Wednesday, 17 January 2018

The Cover Up
by
Marnie Riches
BLOG TOUR






It's my turn on the Blog Tour for Marnie Riches' new book The Cover Up. I'm delighted to welcome Marnie once again to Boon's Bookcase. If you are a regular to my blog, you will know that I love the author's George McKenzie series of books. I have a guest post for you today which Marnie describes coming from the North of England, but also living in the South, especially South East London (where I am from!). This guest post has brought back so many memories of my childhood and so I think a trip down memory lane is in order! Sit back and enjoy the North v South debate!!




Guest Post: North v South by Marnie Riches






When I first bumped into Julie Boon – this blog’s kind Hostess with the Mostess – it was on Twitter, and we chatted about my debut novel, The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die. I seem to remember Julie had reviewed that first George McKenzie thriller and enjoyed it, in part, because I had written about a place she knew very well – South East London.
I spent a number of happy years living in Deptford and then Surrey Quays as a young woman before moving further out to Bromley on the SE London/Kent border and eventually migrating back up to the North West, where I’m originally from. Because I lived in South East London between the ages of 25 and 32, at a time when I went out socially a lot and then started a family, I knew what it was like to walk the streets of London as a local. I had put down roots in the place. Of all the areas of London a person could live, South East London felt the closest to Manchester with its tough estates and its friendly people and its cultural melting pot. Much of London is similar, of course, but South East London is the only area of London I’ve experienced where you can get on a bus and start nattering to a stranger. Sure, you might get your handbag snatched – and I did, as well as getting my car done over – but by and large, South East Londoners are a gregarious bunch, rather like Mancunians.
South East London provided the perfect gritty, British foil for Amsterdam in my The Girl Who… series. But now, with my Manchester books, I’m writing about the city where I grew up and in which I am now bringing my own children up. You might wonder what the difference is. Well, Manchester has a much smaller city centre with a much more defined civic identity as an ex-industrial heartland that now has a real problem with violent crime and still struggles with unemployment and lack of opportunity. Manchester is not the economic hub that London is and therefore, if you are born with a plastic spoon in your mouth, rather than a silver one, there isn’t easy access to a righteous path that leads out of the ghetto. We also have an incredible music scene up here with world class musical heritage. Oh, and it rains a lot. And I mean, a LOT.
When I was writing Born Bad and its successor, The Cover-Up – my two Manchester-set gangland thrillers – I found I was creating a similarly diverse world to the George books, as Manchester’s a cultural melting pot. But I became more involved in describing how people live in the city, coping with bad weather and boring manual jobs and working in factories. I found myself writing about the club scene, inspired by the halcyon Madchester days when the Ha├žienda reigned supreme as one of the country’s first super-clubs. I found myself writing about Strangeways Prison and creating fictitious areas that were inspired by Cheetham and Moss Side.
I think the difference between my versions of London and Manchester in my two series is that George McKenzie is only ever passing through London, en route to Cambridge or Amsterdam or beyond, whereas Sheila O’Brien and Gloria Bell are made in Manchester and are rooted in the city. Both cities have an abundance of grit, crime and character from which to draw inspiration but I think in Born Bad and The Cover-Up, it’s clear which city I really have the insider knowledge of! Why not try both series and let me know what you think?



Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Island in The East
by
Jenny Ashcroft


Guest review
by
Julie Williams







Published By : Sphere 
Genre : Historical Fiction



Review


Set mainly on the atmospheric island of Singapore in the 1890’s and 1940’s this wonderful story explores identical twin sister rivalry, love and betrayal. Chapters bounce between the two different centuries in Singapore with the addition of chapters set in London. 

There are so many great characters in this tale but for me, the twins Mae and Harriet, who were born out of wedlock causing much scandal as well as having the burden of carrying this through the decades wherever they go, are the most interesting and charismatic. When they are sent to Singapore by their benefactor to stay with David Keely, to whom one must marry, a strain is put on their previously unblemished sisterly relationship. This is further tested when they meet Alex Blake whom they both fall in love with but only one will win his heart! 

Then we have Ivy, Mae’s Granddaughter, who is posted to Singapore in the 1941. As she is severely traumatised by two events which occurred on the same day, she looks at this as an opportunity to move on with her life and taking all of her courage she decides to leave her beloved Grandmother behind. Surprises and mysteries unfold as she is blindly introduced to people from Mae’s past on the Island and secrets are revealed that stuns everyone. 

This beautifully descriptive written story has much breath holding moments including the time spent in POW camps which I particularly found harrowing yet it is such an addictive tale that I didn’t want it to end. 

I enjoyed Jenny Ashcroft debut novel Beneath A Burning Sky, but for me this book surpassed it. A must for historical fiction lovers and I give it a brilliant 5 star rating. 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018



The Long Walk Back
by
Rachel Dove
Blog Tour
&
GIVEAWAY







Genre: Contemporary women's fiction
Release Date: 11th January 2018
Publisher: HQ Digital


Does everyone deserve a second chance?
As an army trauma surgeon Kate knows how to keep her cool in the most high pressure of situations. Although back at home in England her marriage is falling apart, out in the desert she’s happy knowing that she’s saving lives.
Until she meets Cooper. It’s up to Kate to make a split-second decision to save Cooper’s life. Yet Cooper doesn’t want to be saved. Can Kate convince him to give his life a second chance even though its turning out dramatically different from how he planned?








EXTRACT
Kate was in a real mood; Trevor could tell from the way she pounded across the tent to him. He was doing his rounds, and they had had a good night. A good night here was when they still had the same number alive as the day before. A great day was when there were no casualties at all, but Trevor was hard pushed to remember many days like that. 
‘Who’s upset you? Neil whingeing about doing the dishwasher again, is he?’ Trevor asked, and immediately regretted cracking the joke when the icicles from Kate’s frosty glare jabbed him in the chest. 
‘Captain Cooper thinks he is hilarious. I’m just waiting for him to call me ‘toots’ and slap me on the behind,’ Kate said, seething. Trevor checked the vitals on his sleeping patient, and satisfied, made notes on his chart. 
‘So he’s awake? That’s amazing! How is he doing?’
‘Oh he’s doing just fine, for a male chauvinist pig.’
Kate,’ Trevor admonished, trying not to laugh at her furious expression. ‘How are his vitals?’
Kate pursed her lips, taking a breath to focus on the job. ‘He’s stable, the chest drain is working well. I’m still concerned about his leg though. He has limited blood flow to the area, and I' m worried about sepsis.’
Trevor nodded sadly. ‘So he will probably lose the leg, if we try to keep him alive.’ He rubbed at his temples. ‘Not told him any of this, have you?’
Kate shook her head. ‘I told him you would explain on this morning’s ward round. I wanted to go through everything again, monitor him closely for as long as we safely can before we make a decision.’
Trevor looked at her, his face unreadable. ‘It may not be our decision, it’s up to him.’
Kate looked nonplussed. ‘The evac chopper is coming in two days. At present, he’s too unstable to move. We need to get him home then, leg or no leg. A decision between losing a limb and dying is not a great thing to have thrust at you, granted - but he wants to live, surely?’
Trevor placed the chart at the foot of the bed and started to walk towards the next patient, issuing medication instructions to the nurse as he walked. 
‘Kate,’ he began in a tone he might have used to tell his child that Father Christmas wasn’t real. ‘I have worked on men like Captain Cooper since this whole nightmare started. These are army men to the core. Sometimes going home means no family, no buddies, no job, and a
lifetime of relying on other people. They are proud, and sometimes, to them, the reality is worse than death. Don’t take anything for granted when it comes to patient wishes.’
‘A boy died yesterday, to save these men. Surely that’s reason enough to want to live?’
Kate ran her fingers through her hair, suddenly feeling tired all over again.
‘Cooper knows that. Better than most, probably. It’s still his decision, he has to live with it. Understood?’ Trevor spoke firmly now.
Kate opened her mouth to argue, but she thought better of it. She respected her mentor, always had, and she didn’t want to argue. Not when the fact that life was so short and precious was evident in every face, every feature she saw over here. ‘Understood.’


BUY LINKS
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2CawuQ7








ABOUT RACHEL DOVE



I am a wife, mother of two boys, perpetual student, avid reader and writer of words. I sometimes sleep, always have eye bags and dream of retiring to a big white house in Cornwall, with 2 shaggy dogs, drinking wine on my seafront balcony whilst creating works of romantic fiction. All done with immaculate make up and floaty dresses.  In the meantime I nearly always remember to brush my hair, seldom have time to look in a mirror and write many, many to-do lists.  My first solo novel, Crossing Life Lines is out now in Kindle and paperback format. Look out for my horror shorts, published through Bayou Brew Publishing: The House of Sugar Blood, August 2013
and Uni Assassin, out now, and my short story, Mallow Girl, out now.  In July 2015, I won the Prima magazine and Mills & Boon Flirty Fiction Competition, with my entry, The Chic Boutique on Baker Street, out now in ebook and paperback, and the follow up novel in the series, The Flower Shop on Foxley Street.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterDove




Review
When Kate, who is a surgeon is commissioned to go on a short tour to Afghanistan, she never envisioned that a split second decision could dramatically change the rest of her life!
Kate’s boss Trevor asks her to go on a 3 month deployment to Afghanistan to help out with casualties of war, but her husband Neil is not too impressed with having to stay and look after their son Jamie whilst his wife goes and "plays soldier". He seems to think she is on some kind of holiday and certainly holds a grudge against her doing her job whilst he is at home being Mum and Dad to their young son.
Captain Thomas Cooper is critically injured on the front line and can feel his life slipping away when he tells medics that he wants a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) put in place. Now I work for NHS, so I know how important it is to sign these forms and carry them on you at all times, so a verbal agreement is not enough and when Kate faces an agonising decision to save Captain Cooper’s life by amputating his leg, she cannot begin to realise the consequences of her actions and the backlash she will face after the operation.
Captain Cooper or "Coop" as he is sometimes called, is furious to say the least at having been saved in the first place. As far as he is concerned, the Army is his life and if he had catastrophic injuries, then his death. So when he wakes up in hospital and looks at Kate’s face, he instantly knows what has happened.
How do you come to terms with someone saving your life when you didn’t want to be saved and not only a surgeon, but a beautiful one that you can’t take your eyes off at that………
This is the first book I have read by the author and I was pleasantly surprised by the storyline. I am not mad about "war zone" books (unless it’s wartime sagas!), but this had a good story and dealt with some sensitive issues regarding PTSD and also how Kate had to also come to terms with her son being in a very serious road accident and the impact that had on her relationship with not only her husband, but her son.
I would definitely recommend this book and thank you to Brook Cottage Books for sending me an ARC for review.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Molly's Christmas Orphans
by
Carol Rivers






Review


I Started 2018 with a good old wartime family saga and what a corker it was!

Molly lives in the East End and is trying to run the local grocery shop with her Dad after the tragic loss of her beloved husband Ted during the war. Things are not easy with constant air raids and lack of supplies, but she does her best. When her Dad is very badly injured during a raid and breaks his leg very badly, she finds herself having a long wait in the hospital waiting for news of his surgery.

Meanwhile, in the same hospital, two small children by the names of Mark and Evie are grieving the loss of their mother along with their father Andy. This brings back precious memories of her beloved daughter Emily and what could have been. Molly doesn’t know quite how she manages it, but she ends up offering to look after the children temporarily and also meets a lady called Cissy. They strike up a friendship and Cissy is more than happy to help look after the children and Molly offers her a roof over her head and a job in her shop. Is Molly being naive? and can Cissy be trusted? And is Cissy who she says she is at all?

The children’s father, Andy, is a merchant seaman and is often away for many months at a time and has asked Molly to look for a couple who often looked after the children call The Denhams. They were members of the Salvation Army and they would no doubt keep the children safe if Molly were unable to care for them. This search is proving a difficult task with people being evacuated left, right and centre. Would the children be better off in the country with strangers, or with people who cared for them but in the centre of London town with nightly air raids and bombings all around?

Molly’s Dad is packed off to recuperate with her sister Lyn in Sidcup, Kent (which happens to be where I live!!!). It is nice and quiet there and her Dad can get his strength back before coming back to the East End to his roots. But will Lyn have her way and keep her Dad there rather than return him to where he was happiest?

Cissy is a super character. She is fiery on the outside, but very vulnerable on the inside and has been treated very badly in the past. She has lots of skeletons in her closet and has therefore not mentioned her past to Molly and this comes back and bites her on the bum with a vengeance! When a local gangster comes looking for Cissy, a local man they call Spot offers to keep an eye out for her and Molly and along with his dog Nibbles, they keep a night time vigil at the shop. Spot has an ulterior motive as he has a very soft spot for Cissy, but will she fall for his charms or will she keep him at arms length, because as far as she is concerned, her past history with men leaves a lot to be desired!

I devoured this book in a few days as I just loved all the characters and the attention to detail in the author’s explanation of wartime accounts is brilliant and fascinating. It wasn’t until the very end when there is a scene involving Spot and a local gangster, that I had a vision of a fabulous tv programme I have watched from the beginning and that’s Peaky Blinders. I can’t give anymore away, but I gasped out loud!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Carol Rivers for yet another fantastic read. The ending to this book leaves it wide open for a sequel as far as I’m concerned and I would jump with joy if there was!

If you are a fan of wartime/family sagas then this is right up your street and as I am a huge fan of these books, this one is up there with my all time top 10!

Keep up the great work Carol, I for one, love your books.


To order a copy of the book on Amazon click here

Saturday, 6 January 2018


** COVER REVEAL **


Lizzie Flowers and the Family Firm
by
Carol Rivers


Wow! what an absolutely gorgeous cover this is! I am such a fan of Carol Rivers books that I am beavering away and trying to read all her back novels! I loved the previous two Lizzie Flowers novels so much that they were in my top 10 of 2016! You will have to wait until June for this one to come out, but I'm sure it will be worth the wait if it's anything like the previous two books in the series!

  


It’s 1934 and time for peace - or so Lizzie believes. She desperately needs time to lick her wounds and resolve the damage done to her business and private life. But the lucrative deal she is offered by a brewery is too good to refuse after the debilitating effects of the Great Depression. Danny warns her The Mill Wall Arms may turn out to be a pact with the devil and he wants no part of it! Lizzie must choose … and this time there will be no going back!




Sunday, 31 December 2017

A Patient Fury
by
Sarah Ward

#APatientFury


This is my last read and review of 2017 and what a way to go! I love all of Sarah Ward's books and this one is no exception. The writer very kindly sent me a signed copy and I have my review below.

I just want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy 2018, may you all have health, wealth and happiness in the coming year.



Blurb

When Detective Constable Connie Childs is dragged from her bed to the fire-wrecked property on Cross Farm Lane she knows as she steps from the car that this house contains death.
Three bodies discovered - a family obliterated - their deaths all seem to point to one conclusion: One mother, one murderer.
But D.C. Childs, determined as ever to discover the truth behind the tragedy, realises it is the fourth body - the one they cannot find - that holds the key to the mystery at Cross Farm Lane.
What Connie Childs fails to spot is that her determination to unmask the real murderer might cost her more than her health - this time she could lose the thing she cares about most: her career.


Review 

This is book 3 in the DC Connie Child's series and although I feel it could be read as a stand alone book, I would say it would be better to read the previous two books In Bitter Chill and A Deadly Thaw so that you get the true personality of Connie, who is dedicated to her career, determined, professional (although some of her ethics leave her boss DI Sadler speechless!). 

DC Child's first assignment after coming back from sick leave is to investigate a catastrophic fire at a local farm. As soon as Connie arrives she knows it will not be a cut and dry case. She can smell death and she is not wrong. After finding out that the owner, his wife and their small son, Charlie have all perished in the fire, Connie and her colleagues are against the clock to find out what happened and more importantly, who committed this horrendous crime. 

Julia and George were never really close to their father, but when he died in the fire along with his new wife and son, they have to begin to deal with grief again. After their mother disappeared many years previously, they didn't think that tragedy would come knocking at their door again.

Julia has never really recovered from her mother's disappearance and when she discover's her father's demise in the fire, she starts questioning her brother's motives and when she sees someone standing outside her house in the dark of night, Julia is near to breaking point because with her mother gone, her father dead and her brother under suspicion, could she be next on the list?

I loved the fact that you didn't really know what happened that fateful night until near the very last page! A few twists and turns and the author is exceptionally good at making you suspect everyone and trust no one!

Another fabulous read from Sarah Ward. I really think this would make a great detective series on TV and love it when I read a book and I can actually visualise the characters in my mind and this is exactly what I can do with the DC Child Mysteries.

If you haven't read any of Sarah Ward's books as yet, put them on your 2018 TBR pile now as you won't be disappointed!

Thank you so much Sarah for sending me a signed copy of your wonderful book and here's to the next one!


To order a copy of A Patient Fury on Amazon click here


Friday, 29 December 2017

The Girl I Used To Know
by
Faith Hogan
BLOG TOUR










I was delighted to be asked by the author to be a part of the Blog Tour for her new book, The Girl I Used To Know. I hope you enjoy the extract below and judging by the gorgeous cover, I'm sure it's going to be a corker! Enjoy.




THE GIRL I USED TO KNOW by Faith Hogan



About the book


A beautiful, emotive and spell-binding story of two women who find friendship and second chances when they least expect it. Perfect for the fans of Patricia Scanlan.
Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn't be more different.
Amanda seems to have it all, absolute perfection. She projects all the accoutrements of a lady who lunches. Sadly, the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.
By comparison, in the basement flat, unwanted tenant Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.
It takes a bossy doctor, a handsome gardener, a pushy teenager and an abandoned cat to show these two women that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.


Bio Faith Hogan


Faith Hogan was born in Ireland.  She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway.  She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector. 
She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.


Faith Hogan Contact:
Twitter (her favourite) https://twitter.com/GerHogan On Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/faithhoganauthor/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/faithhoganauthor/?hl=en Web Page. http://faithhogan.com/

Links to Buy:  Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jAvtfS Kobo: http://bit.ly/2B3d9PO iBooks: http://apple.co/2zZzAbk









Extract

The city bells woke her at midnight. New Year’s Eve. Well, this was a first. She’d never spent it in hospital before. Looking on the bright side, it turned out, she was not alone for the ringing in of the new, even if her company were all old biddies snoring loudly and unaware that they had made it into the next year, albeit, if from the sounds of some of them, it could be their last.
Tess yanked herself up higher in the bed. She looked out across the Dublin rooftops. It was surreal to see the city so quiet, and as if on cue, a loud bang heralded the start of a twenty minute fireworks’ display. She had never watched the festivities before. Usually, Tess made sure she was fast asleep before people could get too nostalgic. Anyway, she was a morning person – liked to get a start at the day.
Now, watching each exploding colour bomb hit the inky sky, she regretted missing them over the years. They really were quite beautiful. Intoxicating.
She heard the thrum of modern loud music and the roars and claps from the city dwellers when the last golden burst faded into the smoky black night. Then, the oddest thing, she started to cry. This was not a raging upset, but more of a slow-releasing sadness at how her life had turned out. She was truly alone – not a friend to call on her over the Christmas holidays. No one missed her for ten whole days. At the various offices around the city, she’d temped in on and off for the last few years, they hadn’t even sent a card or enquired how she was when she returned. Her wages just arrived in her bank account. Ten days she’d not turned up. The agency had just replaced her – and nobody had noticed anything different. She was an old woman now. She was only sixty-six, which was nothing these days. Women her age were winning marathons, running countries, and doing all sorts of marvellous things all over the world. She was younger than Meryl Streep for God’s sake. Tess knew, though, that those women were not like her. They had young hearts, souls that sang with love and joy. It was many years since Tess had known what it was to be moved by passion for something that filled her soul. These last few weeks, she realised that she was, to all extents, invisible – could it be that she had allowed herself to become sidelined in her own life? That seemed neither possible nor practical, and yet, it had become an overwhelming sense within her. No one noticed if she didn’t turn up, apart from the plants that she watered each day, because if she didn’t, she believed no one else would. She temped in offices throughout the heart of the business centre in
Dublin. Tidied up the mess left behind by the bright young things that couldn’t quite manage to get their work completed. She found it mind-numbingly dull, of course, but she had shown up and for too many years to count, it was all she had to push her into each new day.
In this moment, Tess, all alone in the world, knew that it had been too long since she had loved. It was two score and more since she felt the kind of joy that she knew with certainty was still outside that window tonight.
What if it wasn’t too late to change things? She considered herself a brave and resilient woman; was she courageous enough to turn things around, if there was time? And how on earth would she go about it? It was time to take a good hard look at her life.
In the near silence of the hospital ward, the only punctuating sounds were easily drowned to quiet when Tess began to sit up and think. This unease, this gulf that had become her whole existence, wasn’t just about taking stock of herself, it was her health, her happiness. Could she honestly move forward if she didn’t first resolve the harm done in the past?
God, Tess shuddered. She couldn’t go back. 
There was Nancy, the sister that she’d treasured. Her parents, long dead now, she never really said goodbye. And then, of course, there was Douglas, the man she had so prized, all those years ago. It was a love that cost too much in the end. Should she have let it steal her life away? That thought jolted her now, or was it the sound of some buzzer, muted and unending far off, letting nurses know that they were needed once again? Tess knew, with the certainty of time and sudden blinding clarity, that was what she’d done. She’d allowed life to slip through her fingers, just a little with each passing year, until the gossamers of time had pulled so finally away that it was almost too late to make anything of what was left.
How could someone who started with so much have ended up with so little in life? Tess had an uncomfortable feeling that learning the truth of this might be the only way to make a life that was worth something more than another decade of loneliness.
Tess knew with certainty, in this moment, surrounded by women who were much older than she was, they would give their false teeth to have another ten years before them. She should have that, and surely, if she had, then she just had to try to make things up?