Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Book Review: What Alice Knew by T.A. Cotterell

Title: What Alice Knew
Author: T. A. Cotterell
Publisher: Transworld Books
Publication Date: 1 December 2016 –ePub ; 4 May 2017 - Paperback

Twitter: @TACotterell1

Rating: 4 stars


How far would you go to keep a secret?

Alice has a perfect life – a great job, happy kids, a wonderful husband. Until he goes missing one night; she receives a suspicious phone call; things don’t quite add up.

Alice needs to know what’s going on. But when she uncovers the truth she faces a brutal choice. And how can she be sure it is the truth?

Sometimes it’s better not to know.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Book Review: Woman of the Hour by Jane Lythell

Title: Woman of the Hour

Author: Jane Lythell

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publication Date: 14 July 2016

Twitter: @janelythell

Rating: 4 Stars


Meet Liz Lyon: respected TV producer, stressed-out executive, guilty single mother.

StoryWorld is the nation's favourite morning show, and producer Liz Lyon wants to keep it that way. Her job is to turn real-life stories into thrilling TV – and keep a lid on the scandals and backbiting that happen off-stage.

But then simmering tensions erupt at the station, trapping Liz in a game of one-upmanship where she doesn't know the rules. As the power struggle intensifies, can Liz keep her cool and keep her job? Does she even want to?

In this gripping novel of power, rivalry and betrayal, Jane Lythell draws on her experiences of working in the glamorous, pressurised world of live TV.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Blog Tour & Review: Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

Title: Six Stories
Author: Matt Wesolowski
Publisher: Orenda Books
Publication date: 20 December 2016

Twitter: @concretekraken
Website: https://mjwesolowskiauthor.wordpress.com/ 

I am delighted to be today's stop on the blog tour for SIX STORIES by Matt Wesolowski.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Blog Tour & Review: The Little Theatre by the Sea by Rosanna Ley

Title: The Little Theatre by the Sea
Author: Rosanna Ley
Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: 9 March 2017

I am delighted to be today's stop on the blog tour for The Little Theatre by the Sea, the new release from Rosanna Ley.


Faye has just completed her degree in interior design when she finds herself jobless and boyfriend-less. While debating what to do next she receives a surprise phone call from her old college friend Charlotte who now lives in Sardinia and is married to Italian hotelier, Fabio.When Charlotte suggests that Faye relocate for a month to house-sit, Faye wonders if a summer break in sunny Sardinia might be the perfect way to recharge her batteries and think about her future. But then Charlotte tells Faye that there's something more behind the sudden invitation: her friends Marisa and Alessandro are looking for a designer to renovate a crumbling old theatre they own in the scenic village of Deriu. The idea certainly sounds appealing to Faye, but little does she know what she's letting herself in for if she accepts this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 


Thanks to Quercus for providing me with an advanced copy of The Little Theatre by the Sea and inviting me to take part in this blog tour.

The story follows Faye Forrester who, having from University after successfully completing her degree in Interior Design, finds herself flying to Sardinia to housesit for her school friend, Charlotte and her entrepreneurial husband Fabio. Faye’s visit has a dual purpose as she is also asked to advise on the renovation of a little village theatre. Unfortunately Faye soon finds herself unwittingly caught in the middle of a long-standing feud between the Deriu villagers and the Rinaldi family as to the ownership of the theatre.

The first thing to mention about this story is the setting. Ley does a fantastic job of transporting the reader into life in the relaxed, sun-kissed town of Deriu. She successfully captures the feeling of village life in Sardinia through her descriptions of the hidden coves, secret beaches and mouth-watering food. Whilst Sardinia is the predominate setting, Ley also takes her time to describe the charming historical county of Dorset, with its clifftop walks and small market towns – a quintessentially English setting.

The main draw for me whilst reading The Little Theatre by the Sea were the layers of history and long-held secrets which tie the characters to their lives. As those layers very gradually unfold, we learn more about those characters and their ties to either their families and/or to the theatre.

The way the story is told allows some fluidity to the characters. My feelings about them changed as the plot unfolded and this added some interest to the story. My main interest lay with the supporting characters of Pascale de Montis and Faye’s mother Molly – two characters so deeply affected by the past that they almost find it difficult to live in the present.

The story is told at a gentle pace which seems to mirror the pace of life in sunny Sardinia. It is only towards the very end that the pieces of the story are all tied together in quite a dramatic ending. It certainly held my interest until the end!

Overall, The Little Theatre by the Sea is an enjoyable read. Although, a word of warning, don’t read this book in the winter like I did as it makes you simply crave a holiday! It combines sunshine, beautiful settings, scrumptious food, romance and a little bit of intrigue – perfect for a summer read.

About the Author

Rosanna Ley is the bestselling author of novels including Return to Mandalay and The Villa and Last Dance in Havana. She has sold well over a million copies of her books. In February 2015 Return to Mandalay was shortlisted for the RNA Award for the Epic Romantic Novel. She has written numerous articles and short stories for magazines, and her novels have been published in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Norway, Hungary, Portugal, Lithuania, Turkey and the Czech Republic. The Villa is also published by Quercus in the US. 

Rosanna has also worked as a creative writing tutor for over 20 years. She has led courses for colleges and universities in England, and runs her own writing retreats in the UK and abroad in Italy and Spain. She has worked with community groups in therapeutic settings and completed an MA in Creative Writing for Personal Development in order to support this. She also runs a manuscript appraisal service to appraise and mentor the work of new writers.  She is married with children and lives in Dorset.  

Buy Links

I'm the last stop on this tour, however you can catch up with the earlier posts as listed below:-

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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Book Events: Books and The City / Simon Schuster UK Spring Blogger Event 2017

One huge perk of blogging (other than getting to read so many fantastic books!) is being invited to events where I get to mix with authors, publishers and other book bloggers.

On 2nd February 2017, Books and the City (@TeamBATC) held their annual Spring Blogger Evening at the Simon and Schuster (@simonschusterUK) HQ in London. I have attended this event for 3 years now and it is always an absolutely fantastic evening, largely down to the hosting skills of the HILARIOUS Sara-Jade (@BookMinxSJV) and her exceptional team at BATC.

On arrival, I was really excited to see some friendly faces and to catch up with my fellow bloggers. Whilst I feel as though I know a lot of bloggers through Twitter, it really is fantastic to catch up face to face. Obviously, this involves a lot of book chat and laughter! In particular, it was fantastic to get reacquainted with my old blogger friends Mary, Annette, Linda, Rachel, Julie, Sophie (and everyone else whom I've forgotton to mention!) and meet some lovely bloggers whom I've not had chance to meet before.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Food & Drink: The Giggling Squid, Wokingham

As an early Valentine's Day surprise, my husband treated me to an evening at The Giggling Squid, a Thai restaurant which has recently opened in Wokingham, Berkshire. My husband knew that I was keen to give it a try, despite not always being overly keen on Thai food himself (he has an odd hatred of lemongrass!).

Photo credit: http://www.hospitalityandcateringnews.com/2016/12/giggling-squid-bring-flavours-thailand-wokingham/

I understand that the chain has been around since 2002, although I had not heard the name prior to the restaurant opening in Wokingham. I have read that it was started by Pranee and her husband in a tiny fisherman's cottage in Brighton. The company now boasts 21 restaurants throughout the UK.

When we arrived, we found the interior of the restaurant to be stylish and full of character, boasting some eye-catching ceiling decorations. Whilst we were left waiting in the reception area for quite a while, when a member of staff did approach, we quickly found ourselves seated and ready to order drinks. 

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Blog Tour & Review: Rupture by Ragnar Jonasson

I am delighted to welcome you to today's stop on the blog tour for Ragnar Jonasson's latest crime novel, Rupture.

Author: Ragnar Jonasson
Title: Rupture
Publisher: Orenda
Publication Date: 24 December 2016 (Kindle) and 15 January 2017 (paperback)

Twitter: @ragnarjo

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


1955. Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjörður. Their stay ends abruptly when one of the women meets her death in mysterious circumstances. The case is never solved. Fifty years later an old photograph comes to light, and it becomes clear that the couples may not have been alone on the fjord after all…

In nearby Siglufjörður, young policeman Ari Thór tries to piece together what really happened that fateful night, in a town where no one wants to know, where secrets are a way of life. He’s assisted by Ísrún, a news reporter in Reykjavik, who is investigating an increasingly chilling case of her own. Things take a sinister turn when a child goes missing in broad daylight. With a stalker on the loose, and the town of Siglufjörður in quarantine, the past might just come back to haunt them. 

Haunting, frightening and complex, Rupture is a dark and atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland’s foremost crime writers.


Thank you to Karen at Orenda books for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing a copy of Rupture for review.

Rupture is the fourth book in Jónasson's Dark Iceland series, featuring police officer Ari Thor and the isolated town of Siglufjordur. This is one of the few series I have read where I can honestly say that each book is even better than the last! 

As the book opens, things are not going so well for the citizens of Siglufjordur. The town is in quarantine due to a suspected outbreak of haemorrhagic fever. Everyone is staying indoors, in the safety of their homes. This gives an immediate element of claustrophobia to the tale.

With Siglufjordur a veritable ghost town, Ari Thor needs something to occupy his mind. When asked to look into a cold-case, Ari Thor finds his interest piqued and is determined to get to the bottom of the decades-old mystery.

We also become reacquainted with news reporter, Ísrún, who is finding herself stretch in several directions; worrying about her health, acting as go-between for her estranged parents and attempting to establish herself at work.

The story proceeds at a good pace, complete with a few twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes. The plotline contains several threads for the reader to follow: a child abduction, a hit-and-run accident and a suspicious death. Jónasson is certainly skilled at smoothly bringing together seemingly unconnected storylines.

The writing is, for me, one of the highlights of Rupture and the earlier books in the Dark Iceland series. Jónasson writing style is particularly to-the-point and feels almost sparse at times, yet there is a poetic element to his prose which compliments the bleak elegance of the tale. Each word feels as though it has been intentionally chosen to draw the reader into the pages and immerse them in this fictional world.

I like Ari Thor as a character and I was interested to read his interactions with Ísrún, whom we have already met in Jónasson's earlier book, Blackout. Their different investigatory styles seem to compliment each other and they certainly made a good partnership. I hope that we see Ísrún once again in any further additions to this series.

Rupture is a great crime novel - a classic mystery with a contemporary nordic twist. It creeps up on you, gripping your attention until you just can't put it down. A beautifully bleak, intelligent and atmospheric tale which I thoroughly enjoyed and would highly recommend.

About the Author

Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavík, and currently works as a lawyer, while teaching copyright law at the Reykjavík University Law School. In the past, he’s worked in TV and radio, including as a news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar translated fourteen Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic, and has had several short stories published in German, English and Icelandic literary magazines. Ragnar set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA (Crime Writers’ Association) in Reykjavík, and is co-founder of the international crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. Ragnar’s debut thriller Snowblind became an almost instant bestseller when it was published in June 2015, with Nightblind (winner of the Dead Good Reads Most Captivating Crime in Translation Award) and then Blackout following soon after. To date, Ragnar Jónasson has written five novels in the Dark Iceland series, which has been optioned for TV by On the Corner, and had rights sold in fourteen countries. He lives in Reykjavík with his wife and two daughters.

Buy Links

Blog Tour

I am one of the last stops, so why not check out the earlier stops on the Rupture blog tour. Details as listed below.

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