Thursday, 25 January 2018

The Chalk Man
by
C J Tudor
BLOG TOUR

I'm extremely pleased to be a part of the Blog Tour for The Chalk Man by C J Tudor. This book is getting rave reviews on social media and I, for one, can't wait to read it. It is definitely on my TBR pile for this year! Thank you Julie Williams for reviewing (although she didn't take much persuading when I asked if she would read it!!).

Guest Review
by
Julie Williams








Review

I heard a lot of excitement about The Chalk Man on social media so when I was asked to review it by Julie Boon as she is on the blog tour I didn’t hesitate and made it my next read. 

To say that this story is gripping and full of suspense is an understatement and one that I devoured over the weekend with unwelcome interruptions like housework stopping me from reading in one sitting. I love the book cover as it is simple yet perfect for this deep creepy novel. I did find that I had to concentrate quite hard as there are many characters, some of whose connected relationships are revealed as the story unfolds, but I did find them relevant and interesting.

The tale is told between two time periods 1980 and 2016 with Eddie Addams being the main character and the story is told through his voice. He and his four friends who in 1980 are 12 year old children experiencing the usual carefree lives that is normal until there is a horrific accident at the local fair when a young pretty girl is seriously injured after a waltzer car becomes unattached from the ride. This event changes everything for the group and is the start of sinister occurrences in Anderbury.

In 2016 Ed, now in his forties, is finally forced to confront the past and his theories of who committed the murders and why. This new decade brings more death and harm and eventually answers are revealed with shocking and surprising results. 

A great read by C J Tudor, who certainly has a talent for creating and telling a dark, spine chilling story.




To order a copy of The Chalk Man from Amazon click here







Wednesday, 24 January 2018


Stand By Me
by
S D Robertson
BLOG TOUR




I'm delighted to be hosting the Blog Tour for S.D. Robertson's latest book, Stand by Me. I really can't wait to read this one as I have read (and loved) his previous two novels! My good friend Julie Williams has already devoured it and her review is below. I am also lucky enough to have a Q&A from the author himself!


Author Q&As
Hi. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing. 


Firstly, please could you tell readers a little about yourself?
Hello, I’m Stuart Robertson; I write under the name S.D. Robertson. I live with my wife and daughter in a village north of Manchester. My latest novel, which has just been released by Avon HarperCollins, is called Stand By Me.   

 
When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I first remember wanting to be a writer when I was at primary school. I was one of the more advanced readers in my class and always had my nose in some book or another, so it seemed like an obvious choice. The idea of being paid to make up stories sounded amazing back then. It still does really.


What did you do as a job before becoming a writer?
I was the editor of a local newspaper, having previously been a reporter. So I’ve worked with words for some time now. Prior to that I had several very different jobs, including washing dishes in a hotel kitchen, measuring the signal of a new mobile phone network, door-to-door sales, and working as a holiday rep on a campsite. 


How do you carry out the research for your novels?
Luckily, I haven’t needed to do a huge amount of research for any of my novels so far. I tend to stick to subjects and situations I already know a little about. Most of what I have needed to research has come from the Internet or by talking to people I know.


Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
I love writing dialogue. That probably comes easiest to me. It could be because I watch lots of films and TV shows, or maybe it’s down to my newspaper days, when I often had to quote what people had said to me. 
The thing I usually find hardest is settling on an idea at the start of the process. I’m forever noting down potential concepts for future novels, but it can be tricky to choose which one to take forward. In the end, I often combine several ideas into one. 


What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
I mainly write Monday to Friday between 9am and 3pm, while my daughter is at school. Sometimes this extends to later in the day or, at busy times, the weekend. I write nearly everything at home, usually in the study, kitchen or
lounge. Very occasionally I’ll venture out to a local library or cafe, but that only tends to happen if I’m struggling for inspiration and need a change of scenery.


When you're not writing, what do you like to read?
Anything and everything, from literary fiction to sci-fi, classics, crime, YA, psychological thrillers  . . . whatever I can get my hands on really. I try to be as varied as possible in what I read. 
How important do you think social media is to authors in today's society?
I think it’s a great way of reaching out to your readers and vice versa. It’s hugely important nowadays, although it can be quite time-consuming. As an author working from home, it’s all too easy to procrastinate rather than actually writing; social media can be dangerous in that regard.


Could you tell the readers a bit about your latest book?
Stand By Me is about the powerful and changing nature of a long friendship. My two central characters, Elliot and Lisa, meet as 11-year-olds in the early 1990s and remain great pals as they traverse secondary school and grow into adults together. Then life pulls them apart – until one day, totally out of the blue, Elliot comes back into Lisa’s life just when she needs him most. As the story flits between past and present, we gradually learn the remarkable truth about Elliot’s return and what it means for both of their futures.


Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?
I don’t think I’d really want to be any of the main characters in Stand By Me. At some point they all have a pretty tough time of things, one way or another. Hmm. Maybe I need to treat my fictional friends a bit better in future. Mind you, where would be the fun in that?


Is there anything else you would have liked to be asked?
That’s an interesting one. Perhaps you could have asked me what I most enjoy about being a published author. The answer is simple: it’s hearing that people have enjoyed what I’ve written. Being contacted directly or reading a good review from a reader who’s really appreciated one of my books is one of the best feelings in the world.  


Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions.
No problem at all. Thanks for having me on your blog. :-)



Guest Review
by
Julie Williams


Stand By Me is an emotional story of a powerful friendship and turbulent family relationships.

Lisa a confident child who first meets Elliot when he is in a vulnerable situation in nothing but his underwear hiding in a bush! New to the area and keen to make friends Lisa not only helps him out of this predicament but becomes his protector and forms a lifelong friendship and bond that Elliot is eternally grateful for. Lisa being the much stronger character out of the two defends him and often comes to his rescue. As they grow into teenagers their relationship is tested with the arrival of boyfriends and girlfriends but as these come and go they still remain good pals.

Intertwined are chapters with their lives as adults with Elliot returning to Aldham after emigrating to Australia years ago on a mysterious business trip. Lisa is over the moon as his visit comes at a time when her family is fractured and it seems difficult to imagine a remedy.  Mike her husband, has taken to drinking excessively since resigning from his Deputy Head post due to a false accusation from a cocky troublesome pupil. This is putting a strain on their relationship as being the only bread winner now Lisa is also left feeling unsupported. Her two children Chloe and Ben are also experiencing difficult times and the kindness and help from Elliot is most welcome. 

This is the third novel from S D Robertson and I have read them all, with this latest being a cracker of a read. There are lots of sensitive subjects that have been dealt with superbly and with credibility. A joy to read and a most deserving 5 star rating.


To order a copy of Stand by Me from Amazon click here





Saturday, 20 January 2018

Hattie's Home
by
Mary Gibson
BLOG TOUR

I have been meaning to read a Mary Gibson book since I bought "Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts" many boons ago, but as usual, life gets in the way and I as yet, haven't got round to reading it! But when I saw that there was a new book coming out I desperately wanted to be a part of the Blog Tour, so here we are and my review for the wonderful Hattie's Home is below. If you love family/wartime sagas (as I do) then you are in for a real treat!


Review
When Hattie is begged by her Mum Cissy to come home from the Army after the war has ended as she is nearly blind and can’t live without her, Hattie worries that her Mum is really poorly, but on returning to her beloved Bermondsey in South East London, she realises that not only has London be ravaged by war, but that her Mum is exaggerating about her blindness and very much so! In fact, it doesn’t stop Cissy having the ever caring Mario in tow, leaving Hattie to have to camp on the sofa whilst listening to her Mum and Mario’s antics in the next room!

Hattie and Cissy have never really had what you would call a close mother and daughter relationship. In fact, Hattie would have rather stayed in Belgium with the Army than go home to her mother. At least she would have been fed and not have to live in such dire conditions in Bermondsey.

Clara is also a local Bermondsey girl who fell in love with Barry through rose tinted glasses. He whirled her off her feet and married her only to take her to his birthplace in aboriginal Australia and for her to find out that he was already married. Left with a "brown" baby in a country where she knew nobody, Clara escapes on a ship back to England and on the doorstep of her parents with only the clothes she stood up in and her beloved Martha. Will her parents welcome her back into the fold with open arms, or will the shame on their family be too much for them to bear?

Lou has just given birth to a baby girl, but is so traumatised by the death of another of her children, Sue, that she just isn’t in her right mind and takes the agonising decision to give the baby away, much to the disgust of her son Ronnie, who is the local tearaway.

Hattie, Clara and Lou are all trying to keep the wolf from the door and so look for work at the notorious Alaska Building in Bermondsey, which deals with fur coats and all different types of clothing. It is mundane work, but work is work and if you need to feed yourself after the devastating effects of the war, there doesn’t seem to be much choice.

When Hattie comes across some ex Army huts that are disused, she sets about setting up a committee to get them renovated so that she can live in peace away from Cissy and Mario and also set up homes for other people who have nowhere else to go. This plan would have gone swimmingly if it wasn’t for the local gangster family, the Harpers, who want to muscle in on the scheme to make some money out of other people’s misfortunes. Hattie knows only too well what happens if you cross the Harpers and Lenny, in particular, is in no mood for compromise!

This is the first book I have read by this author, but I do have copies of her other books to read on my bookshelf and it won’t be long before I make a start on them as I love reading about post war London and especially as I come from South East London (where this book is based), I knew all of the places that were mentioned!

The attention to detail with the descriptions of the area and wartime references were excellent and obviously a lot of research had gone into the writing of this book.

Thoroughly enjoyable book and a must read for any fans of wartime/family sagas.



To order a copy of this book from Amazon click here







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!