Sunday, 29 July 2018

The Memories of Us
by
Vanessa Carnevale
BLOG TOUR

Today, it's my turn on the Blog Tour for The Memories of Us by Vanessa Carnevale and I have an extract for you.

Extract
I spend the next hour circling in and around crowds at the bustling market, and am edging my way towards a stall of fresh produce, trying to call to mind a way to cook the rainbow-coloured stalks of silverbeet, when someone taps me on the shoulder.
‘Fancy seeing you here,’ says Flynn, smiling. He smells of fresh aftershave and is wearing a grey coat and jeans, with a navy rib-knit scarf around his neck. He eyes the vegetables in my basket. ‘Decided to stock the fridge, have we?’
‘How observant.’ I laugh, rolling my eyes. ‘Now I just need to figure out what to do with them.’
‘I could help you with that.’
‘Oh, you definitely seem to be the helping sort,’ I reply with a hint of sarcasm. I pick up a broccoli to admire its tiny yellow flowers before adding it to my basket. I grab a few oranges, some imperfectly shaped carrots, their tops still on, a bunch of kale and some pumpkin. Flynn offers to take the basket for me while I pay for the produce, and when I turn around, a brown-and-white Cavalier King Charles, with long ears he hasn’t grown into, jumps up at me, wagging his tail.
‘Easy, boy,’ says Flynn. ‘Looks like he’s excited to see you.’
‘What’s his name?’ I ask, crouching down to pat him.
‘Parrot.’
‘Parrot?’ I titter, looking up at Flynn as Parrot licks my face. I wipe my cheek with the cuff of my sleeve.
Flynn shrugs. ‘It makes him unforgettable. And he’s also super loyal and trustworthy.’
I nuzzle my face against Parrot’s. ‘Well, he’s very cute, too.’
‘Sit,’ commands Flynn, and Parrot obeys, but looks up at me with his innocent eyes, his tail thumping against the ground, as if to tell me we’re not done yet with the affection.
‘I think he likes me,’ I say, nodding Parrot’s way.
‘Seems like it. He’s totally smitten,’ says Flynn, but the way he looks at me, the way he doesn’t look at Parrot but directly at me, makes me wonder whether I should be blushing. Parrot yawns.
‘I fixed your front gate this morning,’ he says, changing the subject. ‘Noticed it was stuck when I came to visit earlier. Did you forget about our deal?’
‘Our deal?’
‘You know, the firewood. I was going to charge you, but since we’re neighbours I suggested a drink might work instead.’
‘I’ve been busy,’ I reply, as we nudge our way past market-goers. ‘Besides, don’t you have better things to be doing with your time than assisting random neighbours? Don’t you have … I don’t know, a job or something?’
‘Nope, actually I don’t. I’m between jobs.’ He looks up at the sky and squints. ‘Well, kind of between jobs.’ Flynn stops at one of the stands, and hands a note to the vendor in exchange for a stick of fairy floss.
‘Kind of between jobs?’

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Keeping My Sisters' Secrets
by
Beezy Marsh





Another of my holiday reading books to review today. I loved this one and can't wait to read the author's new book which is published next month!

Review
I have had this book on my TBR pile for a while and when I was choosing my holiday reads, I had to take this one as I am a sucker for a saga! I come from South East London and love reading about the streets where I come from, so this was a fabulous, easy read for me.
This story is about three sisters, Eva, Peggy and Kathleen and the story of their upbringing on the streets of London’s Waterloo.
I must admit, I found the way their violent father treated their hardworking mother (and sometimes the girls) very difficult to stomach, but I know that sort of behaviour was very common then.
Kathleen is very poorly when she is younger and is hospitalised for a while, leaving her weak and vulnerable.
Peggy is the serious one and wants to change the world!
Ava is the rebel and is desperate to get out of the poverty the family is living in and enters into the undesirable world of thieving. She becomes a member of a professional gang of thieves, who wouldn’t look out of place in the times of Oliver Twist!
This book has all the emotions you could possibly want – it can be desperately sad one minute and then leave you chuckling the next!
I will definitely be reading more from this author and can’t wait to read her next novel which is out next month!

You can order a copy of the book from Amazon here

About the Author

Beezy Marsh is an award-winning journalist, who has spent more than 20 years making the headlines in newspapers including The Daily Mail and The Sunday Times.
This was never going to be enough for a girl from Hartlepool, whose primary school teacher told her to give up her dream of becoming a poet and concentrate on being a nurse instead. Thirty years later, give or take, she became an author.

Her first novel, MR MAKE BELIEVE, was published by Ipso Books in April 2017. It charts one imperfect mother’s attempts to find the key to lasting romance, with the help of daydreams about a hunky actor and an internet blog about her life, which catapults her to stardom and into his arms. Will living the dream provide the answers she seeks or is true love just make believe?

Her biography of legendary gangsters Mad Frankie Fraser and his bank robber sons follows the family's 100 years on the wrong side of the law. MAD FRANK AND SONS, published by Pan Macmillan, has been optioned for a film by Bill Kenwright Productions Ltd.

The memoir KEEPING MY SISTER'S SECRETS, tells the moving story of three sisters born into poverty in 1930s London and their fight for a survival through a decade of social upheaval and the Second World War. It was published by Pan Macmillan on July 27th 2017

Beezy is married, with two young sons, and lives in Oxfordshire with a never-ending pile of laundry. Read her LIFE-LOVE-LAUNDRY blog and get latest book news at www.beezy-marsh.com
Follow Beezy on Twitter @beezymarsh

Monday, 23 July 2018

The Mistress of Pennington
by
Rachel Brimble

BLOG TOUR

Title of Book:
The Mistress of Penningt
on’s
Series: Pennington’s Department Store
Genre: Saga/Romance
Release Date: 1st July 2018
Publisher: Aria Fiction

1910 – A compelling tale of female empowerment in Bath's leading department store. Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.
Elizabeth Pennington should be the rightful heir of Bath's premier department store through her enterprising schemes and dogged hard work. Her father, Edward Pennington, believes his daughter lacks the business acumen to run his empire and is resolute a man will succeed him.
Determined to break from her father's iron-clad hold and prove she is worthy of inheriting the store, Elizabeth forms an unlikely alliance with ambitious and charismatic master glove-maker Joseph Carter. United they forge forward to bring Pennington's into a new decade, embracing woman's equality and progression whilst trying not to mix business and pleasure.
Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington's plans for the store? Or will Edward prove himself an unshakeable force who will ultimately ruin both Elizabeth and Joseph?
 
EXTRACT
Her gentle study drifted to his mouth and back again. ‘Did you love her? The woman you once worked with?’
Joseph stared, as disquiet whispered through him. ‘Why do you ask?’
‘I find it implausible that a man who holds women in such high regard has not known what it means to love one. You have been in love. I see it in your eyes. Unfortunately for you, they’re very revealing.’
He ran his gaze over her face and hair. Every sound muted. The amber glow of the few lit candles danced over her skin, turning it pearlescent. ‘I was married. To a wonderful, caring woman. A woman who worked beside my father and I every day after we were married.’
Her voice softened. ‘What happened to her?’
‘She died.’ He would tell her no more, the shame of his failure burned like acid in his chest and he quickly stood, wanting the intensity to ease, her justified scrutiny to end. ‘Will you try on a pair of gloves?’
He brushed past her and breathed deep as he approached a box of his finished gloves. Lifting a pair of soft kid, perfectly stitched and the exact green of her eyes, the pale cream stitching the colour of her skin.
When he turned and walked back to his bench, she had sat in his seat. She carefully watched his approach, her eyes unreadable.
BUY LINKS


About the Author

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Since 2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.
In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a brand new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s releases in July 2018.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

 













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Sunday, 22 July 2018

The Lost Sister
by
Tracy Buchanan
BLOG TOUR
Guest Review
by
Julie Williams





Blurb
For the first time in your life, she is going to tell you the truth…

Then: A trip to the beach tore Becky’s world apart. It was the day her mother Selma met the mysterious man she went on to fall in love with, and leave her husband and child for.

Now: It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but Selma has just weeks to live. And she has something important to tell Becky – a secret she been hiding for many years. She had another daughter.

With the loss of her mother, Becky aches to find her sister. She knows she cannot move forward in her life without answers, but who can she really trust?



Review by Julie Williams
Another intriguing story by Tracy Buchanan, with a surprise at the end which I certainly didn’t see coming. This is an absorbing tale told from the perspectives of Mum Selma in the early 1990’s and daughter Becky in the present time.

With Selma feeling ‘trapped’ in her everyday life of being a wife and a mother, she finds herself drawn to Idris and moves into the cave he is living in with a mixed bunch of people. The only down side is that Becky her Daughter is not there and a bitter custody battle begins. There is no doubt in my mind that Selma truly loves Becky and that the brave or mad decision to up and leave her to live in such an odd environment must have been extremely difficult. Selma’s relationship with Idris the leader of the cavers soon blossoms and it’s not long before she finds herself pregnant which adds to the complexity of her turbulent life.

Becky’s story at present day takes on the quest to find a sister she never knew existed until she meets her estranged dying Mother. Travelling over Europe she discovers how her Mother lived in the caves and confirms this is not a life she would have wanted. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book with its happy and sad events. It is an engrossing page turner read. My thanks to Net Galley for the ARC, these are my own opinions.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Million Love Songs
by
Carole Matthews




I don't know why, but whenever I go on holiday I always tend to take a Carole Matthew's book as my first read! I think it is fast becoming a Boon's Bookcase holiday tradition! Anyway, this year was no exception and I couldn't wait to dive into this one as I am a HUGE Take That fan and knew that this book had some reference to Take That (obviously by the title!) and in particular, my absolute favourite, Gary Barlow! My review is below and fans of Carole Matthews will not be disappointed!

Review
Newly divorced Ruby Brown has thrown in her safe job at the council and decides to become a waitress in a busy pub. There she becomes firm friends with Charlie who is a little bit obsessed with the amazing band, Take That. She follows them everywhere and even has a cardboard cut out of Gary Barlow in her flat, as does Ruby after going to a few gigs and realising they are rather good! (I seem to have far too much in common with Charlie, as I also have a cardboard cut out of Gary - don't judge me!).

One of the first things Charlie warns Ruby about is the pub manager Mason. She tells Ruby he is a serial womaniser and not to get involved with him in any shape or form. She will end up being another notch on his bedpost if she so much as agrees to have a drink with him.....

Ruby decides to take up scuba diving lessons - this wasn't obviously one of her better decisions when getting divorced as she has no interest in diving, until she meets her instructor Joe.

As in true Carole Matthew's style, Ruby gets herself in all sorts of dilemma's which include Mason and Joe! Will either of them turn out to be what Ruby wants after her disastrous marriage?

I won't say anymore as you will just have to read it, but I can guarantee you plenty of laughs along the way. I did have to chuckle to myself on more than one occasion as I had more in common with Charlie than I care to admit in the Gary Barlow fan girl department!

Thank you Carole for yet another corker of a book!

To order a copy of Million Love Songs from Amazon click here

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

** COVER REVEAL **

The Fake Date
by
Lynda Stacey




I'm delighted to bring you the cover for Lynda Stacey's new novel, The Fake Date, which is published ino 18th September and will be reviewing for you then. In the meantime, I have a little teaser below for you...


Blurb: 
Nine hours and eleven minutes…
That’s how long it’s been since Ella Hope was beaten to within an inch of life and left for dead. 
She lies, unable to move and praying for somebody to find her, as she counts down the minutes and wonders who could have hated her so much to have hurt her so badly. 
Was it the man she went on a date with the previous evening, the man linked to the deaths of two other women? Or somebody else, somebody who wants her out of the picture so much they’re willing to kill? 
Whoever it is, they will pay … all she has to do first is survive..!



Click here to pre-order your copy

Monday, 16 July 2018

The Lost Daughter
by
Gill Paul





I'm super delighted to be able to bring you an extract of Gill Paul's upcoming novel, The Lost Daughter. I am a huge fan of Gill's and I really can't wait to read this one! Do enjoy a sneaky peak of the new book which is published in October.

Extract
Little Alexei was still in terrible pain, with acute swellings in his joints after being bumped around so much on the journey. The girls took turns to entertain him, trying to distract him from his suffering. Maria drew pencil portraits of their captors and tried to amuse her little brother with humorous descriptions of their characters: ‘as pompous as a walrus on a beach’, she said of Avdeyev; ‘a slippery ferret in a rabbit hole’ of his deputy, Medvedev. The girls took turns to read to him from any books they could find, and they revived Three Sisters, the Chekhov play they had performed at Tobolsk. Sometimes Alexei was well enough for a game of halma, and they moved a table close to allow him to join in. 

One sunny day in June, Maria carried him down to the yard to get some fresh air. She had always been physically the strongest of the four girls and did her best to carry him smoothly, without jarring, but she could tell from the frequent intakes of breath that the movement was hurting.

She placed him in a bath chair, from where he surveyed the shadowy yard. Turrets were being built in the corners of the tall fence, and the men’s hammering mingled with the clanging bells of streetcars in the road outside.
‘Why are we here?’ he asked in a small, sad voice. ‘What do they want from us?’
Maria watched a blue butterfly flit past. ‘I suppose they want to keep us safe so we can be delivered overseas in due course. It is taking an interminable time, though.’
‘Why would we not be safe? I don’t understand.’
Maria shook her head. ‘Me neither. But I am sure it will not be much longer before we are in our new home. Where would you like to go?’
He considered this. ‘Perhaps Africa, where I could hunt lions, or India, where we could ride on elephants and shoot tigers.’
Maria laughed. ‘I hope your wishes will be taken into consideration.’ 

He was so pale and thin, with his gangly limbs, that it was impossible to picture him as a big-game hunter. The haemophilia he had inherited from their mother’s side of the family ruled out any activities in which he might risk injury. He would never ride a horse or a bicycle, would never ski, and even running was risky. Yet he could still have his dreams; no one could deny him that.

On the day of Maria’s nineteenth birthday, the family gave her little gifts: a hand-painted bookmark, a volume of Russian poetry and a precious FabergĂ© box studded with diamonds and a topaz that had been given to her mother by her sister Ella the year before the war. The box was pretty and Maria knew she should be grateful, but all the same it was hard not to think of previous birthdays: even a year before, they had still been in the Alexander Palace, albeit under house arrest. Her parents had given her a handsome gold bracelet and dozens of other presents before holding a special birthday tea with pretty cakes and her favourite almond toffee. Here, the meal was a single course of stewed meat and boiled potatoes with no desserts. They were dependent on provisions brought each morning by the nuns from a local convent and there was not a lot of variety.

That evening, as they sat in the drawing room after dinner, there was a knock on the door and her father called, ‘Come in.’ 
Ivan popped his head inside, then walked in holding a cake on a plain white plate.
‘Good evening.’ He bowed his head to the company. ‘I hear there is a birthday today and thought you might enjoy some medovik.’ He seemed nervous in front of her parents. ‘I wish I could say I baked it myself, but it was my mother. I bring it with her compliments.’ He smiled at Maria, who jumped up to take the plate from him.
‘You’re unbelievably kind,’ she said. ‘Truly. Please give my warmest thanks to your mother and tell her how very touched I am by the gesture.’ 

The family looked at each other, eyebrows raised, as Ivan backed out of the room. Leonid Sednev brought plates and all had a slice of the multi-layered honey cake. It was the first such confection they had enjoyed for many months, and even Nicholas was moved to say that it was very kind of the guard and his mother. It lifted the mood of the entire party and the girls sang a popular song together, ‘Shine, Shine, My Star’.

Once they had finished, Maria excused herself and slipped out to the hall to thank Ivan in person. He was standing at his post by the top of the second staircase.
‘You are very clever for remembering my birthday,’ she said. ‘You’ve made this day special, something I never dreamed would be possible here. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.’

Ivan took her hand and pressed it to his lips. Maria glanced over her shoulder to make sure none of the family had followed, but all the doors were closed and there was no sound from Avdeyev’s office.

Ivan was still holding her hand and suddenly he pulled her in a swift movement towards a tiny alcove by the kitchen doorway. They huddled inside, bodies pressed together, and Maria trembled. Ivan looped one arm round her waist then stroked her cheek with his finger before leaning forward to touch his lips to hers.
‘A birthday kiss,’ he whispered, ‘for the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.’
Maria gazed at the soft lips that had brushed hers, and couldn’t help tilting her head for more. Ivan held her tightly now, his lips exploring hers, and she closed her eyes feeling giddy with excitement. It was the most delicious sensation she had ever experienced, quite different from a parent’s kiss, and she wanted it to go on forever. 
‘Skorokhodov!’ a harsh voice barked, and suddenly he was yanked away. Avdeyev and Medvedev were glaring at them.
‘Go to your room!’ Avdeyev snapped at Maria, and she scurried into the kitchen, terrified by his tone. She glanced back just before the door swung closed and saw Ivan being frogmarched down the stairs, one arm pulled up behind his back.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

How Far We Fall
by 
Jane Shemilt
BLOG TOUR
Guest Review
by
Julie Williams




Review by Julie Williams
How Far We Fall is a story of manipulation, betrayal and jealousy. When Beth meets Albie she believes her life is finally good again after her previous disastrous secret relationship with married top consultant Ted. However keeping secrets from her husband Albie isn’t a good start to a happy marriage and soon lies and deceit ruins not only their lives, but also others with horrifying consequences.


This book for me had a slow start and a little difficult to follow at first, which was a bit disappointing as I have thoroughly enjoyed this author’s previous two books, but as I progressed everything knitted together and I became more interested in the plot.


My thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for the ARC - these are my own thoughts of How Far We Fall. Also to Julie for posting this as guest reviewer on her blog. 







Saturday, 14 July 2018

Stalker
by
Lisa Stone
BLOG TOUR


It's my turn on the Blog Tour for Stalker by Lisa Stone and today I have an extract for you. I must admit that reading the extract has left me intrigued and wanting more!.....




Extract
An hour later the clock on the mantelpiece struck six o’clock and Elsie heaved herself out of the chair and went into the hall to phone her sister. Why they didn’t have a phone in the living room like her sister did, she’d no idea. Her sister’s answerphone cut in so she left a message saying she was home and thanking her for a nice time. Then she took her case upstairs to set about unpacking. Derek would be home for his dinner before long and she’d need to check what was still in the fridge and freezer as she doubted he’d restocked it while she’d been away. She and her sister had ordered a Chinese takeaway one night, which her sister did at least once a week. She and Derek never had takeaways; perhaps she’d suggest it for tonight. But then again Derek was very conservative and set in his ways when it came to food, indeed as he was in most things so probably wouldn’t like Chinese.


Elsie returned her empty case to under the bed, dropped her dirty washing in the laundry basket in the bathroom and went downstairs. Opening the freezer door, she found to her small surprise it was still fully stocked; none of the meat or ready meals she’d left for him had been touched. She took out a steak pie for them to have and then looked in the fridge to see what vegetables were left. All of them, and the cheese, yogurts and cold meats were untouched too. What had he been living on? A couple of eggs were missing and a few rashers of bacon, hence the dirty pans. She looked in the bread bin and saw the packet of six rolls and the small loaf she’d left for him for sandwiches were untouched. Her puzzled expression gave way to a wry smile. Was it possible Derek had finally found himself a girlfriend and he’d been seeing her while she’d been away? Well, well, who would have thought it? She couldn’t think of any other rational explanation as to why he hadn’t been eating here, and if she was right she couldn’t wait to tell her sister. Derek was normal after all!


At seven o’clock there was still no sign of him so a little miffed, Elsie sat at the table to eat alone. Once she’d finished she washed the dishes and returned to the living room and the television. An hour passed and when Derek still hadn’t arrived home or thought to phone, Elsie was more annoyed than worried. He was probably with a client or his new girlfriend. If he was going to eat with her then she needed to know so she didn’t waste any more good food. His mobile number was in their address book on the hall table. Elsie seldom needed to use it as Derek was such a creature of habit. Silencing the television, she went into the hall, found his number and keyed it in. A recorded message said straightaway: ‘This phone is switched off, please try again later.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Her Name Was Rose
by
Claire Allan
BLOG TOUR

GUEST REVIEW
BY
JULIE WILLIAMS


Welcome to the first stop on the Blog Tour for Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan and I have an extract and also a review from Julie Williams for you.


Extract

Her funeral was held at St. Mary’s Church in Creggan – a chapel that overlooked most of the city of Derry, down its steep hills towards the River Foyle before the city rises back up again in the Waterside. It’s a church scored in the history of Derry, where the funeral Mass of the Bloody Sunday dead had taken place. Thirteen coffins lined up side by side. On the day of Rose Grahame’s funeral, just one coffin lay at the top of the aisle. The sight stopped my breath as I sneaked in the side entrance, took a seat away from her friends and family. Hidden from view.


All the attention focused on the life she’d led, full of happiness and devotion to her family and success in her career. I thought of how the mourners – the genuine ones dressed in bright colours (as Rose would have wanted) – had followed the coffin to the front of the church, gripping each other, holding each other up. I wondered what they would say if they knew what I knew.


I allowed the echoes of the sobs that occasionally punctuated the quiet of the service to seep into my very bones.


I recognised her husband, Cian; as he walked bowed and broken to the altar, I willed myself not to sob. Grief was etched in every line on his face. He looked so different from the pictures I had seen of him on Facebook. His eyes were almost as dead as Rose’s had been. He took every step as if it required Herculean effort. It probably did. His love for her seemed to be a love on that kind of scale. His grief would be too.


He stood, cleared his throat, said her name and then stopped, head bowed, shoulders shaking. I felt my heart constrict. I willed someone – anyone – to go and stand with him. To hold his hand. To offer comfort. No one moved. It was as if everyone in the church was holding their breath, waiting to see what would happen next. Enjoying the show


Review by Julie Williams
What a fabulous eerie journey this book took me on. It delivered all the suspense a psychological thriller should do with nail biting moments and plenty of surprises along the way. 


Emily D’Arcy craves a perfect life and when she witnesses a stranger, Rose, knocked down and killed in front of her Emily steps into her life with dire consequences. Emily is an extremely vulnerable young woman carrying a disastrous previous relationship on her shoulders and to me appeared emotionally unbalanced with obsessive traits. But I also found her to be a kind, caring person which shone through with her bond with Jack who is Roses' son and Donna, her work colleague.


If you are into this genre then this is a must read as it ticks all the boxes to take you on a dark journey.


Thanks to Avon for the ARC supplied to Julie Boon which she kindly gave to me to review for the blog tour.







Sunday, 1 July 2018

The Dead Ex
by
Jane Corry
BLOG TOUR


Guest review
by
Julie Williams


It's my turn on the Blog Tour for The Dead Ex by Jane Corry. I was lucky enough to meet the author last year at the London launch for her previous book and what a lovely lady she is! Today, I have a review by the equally lovely Julie Williams for you!


Review by Julie Williams

This is the first book that I have read by Jane Corry but she has another two published. I had the privilege of meeting Jane at a book event in London and as I have a particular passion for reading thrillers, I had no hesitation in reading this complex, twisty story. I must admit that I found the first third of this book very confusing with the continuous jumping of characters and time lines, but I fortunately persevered as there are many twists and surprises as the tale concludes. 

Once I got to grip with the connection of the characters I found myself enjoying it more and started to read large chunks at a time rather than in short bursts which helped the story flow.

The Dead Ex is built around an ex Prison Governor Vicki and her ex-husband who proves throughout that he is a deceitful, lying, cheating man, who Vicki for some strange reason still has great affection for. 

My wish is that I found myself willing the female characters of this book to be stronger and not so love struck that they fell so easily for his awful behaviour. I liked the insight into prison life and the twists that popped up along the way.