Friday 29 January 2016

Jill Mansell Book Launch for You and Me, Always

What a great evening I had last night at my first visit to Headline's headquarters in Blackfriars. A beautiful building overlooking my beloved London Town! Jill Mansell was celebrating publication day of her new novel You and Me, Always.

A gorgeous view of London at night and of me and my lovely friend and fellow reviewer Julie Williams (yes it was a bit blowy up there!!)

I knew it was going to be a rather large bash, but even I didn't realise how many lovely authors and bloggers would be there!  When I found out yesterday that my favourite author Carole Matthews was going to be there I let out a little squeal of delight!

And there were a few other authors too............

From Left to Right: Julie Cohen, Miranda Dickenson, Holly Hepburn and Rowan Coleman

Also there was Katy Regan, Lucy Robinson with me and Rowan Coleman

You would think famous authors would know how to bombing in style!!

I had a brilliant evening and felt in awe of being in the same room with so many wonderful authors and bloggers. I hope it's not too long before I can do it all again!!

While I Was Waiting 
Georgia Hill 
Blog Tour

Genre: Historical/time-slip romance
Release Date: 2/7/15 (e-pub) 10/9/15 (print)
Publisher:  Harper Impulse

Tired of her life in London, freelance illustrator Rachel buys the beautiful but dilapidated Clematis Cottage and sets about creating the home of her dreams. But tucked away behind the water tank in the attic and left to gather dust for decades, is an old biscuit tin containing letters, postcards and a diary. So much more than old scraps of paper, these are precious memories that tell the story of Henrietta Trenchard-Lewis, a love lost in the Great War and the girl who was left behind.


When I saw the cover of this book, I knew instantly that it was going to be my kind of read! I love reading about stories that flip back to days gone by.

Although technically this isn't a wartime story, it does flit back to the past.

Rachel Makepeace is sick of living in a one bedroom flat in Camberwell, South East London (coincidentally I had a one bed flat in Camberwell!!) and decides to buy a lovely cottage in the country (i'm jealous already!). When builders find an old tin, they hand it to Rachel and finding it legally belongs to her, she starts reading the contents of the tin and so starts a journey that changes Rachel's life.

Hetty is the previous owner of Clematis Cottage and is the writer of letters in the tin. She tells of her childhood at having to go and live in Delemere House with two sisters Hester and Leonora and also two brothers Richard and Edward and the years of growing older and falling in love with one brother, but marrying another.

Meanwhile, Gabe is one of her builders, who happens to be as fit as a Butcher's dog and you don't need me to tell you what is likely to happen there!!

This book had a great mixture of characters and I loved them all, especially Rachel's gay best friend Tim!!

This was a lovely read and I really felt that Rachel had a connection with Hetty, especially whilst reading the letters. She even felt Hetty's presence in the cottage now and again!

I would thoroughly recommend this book and although I read it on kindle, I love the cover so much that I would love to have read the actual paperback.

Thank you to Georgia Hill and JB Johnston at Brook Cottage Books for letting me review this book.



I used to live in London, where I worked in the theatre. Then I got the bizarre job of teaching road safety to the U.S. navy – in Marble Arch!

A few years ago, I did an ‘Escape to the Country’. I now live in a tiny Herefordshire village, where I scandalise the neighbours by not keeping ‘country hours’ and being unable to make a decent pot of plum jam. Home is a converted Oast house (Old agricultural building used for drying hops), which I share with my two beloved spaniels, husband (also beloved) and a ghost called Zoe.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel widely, though prefer to set my novels closer to home. Perhaps more research is needed? I’ve always wanted to base a book in the Caribbean!
I am addicted to Belgian chocolate, Jane Austen and, most of all, Strictly Come Dancing.

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Tuesday 26 January 2016

Blood and Roses by Catherine Hokin Blog Tour


Blood and Roses tells the story of Margaret of Anjou (1430-82), wife of Henry VI and a key protagonist in the Wars of the Roses. This is a feminist revision of a woman frequently imagined only as the shadowy figure demonised by Shakespeare - Blood and Roses examines Margaret as a Queen unable to wield the power and authority she is capable of, as a wife trapped in marriage to a man born to be a saint and as a mother whose son meets a terrible fate she has set in motion. It is the story of a woman caught up in the pursuit of power, playing a game ultimately no one can control...


This is the author's debut historical novel based mainly on the life of Margaret of Anjou, who was brought over from France to marry Henry VI.

Margaret was around 14 years old when it was decided she was to come to England to marry Henry VI Henry was a devoutly religious man, who had no interest in marrying but everyone around him kept telling him he needed to produce an heir. Henry was more interested in praying from dawn to dusk.

This book covers the period of the War of the Roses in around 1400s. I must admit, I do love a bit of history, but this was even further back than I remembered at school!

Margaret marries Henry and you read about how she tries desperately for Henry to lover her and given her position, trying to produce an heir. Henry was having none of it and basically told Margaret that if an heir was to be conceived, she would have to pray for a miracle!

This leads to Margaret having to do desperate measures in order to get pregnant and i;m sure you can guess what happens!

This is a book not only about history, but about the relationship between a mother and her son and the trials they had to endure to basically stay alive.

If you love a bit of history then this is a great book for you. I did find there were a lot of characters to deal with, buth other than that a real insight into how you had to watch your back and be strong to hold on to power in England during the 1400s!!

About the Author

Catherine is a Glasgow-based author with a degree in History from Manchester University. After years of talking about it, she finally started writing seriously about 3 years ago, researching and writing her debut novel, Blood and Roses, which will be published in January 2016 by Yolk Publishing

The novel tells the story of Margaret of Anjou and her pivotal role in the Wars of the Roses, exploring the relationship between Margaret and her son and her part in shaping the course of the bloody political rivalry of the fifteenth century. 

About a year ago, Catherine also started writing short stories - she was recently 3rd prize winner in the 2015 West Sussex Writers Short Story Competition and a finalist in the Scottish Arts Club 2015 Short Story Competition

She regularly blogs as Heroine Chic, casting a historical, and often hysterical, eye over women in history, popular culture and life in general. 

Social media links:

Twitter @cathokin

Thank you to Catherine Hokin and Yolk Publishing for letter me read and review this book.

Thursday 21 January 2016

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall by Luccia Gray Blog Tour

Today, it's my turn on the Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall Blog Tour and I have an extract for you. I think the cover is gorgeous and I hope to get round to reading it soon. This is the second in the series by Luccia Gray, but am assured it can be read as a stand alone. So sit back and enjoy a small piece of this period novel................


Michael had his back to the fireplace as we entered. He turned to look at Jane, and smiled, as he always did when he saw her, as if nothing had happened, as if he had just seen her yesterday. He moved towards us and she retreated, whispering his name once again.

“Diana, could we have some water. It’s been a terrible journey, and Jane is so very exhausted,” I said as I held her arm, sure she was about to collapse.

Michael rushed to the sideboard, poured some water from the decanter, and offered it to her. She stared at him, still motionless, so I took the glass and pressed the rim to her stunned lips.

Michael was standing too close to her. He was as handsome and striking as ever; more so in his navy uniform. He looked older and larger. His arms had grown sturdier; his face was tanned and rugged. He looked like a man who enjoyed giving orders instead of accepting them. He was as bolder and stronger as Jane was weaker and quieter. I never knew why he left, and now I had no idea why he had returned, although I supposed that his departure had been the cause of her melancholy mood.

My uncle had told me they were lovers. Unnatural, he called it, but I had seen love in the way their eyes chased each other’s movements at Eyre Hall. Did she tire of him and throw him out? Did he leave her? Why did she marry my uncle? I could understand my uncle’s reasons, but what did Jane gain from their union?

Jane was trembling, so I stood between them with my back to Michael, obstructing her vision, to give her some time to adjust to the surprise of seeing him.

“Drink some water, Jane, please,” I said as I pushed the glass to her lips.
“Are you well, Jane?” asked Diana.
“Yes, she’s all right,” I replied. “Just tired.” 
“Well, you already know Michael, now Lieutenant Kirkpatrick. He has come with Captain Carrington and his wife. Captain Carrington is Michael’s sea captain. He was Charles’s last captain, too, on his final mission as Admiral of the Fleet. We are surrounded by valiant men today, are we not ladies?” Diana clapped her hands.

“They’re staying over Christmas. Would it not be wonderful if we could all spend Christmas together at Eyre Hall? I would love to have you come here, but of course, Thorpe House is not big enough. What with Adele, Mr. Greenwood and his son, as well as dear John, and naturally Mr. Mason, there is just no room here, dear sister. What do you say?”

I stepped forward and offered my hand to the captain who brushed his lips over my gloved knuckles as he gave me a lecherous smile, which instantly displeased me. His wife surprised me with a friendly hug. I finally offered Michael my hand. He bowed, but his lips did not touch my glove.

After greeting the captain and his wife, Jane turned to Michael. He held her hand longer than was necessary and pressed it against his lips with a smile. “I’m very pleased to see you again, Mrs. Mason.”

She stared back in silence, so I spoke. “Lieutenant, although we are pleased to see you, you must understand what a surprise it is. You left Eyre Hall suddenly, and we have had no information about your whereabouts in over a year. It was not a courteous way to leave your employer.”

“You are correct, Miss Mason. I do apologise to Mrs. Mason for not giving her enough notice of my leave, but my decision was sudden. My sister, Susan, was leaving Eyre Hall, and I too needed a change of employment. I came to see Admiral Fitzjames, because he had helped my father, too.” He turned to Jane. “I hope you can forgive me, Mrs. Mason.”

About the Author

Luccia Gray was born in London and now lives in the south of Spain with her husband. She has three children and three grandchildren. When she's not reading or writing, she teaches English at an Adult Education Centre and at the Spanish National University.

Author links
Blog Rereading Jane Eyre

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Wednesday 20 January 2016

Cover Reveal

Reader, I Dumped Him
Lorelei Mathias

Just before Christmas this book didn't have a title, but after Bloggers/Readers voted which one they preferred, here it is.........

I love the cover and actually can't wait to read it as it sounds hilarious and I love reading books that make me belly laugh! 

It is published in e-book on 4th February, so not too long to wait!!

The Child's Secret 
 Amanda Brooke 
Blog Tour
Guest Post & Review

Guest Post

I would like to welcome the author of The Child's Secret, Amanda Brooke talking about the location of her book and there is a clue in there that the location might be used again........


When I begin to plan a new book, I concentrate first and foremost on the people and the situation that are central to the plot, and while I have an idea of the surroundings, I don’t often consider the location until I’m literally at the point of starting that first chapter. This isn’t possibly the greatest strategy and it has been known to catch me out. I was geared up to start writing Where I Found You when I realised I hadn’t settled on a particular location, even though I already had a very clear picture in my head of the imaginary park where much of the story would take place. I quickly realised that of all the parks I knew in and around Liverpool, they didn’t quite fit with what I needed so I resorted to using Google Earth to extend my search. The problem was I needed to find that all important park bench where my main characters would meet and although Google is usually an author’s best friend, it didn’t come up with the goods. I didn’t want to compromise and dismantle this imaginary world that had become so familiar to me so I had no choice but to create my very own Victoria Park in the fictional town of Sedgefield. It’s a town ‘somewhere,’ in the Cheshire countryside and I even made a return visit in my novella If I Should Go.

There’s a chance the town will reappear in a future book too and writing about a place that doesn’t really exist has its advantages, but I do like writing about real places too, especially Liverpool where I’ve lived all my life. When I do write about my home town, I try to choose places that aren’t so well-known, and in Another Way to Fall in particular, I had fun taking my characters to parts of Liverpool that readers might not be so familiar with, such as St Luke’s Church (locally known as The Bombed Out Church), The Palm House in Sefton Park and Otterspool Promenade. And even though I thought I knew these places really well, when it came to describing the detail, I quickly realised I wasn’t as observant as I thought I was. There were quite a few emergency dashes to local spots so I could pick out the subtle detail such as the colour of the railings or the view from a particular entrance.

Sometimes however, I like to take a little poetic licence and alter locations, occasionally because the story needs it, but mostly because I simply don’t like moving my characters into some poor unsuspecting person’s home. In The Missing Husband, you won’t find Beaumont Avenue and you’d be hard pressed to find the short cut to the station either.

It was only when I came to write The Child’s Secret, that the location was never in doubt, and that was because the initial inspiration for the story had come from a real place. I had the germ of an idea for a story where my main character would be able to find out a little girl’s secret wishes, but I hadn’t come up with the device I needed to pull the story together. It was only when I was taking a stroll around Calderstones Park in Liverpool that I remembered the Allerton Oak which is supposed to be a thousand years old. By the time I left, the Wishing Tree had come to life in my mind and I knew I had a book to write.


A little girl is missing. Her parents are hiding something. Who will pay the price?
When eight-year-old Jasmine Peterson goes missing, the police want to know everything.
What is local park ranger, Sam McIntyre, running away from and why did he go out of his way to befriend a young girl?
Why can’t Jasmine’s mother and father stand to be in the same room as each other?
With every passing minute, an unstoppable chain of events hurtles towards a tragic conclusion.

Everyone has secrets. The question is: who will pay the price?


This is the first novel I have read by Amanda Brooke and I was drawn in from the very first page! 

Jasmine is a little girl who lives with her Mum Laura and her Dad Finn. She goes on a school trip to a park where there is a very old tree that the Park Ranger Sam says has magic powers and if you write a note and put it near the tree, it can grant wishes!

Poor Jasmine is desperate for her Dad to get a job as being out of work is making him very unhappy and abusive, therefore her Mum is also sad and home life is far from idyllic. So when she finds out that the "Wishing Tree" can grant wishes, what harm can it do?

Sam is a Park Ranger and loves teaching the local school children about nature and especially telling stories about the Wishing Tree. 

When Jasmine goes missing the police question Sam as they seem to think he was involved. I loved how the chapters went from the present (when Sam was questioned) and then back to before and up to Jasmine's disappearance.

Everyone is a suspect, including Sam's girlfriend Anna and his landlady Selina, who has more to her past than even Sam knows about!

There was a good mix of characters in the book. Jasmine was a sweet, good natured little girl who just wanted her Dad to love her. Her Mum Laura seemed quite weak at first, but I loved it when she came in to her own when Jasmine disappeared. Anna wasn't all she seemed and it was great to see these characters changing throughout the story. I think my favourite character was landlady Selina. She was always loyal and looking out for Sam and only wanted the best for him. 

I loved this book as it keeps you guessing right up until the very last page (and I mean the very last page!!) about what happens to Sam.

I definitely want to read more from this author as I was thoroughly engrossed in this book.

Thank you to Jaime Frost at Harper Collins for sending me a copy to review.

Sunday 17 January 2016

Cover Reveal

Today I am delighted to show you the cover of a new psychological thriller, The Teacher by Katerina Diamond.

I must say, I think the cover is really good and eye catching, but once you read the blurb, you may think twice about reading it! It sounds heart stoppingly scary and even I am thinking whether my old ticker could stand it! but on the other hand, can I resist? I think not!

Do you think you are brave enough to read it?..........



The body of the head teacher of an exclusive Devon school is found hanging from the rafters in the assembly hall.

Hours earlier he’d received a package, and only he could understand the silent message it conveyed. It meant the end.

As Exeter suffers a rising count of gruesome deaths, troubled DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles must solve the case and make their city safe again.

But as they’re drawn into a network of corruption, lies and exploitation, every step brings them closer to grim secrets hidden at the heart of their community.

And once they learn what’s motivating this killer, will they truly want to stop him?


This is a psychological crime thriller in a class of its own.

Warning: Most definitely *not* for the faint-hearted!

Monday 4 January 2016

The Girl in The Red Coat by Kate Hamer Blog Tour

Welcome to 2016! and this is the first of what I hope to be many blog tours for this year!


Eight-year-old Carmel has always been different - sensitive, distracted, with an heartstopping tendency to go missing. Her mother Beth, newly single, worries about her daughter's strangeness, especially as she is trying to rebuild a life for the two of them on her own.
When she takes Carmel for an outing to a local festival, her worst fear is realised: Carmel disappears into the crowd. Unable to accept the possibility that her daughter might be gone for good, Beth embarks on a mission to find her. Meanwhile, Carmel begins an extraordinary and terrifying journey of her own. But do the real clues to Carmel's disappearance lie in the otherworldly qualities her mother had only begun to guess at?


I always find books about missing children very disturbing, but this book is not like your run of the mill missing child novel.

Carmel is eight years old and has a habit of disappearing from her Mum, but soon turns up except for the time they go to a book festival and Beth's worst fears materialise, Carmel disappears.

The book then tells the story of what happens next with Carmel and the person who takes her, but also the story of Beth's journey in coming to terms with her daughter's disappearance. 

Carmel is a very independent child, who seems more mature than her eight years, but in other ways she shows some strange behaviour that her parents pick up on. Carmel is a dreamer and a bit too trustworthy, something that comes back to haunt her when she is taken away from her mother.

I was gripped from the start with this book and as much as I was a bit frustrated with Carmel being so dreamy, I couldn't help but like her. She was a kind girl who wanted to be friends with everyone, even to the person who took her, she believed they were doing it for the right reasons.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought it was a brilliant debut by Kate Hamer. If you want to know what happens in the end, I suggest you get yourself a copy!! The mark of a great author is when the ending leaves you wanting more and I certainly wanted that! I have a bit of a book hangover already and it's only the beginning of January!!

Thank you to Sophie Portas at Faber & Faber for sending me a copy to review.