never thought writing was a possible profession. But I got a break on a teenage magazine at the age of 19 and have been earning my living now as a  professional writer for over 30 years.  It's my lif and I can't imagine doing anything else.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I used to simply write when I felt like it – which was random and most of the time. Since I started my family, 16 years ago, I now try to write to office hours. 9-5 my working day as much as possible. Not all of that time is taken up with pure writing, but I try to keep those hours free for work if I can.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
The thing that people find most unusual is the fact that I write at my best in an accountant's office. No distractions. Nothing happening of any interest around me. I have a beautiful office at home with a view of the sea, and I use that for my admin day-to-day work. But when it comes to being creative I find a beautiful view distracting. Grey carpets and blank wall gives me inspiration.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Writing is life and life is writing. Everything around me all the time. Everything people say. Newspapers. Family. History. When you're a writer everything in life goes through that filter and comes back in your work at one or another. The writer is alert to life 24/7.

How do you develop your plots and characters?
Meticulously with charts and notebooks. I spend as much time developing a book as I do writing it. Sometimes more. I know I can write – I've been doing it for a long time. The difficult thing is coming up with a great story and sustaining it for 300 pages.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Honestly? What did we do in the days before social media! Facebook means I hear from my readers every day. They always say they love me. Of course. If readers hate my books – they are kind enough to stay silent! Recipes for a Perfect Marriage seems to have been my most affecting book . Many readers have told me it changes their attitude to love.  It changed my attitude to love while I was writing it so – mission accomplished!



Friday, 29 December 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana


Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana where I welcome Jenny to my blog where she has kindly provided a very interesting extract. I was thrilled to be asked by Annabelle Wright from ED Public Relations to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the extract so without further ado, here it is:

The train halted a hundred yards from the station. A voice announced a short delay. People around me were muttering, craning their necks at the window, wondering how long we’d be stuck there. Closing my eyes, I breathed deeply, distracting myself, flexing my fingers and blowing on my palms. They were sore and I realised I’d been balling my fists all the way from Paddington and the nails had made indentations in my skin.
Outside were familiar landmarks: Victorian houses with chaotic extensions; a narrow piece of wasteland that swept alongside. Boys had played chicken there once; vandals had set fire to the banks. Now the line was fenced off. Plastic bags clung to hedges and empty bottles littered the grass. It was autumn, yet there were none of the signs: no trees, no copper leaves, no pale golds. The place was stark. Depressing and still.
A few days before I’d been in Athens, drinking coffee in the October sun. My mobile had rung, a voice had spoken and I’d recognised Rita – my mother’s best friend. It was the way she’d said my name, Anna Flores; the way she’d rolled the ‘r’; the way she’d lowered her voice and explained how my mother had died. A stroke. When could I come home?
Rita had discussed the funeral, asking for my opinion: egg and cress versus salmon and cucumber; ‘Lord of All Hopefulness’ or ‘Abide With Me’. Her talk had jarred with the smell of souvlaki drifting from a restaurant and the sound of a lone voice singing in a bar. Afterwards I’d sat for ages weeping and feeling as if the music was the most sorrowful in the world.
The train lurched, crawling forwards. Passengers shifted with mumbles of relief. I pulled on my denim jacket, fiddled with my bag, checked that everything was where it should be: purse, phone, lipstick, bottle of Givenchy, photo of my mother. Photo of Gabriella. A man in a raincoat reached for his suitcase. I followed his lead and retrieved mine.
A few people got off with me. I watched them rushing up the steps and across the bridge, scrabbling with their tickets and their bags. Dropping my case, I pulled out the handle and paused to look around me. Nothing much had changed. The empty waiting room. The broken bench. The CCTV. How long had those cameras been there? Too late to spot Gabriella leaving, or to confirm the difference between sightings and lies.
Three years. That was how long it had been. A pitstop visit before I’d left for Greece, although I’d seen my mother since, when she’d made the journey to London, the day before I’d actually flown. Now, when I thought of that last meeting, in a cafe in Harrods, with my mother picking at her scone, my stomach wrenched with guilt. Three years. Only phone calls in between. Why had I assumed she’d go on forever? I should have known better than anyone how abruptly things changed.





The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana is out now, published by Mantle in hardback and priced at £14.99.  

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ Know Me Now by CJ Carver ~ Q&A


Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for CJ Carver Blog Tour where I welcome CJ to my blog where she has kindly taken part in a Q&A session with me. I was thrilled to be asked by Emily Burns from Bonnier Zaffre Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the guest post so without further ado, here is the Q&A:


When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

When I was ten, on holiday in Scotland, I announced to my parents that I was going upstairs to write a book.  Neither looked up from their Agatha Christies, but I remember my father saying, ‘That sounds like a good idea.’  I started my “book” but after the first page realised I didn’t have much of a story and how difficult it was going to be!  I gave up.  When I toddled downstairs after about an hour, Mum and Dad never mentioned it, which meant I didn’t have to get defensive over it! 

I eventually fell into writing, but only because I followed my dream: to drive from London to Saigon.  On my return from the 14,500-mile journey, I was asked to write an article for Car Magazine, so I trotted to my local Waterstones and bought a book How to Write and Sell Travel Articles.  It was probably the worst article I ever wrote, but it got published and, amazingly, I got paid.  I’d enjoyed writing it so much I approached other outlets with my story and ended up becoming a travel writer which eventually led me to writing my first novel.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I find I settle into a routine that works pretty well for me, which doesn’t exhaust me and allows for some creative space.  My morning walk is the most important time, when I find ideas really start to flow (I always take a notebook with me).  Back home, I clear my desk of admin (or I start thinking about tedious things like paying bills instead of writing) and get stuck in.  I write for 5-6 hours and by then evening’s drawing in and I’m pretty tired.  I always finish mid-sentence, or in the middle of a scene, so I can get back into it quickly the next day.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I have a quirk, but I don’t think it’s particularly interesting!  After I’ve re-read and had a swift editor of what I’ve written the day before, I am about to start writing … just about to start that first sentence of the day … and I have to go and make a cup of tea. I have no idea why I do this!  (Maybe it’s a creative pause?  Or am I just thirsty?!)

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I glean things from newspapers, real-life adventure stories, and also use things from my own experience.  For example, I found myself on the horns of a dilemma one day when a friend of mine turned up on my doorstep wanting to hide from the police.  It turned out they were an addict – which I’d had no idea about – and had broken into an office to steal money.

My friend was a mess.  I brought them in, made them a cuppa, and talked.  Boy, did we talk.  I was fortunate that I didn’t have to call the police because my friend turned themselves in. But if they hadn’t… what would I have done?  How would I have felt if I’d called the police, or if I’d continued to harbour a criminal?

These questions inspired the friendships in Know Me Now, where I explore the dynamics of long-life friendship especially how loyal people can be and what they might do when the chips are down.

How do you develop your plots and characters?

It’s a bit like cooking without a recipe.  I start with the main ingredient, say someone is arrested, or there’s a murder, then I start to add the other ingredients like how they were arrested (did they run and were captured?) or how they were murdered (was it particularly brutal?).  I like to know who the main villain is at the outset, so I know their motivations and how far they’ll go to protect themselves.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

The best mail I got was from a lady in Bristol who asked if I minded her calling her new-born daughter after my character, news reporter, India Kane.  She said if her baby girl grew up with half of India’s attributes, she’d be a happy mum.  Amazingly, twelve years later I met her daughter -  the real India! – and she wants to be a reporter!



Saturday, 4 November 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ December Girl by Nicola Cassidy


Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for December Girl by Nicola Cassidy where I have a review of Nicola's debut novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Nicola Cassidy & Sarah Hardy from Bombshell Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the extract so without further ado, here is my review:


Molly Thomas is a feisty, independent soul, born on the Winter Solstice.  At every stage of her life she has faced troubles.  As a young woman her family are evicted from their home at Christmas. Molly swears vengeance on the jealous neighbour and land agent responsible, Flann Montgomery.  Then in 1896 her baby son is taken from his pram.  Molly searches the streets for Oliver.  The police are called but her baby is gone.  Why does trouble seem to follow Molly?  And will she ever find out what happened to her child?


Well, what can I say about December Girl only that I didn't like it, I absolutely LOVED it.  It was brilliant and I cannot believe that this is Nicola's debut novel, it was written so well and with such emotion. December Girl is a tale of family bonds, love, revenge and murder. It is a historical fiction novel set in Ireland in the 19th Century, mainly in Drogheda where I live so I had a good feel for the locations here that were used in the novel and part of it is also in London.  There are multiple back stories intertwined throughout December Girl which works so well and it all comes together to make this novel just perfect.  For me it was such an emotionally charged read as so much happens to Molly from almost the start of the novel and then when you think that everything's going to be ok, something else is thrown into the mix and you're plunged back to thinking, is she ever going to catch a break!? I don't want to say anymore about this as I don't want to give too much away other than go and pick up a copy of December Girl in your local bookshop or on Kindle and snuggle up on the couch with this and definitely some chocolate (as you're going to need it). I HIGHLY recommend December Girl and I'd even go as far as to say it'd definitely be in my top reads of 2017. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Nicola's next novel will have in store but no pressure at all.

December Girl is available in all good bookstores and is currently £1.99 on Kindle at the time of publication of this review so go and get it, you won't regret it.




Wednesday, 25 October 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ Shadows by Paul Finch



Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Shadows by Paul Finch where I welcome Paul to my blog where he has kindly provided a very interesting extract. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the extract so without further ado, here it is:

‘Who are you?’ Lazenby asked, instinctively closing his laptop to protect the information it contained.

‘Me? Oh, I’m no one important enough to have a cool nickname.’

‘You a cop?’

The man smiled to himself. ‘I’m guessing they call you Ordinary Joe because you look and act like an everyday Charlie. Perhaps we should call you that, instead: “Everyday Charlie”.’

‘I could ring my solicitor right now,’ Lazenby said, talking tough, though in truth his hair was prickling because he didn’t know if he could; he had no clue how much the law might have on him. ‘This is harassment.’

‘Be my guest,’ the guy said. ‘Ring him.’

‘I’ll see you around, officer.’ Lazenby did his best to look relaxed as he lifted his briefcase, slid his laptop into it, and clicked it closed. ‘Come back when you’ve actually got something.’

He stood up.

‘You know harassment’s hard to prove,’ the man said. ‘I should know . . . me and my associates have made that call a few times. Never got anywhere with it.’

Lazenby was about to leave the table, when these words sank in. 

He turned back, regarding the newcomer with careful deliberation, before sitting down again.
‘You’re the Crew, aren’t you?’ he ventured.

The man looked nonplussed as he sipped more gin. ‘The Crew? Never heard of them.’

One second ago, Lazenby had been stiff and numb; his spine had gone cold – internally he’d been reeling with shock that the law had so unexpectedly caught up with him. He’d tried to brazen it out, praying that whoever this interloper was he was merely on a fishing trip. Now he felt only relief, though there was no guarantee he was on safe ground yet.

‘Look . . .’ he said warily, ‘we don’t need to have a problem here. I’m more than willing to do a deal.’




Saturday, 23 September 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan where I welcome Phoebe to my blog where she has kindly provided a very interesting blog piece on 'How working in publishing changed your perception/motivated you to write'.  I was thrilled to be asked by Helena Sheffield from Harper Collins Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the extract so without further ado, here it is:

I did write before getting into publishing, but since being in the industry I do have quite a new perspective on it all. As a fiction editor, part of my job is to work out which books will sell and which won’t, and I spend the majority of my time reading and analysing manuscripts with the aim of making them stronger, tighter and ultimately more readable. As an editor, I put myself in the role of the reader, but when writing my own books this is harder. It’s so important to try to imagine how someone else, someone totally unconnected to you, would feel when reading your book for the first time. Would they want to read more than a page? Would they be confused by your characters? Would they be satisfied by the ending? 

I really believe that we all need that outside perspective on our work, because when you’ve worked on something for so long, you do lose sight of it and it’s impossible to see it with fresh eyes. I’m very lucky to have had excellent editorial feedback from the team at HQ on my book, and the points they made were all things I agreed with but which I just hadn’t seen because I’d been staring at the page for so long. So it’s always worth having someone else read your work, whether that’s a professional editor, an agent or just a trusted friend who will give it to you straight.

Working in publishing has also given me a good insight into the amount of competition which is out there. There are many, many brilliant books in the world but I don’t think it ought to be a competition – there’s room for everyone, and what one reader might like, another might hate. Some of the books I’ve published have received rave reviews, but amongst those reviews there’s nearly always the one-star brigade, and that’s fine – no book can please everyone, because writing and reading are ultimately subjective things. However, being aware of the competition is a good thing because it’s motivating; I see other books with stand-out hooks and feel excited to read them. I look at the covers of other novels and wonder how mine sits against those, and I read as much as I can to try to understand what makes some books work and others not. 

In a publishing house, I also get to see the inside process of how books are made, which I now take into account when writing. I hear sales people explain how important the cover is, and digital experts emphasise the key factors of pricing and promotion. I understand how publicity and marketing work, and above all I appreciate how much hard work goes in to bringing a novel to the market. It’s so much more than just the author, and that is something I try to think of when I’m struggling with a plot point. We all work hard at our jobs, and if this is going to be mine too, I need to have another coffee and keep going as anyone else in publishing would.