Monday 29 June 2020

#BlogTour Verbal by Peter Murphy

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Verbal by Peter Murphy.
About the Author 
Peter Murphy graduated from Cambridge University and spent a career in the law, as an advocate, teacher, and judge. He has worked both in England and the U.S., and served for several years as counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. He is the author of six historical/legal thrillers featuring Ben Schroeder, including A Matter for the Jury and And Is there Honey Still for Tea? The Heirs of Owain Glyndwr, Calling Down the Storm and One Law for the Rest of Us. He is also the author of the Walden of Bermondsey series. He lives in Cambridgeshire.

Follow on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit Verbal

About the book
A clever, accomplished Cambridge graduate with a good job and an attentive lover, Imogen Lester seems to have the world at her feet. But when her parents are murdered abroad while working for the Diplomatic Service, she is suddenly thrown headlong into a murky world of espionage and organised crime.

When she is charged with drug trafficking, even Ben Schroeder’s skills may not be enough to save her – unless a shadowy figure from Ben’s past can survive long enough to unmask a web of graft and corruption…

The world seems cruel enough when Imogen learns of the tragic brutal death of her parents in a foreign country. It appears as if they were in the middle of something politically complex and yet when Imogen returns to London and her world is turned upside down she realises there is so much more at stake than simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It's a legal thriller with elements of spydom, politics and police procedural. It's a fast paced read that takes the reader in the direction of one thing and wanders slowly into a dark layer of corruption.

I recommend reading the Author's Notes at the end of this story. It gives an interesting insight into the plot and the historical factual basis some of the story is based on.

When you read urban crime and police procedurals that take place in a certain timeframe there is most definitely a line drawn in the sand when it comes to corruption and reputation of the police. Mentioned under the almost amusing catch phrases of tough policing, turning a blind eye and a sense of fear that stemmed from knowing lawlesss often included the very men who were meant to uphold the law - it defined the way policing was perceived.

What worth does a system have when the people in charge are as corrupt as the criminals they are supposed to be apprehending? How much respect can they expect when everyone knows it isn't the truth or justice that counts, instead it is all about profit, greed and hiding the uncomfortable truth. You turn a blind eye for one thing and before you know it is worth your while to turn a blind eye to everything.

Murphy brings that element of the Flying Squad and their notorious corrupt ways, although they themselves would say they did enough good to balance out the occasional black mark. Easy enough to live by when you aren't the person who has to suffer from the corruption.

Kudos to Murphy for a great read and for the really well explained political and cultural landscape of former Yugoslavia.

Buy Verbal at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press; pub date 25 Jun. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at No Exit Press.

Read my review of Walden of Bermondsey by Peter Murphy.

Sunday 28 June 2020

#BlogTour Deep as Death by Katja Ivar

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Deep as Death by Katja Ivar.
About the Author
Katja Ivar grew up in Russia and the U.S. She travelled the world extensively, from Almaty to Ushuaia, from Karelia to Kyushu, before finally settling in Paris where she lives with her husband and three children. She received a B.A. in Linguistics and a master's degree in Contemporary History from Sorbonne University. Evil Things was her debut novel.

Follow @KatjaIvar @bitterlemonpub, on Amazon, on GoodreadsBuy Deep as Death

About the book
Hella Mauzer has just been fired by the police and is now a reluctant private investigator. Escaping the mind-numbing routine of shadowing unfaithful spouses, Hella finds herself at the centre of an investigation of multiple murders.

It all begins when a prostitute is found floating upside down in Helsinki Harbour. Not exactly a high priority case for the Helsinki police, so homicide chief Jokela passes the job to his former colleague Hella. It’s beginning to look like a serial killer is at work when another lady of the night narrowly escapes being driven into the harbour, handcuffed to the car by her client.

What begins like a taut whodunit turns into something more tantalizing as Hella turns her attention to different suspects, often to the consternation of the fascinating Inspector Mustonen, charismatic, ambitious and trying desperately to live up to the standards of his high-maintenance wife.
Hella is always on the short end of the stick. Her career with the police, as the first female homicide detective, is over and her new role as a private investigator isn't really bringing in the much needed cash.

She is surprised when her old boss recommends her services on a case he is wanting to brush under the carpet. Pitting her against a charismatic ex-colleague seems counter productive, especially because she is known for digging her heels in even when it gets dangerous for herself and others.

It's Nordic crime that uses a bedrock of sexism, gender equality and the thin line between law and order and crime, which was still quite a prevalent imbalance in the era the story takes place in.

Ivar's stories have a Nesbo flair to them, but with more of a noirish feel. The crime within a crime which is laid upon a bed of evil. It makes for a glorius read.

The reader is pulled between doubt and certainty, especially in regards to the main characters. Is there ill intent or just fumbling foolishness, real danger or just a paranoia perceived out of circumstances?

Either way Ivar writes a cracking read and is honing her craft. I expect to hear more from this particular author.

I wonder whether the mystery mentioned briefly towards the end will be the focus of the next book in the Hella Mauser series.

Buy Deep as Death at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press; pub date 2 Jun. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Evil Things by Katja Ivar.

Friday 26 June 2020

#BloggerDay Summer in Mayfair by Susannah Constantine

Today is Blogger Day for the delectable Summer in Mayfair by Susannah Constantine.

About the Author
Susannah Constantine is a television presenter and journalist. She lives in West Sussex with her husband and three children. She has co-written nine non-fiction books with Trinny Woodall. Summer in Mayfair is her second novel.

Follow @snhconstantine on Twitteron Goodreads, on AmazonBuy Summer in Mayfair

About the book
Secrets are hidden around every corner…
Summer, 1979. - Twenty-two-year-old Esme Munroe has finally left the Scottish Highlands for the excitement of London.

Working at a prestigious art gallery in Mayfair, she meets gorgeous, worldly Suki, who takes her to the most exclusive bars and clubs in the city.

But it’s easy to get lost in London’s glamour and chaos, especially when a long-hidden secret looms – will Esme discover it and who she can really trust, before it’s too late?

Esme isn't a complete nube when it comes to the world of the upper echelon. In fact it's fair to say her life has been influenced and determined by her mother's friendship to a member of the gentry and her past of living her best life. Esme and her sister have gotten used to getting the short end of the stick, both in regards to their mother and the way they are treated by her so-called friends.

Esme is off to make her own way in life in London and quickly gets sucked into the glam, glitz and exclusivity. Old emotions about belonging and being unwanted surface as she slowly unravels secrets that have been hidden for a long time and for good reason.

It was quite interesting how well Constantine invoked the atmosphere of a certain era - not the late 70s it is set in per se, although the clothes and surroundings fit. It has a Golden Twenties feel to it. It has a very distinctive cultural edge combined with a certain economic prosperity. The world of landed gentry and those who inhabit their orbit crash into the world of plain old normality - more like being sucked into the Thunderdome also known as London.

In essence it's a story about coming-of-age and comprehending that family isn't always made up out of genetic connections, but rather a strong emotional connection.

Constantine delivers a story with depth, and yet also keeps it amusing, interesting and fun at the same time. I'd love to see that knack she has for creating a specific atmosphere create the story that is obviously just waiting to be told.

Buy Summer in Mayfair at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; pub date 25 Jun. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Waterstones.

Thursday 25 June 2020

#BlogTour Dead and Gone by Sherryl Clark

Happy Publication Day and it's time to kick off the BlogTour Dead and Gone by Sherryl Clark today! It's the sequel to Trust Me, I'm Dead, Sherryl's debut Aussie crime novel.
About the Author
Sherryl Clark has had 40 children’s and YA books published in Australia, and several in the US and UK, plus collections of poetry and four verse novels. She has taught writing at Holmesglen TAFE and Victoria University. She recently completed a Master of Fine Arts program at Hamline University, Minnesota, and is now studying for a PhD in creative writing.

Sherryl's debut novel, Trust Me, I'm Dead, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger. It is the first novel in the Judi Westerholme series, followed by Dead and Gone.

Follow @sherrylwriter and @Verve_Books on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon,Visit sherrylclarkcrimewriter.comBuy Dead and Gone

About the book
There's nothing more dangerous than revenge. Judi Westerholme has been through it. Brave and strong-willed, she's just about coping in her new role as foster parent to her orphaned niece, taking a job at the local pub to help make ends meet. Then the pub's landlord and Judi's friend, army veteran Pete 'Macca' Maccasfield, is murdered, and her world is suddenly turned upside down.

Despite warnings from the city police to keep out of it, Judi can't help but get involved in the search for Macca's killer. But she soon becomes deeply entangled with some ruthlessly dangerous men. She must act fast and think smart to work out what they want - before anyone else gets hurt...

Long buried secrets resurface in Sherryl Clark's pacy crime novel that pushes Judi Westerholme to her limits to protect the people she loves most.

This is the sequel to Trust Me I'm Dead the first in the Judi Westerholme series, but can absolutely be read as a standalone novel.

Judi's boss Macca is murdered, which throws her for a loop, not only because they were great friends but also because the police think it was down to his involvement in something dodgy. His corpse hasn't even been buried before the first vultures arrive to pick at the bones.

Simultaneously Judi has to deal with the fact she might lose Mia. She is torn between it might be better for her niece to live with her maternal grandparents and wanting to keep her promise to take care of her. Mia has become a constant fixture in her life and can always be counted on to throw some light or reality into any serious situation. I respect any woman who thinks of cake in the most curious of moments.

Clark has a very specific style to both her writing and the tone of her work. It's not quite staccato or abrupt, but it is terse at times. Sharp corners and quick direction changes. I liked it. It gives the story this tough as old boots feel without resorting to misogyny or macho tropes. The same applies to the main character, Judi isn't a marshmallow fluff happy ever after girly type and yet also doesn't come off as wanting to be one of the guys. I really enjoyed the balance Clark found in both the plot and characters.

It's a jolly good read and a series with plenty of potential.

Buy Dead and Gone at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Verve books; pub date Ebook: 25 June 2020 | Paperback pub date: 27 August 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Verve Books.

Wednesday 24 June 2020

#BlogTour The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith

Today it's an absolute pleasure to take art in the BlogTour The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith.
About the Author
Eve Smith writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. She attributes her love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues.

Set twenty years after an antibiotic crisis,her debut novel The Waiting Roomswas shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award. Her flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize.

Follow @evecsmith on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit, Buy The Waiting Rooms 

About the book
Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable: a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms.’ Hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother's past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything.

Because Kate is not the only secret that her birth mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern world to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.

There will probably be a consensus about how freakishly timely this plot is given the whole Covid-19 situation we are living in at the moment.

Kate is on the frontline of life and death, perhaps it's better to say death and more painful death. The world post-catastrophe is one of division, policies and a general lack of humanity. Lily is on the cusp of entering the disposable human age and Mary takes readers back to a time before a new-age plague changes the world forever.

Woven into this dystopian tale are the very real threats that govern policy choices when it comes to healthcare and costs. Antimicrobial resistance has been laid at the feet of decades of overuse of antibiotics and the lack of new drugs to combat new strains. In this scenario cost cutting measures are written and put into place to the detriment of the elderly. Everyone above the age of seventy is no longer given anything to combat any infection. It's a little more complicated than that obviously, but I don't want to give everything away.

It's a Logan's Run scenario, for those who remember the old nugget. People are sorted into two categories - before and after the cut-off date. There is only fear, pain and the feeling that death has become a well-oiled machine that makes a profit.

I thought it was interesting how Smith drew in the topic of euthanasia. Having a directive or not becomes the difference between painless choice or painful torture, which is clouded by public opinion viewing it as murder.

Smith is an excellent storyteller. Dredging every fear that goes through our heads, things none of us can possibly control and are unable to fathom in their entirety, to create a frighteningly realistic futuristic scenario. Then as if the science, medicine and fear weren't enough the author raises the stakes by adding a complex family dynamic and our possible future to the mix. It's an incredible read.

Buy The Waiting Rooms at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books; pub date ecopy - 9 April 2020. - pub date Paperback 9 July 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Orenda Books.

#BlogBlitz The First Lie by A.J. Park

The First Lie by A.J. Park is out tomorrow - Publisher: Orion; pub date 25 Jun. 2020.

A husband and wife cover up a murder. But the lie eats away at the fabric of their relationship and things unravel till they can't trust anyone - even each other.

About the Author

Follow @AJParkauthor on Twitter, on Amazon, Visit, Buy The First Lie

About the book
A freak accident. An impossible choice. But what was the first lie?

When Paul Reeve comes home to find his wife in the bathroom, bloodied and shaking, his survival instinct kicks in.
Alice never meant to kill the intruder. She was at home, alone, and terrified. She doesn't deserve to be blamed for it. Covering up the murder is their only option.
But the crime eats away at the couple and soon they can't trust anyone - even one another...

But there is much more at stake than anyone realises - and many more people on their trail than they can possibly evade...

Available as a paperback, ebook and audio bookBuy The First Lie at Amazon Uk, Buy at Waterstones.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

#BlogTour The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton

It's a pleasure to take part on the BlogTour The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton.
About the Author
Karen Hamilton spent her childhood in Angola, Zimbabwe, Belgium and Italy, and developed a love of travel through moving around so much. This led her to a career as a flight attendant, and it was in the air that she thought of the idea for her debut thriller The Perfect Girlfriend.

Karen is a recent graduate of the Faber Academy, and has now put down roots in Hampshire to raise her young family with her husband. The Perfect Girlfriend was a Sunday Times Top Ten  bestseller in paperback. The Last Wife is her hotly anticipated second novel.

Follow @KJHAuthor on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit, Buy The Last Wife

About the book
Nina, in the final days of her illness, asks her best friend Marie to look after her family when she's gone. And Marie does everything she can to step into Nina's shoes after her friend's tragic death. She tries to do the best by Nina, tries to be there for Nina's young children, tries to support Nina's grieving husband, tries to keep their lives on track despite their terrible loss.

But when Marie discovers a dark secret that Nina had kept concealed, she is forced to confront the past. Tense, heart-breaking and utterly gripping, The Last Wife explores the real nature of love and friendship – and just how fragile every relationship can be in the face of the secrets we hide from each other
I spent a lovely lazy Sunday - with interruptions for baking and cooking - enjoying this read. It's exactly what the doctor ordered when it comes to domestic thrillers. Nothing is what it seems, relationships are complicated and the goal posts change as the story progresses.

Marie promised Nina on her deathbed that she would take care of her children and Marie figures that means her poor grieving hubby too, which is fine I suppose if it weren't for the fact she has her own husband. Her marriage is going through a rough patch because she spends so much time taking care of Nina's family and obsessing about creating her own.

As the different threads unravel it is difficult to see whether there are any good guys or characters without any ulterior motives at all, and that includes the dead best friend Nina. Everyone appears to have some skin in the game.

What I really enjoyed about this read was the lack of protagonist, because let's be honest Marie is absolutely without a doubt a bona fide antagonist, even if she doesn't think she is. That is the beauty of the plot - the fact the reader doesn't really feel any empathy for Marie because she spends the entire time acting like a very determined serial killer/stalker.

Even when everything points towards her finally comprehending why people have such a problem with her she always has an inner dialogue and the world is set to rights again. Painting herself as the victim is such a narcissistic trait of hers, which in a way makes her such an excellent character.

Kudos to Hamilton for a riveting, fast paced read.

Buy The Last Wife at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Wildfire | pub date 25th June 2020 Hardback | £12.99. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Waterstones.

Read my review of The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton.

Monday 22 June 2020

#BlogTour Never Ever Tell by Kirsty Ferguson

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Never Ever Tell by Kirsty Ferguson.
About the Author
Kirsty Ferguson is a born and bred Australian. She writes crimes and mystery novels. Her stories center around strong women and dark themes that are topical and relevant to today. Kirsty chooses to deconstruct and enthrall her readers with the secrets of any everyday person behind closed doors. She has long been a lover or writing and reading, creating stories from a young age.

About the book
She’d do anything for her boy…

Vanessa Sawyer knows all about pain. She’s felt it every day since marrying the boy who fathered her baby in high school. All he’s meant are broken bones, broken heart and broken dreams.  But he also brought her the love of her life. When her son Wren was born, her baby boy was her salvation.

Vanessa watches Wren grow and become a young man she can be proud of. Until one night everything changes, including Wren. One night that her son refuses to speak of. Now Vanessa can’t rest, not until she uncovers the secret that her son has been hiding from her.

Will she find the answers she’s searching for or will her quest for the truth take her to a dark place where all hope is lost? One evil act. One tragedy. Lives destroyed forever.

Vanessa doesn't think giving in to desire will set her life in a direction that changes both her perception of herself and the way others perceive her. The man in her life blames her for choices they both made. He is violent, has no remorse and reluctant to acknowledge his part in their dysfunctional relationship.

The only thing keeping Vanessa going is her young son Wren who learns to protect and lookout for his mother. He becomes her rock and her protector. Vanessa realises that changing her life is the only way to protect them all.

Whilst the part of the plot mentioned in the blurb is the most poignant part of the book it doesn't take up much of it.Those events happen in the last quarter or so of the story. It is undoubtedly the straw that breaks the camels back, a complete eye-opener and it saves the story.

More character depth, differentiation between sub and main plot, and tighter storylines - Ferguson has great ideas, kudos for the twist at the end.

It's a dark story that gets much darker and doesn't really come up for much light to be honest, but then that's sometimes the stark reality of life. Not everyone has a life filled with rainbows, unicorns and happiness in general. Ferguson captures the long term repercussions of living with an abuser - for the victim and any children involved. The waves of abuse cause a ripple effect often only seen many decades later.

Buy Never Ever Tell at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Boldwood Books; pub date 18 Jun. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Saturday 20 June 2020

#BlogTour Cut to the Bone by Roz Watkins

It's my turn on the BlogTour Cut to the Bone by Roz Watkins - it's the third book in the DI Meg Dalton series.

About the Author
Roz Watkins is the author of three novels in the DI Meg Dalton series: The Devil’s Dice, which was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award and was The Times Crime Book of the Month, Dead Man’s Daughter, and Cut to the Bone. In her spare time, Roz likes to walk in the Peak District, scouting out murder locations.

Follow @RozWatkins on Twitter, on Amazon, on Goodreads,Visit, Buy Cut to the Bone

About the book
A disturbing disappearance - When beautiful young social-media star Violet Armstrong goes missing in the middle of a scorching Peak District summer, the case sparks a media frenzy.

A Chilling Murder - The clock is ticking for DI Meg Dalton and her team to find Violet before online threats explode into real-life violence. And then the blood and hair of a young woman are found in an empty pig trough at the local abattoir…

An impossible crime - The more Meg finds out about this unnerving case, the more she becomes convinced that something very, very bad has happened to Violet. With temperatures rising and the press demanding answers, the case is about to take a terrifying turn…

This is the third book in the DI Meg Dalton series and can be read as a standalone novel.

Violet has to put up with a lot of vicious trolling. Not everyone is a fan of her social media posts. They put a target right in the middle of her back, which is why DI Dalton takes a long hard look at those who send online threats without thinking twice about it when she goes missing.

The social media starlet had her own private agenda in real life though. Why was she working at the abattoir at all? Dalton is convinced the girl has become the victim of some crazed fan or someone who disapproves of her online videos. Then something gruesome is found in the abattoir, which proves she has a right to be concerned about Violet.

It's a police procedural with a ghostly vibe.

Sometimes the story seemed to be a little bogged down by all the pigs, muck and farming. It takes a while to get to the grit beneath the whole first layer of the plot, although it does form the basis for a lesson on ethical animal farming.

I would really like to delve into the ending and core of the story, alas it would give the whole thing away. What I will say is that Watkins gives this quite a dark tone and unfortunately also one that has roots in reality. What is done really well is a subtle feeling of menace that flows through the story, but is almost imperceptible. Watkins draws eyes away from what is really going on - a bit like making a lot of noise so you look in the other direction.

Buy Cut to the Bone (DI Meg Dalton Thriller #3) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ pub date 25 June 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Waterstones.

Read my review The Devil's Dice by Roz Watkins

Friday 19 June 2020

#BlogTour #Audiobook Little Whispers by K.L. Slater

Today it's my turn on the Blogtour Little Whispers by K.L. Slater.

Released in audio on 21st May 2020, Little Whispers will be narrated by prolific audio narrator, Lucy Price-Lewis, who has narrated ten of Slater’s previous novels on Audible, in addition to voicing over 100 audiobooks, including thrillers by Lynda La Plante, Leigh Russell and Malorie Blackman. Little Whispers is published in print on the same date by Bookouture, and the audiobook is available to order on Audible here: Little Whispers at Audible Uk

Little Whispers follows the release of Slater’s audio-first novel, The Apartment, on Audible in 2019.

About the Author
For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents and collected an impressive stack of rejection slips. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating in 2012, she gained literary agent representation and a book deal. As Kim says, ‘it was a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’ Kim is a full-time writer and lives in Nottinghamshire with her husband.

Follow @KimLSlater on Twitteron Goodreads,  Visit, Buy Little Whispers

About the book
When Janey Markham moves to the smartest address in a suburban town, full of gossipy local mothers, she’s delighted when she meets Tanya, the kind of woman Janey has always looked up to. As Janey and Tanya grow closer, Janey feels she can finally leave her troubled past behind. But then everything changes…

In a weak moment over a bottle of wine, Janey finds herself telling Tanya her most shocking secret. And when Janey witnesses something that makes her suspect Tanya’s daughter, Angel, of being involved in a murder, Tanya threatens to make sure that her Janey’s dark secret gets out. Janey faces an impossible choice. Stay quiet about what she saw. Or speak up, and destroy the family she has worked so hard to protect…

Janey is two sheets to the wind when she tells Tanya her secret. She doesn't expect to end up in a situation where she uses it as an effective way to silence her. She might have been more careful, but hey the booze and the fact she feels vulnerable and in over her head in her new neighbourhood. She feels like the poor relative in a community full of rich people.

It's a nice little moral dilemma. You tell someone your darkest secret in a vulnerable moment, perhaps in an attempt to bond with that person. Then you see the daughter of your friend potentially take part in a crime, but can't say anything, because your secret has made you a target for blackmail. What do you do? Risk your secret coming out or keep stumm about the potential criminal? What say you?

It's a domestic thriller with an intriguing premise. Questioning the loyalty of people in general and whether you ever really should trust anyone with your most treasured secrets. There will always be a possibility that someone will reveal it. As sad as it is I always tell my kids to only ever tell people things they would be happy to hear about themselves through the grapevine of the gossip mill, because people who keep secrets forever is a bit like finding a unicorn. Someone always tells and deathbed confessions are very popular.

Slater takes a common scenario of anxiety and trying to fit in, and turns it into the kind of read you can both relate to and find yourself shaking your head at whilst reading.

Buy Little Whispers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bookouture; pub date 21 May 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Listening Length - 9 hours and 18 minutes, Author - K. L. Slater, Narrator - Lucy Price-Lewis, Whispersync for Voice - Ready, Release Date - 21 May 2020, Publisher -Audible Studios, Program Type - Audiobook, Version - Unabridged, Language - English,

#BlogTour The Old Girls Network by Judy Leigh

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Old Girls Network by Judy Leigh.
About the Author
Judy Leigh is the bestselling author of Five French Hens, A Grand Old Time and The Age of Misadventure and the doyenne of the ‘it’s never too late’ genre of women’s fiction. She has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset. Click here to sign up to Judy's newsletter

Follow @judyleighwriter on Twitter,  on Amazon, on Facebook, on Bookbub, on Goodreads, Visit judyleigh.comBuy The Old Girls Network

About the book
Is it ever too late to change…
After a health scare, 77 year-old spinster Barbara goes to convalesce in the sleepy Somerset village of Winsleigh Green with her sister Pauline, who is now a widow. The sisters are like chalk and cheese - Barbara, outspoken and aloof and Pauline, good natured and homely – so it’s not long before the tension starts to rise.

But when Pauline accidentally knocks down a vagrant who goes by the name of Bisto Mulligan, the ladies find themselves with another houseguest. As he recovers, it becomes apparent that Bisto is not who he first seemed, and as the sisters get to know the kind and courageous man he really is, it’s clear Bisto has the potential to change both of their lives.

As the spring turns to summer, and Winsleigh Green comes to life, can the three friends make the changes they need to, to embrace fresh starts, new loves, new lives and new horizons. Or do old habits die too hard?

When Barbara goes to stay with her widowed sister Pauline to recover from some medical issues, it isn't exactly what either of them want. Well one expects it and the other accepts it reluctantly. It doesn't take very long for the differences between the two to create tension.

Everything changes when Pauline accidentally knocks over a man called Bisto. She invites him to stay until he is better and it is fair to say that his presence changes all three lives.

It's a cosy read with mature characters. A feel good have a chuckle and comfortable read.

I do believe Leigh has found a bit of a niche when it comes to writing about women of a certain mature age bracket and relationships, love and life. I think everyone assumes life grinds to a halt for women above sixty - I want to say fifty really because I am convinced the majority believes it is all downhill from that point.

Of course nobody thinks of men in the same way. They become grey foxes and mature wise gurus of the less youthful stage of life. Those who aren't trying to desperately recapture their youth with a cabriolet, a daughter-wife and a new outlook on life. Women however just become old.

It's refreshing to read characters that blow away all of these presumptions and misconceptions. I also enjoyed the way Leigh created the chalk and cheese sisters - oh my gosh, tell me about it. The way each of their lives has been completely different and how the relationship between the two has a imbalance when it comes to power. Old habits die hard and often follow us into adulthood.

Buy The Old Girls Network at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Boldwood Books; pub date 16 Jun. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Audiobook: Unbroken by Madeleine Black

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Unbroken: One Woman's Journey to Rebuild a Life Shattered by Violence. A True Story of Survival and Hope by Madeleine Black. I reviewed the Audiobook version of Unbroken.
About the Author
The sharing of her story on The Forgiveness Project's website in September 2014, opened many doors for Madeleine in ways she never imagined and the invitations started to pour in.
She has taken part in both TV and radio interviews and has been invited to share her story at conferences, events and schools.

She recognises that she was a victim of a crime that left her silent for many years, but has now found her voice and intends to use it. Not just for her, but for so many who can't find theirs yet.
She is married and lives in Glasgow with her husband, three daughters, her cat, Suki, and dog, Alfie.

Follow @madblack65 on Twitter, on Amazon, on Goodreads, Visit Unbroken

About the book
For many years after that night, my memories of what happened after he held the blade to my throat and threatened my life were fragmented... difficult to piece together. It was too extreme, too violent for me to understand.

Violently gang-raped when she was thirteen years old, and raped three more times before the age of eighteen, Madeleine has experienced more trauma in her life than most ever will.

Living in a state of shock and self-loathing, it took her years of struggle to confront the buried memories of that first attack and begin to undo the damage it wrought, as men continued to take advantage of her fragility in the worst possible way.

Yet, after growing up with a burden no teenager should ever have to shoulder, she found the heart to carry out the best revenge plan of all: leading a fulfilling and happy life. But the road to piecing her life back together was long and painful. For Madeleine, forgiveness was the key. True forgiveness takes genuine effort. It takes a real desire to understand those who have done us so much harm. It is the ultimate act of courage.

In Unbroken, Madeleine tells her deeply moving and empowering story, as she discovers that life is about how a person chooses to recover from adversity. We are not defined by what knocks us down - we are defined by how we get back up.

This is an autobiographical account of Madeleine Black's path to reveal a secret so traumatic it determined the way she acted and felt about herself, which in turn made others react differently to her. That's not counting the many who were influenced by the malicious rumour mill started in an attempt to discredit a victim who  could potentially come forward and tell everyone the truth.

Gang rape becomes a consensual rough sexual experience with a girl who has no moral compass. See how that works when the perpetrator is given a voice.

Although it's at the very beginning of the audiobook for me one of the most poignant parts of this story is the way Madeleine has given a voice to so many by being courageous enough to break those heavy walls of silence she built around herself. The elderly woman in her eighties who heard her story and finally found the strength to tell her own daughter what had happened to her. That is the true power of this story.

By opening a door and starting a dialogue, despite the possible negative reactions she could have received, unfortunately the world of social media can be a jaded and cruel minefield, she opens doors for others too.

Given the era of #MeToo many victims have come forward to tell their tales of sexual abuse, assault, molestation, harassment and rape, because they feel it's safer to do so and that it is time for change. Imagine all the stories that remain untold. The secrets that will go to the grave with many who are unable to penetrate the wall built with shame, guilt and fear. This is exactly why stories like this are so important and women like Madeleine are too - they pave the way for others.

I think it's also important to note her involvement in the Forgiveness Project - a charity that helps victims and perpetrators explore forgiveness in relation to crime and violence. If it helps people to move beyond their trauma and be at peace with themselves or others then it's a positive thing. It won't be the path everyone chooses though.

It's a brutally honest account. Black doesn't pull any punches or make it warm and fluffy for the more sensitive, and that's a good thing. Some things need to be presented and told exactly they way they are and they way they were experienced.

Buy Unbroken at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: John Blake Publishing Ltd; pub date 4 April 2017. Buy at Amazon com.

Listening Length - 7 hours and 13 minutes, Author - Madeleine Black, Narrator - Madeleine Black, Henrietta Meire, Whispersync for Voice - Ready, Release Date - 17 April 2020, Publisher - Dreamscape Media LLC, Program Type - Audiobook, Version - Unabridged,  Language - English.

Thursday 18 June 2020

#BlogTour Daughters of Cornwall by Fern Britton

Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Daughters of Cornwall by Fern Britton.
About the Author
Fern Britton is the highly acclaimed author of eight Sunday Times bestselling novels.

Born in London, into a theatrical family, Fern started her professional life as a stage manager. Theatre life was great fun but within three years, in 1980, she graduated to television and became a presenter on Westward Television. Here she achieved her ambition of living in Cornwall. Since then television has been her home. She spent 14 years as a journalist before presenting Ready, Steady, Cook for the BBC. This Morning for ITV came next where she won several awards and became a household name.

Her interview programme Fern Britton Meets had guests including Tony Blair, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dolly Parton and Cliff Richard. Fern presented The Big Allotment Challenge (BBC2), For What It’s Worth (BBC1), Culinary Genius with Gordon Ramsay (ITV)

Fern’s novels are all set in her beloved Cornwall. Her books are cherished for their warmth, wit and wisdom, and have won her legions of loyal readers. Fern was a judge for the Costa Book of the Year Award and a supporter of the Reading Agency, promoting literacy and reading.

Fern turned her talents to acting last year when she starred as Marie in Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s award-winning musical Calendar Girls.

Fern has twin sons, two daughters and lives in Cornwall in a house full of good food, wine, family, friends and gardening books. She has a motor cycle licence, an honorary doctorate for services to broadcasting and charity, and is a member of Mensa!

About the book
The Great War is over, and Clara Carter has boarded a train bound for Cornwall – to meet a family that would once have been hers. But they must never discover her secret…

Hannah has always been curious about her mother’s mysterious past, but the outbreak of the Second World War casts everything in a new light. As the bombs begin to fall, Hannah and her brothers are determined to do their bit for the war effort – whatever the cost.

Caroline has long been the keeper of her family’s secrets. But now, with her own daughter needing her more than ever, it’s time to tell the truth – to show Natalie that she comes from a long line of women who have weathered the storms of life, as hardy and proud as the rugged Cornish coastline…

This story has multiple narrators and takes place over various timelines. Clara just after the Great War - the war to end all wars. Hannah just before the start of the Second World War and Caroline in this era. Clara, Hannah and Caroline all have something in common. They are either keepers of secrets or women who suffer the repercussions of them.

I enjoyed the whole Caroline and the trunk part of the story. It's very much like finding hidden treasures and secrets when someone you know really well passes away. It just shows you how little we really know about each other when all is said and done.

What Britton does brilliantly is weave her own emotional burdens from her secret keepers into her characters. It gives the characters and the story an air of authenticity, but perhaps it wouldn't be remiss to think of it in a different way entirely. Her own story is like a dramatic fictional setting for a novel and this book gives both the forgotten and the silent voices an opportunity to be heard and finally acknowledged.

I think it's important to remember the stigma attached to Clara's predicament in 1918. There wouldn't really have been much choice, whereas nowadays it is the norm. Many women have moved forward with that kind of secret. I think it's fair to say it changes the person in question, perhaps not everyone in the same way though. For me the other side of the equation is the one left behind in all of this secret keeping. It's a moving story about family and secrets that have been passed on or simply forgotten over the years.

Buy Daughters of Cornwall at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher:  HarperCollins pub date 11th June 2020| £12.99 | Hardback. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Waterstones.

#BlogTour To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan

Today it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan.
About the Author
Gilly Macmillan is the New York Times bestselling and Edgar-nominated author of What She Knew (also published as Burnt Paper Sky), The Perfect Girl and Odd Child Out. Gilly grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and lived in Northern California in her late teens. She studied history and worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery in London before starting a family. Gilly has since worked as a photography teacher and she now writes full time. She lives in Bristol with her family.

Follow @GillyMacmillan and @arrowpublishing on Twitter, on Amazon, on Goodreadson Facebook, Visit gillymacmillan.comBuy To Tell You the Truth

About the book
Lucy Harper has a talent for invention…

She is an exceptionally successful writer whose obsessive readers hound her for every book. But the pressure is extreme. And it’s not just the pressure of finishing her next novel. Years ago when she was a child, Lucy’s little brother went missing and he has never been found. Many people think Lucy was responsible for his disappearance. Lucy herself can’t bear to think about it.

Writing a thriller a year is demanding and Lucy depends on her husband Dan to take care of everything in her life. But Lucy finds herself in a real police drama when Dan goes missing. The evidence points to her. And it isn’t the first time someone’s vanished in Lucy’s orbit.

Did she kill her husband? Would she remember if she did? Is she even capable of telling the truth?

Lucy has decided to do the unthinkable when it comes to having a book character who generates both income and lots of interest. She has written what she wants, as opposed to what everyone else demands, including her personal assistant and husband. Both the same person by the way.

It doesn't take too long for Dan to become the husband everyone thinks is a privileged tosspot living off the money his best-selling author wife brings in. The sympathy vote swings towards Lucy, well I say that but in reality her past is so dark it's a case of glass houses. Dan springs an unpleasant surprise on her and she ends up back where all her nightmares began.

I really enjoyed Lucy and Eliza. Forget about the irritating husband - these two know how to steal a scene. I can't decide whether I really need to know the truth or just admire the author for leaving the status quo as it is. Black hole with plenty of unpleasant possibilities - both cruel and brilliant at the same time.

Macmillan really knocks it out of the ballpark with this read. The way the two are connected via storylines, memories and in real time. The crime is secondary to the often insidious and manipulative nature of the relationship between Lucy and Eliza. Absolutely fascinating, which I would love to go into more detail about, but I think readers should discover this duo for themselves.

It's a riveting psychological thriller - Macmillan at her best.

Buy To Tell You the Truth at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Century: pub date 25 June 2020. Buy at Amazon com.