Tuesday 31 August 2021

#BlogTour What Lies Buried by Kerry Daynes

It's my turn on the BlogTour What Lies Buried by Kerry Daynes

About the Author

Kerry Daynes is a registered Consultant Forensic Psychologist with over twenty years' experience of working on the frontline of forensic psychology. She was often invited to act as psychological specialist in major police investigations and as a trusted advisor to the British government regarding the safe management of high-risk individuals. 

Part of her day job still involves acting as an expert witness in court, for parole boards and training the police. But rather than feeling compromised and frustrated within the system, she now spends the majority of her time trying to affect change from the outside - as an engaging speaker and as an advocate for better conversations around crime, justice and mental health. She is a patron of the National Centre for Domestic Violence and Talking2Minds and, as a victim of stalking herself, acts as a spokeswoman for the Suzy Lamplugh Trust's stalking related campaigns.

Kerry is the person the TV networks turn to for expert commentary. Highly respected and known for her knowledgeable but personable delivery and sparky personality, she has contributed to numerous high-profile documentaries. These have been shown on BBC, ITV, C5, The History Channel, Discovery, CBS Reality, The Crime & Investigation Network, BBC International and more. She is also 'The Profiler' in the award-nominated series Faking It.

Follow @KerryDaynes on Twitter, on Facebookon Amazonon Goodreads, Visit kerrydaynes.online

About the book

Kerry Daynes, leading forensic psychologist, takes us into the murky world of psychological investigation to uncover what lies buried. Each of her clients is classed as a 'mentally disordered criminal offender' whose psychological problems have contributed to them breaking the law.

Whether she is dealing with a young murderer who says he has heard voices telling him to kill, a teacher who daubs children in red paint and threatens to abduct them, or an aspiring serial killer who faints at the sight of blood, Kerry's quest is to delve beyond the classic question asked of forensic psychologists: 'Are they mad or are they bad?'

In her new book, Kerry provides an unflinching, enlightening and provocative insight into the minds of her clients, shedding light on the root causes of their behaviour.


Daynes shines a really bright light on the glaring inadequacies of the justice system, especially when it comes to femicide. The provocation angle seems to be lopsided - oh wait let me rephrase that - it is stacked against women and for men, which is yet another product of a patriarchal society. The hard fought for change in legislation still isn't adequate enough when the systemic abuse and violation of one gender is ingrained and excused in equal measures in our society.

The truth is that despite changes there are real failings in the system when it comes to violence and abuse against women and children. There can be no real justice if perpetrators are getting slaps on the wrist and go on to reoffend, especially when there is scope for defense in the form of victim blaming. 

I enjoyed The Dark Side of the Mind, but I thought this one really hit a nerve. It made me feel powerless and angry all at the same time - it is a compelling read. I agree that the narrative surrounding mental health has to change, the way health professionals view, deal with, diagnose and engage with mental health. Including rephrasing and perhaps embracing new terminology. I can't wait for the next book, Daynes lifts the veil on a world hidden beneath many misconceptions.

Buy What Lies Buried at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Endeavour pub date 19 Aug. 2021‎. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Raiders of the Hidden Ark: The Story of the Parker Expedition to Jerusalem by Graham Addison

It's my turn on the BlogTour Raiders of the Hidden Ark by Graham Addison .

About the Author

Graham Addison - BIO: My first love is history, which is what I obtained my degree in from Leeds University. I am married with two children, who are no longer children, have lived in Scotland and France and now reside in Berkshire in the south of England.

History may be my first love but I have spent the last thirty-five years helping create the modern world. If you love the world of mobile communications, personal computing, spreadsheets, instantly being able to search for any answer in the world and online financial transactions then I played a small part in its creation. If you hate a world in which people spent all their time on their phones, can't be bothered to remember anything because they can always look it up, you are asked to fill in yet another spreadsheet and can't deal with an individual because you are always dealing with a computer then I am sorry, it wasn't all my fault.

A few years ago I decided that wanted to do something different. I came back to my first love and have now written a book, which seeks to shed new flight on an almost forgotten episode. I hope you will enjoy it. Follow @GrahamAddison7 on Twitter, Visit www.grahamaddison.com

About the book

The mystery surrounding the Ark of the Covenant’s location is among the world’s greatest and most enduring. One of the Bible’s most sacred and powerful objects has not been seen for over 2,500 years. The missing Ark has inspired many quests and even a famous film.

Perhaps the most remarkable of the quests to find the Ark is the Parker expedition. Its story seems stranger than fiction and includes aristocrats, poets, psychics, secret cyphers in the Bible, a deadly curse, bribery, gun-running, riots, and madness. It sounds unbelievable but the Parker expedition is real. Rudyard Kipling, who knew several expedition members, wrote ‘Talk of fiction! Fiction isn’t in it’.

Previously untold in English in its entirety, Graham Addison has uncovered many new details during his research. He skilfully weaves these together in the amazing story of the individuals who sailed on a private yacht bound for Jerusalem in 1909 to retrieve the Ark. He examines who the adventurers were, why they went, what really happened while they were in Jerusalem and what happened to them afterwards.


This is the story of the Parker Expedition, an expedition mounted by a peculiar bunch, who weren't experts per se, but certainly enthusiastic and meticulous in their attempt to find the Ark of the Covenant. From the research, the motives, the dismissive attitude towards the looting of antiquities and the historical importance and legacy of said research - the author covers it all.

I was sceptical about this read in a sense that I thought it would be a tale of religious zealots or passionate historians trying to find a mythical boat. Even now the tale of the Ark inspires many for a multitude of reasons, often spiritual and of course there is the element of infamy plus possible financial gains.

It's exactly those reasons for the Parker Expedition that the author goes into in details. I can honestly say by the end that Addison had drawn me in hook, line and sinker. I do love a well-researched venture into history, especially when the object in question holds such power in religion, and yet the author gives facts without playing into the aspect of religion other than written references left throughout history.

I found the political and historical implications of the Parker Expedition absolutely fascinating - certainly in regards to the last few decades. Follow the money couldn't be any more accurate, and of course why said money sources have an invested interest in this particular hotbed area of contention.

Buy Raiders of the Hidden Ark at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Edgcumbe Press pub date 13 Aug. 2021. Buy at Amazon com

#Blogtour The Olive Grove by Eva Glyn

It's my turn on the BlogTour The Olive Grove by Eva Glyn. The Olive Grove will be published by One More Chapter in ebook and audiobook on 3rd September and in paperback on 25th November.

About the Author

Eva Glyn writes emotional women’s fiction inspired by beautiful places and the stories they hide. She loves to travel, but finds inspiration can strike just as well at home or abroad.

She cut her teeth on just about every kind of writing (radio journalism, advertising copy, PR, and even freelance cricket reporting) before finally completing a full length novel in her forties. Four lengthy and completely unpublishable tomes later she found herself sitting on an enormous polystyrene book under the TV lights of the Alan Titchmarsh Show as a finalist in the People’s Novelist competition sponsored by Harper Collins. Although losing out to a far better writer, the positive feedback from the judges gave her the confidence to pursue her dreams.

Eva lives in Cornwall, although she considers herself Welsh, and has been lucky enough to have been married to the love of her life for twenty-five years. She also writes as Jane Cable.

Bibliography: The Missing Pieces of Us (One More Chapter, 2021), The Olive Grove (One More Chapter, 2021)

Follow @JaneCable on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Visit evaglynauthor.com

About the book

An English woman searching for a different future. A man desperate to escape his war-ravaged past. Can these two find what they are looking for on the beautiful Croatian island of Korčula? 

Antonia Butler is on the brink of a life-changing decision and a job advert looking for a multilingual housekeeper at a beautifully renovated Croatian farmhouse, Vila Maslina, is one she can’t ignore.

Arriving on the tiny picturesque island of Korčula, Antonia feels a spark of hope for the first time in a long time. This is a chance to leave the past behind.

But this island, and its inhabitants, have secrets of their own and a not-too-distant past steeped in tragedy and war. None more so than Vila Maslina’s enigmatic owner Damir Maric. A young man with nothing to lose but everything to gain…


Antonia throws all her eggs into one basket to embark on a risky new venture. She doesn't expect to encounter a man with vision who is also someone burdened by the past - to the point of shutting down at times.

Kudos to Glyn for weaving a tragedy of the 20th century into this contemporary read, which tends to be glossed over and buried beneath the rubble of so many other atrocities and tragic events. Make no mistake this was a war of cruelty and proof of the base nature of the human species. It also changed the landscape of Yugoslavia forever.

The author makes a valid and interesting point during the story about the way people who live in war-torn countries or places that are frequently targets of violence and/or terrorism - they become almost desensitized to the violence. They go about their days as if everything is normal, whilst often being  eaten alive by inner fear, anxiety and PTSD.

Saying that, I think the aforementioned was at the core of this story and the fact the factions still exhibited hatred and blame towards each other after the end of the conflict, hence the decision made by the surrogate mother figure in this story. It's a story about having belief in yourself and following your dreams, however it is also an important reminder of events that should never have happened and the world should have intervened in properly.

It may have a serious undertone, but the story also does due diligence to the beautiful country and surroundings. Simultaneously it's also a tale of two people helping each other to grow, evolve and  discover the world they have each kept at a distance in their own way. 

Buy The Olive Grove at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎One More Chapter pub date 3 Sept. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Thursday 26 August 2021

#BlogTour Deep Cover by Leigh Russell

 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Deep Cover by Leigh Russell.

About the Author

Leigh Russell is the author of the Ian Peterson series (Cold Sacrifice, Race to Death and Blood Axe) and the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi, Class Murder, Death Rope, Rogue Killer, Deathly Affair and Deadly Revenge.

The series has sold over a million copies worldwide. Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA),John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People's Book Prize. Leigh is chair of the CWA's Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London. Follow @LeighRussell on Twitter, Visit leighrussell.co.uk

About the book

When a sex worker dies in suspicious circumstances in York, Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel struggles to remain focused on the murder investigation. She is distracted by her worries about her colleague and life partner, Ian Peterson, who has disappeared. Geraldine becomes close to her colleague, Matthew. She is unaware that Ian is working under cover in London, helping to identify a criminal gang who have been targeting Geraldine. As a second victim is discovered in York, Ian’s life is threatened by a psychopath. If he fails in his mission, both he and Geraldine may die...


In this 16th installment of the DI Geraldine Steel series, the two main characters go in two different directions to combat crime in their own way. Their relationship has hit a snag, although it's fair to say one of them is both more aware and dealing with it with more finality than the other.

Is that why Ian has  more or less disappeared into an avenue of police work that ensures isolation and lack of contact to Geraldine, whereas she is confused by the aforementioned. In fact Geraldine thinks there is something wrong and finds it hard to concentrate on the killer who has a penchant for prostitutes.

In a police procedural of such longevity it's important to shake the status quo up now and again to keep readers engaged, even if that means driving a wedge between two favourite characters. In this case they are quite literally so separate that it's often like reading two crime stories in one. The question is where does the series go from here?  Does Steel need new challenges and a new character to bounce off and interact with? I'm sure the author won't disappoint.

Buy Deep Cover at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎No Exit Press pub date 24 Aug. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Wednesday 25 August 2021

#BlogTour The Gathering Storm by Alan Jones

 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Gathering Storm by Alan Jones.

About the Author

Alan Jones is a Scottish author with three gritty crime stories to his name, the first two set in Glasgow, the third one based in London. He has now switched genres, and his WW2 trilogy will be published in August 2021. It is a Holocaust story set in Northern Germany. He is married with four grown up children and four wonderful grandchildren.

He has recently retired as a mixed-practice vet in a small Scottish coastal town in Ayrshire and is one of the RNLI volunteer coxswains on the local lifeboat. He makes furniture in his spare time, and maintains and sails a 45-year-old yacht in the Irish Sea and on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. He loves reading, watching films and cooking. He still plays football despite being just the wrong side of sixty.

His crime novels are not for the faint-hearted, with some strong language, violence, and various degrees of sexual content. The first two books also contain a fair smattering of Glasgow slang.

He is one of the few self-published authors to be given a panel at Bloody Scotland and has done two pop-up book launches at the festival in Stirling. He has spent the last five years researching and writing the Sturmtaucher Trilogy. Follow @alanjonesbooks on Twitter, Visit alanjonesbooks.co.uk

About the book

Book 1 in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy: a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.

‘Kiel, Northern Germany, 1933. A naval city, the base for the German Baltic fleet, and the centre for German sailing, the venue for the upcoming Olympic regatta in 1936.

The Kästners, a prominent Military family, are part of the fabric of the city, and its social, naval and yachting circles. The Nussbaums are the second generation of their family to be in service with the Kästners as domestic staff, but the two households have a closer bond than most.

As Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party claw their way to power in 1933, life has never looked better for families like the Kästners. There is only one problem. The Nussbaums are Jews.

The Sturmtaucher Trilogy documents the devastating effect on both families of the Nazis’ hateful ideology and the insidious erosion of the rights of Germany's Jews. When Germany descends ever deeper into dictatorship, General Erich Kästner tries desperately to protect his employees, and to spirit them to safety.

As the country tears itself apart, the darkness which envelops a nation threatens not only to destroy two families, but to plunge an entire continent into war.’


There is nothing that unusual about the way the Nussbaum and Kaestner family live, work and interact with each other. A German Jewish family and what would have been known as a pure Aryan German family. In the 1930s the hatred, discrimination and the political encroachment of the Nazi's was well underway.

Aside from showing the cracks that appear in the once united families, the author also does an excellent job of showing the way the military and the lurking dictatorship bat heads to then be consumed by the illogical and insidious ideology. On top of that the military strategy used to take one European country after the other flows quietly throughout the story.

It's an ambitious start to this historical fiction trilogy, which is certainly an in-depth study of fact combined with a enough fiction to fill in the blanks and create a fascinating read. Jones has clearly spent a lot of time researching the historical aspects of this period in German history and the maps, references and added information enhance the read.

I think it could have been shorter, however I embrace both the magnum opus aspect of the trilogy, and the fact the author wants to give due diligence to all the details surrounding the tragedy of the Holocaust, World War 2 and indeed 20th century history. Instead of concentrating on Ground Zero he draws the connections, consequences and cause and effect leading up to it, whilst keeping the read on a personal level by telling the story of a family directly impacted by all of the aforementioned.

Buy The Gathering Storm at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Ailsa Publishing pub date 19 Aug. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday 24 August 2021

#BlogTour A Mother Never Lies by Sarah Clarke

 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Mother Never Lies by Sarah Clarke.

About the Author

Sarah Clarke is a copywriter and lives in London, UK. In 2018 she enrolled on a course with Faber Academy and fell in love with fiction, particularly the dark and twisty kind. A Mother Never Lies - out in August 2021 - is Sarah’s debut novel. Her second psychological thriller will publish in February 2022.

Follow @scwwriter On Twitter, Visit sarahclarkeauthor.com and linktr.ee/sarahclarkewriter

About the book

Some Truths Can't Be Told. I had the perfect life – a nice house, a loving husband, a beautiful little boy. But in one devastating night, they were all ripped from me.

It's been fourteen years, and I’m finally ready to face the past. I’m taking my son back. He just can’t know who I am…or why we were torn apart.


Phoebe is searching, albeit in secret, for the person who means the most to her - her son. He was taken from her, there is no way she would willingly give up her greatest treasure. Even years later her family, the state and everyone else are convinced the two of them should be kept apart.

Phoebe is an interesting character, one who will probably divide opinions. Is she someone who refuses to acknowledge the past and her accountability, especially when it comes to her son. At the same time there is also the Phoebe who has experienced trauma, anxiety and is a victim of her own dysfunctional and neglectful childhood.

The two sides often collide, which then leads to the division. Nature vs nurture plays a major role in this premise. Born evil - inclined to certain behaviour or raised to respond to certain stimuli with specific behaviour? And more importantly if it has a genetic component is that why Ben lacks impulse control and has anger issues.

This is a really compelling domestic thriller with a psychological component. Clarke balances the story well by straddling the grey areas of this premise - some things are neither white nor black. Life is unpredictable and messy, and the victims of an inadequate system will often fall through the cracks. Everyone believes they are making the right choice for their loved ones or are they?

Buy A Mother Never Lies at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎HQ Digital pub 27 Aug. 2021. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Waterstones

Saturday 21 August 2021

#Review A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz

Another great read in the Hawthorne and Horowitz series!

About the Author

The author of the bestselling teen spy series. Alex Rider, Anthony Horowitz is also responsible for creating and writing some of the UK's most loved and successful TV series including Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War.

He has also written two highly acclaimed Sherlock Holmes novels, The House of Silk and Moriarty, two James Bond novels, Trigger Mortis and Forever And a Day, and two bestselling crime novels, The Word is Murder and The Sentence is Death, starring Detective Daniel Hawthorne. A Line to Kill is the third in the Daniel Hawthorne series.

In 2016 he wrote Magpie Murders, which became a bestseller around the world, and was the recipient of eight literary awards in Japan. Moonflower Murders, published in August 2020 continued the story. Follow @AnthonyHorowitz on Twitter, Visit anthonyhorowitz.com

About the book 

There has never been a murder on the island of Alderney. But as writers gather for a brand new literary festival a killer lies in wait. An island full of secrets is about to become an island full of suspects...

Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne and the writer, Anthony Horowitz have been invited to the festival to talk about their new book. Very soon they discover that dark forces are at work. Alderney is in turmoil over a planned power line that will cut through it, desecrating a war cemetery and turning neighbour against neighbour. And the visiting authors - including a blind medium, a French performance poet and a celebrity chef - seem to be harbouring any number of unpleasant secrets.

When the festival's wealthy sponsor is found brutally murdered, Alderney goes into lockdown and Hawthorne knows he doesn't have to look too far for suspects. There's no escape. The killer is on the island. And there's about to be a second death...


They do make an excellent sleuthing duo these two. The reluctant, slightly bumbling Horowitz who is almost always in a state of disbelief at the situations he finds himself in, and the all-knowing, brusque, secretive, but very self-assured and slightly arrogant Hawthorne.

Horowitz is never quite sure who has the upper hand in their relationship, especially because Hawthorne seems to have taken over the area of the author's own expertise. Apparently the two of them are heading to a literary festival on Alderney to promote their new book.

Then murder most wicked happens. Does it have anything to do with the contentious plans for a power line or does it have something to do with the past? 

I do so love this series, the only thing that would make it better would be a visual televised representation of Hawthorne and Horowitz. Hmm, I wonder if Horowitz should play himself? And who would make a great Hawthorne? Absolutely food for thought. Whilst readers wait for that to happen let's hope we get more books in this series.

Buy A Line to Kill at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Century: pub date 19 August 2021- Hardback £20. Buy at Amazon com. Order via Penguin

Friday 20 August 2021

#BlogTour Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian

 It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian - *Soon to be a TV series produced by Mindy Kaling*

About the Author

A Paul and Daisy Soros fellow, Sanjena Sathian is a 2019 graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She has worked as a reporter in Mumbai and San Francisco, with nonfiction bylines for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Food & Wine, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, and more. And her award-winning short fiction has been published in Boulevard, Joyland, Salt Hill, and The Master's Review. Follow @sanjenasathian on Twitter, Visit sanjena.com

About the book

Neil Narayan's parents moved to America for a better life, and his perfect older sister is now headed to an elite university. Neil is funny and smart, but he is not living up to his parents' dream. While he tries to want their version of success, mostly, Neil just wants his neighbour across the street, Anita Dayal.

Once a lot like Neil, Anita is truly thriving academically, athletically and socially. Anita has a secret: she and her mother Anjali have been brewing an ancient alchemical potion from stolen gold that harnesses the ambition of the jewellery's original owner. Anita just needs a little boost to get into Harvard. When Neil - who needs a whole lot more - stumbles onto their secret and joins in the plot, events spiral into a tragedy that rips their community apart.

Ten years later, Neil is an oft-stoned history grad student studying the California gold rush. Anita has given up her high-flying tech career and is working as an event planner, just for now. Anjali, the woman who gave them both so much, is in trouble, and only gold can save her. What choice do Anita and Neil have but to pull off one last heist?


I loved the whole alchemy and magical realism aspect of this story and the way history, colonialism, racism is the beginning and the ghosts of the past are the companion at the end. Achievement, success can hardly be differentiated between greed and wealth, which is often synonymous with the word success.

I guess it depends on frame of reference, because although I found this an incredibly intriguing read with vast depth - I didn't find it funny or amusing. Instead I couldn't help but feel the enormity of the pressure put on these children, young women and men, to achieve and adhere to rules and the expectations of their families and the society they are born into.

What a heavy burden to carry, perhaps one that could make certain people crumble and bend with the weight. What if the burden could be lifted by an advantage? That's the crux at the core of this story. Are Neil and Anita merely doing what they can to lessen the burden by achieving whatever they set their minds to by stealing the talents, the futures, the mojo of others - or is this just pure and simple greed.

It's a read steeped in culture, history, myth and magical realism. Sathian certainly has her finger on the pulse of the inner workings of the culture embedded in this read and is a great storyteller to boot. This is the kind of multi-layered story that delivers no matter which thread you follow or relate to the most.

Buy Gold Diggers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Simon & Schuster Uk; pub date 19 August 2021 -Hardback - £14.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Thursday 19 August 2021

#BlogTour The Spanish House by Cherry Radford

 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Spanish House by Cherry Radford.

About the Author

Cherry Radford has been a keyboard player in a band, piano teacher at the Royal Ballet School and a post-doctoral scientist at London's Moorfield's Eye Hospital. She began her first novel in a coffee break at a scientific conference. She writes uplifting novels about identity, renewal and finding soulmate romance when you least expect it. 

Having inherited a love of Spain and its culture from her half-Spanish mother, all her novels have a Spanish connection or setting. The Spanish House is the first of three stories set in the starkly beautiful and unspoilt Cabo de Gata region of coastal Andalusia where she now lives. Se is married to a musician and has two sons. Follow @CherryRad on Twitter, Visit cherryradford.com

About the book

One bizarre to-do list to earn her inheritance. One Spanish summer. One huge family secret. Juliana makes a modest living as an 'ethnic' TV/film extra – even though the only connections with her Spanish heritage are her cacti, Spanish classes, and some confused memories of a Spanish mother she hasn't seen since she was seven.

When her beloved Uncle Arturo offers her the chance to discover her roots while housesitting his coastal home in a quiet corner of Andalusia, Juliana can't believe her luck. Especially when he reveals that the house will be hers if she fulfills ten life-enhancing 'Conditions' within 90 days.

Redecoration of the house and a visit to the old film studio where her mother used to sew costumes seem ridiculously simple tasks for such a wonderful reward. But little does Juliana realize that there are family secrets and inherited rivalries awaiting her in sunny Spain, and the condition that she has to 'get on with the neighbors' – who include a ruggedly handsome but moody artist – may be harder than she thinks.


Used to being little more than an extra on a movie set and a footnote in her own life, Juliana jumps at the strange proposal her uncle sends her. The opportunity to connect with her mother's Spanish roots, whilst doing a little refurbishment on her uncle's house. A house that could belong to her one day, but only if she fulfills a long list of very peculiar conditions.

The chance to retrace the steps of the mother who suddenly abandoned her is enough of a draw, and the feeling of being at 'home' in Spain is what ultimately seals the deal. What she doesn't expect is to have her life and expectations completely turned upside down.

This reminded me of The Summer House in Santorini by Parks/Gale in a sense that both authors have the ability to draw the reader into their surroundings with such clarity and reality. It's a gift to be able to convey the emotional connection someone has with a country or specific place with such accuracy. Clearly the only downside is the fact many readers, including myself, find themselves wanting to travel, live-in and experiences these places.

It's the perfect escapism read. It's a feel good read with plenty of laughter - the goat needs its own spin-off - and filled with family secrets. What's not to like? Oh, and what a wonderfully perfect ending.

Buy The Spanish House at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Aria; pub date 12 July 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday 17 August 2021

#BlogTour Fireborn: Twelve and the Frozen Forest by Aisling Fowler

 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Fireborn: Twelve and the Frozen Forest by Aisling Fowler.

About the Author

Aisling was born in 1985 and wishes that she had grown up in a magical, mountainous kingdom, but was actually raised in Surrey on a diet of books and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her early ‘adventure’ stories involved surprisingly little action and her first novel (3 pages long) was politely declined by publishers at age 11. 

After earning a BSc in Biology and working as a support worker and then a nurse, the idea for her debut novel, Fireborn, came to her as she moved back and forth between London and the US. Now based in Hackney, when she is not reading or writing, Aisling loves cooking and plotting adventures (for herself as well as her fictional characters). Fireborn will be published by HarperCollins in 2021.  Follow @fowler_aisling on Twitter 

About the book

Lyra. Lucy. Percy. Once in a generation, a hero emerges whose story enthralls readers worldwide.

Fireborn is an epic quest, perfect for fans of the His Dark Materials and The School for Good and Evil series, that will spin readers into a magical world like no other–and introduce them to an unforgettable new heroine named Twelve.

Ember is full of monsters. - Twelve gave up her name and identity to train in the art of hunting them–so she says. The truth is much more deadly: she trains to take revenge on those who took her family from her.

But when Twelve’s new home is attacked, she’ll find herself on an unexpected journey, where her hidden past is inescapably intertwined with her destiny–and the very fate of her world.


Twelve is one of many anonymous young people who, by no choice of their own, find themselves alone in the world and brought together to defend their world against the dark forces that seek to destroy them. Chaos and conflict are used to distract and deflect, as the enemy executes a plan to still a valuable weapon.

Twelve and her companions are forced to confront their fears and their truths. The truth they keep hidden from everyone in an attempt to achieve their own agenda. The question is what will happen when they are exposed. Will the pasts and people behind the anonymous identifiers still be part of a team when their true selves are revealed to each other.

That of course will be the make or break question when it comes defending the Hunters, the trainee Hunters and the Lodge. The world of Ember is one filled with monsters, magic, elemental power and betrayal.

Hopefully this is the first of many - I would really like to follow this often conflicted set of characters and their sidekicks. It promises to be the kind of series that creates new generations of readers.

Buy Fireborn: Twelve and the Frozen Forest at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks pub date 30 Sept. 2021. Buy at Amazon com

Monday 16 August 2021

#BlogTour Count the Ways by Joyce Maynard

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Count the Ways by Joyce Maynard.

About the Author

Joyce Maynard is the author of nine previous novels and five books of nonfiction, as well as the syndicated column, “Domestic Affairs.”

Her bestselling memoir, At Home in the World, has been translated into sixteen languages. Her novels To Die For and Labor Day were both adapted for film. Maynard currently makes her home in New Haven, Connecticut. Follow @joycemaynard on Twitter, Visit joycemaynard.com

About the book

In her most ambitious novel to date, New York Times bestselling author Joyce Maynard returns to the themes that are the hallmarks of her most acclaimed work in a mesmerizing story of a family—from the hopeful early days of young marriage to parenthood, divorce, and the costly aftermath that ripples through all their lives Eleanor and Cam meet at a crafts fair in Vermont in the early 1970s. 

She’s an artist and writer, he makes wooden bowls. Within four years they are parents to three children, two daughters and a redheaded son who fills his pockets with rocks, plays the violin and talks to God. To Eleanor, their New Hampshire farm provides everything she always wanted—summer nights watching Cam’s softball games, snow days by the fire and the annual tradition of making paper boats and cork people to launch in the brook every spring. If Eleanor and Cam don’t make love as often as they used to, they have something that matters more. Their family.

Then comes a terrible accident, caused by Cam’s negligence. Unable to forgive him, Eleanor is consumed by bitterness, losing herself in her life as a mother, while Cam finds solace with a new young partner.

Over the decades that follow, the five members of this fractured family make surprising discoveries and decisions that occasionally bring them together, and often tear them apart. Tracing the course of their lives—through the gender transition of one child and another’s choice to completely break with her mother—Joyce Maynard captures a family forced to confront essential, painful truths of its past, and find redemption in its darkest hours.

A story of holding on and learning to let go, Count the Ways is an achingly beautiful, poignant, and deeply compassionate novel of home, parenthood, love, and forgiveness.


I can imagine this story will resonate in a completely different way with readers, some will experience this as a tale of the complexities of love, relationships and family dynamics. To others it will be the autopsy of a marriage and of family life.

For me it didn't evoke feelings of love, nostalgia or understanding, but rather very much the opposite. When a relationship has borne the fruits of many years of intimacy, friendship, love, laughter and birth, slowly disintegrates into ashes made up of resentment and disillusionment - the result can be a harrowing picture. Often that picture is lopsided and misinformed, as it is here.

By protecting her children from the truth of their father, which is the correct, therapeutic and socially acceptable thing to do, you run the risk of being at the short end of the stick. History is then written to report of the angry, scorned woman. The woman who left without reason, and the woman who abandoned the status quo. the woman who causes all discontent and problems in the children of said divorce. How utterly unforgivable, which is mirrored in the way her friends and children treat her. I was angry for her. I know women like her who have sat on the truth for decades to protect the emotions of their children, only to be treated with contempt, whilst the husband and father is lifted up on a pedestal. She has a right to own her anger.

Perhaps the clearest image to emerge is the fact that once you have suckled, pampered, taught and raised your children into adulthood and they decide to treat you with disdain for whatever imagined or real ailment they might have or problem they encounter, then perhaps you have served your obligation to them. Indeed there seems to be a 21st century wave of parental blame that encompasses everything a person may feel or do. 

I really enjoyed it. I thought Maynard had her finger on the pulse of family, especially when it is redefined involuntarily. She paints an accurate picture of the gender inequality when it comes to being a parent, in situations of divorce and in romantic or sexual relationships as one veers beyond the younger years. It's an excellent read by an observant and skilled writer.  

Buy Count the Ways at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎William Morrow pub date 13 July 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Friday 13 August 2021

#BlogTour Clothes... and Other Things that Matter by Alexandra Shulman

 It's my turn on the BlogTour Clothes...and Other Things that Matter by Alexandra Shulman

About the Author

Alexandra Shulman is a journalist, consultant and commentator. She was Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue from 1992–2017, the magazine’s longest serving editor. She has been Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and is an honorary fellow of the University of the Arts. She won 2017 Periodical Publisher’s Association Editor’s Editor Award and The Drapers Award 2017 for Outstanding Contribution to Fashion. 

She is Vice President of The London Library and was awarded the CBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List. She has a weekly column in the Mail on Sunday, is a contributor to other national newspapers and has written two novels: Can We Still Be Friends? (2012) and The Parrots (2015). Inside Vogue: The Diary of My 100th Year was published by Fig Tree in October 2016 and sold more than 30,000 copies in hardback and paperback (Nielsen TCM). Alexandra was featured in a three-part primetime BBC series on Vogue’s centenary year in 2016. Follow @AShulman2 on Twitter, 

About the book 

In Clothes... and other things that matter, Alexandra Shulman delves into her own life to look at the emotions, ambitions, expectations and meanings behind the way we dress. From the bra to the bikini, the trench coat to trainers, the slip dress to the suit, she explores their meaning in women’s lives and how our wardrobes intersect with the larger world - the career ladder, motherhood, romance, sexual identity, ambition, failure, body image and celebrity.

By turns funny, refreshingly self-deprecating and often very moving, this startlingly honest memoir from the ex-Editor of British Vogue will encourage women of all ages to consider what their own clothes mean to them, the life they live in them and the stories they tell. Shulman explores the person our clothes allow us to be – and sometimes the person they turn us into.


Not sure how many other bookworms do this, but I often think about who I am going to recommend a book to, both during and after the read. For the majority of books it's not hard, and I love it when I can introduce someone to a genre or author they might not have ever considered reading. I think this book is more than just a lifetime of experiences or a history of fashion viewed through a leader and influencer in the world of clothes and fashion.

You can feel the awe, emotions and pride Shulman feels when she speaks about certain combinations, outfits, pieces and also accessories, such as bags and jewellery. Then she connects the aforementioned with our sense of self, being, our presence and statement to the world.

It made me think about my own relationship with clothes, which if I am quite honest has been two things - a way to define my individuality and my reluctance to conform to the norm and fashion trends has been a way to cement that over the decades.

At times I thought Shulman never really loosens the reins or lets the public facade slip to reveal the true person behind the incredible lifetime of experiences, which is why it's a little dry in places and less of a memoir and more of an homage to the beauty of fashion items and accessories. Definitely a memorable read.

Buy Clothes... and Other Things that Matter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Octopus Books - Cassell, pub date 10 June 2021 | £9.99 | Paperback. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday 10 August 2021

#BlogTour A Good Liar by Amanda Brooke

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Good Liar by Amanda Brooke.

About the Author

Amanda Brooke published her first novel in her mid-forties, having turned to writing as a way of coping with the death of her young son. Her first novel, Yesterday's Sun, was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick, and in the last decade she has continued to write bestselling books with a strong emotional theme and an element of psychological suspense. Follow @AmandaBrookeAB on Twitter, Visit amanda-brooke.com

About the book

When a fire destroys the Empress Theatre, a devastating tragedy unfolds. Amelia’s mother lost her peace of mind forever when she left her daughter alone for a few life-changing moments. The dance school lost their beloved teacher, Hilary, who died saving the lives of her young pupils. Karin lost her memory, and the answers she desperately craves. Claudia lost the one thing that would have made her perfect life complete. 

As local reporter Leanne picks over the embers of that night, what seemed like a straightforward case of negligence becomes something else entirely: somebody is lying – each person has lost something, but one of them has sold their soul…


Leanne has an emotional attachment to the newspaper article she is researching. The first anniversary of a terrible tragedy is quickly approaching and she wants the guilty to be punished. Her editor would rather she concentrate on a mysterious woman who saved a child in the tragedy - was it the last thing she did before being killed?

It's a tightly paced investigative thriller which is seeped in strong emotions. Trauma, guilt, fear and relief are jumbled together for the people involved, and of course in Leanne's case there is also a good portion of anger and frustration. The guilt is divided into survivor's guilt, guilt at perhaps not reacting to the situation in the best way.

I think that aspect of the story is done quite well. None of us know how we will react in an emergency situation, especially in a catastrophe of this magnitude, not until we actually experience it. From a simple traffic accident to a more severe incident, you won't know if you will be the calm collected, the blithering hysteric or the frozen type. There is nothing wrong with any of those reactions, because the body tends to react before the brain has a chance to register. Sometimes you do something instinctively, much like Amelia's stranger in the chaos, and manage to save a life.

I really enjoyed it. Brooke manages to draw from a variety of horror scenarios, extract the multiple layers of human reaction and create a compelling story. It's emotional, honest and a cracking read.

Buy A Good Liar at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Harper Collins; pub date 5th August 2021, Paperback Original, £7.99 - 27th May 2021, Ebook £3.99 and Audio £12.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday 9 August 2021

#BlogTour The Killing Hills by Chris Offutt

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Killing Hills by Chris Offutt.

About the Author 

Chris Offutt is the author of the short-story collections Kentucky Straight and Out of theWoods, the novels The Good Brother, Country Dark and The Killing Hills, and three memoirs: The Same River Twice, No Heroes, and My Father, the Pornographer. 

His work has appeared in Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays, among many other places. He has written screenplays for Weeds, True Blood, and Treme, and has received fellowships from the Lannan and Guggenheim foundations.

Visit chrisoffutt.com for more information or find him on Twitter @chris_offutt

About the book

Mick Hardin, a combat veteran now working as an Army CID agent, is home on a leave that is almost done. His wife is about to give birth, but they aren't getting along. His sister, newly risen to sheriff, has just landed her first murder case, and local politicians are pushing for city police or the FBI to take the case. 

Are they convinced she can't handle it, or is there something else at work? She calls on Mick who, with his homicide investigation experience and familiarity with the terrain, is well-suited to staying under the radar. As he delves into the investigation, he dodges his commanding officer's increasingly urgent calls while attempting to head off further murders. And he needs to talk to his wife.


The whole mule thing - I swear is there anything more backwoods? I mean, who does that? (Yes, it made me laugh)

Mick's sister has asked him for help in a murder investigation. She is finding it difficult to assert herself as a woman in male dominated field, especially because the men around her really want to see her fail. Mick on the other hand is dealing with the disintegration of his marriage and being blindsided by some uncomfortable truths. The question is whether they will get in the way of finding a killer.

I enjoyed the way the main character and the setting take equal standing and never overshadow each other, and that balancing act is a testament to the storytelling skills of the author. It gives the read a more realistic in the here and now feel.

Not sure why Offutt hasn't been on my radar before, but he certainly is now. His writing style and the way he draws the reader into the surroundings reminds me of Jane Harper. It's a gritty read with a subtle sarcasm, self-deprecating humour and the inside knowledge of the close-knit community. The ingrained sense of loyalties and of course the flip side of that are the cross generational feuds many of the families feed off and fuel.

On a final note, the way Offutt introduces possible future and past storylines, crimes and scenarios was both intriguing and an absolute way to hook a reader -hook, line and sinker. I need to find out about all these other crimes Mick is going to solve or not.

Buy The Killing Hills at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press; pub date 23 Nov 2021| Paperback Original £9.99 | Ebook available. Buy at Amazon com.

Sunday 8 August 2021

An Island by Karen Jennings

Longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize

About the Author

Karen Jennings was born in Cape Town in 1982. She holds Master’s degrees in both English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town, and a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

About the book 

Samuel has lived alone for a long time; one morning he finds the sea has brought someone to offer companionship and to threaten his solitude…

A young refugee washes up unconscious on the beach of a small island inhabited by no one but Samuel, an old lighthouse keeper. Unsettled, Samuel is soon swept up in memories of his former life on the mainland: a life that saw his country suffer under colonisers, then fight for independence, only to fall under the rule of a cruel dictator; and he recalls his own part in its history. 

In this new man’s presence he begins to consider, as he did in his youth, what is meant by land and to whom it should belong. To what lengths will a person go in order to ensure that what is theirs will not be taken from them? - A novel about guilt and fear, friendship and rejection; about the meaning of home.


It's a solitary endeavour, both from a premise and literary perspective. A short powerful read that sets the scene without any inner or outer architecture. It's just Samuel, the island and sometimes the man who intrudes upon the two.

As the reader gets to know the man, they also travel with him through time. From his traumatic childhood fleeing the violence of his rural area, to the poverty that later defines and changes his family, which leads to the years as a prisoner and the hermit-like existence.

An existence that has created layers of guilt in general, survivor's guilt, grief and a lack of impulse control when it comes to violence. Agoraphobia and a territorial behaviour combined with paranoia and flashbacks - one could say the events that unfold are inevitable.

I can see why it has been longlisted for the Booker. It's an unusual piece that stands out from the crowd. It will be interesting to see where Jennings takes us next.

Buy An Island at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Holland House Books pub date 23 July 2021. Buy at Amazon com. Buy from Holland House Books.

Saturday 7 August 2021

#BlogTour Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena

 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena. 
'The new unputdownable thriller from the 'queen of the one-sit read' and multi-million-copy bestselling author of The Couple Next Door. Her most original and twisty book to date. When an elderly couple are found murdered, could their children be responsible?'

About the Author

Shari Lapena worked as a lawyer and as an English teacher before writing fiction. Her debut thriller, The Couple Next Door, was a global bestseller, the bestselling fiction title in the UK in 2017 and has been optioned for television. Her thrillers A Stranger in the House, An Unwanted Guest, Someone We Know and The End of Her were all Sunday Times and New York Times bestsellers. Follow @sharilapena on Twitter, Visit sharilapena.com

About the book

In this family, everyone is keeping secrets - even the dead. In the quiet, wealthy enclave of Brecken Hill, an older couple is brutally murdered hours after a tense Easter dinner with their three adult children. Who, of course, are devastated.

Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their vindictive father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did someone snap after that dreadful evening? Or did another person appear later that night with the worst of intentions? That must be what happened. After all, if one of the family were capable of something as gruesome as this, you'd know. Wouldn't you?


When a wealthy couple is viciously murdered their immediate family members fall under suspicion, especially the adult children they had dinner with a few hours before their death. Far from being an example of close loving relationships, the family is a snake pit of envy, desperation and a lack of genuine positive interaction.

The general vibe, both dysfunctional and malevolent, reminded me a lot of what family can disintegrate into. It's this realistic imagery of often contentious relationships between siblings and parents that gives this read an extra bit of spice, and the ending is exactly right and on par with the malicious intent that runs through the story.

Lapena always gives readers an uncomfortable window seat into human nature. It's not always pleasant or morally correct, but it is an honest representation of what we are capable of and the way some of us conduct ourselves. When you combine that thought with the general idea of family the majority tends to have, then it's will be no wonder if this raises some eyebrows.

It's a delightfully dark and menacing domestic thriller, and the author gives the story the ending this family absolutely deserves.

Buy Not a Happy Family at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏ : ‎ Transworld Digital pub date 27 July 2021 - Bantam Press; pub date 5th August 2021 / Hardback / £14.99. Buy at Amazon com.