Monday, 24 April 2017

Dead Woman Walking
Sharon Bolton

Guest Review
Julie Williams

I'm delighted to have a guest review for Dead Woman Walking for you on the blog today. This sounds like a great psychological thriller by the sounds of Julie's review!


This is my first book by this author and I have to say it has satisfied my current want of good psychological thriller books. The plots are both creative and interesting from the start which held my attention throughout.

The story begins with a balloon ride over the Northumberland National Park with twelve passengers and one pilot aboard, but what should be a tranquil leisure trip turns into carnage as they witness a man murder a young woman on the ground. 

When the balloon crashes with only one survivor she is forced to run as she has looked the murderer in the eye and knows that her life is in grave danger. 

The hunt is on…..

This chilling tale has a mixture of characters including a traveller family, nuns and bent police and with short chapters, that I really like, brings the whole book together. Of course there are some interesting twists that I did not see coming.

Many thanks to Alison Barrow from Transworld books for the ARC and to Julie Boon for posting this review on her fabulous blog.

Monday, 17 April 2017

The Girl Below Stairs
Jennie Felton

This is the 3rd in The Fairley Terrace saga and what a corker it is! There is just as much suspense and family secrets in this one as in the others, so I couldn't wait to get started!

Edie Cooper is working as a maid for the powerful Fairley family and is asked to become a Lady's Maid to Lady Elizabeth's adopted daughter Christina. Although Edie is overjoyed and very proud to be asked to take on this very responsible role, she knows she has her work cut out with looking after the very immature and wayward Christina. 

When Christina starts asking Edie to help her find out what happened on the night of her birth, Christmas Eve, when she was found supposedly, by Edie's mother on the steps of the Vicarage, Edie starts unravelling some secrets that she wishes she hadn't. Could her own mother be more involved in what happened on that Christmas Eve than she is letting on?

Meanwhile Edie has dreams of growing old with her neighbour Charlie, but he seems to have other plans. He wants to head off to the bright lights of London to make his fortune, but has no intentions of taking Edie with him. 

What I love about this book, as with the others in the series, is the twists and turns involving the characters and the author has brilliantly intertwined them to keep you guessing as to who could be Christina's real mother as well as the other characters who are living at the great house. They are certainly not as innocent as they seem!

Thank you Jennie Felton for yet another great part to this series. I really am enjoying reading about the different families and what happened to them after the mining disaster that ripped the heart out of Fairley Terrace. 

Friday, 14 April 2017

The Traveller's Daughter
Michelle Vernal

I'm delighted to be a part of the blog tour for The Traveller's Daughter by Michelle Vernal. I love the cover of this book and can't wait to read it. I have a great guest piece from the author below.

Guest Piece from Michelle Vernal

My literary agent, (I love saying that it makes me feel like a proper writer) Vicki Marsdon was asked a question recently by an Australian publisher. What, given The Traveller’s Daughter’s theme and that several of my other books are set there my connection with Ireland was. A fair enough question as I live on the opposite side of the world in a small town near the Alps in New Zealand’s South Island. Erm, my parents are from Liverpool if that counts? Actually, there is no familial connection unless you go back generations. I didn’t think asking her to pass on that I was a U2 fan from way back was what they were looking for either. Oh, and by way back I’m talking riding around suburban Auckland on my Raleigh 20 bike blasting U2’s Pride (in the name of love) on my transistor radio. Nope, not the stuff of a writerly profile.
Instead, I told her that I turned twenty-one in Dublin and that I unknowingly stayed with travellers while I was there. It was in Dublin that I stood out in the snow for the first time while watching swans glide down the Liffey. A love of history flared and ignited on O’Connell Street as staring at the bullet holes in the Grand Post Office’s facade the Easter Rising was brought to life. I went back to Ireland again eight years later. The Celtic Tiger was roaring in 2000 when my now hubby and I embarked on our working holiday. It was in Bad Bob’s Bar on his thirtieth birthday that he got down on bended knee – I thought he’d injured himself due to one too many pints, but he was in fact proposing. I said yes of course, and bought my wedding dress with its bodice overlaid in Irish lace second hand from a work colleague carting it home in my backpack, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The first time I visited Ireland was in the early 90’s, and the vibe was very different to what it would be in the millennium boom yet to come. The air that time of year was smoggy and smoky, and there was a pervasive feeling of tough times. I’d been living and working in the UK on my first big overseas adventure and arrived in Dublin’s fair city about to turn twenty-one. I was also sporting a bountiful head of hair which wasn’t helped by the inclement December weather. I blame fellow Kiwi, supermodel Rachel Hunter and the spiral perm for the hair situation. How was I to know her curls were natural? So it was I paid a fortune for the ‘Rachel’ spiral only to wind up with a ‘Cornwall Long Wool’ sheep. Anyway there we were in Dublin, me and my hair, along with a boyfriend who wasn’t a keeper – and not just because of his pride and joy - a Mr Bean Mini with a dodgy starter motor.
Mr Not a Keeper had a group of friends he called the Irish, they’d crossed the sea and found work near his home on the outskirts of London a few years back, and we were going to stay with them. Everywhere we pootled to in that Mini we were greeted with warmth and welcomed and usually wound up staying overnight due to the dodgy starter motor. One night was spent in a caravan in the Wicklow Mountains with a friend of his who lived alongside a cluster of other static caravans all up on blocks. I didn’t realise it at the time, but they were travellers. I do remember feeling a sense of wildness in that lifestyle and the countryside around those caravans, though. I can also recall seeing ponies grazing on the strip of grass outside an urban housing estate in Dublin - unruly kids playing alongside them. They too would have been part of the travelling community housed under brick and tiles thanks to government incentives.
There was something special about that time; it caught my imagination and held it. It wasn’t because of the great weather nor was it down to Mr Not a Keeper and his Mini. It wasn’t even because of the massive crush I had on that Irish guy who sung with The Hot House Flowers. Oh and for the record it was never Bono, I always fancied the drummer. Anyway, maybe it was a combination of my age and the romantic in me. Whatever it was, I lodged and filed those experiences away bringing them back out again when I was writing The Traveller’s Daughter many years later. In Kitty’s and Rosa’s story I
hope I’ve managed to bring a little bit of the magic, I felt in the air back then to the pages of the book.

Words by Michelle Vernal

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The People at No. 9
Felicity Everett
Blog Tour

I'm delighted to be a part of the Blog Tour for The People at No. 9 by Felicity Everett. I have a Q&A with the lovely Felicity Everett for you. Enjoy....


Hi. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing.

Firstly, please could you tell readers a little about yourself?

Hi Julie, thanks for inviting me to your blog. I am a middle-aged, married Mum of four, the youngest of whom has just flown the nest. I studied English Literature at Sussex University where I met my husband Adam. Work took us to London, where we lived for twenty-five years, and raised our family in a street not unlike the one I describe in my new novel The People at Number 9. I worked for a children’s publisher for ten years, writing and editing around twenty works of fiction and non-fiction and then, as family life got more demanding, I went freelance and published another four children’s books before collapsing in a heap! After a couple of years out, finding myself effectively unemployable, I decided I had nothing to lose and might as well have a crack at writing adult fiction, as I had always wanted to give it a go. I enrolled in a creative writing course at Goldsmith’s University, and after producing the inevitable bottom-drawer prototype, I published my first novel The Story of Us in 2011. By the time it came out, Adam’s work had taken us to Melbourne, where I spent four wonderful years. I had plenty of time at my disposal, and put it to good use, writing The People at Number and work-shopping it with the Melbourne writer’s group I had joined. We came back to the Uk three years ago, moving to a cottage in the Gloucestershire countryside, which is idyllic and a little bit spooky.

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

I can remember saying I wanted to be a writer when I was at primary school, but I never really thought it was an option. Even when I was writing children’s books, I didn’t think of myself as a writer, with a capital W, just someone who worked in publishing. So it wasn’t until I published my first adult novel, that I really admitted to myself that a writer was what I had become. I still have trouble saying it when I meet people. I want to pinch myself.

What did you do as a job before becoming a writer?

I have only ever worked in publishing, so I suppose you could say I was a writer from the get-go, although writing advertising copy promoting medical textbooks such as ‘Surgery of the Anus Rectum and Colon’ is hardly the stuff that dreams are made of! After that I worked for Usborne publishing, writing children’s books, which was great fun in its own right as well as a useful apprenticeship for writing my novels. Some of the best jobs I’ve had were as a teenager and student – I worked as a theatre usherette, and got to see lots of plays for free, which was a great foundation for writing. I also did a brief stint working as a ground hostess at Manchester Airport, where I honed my diction on the public address system!

How do you carry out the research for your novels?

I don’t tend to do much research as I write well within the realms of my own experience and imagination. If I do need to check something, Wikipedia will usually suffice. My secret writing short-cut is to use Pinterest and Google Image as writing prompts when describing a scene or ‘dressing’ a minor character.

Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?

I find writing dialogue easy and I really enjoy it. I find out who my characters are by listening to them talk. I’ve always found description a bit more arduous, but I’m learning to love it and when it goes well, it gives me enormous satisfaction. Perhaps the hardest thing for me, is moving backwards and forwards in time, or having a character digress, during an internal monologue -maybe reminiscing about their child-hood, or some seminal event in their lives – before moving back to the here and now. Judging the length and tone of that kind of digression can be really tricky. The very best example of this I’ve ever read, if anyone is keen enough to look it up, is in a short story by Tobias Woolf called ‘Bullet in the Brain’ in which the writer pauses, in the millisecond that a bullet enters the brain of his protagonist, to recount the formative years of this character up to the moment of his death, going on for several paragraphs, before returning to the action at the end. It’s breathtaking.

What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing in bed, when I wake up in the morning. It works better if I sneak up on it. I don’t like to consider this a routine, as the idea of routine, to me, is a pressure. It has become one, though, by default. I used to think I needed a special writing place – ideally a picturesque shack in the garden or a monastic cell. Actually, I write best with the noise of family in the background and a sense of being connected, but simultaneously disconnected from life going on around me.

When you're not writing, what do you like to read?

I like to read the kind of books I am striving to write. That is, contemporary, realist novels about the politics of family and relationships and the internal dramas of the human heart. I read the occasional thriller, but on the whole I find the most exciting twists and turns come from people’s real passions and contradictions and the good and bad choices they make. For me, character is plot. The best exponents I know of this sort of fiction at the moment include Jonathan Franzen, Colm Toibin, Anne Enright, Elizabeth Strout and Marilynne Robinson. I am also a massive fan of American short stories and highly recommend The New Yorker’s fiction podcast. I’ve discovered some wonderful writers that way.

Could you tell the readers a bit about your latest book?

My latest book The People at Number 9 is a cautionary tale about a couple-crush between to sets of very different neighbours in a London suburb. Sara and Neil are ordinary down to earth pair with two kids and perfectly happy, if humdrum existence, whose lives are turned upside down by the arrival of some new neighbours, Gavin and Lou – arty bohemian and intriguing. The foursome bond, despite their differences, and before long, Sara in particular, has become so obsessed with her new friends that she has started to reshape her life and that of her family in their image. But as their new friends make more and more demands on them, Sara and Neil will discover that every lifestyle choice comes at a cost, and sometimes its not one worth paying.

Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?

The character I would most like to be is a minor character called Carol. She is seen by my main protagonist Sara as nice, but dull, and for a lot of the book, she is scorned in favour of the much more glamorous Lou. Carol is very straight and even a bit of a snob, but she’s a good person at heart and essentially, she is pretty content with who she is. That’s why she appeals to me.

Is there anything else you would have liked to be asked?
Maybe, ‘Who is my ideal reader?’

And the answer would be a well-read and quite stroppy friend who would pay me the compliment of reading critically and being honest about the strength and weaknesses of my novel. She’d have to be tactful, mind you, or I wouldn’t ask her round again!

Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions.
Thanks for asking me.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Escape
C L Taylor
Blog Tour

I thoroughly loved this latest thriller by Cally Taylor. It had me so engrossed from the beginning as it has a fast paced storyline which is packed with tension and menace.

The central character is Jo Blackmore, mother to 2 year old Elise and wife to crime journalist Max. Jo suffers from agoraphobia and anxiety which began when she miscarried at 4 months with Henry. This sad event has made her over protective of Elise and unknowingly she is pushing her husband away. 

At first I wasn’t sure if Jo was suffering from mental health issues or just plain crazy but as the story unfolds my heart ached for Jo and I began to sympathise with her.  

There are some nasty characters’ in this novel; Paula who I am positive is crazy, as well as being a manipulative,deceitful and plain evil individual. Max is also not the normal ideal husband that we are led to believe at the start and it is his shady past that puts both Jo and Elise in danger. 

Jo’s Mum Brigid is a quiet woman who devotes her time to looking after her ill husband but she holds a family secret that plays a part in this drama and unites old friends in Ireland as the story reaches its crescendo.

Thank you Julie for a great review. I too, have read this book and agree that it is a thriller that will keep you gripped and guessing as to who is trustworthy and who isn't. What I love about Cally Taylor's books, is that she involves all the characters to the point where I just don't know who the good guys are!!

Well done Cally for yet another gripping psychological thriller. I have read all of her books now and they just seem to get better and better!

To order a copy of The Escape click here

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The Food of Love
Amanda Prowse

Guest Review
Julie Williams


The Food Of Love is the latest powerful heart breaker read from the talented Amanda Prowse. In this book Amanda deals with the subject of anorexia which I find is tackled with honesty and knowledge that I am sure comes from hours of research.

The Braithwaite’s are your average normal family unit consisting of Mum Freya, Dad Lockie and their two teenage girls, Charlotte and Lexi. Freya writes about food for a living and strives to nourish her family by providing them with healthy balanced meals. 

One day Freya is asked to come into school as they are concerned about Lexi and it is only then that Freya becomes aware that her daughter has lost weight but she thinks it is only a ‘blip’ that she, as her mother, will be able to fix.

This compelling story pulls no punches and has left me with the knowledge that eating disorders are illnesses that can strike ordinary families at any time. 

This novel shows how this often taboo subject affects over the whole family and not just the sufferer and the complex fragile toll it takes on all the members. 

Freya feels guilt, as her role as a mother to protect and care for her child, cannot be fulfilled in this situation. Also she is aware of abandoning Charlotte's needs as her and husband Lockie’s attention is focused on Lexi. Charlotte feels left out and forgotten at times which puts another strain on events.

 My heart really goes out to Lockie as he comes to terms with frustration and anger as he sees his precious daughter slipping away before his very eyes.

Well done Amanda you have produced yet another tear- jerker and total page turner of a book.

Friday, 31 March 2017

The Little Teashop of Lost & Found
Trisha Astley
Blog Tour

I have an extract for you today for Trisha Ashley's new book The Little Teashop of Lost and Found. I love the cover and spring like colours of this book.


Once Upon a Fairy Tale Alice Autumn 1995 I grew up knowing I was adopted, so it was never a shocking revelation, merely one of the things that defined me, like having curly copper-bright hair, distinctive dark eyebrows, a fine silvery scar above my upper lip and pale green eyes (like boiled gooseberries, according to Mum, though Dad said they were mermaid’s eyes, the colour of sea-washed green glass). As a little girl I’d sit for hours painting with Dad in his garden studio, while his deep, gentle voice wrapped me in a soft-spun fairy tale, in which my desperate young birth mother had been forced to abandon her poorly, premature little baby, hoping that someone like Mum and Dad would come along and adopt her. Or like Dad, at any rate, since eventually I came to see that Nessa (she’d insisted I call her that rather than Mummy, practically the moment I could string a sentence together) had had no maternal yearnings; she’d just been paying lip-service to his longing for a family, smug in the knowledge that she couldn’t physically carry a child even if she had wanted to. ‘A bad fairy had put a spell on baby Alice, but when the nice doctors had made her lip all better, everyone agreed she was the prettiest princess in the whole of Yorkshire,’ he’d finish his story, smiling at me over his canvas. 12 Trisha Ashley ‘And they put the wicked fairy in a metal cage and everyone threw rotten tomatoes at her,’ I’d suggest – or even worse punishments, for some old fairy-tale books given to me by my paternal grandmother, including one strangely but wonderfully illustrated by Arthur Rackham, had had a great influence on my imagination. We lived near Granny Rose in Knaresborough until moving to a village just outside Shrewsbury when I was eight, and I can still remember her reading to me the long, long poem by Edith Sitwell about Sleeping Beauty, once she’d tucked me up in bed. I’d slowly drift off on a sea of musical, beautiful words about malevolent fairies and enchantments. Other favourites of Granny’s included The Water-Babies and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – the latter a favourite of mine, too, since the heroine had the same name. I begged for her lovely old copies after she died and Dad made sure I got them, even though Nessa was hellbent on having a clearance firm empty the whole house. She was a minimalist sort of person . . . except when it came to her own clothes, jewellery and shoes. Our house was a tale of two parts, with most of the creatively chaotic clutter in Dad’s studio, which might have been stables once upon a time – until he married a wicked witch disguised as a flamboyantly beautiful ex- opera singer and she banished him there. Anyway, you can see why I have a tendency to turn everything that happens in my life into a dark-edged fairy tale – ​I can’t help it! ‘They threw stinky rotten eggs at the wicked fairy, too,’ I’d once added firmly to the familiar story. ‘Well, perhaps, but only until she said she was sorry and then they let her out,’ Dad had amended, kind-hearted as always. Over the years we embroidered the story with increasingly ridiculous flourishes at every retelling, but it had served its purpose, for I grew up knowing that I’d been abandoned in the village of Haworth in Yorkshire and adopted, and the filament-fine silvery scar was all that remained to show I’d been born with a harelip. Of course, later I realized Dad had had no way of knowing whether my birth mother was young or not and also, once I became quite obsessed 13 The Little Teashop of Lost and Found with the Brontë family and Haworth, I knew that it was extremely unlikely that she’d tiptoed up to the steps of the Parsonage in the middle of the night and laid me there, in the expectation that he and Nessa would shortly swing by and scoop me up. I mean, it was a museum by then, so it would have been closed, and also, adoption didn’t quite work like that. (I’m still surprised they let Nessa on to the register. I can only think that her opera training kicked in and she hadn’t been able to resist throwing herself into the role of eager prospective mother.) But while Nessa might make extravagant expressions of affection towards me only when her London friends were visiting (one of whom once cattily let fall the information that she hadn’t had that brilliant a voice even before the operation on her vocal cords that ended her career), I’d known real love from Granny and Dad. And I also had Lola, my best friend, and her lovely parents, who owned a nearby smallholding, growing herbs commercially. There we helped look after the hens and goats, ran wild in the fields and learned to bake in the long, cool, quarry-tiled kitchen. All my life, baking – even the scent of cinnamon and dried fruit – would have the power to transport me back immediately to those happy days and transfuse me with warmth and comfort. So it was an idyllic childhood on the whole, though once the rebellious teenage hormones kicked in I began to clash more and more with Nessa. Still, the finer details of my distant past didn’t seem to matter . . . until Dad suddenly died from a massive heart attack when I was nearly eighteen and my safe, secure world collapsed around me like a house of cards. In any ordinary family, his loss might have pulled Nessa and me together, but she was not so much grief-stricken as filled with a volcanic rage, mainly directed at me. And she became so obsessed with money that immediately after the funeral she sold the entire contents of Dad’s studio (he was quite a well-known artist) to an American collector without a word to me beforehand, locking the door so I couldn’t even go in there to find solace among the comforting, familiar smells of oil paint and turpentine. 14 Trisha Ashley That was bad enough. But then, with even more indecent haste, she moved a new man into the house – and a horrible one, at that, who was scarily over-friendly in an old-lech kind of way whenever she was out of earshot – and I came to realize that now I was just an encumbrance and she couldn’t wait for me to go off to university the following year. The pain of Dad’s loss was still raw and I couldn’t bear to see another man in his place, so I had the row to end all rows with Nessa, culminating in my saying that I hated her and I was going to go and find my real mother. ‘She has to be an improvement on you!’ I finished. ‘You’re a foundling, darling, so there’s no way you can find her,’ she snapped cuttingly. ‘And bearing in mind that she dumped you out on the moors on a freezing cold night, she’d be unlikely to welcome you with open arms, even if you did.’ Stunned into silence, I stared at her while I took in the implications of what she’d just told me. ‘She . . . didn’t leave me in Haworth village, but up on the moors, where she didn’t think I’d be found?’ I asked eventually. Nessa looked at me, the fury dying down slightly into a sort of malicious, slightly shame-faced pleasure that shook me: I knew she’d never really loved me, but until recently I’d thought her as fond of me as her self-absorbed nature would allow. ‘Your father never wanted me to tell you the truth, but I think that was a mistake. And maybe she was batty and thought someone would come across you,’ she suggested, possibly divining from my expression that she’d gone too far. ‘No, if she left me at night out on the moors, then clearly she hoped I’d die and never be found,’ I said numbly, for the spell of Dad’s fairy tale was now well and truly shattered and there was no way it could be glued together again. I felt empty, alone and lost . . . and unwanted – totally unwanted – by anyone. ‘I hate you!’ I cried with sudden violence as hot tears rushed to my eyes. ‘I wish you’d died instead of Dad – though you couldn’t have had a heart attack, because you haven’t got a heart. You’ve never loved me like Lola’s mum loves her.’ 15 The Little Teashop of Lost and Found She shrugged. ‘I expect Dolly actually wanted children, which I never did, even if I could have had them. Your father finally wore me down into agreeing to adoption and he was over the moon when we were offered a baby. But you’d only just had the surgery on your face and what with that and the carroty hair, you weren’t exactly prepossessing, darling.’ Now the floodgates of frankness were open, there seemed to be no stopping the hurtful revelations, so I added one of my own: I told her that the day before, when she was out, her creepy new lover had tried to kiss me and made suggestive remarks. ‘You lying snake in the bosom!’ she hissed furiously, clutching those generous appendages as though she’d just been bitten there by an asp. And though of course she didn’t believe me (which was why I hadn’t already told her), there was no going back after that. Dawn found me on a coach heading to Cornwall, with the loan of Lola’s birthday money in my bag, to tide me over. I took only one case with me, leaving with her for safekeeping my most precious possessions, including Granny’s books and a small portrait of me in oils, painted by Dad. Of course Lola had wanted to tell her mum what had happened, but I’d sworn her to secrecy until I’d found a job and somewhere to live. ‘I’ll stay in a bed and breakfast at first, and there are lots of hotels and cafés there where I can get some casual work until I find my feet,’ I assured her. Inspired by some of Dad’s old stories of the Newlyn artists, and our holidays in Cornwall, I had romantic ideas about joining an artists’ colony, where my aspirations to become a writer and painter could be nurtured, though later I realized this was not only unrealistic, but several decades too late. The stark reality was that my arrival, late in the evening and off-season, when many places were shut up for the winter and no one was hiring, left me without any option other than spending the first night huddled in a shelter on the seafront . . . and all too soon my over-active imagination was peopling the darkest corners with evilly muttering goblins and foully hellish Hieronymus Bosch creatures. 16 Trisha Ashley When the cold breeze blew a discarded cardboard cup across the prom I thought it was the clatter of running footsteps and even the soft, constant susurration of the sea sounded like an unkind conversation about me. I’d begun to write my own contemporary mash-ups of fairy tales, fables and folklore, spiced with an edge of horror, but when it came to the crunch, this princess was no kick-ass kind of girl able to rescue herself, but a frightened waif in urgent need of a handsome prince . . . or even a kind, ugly one. Hell, I’d have settled for a reasonably friendly frog. Tears trickled down my face and I shivered as the cold wind picked up and wound its way around my legs. Then, all at once, I heard the staccato tap of high heels and the excited yapping of a small dog. Before I could attempt to shrink even further into my dark corner, it dashed in and discovered me. A torch snapped on and I screwed up my eyes against the dazzling beam, though not before I’d glimpsed the small and unthreatening shape behind it, so that my heart rate steadied. ‘Well, what have we here, Ginny?’ said a surprised female voice with the hint of a highland lilt. ‘A wee lassie?

To order a copy of this book click here 

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Where the Wild Cherries Grow
Laura Madeleine
Blog Tour


In 1919 Emeline Vale is trying to forget her demons by taking a lethal cocktail of medication. Her family are trying to get her committed and she is trying to do everything she can to get out of their grip. Whilst on a train journey to what she can only presume is an asylum, she decides to make a run for it, with near fatal consequences.

Meanwhile in the 1969, trainee Solicitor Bill Perch is asked to find out if Emeline is still alive so that the sale of the family home can go ahead to make way for a holiday camp.

Whilst Bill is looking through documents and remnants from the past, he comes across a diary written by Emeline. Will this reveal what really happened to her all those years ago?......

I  really enjoyed the alternating chapters from 1919 to 1969. It was such a lovely, feelgood book and you couldn’t help feeling sorry for Emeline. She certainly got under Bill Perch’s skin and he just had to find out what happened to her, even if it meant crossing the channel to find out.

What a lovely read and can’t wait to read more from this author.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Sometimes I Lie
Alice Feeney

Guest Review 
Julie Williams


My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma

2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore

3. Sometimes I lie

This great debut psychological thriller by Alice Feeney had me gripped from the start, which I love. There are so many twists that I was kept completely captivated throughout.

The story begins with Amber Reynolds in hospital, in a coma, unable to move, yet she can hear what’s going on around her, how terrifying that must be! Then there are chapters of events in the week leading up to the accident and interwoven childhood diary entries. 

As a comatose Amber lies in hospital I couldn’t decide who was telling the truth, who was being deceitful and who to trust. I completed this book in little over a day as I found myself picking it up at every opportunity, I have so many questions whirling around my head that I was desperate to have answers to.

I will certainly be looking out for further books by Alice and suggest that this is a must read for fans of this genre.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Idea of You
Amanda Prowse

Happy Publication Day to Amanda Prowse with her new novel The Idea of You. I have a guest review by Julie Williams for you.


5* Release day 21/03/2017

This latest book by Amanda Prowse tackles the often unspoken subject of miscarriage with both sensitivity and realism. It is written from the heart and as usual Amanda has tugged at my heart strings. 

I read The Idea Of You very quickly as I was hooked from page one. The characters in this story are totally believable and created with compassion.

Lucy and Jonah Carpenter are delighted when Lucy discovers that she is pregnant but unfortunately it is not meant to be and she experiences a miscarriage and with more that follows Lucy just wants to know why this is happening to her and what she can do to prevent it happening again and again. With Lucy’s biological clock ticking as she is approaching 40 and with a demanding successful career, she becomes desperate to carry a baby to full term and bring home their child. 

This story is at times extremely emotional and painful to read as we discover the impact miscarriage can have on a family. Lucy’s journey to be a Mum is at times heart wrenching and not only has she to cope with her loss every month but also past secrets and a stroppy teenage step daughter.

Get a box of tissues ready and hang on to your hat as this story takes you on a roller coaster ride that stays with you. 

Thank you to Netgalley, Lake Union Publishing and Amanda for getting me approved for the ARC of this book.

To order a copy of this book click here

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Born Bad
Marnie Riches
Blog Tour

I'm delighted to be a part of this blog tour. I love Marnie's George McKenzie series, so am eager to read this one. I have an extract for you today, but hopefully will have a review for you soon.


Conky pulled Sheila from Gloria as gently as possible, though the two women fought against him with balled fists and venomous slaps.
‘About time too! Get her out of here!’ Sheila said.
‘You’re making a big mistake!’ Gloria shouted. Normally so primly dressed, Conky was surprised by the defined, almost manly musculature of her arms. She was grabbing at Sheila again. Shaking her like a wayward child. ‘I need this final deal to go through. I need money. It’s all right for you.’
But the diminutive Sheila was no pushover. She pummelled Gloria towards the door like a mini-Sumo pushing her opponent to the chalk line. ‘All these years, we worked as business partners and you’re still thinking it’s all right for me? You cheeky, chippy cow! You were my cleaner and I made you rich.’
Gloria halted in her offensive. Stepped back suddenly, her hands in the air, her neck at an awkward, sassy angle. Blinking hard like the Ricki Lake show had never been taken off air. ‘You made me rich? I’m sorry. I cleaned your mess up for the first ten years of your marriage and have all but run your business single handedly. But you. Made me. Rich. You. In your frigging mansion.’ She gasped. ‘Look at that. You made me swear, you terrible woman.’
Sheila poked the taller woman in her chest with a manicured fingernail. ‘You were nothing until we started the agency together. Nowt. An old washed-up scrubber from Sweeney Hall with a Boddlington scumbag for a son.’
Conky sucked the air in between his teeth. Ready to step between the women yet again but privately relishing seeing the feisty side to Sheila come out.
‘Now, come on girls. Don’t be saying anything you’re going to regret tomorrow.’
‘Too late for that,’ Gloria said. ‘There’s no coming back from this. All the things I could say about you, you overindulged, anorexic white cow.’
‘Oh, I’m really losing sleep,’ Sheila said, hand on hip in her satin bathrobe. Sarcasm dripping thickly from every syllable.
‘My future’s ruined, thanks to you!’ Gloria shouted. ‘All because you couldn’t be bothered to do one more lousy job, you heartless hussy. A false witness will not go unpunished. Proverbs 19:5!’
‘Gloria!’ Conky snapped, grabbing her by the upper arm. ‘Time you went home.’ He had only got the gist of the conversation but could see from the tears standing in Gloria’s eyes that things weren’t good for her. He felt a pang of unexpected sympathy.
‘And you think my life’s easy, do you?’ Sheila opened her mouth, as though there was much more to say. But the question simply hung in the air between them – rhetorical and loaded with insinuation. Sheila put her hand over her own mouth. Gathered her robe about her and hugged herself. Spoke in a quiet voice. ‘I’m sorry you feel this way, Gloria, but a promise is a promise. Me and Paddy are packing up and going to Thailand. You want to start your own cleaning company, go ahead. But you can’t have mine. I have the majority share, and Pad says it’s over. All of it.’
Gloria snatched up her handbag. Glared at Conky as though this contretemps were somehow his fault. ‘Fine,’ she said, throwing her coat over her arm. ‘Leave all those women in the lurch. Forget about the likes of little Efe. Forget about me. Forget about your own hopes and dreams. I’ll see you around.’
As the front door slammed shut, Sheila burst into tears. A small woman who suddenly looked like a vulnerable scrap of a girl. Conky put his arm around her tentatively. Stroked her hair, wondering if it would be appropriate to plant a gentle kiss on her head. He decided against it.
‘She’s so tight,’ Sheila said. ‘Calling me a heartless bitch!’ She hiccoughed the words out, beside herself, now. ‘I never thought it would be so hard just to down tools and step away from all this.’
Feeling that she was holding onto him with a little too much vigour and not sure if he could trust himself, Conky ushered her to a bar stool and bade her sit down.
‘I’ll make some tea,’ he said. Started to rifle through the convenience food in the kitchen cupboard; rummaging behind the packets of Smash, the tins of beef stew and Patak’s jars to find what he sought. A packet of chamomile tea he had bought Sheila at a time when she had complained that she wasn’t sleeping. He prepared the infusion in silence, allowing Sheila to process her hurt. She blew her nose heavily on some kitchen roll and took the vodka bottle out of the cupboard.
‘No need for that,’ he said, taking it from her and stowing it away again. ‘It’ll keep you awake all night. Have this hot drink I’ve made you instead.’
He watched with some satisfaction as Sheila sipped from the cup. Her hiccoughs slowed before stopping altogether.
‘What do you want to do?’ he asked her finally.
Sheila shook her head. Looked as if she were about to share her innermost thoughts. Placed her hand on top of his, then thought better of it. ‘I do whatever my Paddy wants me to do. And you need to go home, Conks.’

To order a copy of Born Bad click here

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Before the Rains
Dinah Jefferies

Guest Review
Julie Williams

I want to say a huge thank you once again to Julie Williams, who jumped at the chance to review this new one by Dinah Jeffries!


I was treated to another terrific novel by this wonderful author. Before The Rains is a historical romantic story that explores a whole host of emotions including: tragedy, heartache, manipulation, passion and love. These are beautifully displayed with a range of superbly written characters.

Having witnessed the awful death of her beloved father as a child, Eliza and her mother decide to leave India and return to England. But as time passes and now widowed herself, Eliza returns to India alone to pursue her passion of photography.

Eliza arrives in this colourful vibrant country as an insecure, vulnerable young woman but during her time here, she not only discovers the real captivating India, but also herself.

Dinah Jefferies brings this book to life with mesmerising details of the sights, sounds and smells that make you feel that you are actually there! 

Dinah shows that India under British rule is so different to now, with the then traditions and customs which are explained and detailed appropriately.

Thanks to NetGalley and Julie for posting this review.

Friday, 24 February 2017

The Silent Wife
Kerry Fisher

Guest review
Julie Williams

Today, I have a guest review by Julie Williams, who by the sounds of it, thoroughly enjoyed this one by the very lovely Kerry Fisher!


The Silent Wife had me engrossed from page one which is always a good sign when starting a new book. This is an intriguing tale of a family where appearances are definitely deceiving.

The controlling Farinelli’s show just how second wives can complicate and upset the family unit and also reveal hidden skeletons in the closet.

Head of the family is Anna who totally rules them all with an iron rod. She looks down her nose at the wives of her two beloved sons Massimo and Nico. I found her manner appalling as she had no problem in sharing her opinions with no thought to the hurt it may cause. Anna even has keys to all their homes, letting herself in whenever she pleases. The mother in law from hell comes to mind!

I enjoyed finding out about the secrets this family held both past and present. It is no surprise to find that Massimo is a bully and how he manipulates Lara his second wife is heart breaking at times. Nico on the other hand, is a lot more respectful and kinder to everyone including his lovely wife Maggie.

This book shows that second marriages have to be worked at, especially where children are involved as a mother will always protect her child, whatever the cost.

This is Kerry Fishers 4th novel and dare I say that her writing gets better with each new one . I gave this book a 5 star rating as I just didn’t want to put it down.

Thanks to Net Galley for the copy and to Julie for kindly allowing me to share my review on her blog.