Friday, 31 July 2015

Pleasure Island by Anna-Lou Weatherley

Secrets. Scandal. Betrayal. In Paradise, pleasure comes at a dangerously high price… 

Three couples each receive an exclusive invitation to the fantasy holiday destination of a lifetime… 
The host: Martin McKenzie, global billionaire and media mogul. Charismatic, powerful and always gets what he wants. 
The location: A breathtakingly beautiful undiscovered island, nestled in the Aegean Sea. Private, secluded and not quite as it seems. 
The details: Seven days of pure hedonism, five-star luxury tailored to every desire, also includes… secrets, lies, and infidelity. As the guests begin to enjoy everything the luxury island has to offer, cracks begin to surface between the three couples. 
But that is not all. Someone is watching them. When they discover the truth – it will be explosive in more ways than they can ever imagine.

Today is the release day for Pleasure Island and to celebrate I am joined by the lovely Anna-Lou Weatherley to talk about her new book.

The Cover to Pleasure Island is by far my favourite of yours, what were your immediate thoughts when you first saw the cover and did you have any input into the design?
 My first thought was, Oh WOW! I loved it; the colours, the setting, the typeface, the summer vibe and the girl looking over her shoulder suggesting a hint of intrigue....My editor Claire and I discussed ideas for cover over lunch one day and she had a very strong concept in mind so I can't take much credit for it! We discussed the fact that we both wanted it to suggest there was more to the book than a straight forward sexy beach read and convey the idea that there was something else a little darker, which I think it has. It's my favourite cover to date too! 

Was there any particular inspiration for this book?
The concept and idea of reality TV played a small part, the world's obsession with voyeurism and the whole Big Brother culture and where it could all lead...Martin McKenzie wasn't exactly based on Simon Cowell (I'm sure Simon is much nicer!) but as a powerful media mogul he was somewhat of an inspiration. The story and the plot itself just came to me, I'm not exactly sure how or why but I'm so glad it did - I just hope the ideas keep coming! 

Do you find it easy to write sex scenes?
I love writing sex scenes, realistic ones (I hope). I'm very conscious about sex scenes being cringy as I've read some toe-curling ones myself. I try to make them sound authentic and believe that less is sometimes more. Too many adjectives can kill a good sex scene. Sometimes it's what you don't say. Oddly, a lot of the sex scenes I've ended up writing have been horrible in that the characters don't feel comfortable, or feel guilty, or regret it, or don't enjoy it. Sex can be messy emotionally and otherwise but I do try to make it as realistic as possible. Sometimes writing a scene can, how shall I put this, make me feel it, which I hope is a good sign the reader will too! 

The setting of Pleasure Island sounds like a place I would like to disappear too, was it based on anywhere you have visited?
It's a culmination of everywhere beautiful I have been and would like to go! I wrote this book during a tricky phase in my personal life and often dreamed of being away on a tranquil beach with soft powdery sand and still clear water, somewhere peaceful and calm and sunny, surrounded by nature. I suppose I was thinking of somewhere private and luxurious like Necker Island, though I have never been there (Richard, in the slim chance you'll ever read this, please feel free to invite me!) and also I had Santorini in Greece in mind too, it's a stunning island! 

What was the last book you read and would you recommend it?
The last book I read was by one of my all time favourites, Martina Cole's, The Good Life. It was, like all of her novels, unputdownable. She's the queen of creating flawed, love to hate, realistic characters and has always been a big inspiration to me.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, I hope you are enjoying the celebrations that launch day brings!


I was looking for a new kindle book to read and I know we should never judge a book by its cover but when I came across Pleasure Island by Anna Lou Weatherley I was enticed by its dazzling exotic cover and once I read the synopsis I was excited to see what this book was about.

Three couples have received an exclusive invitation to a top secret luxury holiday on a private Island but each couple do not know why they have been chosen or what they are on the island for, little do they know that they are being watched by their puppet master Martin McKenzie and he has some big plans for them….

This is a fast pace, action packed read that held my attention the whole way through. I love the whole “Big Brother” scenario of watching people 24 hours and seeing people’s real personalities coming to light which is what this book does but takes it to an extreme level by putting them in situations that wouldn’t typically arise without the little “help” they received!

Other than Nate and Angelika I can’t say I liked or warmed to any of the characters but that wasn’t an issue as I still found they each brought an entertainment factor to the book and for some of the characters who I really didn’t like such as Billie Jo it was great to watch her come unstuck! Martin McKenzie was a twisted and revengeful character and from the start of this book I knew this controlling and sick character was going to be trouble.

Any of you who do not like a sizzling racy reads with steaming sex scenes then this book will not be for you! I have to say the scenes were written with confidence and skill , so often when sex scenes are written about you can almost feel the authors awkwardness seeping through the pages often using cringey words and the scenes doesn’t flow but Anna Lou takes the challenge with both hands and delivers these scenes with ease. The steaming sex scenes fit in perfectly in this modern scandalous read.

There is a glamourous and modern feel to the book in one light but there is also a sick and twisted side too. There are numerous amounts of twists and turns, some I could see coming and others that took me by surprise. Fans of Tasmina Perry and Rebecca Chance will love this book, it is full of drama, revenge, twists and turns and not forgetting those sizzling sex scenes too. 

Kindle                     Paperback

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Blue by Lucy Clarke

They had found paradise. 
What would they do to keep it? 
With a quick spin of the globe, Kitty and Lana escape their grey reality and journey to the Philippines. 
There they discover The Blue – a beautiful yacht, with a wandering crew. 

They spend day after languorous day exploring the pristine white beaches and swimming beneath the stars, and Lana drifts further away from the long-buried secrets of home. 
But the tide turns when death creeps quietly on deck.

A dangerous swell of mistrust and lies threatens to bring the crew’s adventures to an end – but some won’t let paradise go…whatever the price.

In Lucy Clarke’s new book she whisks us away to sail the sea on a yacht called The Blue. Best Friends Lana and Kitty join the crew when they meet them in the Philippines and they soon fit in with the routine on board and enjoy the carefree life. Things take a turn when one of the crew goes missing and tensions are running high as secrets are being hidden. Things are not what they seem and things are about to be revealed.

What another absolute corker by Lucy Clarke. I loved her debut Sea Sisters and she then topped her debut with her second release A Single Breath and now The Blue which is the authors third book is easily another 5 star read.

I loved each of the characters even though I was also suspicious of them all too! Lana and Kitty have a believable strong friendship and each of the girls although they have different characteristics they were both a joy to share their adventure with.

The book is told in two different time frames Then and Now which worked really well for this book and it helped to  bring more suspense and tension to the storyline as clues were revealed in the Then parts which are like parts of the jigsaw fitting into place to then work out how the events in Now have come to place.

The book is about friendships, lies and deceit, secrets and a splash of romance which were all weaved together to create an explosive captivating read. There are many twists and turns in this book that are completely unpredictable which made this book so gripping I was always on edge. I felt like just as I felt like I got to know each of the crew members I would then find out something about their past and then it was as though I was seeing them in a different light and my opinions of them all began to change.

What I have loved about this authors writing style in her past books as well as this one is the way she manages to describe the setting and especially the ripple and tranquility of the sea, it feels calm and yet eerie at the same time. There really is no reason to use your imagination as the author paints the scene perfectly.

I am so excited by this author her books are just flawless and with each book being set around the sea Lucy Clarke sets herself apart from other authors and brings us something completely different and yet so addictive and tense with each book she delivers. This book gets another big thumbs up from me I just don’t know how we will cope with the wait for her next book.

Paperback                  Kindle

Alexandra Brown Interview

Today is the paperback release date for Alexandra Brown's 5th book The Great Village Show and because I am a huge fan of Alexandra I was over the moon when she agreed to come on to the blog for a chat about her new book.

1) For those who have yet to read The Great Village Show can you tell us a little of what they are missing?
A slice of warm, quintessential, and very real village life in the summertime – think The Archers in book form. My books are set in the fictional village of Tindledale following the lives of all the people that live there, and The Great Village Show follows Meg’s story. Meg is missing her son, Jack, who has recently left for uni, so when her cosy cottage feels empty, Meg decides to bring out the bunting and get involved in helping to organise the village show. There are also two newcomers to the village – mercurial celebrity chef, Dan, and shy Jessie Cavendish, who appears to have it all, but as is often the case … appearances can be so very misleading. 

2) In the film adaptation of The Great Village Show who would you pick to play Meg?
Sheridan Smith. I’m a huge fan, and she’s such a versatile actress that I reckon she could portray Meg perfectly. 

3) Tindledale has to be my favourite village I have ever come across in a book, is it based on anywhere you have been? 
Thank you. Well, I live in a rural village surrounded by fields and populated with some very interesting characters! I’m saying no more … :) 

4) Where is your favourite place to write and do you have a writing schedule?
I’m not one of those authors that can write in cafes, so all my books are written in my office to the sound of my black Labrador, Puppy Oscar, snoring loudly. I’m very superstitious and always light a candle and make sure my lucky poncho is on me or my chair before I begin. I write from about 10ish, after I’ve taken QT to school and walked Puppy Oscar down by the lake behind my house, and then usually break for lunch around 12ish to listen to Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 while I hang out on social media for half an hour or so, depending on how many words I need to write that day. I work on until 5ish, unless I’m on a deadline then it’s all different and I write all day and night long, breaking only to sleep, and food tends to be Konditor & Cook’s Curly Wurly cake brought to me by my husband, followed by Haribo and chocolate and crisps, and well, any kind of junk food at my desk – I get very angsty and irritable when I have to break away from the story and end up being an utter nightmare for a few weeks. But when it’s done, I’m a dream, until it starts all over again. 

5) Your characters in both the Carrington’s and Tindledale series are all so well developed do you ever find it hard to leave the characters behind after you finish a book?
Ahh, thank you. And yes, very much so, I still think about Georgie, Sam and Eddie from Carrington’s, and Syb’s from Knit Off, I guess it’s inevitable when I’ve spent so long with them inside my head. 

6) Before becoming an established author what was your job and has it always been your dream from early on to become an author?
Yes, my dream was always to write, and as a child, reading and writing were my escape, but I never imagined that I could become a proper author who wrote books for a living. I ran way from home when I was 16yrs old, with two qualifications in English language and English literature (they were the only subjects that I was naturally good at, as homework and revising was impossible at home). I managed to find a place to live and a job in an office, nobody really checked CV’s in those days, so I ended up doing that for twenty years before I was able to leave the corporate world and realise my dream to write full time. Six books on, I thank my lucky stars every day that I now get to write instead of wrangle my way through the politics of office life, which I found very stressful at times.

7) When you begin a new book do you have a beginning, middle and end in mind or does the storyline usually develop and take its own direction as you progress?
It varies. Some books are almost fully formed in my head, whereas with others I may only know the beginning and the ending – I often write the ending first, I like knowing where I’m heading, it feels comforting, like a life raft that I can cling on to when the words won’t come. I’m also terrible for tinkering with the prologue when I don’t know what to write next. My agent has told me to leave it alone, so I’m trying to do that now …. fifteen page prologues are rubbish, nobody wants to wade through that to get to the real story. 

8) Has your husband Paul read any of your books and if so is he good at giving advice?
He never reads my books, he’s dyslexic and doesn’t enjoy reading fiction for pleasure, but he’s brilliant at plot brainstorming and comes up with all the good ideas and plot twists. It’s very infuriating at times, especially when I’ve been pondering on a plot problem for days - I tell him, and he casually comes up with the perfect solution, as if by magic.

 9) Can you tell us a little about the book you are currently working on and does it mean a return to Tindledale for us?
Ooh, well, I actually have two more Tindledale books on the go, The Mystery of Orchard Cottage and Not Just For Christmas. The Mystery of Orchard Cottage is about newcomer, April, and what happens when she visits her elderly great aunt, Edith, who lives in Orchard Cottage in Tindledale. Edith has always wondered what happened to her sister, Winnie, who disappeared many decades earlier. Not Just For Christmas is Kitty’s story – readers of The Great Christmas Knit Off and The Great Village Show will know her. Kitty runs the Spotted Pig cafĂ© & tearoom in Tindledale, having come to terms with her husband Ed’s death on active duty. When she hears Ed’s army dog, a black Labrador called Monty, is being retired and needs a home, it awakens Kitty’s heartache once more.

10) Finally, as you know I am such a fan of yours that I am often found stalking your twitter posts and as well as details of your wonderful upcoming releases you also often show us the gorgeous shimmering nails you are sporting, can we have a pic of what colour you are sporting at the moment? 
Ta-dah!!!! My current colour is a very summery Raspberry with a Silk Sari top coat.

What a gorgeous colour! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us Alexandra. 
Happy Publication Day!

You can read my review of The Great Village Show bu clicking HERE 

Paperback              Kindle

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Cover Reveal

I am so excited to share with you the cover reveal for 
The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen

Can you imagine keeping a secret so devastating, you couldn’t even tell the people you love?
 Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years. Jo’s secret could smash apart the ‘normal’ family life she’s fought so hard to build. 
 Lydia’s secret could bring her love - or the loss of everything that matters to her.
 One summer’s day, grandmother, mother and daughter’s secrets will collide in a single dramatic moment. 
Is it too late for second chances?

I love the sound of this book as I love books about hidden secrets and it sounds like the family in this book have their share of secrets to hide. 

What are your thoughts on the cover?
 I love the soft and delicate look that they have created with the colours used.

The Day of Second Chances will be published 28th January 2016.

The Little Flower Shop by the Sea by Ali McNamara

The blossom is out in the little Cornish harbour town of St Felix But Poppy Carmichael's spirits aren't lifted by the pretty West Country spring.

Inheriting her grandmother's flower shop has forced her to return to Cornwall, a place that holds too many memories. Poppy is determined to do her best for the sake of her adored grandmother, but she struggles with the responsibility of the more-shabby-than-chic shop. And with the added complication of Jake, the gruff but gorgeous local flower grower, Poppy is very tempted to run away... 

The pretty little town has a few surprises in store for Poppy. With new friends to help her and romance blooming, it's time for Poppy to open her heart to St Felix and to the special magic of a little flower shop by the sea!

I have loved reading Ali McNamara’s books and Breakfast at Darcy’s has been a long standing favourite of her books but having just finished The Little Flower Shop by the Sea it sure did come extremely close of knocking it off the top spot!

Poppy Carmichael has a new start ahead of her after inheriting her grandmothers flower shop in St Felix, sound like an idyllic opportunity?
Poppy doesn’t agree!

Never one to give up on a promise she accidently agrees to make a go of running the flower shop and bring the magic alive again to the town and the loyal community but this will mean facing her demons. Will a touch of romance help to soften Poppy and make her set down roots or will her past once again stop her from accomplishing the task at hand?

After struggling with my previous book this book was an absolute joy to pick u and fall into such a cosy, bright and uplifting storyline. I blame Ali McNamara for not getting anything done today because once I picked this book up I didn’t move for the rest of the day as I was so absorbed in the events in the book and when I reached then end I didn’t want to leave the characters behind, I really hope that there will be a follow on to this book as I still feel like there is so much that could be done with all of the characters in this town not just out main characters Poppy and Jake but also Stan and Amber.

Poppy was a wonderful main character, she was our flawed heroine and although she has had many years where she has fallen from grace I could feel that she had something heartbreaking that she was holding back from sharing and I love how the author managed to keep the mystery as to what had happened in Poppy’s past concealed right the way through the book and it did bring a little lump to my throat not just because of the tragic event that happened but because of how Poppy has felt about it all these years.

I am not into flowers myself, I couldn’t tell the difference between a flower and a weed so I wasn’t sure if I would appreciate the storyline but I didn’t need to worry there is so much more to this book than just flowers but they added a meaningful touch.

As much as I love Poppy I have to say her character was completely upstaged by Miley! Miley is an adorable cheeky monkey who brought a fun and witty part to the storyline and I looked forward to her appearance throughout the book and she particularly made me chuckle with her torment of Basil the dog!

The storyline has an uplifting and magical feel to it but also covers some difficult topics all which were delivered with such tenderness.

Paperback                Kindle

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

A Very Big House in the Country Blog Tour

For one long hot summer in Devon, three families are sharing one very big house in the country. The Herreras: made up of two tired parents, three grumbling children and one promiscuous dog; the Littles: he's loaded (despite two divorces and five kids), she's gorgeous, but maybe the equation for a truly happy marriage is a bit more complicated than that; and the Browns, who seem oddly jumpy around people, but especially each other.

Today I am joined on the blog by Claire Sandy ahead of the release of her new book A Very Big House in the Country.
What can you tell us about AVBHITC?
A Very Big House in the Country is a summery romp, packed with secrets and revelations and home truths. Three families rent a grand country house for two weeks during a heatwave. As a storm approaches over the hills, the Herreras, Ling-Littles and Browns discover how different they are. And how similar. If it doesn't make you laugh (and maybe get a little teary eyed) I haven't done my job.

And was there any particular inspiration for it?
Being a writer I spend an awful lot of time not writing i.e. noodling about on the internet, pretending to do research. As summer approached I noticed how many articles and blogs etc were about luxury holidays. I saw carefully photo-shopped shots of imposing houses and luxurious villas, bluer-than-blue skies and posher furniture than I have in my own home. I wondered how those same interiors would look after 48 hours of six adults and numerous children and oddly enough there were no photos of that. We're all encouraged to have a lifestyle rather than a life, I think, and I felt it would be interesting to examine how three couples would fare living in such sunny perfection for a fortnight.

What’s your favourite thing about writing these sorts of books?
I love EVERYTHING about writing my books. Getting to know characters who didn't even exist before I conjured them up is a joy, particularly as they soon start to misbehave and do as they please. I love locking myself away from the family and the dogs, and disappearing into a dream world. And I really love the satisfaction of typing 'THE END', even though they don't actually print that in the book and my editor always puts a line through it. 

Who should we be reading next? 
The list is long, so I'll truncate it for you because let's be honest you haven't got all day. Contemporary authors whose books I greedily await include Marian Keyes, Louise Candlish, Kate Furnivall, Chris Manby, Michele Gorman, Lucy Dillon, Lucy Diamond, David Nicholls ... I'll stop there, leaving out various faves. Classic writers I return to include Flaubert, Zola and (she's still very much alive but I consider her a classic) the peerless Edna O'Brien.

A Very Big House in the Country will be out on the 30th July, be sure to check out the other blogs on the book tour to read their reviews of this new release.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Perfect Daughter by Amanda Prowse

Once upon a time, Jacks Morgan had dreams. She was going to have a successful career and travel the world. She would own a house on the beach, and spend long nights with her boyfriend strolling under the stars. 
But life had other ideas. 
First Martha came along, then Jonty. Then Jacks' elderly mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and had to move in. Now their little terrace in Weston-super-Mare is bursting at the seams. Jacks' dreams were put on hold long ago. 
But if she can save up enough to give her teenage daughter a bright future, then all her sacrifice will be worth something... won't it?

Amanda Prowse is a relatively new author to me and when I read the synopsis for her latest novel Perfect Daughter something stuck a cord with me and I couldn’t wait to try another book by this author and having finished this book now I have to say I wasn’t disappointed and it has to be my favourite one by this author so far.

Jacks has a less than glamorous life, juggling looking after her two children Martha and Jonty as well as being a full time carer to her mother who has Alzheimer’s it doesn’t leave room for a life of her own. Her life has turned out completely different from what she dreamed of and so she is determined to insure that her daughter Martha has a bright future.

I was sat all day absorbed by this book, the author has taken a number of topics from Alzheimers to difficult family dynamics which many readers will be able to relate to which makes this book such a realistic read. The characters were each so well developed and they each brought something different to the storyline. Little Jonty brings a touch of humour to lighten the storyline at times, Pete is a rock to Jacks even if at times she doesn’t realise it and he is such an easy character to love and as more of his back ground was revealed I loved him even more.

Jacks and her mum both pulled at my heart strings for many reasons from their relationship with each other which I could 100% relate to, also the feeling of Jacks feeling so low and worthless and looking to the life she could have had and also having her silver lining pulled from beneath her. It was heartbreaking to see her so low which then didn’t allow her to see that what she already has is what really matters and that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  I also feel that the way the author wrote about the constant care and demand on looking after someone with Alzheimers was delivered with such detail and grace.

The chapters alternate between the present day and nineteen years earlier when Jacks was younger and this worked perfectly for this storyline, as we get to see a part of Jacks’s background we can then see why she was keen to push Martha to do well in school and make something of her life and in a way live the life she didn’t have through her daughter.

This was simply a stunning read that was so beautifully written with characters you love and want to wrap up in cotton wool. You will be reaching for the tissues one minute and chuckling away with Jonty the next.

Kindle                     Hardback

Monday, 20 July 2015

Redemption Road Blog Tour

 After reading Redemption Road I have been eager to share my review with you all
and I am really delighted be part of the blog tour for this compelling and thought provoking read. 
Lisa Ballantyne now joins us and has taken the time to answer some burning questions.

Redemption Road was an addictive and compelling read. Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
When I first began to work on REDEMPTION ROAD, I was interested in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the mechanism of memories from the past impacting on the present. The first scene of the book – involving the car crash and the strange, scarred saviour – came to me quite quickly and I knew that the burned man who rescues Margaret would be the key to her past. In writing the 1980s scenes, I knew I wanted to write about a man who steals his daughter and for the journey they undertake to be a redemptive one, spanning the whole country. I wanted the relationship between father and daughter to gradually soften as the road trip progresses, from one of captor and captive, to one of genuine mutual affection and love. 

I loved the character of George and despised the character of Angus, but I felt like I should feel the opposite way around with these characters because of their actions, which really made me question myself. Was this something you were hoping to achieve when you first set about writing these characters?
I am eternally interested in the subjects of nature and nurture, good and evil, parents and children, the past and how it impacts on the present. I wanted moral ambiguity to be at the heart of my new novel. George is a gangster, a murderer, a kidnapper, and a thief and yet we love and support him. Angus is an upstanding member of the community, with a good career, a family and a staunch belief system, but we learn that he is truly evil. We recoil from Angus and his arrogant certainty and gravitate towards George and his dreams. For me, REDEMPTION ROAD is not high realism like my first novel, THE GUILTY ONE; there is something of a fairy tale or a fable about REDEMPTION ROAD. Villains and heroes are turned on their heads, but I am so glad that you loved Big George. He is the soul of the novel. Despite his background, he is a classic example of the tragic questing hero, struggling to escape his past and – ultimately – himself. We want him to win, and his failures are heart-breaking.

Where is your favourite place to write and do you have a particular writing schedule?
If I am at home, the ONLY place that I write is at my kitchen table, looking out of two big windows onto trees, hills and a railway track. If I am trying to finish, or break the back of a novel, I go to a little caravan by the sea. Watching the ocean move, and being somewhere I can smell nature (and have no phone signal) is the ultimate inspiration. I am pretty busy, but I try to write every day - that is my schedule. I try not to worry about how much I write or its quality, so long as I have done something. But I love getting away to write, with absolutely no one around and only me and the book in my world. 

Do you get time to read alongside writing your book and, if so, do you find you need to read something from a different genre?
I read a lot, but at any one time I am reading about ten books and this can be a fatiguing situation. I usually have about four or five books (sometimes more) that I am reading for research, then I usually have a novel I am reading for my own pleasure, and usually something non-fiction as well, just for me. Then there are books that I am sent to review and I often stop and focus on them so that they are not lost in the pile. At the moment, for sheer pleasure, I am reading Marilynne Robinson’s GILEAD and Barack Obama’s DREAMS FROM MY FATHER. 

Can you tell us anything about the book you are currently working on?
No, sorry. I don’t like to talk about works in progress, but I am writing a new novel! I’m so grateful to you and all your readers for your interest and am thankful for your support!

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Lisa, I have to say I really admire you being able to read that many books at one time, I need you to teach me!

The crash is the unravelling of Margaret Holloway. Trapped inside a car about to explode, she is rescued by a scarred stranger who then disappears. Margaret remembers little, but she's spent her life remembering little - her childhood is full of holes and forgotten memories. Now she has a burning desire to discover who she is and why her life has been shrouded in secrets. What really happened to her when she was a child? Could it have anything to do with the mysterious man who saved her life? Flitting effortlessly between past and present, this is a suspenseful, gritty and emotionally charged journey of an estranged father and daughter, exploring the strength of family ties and our huge capacity for forgiveness.

One of the best things about being a book blogger is that every so often I am sent a book to review which wouldn't be a book I would typically pick up in the local bookshop. When I was sent Redemption Road it didn't shout out to me not because it has an awful cover or anything it just didn't appeal to me and yet when I opened the book just to have a little read of the first chapter before I knew it I was over half way through this book before I looked up!

Margaret Holloway finds herself trapped in her car after she has a fatal crash, unable to get out and with the smell of petrol getting stronger she fears for her life until a man who has horrendous scaring over his face and body comes to her aid and smashes her window and drags her out minutes before the car explodes. As Margaret turns to thank him the strange man mysterious man who had saved her is walking away. 
The crash has opened up questions for Margaret and she is determined to find the answers.

This was such a flawless read that had me captivated the whole way through. The pace of the book doesn't falter the whole way through and there is a constant tense feel to the book which left no safe place to put the book down.

Each of the characters were extremely well developed from Margaret who we instantly fear for at the start of the book to little Moll who was such a brave and intelligent little girl, to George who was such a complex character, he had such a big heart and yet there is a stigma attached to him which makes him fearful to others. George was by far my favourite character in this book and I was confused about my feelings for him during the book because I felt as though I should despise this man and yet I couldn't help but feel for him as I know his actions were not malicious. 
The character of Angus really freaked me out, I found him to be quite a disturbing character.

The book is told in two time frames 1985 and 2013, I preferred reading about the events in 1985 but it was the events told in 2013 which wound the story together. I had an idea of what the connection was going to be and I was correct but this really didn't ruin the book for me as there were still little things revealed as we went along. I loved watching the relationship between Moll and George progress and I was really hoping for a happy ending for them both.

The ending of this book tied everything up perfectly and I have to confess to the lump that appeared in my throat, which is a great sign of a great read and having to leave great characters behind.

I highly recommend this book and this will be one that I am sure when I come to do my top 10 reads at the end of the year will still be on my mind as a strong contender. I found myself totally compelled by this storyline I now can't wait to go and grab a copy of her previous book The Guilty One.

Paperback               Kindle

Thank you to Jo Wickham at Little Brown for sending this little gem my way to read and review.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

The Bones of You by Debbie Howells

A community in shock
When eighteen-year-old Rosie Anderson disappears, the idyllic village where she lived will never be the same again. Local gardener Kate is struck with guilt. She'd come to know Rosie well, and thought she understood her - perhaps better even than Rosie's own mother. 

A family torn apart
Rosie was beautiful, kind and gentle. She came from a loving family and she had her whole life ahead of her. Who could possibly want to harm her? And why? 

A keeper of secrets 
Kate is convinced the police are missing something. She's certain that someone in the village knows more than they're letting on. As the investigation deepens, so does Kate's obsession with solving the mystery of what happened to Rosie.

Once I finished reading The Bones of You by Debbie Howells I was unsure of how I felt about the book.

Teenager Rosie has been murdered, but with no weapon found and no witnesses the hunt is still on to find the killer. One of the local mums in the Village, Kate had got to know Rosie during the time Rosie came to help out with Kate’s horses so when she hears the devastating news she reaches out to Rosie’s mum Jo to help comfort her. Kate is sure that someone must know something and she is determined to get the killer caught.

This book was a slow starter but it soon picked up pace and began to draw me in to the storyline. There was something addictive about this book, every time I put it down I found myself soon picking it back up again as more secrets were beginning to come to light.

The book alternates predominantly from Rosie and Kate’s points of view which worked well as we find out our clues and secrets from Rosie ( from the other side) and after finding these revelations I then found myself willing Kate to uncover the truth.

I think my problem with the book was I figured out from early on in the book who the killer was so the suspense was lost for me but luckily there was more to the storyline than just trying to find out who the killer was, it was more to do with unraveling what appears to be a perfect family on the outside but who were disturbingly flawed behind closed doors and this part was so twisted and a real eye opener and the authors writing style particularly at this point really won me around. I was surprised that there wasn’t more police presence and inquires and social workers around in this book as I would have thought with another child still around that her safety would be of up most importance.

This is a dark, twisted and sinister debut by Debbie Howells, I found this to be a gripping read despite the negative points I still really look forward to reading the next book by this author to see how the authors writing develops as she has shown great promise in this book.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

A Proper Family Adventure by Chrissie Manby

Thanks to an unexpected windfall, the Bensons are treating themselves to a luxury cruise. With stop-offs in Barcelona, Rome and Marseilles, plus constant entertainment onboard, it's a dream come true . . . Or is it?

Last time Chelsea Benson went on holiday with this lot she nearly went crazy. Her mum and sister are convinced Chelsea's boyfriend Adam will propose on the ship. Chelsea's sure he won't, but she can't help feeling butterflies as they set sail. 

Is Adam going to pop the question, or will the only thing to pop be Chelsea's ego?

My face must have been a picture when A Proper Family Adventure arrived in the post! I absolutely adored the first two books in the series, so much so that they have remained on my shelf rather than being lent to friends so you can imagine how eager I was to start this book.

The Bensons are back and on true form! After Grandad Bill has a lottery win ( yes he really does this time) the family decide to take a holiday together and opt to go on a cruise.  Armed with his sonic screwdriver Jack is ready and raring to go but there is one thing that seems to be on their minds could this holiday be the perfect time for Adam to pop a burning question to Chelsea?

I have never read a book with a family who I have touched me like the Bensons have. They are so down to earth and full of laughs and when the going gets tough they are always there for each other. I am so fond of all of the characters in the family that I couldn’t pick a favourite as they all bring their own little something to each storyline. Grandad Bill and Jack certainly provide most of the entertainment and Jack and Lily’s constant bickering and competition against each other constantly had me chuckling away.

We are introduced to two new characters in this book Jane and Kirsty their storyline has a connection with the Bensons so it was great to have another storyline weaved in but ultimately the Bensons stole the show!

We join the family on their trips ashore and they visit some impressive places which the author describes in vivid detail, my favourite stop was in Gibraltar there was a particular incident that really tickled me!

Although parts of the storyline were predictable I really didn’t mind this as the book offers so much enjoyment, it isn’t about big twists and turns it is just the enjoyment of a normal fun loving family and their flaws!

This is book three in The Proper series and although I think you could read this as a standalone because the book does revert back at times to remind you of events from the previous book I still think it is best to read them in order so you grow to love the family more and more with each book. I was sure that by the end of book three that the Benson’s story would be finished but it is far from it, I cannot wait to read the next book in the series so roll on Christmas!

Kindle                      Paperback 

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Great Village Show by Alexandra Brown

Tindledale is in a tizzy . . .
The Village Show competition is coming around again and after last year’s spectacular failure, the villagers are determined to win. Meg, teacher at the local school, is keen to help and to impose some much-needed order. 
 After a terse encounter with a newcomer to the village, Meg discovers that it is celebrity chef and culinary bad boy, Dan Wright. Meg thinks he is arrogant and rude but rumour has it that Dan is opening a new restaurant in the village which could really put Tindledale on the map.
As things come together, villagers old and new all start to come out of the woodwork, including new arrival Jessie who seems to have it all. But first impressions can be deceptive and Meg discovers that when it comes to Tindledale – and Dan – nothing is ever quite as it seems . . .

The Great Christmas Knit Off was one of my top 10 books last year and was also my favourite book by Alexandra Brown, we return to the village of Tindledale in The Great Village Show where we meet our heroine Meg who is the acting head teacher at the local school. Meg is extremely passionate about her job so when she finds out that her school is under threat of being closed unless she gets more children to enrol at the school she doesn’t give up without a fight. Hoping that The Great Village Show will help everyone in Tindledale the community soon pull together to make sure that they host the best Village show possible.

The Cavendish family have just moved into the village which has got the village folk talking, but when Meg meets Jessie Cavendish she soon can see that things are not what they seem.
I must first mention that I was over the moon to get a glimpse of Sybs, Ben and Hettie who were our main characters in the previous Tindledale book, those characters never quite left me so It was great to see what has been happening with them.

Tindledale once again welcomed me with open arms, there is something about this village that just makes me feel at home and a lot of that has to do with the quaint little shops and the wonderful community spirit it is quite hard to believe this is a fictional village with fictional characters as it feels so real to me. The storyline centers around Meg who is such a wonderful character who has a big heart and her presence is felt all through the village everyone loves and looks up to Meg which is why it was so natural for Jessie to open up to Meg.

The storyline does cover a deeper issue which author Alexandra delivers with such care and compassion, I was looking forward to seeing if once the friendship grew between Jessie and Meg whether Meg would help Jessie to find the strength to make a major change in her life.

I can’t forget to mention another new character in this book, Dan Wright, he was a character I was unsure of at first and it did take me a while to come around to him. He was an unpredictable character one minute seeming to be a welcome hero offering great generosity and ideas but in the next breath he was sharp, arrogant and rude!

Once again Alexandra Brown has perfected another cosy, charming read that I could not put down, I can not wait to see if we are treated to another visit to Tindledale.

The Great Village Show is out now on kindle and is also available to pre-order for the paperback copy which will be released on the 30th July

Kindle                    Paperback

Sunday, 5 July 2015

My Sister's Secret by Tracy Buchanan Cover Reveal

I have a treat for you tonight, it is time for the cover reveal for My Sister's Secret by Tracy Buchanan

Willow’s memories of her parents are sun-drenched and full of smiles, love and laughter. But a mysterious invitation to a photographic exhibition exposes a secret that’s been buried since a tragic accident years ago.

Willow is forced to question everything she knew about Charity, her late mother, and Hope, the aunt she’s lived with since she was a child.

How was the enigmatic photographer connected to Willow’s parents? Why will Hope not break her silence?

Willow cannot move forward in her life without answers. But who can she really trust? Because no one has been telling the truth for a very long time.

I love the cover, the colours used gives it a warm and inviting look to it which is perfect for this time of year. 
This will be my first book by this author and after reading the synopsis I can't wait to dive in and uncover the hidden secrets.
What are your thoughts on the cover?
Will this be one you will be adding to the ever growing To Be Read Pile?

My Sister's Secret is out on kindle on the 21st July and you can pre-order here for only 99p!

( price correct at time of posting, please check price before you buy)

If you are a paperback fan the release date is 13th August.

BritCrime Festival bumper Giveaway

To celebrate the launch of BritCrime’s first free online crime fiction festival, 11-13 July, I have teamed up with BritCrime authors to give away one fabulous prize.

You could win a gift bundle of ten print books, including new releases by Colette McBeth and Sarah Hilary, and MJ McGrath’s Gold Dagger longlisted White Heat. This giveaway is open internationally. One lucky winner will win all ten books.

Please complete the entries in the Rafflecopter before midnight 10th July for a chance to win.

To learn more about the BritCrime festival, please visit http// and sign up to the newsletter. There will be giveaways and live Q&As with bestselling British crime fiction authors hosted on BritCrime’s Facebook page 11 & 12 July.

The Magpies + What You Wish For by Mark Edwards
No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary
The Life I Left Behind Precious Thing by Colette McBeth
White Heat by M J McGrath
Beyond the Rage by Michael J Malone
Follow the Leader Watching Over You by Mel Sherratt
The Harbour Master by Daniel Pembrey
Good luck!

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Exciting Post Today

Please excuse this brief blog post!
Some of you may have seen the large box that I received in the post today, a few of you on Twitter have been asking for a picture of what is inside which is why I decided to do this super quick blog post to show you what arrived as I didn't want to put a picture on twitter and ruin it for the other bloggers who are still waiting to get home and open their boxes.

The box contains everything we need to make a perfect Bolognese as well as a quirky instructions too!
The team at Avon have come up with such a fun and exciting well thought out package to promote The Piano Man Project by Kat Black which is released on the 30th July. 
I am really looking forward to starting this book and I am going to attempt to make the bologanse too so watch this space I will add a picture of my disastrous attempt!

Thank You so much to the team at Avon you have out done yourself here!

The Olive Branch by Jo Thomas

You can buy almost anything online these days. For Ruthie Collins, it was an Italian farmhouse. 

Yet as she battles with a territorial goat and torrential rain just to get through the door of her new Italian home, the words of Ed, her ex, are ringing in her ears. She is daft, impetuous and irresponsible. But Ruthie is determined to turn things around and live the dream. 

First, though, she must win over her fiery neighbour, Marco Bellanouvo, and his tempestuous family...and then there's the small matter of running an olive farm. 

As the seasons change and new roots are put down, olives and romance might just flourish in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.

I was instantly drawn to The Olive Branch thanks to its alluring cover and inviting synopsis, having thoroughly enjoyed The Oyster Catcher last year I couldn’t wait to lose myself in Jo Thomas’s new release.

After her recent break up with Ed, Ruthie is dreading the prospect of having to return to her mother’s she makes a bold and somewhat crazy decision and buys a rundown Italian Farmhouse.
It soon became apparent as soon as Ruthie arrived in southern Italy that things were not going to be quite as rosy as she though it would be as she faces the first hurdle of the torrential rain and a territorial goat and that is before she even makes her way inside the farmhouse! To top matters off she then finds out that she is now in charge of running the olive farm which she doesn’t have the first clue about. Could this be the distraction she needs or will she be going home to her mums just as everyone expects.

I loved Ruthie she was such a fun character who had so many different qualities to her she had such strength and determination and even if she has doubt she would still pull herself back up and crack on with the task in hand. Her heart is in the right place and I was really routing for her the whole way through, I really wanted to see her settle down and enjoy this new life she holds in her hands. A book set in the idyllic setting of Italy wouldn’t be complete without an Italian gentleman who makes us weak at the knees! Marco was a pure gentleman who is on hand to help Ruthie and although he is finding it hard to accept that Ruthie now owns Masseria Bellanuovo he still finds himself unable to step away.

The book flows at a gentle pace and is a perfect holiday read as it has a light storyline that isn’t challenging but still manages to pull you in and at points it will even have you chuckling away as there were some witty parts to this book as well as a humorous goat called Daphne!

Jo Thomas has again managed to describe this charming Trullo in the exquisite countryside setting of Puglia in great detail that it makes it easy to visualise and the descriptions of the tastes and smells of the olives and Olive Oil were tickling the tastebuds!

This book has given me such a strong urge to visit Italy although I wouldn’t want to take on such a large challenge like Ruthie did! I would still say that The Oyster Catcher is my favourite but I still found myself charmed by this storyline.

Paperback               Kindle

Friday, 3 July 2015

Some Kind of Wonderful by Sarah Morgan

Her whole life, Puffin Islander Brittany Forrest has dreamed of adventure. And at the age of eighteen, she thought she’d found it in bad boy Zachary Flynn. But after just ten tempestuous, smouldering days, their whirlwind marriage went up in smoke, and Brittany resolved to put him out of her mind forever. 

Zach knows he let Brittany down, but being back on Puffin Island and seeing Brittany again stirs up long-buried emotions. This daredevil pilot has never felt worthy of her, yet he can’t stay away—even when he knows the chemistry between them will only complicate his life.

As long, hot summer days on the beach dissolve into sultry, starry nights, Brittany and Zach find that the sparks between them are more powerful than ever. Could it be that the second time around, their dreams of a happy-ever-after will finally come true?

Earlier this year I read First Time in Forever which is the first book in the Puffin Island series by Sarah Morgan and I have been eagerly awaiting the release of book two Some Kind of Wonderful and having just finished it I am delighted to say it is another superb read.

Brittany had her heart broken back on Puffin Island 10 years ago by bad boy Zach after he walked out on her after their wedding day, she has avoided spending time back on the Island and has made an exciting and successful life for herself but after she injures herself on her recent job she needs time to recover and so she plans to return to Puffin Island but before she even arrives on the Island she discovers that Zach has returned but with the years that have past will the pair of them have moved on or will they still hold a torch for each other?

This is another promising series by Sarah Morgan, Some Kind of Wonderful is an addictive romantic read that revisits Puffin Island and the loveable characters that were in the first book which I loved as it was great to see what has been happening to the characters we fell in love with first time around. It soon becomes apparent not a lot has changed with the locals they are still protective of their islanders and still have a way of circulating the village gossip quicker than social media! Brittany who is our heroine in this book is best friends with Emily and it is easy to see why the girls have such a strong bond as like Emily Brittany is a caring, loyal and friendly character who it is impossible not to like, although I felt sorry for her having been left by Zach in such a cowardly way she wasn’t one to wallow she was a strong and determined character.

Our bit of testosterone in this book comes in the form of bad boy Zach who only seems to be good at flying, sex, and screwing up oh and did I mention ….. sex! Zach is one of these characters that you know you should hate but you know that there is a heart in there somewhere and there is always something appealing about finding a bad boys good side!

Yes ok the storyline was predictable but I enjoyed the journey that Sarah Morgan takes us on to unravel what has happened in Zach’s past and to watch Brittany try and break those barriers he has built up. The book is an entertaining, light, romantic read that also touches on some serious and emotive topics too.

First Time in Forever is still my favourite but this was still a superb read and will not disappoint those readers who loved the first book. I cannot wait to read Christmas Ever After next to catch up with the characters again and get to know Sky more although I already have my arrow waiting to shoot Richard in the bum!

Kindle                   Paperback

I have a copy of Some Kind of Wonderful up for grabs, just enter below to be in with a chance of getting your hands on a copy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway