Challenge Participant


Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter BLOG TOUR

The Good Daughter (Hardback)

The stunning new standalone, with a chilling edge of psychological suspense, from the No. 1 bestselling author of the Will Trent and Grant County series.
Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…
Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy smalltown family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father – Pikeville's notorious defence attorney – devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.
Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer herself – the archetypal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again – and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatised – Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it's a case which can't help triggering the terrible memories she's spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime which destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won't stay buried for ever…

I really enjoy Karin Slaughter’s popular Grant County series which features Will Trent and so when I was offered the opportunity to have a sneak peak of her new, standalone, novel ‘ The Good Daughter’ my fingers were crossed that it would be as good, if not, better and I have not been disappointed.
The book starts with a frightening memory of two young sisters being walked, at gunpoint, into the woods behind their home after seeing their mother shot dead by intruders who were looking for their father.  Fast forward twenty eight years and we, the readers, follow Charlie’s story as she is the witness in another case which leads to painful memories of the tradegy that shaped her life all those years ago.
A well paced book which keeps the reader’s attention right to the very end. Karin Slaughter has written a fantastic stand alone book which will appeal to readers who enjoy a high intensity psychological suspense story. The reader is lead through a number of twists and turns which is set in the present day but also links back to Charlie’s childhood and a time that she has tried hard to leave behind.  Throughout the book I enjoyed the high intensity and building fast pace of the novel and I found myself  being shocked many times during the story as Slaughter slips in an unexpected twist or reveal.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a great read this summer time. It is one of those books that once a reader starts they are enthralled to the very end so make sure you have time to devour this book as it is not easy to put it down once started.

Thank you to the publishers, Harper Collins, for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Blog Tour - Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old by Hendrik Groen

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 831/4 Years Old (Paperback)The hilarious international bestselling novel that has had pensioners ditching their sticks and zimmers to follow the age-defying, youth inducing antics inside The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old . . . 'Terrific. This geriatric Adrian Mole made me laugh' Woman and Home 'Funny and touching' BBC Radio 4 Meet Hendrik Groen. An octogenarian in a care home who has no intention of doing what he's told, or dying quietly. To that end, he creates the Old-But-Not-Dead Club and with his fellow members sets about living his final years with careless abandon. Such anarchism infuriates the care home director but pleases Eefje, the woman who makes Hendrik's frail heart palpitate. If it's never too late to have fun, then can it ever be too late to meet the love of your life? 'So much more than just a comedy' John Boyne 'A story with a great deal of heart' Graeme Simsion, The Rosie Project 'Amusing and wickedly accurate. A handbook of resistance for our time.' Sunday Express 'Very funny' Jeremy Paxman Financial Times
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd 
ISBN: 9781405924009 
As a teenager I really enjoyed The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 13 3/4 and have read the whole series, so when I was asked to review 'The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 years old' I was intrigued to see how the format worked for an older generation. It worked really well with Hendrik documenting his everyday life, filling his diary full of observations of the life of the members of the 'Old But Not Dead Club'. As it can be assumed there are many happy but also some low and sad moments throughout the book, however they are dealt  with in a sympathetic manner and not dwelt upon for long periods.
I found myself laughing out loud throughout the book as Hendrik described his day to day life in the care home. There is a great supporting cast of residents who also live in the care home. Day to day life is really that, with the ups and downs documented along with the weird and wonderful instances that I can imagine happening as the care homes aging population deal with their various medical conditions while living their lives to the max. Recurring themes are evident throughout the book and the feeding of the fish is one which I enjoyed. Do fish really enjoy Battenburg? 
I really enjoyed this book and strongly recommend it to others who want a great read this summer time. It is predominantly a laugh out loud book, however also be aware that there are some poignant and tear inducing moments sprinkled throughout.
Thank you to the publishers, Penguin Randomhouse, for sending me the book to review and to take part in this blog tour.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Blog Tour - Beneath a Burning Sky by Jenny Ashcroft

Beneath a Burning Sky: A gripping mystery and a beautiful love story that ticks all the boxes (Paperback)

'A summer must-read' Red'Exotic and mysterious - I was gripped by this complex tale' Dinah Jefferies, author of number one bestselling The Tea Planter's Wife

'This story of twists and turns transcends era and genre. Absolutely brilliant' Kerry Fisher, author of The Silent Wife

'A must for fans of first-class writing, brilliant characters, fascinating locations and gripping plots' Tracy Buchanan, author of My Sister's Secret

'Beautifully described . . . A moving love story' Tracy Rees, author of Amy Snow

'Exquisitely written . . . unputdownable and unforgettable' Iona Grey, author of Letters to the Lost

A beautiful and gripping story of love and betrayal and mystery that ticks all the boxes. Perfect for fans of Patricia Wilson, Dinah Jefferies and Rosanna Ley.  When twenty-two-year-old Olivia is coerced into marriage by the cruel Alistair Sheldon she leaves England for Egypt, his home and the land of her own childhood. Reluctant as she is to go with Alistair, it's in her new home that she finds happiness in surprising places: she is reunited with her long-estranged sister, Clara, and falls - impossibly and illicitly - in love with her husband's boarder, Captain Edward Bertram. Then Clara is abducted from one of the busiest streets in the city. Olivia is told it's thieves after ransom money, but she's convinced there's more to it. As she sets out to discover what's happened to the sister she's only just begun to know, she falls deeper into the shadowy underworld of Alexandria, putting her own life, and her chance at a future with Edward, the only man she's ever loved, at risk. Because, determined as Olivia is to find Clara, there are others who will stop at nothing to conceal what's become of her . . .Beneath a Burning Sky is a novel of secrets, betrayal and, above all else, love. Set against the heat and intrigue of colonial Alexandria, this beautiful and heart-wrenching story will take your breath away.
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group 
ISBN: 9780751565034 
I really enjoy spending summer days getting lost in a good book. If it is set in a faraway country it is even better because I won't be travelling to any exotic or far flung countries this year and, instead of spending my money on holiday travel, I enjoy spending it on books where I, the reader, am able to explore countries from the comfortable setting of my, new, garden chair. 
In 'Beneath a Burning Sky' the reader is transported to Egypt and I really enjoyed exploring the markets and cities throughout the story. I really enjoyed the writing style and I could picture the scene, along with the smells and sights, but also the blistering heat as the sun reached its midday heat. The story is surrounded in a veil of mystery and this all adds to the intrigue of the setting. i really enjoyed the whole story and I found myself reading just a little more each day, not wanting to leave behind the characters or the setting. 
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good summer read, and wanting to be transported away to someone hot with a story which will keep you enthralled until the very end.
Thank you to the publishers, Little Brown. for sending me the book to reivew.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Blog Tour - The Postcard by Fern Britton

The Postcard (Paperback)The new witty and warm novel from the Sunday Times best-selling author and TV presenter, Fern Britton. Secrets. Sisters. The summer that changed everything ...Life in the Cornish village of Pendruggan isn't always picture perfect. Penny Leighton has never told anyone why she's estranged from her mother and sister. For years she's kept her family secrets locked away in her heart, but they've been quietly eating away at her. When an unwelcome visitor blows in, Penny is brought face to face with the past. And a postcard, tucked away in a long-hidden case, holds the truth that could change everything. Young Ella has come back to the place where she spent a happy childhood with her grandmother. Now she's here to search for everything missing in her life. Taken under Penny's broken wing for the summer, the safe haven of Pendruggan feels like the place for a fresh start. Soon, however, Ella starts to wonder if perhaps her real legacy doesn't lie in the past at all.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers 
ISBN: 9780007562992 

I was a big fan of Fern Britton when she burst on to our screens on Ready, Steady, Cook and then when she hosted ITV's This Morning and I remember collapsing with laughter and wiping away tears on numerous occasions as she presented the show and I when she announced she was turning her hand to writing novels I hoped that she would be able to carry her bubbly, but also sensitive manner to this new profession, and I am really pleased to say she has. The Postcard is Fern Britton's seventh novel (she has also written two short stories) and I have really enjoyed all of her novels and The Postcard is one of her best yet.
As with all of Fern's books, The Postcard is set in her favourite county of Cornwall and although I have never been to Cornwall I always feel like I am walking through the lanes and across the beaches along with the characters.  The characters are all fantastic and I really liked the village spirit and camaraderie that is shown throughout the book. I really liked that the main characters was the vicar's wife and that she was not the traditional vicar's wife but one who is modern, not too keen on people constantly visiting the vicarage, wanting to be nosy into their life and expecting her to drop everything for her husband's flock!
I also really liked the support cast, the vicarage new neighbours are brilliant and I really liked the mystery surrounding them when they first arrived but they soon become part of village life.
Although this is a standalone book I would like to revisit the characters and see how Penny and her step sister's relationship has progressed.
This is one of those books that would be great to slip into your holiday luggage to read on the plane or the beach or to sit in the garden on a long summer evening.
Thank you to the publishers, Harper Collins, for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and I am already looking forward to what Fern writes next.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Blog Tour - Pieces of Happiness by Anne Ostby

Pieces of Happiness: A Novel of Friendship, Hope and Chocolate (Hardback)I've planted my feet on Fijian earth and I intend to stay here until the last sunset. Why don't you join me? Leave behind everything that didn't work out! When recently-widowed Kat writes to her four old school friends, inviting them to live with her on a cocoa plantation in the South Pacific, they swap icy pavements and TV dinners for a tropical breeze and an azure-blue ocean. Leaving behind loneliness, dead-end jobs and marriages that have gone sour, they settle into the Women's House, surrounded by palms and cocoa trees; and locals with the puzzling habit of exploding into laughter for no discernible reason. Each of  the women has her issues to resolve, and secrets to keep. But together the friends find a new purpose, starting a business making chocolate: bittersweet, succulent pieces of happiness. As they embrace a new culture that views ageing so differently from their own, will they learn to accept and forgive: to discover the value of friendship, and a better way to live?
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd 
I really enjoyed this book - it is one of those books that once finished makes the reader consider their own lives and what is really important to themselves, being thankful for the good times and their nearest and dearest.
It would be a great book to take to the beach this summer and enjoy with the sound of the sea as a backdrop, imagining they are those from Fiji and not from good old Blackpool or Weston Super Mare.

Thank you to the publishers, Transworld, for sending me the book to review.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Blog Tour - My Summer of Magic Moments by Caroline Roberts

Today I am very pleased to kick off the blog tour for Caroline Roberts new release, My Summer of Magic Moments.

My Summer of Magic Moments: Uplifting and Romantic - The Perfect, Feel Good Holiday Read! (Paperback)
'A delightful, life affirming story. I wanted to retreat to a cottage by the sea after the first chapter!' Ali McNamara When a seaside escape spells a little romance ...Claire is ready for a bright new chapter. Winding her way to the coast for a cosy cottage retreat, she prays that three weeks of blissful peace and summer sunshine will wash away the pain of the last year. Claire's a survivor - she's growing proud of the scars that prove it - and she's determined to make the most of each and every day, to seize those little magic moments that give life its sparkle. Her plan for peaceful solitude goes awry when handsome, brooding Ed turns up in the cottage next door. Will a little summer romance prove the worst distraction? Or might it be the perfect remedy? A gorgeous, heartwarming novel to make your heart soar from the author of The Cosy Teashop in the Castle.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers 
ISBN: 9780008236274 

I am very pleased to welcome Caroline to my blog where she has answered some questions about her magic moments.
If you had to pick one for this summer, what would you hope for the perfect ‘magic moment’?

My daughter gets married this summer, so I hope the day works out beautifully for them both and for all of our family and friends.

What’s the best piece of advice you've ever been given as an author?

Can I have two?

One: ‘Don’t get it right get it written’ – stop procrastinating or wanting your writing to be perfect especially at the first draft, just get the story down and keep going until the end. You can always edit later.

Two: Perseverance – especially for the submission process. If you really want to get published, it can take a long time and it can be hard facing the rejections (and there might be many!) as you will have put your heart and soul and many hours into your writing. Just keep learning, keep writing and keep trying. It is really difficult to find a publisher for most authors. It can be tough on you emotionally, but keep going, write what you love and are passionate about and don’t give up!

What do you enjoy most and least about being an author?

Most – creating these wonderful imaginary worlds and getting to know my characters.  Also, it’s just wonderful knowing that readers enjoy my stories too.

Least – marketing and publicity. Most writers aren’t naturally good at blowing their own trumpets or thinking about their books in a business-like way, they just want to write them, but it’s a necessary part of being a published writer these days. Having support from book bloggers, readers and reviewers is really great though.

What genre of books do you mostly read? And do you read anyone else while you’re writing your own books?

I have read widely in the past having taken an English Literature degree, but nowadays I mostly read contemporary women’s fiction. I really enjoy stories about relationships.
I do read whilst I write, usually in bed at night, but I try not to read anything too similar to my current themes, plot or setting, especially when I’m on the first draft stage.

Who are your favourite authors writing today?

I really like Jo Jo Moyes, David Nicholls, Khaleid Homeini, Rowan Coleman, Maggie O’Farrell, Audrey Niffenegger’s ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’, Helen Dunmore. I would love to read more, but time is an issue when I’m busy writing myself.

Thank you to Caroline for joining me on the blog today. I really enjoyed reading My Summer of Magic  Moment definitely deserved a break after her breast cancer journey and the recent breakdown of her marriage and the imminent sale of the marital home. The cottage sounded the perfect place to forget about daily life and enjoy the peace and quiet of the seaside - I must admit I would love to see the mysterious neighbour's early morning skinny dip each day!

The book was a great read and I really enjoyed it. It is a cosy read which is perfect for a summer holiday but as the story progresses the story gathers pace and when I was halfway through I thought I was going to be disappointed with the outcome, however I can safely say, that I was very pleased with the ending.

Each chapter begins with a magic moment and I found myself smiling as I started each new one. I really like Caroline's writing style. Her descriptive writing brought the village to life and there are some great characters within the story.

This story is going to touch many people and I am sure there are lots of Claire's within the world, who have or are fighting cancer and I think that Claire is a strong role model that people will relate to.

Thank you to the publishers, Harper Collins, and Caroline Roberts for inviting me on to this tour and I am very excited to be kicking the tour off.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Blog Tour - Love Like Blood by Mark Billingham

Mark Billingham is one of my very favourite crime authors and his latest release, Love Like Blood, sees his books just getting better and better. It is a definite must for crime lovers this summer.

Love Like Blood - Tom Thorne Novels 14 (Hardback)A BLOODY MESSAGE As DI Nicola Tanner investigates what appears to be a series of organised killings, her partner Susan is brutally murdered, leaving the detective bereft, and vengeful. A POWERFUL ALLY Taken off the case, Tanner enlists the help of DI Tom Thorne to pursue a pair of ruthless killers and the broker handing out the deadly contracts. A CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE As the killers target their latest victim, Thorne takes the biggest risk of his career and is drawn into a horrifying and disturbing world in which families will do anything to protect their honour. From number one bestseller Mark Billingham comes a masterful, intense crime novel that pits DI Tom Thorne against an evil beyond comprehension, yet shockingly real.
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group 
ISBN: 9780751566888 

Mark Billingham's books feature the very popular DI Tom Thorne and this is the fourteenth book in the series. Die hard fans will have read all of them, however new readers will be able to pick up this book and delve straight in and be in awe of DI Tom Thorne.
Tom Thorne is reunited with DI Nicola Tanner, who he met in Die of Shame as she is trying to find out who killed her lover, who she believes was killed instead of herself, due to becoming too close to solving a crime. 
The storyline is brilliant and as with Mark's earlier book, the reader is lead on a trial which sees Thorne get deeper and deeper into the case, which is at times tough, as it involves honour killing across the religions where the modern world overtakes past beliefs. There is lots of great content and it gives the reader an insight into these homes where the younger generation are determined to make their own choices and not agree to those of their parents.
As with all of Mark's books, the reader makes many decisions about who is behind it all and what they believe to have happened but Mark always leaves a big surprise to the end and I was definitely not expecting this one!
Love Like Blood is definitely Mark Billingham's best book yet and I hope my blog readers enjoy it as much as I have.
Thank you to the author and Little Brown for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.