Saturday, 31 May 2014

The Separation by Dinah Jeffries

Today I am excited to be part of the blog tour for The Separation.

I am delighted to share with you the second chapter of the book along with my review.

Thank you to Celeste at Penguin Books for inviting me to be part of the tour and sending me a copy of the book to review!


Chapter Two:
Lydia dumped her dusty case. Out on the patio, her daughters’ bikes lay abandoned beside the jacaranda tree.
‘Emma, Fleur,’ she called out. ‘Mummy’s home.’
She stepped from the patio to glance down the pebble path that led to the long grass. As the sky darkened, an enormous moth, from the fringes of the jungle, smacked her in the cheek. She brushed its black dust off, then ducked back inside to escape the oncoming rain.
‘Alec?’ she called again. ‘I’m home.’
Her husband’s clean-cut features came to mind, skin smelling strongly of soap from the Chinese market, light brown hair cut short back and sides. There was no reply.
She fought off a pang of disappointment in the too-silent house. She’d sent a telegram, just as he’d asked; so where were her family? It was too hot to have gone for a walk. Were they at the pool perhaps, or maybe Alec had taken the girls for tea at the club?
She climbed the stairs to her bedroom, glanced at a photo of Emma and Fleur on the bedside table, and felt such a surge of love. She had missed them.
After undressing, she ran her fingers through her shoulder- length auburn hair, and flicked on the fan. Tired from the journey, and a month looking after a sick friend, she really needed a bath. She pulled open the wardrobe doors, stopped short, frowned. Her breath caught – none of Alec’s clothes were there. Throwing on her loosely woven kimono, she ran barefoot to her daughters’ room.
Someone had left their wardrobe open, and she saw, straight- away, that it was practically empty. Just a few pairs of roughly folded shorts on the top shelf, and crumpled paper on the one beneath. Where were all of their clothes?
What if, she thought, but the sentence died in her throat. She steadied her breathing. That’s what they want: the men in the jungle. To frighten us. She imagined what Alec would say: Hold your head up. Don’t let them win. But what can you expect to feel, when they throw a grenade into a marketplace packed with people?
She spun round at the sound of a cry, and ran to the window. Her shoulders slumped. Just the flying foxes hanging in the tree. With one hand on her heart, she slid her fingers under the crumpled lining paper in the wardrobe and pulled out one of
Em’s notebooks, hoping for a clue. She sat on the camphor wood chest, sniffed the comforting familiar smell, and clasped the note- book to her. She took a deep breath, then opened the notebook to read:
The matriarch is a fat lady with a flabby neck. Her name is Harriet Parrott. She has raisin eyes and a shiny buttery nose which she tries to hide with powder. She slides on little feet in Chinese slippers, but wears long skirts, so you can only just see them at the edges.
Harriet. Had they gone to Harriet?
She stopped abruptly, grasped the edge of the chest, reeling from a rush of heat and the panic that was rising in her. Too much was missing. A note. Of course. He must have left a note. Or a message with the servants.
She ran downstairs two at a time, missing her footing, diving into the downstairs rooms: living rooms, kitchen, scullery, the covered corridor to the servants’ day quarters, and the store- houses. Just a couple of abandoned crates remained, everywhere was dark and empty, the servants gone. No amah’s rocking chair, no cook’s day bed, all the gardener’s tools removed. She scanned the room – no note.
She listened to the rain and, biting a fingernail, racked her brain, hardly able to think for air so heavy it weighed her down. She pictured her journey back home, hours squashed against the jammed train window, a hand cupped over her nose. The pun- gent odour of vomit from a sickly Indian boy. The distant gunfire.
She doubled over, winded by their absence. Fought for breath. This couldn’t be. She was tired. She wasn’t thinking straight. There had to be a rational explanation. There had to be. Alec would have found a way to tell her if they’d had to leave. Wouldn’t he?
She swivelled round and called their names, ‘Emma, Fleur.’ She choked back a sob and pictured Fleur’s dimpled chin, blue eyes, fair hair parted with a bow. Then, recalling the jungle mists that concealed desperate men, her worst fear overtook any remaining chance of rational hope. Sweat crawled under her kimono, her eyes began to smart and she covered her mouth with her palm.
With trembling hands she picked up the phone to dial Alec’s boss. He’d know what had happened. He’d tell her what to do.
Then, she sat with the phone in her lap, sweat growing cold on her skin, flies humming overhead, the sound of the fan churning, click, click, click, and the flutter of a moth’s wings beating the air. The line was dead.

A country at war with itself,
a family divided and betrayed,
a bond that can never be broken...

Malaya, 1955. Lydia Cartwright returns from visiting a sick friend to an empty house. The servants are gone. The phone is dead. Where is her husband Alec? Her young daughters, Emma and Fleur?

Fearful and desperate, she contacts the British District Officer and learns that Alec has been posted up country. But why didn't he wait? Why did he leave no message?

Lydia's search takes her on a hazardous journey through war-torn jungle. Forced to turn to Jack Harding, a man she'd vowed to leave in her past, she sacrifices everything to be reunited with her family.

And while carrying her own secrets, Lydia will soon face a devastating betrayal which may be more than she can bear . . .


My Thoughts:
The Separation follows the narratives of mother and daughter Lydia and Emma.
Coming home to an empty house, Lydia is left bereft! Where are her family? What's happened to them?

Dinah Jeffries pours emotion into the pages as we follow our main protagonist on her quest to discover the truth.
This is a beautiful story that tugs at your heart strings and leaves you wanting to envelope the characters in a cocoon of safety!

The descriptiveness and research that flows throughout the story will have the reader picturing the warm climate of Malaya whilst discovering the history of the country.
Then with a smooth fluidly you are transported to the dreary streets of England.

The juxtaposition of the two countries at the time adds to the turmoil of what the characters are going through.

I found myself pulled into two lives that were shrouded in grief, empathising with two women who
are battling to get their lives on track.

Every woman in this story shows a strength of character that should be commended.
One of the kindest characters is Veronica, someone who was driven to help when it was needed the most!

Dinah Jeffries has created a superb debut that connects with your emotions instantly and transports your mind to a different era.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Being Benedict Cumberbatch by Joanna Benecke

Illustrated with over 85 full-colour photographs His fans regularly discuss whether he looks more like 'an otter or a hammerhead shark , but that hasn't stopped actor-of-the-moment Benedict Cumberbatch becoming an international sex symbol on the very cusp of Hollywood superstardom. He's made geektelligence hot in the insanely popular BBC series Sherlock, attracted critical acclaim in 12 Years a Slave and The Fifth Estate, and explored his dark side in blockbusters like Star Trek: Into Darkness and the Hobbit trilogy. Along the way he s won the hearts, minds and Twitter accounts of an alarmingly enthusiastic global fan base, many of whom refer to themselves as Cumberbitches. But who is Benedict Cumberbatch, and why do teenagers, their parents and everyone in between love him so much? Illustrated throughout with full-colour photographs, Being Benedict Cumberbatch is an essential guide to the man at the centre of the Cumberverse.


A big thank you to Brenna at Plexus for sending me a copy to review!

My Thoughts:

After the excitement of drooling over Ryan Gosling (click here to read my review) I found my loyalties tested when I picked up Being Benedict Cumberbatch.

Now if truth be told I love watching him in Sherlock but I've never really got the attraction. He has always seemed like an acquired taste, but now thanks to Joanna Benecke, I have a whole new respect for the man who I once described as quirky.

Joanna Benecke tells you about Benedict with ease and wit that clearly comes naturally.
Within these 142 pages, you are taken through the life of Mr Cumberbatch, (oh who am I kidding I know that much about him now I should really be calling him Benny)

I've discovered that Benny should always smell nice, especially since he worked in a perfumery for 6 months, I know that he longed for female company at boarding school (I bet be doesn't long for it anymore), but best of all I discovered that Benny is funny and profound.
Which means that now I'm a little bit in love with him, a sense of humour and I'm anyone's!

I admit I still look at his pictures and examine the many different hair colours (his hairdresser is amazing) but I also look at his sparkly eyes.

Don't worry, I know Benny isn't mine because he can often be found punching above his weight with a gorgeous blonde or two and I'm not jealous, not one bit!

It doesn't matter that he is out dating all these other blondes because I've realised I will always have his book and that means I can always look back fondly on the auburn tones of my Benny....

Want to win your own Benny book, then just leave a comment below.
Winners will be drawn at random tomorrow! (Saturday 31st May) UK only.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Throwback Thursday: Laura Lovelock talks Dahl

Today's Throwback Thursday guest is the fantastic Laura,
You can connect with Laura via She Loves to Read or on

I was a fortunate child in the sense I never went one evening without a bedtime story. I was also lucky enough to have a patient father who would wait for hours whilst I spent Saturday mornings in the library and even more privileged that I was surrounded by such a glorious number of books.

When I think back to my childhood books, many stand out – Peace At Last by Jill Murphy, One Snowy Night by Nick Butterworth, Laura’s Star, A Bun For Barney, The Animals Of Wishing Well Wood, Six Dinner Sid..

But perhaps one of the books I look back with the greatest fondness for is by an author who is timeless. His books will be read for decades to come and shared with so many children – if I’m ever lucky enough to have children of my own then this will be top of the list…

The Twits by Roald Dahl


Bordering on rude, this book engages young readers and parents alike. Based on two ugly characters with hilarious names, The Twits, is my favourite of Dahl’s impressive collection and I always remember it with such fondness.

I recently re-read the book and fell in love with it all over again.

Dahl’s sense of humour is spot on and the way he connects with young readers through his use of engaging questions and tangible descriptions makes him one of the most gifted children’s authors of all time. The rivalry between Mr & Mrs Twit is genius and as they constantly try to get one up on each other, you can’t help but laugh at the silliness of it all. As the plot progresses and more characters are introduced, readers can’t help but hate The Twits and cheer with happiness when they get their comeuppance.

Quentin Blake only adds to the perfection with his simplistic but instantly recognisable drawings that capture Dahl’s text perfectly. I love examining them all closely to find the small details that could be missed if one were to merely glance at each picture instead of study them intently.

Perhaps my favourite part of Dahl’s story though is the message he conveys through these two ghastly characters…

“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

― Roald Dahl, The Twits

Anymore evidence needed as to why this man is a genius? No! I didn’t think so.

Huge thanks to Kirsty for inviting me onto her blog.
Thank you Laura for stopping by and I'm so pleased that The Twits still kept it's magic.

Next week on Throwback Thursday, Charlene Wedgner.

If you would like to take part in Throwback Thursday please drop me an email on

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Guest post: Paul Finch; Who is Heck?

Today I am excited to be the last stop on The Killing Club blog tour.
Author Paul Finch has created an incredible guest post for me to share with you all!

About Paul Finch
Paul Finch is a former cop and journalist, now turned full time writer. He first cut his literary teeth penning episodes of the British TV crime drama, THE BILL, and has written extensively in the field of children's animation. However, he is probably best known for his work in horrors and thrillers.
He has also written three Doctor Who audio dramas for Big Finish – Leviathan and Sentinels of the New Dawn, Hexagora and a Doctor Who novel for BBC Books, Hunter’s Moon.
Finch is no stranger to film either, having written scripts for several horror movies. One of these, The
Devil’s Rock, was released in 2011, while his short story The Belfries, is shorty due to be adapted by Hollywood.
Paul lives in Lancashire, UK, with his wife Cathy and his children, Eleanor and Harry.
A debut for 2013, Paul Finch has had a hell of a year. Selling almost 200,000 copies of his first novel Stalkers, and breaking records with his second novel Sacrifice, becoming the most pre-ordered ebook in HarperCollins’ history, he’s entered the crime world with a bang.

Who is Heck?

Well … he’s a relatively new name in crime fiction, but I’d hope he’s already making an impact.

‘Heck’ is of course a nickname. His full title is Detective Sergeant Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg, and to date he’s featured in three novels of mine, Stalkers, Sacrifice and The Killing Club, the first two of which have officially achieved best-seller status.

Here is a thumbnail sketch of Heck’s career path to date, as lifted from the very first set of notes I made while still developing the character:

Heck was born in Bradburn, South Lancashire. He joined the Greater Manchester Police as a constable at the age of 19, working initially at Swinton and Pendleton in Salford. After two years, he voluntarily transferred to the Metropolitan Police, spending a year at Kentish Town in North London, then joining CID at Bethnal Green as a detective constable. After five years, during which he did stints with the Burglary Squad and the Robbery Squad at Tower Hamlets, he was promoted to sergeant, briefly returning to uniform at Rotherhithe. But he rejoined CID a year later, going north of the river again to take up the post of detective sergeant at Brick Lane. Six months later, Heck was attached to the Murder Investigation Team, Lewisham, and two years after that he transferred permanently to the National Crime Group at New Scotland Yard, to work in the Serial Crimes Unit, where he has now spent the last seven years.

As you’d perhaps expect, we take up with Heck when he is already an experienced officer in his late 30s, serving as part of Scotland Yard’s elite Serial Crimes Unit, which specialises in the pursuit of serial and repeat offenders throughout all the police force areas of England and Wales. SCU is a vital if fictional department of the National Crime Group, which plays a kind of ‘British FBI’ role. NCG is also fictional, though of course it does have a real life counterpart – the National Crime Agency, though I should add that NCG saw life long before NCA was launched (so I had the idea first!!!).

Heck is relatively low in the police strata – a detective sergeant – but he is experienced and successful in that role. In addition, he never looks for promotion. He lacks the political acumen to ascend further up the ladder, he always says; in addition, he would rather be an investigator than an administrator.
On one hand, Heck displays many traits that make him the ideal street detective. He is sharp, imaginative, hard-working (very hard-working) and physically tough, as befits his blue collar origins. But he’s an affable chap too, who prefers the even-handed approach if that’s possible. He’s also resolute, though ‘dogged’ might be a better term. When Heck is on the case, he simply will not give up.
On the other hand, Heck can also be a supervisor’s nightmare. He’s a chancer. He’s very instinctive, and so he takes risks – and these don’t always pay off. He also gets frustrated by rules, so he often circumnavigates protocol, playing every trick in the book to defeat his adversaries (some of whom are fellow police officers). Heck can be a team-player, but at the same time he’s egocentric – he assumes the entire police service will fall apart if he takes a day off. So he needs to be at the sharp end always, and if this conflicts with the wishes of his bosses, so what?

This brings us onto another issue, Heck’s love life – which is not extricable from his average working day. Heck has no problem attracting girls. He’s handsome in a rugged, northern sort of way. But he’s never married – for the simple reason the love of his life was his very first girlfriend, Gemma Piper, a detective who worked with him when they were both new to CID, and yet who is now Detective Superintendent Piper of SCU, in other words Heck’s overall boss.


As you can imagine this leads to some intense drama. Gemma is a straight bat, who doesn’t like controversy. So Heck gives her constant headaches. They clash repeatedly, and yet there is a deep bond of unspoken affection between the two of them (which is the only reason Gemma tolerates Heck’s antics), and no shortage of sexual chemistry (which may explain some of their fights).

Heck’s personal background, meanwhile, is not the happiest. His family disowned him when he joined the police. This stemmed from the suicide of his brother, Tom, who was older than Heck by several years, but also a drug addict and a failure. Tom was sentenced to life in prison, having been framed by the cops for a series of violent burglaries. He was later exonerated, but only after much torture and sexual abuse, and finally suicide. Heck was only a schoolboy at the time, but as a result of this tragedy, he joined the police himself, “determined to show the lazy arsed bastards how the job should be done!”, something he’s been doing ever since in Gemma’s view.

Heck’s mother and father in particular never understood this, and were so hostile to his career choice, that he eventually moved away from the Northwest, transferring from the Greater Manchester Police to the Metropolitan Police in London. The rest, as they say, is history.

But where did Heck come from? Who was the blueprint?

Well … though I’m an ex-policeman myself, I never knew a real-life Heck. I suppose he’s an amalgamation of various influences in my life. I served in the Greater Manchester Police, and I was born and raised in Wigan, the prototype Lancashire mill-town on which I based Bradburn, Heck’s home of origin. There the similarity between him and me ends, though my own police experiences had some bearing on Heck’s broader law-enforcement initiatives. When I was a young bobby, it was pre-PACE, and there were all kinds of crafty manoeuvres the lads could pull on criminals. CID were particularly adept at this. So Heck only does what many detectives used to do effectively and justifiably to clean the streets of the worst criminals. I’m not talking about bent cops by the way; there isn’t a corrupt bone in Heck’s body, as there wasn’t in any of the CID offices where I had colleagues.

But perhaps the most obvious similarity between Heck and the real-life cops I knew is his dogged nature. Policing has never been a nine ’til five job, and some officers take this to an extreme, putting in endless hours. Again, in this regard, Heck only does what so many others did before him to get results, but it rarely makes for a happy or pretty life. In the words of Sacrifice, ‘sharing late-night TV dinners in his poky little Notting Hill flat, with his only companion the next pile of case-files’, isn’t a career outcome you’d wish on anyone – though in Heck’s eyes it’s never been a career, more a vocation.

His life isn’t quite as sad as all that, of course. Gemma is always tantalisingly close. Will they get it together again at some point? They were a perfect fit before, after all, and they could well be again. But we haven’t got there yet. With luck, there’ll be several more books before we contemplate any such happy reunion.

About The Killing Club
DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is used to bloodbaths. But nothing can prepare him for this; his most dangerous case to date is open again.
Two years ago, he put the ringleader of The Nice Guys Club – a vicious rape and murder gang – behind bars. But Heck knows that this depraved organisation stretches far beyond UK shores.
When brutal murders start happening across the country, it’s clear that the Nice Guys are at work again. Their victims are killed in cold blood, in broad daylight, and by any means necessary. And Heck knows it won’t be long before they come for him.
Brace yourself as you turn the pages of a living nightmare. Welcome to The Killing Club.


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Undertaking Love by Kat French

Today I am part of the blog tour for Undertaking Love.

I am delighted to share with you unique content and my review.

Thank you to Olivia at LightBrigade PR for inviting me to be part of the tour and sending me a copy to review!

Jonny's bio:

If Marla is the brains of the chapel, Jonny is it's flamboyant beating heart. With a penchant for Abba, satin trousers and stack-heeled cowboy boots, Marla knew he was the perfect man to join her at the helm of the wedding chapel the moment he sashayed down the aisle.
He relocated lock, stock and barrel to Beckleberry to take up the role Marla offered him at the chapel, leaving his wild Brighton days behind him to lay down more meaningful roots in Shropshire.
Loud, proud and wickedly witty, Jonny is the very best of friends and the very worst of enemies. If he loves you, he bathes you in his affection and good humour, but cross him at your peril...

Jonny's quick-fire answers:

Favourite colour - Purple. Or gold. Both together most of all.
Favourite song - You're expecting Abba, am I right? Then I'll go Kylie just to shock you. ;)
Favourite book - Lord of the Flies.
Favourite word - Party!
Favourite food - Hot Dog. Preferably a foot long and fully loaded.
Favourite season - Summertime. Gimme sunshine, baby-oil and bare brown chests...
Favourite TV show - Nashville
Favourite Author - Charlaine Harris
Favourite animal - Lions. No, tigers. No, peacocks.



Sexy and smart, with an extremely desirable male lead, this is a delightful debut from an exciting new voice in women’s fiction.

When Marla Jacobs discovers that the shop next to her Little White Wedding Chapel is to become a funeral parlour, she declares all-out war.

Marla’s chapel in the sleepy Shropshire countryside has become a nation-wide sensation, but the arrival of Funeral Director Gabriel Ryan threatens everything Marla has worked for. She can picture the scene: wedding limos fighting for space in the street with hearses; brides bumping into widows; bouquets being swapped for wreaths.

Marla’s not going down without a fight. She enlists a motley crew of weird and wonderful local supporters, and battle lines are drawn. But, as soon as Marla meets her nemesis, she realises just how much trouble she’s really in. His rugged good looks and Irish lilt make her stomach fizz – how is she supposed to concentrate on destroying him, when half the time she’s struggling not to rip the shirt off his back?

Funny, romantic, and dangerously sexy, Undertaking Love does not disappoint! Perfect for fans of Jane Costello and Lucy Diamond.


My Thoughts:
Having read the Knight series by Kat's pen name Kitty French, I was excited to read Undertaking Love.

I love the writing style of Kat French and was excited to read her debut into a new genre.

One thing is for certain, Kat has a gift for creating a male character that will have you swooning instantly and clamouring to get him into saucy scenes!
Gabriel Ryan sounds divine, every word he said was whispered in my head using a soft Irish lilt and I just wanted to keep him talking.

Besides the dreaminess that is Gabriel, there is a wonderful mix of characters within the pages, Emily, Jonny, Dora and Ivan
Sadly for me the only character I didn't really connect with was Marla, maybe I was jealous but something just didn't click.

Kat French has delivered a light hearted read that will have you laughing even though at times it's sad, but the story flows with fluidly and the transition between emotions is worked well.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Blog Tour: Rachael English talks books!


Today I am pleased to welcome the Going Back blog tour to The Love of a Good Book.
I would like to thank Rachael for this wonderful guest post and Lucy at Orion for inviting me to be part of the tour.

Author Bio:
Rachael English is a presenter on Ireland's most popular radio programme, Morning Ireland.
She lives in Dublin, but was born in England and grew up in County Clare on Ireland's west coast.
GOING BACK is her first novel. Rachael was shortlisted for the most-promising newcomer award at the 2013 Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards.
Follow Rachel on Twitter!

Let's talk books:
I’ve always loved books. All sorts of books. From brightly coloured paperbacks to forbidding looking volumes with hard, dark covers, I’ve read them all. As a journalist, I also read quite a lot of non-fiction. That’s not to say I enjoy everything I read, but I’d like to think that I’m reasonably open-minded. Plus, there’s something wonderful about delving into a book by an unfamiliar author and finding a new favourite.
​This may sound a bit naive, but when I was working on Going Back, I never gave much thought to what ‘type’ of book I was writing. All I knew was that I had a group of characters I enjoyed spending time with and a story I loved telling. I also wanted to try and capture a time and place.
Oh, and I was spurred on by one particular image: a girl I’d seen on a train who was enjoying her book so much that it was practically welded to her nose. If the train had gone up in smoke, she’d probably still be sitting there quietly turning the pages while chaos unfolded around her. I just hoped that if I got my book ‘right’, somebody somewhere might devour it in the same way.
And that is the very best thing about having a book published. When you meet a reader and they want to talk about the story or the characters, the feeling is just brilliant. What’s especially great is when they make a really astute observation about a character, and you find yourself wondering why you never thought of that! (I should explain that even though Going Back is only widely available in Britain now, it’s been on sale in Ireland for a year, so it’s managed to clock up a few readers.)
What’s a little disconcerting, though, is the mania that some people have for trying to pigeonhole books - for, literally, judging a book by its cover. When Going Back was first published, I was often asked what ‘type’ of book it was, and I never really got any better at answering. ‘It’s just a story,’ I’d say, ‘about two people and their friends and families. And mostly the sun shines, but in one chapter it snows. And there's a cat. And a fight.’ Terrible, I know - but I worried that if I was too quick to put a label on the book, I’d limit the number of potential readers.
I was reminded of this recently when I met a taxi driver whose car I’d been in several months before. The first time we met, he’d told me that, even though he was normally a ‘thrillers man’, he had just finished Me Before You and had absolutely loved it. I recommend The Fault In Our Stars. Thankfully, he liked that too, and the next time we met we swapped book tips. He recommended new writers to me, and vice versa.
Of course, times are tough, and that marketing and advertising departments have to think about promoting certain books in certain ways. But wouldn’t it be terrible if, as readers and writers, we started to shut down our options? If we forgot that good books come in all shapes and sizes - and in every genre?

How do you know where you belong?
In June 1988, Elizabeth Kelly's parents think she belongs at home in Ireland. Her boyfriend is certain of it. Unwilling to settle down just yet, she decides to spend the summer in Boston with her college friends.
The next four months change all of their lives. Elizabeth surprises herself by falling for Danny Esposito, a restless charmer with a troublesome family.
Almost a quarter of a century later, Ireland is once again gripped by recession. A new generation looks to America, awakening memories of a golden summer for their parents. When a crisis occurs, Elizabeth returns to Boston where she is drawn back into the life she once lived. But will she be able to reconcile the dreams of her twenty-year-old self with the woman she has become?

GOING BACK is a story of family, friendships and love, of difficult decisions and lifelong consequences.
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Buy Going Back on Amazon!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

You're The One That I Want by Giovanna Flectcher

Last year I was lucky enough to be on the blog tour for Billy and Me, so today it is with much excitement that I share with you my stop on the You're The One That I Want blog tour.

A huge thank you to both Giovanna and Katie at Penguin for allowing me to be part of this incredible tour, providing the exclusive content and a copy of the book to review.

You can catch up with Giovanna at or on her Twitter page @mrsgifletcher

You're The One That I Want: Paperback
You're The One That I Want: Kindle


Every stop on the tour is describing the wedding featured within the book.
I am pleased to share with you my exclusive content and review:

Her Flowers:
Even though trees have played a huge part of the wedding theme so far (with the venue and the cake), there’d still be the need for gorgeous flowers to accompany it all and make it super romantic. Maddy may not know the difference between a rose and a carnation, but she knows what looks good thanks to her photography and having an eye for detail – and that’s what would persuade her to go for just one type of bloom… a deep red rose called ‘Black Magic’ – super luxurious with a velvety texture.
To accompany her elegant wedding dress, Maddy’s bouquet would consist of a dozen of these roses in bloom, all tied together in a hemisphere-like shape – the bridesmaids would have a smaller version of the same arrangement.
With regards to the venue’s flowers (and in-keeping with the theme created already), the flower arrangements would have a slight twist, in that they’d be spiralling up small trees or wooden logs. Here the arrangements are freer than the structured bouquets, they’re loose and scattered over the wooden structures, their beauty amplified by the bark and the twinkling candles hanging from the trees’ branches.



A new novel from the author of Billy and Me about love and the unbreakable bonds of friendship.

Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob - the man she's about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben - best man and the best friend any two people ever had.

And that's the problem.

Because if it wasn't Rob waiting for her at the altar, there's a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it...


My Thoughts:

Last year Giovanni Fletcher wowed us with her sensational debut 'Billy and Me' and now she's back with an incredible story that had me falling in love within pages!

The story follows three friends affectionately known as 'The Tripod'. Maddy, Robert and Ben have been friends since childhood and it's via the narratives of both Maddy and Ben that their story is told.
Looking back over the years we follow the three of them from their first meeting at nine years old to Maddy's wedding at age twenty six!

Giovanna Fletcher writes with such passion and descriptiveness, that the reader is pulled imagination first into the pages.
I felt every happy moment, every heartache and every memory the trio shared.

There are times in the story where I really felt for Maddy, you could feel her heart being pulled in different directions.
It was these times that I was glad she had Pearl to confide in, someone outside of their group who could take in everything that was being said.
Ben and Robert are both fantastic characters, there is no denying how much they both love Maddy, even if at times they both cause her heartache.
The truth is all three of them are flawed and that's what makes them real, through both narratives you develop a real sense of all the characters and although Robert doesn't share in the narrative, through his phone calls and communication with both Maddy and Ben, it's as if he is sharing as well!

Yes the story explores a love triangle but ultimately it is so much more, it's a story of friendship that is rooted deep at the core, it explores the relationship of three people who cannot live without each other.

What I loved most about this story is the exploration of timings. There are two ways of reading this message, you could come out of it preaching Carpe Diem, or look at it as though the universe is waiting for you to become the person it knows you can be.

The whole story is beautiful in it's telling but the last few chapters are superb, the way in which the characters speak to the reader left me teary, the truth and emotion were felt throughout!



Showcase Sunday #11

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea.
The aim of this event is to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here:



I hope you have all had an incredible week!

Besides working from home, this week I went to the Sunlounger event in London on Thursday.
It was an incredible day, not only did I meet some fantastic authors, bloggers and fellow Sunlounger judges (amazing ladies).
I also met two of my best friends, after speaking to them every day for over a year it was wonderful to hug them and giggle with them in person.
Although one of us was missing, we had her there in spirit and also in photo form 😃
In June all 4 of us will be together at an event and I can't wait!

(Laura, Victoria, Photo Megan, Me, Authors: Belinda Jones and Holly Martin)

I will be posting more photos on to the blogs Facebook account.

New to my bookcases this week:

Going Back by Rachael English: Amazon/To be reviewed

Ice Cream at Carrington's by Alexandra Brown: Amazon/To be reviewed

The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me by Lucy Robinson Amazon/To be reviewed

As always I've been extremely lucky with the books I've received,
I am incredibly excited about Ice Cream at Carrington's, I absolutely love this series and the characters, it's just fabulous!
I have to admit I screamed a lot when this book arrived, not only because it's been on my eagerly awaited list but I'm also lucky enough to have an interview published at the back of the book!


After meeting the awesome Lucy Robinson on Thursday, I was ecstatic to receive a copy of The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me,
I can't wait to read this weeks books!

What have you bought or received this week? What books are you currently reading?
I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.
Have a fabulous week all!


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Throwback Thursday: Stepping back inside Room 13


If truth be told I was excited to re-read Room 13 by Robert Swindells but at the same time I was scared, for years I've talked about this book with such passion and I really didn't want it to lose it's magic.
It's always been a story that I've thought helped ignite my love of reading, a book that gripped me and powered my imagination.

If you haven't read, Room 13, here's the blurb:

There is no room thirteen in the creepy Crow's Nest Hotel, where Fliss and her friends are staying on a school trip. Or is there? For at the stroke of midnight, something peculiar happens to the door of the linen cupboard next to room l2. And something is happening to Ellie-May Sunderland, too - something very sinister.

My Thoughts:
Through every page, every word, I was pulled back into the world of Fliss and her friends.
I was reminded of bits I had forgotten, jokes that I had howled at as a child and was captivated yet again.

I won't lie, the story wasn't as magical, maybe because I now know that I can stay at hotels without cupboards morphing into mysterious rooms.

I knew I would look on the story differently, I'm older now and my reading tastes have developed but I'm please to say that ultimately it was the book I remembered, it was the story I loved, the story I wanted all my friends to love and talk about.
It was Room 13, the story which excited me and made me love reading even more.
I owe that book so much and even now as an adult, I can still see why it captivated my imagination.


I didn't write reviews as a child, but I've mocked up what I might've said!

First off, you need to keep the lights on! Don't forget, do not read in the dark.
Also don't sleep by a cupboard in a hotel or just don't go on any school trips EVER!
Fliss and her friends have the most exciting and scary school trip and when they tell the teachers they are in danger, they don't believe them!
But teachers should, it's like the law or something.
Now, grab this book and read it!
It might scare you but it will be brilliant.
I'm so glad Mr T had this on the bookshelf, my school has the best books and I love reading, it's a lot more exciting than sports, I just wish we could do it for PE!

So there you have it, from myself and I.
Read Room 13, you might just love it!

Next week on Throwback Thursday, Laura Lovelock.

If you would like to take part in Throwback Thursday please drop me an email on

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Dance until Dawn by Berni Stevens


Do you Believe in Love After Life?
At 25, West-End dancer, Ellie Wakefield should be having the time of her life. The only problem is, ever since waking up in a leaky cellar belonging to three hundred year old vampire, Will Austen, she's been very much dead. And to make matters worse, she's since found that an aversion to blood and a fear of the dark aren't very helpful - especially when you're a fledgling vampire.

William James Austen has fallen hard. He's spent the last year loving Ellie from afar and now he's finally able to be truthful about who and what he is. As the most powerful and revered vampire in London, he's used to getting what he wants. But this time, Will might just have bitten off more than he can chew.


I would like to thank Choclit for sending me a copy to review.

My Thoughts:

Ellie Wakefield has woken up in a cold damp cellar and cannot remember how or why she got there.
However, William James Austen a 300 year old vampire knows exactly how Ellie got there, because he has just created a new fledgling.
How will he explain why he did it?

Ellie is a wonderfully feisty character, she copes remarkably well considering her predicament and definitely holds her own in the new environment that she is thrust into.
Although I must admit, meeting William did seem at times like a rather tantalising predicament to be in.
He is strikingly handsome and has women lusting after him wherever he goes.
But William only wants Ellie, he longs for her to trust him, to love him and to want to be with him.

Dance until Dawn is a captivating tale of romance, that will have you gripped from the first page and pulled into a world where vampires aren't just hot, they are chivalrous too!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

100 Reasons to Love Ryan Gosling by Joanna Benecke


Actor. Musician. Heartthrob. Feminist icon (sort of). There's only one Ryan Gosling. Women want him. Men want to be him. Most Tumblr blogs are about him. No mere Hollywood pretty boy, he's symbolic of everything modern manhood should aspire to. Did you see The Notebook? Exactly. Packed with trivia, jokes, and over 100 full-colour photos that graphically illustrate his physical perfection, 100 Reasons to Love Ryan Gosling provides scientifically irrefutable evidence of exactly why Ryan is so damn loveable. Is it because he takes his mom to film premieres? Plays in a hip indie band? Carries his dog through airports? Breaks up street fights? Furthered the feminist cause without even trying? Has no problem with nudity even when the script doesn't strictly require it? It's all these things and more.



My thoughts;

When the fantastic Brenna at Plexus sent me a copy of this book, I may have screamed a little (a lot)

But admit it ladies *coughs* and gents wouldn't you? For within my hands is an incredible array of Gosling photos and facts.

The first time I read this book, I took in no words, but let's admit it, we knew this would happen,
I was able to stare and drool, whilst taking cold showers at my leisure and genuinely bask in the HOTNESS, that is Ryan!

But then something happened, in the process of stroking his pictures, my mind started to read the words and soon I was learning things that my google image searches had never taught me before.

I discovered his favourite movie, how he attended school, who his distant cousins are.
I even found out things about his mum!

The BEST thing I discovered though, is how much me and Ryan have in common, which has only made me more determined to make this long distance relationship we have going on, really work.

I love this book, it's funny, factual and full of GOSLING.
I would (do) read this daily, it's bed time reading for grown ups and guaranteed sweet dreams (or hot nights)



Monday, 19 May 2014

Ghostwritten by Isabel Wolff


She listens to everyone else’s story, but can she find her own?

Perfect for fans of Tenko and The Railway Man

A childhood mistake. A lifetime of regrets.

Jenni is a ‘ghost’: she writes the lives of other people. It’s a job that suits her well: still haunted by a childhood tragedy, she finds it easier to take refuge in the memories of others rather than dwell on her own.

Jenni has an exciting new commission, and is delighted to start working on the memoirs of a Dutchwoman, Klara. As a child in the Second World War, Klara was interned in a camp on Java during the Japanese occupation – she has an extraordinary story of survival to tell.

But as Jenni and Klara begin to get to know each other, Jenni begins to do much more than shed light on a neglected part of history. She is being forced to examine her own devastating memories, too. But with Klara’s help, perhaps this is finally the moment where she will be able to lay the ghosts of her own past to rest?

Gripping, poignant and beautifully researched, Ghostwritten is a story of survival and love, of memory and hope.


I would like to thank Isabel for sending me a copy to review

My Thoughts:

When I first saw Ghostwritten I couldn't stop staring at the beautiful and slightly haunting cover, never before has a cover seemed so appropriate for a book.

Through this beautiful story Isabel Wolff manages to pull you into the lives of two women, both struggling with traumatic memories and both in need of a chance to share their story,

Through every page, every word you are drawn into a story that is filled with details and emotion. This isn't just a work of fiction, it's also full of facts, full of truth. For me it was a learning experience, I never even knew camp Java existed (even with studying History for years)
The characters came to life as they shared their stories and experiences.

I had so much admiration for Klara, her life was incredible, the obstacles that she overcame, the strength that she showed and the way in which she wanted her memoirs written. I just connected with her instantly,
It almost felt that at time Ghostwritten was her memoirs for all to read, that through this story her essence would live on,

Through this beautifully compelling story of fiction I was sent on a journey of emotions, a journey that shared in love and hope but most of all a journey that you will stay on, as the memory lives on ..... Ghostwritten

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Showcase Sunday #10

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea.
The aim of this event is to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here:


Hi Everyone

I hope you have been enjoying the weekend and the sunshine. Yay ☀️
Apart from working, I've also been reading and yesterday I had my hair cut. Which doesn't sound overly exciting but since my surgery I've only left the house for medical appointments so it was lovely to feel pampered.
Anyway time to talk books.

New to my bookcases:

Falling Apart by Jane Lovering
To be reviewed/Amazon


Talk to me by Jules Wake
To be reviewed/Amazon


The Tea Chest by Josephine Moon
To be reviewed/Amazon


A Summer to Remember by Victoria Connolly
To be reviewed/Amazon


You're The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher
To be reviewed/Amazon


Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whitemore
To be reviewed/Amazon


The Wrong Knickers by Bryony Gordon
To be reviewed/Amazon


Who Are You by Elizabeth Forbes
To be reviewed/Amazon


As always I've been extremely lucky with the books I've received,
I am super excited to have received a copy of You're The One That I Want, it arrived with a gorgeous invite and just sounds incredible!


Speaking of gorgeous, did you see The Tea Chest it arrived with a tea towel, postcode and a tea bag. A whole package of pretty!

I love summer reads and sunshine so I know how my Sunday will be spent!

What have you bought or received this week? What books are you currently reading?
I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.
Have a fabulous week all!


Saturday, 17 May 2014

No-One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday by Tracy Bloom


Never has a one-night stand led to such chaos!

Childhood sweethearts Matthew and Katy agree they must never see each other again after they end up in bed together following a school re-union. So all is forgotten... until eight months later when a shock meeting at an antenatal class forces them to confront the fact that Matthew could be the father of Katy's baby. Oblivious to the mayhem unfolding, Matthew's highly-strung wife frets over giving birth to twins and Katy’s much younger boyfriend refuses to take fatherhood seriously.

Love and life are messy but Katy and Matthew take things to a whole new level as deep emotions begin to resurface and hormones run riot.

How will they navigate their way through this almighty cock-up?


I would like to thank Rose at Random House for sending me a copy to review

My Thoughts

With all the hype surrounding No-One Ever a Has Sex on a Tuesday, I was really excited to start reading the story.

Katy and Matthew were childhood sweethearts, until they went off to university and Katy caught Matthew in bed with someone else.
Ten years later, the pair find themselves at a school reunion.
Thinking a night together might draw a line under the past, Katy is left in shock with the discovery that her and Matthew are now expecting.
But if it wasn't complicated enough, Matthew is married and Katy has boyfriend Ben.

The premise of the story is great and the way the story explores Matthew and his wife Alison having problems conceiving, adds a depth to what I thought was going to be just a funny read.

The truth is though, I felt like I didn't really connect to the characters and although at times I laughed with them, I closed the book feeling as though they were just words on the page, there was no realness about them for me.

I don't know why me and the book didn't click, I feel bad that I didn't enjoy it as much as I believed I would, but I wan't to say, this is just my personal opinion and with the hype surrounding the book it's worth reading and discovering for yourself.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira


It begins as an assignment for English class: write a letter to a dead person - any dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain - he died young, and so did Laurel's sister May - so maybe he'll understand a bit of what Laurel is going through. Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people - Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart's like she can't stop. And she'd certainly never dream of handing them in to her teacher. She writes about what it's like going to a new high school, meeting new friends, falling in love for the first time - and how her family has shattered since May died. But much as Laurel might find writing the letters cathartic, she can't keep real life out forever. The ghosts of her past won't be contained between the lines of a page, and she will have to come to terms with growing up, the agony of losing a beloved sister, and the realisation that only you can shape your destiny.


My Thoughts:

Following a school assignment Laurel finds she finally has an outlet for her thoughts and emotions.
Through a series of letters to the dead, we follow a year in the life of Laurel, a year where she is dealing with secrets and grief,

I've found this review difficult to write, because I don't tend to like reviews that mention other books, my quandary is that I've been left thinking about The Perks of Being a Wallflower
But whilst Love Letters to the Dead is comparable to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the story is not any less empathetic and thought provoking in it's telling.

The letters are at times both cryptic and gripping, as Laurel shares with us her thoughts and emotions.
Through the letters we discover her journey of self discovery, grief for her sister and resolution to make friends.

What I loved most about the letters, was how Laurel chose people based on what she had discoveredp about them and their background.
It really intrigued me learning about the way in which Laurel related to them in life and in some cases in death.

Not all of the letters Laurel writes are sad, throughout the story she is blessed to meet some wonderful friends in the form of Hannah, Natalie, Tristan, Kristen and Sky, all of whom bring their own stories and experiences for Laurel to share.

A thought provoking debut, that is both haunting and beautiful in it's telling!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Promo Blitz: The Summer Sky



Sky changed her life for a man once, and she has no intention of doing it again - even if he is a six-foot, tattooed rock god who makes a mean bacon sandwich.

Sky Davis is fed up with boyfriend Grant taking her for granted, and when she comes home to find him wearing a girl, Sky suspects the relationship is over. She takes an unscheduled holiday and leaves the life (and guy) she hates behind.

Rock star Dylan Morgan is struggling with fame and infamy, sick of his life being controlled by other people. Dylan cuts his hair and walks away from his role as lead singer of Blue Phoenix, leaving behind chaos and speculation.

Outside the English seaside town of Broadbeach, their cars and worlds collide.

Sky decides Dylan is an arrogant guy with too many tattoos, and Dylan is amused by the smart-mouthed girl with no idea who he is. Dylan and Sky soon discover they’ve travelled to Broadbeach for the same reason - to escape from reality and head back to a place with happy childhood memories. Losing themselves in a world where they know nothing about each other, Sky and Dylan begin a summer romance that soon heats up their rainy English summer.

Fantasies can’t last forever, and when reality crashes the party, Sky isn’t sure she wants to be more than his ‘summer Sky’ but Dylan doesn’t want to let her go.

Returning to the real world, public scrutiny isn’t their only problem. Blue Phoenix lead guitar player, Jem Jones, has a reason for wanting Sky out of Dylan’s life, and is determined to come between them. Some things won’t stay hidden, even when they’re paid to ‘go away’.


Summer Sky is a contemporary romance where occasionally more than the bacon sizzles. It is the first in the Blue Phoenix series.

The Blue Phoenix books are a series of contemporary romance novels and novellas centred on the fictional rock band Blue Phoenix.

Book Links: (UK) (US)

The story continues in Falling Sky (Blue Phoenix, #2) release date June 2014.


About the author

Lisa is an author of new adult romance and writes both paranormal and contemporary, often with a side of snark. In between running a business, looking after her family and writing, Lisa sometimes finds spare time to do other things. This often involves swapping her book worlds for gaming worlds. Lisa is originally from the UK but moved to Australia in 2001 and now lives in Perth in Western Australia with her husband, three children and dog.

Mailing List:


"Sky! Waves!"
I have my back to the ocean and a wave crashes against my legs, destabilising me. I regain my footing and attempt to move before the retreating water sucks my feet into the sand. At that moment, a larger wave wipes me completely, dragging my body underwater. I panic at the confusion of being pushed and pulled out of my control, seawater swirling hair into my face and the bubbles rushing into my ears. The shell remains tightly gripped in my hand.
As water draws away, I push my head free. Dylan stands on the edge of the shore, water lapping his ankles, laughing. I spit out seawater and stagger to my feet. The weight of the damp hoodie threatens to pull me down again as I push hair from my eyes.
"That was fucking funny! You should see your face!" He wades towards me, arm outstretched to help.
Attempting to keep my footing, I lunge at him and slap his hard chest with both palms. "It was not! Screw you!" Dylan catches my arms as I make contact, and pulls me towards him.
Scrutinising my face briefly, Dylan takes my cheeks in his broad palms and crushes his lips against mine. I gasp again, but it's not the sea snatching my breath this time. A new wave sways us, and Dylan holds my face tightly, his own footing steady, as his mouth claims mine. A small voice in my head asks what the hell I’m doing, but I ignore it. Dylan overwhelms all common sense the moment I have any physical contact with him. Losing myself in his mint-flavoured kiss, in the slide of his tongue, I yield to the power he holds over me. Dylan curls his fingers into my wet hair and pulls me closer; I respond with a deep kiss, running fingers across his face.
Fierce or gentle, his kisses mould my soul to his as perfectly as his body shapes with mine, as if we’re in a place created by our coming together. Kissing Dylan last night pulled me into his orbit, and when I see stars again, I swear his kisses will always take me away from the real world. If Dylan can remove me from reality with only this, God knows what anything else he's skilful at would do to me. The thought of us skin on skin, united through more than a kiss, lights a fire deep inside that would take more than the cold Cornish sea to extinguish.
Dylan loosens his grip on my hair and slides his hands across my damp back. He closes the final gap between us as our bodies meet; the soaked clothes annoyingly in the way. "I have never met anyone so…" He grasps for a word, but then gives up and rests his forehead on mine. "I feel as if I’ve waited my whole life to meet you and then suddenly you’re here."
For a moment, I consider whether he’s teasing me again, but I guess I’m very different to the people in his real life. "I can honestly say I've never met anyone like you, Dylan Morgan."
He wipes water from my cheek with cool, damp fingers. "No one’s met Dylan Morgan apart from you, not for a lot of years, anyway."
I stare at the truth reflected in his pale blue eyes, unable to believe any of this is reality. His grip on my back loosens, and I step back. Rain drips down his face, soaking through his now damp T-shirt and clinging to his body in a way that does nothing to help my mounting desire to get my hands on him.
A subject change is needed rapidly, before I begin drooling.


Throwback Thursday: Jennifer Joyce & The Face On The Milk Carton


Today's Throwback Thursday guest is Jennifer Joyce.
Jennifer Joyce is a writer and a book blogger from Manchester. You can find her on
or her blog

When Kirsty from Love Of A Good Book set the challenge to write about a favourite book from our school days, a book that made us love to read, my mind went instantly to The Face On The Milk Carton by Caroline B Cooney. The Face On The Milk Carton tells the story of Janie, a teenager who recognises the image of a missing child on a milk carton, a little girl who was kidnapped twelve years ago. Janie is shocked when she realises the child is her and she sets out to discover the truth.
I’ve always loved reading, but The Face On The Milk Carton was the first to really grip me. It was the first book that I couldn’t put down, the first I attempted to read while eating (I failed because my mum wouldn’t let me) and it sparked many years of one-more-chaptering. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I like my sleep. Seriously, disturb my slumber at your peril. But The Face On The Milk Carton actually broke through my laziness and I took to setting my alarm clock early so I could read a chapter or two before I had to get up for school. This was the first time this had happened – and it hasn’t since. I’ve stayed up until stupid o clock many times to devour a book, but waking up early is unthinkable!
I wonder what it would be like to read the book again, years later as an adult. Would it grip me the same? Or would it disappoint and the magic of those few days of passionate reading would be lost? I’ve just ordered a copy of the book, but I’m not sure I can bring myself to read it in case it diminishes those memories. I think I will pass it onto my daughter and hope that she falls in love with it as much as I did.


A big thank you to Jennifer, next week on Throwback Thursday, I am revisiting Room 13

If you would like to take part in Throwback Thursday please drop me an email on