Tuesday, 11 July 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Importance Of Being Me by Caroline Grace-Cassidy

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the final day of the Blog Tour for The Importance Of Being Me by Caroline Grace-Cassidy where I welcome Caroline to my blog where I've got a review. I was thrilled to be asked by Lina Langlee from Black & White Publishing to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else has taken part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

With huge thanks to Black & White Publishing, I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review......

When was the last time you put yourself first?

Meet Courtney Downey who is a thirty-eight-year-old divorcee and she has no idea who she is anymore.  She has a fifteen year old named Susan who is mad into the celebrity-obsessed, Snapchat-filtered teenage world but Courtney can't understand this kind of world and sadly they’re growing apart. But when Susan announces that she wants to live with her Dad, David and his new and much younger girlfriend, Courtney is beyond devastated. But could the end of one life be the beginning of another?

When Courtney is offered a job in beautiful, sun-kissed St. Ives in Cornwall, she and her bubbly best friend Claire whom has her own issues follow their hearts and leave their problems behind for a summer of sand, sea and second chances. And when she meets sexy but infuriating builder Tony, Courtney rediscovers her passions for life, for cooking and for love.

Just as Courtney is finally looking to the future, a crisis with Susan pulls her back to Dublin, and back into old habits. Will she ever be able to let go of the past and embrace the importance of being herself?

Well,I didn't like this, I absolutely LOVED it.  It is all about taking chances, following your heart and has made me think about putting myself first for a change.  It is a very bittersweet and heart-warming read, the story flows really well throughout the book. I loved the interactions of Susan and her Mum Courtney, it reminded me so much of me at that age growing up thinking I knew everything at fifteen. Ashamedly I admit that this is the first book I've read by Caroline and I really enjoyed Caroline's latest book which I read in less than 2 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 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 glass of wine and a box of chocolates and prepare to have a few lump in your throat moments too. It definitely didn't disappoint. I will definitely be reading more of Caroline's books and you should too.

The Importance Of Being Me is available from all good bookstores and on Kindle and is currently £2.84 at the time of publication if this review.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Boneyard by Mark Sennen

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Boneyard by Mark Sennen where I welcome Mark to my blog where he's kindly provided an extract from his latest novel. 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:

‘Now, you’re going to run.’ Once again he waved the gun, this time in the direction of the treeline some thirty paces from the track. ‘I’ll give you a hundred seconds head start and then I’m coming to find you. And when I do, you’ll lie still and we’ll have some fun, right?’
‘You don’t have to do this. You don’t—’
‘Oh, but I do.’ The man smiled. ‘And I’m going to start counting now. If I was you, I wouldn’t waste a second. Not. A. Second. Of course, it’s your choice. One, two, three . . .’
Which was when she’d scrambled down the scree at the side of the track, cutting her feet on the sharp stones, before disappearing into the shadows beneath the tall trees. She’d half expected to hear a shot, feel a bullet implant itself between her shoulder blades. But she’d reached the treeline unharmed, stumbling into the quiet of the forest, the only sounds that of her breathing and her feet rustling in the dead wood and leaves as she scampered away from him as fast as she could. 
Now she’s worn out, the huge tree not just something to hide behind, but something to cling to, to slump against as she tries to recover her breath. She doesn’t know how far she’s run, only that it’s all been downhill. Twice she’d fallen and sprawled in the soft loam, tumbling over and over. The hundred seconds are long gone and now he must be coming after her. She wonders about heading off to the right or left and following the contours. Perhaps that might confuse him. At least the change of direction would give her a fifty-fifty chance.
She pushes herself away from the tree and bears off to the right. She trots along a narrow animal trail which weaves among the sequoias. At each trunk she pauses for a moment to listen. There’s nothing. She moves on. She pauses again. Nothing.
Up ahead a gash of grey stone slices through the hillside. She walks forward to where a ravine blocks the trail. The sides are steep and the bare rock sharp. There’s no way across. She has to turn left and forge her way downhill once more.
She catches her foot on a bare root and trips again, rolling in the dirt before pushing herself up and following the edge of the ravine towards the valley bottom. Down, down, down through the lines of trees until all of a sudden the rocks spill out onto a flat plateau. The trees are fewer here, but taller. And they’re still watching. Watching over . . .
She shivers at the sight. Dozens of rusting automobiles lie scattered amongst the trees. Several trucks. A school bus with yellow paint peeling away from decaying panelling. An old sedan has a wide grille and empty holes where the headlamps have fallen out. Like the trees, the car is watching. Next to the sedan, a young sapling sprouts from the bed of a pickup. Where there are no vehicles, scrub creeps across the ground. Snaking through the scrub are pathways where the vegetation has been cut back. Someone comes here. Someone tends this place. 
She steps forward, a glimmer of hope rising within. She reaches for the cross again. Perhaps her prayers have been answered. Perhaps this isn’t the wilderness after all, but a park somewhere on the edge of a town. As if in answer to her thoughts, a figure steps from behind one of the metal husks. In the shade of the trees she can’t make out his features, but he’s not as tall as the man who kidnapped her. He’s older, too. Her heart begins to pound, sensing a relief from her troubles.
‘Help me!’ she shouts out to her saviour. She begins to trot over towards the man, winding her way along one of the paths. The man nods, a smile forming on his lips. She realises she must be quite a sight. Her dress torn up the side and front, her body half smeared with mud and leaves. She crosses her arms, trying to cover herself. ‘I’ve been attacked. Help me!’
‘Sure, lass,’ the man says, his accent strange and unfamiliar. His smile grows and she feels his eyes feasting on her exposed flesh. ‘No problem.’
She slows as she reaches him. Hesitates now she’s just a few steps away. She turns to look over her shoulder, but there’s no sight of her pursuer. And when she turns back, the older man fades from view, stepping deep into the shade of a tree.
‘Hello?’ She slides forward on the grass. ‘Please help me!’
‘Found you!’

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Chase The Rainbow by Poorna Bell

Thanks to Simon & Schuster, I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.....

Poorna is an executive editor of The Huffington Post UK whom is married to Rob, a native of New Zealand who is described as a punk rocker, a book lover and a bird nerd. They've a dog named Daisy and a career as a well respected science journalist. But beneath all this Rob struggled with his mental health and drug addiction which led him to self-medicate his illness. In 2015, Rob ended his life in New Zealand on a winter's night.

But what happened and why did this happen? How did a Catholic boy from the suburbs with brains to burn and who had loads of friends and family who loved him end up dying alone by his own hand? How did it get to this point? In a bid to understand the man she loved and how he arrived at this desperate and dark moment, Poorna goes on a journey that takes in both New Zealand and England to discover more about him.

Well, I read this a couple of weeks ago and it's taken me a little time to gather my thoughts on this book but I didn't just like it, I LOVED it. Coincidentally, I picked this book up to read the week of my friends 20th anniversary of her death so I think it was quite fitting to honour both losses. It was such a beautiful read, I even had tears in my eyes when I'd read the prologue alone, I knew that this was going to be quite a sad read.

When I read this quote I had to put it in this review as it sums up beautifully how I amongst others whom have lost someone feel about my friends death "When it comes to suicide, every pinprick of light that surrounded the darkness of their death is pounced upon; we hope against hope that our  loved ones, while they died alone, didn't just die with despair."

Poorna has written a deep and personal journey that teaches us to seek hope and happiness, even in the most tragic of circumstances. Trying to shatter the stigma around depression and suicide, Poorna challenges us to talk to people and about our fears and to better understand the personal struggles of those we love. It is a story that is a brave, warm, at times raw and funny. I had tears streaming down my face by the end of it and everyone should read this, both men and women alike and no matter whether you've lost someone to suicide or not so make sure you've a box of tissues at hand.


Chase The Rainbow is available from all good bookstores and on Kindle where it is currently £7.99 at the time of publication of this review.  Click here to buy Chase The Rainbow by Poorna Bell

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ Always In My Heart by Pam Weaver

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Always In My Heart by Pam Weaver where I welcome Pam to my blog with an extract from her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Bethan James 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:

Florrie asks Mrs Andrews for help 

But Florrie didn’t know where to start. This was alien to her. She’d never asked for help before, not even when her husband left. She glanced up at Mrs Andrews’s kindly face, remembering the past and all that had happened. Back then, Mrs Andrews had said if ever she needed help, she was to go to her at once. Florrie had dismissed the offer with a wave of her hand, but here she was. And desperate too. She’d never wanted to bother the woman again, but what could she do? 

Married to a doctor, Mrs Andrews, played an active part in the community. She was a member of the Towns’ Women’s Guild and several other organizations as well. Sitting on the edge of her seat, she gave Florrie her full attention. 

It took every ounce of courage she had, but finally Florrie explained everything. She had been hasty. She’d said no to evacuation and now it looked as if she might be too ill to care for her children. The WI lady had said that if she refused to let her put Shirley and Tom on her list, their places would be given to other children. What was even worse, she’d become irritated by the woman’s insistence and she’d been rude. In fact, she’d used a swear word, and for that she was truly sorry, but instead of looking shocked or telling her off, Mrs Andrews threw her head back and laughed. ‘You swore at her? Oh dear, poor Cynthia, but don’t worry, I suspect she’ll dine out on that tale for several weeks.’
Florrie’s eyes filled with tears when she talked about Tom. She didn’t say it, but in her heart she’d always felt that the way Tom was had been her punishment for giving away the baby. How would she have coped without Mrs Andrews back then? When she’d told her about the pregnancy, Mrs Andrews hadn’t taken the moral high ground as so many others had done. She’d offered to arrange everything. Right now, the ache in Florrie’s chest wasn’t just from the cough, it was the ache of loss. The loss of that pretty little girl she’d last seen when she was only a week old. She swallowed hard. Now she was making a fool of herself. She was losing control. The words just gushed from her mouth like a waterfall. She was saying far too much.

Mrs Andrews left her own chair and came to sit on the sofa next to Florrie. Taking her hands in hers, she said, ‘There’s no shame in asking for help, my dear. I shall be pleased to do what I can.’
Florrie looked up at her. ‘Do you ever hear anything about—’

‘You know better than to ask me that,’ said Mrs Andrews firmly. ‘Best to leave the past where it is. Right now, we have to concentrate on you. I’m sorry to hear about your ill health, but let’s hope you’ll soon be on the mend.’

They smiled at each other even though they both knew the words were hollow and that Florrie’s recovery, if there was to be one, would take an awfully long time. 
‘Now,’ said Mrs Andrews, giving Florrie’s hands a final squeeze, ‘here’s what we’ll do.’

Always in My Heart by Pam Weaver is out now from Pan Macmillan (£6.99 paperback) 

Always in My Heart

Sunday, 18 June 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ Trust Me by Angela Clarke Q&A

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Trust Me by Angela Clarke where I welcome Angela to my blog where she has kindly taken part in a Q&A session with me. 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 guest post so without further ado, here is the Q&A:

  • What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was a memoir, so I guess I inspired me. Ha! Just kidding. I’ve always loved telling stories and entertaining people, and when I started regaling friends with tales of the fashion industry, which I worked in then, they seemed to like it. A friend of a friend was the Femail editor of the Mail Online and she asked to meet me. She loved the stories too, and I started writing the anonymous Confessions of a Fashionista column for them. But the fun tongue-in-cheek tales of fashion industry madness only showed one side of the picture, and so I started to write the memoir of the same name: Confessions of a Fashionista, to show a more rounded view of the industry.

After that I set out to write a novel about the internet, and how many people forget there’s a real person on the end of their interactions online. But lots of characters died, so it became a crime thriller set on Twitter. Follow Me was born, which ended up being the first in the Social Media Murders, and the rest, as they say, is history.

  • What books have most influenced your life?

That’s such a hard question! So many. Too many to count. I’ve always been a keen reader and currently get through between two and three books a week. Books have offered me escape, education, joy, sadness, love, laughter and so much more. They shape me every day, in a myriad of little ways that are impossible to measure. I wouldn’t be me without books and reading.

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

Trust Me is the third in the Social Media Murder Series, and though I know the characters and the world well, I wanted to make sure the action didn’t feel formulaic. It’s important to me to believe that each project I work on can be better than the last. I pushed myself in terms of character development and narrative style, and the final book has a number of different points of view throughout. I really hope my readers like it. At the time of writing this, not many people have read it, but those who have loved it. So fingers crossed that’s a good sign!

Oh, and another challenge was finding a plumber to help me with some specific research. But I can’t tell you what because it’ll be a spoiler!

  • What was the hardest part of writing your book?

There is a rape storyline at the centre of Trust Me, inspired by a real-life case where a young woman’s sexual assault was live streamed over the social media app Periscope. It was an extremely upsetting subject matter to write about, and I wanted to do the female character involved justice. I didn’t want the rape to be a mere plot point. I didn’t want to make it titillating. I’ve tried to convey the situation respectfully, without showing too much on the page. Sexual assault is a horrible brutal reality that too many endure, and the weight of responsibility when writing about it is great. My books often explore the point misogyny intersects with technology and the online world, and though they are first a foremost entertainment, I hope they are also awareness raising. If just one person thinks differently about rape culture, or their own actions (from an online joke, upwards). I would take it as a win. Recently I attended a book club in HMP Thameside, a male category B prison. The inmates had read Follow Me and Watch Me, and I was struck by how much they took Freddie to heart. Some spoke of not really thinking about things from a female perspective before they’d read Watch Me, and it was one of the proudest moments of my career. Plus they liked my jokes.

  • Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I really enjoyed Ali Land’s Good Me Bad Me, it was a fantastic exploration of character, and so tense! I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ Don't Wake Up by Liz Lawler

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Don't Wake Up by Liz Lawler where I welcome Liz to my blog with a guest post on how her writing has been influenced. I was thrilled to be asked by Emily Burns from Bonnier Zaffre Publishing 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 it is:

How growing up in a large family influenced my writing

How could it not? With so many conversations to have and adventures to share there was never an idle moment to spare. I grew up in a very noisy household, which my mother ran with military precision. As young children we were up, dressed, fed, watered and out to play as early as ten o’clock with expectations of staying out to play, from out under her feet, till teatime so that she could put the house back to order. There were two meal times in our household: breakfast and dinner. Lunch was what the other kids went home to have, while we stayed out in the street or in a park with our paper bags of Black Jacks, Fruit Salads, Liquorice Catherine Wheels and a bottle of Cream Soda to share.

Sharing in such a large family was as natural as breathing; a necessary requirement in most cases. I topped and tailed throughout my childhood, sharing a double bed with either two or three of my sisters, and we were often scolded, well past the lights out, for giggling too loud or being caught having a midnight feast under the blankets with a torch. I thought nothing of sharing a toothbrush with my sisters and quite often waited in line to use it. I think the first time I ever owned my own toothbrush was when I went on a school trip and remember feeling excited and little bit important that there were things in my suitcase that were bought solely for my use.

I was 18 by the time I had my very own bed; it was the day I left home to become a nurse and not only did I have my own bed, but my own bedroom. The room held a wardrobe, a single bed, desk and sink; it measured no more than six foot by ten and I could not believe that all this space would belong to me.

As a child there were few books in our home apart from the bible and the Britannica Encyclopaedia collection. Twenty red hardback books, where all information was obtained for doing homework. All other books were borrowed from the library and as a child my favourites were always The Famous Five and The Secret Seven. As a teenage I discovered Mills & Boons, much to my mother’s dismay as she was always trying to get me to read the classics, and I possibly missed a great many lessons in school while reading these books in class, hidden on my lap behind the desk. I went to a convent and I remember the total embarrassment I felt when one of the nuns discovered what I was reading. You would think I had been reading porn, from the dressing down she gave me.

I look back on my childhood with extremely fond memories, feeling in no way deprived. For though we lacked in material things, we were enriched by the abilities of two incredible parents.  My mother, by far, was the most intelligent and could converse on most any subject; history and English literature were her passions and weekly she would return from the library with her bag of books. Our father was a story teller, though I believe he never read a single book in his entire life, and never tired of making up stories or simply telling us tales of the hardships of his childhood. They were great teachers and every one of us could run a house, cook, clean, shop, mind the younger ones, probably by the age of eleven.

I grew up feeling different to my friends, possibly because my parents were nearer their grandparent’s ages, and as a child I used to fret that by the time I got to be an adult they would be dead. Fortunately they were both made of stern stuff and lived enough years to see us all properly grown up.

It was exciting growing up with so many brothers and sisters as some were already grownup with children of their own, while some of us were still in infant primary school and their children were closer to our ages so we were aunts and uncles to the kids we played with. There are now twelve of us, six of each and I am number 9. If all fourteen children were still alive I’d be number 11. I grew up in a noisy household where everyone shouted to be heard over each other, and as adults we are just the same, only noisier as we all tell our different stories eager to be counted and eager to be heard.


Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table.
The man who stands over her isn't a doctor.
The offer he makes her is utterly unspeakable.
But when Alex re-awakens, she's unharmed - and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.
And then she meets the next victim.

So compulsive you can't stop reading.
So chilling you won't stop talking about it.
A pitch-black and devastatingly original psychological thriller.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Stolen Child by Sanjida Kay

Thanks to Corvus Books, I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review....

Seven years ago you stole my child.  Now I want her back......

Zoe and Ollie Morley are a married couple who tried for years to have a baby and couldn't, so they turned to adoption and their dreams came true when they were approved to a adopt a little girl from birth whom they named Evie.

Fast forward seven years, they have moved to Yorkshire from London and they have grown with a wonderful surprise in the form of baby Ben.  When Evie starts receiving letters and gifts from a sender claiming to be her birth father.  He has been looking for his daughter and now he will stop at nothing to take her back. Zoe is a working Mum and it's not easy for her as her husband never seems to be there when she needs him, is there more to Ollie than he is letting on??

Well, I absolutely LOVED this, it was fantastic and was gripped right fom the first page. I could feel the tension on every page that I turned. The storyline is very true to life and explores a lot of what can and has happened to children and this storyline could be a little upsetting for some reading this so it is far from roses and puppies and it will definitely stick long in my mind due to the subject matter.  I was suspicious of every character in the book, I didn't know who to trust or if I could for that matter.  I could feel my heart pounding at times towards the end of the book.  I thought that I'd had it worked out but I was wrong and it kept me guessing right until the end which I love as nothing worse than knowing the twist long before it's revealed. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

This is Sanjida's second book, her first been Bone By Bone which I haven't read yet but will definitely be doing so soon as I thoroughly enjoyed The Stolen Child.  The Stolen Child is available in all good bookstores and is currently on Kindle for £3.79 at the time of publication of this review.