Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner
Blog Tour





A student has been missing for 72 hours. Her parents are bearing up.
Detective Sergeant Manon is bearing down.

Edith Hind, the beautiful, earnest Cambridge post-grad living on the outskirts of the city has left nothing behind but a streak of blood and her coat hanging up for her boyfriend, Will, to find. The news spreads fast: to her parents, prestigious doctor Sir Ian and Lady Hind, and straight on to the police.

Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw soothes her insomnia with the din of the police radio she keeps by her bed. After another bad date, it takes the crackling voices to lull her to sleep. But one night she hears something. A girl is missing. For Manon the hunt for Edith Hind might be the career-defining case she has been waiting for. For the family this is the beginning of their nightmare.   

As Manon sinks her teeth into the investigation and lines up those closest to Edith, she starts to smooth out the kinks in their stories and catch the eyes that won’t meet hers. But when disturbing facts come to light, the stakes jolt up and Manon has to manage the wave of terror that erupts from the family.

In Missing, Presumed, Steiner marries the depth of character and observation of literary fiction with the pace and suspense of a crime novel, in a stunning work that shows what it is to solve, and what it is to endure.
The hunt for Edith Hind starts here
#MissingPresumed



Extract: Chapter One


17 December 2010
Saturday


Manon

She can feel hope ebbing, like the Christmas lights on fade in Pound Saver. Manon tells herself to focus on the man sitting opposite, whose name might be Brian but could equally be
Keith, who is crossing his legs and his foot bangs her shin just where the bone is nearest the surface. She reaches down to rub it but he’s oblivious.

‘Sensitive’, his profile had said, along with an interest in military aircraft. She wonders now what on earth she was thinking when she arranged it, but then compatibility seemed no marker for anything. The last date with a town planner scored 78 per cent – she’d harboured such hopes; he even liked Thomas Hardy – yet Manon spent the evening flinching each time his spittle landed on her face, which was remarkably often.

Two years of Internet dating. It’s fair to say they haven’t flown by. He’s turned his face so the light hits the thumb prints on his glasses: petroleum purple eggs, the kind of oval spiral they dream of finding at a crime scene. He’s talking about his job with the Rivers Authority while she looks up gratefully to the waiter who is filling their wine glasses – well, her glass, because her companion isn’t drinking.

She’s endured far worse than this, of course, like the one she travelled all the way to London for. ‘Keep an open mind,’ Bri had urged. ‘You don’t know where the man of your dreams might pop up.’ He was tall and very thin and he stooped like an undertaker going up the escalator at Tate Modern – giving it his best Uriah Heep. Manon thought that escalator ride was never going to end and when she finally got to the top, she turned without a word and came straight back down, leaving him standing at the summit, staring at her. She got on the first train out of King’s Cross, back to Huntingdon, as if fleeing the scent of decomposing flesh. Every officer on the Major Incident Team knew that smell, the way it stuck to your clothes.

This one – she’s looking at him now, whatever his name is, Darren or Barry – isn’t so much morbid as effacing. He is talking about newts, she’s vaguely aware of this. Now he’s raising his eyebrows – ‘Shopping trolleys!’ – and she supposes he’s making a wry comment about how often they’re dumped in streams. She really must engage.

 ‘So, one week till Christmas,’ she says. ‘How are you spending it?’

He looks annoyed that she’s diverted him from the flow of his rivers. ‘I’ve a brother in Norwich,’ he says. ‘I go to him. He’s got kids.’ He seems momentarily disappointed and she likes him the more for it.

‘Not an easy time, Christmas. When you’re on your own, I mean.’

‘We have a pretty good time, me and Col, once we crack open the beers. We’re a right double act.’

Perhaps his name’s Terry, she thinks, sadly. Too late to ask now. ‘Shall we get the bill?’ He hasn’t even asked about her name – and most men do (‘Manon, that’s a funny name. Is it Welsh?’) – but in a sense it’s a relief, the way he just ploughs on.

The waiter brings the bill and it lies lightly curled on a white saucer with two mint imperials.

‘Shall we split it?’ says Manon, throwing a card onto the saucer. He is sucking on a mint, looking at the bill.

‘To be fair,’ he says, ‘I didn’t have any wine. Here.’ He shows her the items on the bill that were hers – carafe of red and a side salad.

‘Yes, right, OK,’ she says, while he gets out his phone and begins totting up. The windows are fogged and Manon peers at the misty halos of Huntingdon’s festive lights. It’ll be a cold walk home past the shuttered-up shops on the high street, the sad, beery air emanating from Cromwell’s, and out towards the river, its refreshing green scent and its movement a slithering in the darkness, to her flat where she has left all the lights burning.

‘Yours comes to £23.85. Mine’s only £11,’ he says. ‘D’you want to check?’

 Midnight and Manon sits with her knees up on the window seat, looking down at the snowy street lit by orange street lamps. Flakes float down on their leisurely journey, buffeting, tissue-light. The freezing draught coming in through the sash frame makes her hug her knees to her chest as she watches him – Alan? Bernard? – round the corner of her street and disappear.

When she’s sure he’s gone, she walks a circuit of the lounge, turning off the lamps. To give him credit, he was stopped short by her flat – ‘Whoa, this is where you live?’ – but his interest was short lived and he soon recommenced his monologue. Perhaps, now she comes to think of it, she slept with him to shut him up.

The walls of the lounge are Prussian blue. The shelving on which the television stands is Fifties G-Plan in walnut. Her sofa is a circular design in brown corduroy. Two olive-green velvet wing chairs sit to each side of it and beside one is a yellow domed Seventies floor lamp, which she has just switched off at the plug because the switch is bust. The d├ęcor is a homage to mid-century modern, like a film set, with every detail of a piece. The scene for a post-ironic East German comedy perhaps, or Abigail’s Party; a place absolutely bursting with taste of a charismatic kind, all of it chosen by the flat’s previous owners. Manon bought the lot – furniture, lamps, and all – together with the property itself, from a couple who were going abroad to ‘start afresh’. At least, that’s what the man had said. ‘We just want to shed, you know?’ To which Manon replied, ‘Shed away. I’ll take the lot.’ And his girlfriend looked around her, swallowing down her tears. She told Manon how she’d collected all of it, lovingly, on eBay. ‘Still, fresh start,’ she said.

 Manon makes her way to the bedroom, which at the point of sale was even more starkly dramatic: dark navy walls with white-painted floorboards and shutters; a whole bank of white wardrobes, handle-less and disappearing into themselves. You had to do a Marcel Marceau impression to discover the pressure points at which to open them.

 The previous owners had a minimalist mattress on the floor and a dishevelled white duvet. Under Manon’s tenure, however, this room has lost much of its allure: books stacked by the bed, covered with a film of dust; a cloudy glass of water; wires trailing the floor from her police radio to the plug, and among them grey fluff and human hair, coiling like DNA. Her motley collection of shoes makes opening the cupboards additionally tricky. She kicks at a discarded pair of pants on the floor, rolled about themselves like a croissant, throws off her dressing gown (100 per cent polyester, keep away from fire and flame) and retrieves, from under the bed-clothes in which he has incongruously lain, her flannelette nightie.

Up close he smelt musty. And vaguely sweet. But above all, foreign. Was this her experiment – bringing him close, out of the world of strangers? Was she trying him out? Or smelling him out, as if intimacy might transform him into something less ordinary? People who know her – well, Bryony mainly – disapprove of her emotional ‘immaturity’, but the fact is human beings are different up close. You find out more through smell and touch than any chat about newts or shopping trollies. She becomes her mammalian self, using her senses to choose a mate. She’s read somewhere that smell is the most efficient way of selecting from the gene pool to ensure the best immune system in offspring. So she puts out on the first date! She’s a scientist at the mating frontline.

In her darker moments – and she can feel their approach even now – she wonders if she is simply filling an awkward gap in the conversation. Instead of a ghastly shuffling of feet and ‘well, that was nice, but we should probably leave it there’, she forces the moment to its crisis. It’s like running yourself over to avoid shaking hands.

 In the bathroom, she picks up her toothbrush and lays along it a slug of toothpaste, watching herself in the mirror as she brushes. Here is the flaw in her argument: the sex was pretty much a reflection of the night’s conversation: all newts and shopping trollies and a definite lack of tumultuous waterfalls or even babbling brooks, if you wanted to pursue the waterways analogy.

She looks at the springy coils of her hair, bobbing ringlets, brown mostly but with the odd blonde one poking out like a rogue pasta twirl – spit – unruly and energetic, as if she is some child in a playground, and discordant now – spit – that she is on the cusp of her forties. She can feel herself gliding into that invisible – gargle – phase of womanhood, alongside those pushing prams or pulling shopping wheelies. She is drawn to the wider fittings in Clarks, has begun to have knee trouble and is disturbed to find that clipping her toenails leaves her vaguely out of puff. She wonders what other indignities ageing will throw at her and how soon. A few centuries ago she’d be dead, having had eight children by the age of twenty-five. Nature doesn’t know what to do with a childless woman of thirty-nine, except throw her that fertility curve ball – aches and pains combined with extra time, like some terrifying end to a high-stakes football match.

She wipes a blob of foam off her chin with a towel. Eventually, he asked about her name (her moment in the sun!) and she told him it meant ‘bitter’ in Hebrew, and she lay back on the pillow, remembering how her mother had squeezed her secondary-school shoulders and told her how much she’d loved it; how ‘Manon’ was her folly, much as her father objected. A Marmite name, you either loved it or loathed it, and her mother loved it, she said, because it was ‘all held down’, those Ns like tent pegs in the ground.

There was silence, in which she supposed he wanted her to ask about his name, which she couldn’t really, because she wasn’t sure what it was. She could have said, ‘What about yours?’ as a means of finding out, but by that point it seemed unnecessary. She had smelt him out and found him wanting. Her mind was set on how to get him out of her flat, which she did by saying, ‘Right then, early start tomorrow,’ and holding open her bedroom door. She smoothes out the pillow and duvet where he’s been and pushes her feet down under the covers, reaching out an arm from the bed to switch on the radio, with its sticker reminding her it remains ‘Property of Cambridgeshire Police’. A cumbersome bit of kit, and no one at detective sergeant rank is supposed to have one at home, but it is not a plaything. It is the method by which she overcomes insomnia. Some rely on the shipping forecast; Manon prefers low murmurings about road traffic accidents or drunken altercations outside Level 2 Nightclub on All Saints Passage, all of which she can safely ignore because they are far too lowly for the Major Incident Team.

‘VB, VB, mobile unit to Northern Bypass, please; that’s the A141, junction with Main Street. UDAA.’

Unlawfully Driving Away an Automobile. Someone’s nicked some wheels. Off you pop, Plod. The voice begins to sound very far away as Manon’s eyelids grow heavy, the burbling of the radio merging into a pebbly blur behind her eyes. The clicks, switches, whirring, receivers picked up and put down, colleagues conferred with, buttons pressed to receive. To Manon, it is the sound of vigilance, this rapid response to hurt and misdeed. It is human kindness in action, protecting the good against the bad. She sleeps.





About the author: Susie Steiner began her writing career as a news reporter first on local papers, then on the Evening Standard, the Daily Telegraph and The Times. In 2001 she joined the Guardian, where she worked as a commissioning editor for 11 years. Her first novel, Homecoming was published by Faber in 2013. Steiner lives in London with her husband and two children.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Time to Say Goodbye
 by 
S D Robertson
Blog Tour


Today it's my turn to host this beautiful book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Have your tissues handy.........



HOW DO YOU LEAVE THE PERSON YOU LOVE THE MOST?
Will Curtis's six-year-old daughter, Ella, knows her father will never leave her. After all, he promised her so when her mother died. And he's going to do everything he can to keep his word.
What Will doesn't know is that the promise he made to his little girl might be harder to keep than he imagined. When he's faced with an impossible decision, Will finds that the most obvious choice might not be the right one.
But the future is full of unexpected surprises. And father and daughter are about to embark on an unforgettable journey together . . .



Review

When I read the first page of this book (I don’t think I will be giving any spoilers away here) and found out the main character had died, I just knew I was going to enjoy this book! Two of my favourite books ever have been where the main character is dead and comes back as a “spirit” for a time.

William (Will) is a 30 something widower bringing up his six year old daughter Ella on his own when he is tragically knocked off his bike, leaving him with fatal injuries. He realises straight away that something is wrong as he looks down at the paramedics desperately trying to revive him, to no avail.

Meanwhile Ella is waiting at school for her Dad to collect her at the end of the day and wondering why her Dad is late.

Not long after Will realises he has died he meets Lizzie, who is his spirit guide. She tells him that he has a few weeks to decide if he wants to pass over to the “other side” or stay looking out for Ella. The only thing with staying is that he would not be able to change his mind again, he would be left in limbo forever. This has happened to another spirit called Arthur who has regretted his decision not to go to Heaven with his wife.

I know this story sounds very far fetched, but I love reading about other people’s perceptions of what they think happens to us when we die. I think the author told the story very sympathetically and in great detail. The characters were very well described and I loved Will and thought Ella was a sweet, intelligent, sensitive little girl. The only character I personally had trouble believing was Will’s Dad and what evolves about his past.

Will’s parents are not only trying to come to terms with their grief over losing their son, but when Will’s Dad has a major stroke and is rushed to hospital, all sorts of family secrets unfold that will have another devastating effect on everyone!

I really loved this book right up to the last chapter when I had to read it again as I got a bit confused. I wasn’t sure at first what was happening, which was a bit of a disappointment, but on the whole I loved this book and would thoroughly recommend it and am already passing it on!



Monday, 15 February 2016

Review

The Chocolate Lovers' Wedding
by
Carole Matthews





I was very lucky to receive a hardback copy of this book as I am honoured to be a member of The Chocolate Lovers’ Club with Little Brown Books, so as soon as I finished The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas it was straight on to this beauty!

Again, it continues from where the other book left off, with the lives of Lucy, Chantal, Nadia and Autumn.

Lucy is engaged to Crush (Aiden) and is happily planning her wedding but there is something clouding her happiness and that is that she is no longer Manageress at Chocolate Heaven. Can she ever be happy in a job again, or will she get her claws back into running her beloved chocolate shop??

Chantal is busy bringing up Lana who is a lively toddler when starts to feel unwell.  Could Chantal have something serious going on??

Nadia has fallen head over heals in love with James??? He has two children of his own who get on brilliantly with Lewis. What could possibly hold her back? Well the fact that he is a farmer living in Cumbria and has no intention of moving South could be an obstacle.

Autumn is finally getting to know her daughter Willow, who she had to give up for adoption many years ago. She is a difficult, troubled teenage, but Autumn is patient and eventually they start forming the relationship that Autumn only ever dreamed off.

Another masterpiece by Carole Matthews in bringing  the lives of these four ladies of The Chocolate Lovers’ Club up to date. There were some serious issues in this book, but delivered beautifully by the author with some great laugh out loud moments in between!

I shall miss these ladies, please don’t leave it too long before we have another update Carole!!

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Sunday, 14 February 2016

Cover Reveal

for
The Girl who Walked in the Shadows
by
Marnie Riches




I am so excited to show you the cover for the third in the George McKenzie series. I loved the previous books so can't wait for this one to come out in March!




Blurb

Europe is in the grip of an extreme Arctic blast and at the mercy of a killer, who leaves no trace. His weapons of choice are razor-sharp icicles. This is Jack Frost.

Now a fully qualified criminologist, Georgina McKenzie is called upon by the Dutch police to profile this cunning and brutal murderer. Are they looking for a hit man or a frenzied serial-killer? Could there be a link to a cold missing persons’ case that George had worked with Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen – two abducted toddlers he could never quite give up on?

The hunt for Jack Frost sparks a dangerous, heart-rending journey through the toughest neighbourhoods in Europe, where refugees and Romani gypsies scratch a living on the edge of society. Walking into the dark, violent world of a trans-national trafficking ring, can George outrun death to shed light on two terrible mysteries?




Thursday, 11 February 2016

Review


The Chocolate Lovers' Christmas

by

 Carole Matthews



When I heard that Carole Matthew’s was writing a new book about the girls of the Chocolate Lovers' Club I couldn’t wait to read the next instalment in the lives of Lucy, Chantal, Nadia and Autumn. Since reading the first two books many years ago, I have often wondered what had happened to them and what is so brilliant about the Chocolate Lovers' Christmas is that it picks up exactly where the last book left off!

Lucy is manageress of a very successful chocolate shop called Chocolate Heaven. It’s a place where the four ladies meet up regularly for chat, coffee and of course chocolate!

Lucy is madly in love with Crush (Aiden) who used to be her boss, but of course, old flame Marcus is never very far from the scene and always seems to turn up like a bad penny whenever anything is going well for Lucy.

Chantal is getting used to motherhood with baby Lana with her husband Ted, who whilst on a “break”, managed to father another baby called Elsie with Stacey. Chantal, being the placid, loyal, sweet person she is, tries to calm the waters and wants them all to make the best of a bad situation by becoming friends with Stacey, which is bound to backfire!

Nadia is still trying to rebuild her life after the tragic death of her husband whilst bringing up her young son Lewis. She is also hoping that a reconciliation with her sister Anita will build bridges with her Mum & Dad who cut her off when she married Toby. Things go from bad to worse when her slime ball Brother in Law, Tarak, starts up with his old tricks and tries to get Nadia to spend the night with him in a hotel! This has got to be a job for Lucy to sort out and put him straight – what could possibly go wrong……………….

Autumn is struggling to come to terms with her beloved brothers' death and is in a one sided relationship when she meets Miles and his daughter Florence one day in the park. Miles turns everything upside down and she realises that she wants more out of life than being with someone who only wants her money!

I don’t think I have read a book before where I love all the characters so much I actually think they are real! I think my favourite character has to be Lucy because everything she does, although with the greatest intent on being honourable, ends up a disaster!

Carole Matthews has done it again with this book. It’s funny as well as serious in parts and just when you think you might have to wait a few more years before you read more about the lovely ladies of the Chocolate Lovers Club, another one comes along! YIPPEE!! Just popping off to start The Chocolate Lovers Wedding………………


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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chocolate-Lovers-Christmas-Club/dp/0751552135/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1454624777&sr=1-3&keywords=carole+matthews



About Carole Matthews




Carole Matthews is the Sunday Times bestselling author of twenty-seven novels, including the Top Ten bestsellers A Cottage by the Sea, Calling Mrs Christmas, The Christmas Party and The Cake Shop in the Garden. 


In 2013, Summer Daydreams was shortlisted for the Melissa Nathan award for Fiction about Life and Love. Carole was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association Romantic Comedy RoNA in 2012 and inducted into the Reader Hall of Fame by the inaugural Festival of Romance. Her novels dazzle and delight readers all over the world. She was given an award for Outstanding Achievement by the Romantic Novelists' Association in 2015. 

She is published in more than thirty countries and her books have sold to Hollywood.

For all the latest news from Carole, visit www.carolematthews.com, follow Carole on Twitter or join the thousands of readers who have become Carole's friend on Facebook

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

FIRST BLOGAVERSARY GIVEAWAY! 
(UK ONLY)



To celebrate my first year as a blogger, I have a great giveaway for you (UK only, sorry). 

Thank you to the lovely Carole Matthews for signing a copy of The Chocolate Lovers Christmas and for offering some chocolate and candle melts (they smell absolutely gorgeous!).

Get entering this great giveaway!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

BOON'S BOOKCASE IS ONE TODAY!!


If you had said to me at the beginning of 2015 that I would be a book blogger, I would have laughed at you. I had been thinking of starting a blog for about 18 months, but just didn't have the confidence or know how on how to set one up and I was so worried that it wouldn't look professional enough, that I put it to the back of my mind.

Then one cold night in February 2015 my son Adam picked up my laptop and said "Come on Mum, let's set up your blog"!! and the rest they say is history!

I couldn't have got this far either without my lovely book buddy Julie Williams, who is a much faster reader than me and is always there when I get myself in a pickle and need help with reviews! so thank you Julie, you are a life saver! 

Also the many bloggers who have given me advice, friendship, laughs (not to mention a few drunken book launch evenings!!). There are too many to mention, but I hope you know who you are! 

I still cannot believe that I have my own blog that has had over 11,000 pageviews in it's first year, but that is what has happened to me and I cannot be more thankful.

Also thank you to all the lovely authors and publishers who have sent me books to review and sometimes lovely surprises. It makes my day to receive book post.

I have some competitions coming up soon to celebrate my first blogaversary, but in the meantime I would like to raise a glass to Boon's Bookcase first year and here's to many more!!!




Monday, 1 February 2016

Cover Reveal............


Wow, love this cover and it has already got me wanting to read it! It sounds such a different read from Kerry Fishers' last novel The Island Escape (which I loved) so fingers crossed I will get to review it!

What do you think of the cover? I think it's fab and have a feeling it's going to be a hit!

Take a read below of a taster of After the Lie.



After the Lie by Kerry Fisher

An addictive and gripping read about love, life and living a lie … 
One little lie can make one big difference … 

Lydia has the ‘right’ kind of friends, her children are at the ‘right’ kind of school and she’s married to the ‘right’ sort of man – kind, steady, reliable Mark. Her wedding business is flourishing and even though she is at loggerheads with her mother, she couldn’t ask for anything more from life. 

But the truth is that Lydia has been lucky. She has been living a lie for years and Mark has no idea who he is really married to. But nothing lasts forever and the past has a funny way of catching up with the present. When the person who knows all of Lydia’s dark little secrets turns up at the school gates, his presence threatens to blow Lydia’s life apart. 

What is Lydia’s terrible truth? Once the secret is out, you can’t put it back … 


Publication date: 29th April 2016.

Available to pre-order now.



About Kerry Fisher





Born in Peterborough, Kerry Fisher studied French and Italian at Bath University, followed by several years working as an English teacher in Corsica and Spain before topping the dizzying heights of holiday rep and grape picker in Tuscany. She eventually succumbed to 'getting a proper job' and returned to England to study Periodical Journalism at City University. After two years working in the features department at Essentials magazine in London, love carried her off to the wilds of the West Pennine moors near Bolton. She now lives in Surrey with her husband (of whisking off to Bolton fame), two teenagers and a very naughty lab/schnauzer called Poppy. Kerry can often be seen trailing across the Surrey Hills whistling and waving pieces of chicken while the dog practises her 'talk to the tail'. 

Kerry has spent half her life talking about writing a novel, then several years at Candis magazine reviewing other people's but it wasn't until she took some online courses with the UCLA (University of California) that the dream started to morph into reality, culminating in the publishing of The Class Ceiling. The Avon imprint of HarperCollins picked it up and retitled it The School Gate Survival Guide, published summer 2014. Her second book, The Island Escape, came out in May 2015. It won first prize at the York Festival of Writing for the opening line: 'I was wearing the wrong bra for sitting in a police cell'. 

Best advice ever received: 'This is fiction, we can skip the boring bits.' Lynn Hightower, UCLA Writers' Program. 

Website: www.kerryfisherauthor.com
Follow her on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/kerryfswayne
Like her page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/kerryfisherauthor