Tuesday 26 April 2016

BLOG TOUR ~ Eden Gardens by Louise Brown

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Eden Gardens by Louise Brown. I am thrilled be taking part in this wonderful Blog Tour and delighted to welcome author Louise Brown to my blog and a BIG thanks to Ella Bowman from Headline Books for allowing me this opportunity to take part with some other fab book bloggers too. Yesterday Cara from @TheTatooedBook kicked off the Blog Tour with a feature on her blog about the setting of Louise's novel which you can read here.

I've got a feature from author Louise Brown about Family Ties: Writing Mothers & Daughters which you can read below and also find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end, so without further ado here it is.....

Family Ties: Writing Mothers & Daughters

For several years, I studied the traditional courtesans of Lahore in Pakistan, and stayed in the brothel quarter with them. The sex trade there is partly family-based. The profession is passed from mother to daughter, forming a generational cycle. Young girls are trained to become entertainers and sex workers by their mothers and aunts, and although they are not given formal lessons, they are conditioned to the trade by watching their mothers. A few resist the profession, but most accept it, unquestioningly, because there is no alternative.

Watching this generational transfer of skills and beliefs, made me think about what I learned from my own mother, and what I was bequeathing to my two daughters, perhaps unwittingly. In Eden Gardens, Maisy understands Mam’s world and her ideas, but she constantly struggles against them. She is desperate not to become her mother.

Do I share any traits with Mam? Not many, I hope, other than that we both want the best for our daughters, even though we have very different ideas about what is ‘best.’ And, although I hate to admit it, I am, like Mam, partial to a gimlet or two.

Friday 22 April 2016

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Set in the Cornish town of Tatling, meet Rose Walker, a very talented artist who until recently was known for her infectious positivity, had a zest for life and devoted to childhood sweetheart Lucas until two years ago her husband Lucas was cruelly taken away from her in a split second.  Now, Rose is known for the woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four.

Rose knows that life must carry on but at times feels that she can't do things or go to certain places or rooms within her home as it'll bring back too many painful memories but takes things one day at a time. This is until one day a newcomer, Robert, arrives in Tatling for the summer but just who exactly is he and what does he want???

I really LOVED this book, it was an emotional rollercoaster at times.  A very bittersweet and heart-warming read, the story flows really well throughout the book. I really enjoyed Victoria's debut book which I read in a couple of days, it kept me turning the pages until the very end. This story had it all a little bit of humor, love, family, friendship, protectiveness to more sensitive and hard-hitting issues - I found I had a little tear in my eye at the end along with shedding a few along the way, so grab this book, curl up on the couch with a box of chocolates and prepare to have a few lump in your throat moments too. It definitely didn't disappoint.

The Second Love of My Life is available on Kindle and in all good bookstores and is currently £2.99 on Kindle at the time of publication of this review.

Wednesday 20 April 2016

BLOG TOUR ~ Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald Q&A

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald & Siobhan was very kind to take part in a Q&A for me as part of the Blog Tour. I was thrilled to be asked by Hayley Steed 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 below.

What inspired you to write your first book?

The plot for Twisted River hinges on the story a house swap. The idea became a talking point when planning a family holiday to New York a number of years ago as a way of having an interesting alternative to a regular package holiday. But the more I thought about it, the more the suggestion was riddled with potential hazards.

It seemed a leap of faith that could so easily unravel into more than a house swap. Entering a space that someone else inhabits, into someone else’s world and they to yours seemed fraught with all kinds of risk. A house swap could mean stepping into far more than the bricks and mortar that bounded someone else’s home.

The notion of people you have never met in real life wandering casually around your home is quite peculiar. The house-swap challenges comfort zones and notions of privacy. In an age where social media smudges the edge of personal space, for most people their home still remains their castle - somewhere where they can pull up the drawbridge at the end of the day.

Despite assurances and safeguards from websites, when arrangements such as house-swaps are conducted on the web, what guarantees do we really have that people are who they say they are, or indeed that they are the owners or occupants of a property in question?

Twisted River was also inspired in part by the sentiment once expressed by Robert Louis Stevenson “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive”.

What books have most influenced your life?

Like so many others that write thrillers and mysteries, I too salute Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’ as one of the best books that I have ever read. That it has stayed with me so many years after reading is testament to the enduring quality of the novel. It’s dark, it’s menacing, the characters intriguing, the setting almost three-dimensional. Manderley burrowed its way into my head a long time ago and has stayed there ever since.

Other books that also remain with me are William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’, Barbara Kingsolver’s ‘The Poisonwood Bible’, and Henri Charrière’s ‘Papillon’.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

Creating an opening tantalizing enough to whet a reader’s appetite. Knowing how much to reveal and when to reveal it to maintain interest and suspense.  As much of the book is set in New York I wanted the descriptions of the geography and the landscape to be accurate. I drew on my personal experience of my holiday there and verified it by consulting maps.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Sorting out the timelines was a challenge as each family’s experience needs to dovetail on a timeline with the other. There was also the challenge of time zones as one drama unfolds in GMT and the other in Eastern Standard Time.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

As a writer you could probably edit forever but at some point you have to let go. Perhaps there are some turns of phrase that I would change. Each time you do a read-through you can think of better ways to express things. But as for the story itself - no. I’m happy with that. Early murmurings suggest that readers are engaging with it too and as a writer that’s so encouraging to hear.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 

I recently read Peter Swanson’s ‘The Kind worth Killing” which is thriller about deceit and revenge. I thoroughly enjoyed the read as it was particularly well-plotted.

I'd like to thank Siobhan MacDonald for taking part in my Q&A session on my blog today for the Twisted River Blog Tour and you can read the blurb below for Twisted River which is now available on Kindle for 99p.

Blurb from Goodreads

“She would never have fit as neatly into the trunk of his own car.” Limerick, Ireland: the O’Brien family’s driveway. American Oscar Harvey opens the trunk of his hosts’ car and finds the body of a woman, beaten and bloody. But let’s start at the beginning. 

Kate and Mannix O’Brien live by Curragower Falls in Limerick, in a lovely house they can barely afford. Their son Fergus is bullied at school, and their daughter Izzy blames herself, wishing she could protect him. Kate decides that her family needs a vacation, and is convinced her luck’s about to change when she spots a gorgeous Manhattan apartment on a home-exchange website.

Hazel and Oscar Harvey and their two children live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Though they seem successful and happy, Hazel has mysterious bruises, and Oscar is hiding things about his dental practice. They, too, need a change of pace. Hazel has always wanted her children to see her native Limerick, and the house swap offers a perfect chance to soothe two troubled marriages. But this will be anything but a perfect vacation. And the body in the trunk is just the beginning.

Twisted River by Siobhán MacDonald is published on 18th April by Canelo, price £1.99 in eBook.

Monday 18 April 2016

The Missing by C.L. Taylor

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Missing by C.L. Taylor. I was thrilled to be asked by Helena Sheffield 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 my review.

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them. Or do you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire Wilkinson, blames herself but she's not the only one.  There isn't a single member of Billy's family that doesn't feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from each another and after an appeal for information six months later goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface. But Claire is sure of two things, she believes that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.  A mother's instinct can never wrong or can it???

I didn't just like it, I LOVED it and it definitely didn't disappoint.  I would definitely recommend this book and I CAN'T recommend this book  enough. I had it read in just a few days as I couldn't put it down.  There were some great twists and turns too which I loved and I didn't know who to trust at times. It's a very face paced story and I even had to slow down reading it as I didn't want it to end.  There were parts in the book I could feel my heart thumping so it's definitely not for the fainthearted.  I actually found myself thinking about the ending upto a few days after I'd turned the last page, it wasn't what I'd expected at all, I think I was gobsmacked.

This is C.L. Taylor's third novel, her first been The Accident which I haven't read just yet  but I will definitely be picking it up really soon, her second book was the Lie which I really enjoyed too and I'm really looking forward to C.L. Taylor's next book already (no pressure).

The Accident, The Lie and The Missing are all available on Kindle and from all good bookstores.  At the time of this review been published The Accident and The Lie are only £2.99 and The Missing is only 99p on kindle so grab it while you can, you won't be disappointed so don't say I never told you so!!!

Thursday 7 April 2016

The Truth About Julia by Anna Schaffner

Thanks to Alison Davies from Corvus, Atlantic Books and Allen & Unwin, I received an ARC copy of this in exchange for an honest review..............

Meet Julia White, a beautiful and intelligent young woman but in June 2014 she blows up a busy coffee shop in central London, killing twenty-four people before turning herself in to the police. Apart from publishing a potentially sarcastic manifesto, she refuses to explain the reasons for her actions but investigative journalist Clare Hardenberg has been authorised to write a biography of the convicted mass murderer Julia and try to seek why she would carry out such an atrocity.  Was it the people she was friends with?  Was she brainwashed or corrupted??  When we meet Clare at the start of the novel she is on her way to prison herself and awaiting trial for a crime as to which the details are not revealed until the end of the novel. What has brought her to this point??

Wow, what a debut The Truth About Julia was, it was fantastic. I really enjoyed reading this, I raced through this mostly in one sitting.  It had me gripped from the first few pages right through to the end. I even had to slow down reading it as I didn't want it to end.  I really  liked the element of the mystery and only been drip fed bits of information throughout the chapters.  As I was reading this it reminded me of something similar to what has happened in Homeland or American Odyssey.  It does look at the psychological aspect too, can people really be converted or brainwashed by certain people she was friends with, was it her upbringing or was she just born bad???   I'd HIGHLY recommend this book if you're a fan of  programmes such as Homeland, American Odyssey or if you like mystery or psychological thrillers, it definitely didn't disappoint.  I am really looking forward to reading more work from Anna Shaffner.

The Truth About Anna is published on 7th April and is available in all good bookstores and is on Kindle for £3.79 at the time of publication of this review.

Friday 1 April 2016

The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows by Marnie Riches

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows by Marnie Riches. I was thrilled to be asked by Helena Sheffield 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 my review.

I've got an extract from The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows and the lovely Christine from @northernlass73 had yesterday's extract on her blog which you can read here.

Thanks to Helena Sheffield from HarperCollins UK, Avon Books and Maze , I received an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review.....

Georgina (George) MacKenzie and Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen are back for their final thriller in this fantastic  trilogy.  This book opens 2 years on from The Girl Who Broke The Rules and where we encountered a maniac sociopath who was known as The Butcher.

Europe is in the grip of an extreme Arctic blast and George is now a fully qualified criminologist and is called upon by the Dutch police to profile this cunning and brutal murderer. As the body count rises are they looking for a hit man or a frenzied serial-killer??  This is a killer who leaves no trace where his choice of weapons are razor-sharp icicles. He goes by the name of Jack Frost. And could there also be a link to a cold missing persons’ case that George had worked on previously with Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen which involved two abducted toddlers that he could never quite give up on?

WOW, WOW, WOW!!!  What a novel The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows was, I didn't think Marnie Riches could top her success with her previous two novels of The Girl Who Wouldn't Die & The Girl Who Broke The Rules but once again how wrong was I? It was absolutely fantastic.  I even had to slow down reading it as I didn't want it to end. The story does cover alot of subjects and situations which we're all too familiar with on a daily basis, from child abductions, human trafficking, violence to paedophilia, whether it's on the news or in the papers, this story was near enough to real life.  It is a pretty gritty book and there were parts I did squirm through so it's definitely not for the fainthearted. I didn't just like it, I LOVED it and it definitely didn't disappoint. I had my suspicions and thought that I'd worked out who the killer and kidnapper was but was completely wrong when it was revealed.  This was a spine-chilling, pulse pounding and in parts a heart-thumping rollercoaster ride.  I know that this book will stick in my memory longer than most because of the subject matter that was involved. I really loved the whole series and I'm REALLY hoping that this is not the very last time we've heard from George MacKenzie and  Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen......

I've said this in my previous reviews that Marnie Riches is definitely an author to watch and I definitely mean it. It's hard to believe that Marnie has written this trilogy of novels in less than a year which is an amazing achievement and I'm been honest here by saying that this book will definitely be in my Top 10 Reads of 2016.

I'd HIGHLY recommend ALL three of these novels especially if you're a fan of Jo Nesbo and Steig Larsson. The Girl Who Wouldn't Die is only £2.99 & The Girl Who Broke The Rules is £1.49 respectively on Kindle at the moment so grab it while you can, you won't be disappointed so don't say I never told you so!!!

The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows is published on 31st March and is available on Kindle and in all good bookstores and is currently £0.99 at the time of publication of this review.