Friday, 11 January 2019

Whistle in the Dark
by
Emma Healey
BLOG TOUR



I'm delighted to be a part of the Blog Tour for Whistle in the Dark, which is the second book by Emma Healey. You will probably know the author's first book Elizabeth is Missing, which was a huge smash. Today I have an extract for you.


Extract

‘This has been the worst week of my life,’ Jen said. Not what she had planned to say to her fifteen-year-old daughter after an ordeal that had actually covered four days.
‘Hi, Mum.’  Lana’s voice emerged from blue-tinged lips.
Jen could only snatch a hug, a press of her cheek against Lana’s ‒ soft and pale as a mushroom ‒ while the paramedics slammed the ambulance doors and wheeled Lana into the hospital. There was a gash on the ashen head, a scrape on the tender jaw, she was thin and cold and wrapped in tin foil, she smelled soggy and earthy and unclean, but it was okay: she was here, she was safe, she was alive. Nothing else mattered.
Cigarette smoke drifted over from the collection of dressing-gowned, IV‑attached witnesses huddled under the covered entrance, and a man’s voice came with it.
‘What’s going off? Is that the lass from London?’
‘Turned up, then,’ another voice answered. ‘Heard it said on the news.’
So the press had been told already. Jen supposed that was a good thing: they could cancel the search, stop asking the public to keep their eyes open, to report possible sightings, to contact the police if they had information. It was a happy ending to the story. Not the ending anyone had been expecting.
The call had come less than an hour ago, Hugh, wrapped in a hotel towel, just out of the shower (because it was important to keep going), Jen not dressed and unshowered (because she wasn’t convinced by Hugh’s argument). They had never given up hope, that’s what she would say in the weeks to come, talking to friends and relatives, but really her hope, that flimsy Meccano construction, had shaken its bolts loose and collapsed within minutes of finding Lana missing.
Even driving to the hospital, Jen had been full of doubt, assuming there’d been a mistake, imagining a different girl would meet them there, or a lifeless body. The liaison officer had tried to calm her with details: a farmer had spotted a teenager on sheep-grazing land, he’d identified her from the news and called the police, she was wearing the clothes Jen had guessed she’d be wearing, she’d been well enough to drink a cup of hot, sweet tea, well enough to speak, and had definitely answered to the name Lana.
And then there she was, recognizable and yet unfamiliar, a sketch of herself, being coloured in by the hospital: the black wheelchair rolling to the reception desk, the edges of Lana’s red blanket billowing, a nurse in blue sweeping by with a white-coated doctor and the green-uniformed paramedics turning to go out again with a wave. Jen felt too round, the lines of her body too thick and slow for the pace, and she hung back a moment, feeling Hugh’s hands on her shoulders.
He nudged her forward. Lana’s wheelchair was on the move and Jen felt woozy, the scent of disinfectant whistling through her as they got deeper into the hospital. She hadn’t anticipated this, hadn’t been rehearsing for doctors and a recovery, had pictured only police press conferences and a funeral, or an endless, agonizing wait. The relief was wonderful, the relief was ecstasy, the relief made her ticklish, it throbbed in her veins. The relief was exhausting.
‘How are you feeling?’ she asked Hugh, hoping his answer would show her how to react, how to behave.
‘I don’t know,’ Hugh said. ‘I don’t know yet.’
They spent several hours in A&E while Lana had skeletal surveys and urine tests and her head was cleaned and stitched and some of her hair was cut. Her clothes were exchanged for a gown, and her feet, pale and chalky, stuck out naked from the hem. Jen wanted to hold those feet to her chest, to kiss them, as she had when Lana was a baby, but just above each ankle was a purplish line, like the indentations left by socks, only thinner, darker. The kind of mark a fine rope might leave. They made Jen pause, they were a hint, a threat, and they signalled a beginning ‒ the beginning of a new doubt, a new fear, a new gap opening up between her and her daughter.
The police noticed the marks, too, and photographed them when they came to take Lana’s white fleece jacket, now brown and stiff with blood. There was so much blood on it that Jen found herself wondering again if her daughter was really still alive.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Christmas at Liberty's
by
Fiona Ford
REVIEW




When I first saw the cover of this book, I just knew I had to read it. What a fabulous, Christmassy feel it has!


This is the first book I have read by Fiona Ford and this one is the first in a series and after reading it, I honestly can't wait for the next instalment!


Review
Mary thought she had an idyllic family life with her parents and sister, but when she is unceremoniously discharged from the Army and turns to her family to help her in her hour of need, they point blank refuse and  cut her off, without even listening to her side of the story.


We don't find out what really happened to Mary before until later in the book, but throughout, her past catches up with her present and threatens to destroy her future as well.


Mary comes to London to find new lodgings and a job and sees an advert for a room with a lady called Dot in Elephant & Castle.


Alice also lives with Dot, but is pregnant with her first child and is struggling to cope with working at Liberty's and accepting the news that her husband is missing in action and doesn't know whether he is dead or alive.


Dot and Alice take Mary at face value and Alice manages to get Mary an interview at Liberty's in the fabric department. The only drawback to this, is that Mary cannot sew and doesn't know one end of a needle from the other!


Mary is interviewed by Mabel Matravers, who is notorious for giving new girls at Liberty's a hard time, but even Mary is in for a shock when Mabel finds out that Mary was discharged from the Army and makes it her mission to find out why and to make Mary's life hell in the process.


When Mary is put on a months' trial and is put under Flo's wing in the fabric department, little did Mary know that the next four weeks were going to be the hardest of her life and that so much would happen, both good and bad, but with the help of Dot, Alice, Flo and another Liberty's worker, Rose, the ladies would come to depend on each other in more ways than they could possibly imagine.


All the characters in this book were fabulous in their own way. Mrs Matravers was a conniving, manipulative, yet lost soul, who in some ways, you couldn't help but feel sorry for.


Excellently written and researched and this book leads us into what I hope will be a saga that could go on for another few books and I certainly can't wait for the next one!


Thank you Fiona Ford for writing a wonderful saga of London during WWII and especially as some of it is based around my hometown, South East London!


Amazon UK: To order a copy of this book click here



Thursday, 20 December 2018

25 Days 'til Christmas
by
Poppy Alexander

GUEST REVIEW
BY
JULIE WILLIAMS

Thank you so much to Alex from Orion for letting Boon's Bookcase be a part of the Blog Tour for 25 Days 'til Christmas. My lovely friend and Guest Reviewer, Julie Williams, has her review for you below.





 



I do love a Christmas romance so when this one came along I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.

Kate Thompson is facing another lonely Christmas as her army husband Tom was killed suddenly four years ago. But Kate is a fighter so decides this year to incorporate an Advent calendar with a difference which will force her to overcome her sadness for the sake of her beloved young son Jack.

Kate certainly has some uphill struggles ahead to deal with, as she is not only financially unstable with only a low paid job to support her and Jack, but also her Mother in Law’s care home fees to pay.

Daniel who has secretly admired Kate for a few years as she stands outside in the freezing cold selling Christmas trees, is also grieving as this will be his first Christmas without his sister Zoe who passed away from a heart condition. I really like Daniel his character portrays a caring, kind hearted, shy man who doesn’t shirk his responsibilities. So when he finally plucks up the courage to talk to Kate and invite her and Jack to see his home, a narrow boat on the canal, I hoped things would blossom between them, making for a happy Christmas for them all. 
A lovely festive story, that is both heart-warming and a joy to read. My thanks to Net galley for the ARC.



Monday, 10 December 2018

A Sister's Struggle
by
Mary Gibson
BLOG TOUR

GUEST PIECE


I'm absolutely delighted to be a part of the Blog Tour for Mary Gibson's latest novel, A Sister's Struggle, which is published on 1st December 2018 in hardback. In the meantime, I am honoured to have a guest post especially for Boon's Bookcase and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. What makes this guest piece really personal is that I know most of the places that the author talks about and my Mum was born in Long Lane! 

 Thank you to the author for writing the guest post and to Vicky at Head of Zeus for adding me to the blog tour.


GUEST PIECE BY MARY GIBSON
STRUGGLES
My young heroine struggles with poverty, family loyalties, her conscience and her loves in my latest Bermondsey novel, set in the ‘hungry thirties’. But the central question of the novel is: who will win the battle for Ruby Scully’s heart? 

Radicalisation is a word we hear a lot of these days, but there is nothing new about it. Poverty and youthful idealism have always been the perfect harvest fields and Bermondsey during the nineteen thirties was a prime example. It was a fascinating mix of mission field and battle field. From the soup kitchens of the South London Mission at the top of Tower Bridge Road to the little known ‘Battle of Bermondsey’ fought among the barricades of Long Lane, my idealistic young heroine, Ruby Scully, struggles to make a better life for herself, her family and friends. As she and a group of her young workmates at Crosse & Blackwell’s pickle factory fall variously in love with Methodism, Marx, Mosley and each other, it becomes clear that hearts and minds are the real battle field and it takes a terrible tragedy to reveal the truth behind each of their faiths and loves.

The novel opens with Ruby as a hungry twelve-year-old at the height of the depression. Her mother has died in childbirth and her father Dodge is a charming rogue but a terrible father. All the domestic burden of caring for her two brothers has fallen to Ruby and she keenly misses the presence of her mother. At near starvation point and desperate to get food for herself and her brothers, Ruby Scully joins the Methodist Mission, initially for the free breakfasts of bread and cocoa, but later as a true believer. Here she meets Ida, another hungry girl, who becomes her closest friend, but who finds her own faith in socialism. Although their ideas seem poles apart their friendship proves stronger than their faiths. 

There is a pub in the Old Kent Road called the ‘World Turned Upside Down’ that appears in the book and I have used it as a sort of symbol for the general turmoil and upheaval that happens in my heroine’s life. I always like to connect Bermondsey, a thirteen hundred acre borough at the geographical heart of London, to wider national and international events of the time and then see how these ripple back to turn my characters’ lives upside down.

The 1937 Battle of Bermondsey gave me the ideal event to hang the story on. A year after Cable Street Mosley and his Blackshirts attempted to march through Bermondsey to hold an open air rally. But the locals refused to let them pass - coming out in their thousands and throwing up barricades along the route. Of course, my heroine is in the thick of it. One of her brothers has become a poster boy for the blackshirts, her fiancée is a Methodist missionary who forbids her to attend, and her best friends are socialists standing atop the barricades…what could possibly go wrong?



A SISTER’S STRUGGLE will be published by Head of Zeus in e book 1st December 2018, hardback February 2019 and paperback in May 2019

www.marygibsonauthor.co.uk
@MaryGibsonBooks


About the author

Mary Gibson was born and brought up in Bermondsey, South East London. After a thirty year career in publishing, she took the opportunity of early retirement to write a book of her own. Her début novel, Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts, was inspired by the lives and times of her grandparents in World War One Bermondsey. It went on to become a top ten Kindle best seller and was selected for World Book Night 2015. 



Follow Mary
Twitter handle: @MaryGibsonBooks
Facebook: @MaryGibsonBooks
Website: marygibsonauthor.co.uk 


About the book

A young girl struggles to keep body and soul together in 1930s London, while her proud but spendthrift widowed father refuses to accept charity.

London, 1935.

Ruby is always hungry, but she will go without if it means her young brothers can eat. 1930s Bermondsey might be called the larder of London, with its pie, pickle and jam factories, but for the poor working classes, starvation is often only a heartbeat away. When Ruby’s neighbour suggests she ought to go to the Methodist Mission for free food, Ruby knows her father will be furious, but that she has no other option. 

It is a decision that will change the course of her life forever, split her family and in the end lead her to face a terrible choice between duty and a great love.


Buy links Kobo: http://bit.ly/2qUQe6o  iBooks: https://apple.co/2Bh69BV  Amazon: https://amzn.to/2zgDfAs  Google Play: http://bit.ly/2DLUH3t 

Follow Head of Zeus:
Twitter: @HoZ_Books
Facebook: @headofzeus Website: http://headofzeus.com/

Friday, 7 December 2018

Sadie's Wars
by
Rosemary Noble
BOOK PROMO


Welcome to Boon's Bookcase to Rosemary Noble and it's my turn on the Book Promo for Sadie's Wars. I love the cover of this one and I just adore old photos, so I had to be a part of promoting this book!


Sadie’s Wars
An astonishing tale, spanning continents, where truth is stranger than fiction. This historical saga of an extraordinary Australian pioneer family continues into a new generation.
Sadie is brought-up amongst the vineyards of the Yarra Valley while her work-obsessed father reaps riches from the boom years before the Great War. 
With post-war depression looming, Sadie's only option is to flee from her disastrous marriage, seeking refuge in Cleethorpes, a small seaside town in northern England. 
Years later, when her sons are in RAF Bomber Command, she receives a letter from her long-lost brother which forces her to confront the past and her part in her family’s downfall. 
Can old wounds be healed?  Will she find new love?  Will this second war destroy everyone she saved?

Purchase Link  mybook.to/SadieW  

Author Bio 


 I worked as a  librarian, mostly with young people, so books have been my life, ever since I first stepped into a library and found a magical treasure trove. My other love is social history. Retirement gave me the opportunity to travel to Australia where I discovered stories that deserved to be written. I found a new career as an author which gives me immense pleasure. I write for myself but am delighted that others enjoy my books.

Social Media Links –  https://twitter.com/chirosie  rosemarynoble.wordpress.com   https://www.facebook.com/RosemaryJaneNoble/

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Seven Days of Us
by
Francesca Hornak
BLOG TOUR
&
GIVEAWAY (UK only)



Today, I'm delighted to be a part of the blog tour for Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak and I have an extract for you to enjoy. Do enter the giveaway for a copy of the book and i'll also throw some chocolates in as well seeing as it's Christmas! GOOD LUCK (UK only).


Extract
Prologue
17 November 2016
Olivia
Cape Beach, Monrovia, Liberia, 1.03 a.m.
.   .   .
Olivia knows what they are doing is stupid. If seen, they will be sent home – possibly to a tribunal. Never mind that to touch him could be life threatening. But who will see them? The beach is deserted and so dark she can just see a few feet into the inky sea. The only sound is the swooshing drag of the waves. She is acutely aware of the tiny gap between their elbows, as they walk down to the surf. She wants to say, ‘We shouldn’t do this,’ except they haven’t done anything. They still haven’t broken the No- Touch rule.
The evening had begun in the beach bar, with bottled beers and then heady rum and Cokes. They had sat under its corrugated iron roof for hours, a sputtering hurricane lamp between them, as the sky flared bronze. They had talked about going home for Christmas in five weeks, and how they both wanted to come back to Liberia. She told him about Abu, the little boy she had treated and then sobbed for on this beach the day he died. And then they’d talked about where they’d grown up, and gone to medical school, and their families. His home in Ireland sounded so unlike hers. He was the first to go to university, and to travel. She tried to explain how medicine represented a rebellion of sorts to her parents, and his eyes widened – as they had when she confessed to volunteering at Christmas, to avoid her family. She had noticed his eyes when they first met at the treatment centre – they were all you could see, after all, behind the visor. They were grey-green, like the sea in Norfolk, with such dark lashes he might have been wearing make-up. She kept looking at his hands, as he picked the label on his beer. Like hers, they were rough from being dunked in chlorine. She wanted to take one and turn it over in her palm.
By the time the bar closed the stars were out, spilt sugar across the sky. The night air was weightless against her bare arms. ‘Will we walk?’ said Sean, standing up. Usually she stood eye to eye with men, but he was a head taller than her. And then there was a second, lit by the hurricane lamp, when they looked straight at each other, and something swooped in her insides. 
Now, ankle deep in the surf, their sides are nearly touching. Phosphorescence glimmers in the foam. She loses her footing as a wave breaks over their calves, and he turns so that she half-falls into him. His hands reach to steady her and then circle around her waist. She turns in his arms to face him, feeling his palms on the small of her back. The inches between his mouth and hers ache to be crossed. And as he lowers his head, and she feels his lips graze hers, she knows this is the stupidest thing she has ever done.
The Buffalo Hotel, Monrovia, Liberia, 2.50 p.m.
Sipping bottled water to quell her stomach (why did she have that last drink?), Olivia waits to Skype her family. It is strange to be in a hotel lobby, a little bastion of plumbing and wi-fi – though there is no air-con, just a fan to dispel the clingy heat. And even here there is a sense of danger, and caution. In the bathrooms are posters headed SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HAAG VIRUS, with little cartoons of people vomiting. The barman dropped her change into her palm without contact – guessing, rightly, that most white faces in Monrovia are here for the epidemic, to help with ‘Dis Haag Bisniss’. Another aid worker paces the lobby, talking loudly on an iPhone about ‘the crisis’ and ‘supplies’ and then hammering his MacBook Air with undue industry. He’s wearing a Haag Response T-shirt and expensive-looking sunglasses, and has a deep tan. He’s probably with one of the big NGOs, thinks Olivia. He doesn’t look like he’d ever brave the Haag Treatment Centre or a PPE suit – not like Sean. Last night keeps replaying in her mind. She can’t wait to see Sean on shift later, to savour the tension of No-Touch, of their nascent secret. Anticipation drowns out the voice telling her to stop, now, before it goes further. It’s too late to go back anyway.
Olivia realises she is daydreaming – it’s five past three and her family will be waiting. She puts the call through and suddenly, magically, there they are crammed onto her screen. She can see that they’re in the kitchen at Gloucester Terrace, and that they have propped a laptop up on the island. Perhaps it’s her hangover, but this little window onto Camden seems so unlikely as to be laughable. She looks past their faces to the duck-egg cupboards and gleaming coffee machine. It all looks absurdly clean and cosy.
Her mother, Emma, cranes towards the screen like a besotted fan, touching the glass as if Olivia herself might be just behind it. Perhaps she, too, can’t fathom how a little rectangle of Africa has appeared in her kitchen. Olivia’s father, Andrew, offers an awkward wave-salute, a brief smile replaced by narrowed eyes as he listens without speaking. He keeps pushing his silver mane back from his face (Olivia’s own face, in male form), frowning and nodding – but he is looking past her, at the Buffalo Hotel. Her mother’s large hazel eyes look slightly wild, as she fires off chirpy enquiries. She wants to know about the food, the weather, the showers, anything – it seems – to avoid hearing about Haag. There is a lag between her voice and lips, so that Olivia’s answers keep tripping over Emma’s next question.
Her sister Phoebe hovers behind their parents, holding Cocoa the cat like a shield. She is wearing layered vests that Olivia guesses are her gym look, showing off neat little biceps. At one point, she glances at her watch. Olivia tries to tell them about the cockerel that got into the most infectious ward and had to be stoned to death, but her mother is gabbling: ‘Have a word with Phoebs!’ and pushing Phoebe centre stage. ‘Hi,’ says Phoebe sweetly, smiling her wide, photogenic smile, and making Cocoa wave his paw.
Olivia can’t think of anything to say – she is too aware that she and her sister rarely speak on the phone. Then she remembers that Phoebe has just had her birthday (is she now twenty-eight or -nine? She must be twenty-nine because Olivia is thirty-two), but before she can apologise for not getting in touch, Phoebe’s face stretches into a grotesque swirl, like Munch’s Scream. ‘Olivia? Wivvy? Wiv?’ she hears her mother say, before the call cuts off completely. She tries to redial, but the connection is lost.
. 1 .
17 December 2016
Andrew
The Study, 34 Gloucester Terrace, Camden, 4.05 p.m.
.   .   .
Subject: copy 27th dec

About the Author
Francesca Hornak is an author, journalist and former columnist for the Sunday Times Style magazine. Her debut novel Seven Days Of Us will be published by Little, Brown in September 2017. Little Island Productions has pre-empted TV rights to the book. Francesca's work has appeared in newspapers and magazines including The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Metro, Elle, Grazia, Stylist, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and Red. She is the author of two nonfiction books, History of the World in 100 Modern Objects: Middle Class Stuff (and Nonsense) and Worry with Mother: 101 Neuroses for the Modern Mama.
Follow her on Twitter at @FrancescaHornak






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Saturday, 1 December 2018

Two Fabulous Giveaways
from
Gill Paul
(UK only & over 18s)

Giveaway One
Another Woman¹s Husband prize has a signed copy of the paperback, five
mini cocktail syrups and some Hotel Chocolat Billionaires Shortbread


Giveaway Two
The Lost Daughter prize has a signed paperback, three mini flavoured
vodkas and some Hotel Chocolat caramel and pecan brownies

The fabulous author, Gill Paul, has very kindly offered two fabulous prizes in a Giveaway and I am extremely honoured to be able to offer them to you on Boon's Bookcase. All you have to do is enter below and in a week, two winners will be announced and Gill will very kindly send the winners their prize! What are you waiting for! GOOD LUCK (UK only).


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