Thursday 26 April 2018

The Girl Who Got Revenge
Marnie Riches

I'm delighted to once again be hosting a Blog Tour for the fabulous Marnie Riches, George McKenzie series. This is book 5 in the series and I love these books! Today I have an extract, but I hope to have a copy soon so that I can review for you. So sit back and enjoy an extract from the latest installment of the George McKenzie series.


‘How can you explain this?’ Van den Bergen asked, pushing the stapled sheaf of printouts across the table towards Abadi.
In the interview room, which had already taken on the cabbagey fug of Marie, George was seated at the very end of the bolted-down, battered table, observing this unassuming middle-aged doctor. Abadi wore conservative slacks, a V-neck jumper over a crisp white shirt, open at the collar, and had stubble that attested to a long day in the surgery. His hair was starting to thin, though George was certain he must dye it black, since there was no grey to be seen. It was the only obvious sign of vanity in an otherwise unobtrusive-looking, diminutive man whose accent barely hinted at his Middle Eastern origins. Was it possible that this guy was a serial murderer of elderly patients?
Abadi took his tortoiseshell glasses from the case on the table with trembling hands. Pushed them up his nose and started to leaf through the papers. ‘I don’t know what these documents are. Why are you showing them to me? Lawyers?’ He examined the headed paper, clearly seeing but not reading in his barely concealed panic.
This doesn’t look like some hardened criminal or con man to me, George thought. But she knew better than that as a criminologist – especially given some of the cases she had helped Van den Bergen to solve. The worst predators were almost always the least obvious and most intelligent of suspects. She opened up a stapler and started to run her finger over the chunks of staples so that they formed an unbroken phalanx. Watching. Half-thinking about Rivka Zemel’s adulation of the Force of Five. Wondering how it had all panned out and knowing that four of the men, at least, had made it to old, old bones. Had Dr Saif Abadi deliberately composed the ending of their fascinating and epic stories?
Marie rotated the pearls in her ears, fixing the suspect with her stark blue eyes. ‘You know exactly what these are, Dr Abadi, because they’ve been read out to you by the solicitors who drafted them, haven’t they?’ Her voice was small but retained a certain steel to it. Though Marie didn’t look like much, George knew she was far from a pushover.
Abadi shifted in his seat. Swallowed hard. ‘Have I?’
‘Stop flirting, Dr Abadi,’ Van den Bergen said. ‘This interview tore me away from some very important health-maintenance involving a bowl of blueberries and ten millilitres of Gaviscon. Now, my detective here has asked you about these legal documents. Why don’t you explain to us all how you came to be named in the wills of Brechtus Bruin, Kaars Verhagen and Arnold van Blanken.’
George considered the hundreds of prison inmates she’d interviewed as part of her academic research; the women she’d been banged up with as a girl when she’d fallen foul of the law, thanks to an almighty administrative cock-up and one ailing detective. Most of them either denied, denied, denied or wore their crimes like an extravagant tattoo to be feared and revered. As Abadi wiped the sheen of sweat from his upper lip and blinked hard behind the thick lenses of those glasses, she wondered which kind he would be if he turned out to be guilty. A denier or a boaster.

To order a copy of the book from Amazon click here

Friday 20 April 2018

Things Bright & Beautiful
Anbara Salam
Blog Tour

Today I am delighted to be hosting a Q&A with the author of Things Bright and Beautiful, Anbara Salam as part of the Blog Tour. Welcome to Boon's Bookcase!


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?
Hi! I’m Anbara Salam - I’m the author of Things Bright and Beautiful. I’m British Arab and grew up in London, the oldest of five siblings. Now I live in Oxford and work for an NGO when I’m not writing.


What did you do as a job before becoming a writer?
I still have another job on top of writing! I think it’s quite common for authors to work alongside writing,  it offers much-needed stability. But I wasn’t funded through my studies, so since I was a teenager I’ve always had at least one job, as a (terrible) waitress, a librarian, as a supermarket cashier, and bookseller. I’ve worked in student welfare roles and I’ve done lots of teaching. I’ve had a few terrible gigs as well, like dressing up in an animal costume for a children’s party.


How do you carry out the research for your novels?
I love research! It’s so easy to get carried away and find excuses to spend hours flicking through historical recipes or becoming sidetracked by useless details about buttons. For Things Bright and Beautiful I read missionaries’ diaries from the 1940s and 50s, and as much information as I could find about copra plantations. There are some great resources available online, and I found fantastic archival documents including photographs through Australian library catalogues.


Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
I hate planning. I never make plans or scene lists or anything until after I’ve written a draft. And then I have to spend ages unpicking all the mess I’ve made and wrestle it into order.


What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
I write in the evenings and weekends. My partner is also a writer so we often work together and squabble about edits. I was given an iPad mini as a gift about four years ago and I use it for absolutely everything, even novel writing! I have a bluetooth keyboard and just type straight in to a word document that autosaves as I go along.


When you're not writing, what do you like to read?
I’m quite greedy when it comes to books and I’ll read almost anything, including lots of non-fiction. I’ve come embarrassingly late to Celeste Ng and only just recently read Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You, both of which I absolutely loved.


Could you tell the readers a bit about your latest book?
Things Bright and Beautiful is set in 1954, and follows the story of Max, a missionary, and his wife Beatriz in their move to a remote island in the South Pacific. When they arrive in their new home, they discover the village is under the influence of a local preacher who believes women are susceptible to demons lurking in the rainforest. When the former missionary suddenly returns to the village, the pressure on Max and Bea’s marriage builds to some sinister consequences.


Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?
Honestly I’m not sure I’d like to be any of my characters, although I admire the practical know-how of Santra, a teenage girl who lives in a tiny village in the centre of the island.


Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions.

Sunday 15 April 2018

The Sapphire Widow
Dinah Jeffries

Guest review
Julie Williams

It's my turn today on the Blog Tour for The Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jefferies. My very good friend and guest reviewer, Julie Williams, loves this authors books and I must admit, I am yet to read them, but as I just adore this cover, I am going to give this one a try as soon as I can!

Ceylon, 1935. Louisa Reeve, the daughter of a successful British gem trader, and her husband Elliot, a charming, thrill-seeking businessman, seem like the couple who have it all. Except what they long for more than anything: a child.
While Louisa struggles with miscarriages, Elliot is increasingly absent, spending much of his time at a nearby cinnamon plantation, overlooking the Indian ocean. After his sudden death, Louisa is left alone to solve the mystery he left behind. Revisiting the plantation at Cinnamon Hills, she finds herself unexpectedly drawn towards the owner Leo, a rugged outdoors man with a chequered past. The plantation casts a spell, but all is not as it seems. And when Elliot's shocking betrayal is revealed, Louisa has only Leo to turn to...


Dinah Jefferies is the author who woke my passion for reading Historical Fiction and this latest book is just as enchanting as her previous ones. 

There is something special about Dinah’s colourful writing that instantly transports me to the current location and fills me with its sights, sounds and smells.  Whether it is a house, street or, as in this book a cinnamon plantation, I am right there as each setting is so beautifully described and brought to life.

This story has loss, vulnerability, friendship and love with both villains and heroes. 

Set in Ceylon, Louisa Reeves is charming, sensitive and caring who at a time when she appears to have lost everything still manages to gather her strength and courage to take responsibility for Connor, a child who is also grieving and very scared. 

I have no problem in recommending this book and awarding it 5 Stars as the vivid and atmospheric words are magical.

My thanks to Net Galley for the digital ARC – this is my own opinion of The Sapphire Widow.

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Sunflowers in February
Phyllida Shrimpton

Thank you so much to Bonnier Zaffre for sending me a copy of this book for review. I absolutely love books that are written where the main character is "dead". One of my favourite ever books is written like this (The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman) and I also loved The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

Little did I know though when I asked for a copy, was that it was a YA book by this author, but as I enjoy reading debut books, I thought I would give it a go.
As you can see from my review below, it is a truly wonderfully written book and one that will stay with me for a long time to come.

Lily wakes up one crisp Sunday morning on the side of the road. She has no idea how she got there. It is all very peaceful. And very beautiful. It is only when the police car, and then the ambulance, arrive and she sees her own body that she realises that she is in fact . . . dead. But what is she supposed do now?

Lily has no option but to follow her body and sees her family - her parents and her twin brother - start falling apart. And then her twin brother Ben gives her a once in a deathtime opportunity - to use his own body for a while. But will Lily give Ben his body back? She is beginning to have a rather good time . . .


Lily is fifteen years old and one Sunday morning realises she is at the side of a road and can see her own body, which she soon realises, can only mean one thing. She is dead.....

The realisation that she will no longer be able to interact with her family is traumatising Lily so much that she is desperate to find a way to communicate with them, especially her twin brother Ben. She tries everything she can to get Ben's attention and when one evening he begins talking to her she is overcome with relief. Will Ben help Lily in her quest to come to terms with her death and to achieve some things in death that she never got to achieve in life!

There are some positive things to come out of being dead. One being that you can see how people are reacting to your death, especially when Lily finds out who the person was that run her over and killed her. Will Lily use this to her advantage to try and get the killer to confess to their crime?

There are some really funny parts in this debut novel, as well as heartfelt moments between Lily and her parents and sibling. I really can't recommend this book enough and may end up reading it again, I loved it so much. It certainly left me bereft, but it was so wonderfully written and certainly got me thinking is this what it may be like when our time comes?

Thank you Bonnier Zaffre for sending me a copy for review and I wait in eager trepidation for this author's next book as I devoured this one in just over a day!

To order a copy of this book on Amazon click here

Monday 9 April 2018

New York Actually
Sarah Morgan

Guest Review
Julie Williams

Meet Molly
New York’s most famous agony aunt, she considers herself an expert at relationships…as long as they’re other people’s. The only love of her life is her Dalmatian, Valentine.
Meet Daniel
A cynical divorce lawyer, he’s hardwired to think relationships are a bad idea. If you don’t get involved, no-one can get hurt. But then he finds himself borrowing a dog to meet the gorgeous woman he sees running in Central Park every morning…
Molly and Daniel think they know everything there is to know about relationships…until they meet each other that is…


This is another fabulous romance tale from the Manhattan With Love series. In fact, it is book 4 and although I haven’t read this series in order, it didn’t matter as the characters are connected not only in this series but also some are from the New York series which I adored.

In this book the focus is on Molly Parker an agony aunt, blogger and author who writes under the alias of Aggie due to a disastrous previous relationship breakup that was publicly aired.  This experience has left Molly emotionally broken and feeling such an outcast that she fled to Manhattan. These days the only ‘man’ in her life is Valentine her gorgeous devoted dog and it is clear to see the bond they have. 

We are soon introduced to Daniel a sext hot divorce lawyer who is cynical when it comes to long term relationships as he has seen the effects break ups have on the parties and their children. When a chance meeting with Molly, Valentine and Daniel occurs there is an obvious spark between them but it needs both Molly and Daniel to overcome their past experiences and emotions and enjoy the present. 

New York Actually is a story of deception, hurt and love with great warm characters and loveable canine friends. It is a real page turner and a lovely feel good book. I have no hesitation in awarding it 5 stars.

Saturday 7 April 2018

The Stranger
Kate Riordan
It's my turn on the Blog Tour for The Stranger by Kate Riordan. Below I have an extract for you, so sit back and enjoy a chapter from this book that is receiving rave reviews on social media!

The night Diana Devlin goes missing, July 1940

In the hushed hours of deep night, the cove looks just as it
did a few hundred years ago, when men gathered on its
shore to lure unlucky ships on to the rocks. Some say if
you’re that way inclined, sensitive to the flimsiness of what
separates then from now, you can still hear the groan of
timber on rock, the pitiful cries from the decks. You can
see the treacherous, bobbing lamps, and the surrender of
white sails sinking beneath the waves.
The blackout has returned Breakheart Cove to the seventeenth
century. The civilizing lights that usually shine
from houses dotting the cliffs have been snuffed out by
dense-woven fabric that takes an age to put up as dusk creeps in.
At Penhallow Hall, thirty-three windows must be covered as the sun sets.

Further up the coast, the war is more in evidence. There
are two new pillboxes along the cliff path beyond the village
of Vennor– one disguised as a tiny cottage, complete with cheery curtains of blue gingham. Further on still, straining against its steel cables, is the bloated outline of a
barrage balloon. But back at Breakheart Cove there are no rolls of barbed wire to keep out the enemy. This small breach of the coastline has been forgotten by the war machine swinging into action elsewhere.

Out at sea, a bell-topped buoy is caught by the rising swell and chimes mournfully.
And, as if in reply, the church bell just around the headland at Vennor begins to toll.
It hasn’t been rung for nearly a year now, not since war was declared the previous September, and it’s never been rung at night.

The sound comes to people first in their dreams, but it’s too urgent to be absorbed
into sleep for long. Along the coast and in the crooked, tightly packed lanes of Vennor, lights begin to go on. Teeth are put in, shoes are put on. Disbelief settles into fear. The invasion has begun. The Germans must be coming, they say to each other.

The Germans must be here.

But wait. There’s something strange on the beach at Breakheart Cove, where steep steps rise to the path above. As the storm clouds part briefly, the moon illuminates wax-pale limbs, awkwardly splayed. She doesn’t move, not as the rain
begins to fall on her open eyes, or as the sea foam creeps and spreads, darkening the sand as it edges closer. It pulls back with a reluctant sigh before it can reach her, but the next set of waves are more determined. The distant thunder rolls for a last
time as the water finally lifts and takes her.

Five hours later

At dawn, in the deep silence of the boathouse, Rose is reading someone else’s diary, her eyes moving fast across bold strokes that have bled into thick, creamy paper.
The last entry was written yesterday, probably not long before the party guests began to arrive, forcing Penhallow out of its habitual solitude. The ink is only hours dry.

She closes the book with infinite care and stands on shaky legs. The last embers of her anger have been doused by clammy dread, like water filling the mouth of someone about to be sick.

‘Oh, Diana,’ she whispers. ‘What have you done?’ But she thinks she knows, even as she says the words. Speaking aloud alters the weight of the air around her.

The boathouse, silent again but for the creek water lapping beneath the floorboards, no longer feels empty. Her eyes flick to the armchair and, for an instant, she sees Diana curled there, safely asleep under one of the airmen’s jackets.

But when she blinks she’s alone again, the charge gone out of the room.

She knows in her heart that Diana left last night, while the bomber’s moon still silvered the garden and the wind beat the sea into mist against the rocks. After what had happened at the party, it wouldn’t have taken much to lure Diana down to
Breakheart Cove, she who can never resist the dark pull of danger.

Friday 6 April 2018

Amanda Prowse

Guest Review
Julie Williams

My very good friend and fellow reviewer, Julie Williams, absolutely loves this author's books and so please find below her review. The second part, Theo, is now available and I'm sure Julie will be reviewing that one shortly!

There are two sides to every love story. This is Anna's.
Anna Cole grew up poor, but her mother's love made her feel rich every day. Then her mother died, and Anna was sent to a care home. As a teenager, Anna vowed that one day, she would have children of her own, and create the happy, noisy family life she always craved.
Then, one day, Anna meets Theo Montgomery in a lift. Theo has kind eyes, but a sad past. His family were rich, but his childhood was full of neglect. Theo can't imagine bringing a child into this cruel world, but he does want a soulmate. Someone to love him unconditionally; someone with whom he can share his family's wealth.
Theo and Anna are two damaged souls, from two different worlds. Is their love for each other enough to let go of the pain of their pasts? Or will Anna and Theo break each others' hearts?


Head Of Zeus 08/03/18

Amanda never disappoints when it comes to reading her books and this her 17th I believe. It certainly lived up to my expectations. It is a beautifully written heart breaking story told through Anna’s words from childhood through to adulthood.

The early chapters are of her early years when Anna’s life is full of love and happiness that is until is reached 9 years of age and tragedy strikes leaving her feeling broken and in care.

As Anna’s story moves on to adulthood and to a new chapter in her life, we are introduced to new friends, family and lovers.

An event in a lift brings Theo into her existence and Anna immediately senses that he is the one for her. I could feel their characters as two lost souls coming together but this also brings problems in their relationship as well as their love story.

I would describe Anna as a survivor as she is faced with many hurdles in her life and through her written letters to her fictitious children Fifi and Fox, I could see that she is striving for a family of her own to care for and love unconditionally. 

There are lots of sensitive subjects in this tale, death, drug addiction, depression and loneliness to name a few, but they are each dealt with honesty and reality.

I can’t wait to read Theo and discover how his life has moulded him into the person I have been introduced to in Anna’s life. 
Thanks to Amanda and Simeon for the auto approval on Net Galley. Keep writing Amanda as I just love your emotive writing style.

To order a copy of Anna from Amazon click here