25 Mar 2016


Book Review / The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling

'It is that quick, it is that strong, it is that beautiful. And it is also totally impossible.'

Even though she knows it's impossible, Seren longs to have the sunshine on her skin. It's something she feels she needs to stay sane. But when you're floating through space at thousands of kilometres an hour, sometimes you have to accept there are things you cannot change.

Except that the arrival of Dom in her life changes everything in ways she can barely comprehend. For a while he becomes the Sun for her; and she can't help but stay in his orbit. Being with him flaunts every rule designed to keep their home in order, but to lose him would be like losing herself.

In the end they must decide what is most important: loyalty to the only home they've ever known, or to each other?

Published:     19th May 2016
Publisher:  Little Brown
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher 


What I loved about this story...   I always love coming across new stories based in space.  The last time I read one of those was the Across the Universe trilogy, which I loved, so I was so excited to read this one and see what it has to offer.  Honestly, my favourite character in this story is not the main character but Dom, the secondary character in this story.  Dom is someone that Seren meets one day who has a lot of secrets, has a wider knowledge of who they are and what they are doing together with his gentlemanly attitude towards helping Seren.  I really liked his character and definitely routed for him during this story.  By far my favourite part of this story is the ending.  Of course I won't explain why as I don't want to spoil the story for you but what I will say is that I am glad certain characters made the decisions they did.  It definitely lead to a very action packed finale!

 What I didn't like about this story...  Ok, now for the honest part.  This book was very predictable.  If I hadn't have read the Across the Universe trilogy I think this story would have blown me away a lot more than it did.  Also, there is a lot of insta-love in this book which I honestly didn't like.   That element of this story was just too fast for me.

In summary...  A fun easy to read space coming of age story.  Apart from the reasons above that I didn't like, this story definitely did end very action packed and I would really love to find out what happens next if there happens to be a next story...

Continue reading Book Review / The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling

23 Mar 2016


Blog Tour Author Interview / Sinéad Moriarty

Being a good mother is doing the right thing. But sometimes the right thing is not so clear.

When Alice's husband Ben dies suddenly, her world falls apart. They shared twenty years and two daughters and life without him is unimaginable.

Having lost her parents while young, Alice understands her girls' pain. At fifteen, Jools is at that awkward age and only Ben could get through to her. And eleven-year-old Holly looks for the answer to everything in books but this time she's drawing a blank. Alice realizes that for their sakes she must summon up superhuman reserves of strength.

Somehow all three of them come through the dark days. In time, it's even possible for Alice to consider marrying again, with the girls' blessing. So when Ben turns up after three years, her world is again turned upside-down. The girls assume that their family can go back to the way they were. Alice is not so sure.

Once more Alice has to find the strength to be the mother her daughters need her to be. But this time what that means is far from clear ...


1.       If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
I would have loved to work with Nora Ephron. I am a huge fan of her writing and her wit. I’d love to have got the chance to work with her. Sadly she passed away a few years ago, but her wonderful books, movies and articles live on.

2.       What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
I write from about 9-2 every day when the children are in school and I protect that time. I rarely take a phone call, never answer the door and try to stay off the Internet (this does not always work as I do love to shop online!)

3.       What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
The middle section of the book can be difficult as you begin to doubt yourself and you’re trying to keep the story fresh and keep the pace up so it doesn’t flag.

4.       When and why did you first start writing?
I always wrote – diaries, essays in school etc. But it was when I turned 30 that I gave myself an ultimatum – write a novel this year. I set myself the goal of writing a novel after work, early in the morning and on the weekends and I did. Unfortunately it was turned down by all publishers but it made me realise that I could write a full novel and so I wrote another one – The Baby Trail – which was published!

5.       How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Back in the late 1980s Brian Keenan and John McCarthy, among others, were kidnapped and taken hostage in Beirut. They remained in captivity for over four years and when they were finally released the two men talked about this incredible friendship that had kept them sane. You could see the deep connection and love between them.
To this day they are best friends and the bond between them remains. I was always fascinated by this and by the fact that John McCarthy’s girlfriend campaigned so tirelessly to get him released and then when he was released everyone presumed they’d end up together…but in fact they broke up and he married someone else. I wanted to somehow write a book with some of these themes worked into the storyline.

6.       Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I love reading, it’s the best from of escapism. I’ve just finished A Little Life which was both disturbing and incredible.

7.       Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Believe in yourself, don’t let knockbacks stop you achieving your goal, be passionate about your story, be disciplined and enjoy it!!
Continue reading Blog Tour Author Interview / Sinéad Moriarty

21 Mar 2016


Book Review / The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

Published:     2nd July 2013
Publisher:  Harper Teen
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source:  Owned Copy


What I liked about this story...     This was such a fun story to follow, I really didn't want it to end!  I picked this up as a audio book, having recently discovered I like reading books that way to and an excellent way to cram in more reading time without having to actually sit down and pick up a book! OK so this book does have the usual cliches of rich man poor girl falling in love type situations but what made this story stand out to me was the main character Caymen and her sense of humour.  She is so snarky and funny it made me laugh out loud several times throughout the story.  For me that was the best part of it.  You also have a couple of other characters that were equally as funny like Caymen's best friend and her new musician boyfriend.   The interactions between the characters were highly entertaining.

What I was not fond of with this story...    If I had to pick something to say here it would have to be that the story was very predictable, no surprises.  I would have loved to have come across a few twists and turns in the story that I didn't see coming.  

In summary... A great easy to to read story for when you want to read by the beach in the summer or down by the river at the park in the Spring.  It will make you laugh out loud in places with nothing too complicated to figure out.  It was certainly what I was looking for when picking this up!


Continue reading Book Review / The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

18 Mar 2016


Book Review / Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

When twenty-eight-year-old Lexi Smart wakes up in a London hospital, she’s in for a big surprise. Her teeth are perfect. Her body is toned. Her handbag is Vuitton. Having survived a car accident—in a Mercedes no less—Lexi has lost a big chunk of her memory, three years to be exact, and she’s about to find out just how much things have changed.

Somehow Lexi went from a twenty-five-year-old working girl to a corporate big shot with a sleek new loft, a personal assistant, a carb-free diet, and a set of glamorous new friends. And who is this gorgeous husband—who also happens to be a multimillionaire? With her mind still stuck three years in reverse, Lexi greets this brave new world determined to be the person she…well, seems to be. That is, until an adorably disheveled architect drops the biggest bombshell of all.

Suddenly Lexi is scrambling to catch her balance. Her new life, it turns out, comes complete with secrets, schemes, and intrigue. How on earth did all this happen? Will she ever remember? And what will happen when she does?

With the same wicked humor and delicious charm that have won her millions of devoted fans, Sophie Kinsella, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Shopaholic & Baby, returns with an irresistible new novel and a fresh new heroine who finds herself in a life-changing and utterly hilarious predicament…

Published:     26th February 2008
Publisher:  Dial Press
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source:  Owned Copy


What I liked about the story...  This is my second Sophie Kinsella re-read this year and I couldn't wait to start it.  This story was just as good as I remembered it.   What I liked the most would have to be seeing Lexi, after the accident, try and find out why she had become the person she had.  She had gone from being happy with crooked teeth to being an unhappy strict bitch boss type person.  You also have another character called Jon in this story who I have to say is my favourite character by far.  I won't spoil the story by saying who he is or what is his place in the story but a very important character to the story.

What I didn't like with this story...  There was nothing obvious about the story that I didn't like.  There were parts that I felt the story dragged a bit and got a bit boring but it soon picked up when Lexi discovers something about work and needs to do something about it. 

In summary...  Such a fun and easy read.  Exactly what I wanted to read at the time and exactly what I hoped it would be as a re-read.  OK so this story is very predictable but that is what I wanted it to be so that's ok.  If you are looking for something fun and easy to read, especially as we near towards Spring and Summer (which are usually my favourite times to read books of this style) then you should give this a go.

Continue reading Book Review / Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

17 Mar 2016

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Book Review / In the Dark, In the Woods by Eliza Wass

The woods were insane in the dark, terrifying and magical at the same time. But best of all were the stars, which trumpeted their light into the misty dark.

Castella Cresswell and her five siblings—Hannan, Caspar, Mortimer, Delvive, and Jerusalem—know what it’s like to be different. For years, their world has been confined to their ramshackle family home deep in the woods of upstate New York. They abide by the strict rule of God, whose messages come directly from their father.

Slowly, Castley and her siblings start to test the boundaries of the laws that bind them. But, at school, they’re still the freaks they’ve always been to the outside world. Marked by their plain clothing. Unexplained bruising. Utter isolation from their classmates. That is, until Castley is forced to partner with the totally irritating, totally normal George Gray, who offers her a glimpse of a life filled with freedom and choice.

Castley’s world rapidly expands beyond the woods she knows so well and the beliefs she once thought were the only truths. There is a future waiting for her if she can escape her father’s grasp, but Castley refuses to leave her siblings behind. Just as she begins to form a plan, her father makes a chilling announcement: the Cresswells will soon return to their home in heaven. With time running out on all of their lives, Castley must expose the depth of her father’s lies. The forest has buried the truth in darkness for far too long. Castley might be their last hope for salvation.

Published:     21st April 2016
Publisher:  Quercus
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


This book completely took me by surprise!  When I first started reading this book, honestly speaking, it felt quite weird and Castley and her family definitely seemed different from the other characters in town but the more and more I read of this book the more I really liked Castley as a person and realising that she had been brought up in a way that she had to believe what her father believed and go with whatever he said otherwise she would either get beaten up or send to 'God's Chamber' which is like a cave that the father locks them in when they have gone something wrong for 'reflection' in which they can stay there for days without any food or water.  The father has the believe that him and his family were here on Earth temporarily until they found their place at home in heaven.  When reading that I immediately thought the word 'cult'.  This family was  cult that was led by the father and the children, being brought up in that world, didn't really know any better.

What I loved the most about this book was the children and how they progress (or not progress depending on the character).  Because the authorities were keeping a close eye, the children have to go to school in the main town with the rest of the children and Castley, in particular, realises that their way of life in the woods where they live maybe is not right.

For me, this was a very emotional story that I was truly engrossed in until the very last page.  I actually loved this one so much I read it in one sitting!  Such a great book that you should all definitely pick up and give a try...

Continue reading Book Review / In the Dark, In the Woods by Eliza Wass

16 Mar 2016


Blog Tour Book Review / The Hurricane by R J Prescott

Emily McCarthy is living in fear of a dark and dangerous past. A gifted mathematician, she is little more than a hollow, broken shell, trying desperately to make ends meet long enough to finish her degree.

Through an unlikely friendship with the aging, cantankerous owner of an old boxing gym, Em is thrown into the path of the most dangerous man that she has ever met.

Cormac “the Hurricane” O’Connell is cut, tattooed and dangerous. He is a lethal weapon with no safety and everyone is waiting for the mis-fire. He’s never been knocked out before, but when he meet Em he falls, HARD. Unlike any other girl he’s ever met, she doesn’t want anything from him, but just being around her makes him want to be a better person.

They are polar opposites who were never meant to find each other, but some things are just worth the fight.

Published:     16th February 2015
Publisher:  Little Brown
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, The Hurricane
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


What I liked about this story...  Honestly speaking, this is not a book that I would normally pick up.  Certainly, from the cover this is definitely not the style of story that I would pick up if seen on a shelf but the description just grabbed my attention.  It think it was more the 'dark and dangerous past' that captured my interest at the start.  I am so glad that I read this.  The relationships in this story felt so real it was so hard not to keep reading until the very last page!  I couldn't even pinpoint which relationship I liked the best.  You have Emily and Cormac, the main characters in this story.  You see them meet, get to know each other and then getting to know each other a lot better, if you know what I mean!  Then you have all the characters at the boxing club where Emily starts to work at and slowly gets used to the boyish atmosphere.  The effect she has on each of them was noticeable.  It seemed like it was good for them to have her about rather than just having an all boys atmosphere.  They also become very protective of Emily, seeing her as one of their own.  I really enjoyed this part of the story the most.

What I didn't like about the story...    Although I did really enjoy the story, I had wished there had been more to the 'dark and dangerous past'.  Obviously this past is explained throughout the story but I felt the conclusion could have been less quick and more intense.  That said, it was a really good ending and one that I was expecting.

In summary...  Oh yes, this is such a great romantic novel.  If this is your thing, you should pick this up.  If this is not normally your thing and you like the sound of the description, you should pick this up.  In fact, you should all pick this up and give it a go.  It's that good...

Continue reading Blog Tour Book Review / The Hurricane by R J Prescott

15 Mar 2016


Blog Tour Author Interview / Gavin Extence

Dark, witty and painful, Gavin Extence's follow up to the word-of-mouth hit, THE UNIVERSE VERSUS ALEX WOODS, will stir up strong emotions as readers follow its heroine as she spirals into depression.

The perfect follow up to THE UNIVERSE VERSUS ALEX WOODS, this is a sensitive and astonishingly witty account of a woman's descent into mental illness. The protagonist, Abby, is a very different but equally likely and endearing hero as Alex Woods.


1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
That’s a difficult question! I’m not sure I’d find it easy to collaborate with another writer, mostly because I’d be really neurotic. So maybe I’d have to pick someone like Woody Allen, and we could both be anxious and neurotic together. I do think that I’d prefer to work with a screenwriter rather than another novelist, just because film is inherently collaborative, and novels, usually, aren’t. But if I can pick any writer alive or dead, I’d probably go for Kurt Vonnegut. He was a hero of mine, and I think he’d be a lot of fun to work with.
2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
It’s changing all the time. For my debut, I pretty much wrote nine to five, six days a week. I barely left my flat for eighteen months! But since my children were born, I’ve had to be a lot more flexible about when and where I write. The second half of Melody Black was written almost exclusively between the hours of five and eight a.m. I was looking after my daughter full-time every day. Luckily, I’m a morning person!
3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
I still find it really hard to re-read my work, just before I start on a second draft. You have to be quite brutal with yourself when you’re editing. Your focus has to be on everything that’s wrong with your writing, so you’re forced to look at yourself through an ultra-critical lens. I find the best trick to detach myself a little and try to view it as if it’s someone else’s work. Easier said than done!
4.  When and why did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was about four. I really loved writing stories as a child, and at that age, there is no why – it just feels like a fun thing to do, like drawing or climbing trees. But it was when I was about ten or eleven that I started to think that I wanted to write books. Then the shock of adolescence came along, and something that had once felt easy and natural suddenly felt difficult and embarrassing. The desire to write never left me, but it was only when I was twenty-six that I started writing again. It still felt difficult and embarrassing at that point, but the more I did it, the more my confidence grew. I always hoped to make a career out of it, but my main motivation hasn’t really changed that much since I was four. There still aren’t many things that I find as fun and fulfilling as writing.
5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?
The book’s about mental illness, which I have first-hand experience of. But I didn’t know the exact direction the story was going to take when I started writing it. Originally, I just had the first chapter – a woman goes over to her neighbour’s flat to borrow some tomatoes and finds him dead in a chair (which was also based on something that happened to me, in a roundabout way). Her very strange reaction to these circumstances then became a catalyst for the plot and themes of the rest of the book.
6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
Yes – or I used to be! It’s another thing that becomes much harder when you have young children. Ninety percent of the reading I do now is with them – my daughter once made me read to her for three hours straight, and I can now recite most of Julia Donaldson by heart. For myself, I’m generally lucky if I get half an hour a day to read, so I have to pick my books wisely. I’m currently reading Slade House by David Mitchell.
7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Writing is like learning to play a musical instrument: it helps if you have some natural ability to begin with, but that will only take you so far. You have to put the hours in. Do the equivalent of spending several hours every day practising your scales. To fall back on a cliché, I’d say novel writing is about ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration. And don’t be put off by rejection – it’s something every writer has to go through at some point. Behind every success story, there are drawers full of failed manuscripts.

Continue reading Blog Tour Author Interview / Gavin Extence

14 Mar 2016


Book Review / Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler

Ashleigh Walker is in love. You know the feeling - that intense, heart-racing, all-consuming emotion that can only come with first love. 

It's enough to stop her worrying about bad grades at college. Enough to distract her from her parents' marriage troubles. There's just one thing bothering her . .

Shouldn't it be her boyfriend, Dylan, who makes her feel this way - not Miss Murray, her English teacher?

A thought-provoking coming out story from a highly skilled author.

Published:     14th May 2015
Publisher:  Indigo
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


What I liked about this book...    This was the first time reading a LGBT style book so I was really excited to see what I thought about reading this.  What I liked the most has to be the character of Ashleigh and her development throughout the story.  We see her at the beginning thinking that she was like everyone else (which she was apart from the fact that she felt more for her English teacher Miss Murray than her boyfriend Dylan).  This was very much a coming of age story, watching Ashleigh grow from discovering the feelings that she had and leaning to deal with this.

What I didn't like with this book...  If I had to pick something I would have to say that even though Miss Murray was the object of Ashleigh's affections throughout the book I felt that this character was just an 'object' in the story that came in and went.  Honestly, it could have been any other person in the story other than Miss Murray and the story would probably be the same.  

In summary...   This was a good interesting read especially for character development and discovering what it is like through the eyes of the person feeling what they feel.   I felt this was more aimed at a younger audience than a mature reading audience. 

Continue reading Book Review / Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler

7 Mar 2016


Blog Tour Review / The Woman who Upped and Left by Fiona Gibson

Forget about having it all. Sometimes you just want to leave it all behind.

Audrey is often seized by the urge to walk out of her house without looking back – but she can’t possibly do that.

She is a single parent. She is needed. She has a job, a home, responsibilities…and a slothful teenage son’s pants to pick up.

But no one likes being taken for granted – Audrey least of all – so the time has come for drastic action. And no one’s going to stand in her way…

Published:     25th February 2016
Publisher:  Avon
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


What I liked about this story...  Despite the fact that the main character in this book, Audrey, has quite a lot of 'downs' before she got to the 'ups' in her life in this book, I found it really fun to read.  You have Audrey who at the beginning of the book is single mum having her grown up son (I would say he is late teens to early twenties, definitely left school type age) living at home with her, not working, not going to school and certainly not helping with anything really.  He also has a girlfriend who practically lives with them and is equally as bad.  It's not hard to see that Audrey needs a break from it all, to have some fun.  When she won Dinner Lady of the Year she had first chosen the £5,000 price but upon learning from her son what he wanted out of the money (the list having been given to her with her birthday card and no present) she decides that she is no longer going to go for the money as her prize but a trip away to a cookery class.  It was such fun following her journey through escaping from it all and learning something new.  If I had to pick a favourite part of this book, honestly it would have to be when she arrives at the hotel and discovers the mini bar, that was funny!

What I was not fond of with this story...  I know that there are certain characters in this book who are meant to be completely arses but they did wind me up a bit in this book.  Certainly the son who seems to take advantage of his mum in every way and was definitely in for a bit of an awakening when his mum goes away to the cookery school and leaves him to fend for himself.  There is also another character that I really didn't like and that is one of Audrey's 'boyfriend'.  What a horrible character but he was meant to be so that was ok! 

In summary...  This was a really fun story, following Audrey through her lows at the beginning to picking herself up again at the cookery school and all that happens afterwards.

Continue reading Blog Tour Review / The Woman who Upped and Left by Fiona Gibson

6 Mar 2016


Book Review / Book of Lies by Teri Terry

They are trapped, frozen. Waiting. Straining against the wood that holds them. The unwary catch a glimpse now and then - feel their desperate hunger, see a glint of red eyes - and scurry out of the shadows of the wood, back to the light.

She's coming; it will be soon.

They will run free on the moors again. The Hunt will return.

And the ground will run with blood.

An ancient curse placed on a family of witches foretells that twins will be born - one good, one evil; and one will destroy the other. But who can be trusted when no one is as they seem?

Published:     24th March 2016
Publisher:  Orchard Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


What I loved about this story...  This story was so much fun to read.  You have twins Piper and Quinn who at the beginning of the story meet at their mother's funeral and discover that they are, in fact, twins but there's more than meets the eye with this story.  There are definitely a lot of twists and turns in this book and what I enjoyed the most was trying to figure out each of the characters in this book and trying to figure out who were the goodies and who were the baddies.  There is also a great sense of history and destiny in this book, more than what I was expecting.  This story is so much more than what is happening 'present day'.

What I was not fond of with this book...  I couldn't really pinpoint anything in particular that I was not fond of with this book but I have to admit that from reading the blurb I was expecting this to be more creepier than it was but that's just my personal reading experience.  Maybe I bigged it up to be more than what it was

In summary...  This was a really fun easy read with a lot of twists and turns that will keep you on your toes... 

Continue reading Book Review / Book of Lies by Teri Terry

5 Mar 2016


Blog Tour Author Interview / Hilary Spiers

When widowed sisters, Hester and Harriet, move together into a comfortable cottage in a pretty English village, the only blights on their cosy landscape are their crushingly boring cousins, George and Isabelle, who are determined that the sisters will never want for company. Including Christmas Day.

On their reluctant drive over to Christmas dinner, the sisters come across a waif-like young girl, hiding with her baby in a disused bus shelter. Seizing upon the perfect excuse for returning to their own warm hearth, Hester and Harriet insist on bringing Daria and Milo home with them.

But with the knock at their front door the next day by a sinister stranger looking for a girl with a baby, followed quickly by their cousins' churlish fifteen-year-old son, Ben, who also appears to be seeking sanctuary, Hester and Harriet's carefully crafted peace and quiet quickly begins to fall apart.

With dark goings-on in the village, unlooked-for talents in Ben, and the deeper mysteries in Daria's story, Hester and Harriet find their lives turned upside down. And, perhaps, it's exactly what they need.


1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?

What a fabulous idea! I'd want to work with another woman for sure but the two writers who sprang immediately to mind are - alas! - no longer with us: Bernice Rubens and Beryl Bainbridge. Both writers make me shout with laughter, their sly, mordant wit undercutting the narrative, constantly confounding expectations. They wrote with such honesty and beadiness about women, their frailties and secret lives. Who wouldn't want to learn from them?

2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?

Early morning swim to clear my head and tease out any knotty plot points, while trying to avoid the bully-boys who refuse to give way in the water, damn them. Strong black coffee. Quick scan of the Guardian (not allowed the sudoku or crossword until I've done my work), with Radio 4 in the background. Into my study by 9, ideally. Move cat obscuring the screen. Review yesterday's progress. Try to retrieve deathless prose or new train of thought that floated into brain in the small hours. Fail. Shoo cat off keyboard. Get something - anything - onto the screen. More coffee. Move cat off the printer. Repeat ad nauseam (pretty much every day).

3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you?

Switching off. Once I'm off on a journey with my characters, they take over my life.
4.  When and why did you first start writing?

I always have. Toe-curlingly bad poetry as a youngster (come on, we all do, don't we?), bits and pieces for performance, short stories. The decision to make writing my full-time occupation after years of dabbling in fiction and play-writing followed the deaths of two friends in close succession in the same year that I spent a week on a creative writing course on a Greek island. I suddenly thought, 'you only get one stab at this, so carpe diem.'

5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I was doing an MA in Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University and I wrote a short story about these two assertive, rather cantankerous, sisters who happen upon an East European girl and her tiny baby in an old bus shelter. Readers liked the characters and said they wanted more. I was in the throes of completing a play at the time but my dear friend and writing buddy set me a challenge to write three chapters of a novel a week. I do love a challenge so I said yes and, quick as wink, Hester and Harriet took up residence. They've never left.

6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?

I am a huge reader and have been since I could read. And I read quickly, so holidays, until I got a Kindle, were always a problem as a suitcase full of books is so damned heavy! I'll read anything – cereal packets, bus tickets, the back pages of other people's newspapers – if I don't have a book to hand. Currently, I'm tearing through Kate Atkinson's A God in Ruins, which, although it doesn't feature Jackson Brodie (bring him back!), is a engrossing, witty read that wears its research lightly.

7.  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

If you really want to write because there's nothing you'd rather be doing, write. Write every day: a chapter, a paragraph, a sentence. Carry a notebook everywhere. Eavesdrop. Read your work aloud. Learn to appreciate the positive things that readers, agents and editors highlight about your work: why does one always light immediately on the negative? Cultivate critical but supportive readers amongst your friends and listen to their comments. Don't be precious: your friends have read hundreds of books: they know what they like; your editors have developed hundreds of books: they know what works. Live – despite the setbacks (and there will be many) – in hope.

Continue reading Blog Tour Author Interview / Hilary Spiers

4 Mar 2016

Author Interview / Troubled Mission by John Wagner

What happens when, after a life-changing study-tour of Peru, a successful US attorney abandons his law practice to volunteer with a religious organization and travel to Peru to fight for human rights in the midst of a culture of violence and terror? Not what he expected. In his sometimes romantic, sometimes terrifying, always inspiring memoir, John Wagner searches for love, spirituality, and the chance to fight against injustice and oppression in a country not his own, while working for a religious organization he could not trust.

Wagner lives under a death threat from the fanatical Sendero Luminoso terrorist organization that he must keep secret from his religious community. He develops an on-and-off love affair with Bella, a beautiful but mysterious Peruvian teacher. He faces dramatic betrayals. He accidentally travels into the heart of the drug capital of the world.

Day by day, he sees the increasing violence in Peru and overnight, he sees Peru’s president become a dictator, shredding the rule of law. After a terrorist attack in a small town, he confronts Peruvian Army officers head-on to gain access to the scene. Then he must help prepare for burial the bloody, ravaged, body of a campesina woman killed in that attack. In this story, Wagner skillfully interweaves his inner struggles, including coming to grips with a new language, a new culture, a lower station in life, and a new perspective on his native Catholicism. Finally, he stumbles into what would become a landmark human rights case, stopping the Peruvian government from persecuting human rights lawyers. Ultimately, Troubled Mission is the story of human redemption. Many people seek personal change only to find unexpected obstacles. Troubled Mission shows how we can find redemption—or redemption finds us—in so many unexpected ways.

book avaliable at amazon

You can read more about John Wagner and his book at johnpwagner.com

1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
Joseph Heller. His Catch-22 has influenced me more than any other book. I know his book underwent substantial revisions and I also know it was well-organized chapter by chapter. I would love to discuss his writing techniques and thoughts with him. It's not enough to have a great idea--you have to be able to express it and build on it with an overall theme.

2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
I have now become a devotee of large desktop computers and don't write on my laptop anymore. I write in my home office, my "studio." I don't have a set writing schedule, it depends on the day and the other activities I have scheduled. I prefer writing from late morning or early afternoon to early evening or lnto the night. I hate trying to write early in the morning. My brain just isn't ready to go yet!

3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
The endless editing and rewriting.

4.  When and why did you first start writing?
I wanted to be a writer since early childhood. I wrote a poem in the fourth grade. Also around that time, I tried to start a "newspaper" on my toy typewriter. I did a lot of creative writing in college. But then, life happened and I had a career that took all my physical and mental energy. Even when I retired, I forgot that I had wanted to be a writer. After about two years of trying various activities in retirement, I remembered--hey, I wanted to be a writer. I then took it seriously and began writing with a disciplined schedule.

5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?
After I did human rights work in Peru many years ago, I thought that work might be a good subject for a book. But as I said, live intervened and I just forgot about the idea. Suddenly I remembered it after a few years of retirement.

6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
Yes, I am reading something all the time and have very eclectic tastes. Right now, I just finished what may be the last Watergate book--Bob Woodward's The Last of the President's Men. I lived through the Watergate days and am a Watergate junkie. Now, I've started Wolfgang Herrndorf's Why We Took The Car. I was looking for contemporary German literature and someone recommended this. I didn't realize until I got it that it is considered Young Adult literature. Oh well, I'm finding it interesting so far. I also enjoy poetry and plan to soon re-read what to me is an all-time favorite, Sharon Doubiago's Hard Country.

7.  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
My advice for aspiring writers would be the same advice I give myself--don't worry about how the book will sell or how it will be categorized. Just get it down. Then hone it, hone it, and hone it to show a clear and strong theme. And then hone it some more!

Continue reading Author Interview / Troubled Mission by John Wagner

2 Mar 2016

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Book Review / Naked in Death by JD Robb

 It is the year 2058, and technology now completely rules the world. But New York City Detective Eve Dallas knows that the irresistible impulses of the human heart are still ruled by just one thing-passion.

When a senator's daughter is killed, the secret life of prostitution she'd been leading is revealed. The high-profile case takes Lieutenant Eve Dallas into the rarefied circles of Washing-ton politics and society.

Further complicating matters is Eve's growing attraction to Roarke, who is one of the wealthiest and most influential men on the planet, devilishly handsome... and the leading suspect in the investigation.

Published:     July 1995 (first published)
Publisher:  Piatkus
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, In Death
Source:  Owned


Oh dear, I can see the beginning of an obsession starting here and do you want to know what the best thing about that is?  This series has over 40 books in it so my addiction to this series can keep going for a very very long time!!  I had first come across this series when I read Obsession in Death (book 40) and Brotherhood in Death (book 42) (which were very kindly sent to me for review).  I loved both of those books so much that I wanted to start from the beginning.  What makes this story unusual from the usual crime books is the fact that it sent in the year 2058, way in the future but is written in such a way that, unless for the smaller details of a machine that reproduces food and drink at the touch of a button and 'links' that people use to communicate to each other, it could really be at any time, any year and the story would still be relevant and good.  

With this first story, I got to see the beginnings of what makes Detective Eve Dallas who she is and why she is so good at her job as well as seeing her in personal situations.  Eve has such a depth to her character that just pulled me in and want to like her instantly.  With the introduction of a love interest, Roarke, this makes Eve (who is usually a very by the book type of person) think and do things she would nor normally.  

The main part of this story is obviously about the murder of a senator's daughter and what happens next.  This was a story that had quite a few twists and turns and although I had a suspicion that I knew who it was who done it there was a further twist which meant that there was more to the story than meets the eye! 

I loved this first book and can't wait to move on to the rest of the series... 

*** Trigger Warning ***
This story contains aspects of murder, violence and rape.

Continue reading Book Review / Naked in Death by JD Robb

1 Mar 2016

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Book Review / The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling


When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils ... Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Published:     27th September 2012
Publisher:  Little Brown
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Owned


Being a HUGE Harry Potter fan I was so excited when this book came out in 2012 but after hearing mixed reviews about it decided not to purchase it until later on.  I decided it was time to pick up this book.  A 503 pages, it is quite a huge book but managable by my standards.  I already knew that I loved JK Rowlling's writing so that part I was excited about.  Honestly speaking, if this was written by someone else and just by reading the description itm might not be something that I would have picked up but I am so glad that I did!

I loved this book.  Right from the very first page I was immersed in the story and the lives of the many characters living in Pagford.  I always get uncomfortable when there are lots of characters in a story as with most that I read the more characters there are the more chance I will forget some of their stories at some point in the story.  This book was not like that.  Each character was memorable in their own way and I really enjoyed following each and every story.  If I have to pick one particular character and their story that I liked the most, I honestly could not do it.  I would have to put each character on the same level as each of their stories are no more important than another's.

Another aspect that I found interesting read is the fact that you have this little town which seems to be split between the rich side and the poor side.  Right from the beginning there is clear conflict between the two and now with Barry Fairbrother dead and there is a casual vacancy on the parish council the fate of the town seems undecided until that seat is filled.  

I loved this book from start to finish.  This is definately one of those books that I will keep on my bookshelf to re-read time and time again!  If you haven't picked this up yet or still have this on your shelf to read, pick it up now!  You need to read this book!
Continue reading Book Review / The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling