Thursday, 20 April 2017

Blog Tour: Review for Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton

Dead Woman Walking 
by Sharon Bolton 
Publisher: Bantam Press
Release: 20th April 2017
Genre: Crime Fiction, Thriller
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review



Synopsis:
"Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor.

She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime.

Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all..."

Review 
As a surprise for her sister's 40th birthday, Jessica Lane takes Bella on a hot air balloon ride over the beautiful Northumberland National Park but what starts off as an idyllic trip soon turns into a living nightmare as they witness a man murdering a woman in the park below them.

When the killer catches sight of the hot air balloon his gun swiftly turns on them killing their pilot, as they crash from the sky most of the passengers are killed on impact. When the police arrive on the crime scene it becomes apparent that Jessica Lane is the sole survivor of the crash and she's gone on the run because although she saw the killer's face he's also seen hers and he'll stop at nothing to make sure that every witness to his crime is dead.

Wow, wow, wow! Dead Woman Walking is an immensely clever thrill ride of a read! The first fifty pages were perhaps the most intense opening to a book that I have ever read. What starts off as your typical cat and mouse chase between the killer and his victim quickly twists and turns adding layer upon layer of mystery that overtime creates a complex plot so that by the final page all of the little threads come together creating a bigger picture. I thought I knew where I was going with this book but I was completely wrong!

The story is told from multiple points of view and alternates between different timelines using short, snappy chapters so that you're slowly drip-fed small amounts of information at a time. This kept the pace moving at breakneck speed and it was so easy to think 'just one more chapter' which of course led me to read several more than I intended. I love a good twist in a book and this one had several that made me gasp out loud. It certainly gave me a good runaround!

The only thing that stopped Dead Woman Walking from getting the full 5 stars from me was that there were a few instances where I had to suspend belief and I couldn't always understand the actions that the characters made but this is only a small complaint as I still enjoyed the book immensely.

Dead Woman Walking is one of the best crime novels that I've read so far in 2017. With an intricate plot, fleshed out characters and twists galore it ticks all the boxes that make up an outstanding thriller. Don't miss it!


Follow the rest of the blog tour!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Blog Tour: Review for The Little Teashop of Lost and Found by Trisha Ashley

The Little Teashop of Lost and Found 
by Trisha Ashley 
Publisher: Bantam Press
Release: 9th March 2017
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Chick-lit
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review



Synopsis:
"Alice Rose is a foundling, discovered on the Yorkshire moors above Haworth as a baby. Adopted but then later rejected again by a horrid step-mother, Alice struggles to find a place where she belongs. Only baking – the scent of cinnamon and citrus and the feel of butter and flour between her fingers – brings a comforting sense of home.

So it seems natural that when she finally decides to return to Haworth, Alice turns to baking again, taking over a run-down little teashop and working to set up an afternoon tea emporium.

Luckily she soon makes friends – including a Grecian god-like neighbour – who help her both set up home and try to solve the mystery of who she is. There are one or two last twists in the dark fairytale of Alice’s life to come . . . but can she find her happily ever after?"

Review 
The Little Teashop of Lost and Found follows the story of Alice Rose a woman who hasn’t had the kindest start to life. Abandoned on the Yorkshire moors as a baby she’s adopted by a wonderful father only for him to pass away. So when her fiancé is also killed in an accident at work distraught Alice decides to use the money left to her in his will to start over in the village where she was found. 

Calling upon her talent for baking, Alice opens up a little teashop to make ends meet by day and by night she escapes into the fairytale stories that she writes about. As Alice searches for her birth mother and digs deeper into her own history she finds that how she ended up on the moors above Haworth is very much a mystery. So far Alice’s life has been far from a fairytale but will unlocking the secrets of her past and following her dreams lead her to her very own happy ending?

I found The Little Teashop of Lost and Found to be such a page turner! I loved the Yorkshire setting, the proper Northern locals and Alice’s adventures in setting up her own teashop but what really kept me gripped was the mystery running throughout this book surrounding Alice’s past and the identity of her birth mother. Between each chapter we are given little snippets from her birth mother’s point of view and I loved trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together.

Alice is incredibly hard working and I enjoyed the fact that outside of her day job she’s also a writer. Seeing her juggle two jobs and pursue different hobbies made her feel a lot more real to me than your average Women’s Fiction heroine. There’s also a fantastic cast of secondary characters who I fell in love with from Tilda and Nell the rudest waitresses in Yorkshire, to the Giddings family who take Alice under their wing I loved being in the company of so many warm and interesting characters.

Overall The Little Teashop of Lost and Found is a heart-warming and charming adult fairytale about family, starting over, self-discovery and finding a place to call home.


Follow the rest of the blog tour

Monday, 20 March 2017

Spring Releases: The Highlights

Hello everyone! Today marks the first official day of Spring here in the UK and there are so many books coming out this season that I'm excited for. To celebrate the beginning of spring I wanted to share with you the creme de la creme of the spring releases on my wishlist and review pile. I hope it helps you decide what should be on your TBR for the coming months ahead. I'm so looking forward to sitting outside in the sunshine with a picnic lunch and these brilliant books!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman 
Publication Date: 18th May 2017 
Synopsis: "Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?"

Why I Can't Wait to Read it - I've been hearing wonderful things about Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine since last year and when I read the synopsis I knew I had to read it because it sounds like such a Jess book. I've already been told by several people that I'll love it so I've been counting down the days until release when I can finally get my hands on a copy!

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins 
Publication Date: 2nd May 2017 
Synopsis: "A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath."

Why I Can't Wait to Read it - This is the book that I think is on everyone's wishlist this spring and that is the highly anticipated new thriller from Paula Hawkins author of The Girl on the Train. Early reader friends have already told me that Into The Water is utterly fantastic and totally lives up to its predecessor. I absolutely can't wait to see what Paula Hawkins has in store for us next!

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo 
Publication Date: 18th May 2017 
Synopsis: "Two people. One choice.

What if?

Every love story has a beginning…

11th September 2001. Lucy and Gabe meet in New York on a day that will change their lives – and the world – forever. As the city burns behind them, they kiss for the very first time.

Over the next thirteen years they are torn apart, then brought back together, time and time again. It’s a journey of dreams, of desires, of jealousy, of forgiveness – and above all, love.

As Lucy is faced with a devastating choice, she wonders whether their love is a matter of destiny or chance.

 …what if this is how their story ends?"

Why I Can't Wait to Read it - I'm a sucker for a good love story and The Light We Lost looks set to be one of the big ones of this year with early comparisons to Me Before You and One Day. This book is right at the top of my review pile for May!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 
Publication Date: 6th April 2017 
Synopsis: "Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed."

Why I Can't Wait to Read it - If you haven't heard of THUG yet where have you been!? There has been so much early excitement for this book and it recently hit the number one spot on The New York Times’s Young Adult best-seller list. This is easily one of my most anticipated releases of the year and if it's not already on your TBR then it should be! The Hate U Give is set to be one of the most important books you'll read this year.

This Love by Dani Atkins 
Publication Date: 23rd March 2017 
Synopsis: "Sophie stopped believing in happy endings a long time ago, but could this love change all of that?

Sophie Winter lives in a self-imposed cocoon - she's a single, 31-year-old translator who works from home in her one-bedroom flat. This isn’t really the life she dreamed of, but then Sophie stopped believing in dreams when she was a teenager and tragedy struck her family.

So, to be safe, she keeps everyone at arm’s length. Sophie understands she has a problem, but recognising it and knowing how to fix it are two entirely different things.

One night a serious fire breaks out in the flat below hers. Sophie is trapped in the burning building until a passer-by, Ben, sees her and rescues her.

Suddenly her cocoon is shattered - what will be the consequences of this second life-changing event?"

Why I Can't Wait to Read it - Our Song by Dani Atkins was one of my favourite books of last year so I can't wait to read another by her. My blogger friends who have already read this have been raving to me about it,  so needless to say this is currently at the very top of my review pile for this month!

Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse 
Publication Date: 20th April 2017 
Synopsis: "The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret. Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhiannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

 A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge. 

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…"

Why I Can't Wait to Read it - I've been a long time fangirl of C.J. Skuse and will read anything she writes but I am particularly excited for Sweetpea C.J's first adult thriller. I love books about female killers and revenge so I can't wait to meet Rhiannon and get inside her head.

The Cows by Dawn O'Porter 
Publication Date: 6th April 2017 
Synopsis: "Fearlessly frank and funny, the debut adult novel from Dawn O’Porter needs to be talked about.

COW [n.]
/kaʊ/

 A piece of meat; born to breed; past its sell-by-date; one of the herd.

Women don’t have to fall into a stereotype.

Tara, Cam and Stella are strangers living their own lives as best they can – though when society’s screaming you should live life one way, it can be hard to like what you see in the mirror.

When an extraordinary event ties invisible bonds of friendship between them, one woman’s catastrophe becomes another’s inspiration, and a life lesson to all.

Sometimes it’s ok not to follow the herd.

The Cows is a powerful novel about three women – judging each other, but also themselves. In all the noise of modern life, they need to find their own voice."

Why I Can't Wait to Read it - I absolutely love feminist fiction, particularly books about female friendships. This is set to be one of the biggest books about women of the year and I can't wait to dive in!

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 
Publication Date: 28th March 2017 
Synopsis: "The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around - and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he's been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever. 

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries - including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo's dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?"

Why I Can't Wait to Read it - I've been waiting for this book for such a long time! I fell in love with Laini Taylor's writing way back in 2011 when I received a proof of Daughter of Smoke and Bone to review from the publisher and since then I've been a huge fan of this author. This book sounds absolutely magical and I'm so excited that I only have eight more days to wait for this one!


 I hope you have a lovely springtime full of plenty of books and sunshine!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Blog Tour: Review for The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman 
by Mindy Mejia 
Publisher: Quercus
Release: 9th March 2017
Genre: Thriller
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review



Synopsis:
Eighteen-year-old Hattie Hoffman is a talented actress, loved by everyone in her Minnesotan hometown. When she's found stabbed to death on the opening night of her school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of the community.

Sheriff Del Goodman, a close friend of Hattie's dad, vows to find her killer, but the investigation yields more secrets than answers: it turns out Hattie played as many parts offstage as on. Told from three perspectives, Del's, Hattie's high school English teacher and Hattie herself, The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman tells the story of the Hattie behind the masks, and what happened in that final year of her life. . .

Wonderfully evocative of its Midwestern setting and with a cast of unforgettable characters, this is a book about manipulation of relationships and identity; about the line between innocence and culpability; about the hope love offers and the tragedies that occur when it spins out of control.

Review
The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman was an incredibly addictive read that completely surpassed my expectations! Despite being marketed for adults, I can see this book being popular with mature teen readers too because of Hattie’s strong YA voice. It’s a book shrouded in mystery and intrigue and every chapter ends in a way that leaves you wanting more. I found myself flying through this book desperate to know the real Hattie Hoffman and her secrets.

The book follows the life and death of Hattie Hoffman, a small town girl with big dreams of becoming an actress and making it big in New York City. Little do her friends and family know, Hattie is already getting in good practise as she plays the roles of star pupil, the Jock’s girlfriend and the wholesome girl next door whilst inside she hides a dark secret that could ruin the lives of several people.

When Hattie’s body is discovered local Sheriff and Hattie’s father’s best friend, Del Goodman, digs into Hattie’s life and learns that she was not the girl she appeared to be. As the final curtain closes on Hattie’s last act, Del must unearth the secrets of Hattie Hoffman and deal with the fallout of a small town shook by his findings.

The story switches between following the last few months of Hattie’s life to the present day when her body is first discovered. I really enjoyed the shifting timeline as we got to hear from Hattie herself meaning that we as the readers are the only people who really get to know the true Hattie Hoffman before her death. I loved getting inside Hattie’s head and witnessing her make the choices that you know will later on have huge consequences. In the present we get to hear from Del as he investigates Hattie’s murder and although I didn’t find his voice as compelling as Hattie’s, I loved watching him unearth the remains of the true Hattie Hoffman and bring them into the light for everyone to see.

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman is a fascinating read that looks at manipulation, blame and desire and leaves you with plenty to think about. If you like books with complex characters that have you questioning everything you think you know about right and wrong you won’t want to miss this book!


Follow the rest of the blog tour

Friday, 10 March 2017

See How They Lie Extract and Giveaway

Hello everyone! Today I have an extract of the highly anticipated new book from #ZoellaBookClub author Sue Wallman for you and if you like what you read then you're in luck as I have three copies of See How They Lie up for grabs over on Twitter!




For your chance to win 1/3 copies of See How They Lie head over to Twitter

Monday, 6 March 2017

Feb Faves: Books, Beauty and Black Girl Magic

It only feels like two minutes ago since I was sat here typing up my January favourites and here I am again back with another batch of things I've been loving this past month. February is typically my least favourite month of the year but this February was actually pretty good to me and there have been lots of good things happening and things I have been enjoying so let's get started shall we?

Favourite Books

   

February was a mostly good reading month for me and I ended up reading a lot of thrillers but between them I decided to pick up The House of New Beginnings by Lucy Diamond for a bit of a lighter read and I absolutely loved it! The book follows Georgie, Charlotte and Rosa who are all living in the same house on the Brighton seafront and each of them has their own story about how they've come to live there and why they have decided to have a fresh start by the sea. I loved all three characters and enjoyed seeing a friendship blossom between them as the story continued. It's a beautiful and uplifting book about friendship, starting over, second chances and is perfect for spring time. The second book that I loved this month was The Breakdown by B.A. Paris, I was a huge fan of Behind Closed Doors when it was released last year and so The Breakdown was one of my most anticipated thrillers of 2017 and it didn't disappoint! B.A. Paris does suspense and tension so, so well and she's quickly becoming one of my favourite crime writers. I wrote a review for The Breakdown here and also interviewed B.A. Paris for the blog tour last month so do check those out if you're interested in the book.

Favourite to Listen to 


When I was growing up I absolutely loved the animated movie Anastasia so my eight-year-old self was bursting at the seams when I found out that it was being adapted into a musical on Broadway and since then I've been following all of the latest news. In February their YouTube channel uploaded this video of Christy Altomare who will be playing Anastasia singing one of my favourite songs from the movie Journey to the Past and she absolutely smashed it! I really hope that the soundtrack gets released so that I can listen to some old favourites plus the new tracks and I have my fingers crossed that it will come over to the UK at some point because I need this musical in my life.

Favourite to Watch


Hidden Figures - where do I even start with this movie!? From beginning to end I sat in the cinema teary eyed, my emotions switching from horror, to anger, to happiness and then finally to pride. As a woman, this was an incredibly empowering and emotional film to watch and so I can't even begin to imagine how it would feel to be a black woman watching this movie. Hidden Figures is pure black girl magic from beginning to end. It made me check my privilege and evaluate the ways in which we have changed, but more importantly it made me think about the ways we have not and the progress that still needs to happen. I'm completely awestruck every time I think about this film. It's essential viewing for all!

Favourite in Beauty


Last month Charlotte Tilbury released two new lipsticks for Valentine's Day and being the lipstick and Charlotte Tilbury fan that I am I knew that I had to invest in them! The first lipstick on the left is called Valentine and is a pretty light pink nude colour. It's made with the glossy K.I.S.S.I.N.G formula leaving a nice sheen on the lips. And on the right is Pillowtalk, my personal favourite of the two, which is honest to God the best nude lipstick I have ever tried! I'm more of a bold lip kinda gal but this month I have been obsessed with Pillowtalk it's the perfect every day go-to lipstick that goes with everything and the matte revolution formula means that it lasts for hours without budging even after eating and drinking. Charlotte Tilbury's lipsticks really are the best of the best and are the only thing I put on my lips these days. If you're considering giving her lipsticks a go then I'd say these are two great, wearable shades to start with that would suit any skin tone.

 Favourite Online 


I've been trying to spend less time online and on my phone in general over the past month or so but one thing that I loved online in February was this collab video featuring two of my favourite YouTubers Laci Green and Ingrid Nilsen talking all things lesbian from stereotypes to sex to coming out. It was such a great and informative video and is well worth a watch.

Favourite Thing


The best thing to happen to me this month was managing to get Ed Sheeran tour tickets! Me and my lovely friend Chelle from Tales of Yesterday tried both the presale and the general sale only to come away empty handed but I finally managed to get us tickets on Valentine's Day via Twickets Ed's official partnership website for the tour. Seeing Ed perform live has been on my bucket list since way back in his + days. He's my favourite artist and I was actually shaking whilst filling in my details I was that excited. I know so many people who struggled to get tickets and so I feel very, very lucky that we'll be going to see him in April.

Favourite Memory

Photo credit to Tales of Yesterday

Last month I went to the Falling in Love and Fandom event hosted by Waterstones Birmingham to support Chelle who chaired the event and to hear authors (left to right) Lauren James, Miranda Dickinson and Maggie Harcourt talk everything romance for Valentine's Day and to get my books signed. It was such a great event and lots of bloggers turned up so it was really good to put names to new faces and to catch up with old friends at the same time.

What were some of your favourite things in February? 

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Never Forget Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Never Forget blog tour. Today I have a guest post from author Richard Davis on his top five favourite crime/thriller novels.


Richard Davis's Five Favourite Crime/Thriller Novels 

1.) Stephen King’s The Running Man. Although this is a dystopian novel, it is also the epitome of thriller fiction. An insanely exciting cat-and- mouse tale.

2.) G. K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday. An incredibly bizarre and funny thriller that is both an entertaining story, but also a metaphysical tract. It’s the novel that got me into thriller fiction in the first place.

3.) Patricia Highsmith’s The Glass Cell. Highsmith is interested in the psychology of the people behind crime, and The Glass Cell is probably my favourite of her standalone novels. An intense, disturbing, slow burn of a tale that looks at the horrors of prison, and the circumstances that drive individuals to commit unspeakable acts.

4.) Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy. I’m cheating here, since this is really three short novellas. Although the tone of these stories falls very much into a Chandleresque hard-boiled tradition, Auster – by intentionally undermining the expectations of the detective genre, and thwarting attempts to draw neat conclusions – turns these stories into provocative philosophical meditations. The New York Trilogy, through its subversions, gets you thinking about how the plots to crime and detective novels work.

5.) Lee Child’s Killing Floor. Child’s first book is a cracking read. It builds slowly, shocks frequently, and is always exciting.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Find Me Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Find Me blog tour! Today I have an extract of the first chapter to share with you.



Don't miss the rest of the blog tour! 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

The Breakdown Blog Tour: Q&A with B A Paris and Giveaway

Hello everyone! Today I am very excited to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for The Breakdown the highly anticipated new thriller from B A Paris author of the bestselling Behind Closed Doors. I absolutely loved The Breakdown and if you missed my review yesterday you can check it out here for my full thoughts. Today I have a Q&A with B A Paris to share and I have 3 copies of the book up for grabs over on Twitter.


Q&A with B A Paris 

1) How has your life changed since the release of Behind Closed Doors? Did you ever expect it to be as successful as it was? 
I honestly didn’t have any expectations at all for Behind Closed Doors, all I wanted was to be able to see it on the shelves in a bookshop somewhere. So everything that’s happened this last year has been a wonderful and unexpected surprise. The best thing about its success is that it has bought me the freedom to write, in that I’ve been able to give up most of my teaching. Writing has now become my job.

2) What’s been your best moment as an author so far? 
Being told that HQ/Harper Collins would be publishing my book was a huge moment. Hitting the New York Times bestseller list and receiving the Neilsen Bestseller Award in January for having sold 500,000 copies of Behind Closed Doors were pretty amazing too. But without my lovely agent Camilla Wray none of the others would have happened, so the moment she said she wanted to represent me was definitely the best moment ever.

3) What can fans of Behind Closed Doors expect from The Breakdown? In what ways are they similar or different?
They are similar in that they are both psychological thrillers with a young woman who is going through a traumatic experience as the main character. They are different in that in Behind Closed Doors we know what is happening to Grace, whereas in The Breakdown, even Cass doesn’t know what is happening to her!

4) What sparked the idea behind The Breakdown?
I was travelling home one afternoon through some woods when the sky suddenly became dark, the skies opened and I found myself in the middle of a huge storm, complete with flash-flooding. It was quite scary and I began to wonder what I would do if it was the middle of the night and I saw someone who had broken down at the side of the road. Would I stop and help them? Or afraid for my own safety, would I drive on? I thought it was an interesting dilemma and The Breakdown was born. 

5) Was writing a second novel harder or easier than writing the first? 
Much harder. With Behind Closed Doors I had nothing to prove and had no particular reader in mind. With The Breakdown, I had everything to prove and had the readers who had enjoyed Behind Closed Doors in mind. I didn’t want to let them down, so the pressure was huge.

6) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? 
Never, ever give up. Each time I received a rejection letter it made me determined to write a better novel. I allowed myself to feel dejected for about two minutes, then it was back to the drawing board, with a new idea and the conviction that I could do it.

7) What books would you recommend to fans looking for similar stories to your own?
Any novel by Mary Kubica. She has a fourth novel coming out this year and it’s brilliant.

8) Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next?
It’s another psychological thriller but I don’t want to say too much about the plot just yet.

9) And finally, what three words best describe The Breakdown?
A gripping read – I hope!

For your chance to win a copy of The Breakdown head over to Twitter 


Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Review for The Breakdown by B A Paris

The Breakdown by B A Paris
Publisher: HQ
Release: 9th February 2017
Genre: Thriller, Crime, Mystery
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review



Synopsis:
"If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

It all started that night in the woods.

Cass Anderson didn’t stop to help the woman in the car, and now she’s dead.

Ever since, silent calls have been plaguing Cass and she’s sure someone is watching her.

Consumed by guilt, she’s also starting to forget things. Whether she took her pills, what her house alarm code is – and if the knife in the kitchen really had blood on it.

Bestselling author B A Paris is back with a brand new psychological thriller full of twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat."

Review
When you write a debut as good as Behind Closed Doors there’s a lot of pressure for your next book to live up to the same high standard. Behind Closed Doors was one of my favourite Thrillers of last year so naturally I was worried that The Breakdown wouldn’t live up to it but I needn’t have been because The Breakdown was every bit as good as its predecessor proving that B A Paris is so much more than a one hit wonder and has a promising career ahead of her.

One stormy night our heroine Cass takes a detour through the woods eager to get out of the storm and home to her gorgeous cottage and partner. As she drives she notices a breakdown on the side of the road but despite her concern doesn’t stop to help. The next morning she wakes up to the news that the woman in the broken down car from the night before has been found dead. Wracked with guilt, Cass can’t get the woman out of her head and since that night has been forgetting things and receiving silent phone calls. As Cass breaks down into a spiral of guilt and paranoia she begins to suspect that what happened to the woman in the car is somehow connected to her and that the murderer is coming for her next.

The Breakdown is quite a different read compared to Behind Closed Doors. With Behind Closed Doors we knew what was happening whereas The Breakdown is more of a mystery that really keeps you guessing. I love an unreliable narrator and we certainly get that with Cass, you’re never sure if what she says happened is the truth or the fantasies of a paranoid woman on the verge of a breakdown. The suspense and tension throughout the book make it impossible to put down. Like Cass, I was never sure what to believe or who to trust.

The Breakdown is the kind of book that has you jumping at the slightest noise and looking behind you as you walk home. B A Paris is a hugely talented writer and I’m already anticipating what she writes next.

Friday, 10 February 2017

The Elisenda Domenech Investigations Series Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on The Elisenda Domenech Investigations Series blog tour today I have a guest post from author Chris Lloyd on the journey from draft to finished copy.

 From Draft to Finished Copy by Chris Lloyd


The process of writing a book is not an exact science. Not the way I go about it, anyway. I’m still learning the best way for me to write, but this is pretty much how I do it now.

The idea for the next book is always swirling around inside my head while I’m writing the current one, so much so that I have to fight the temptation to make a start on it until I’ve finished the one I’m doing. I just have to be happy with making notes as stories or characters occur to me. I’ve got a rotten memory, so I’m an obsessive note-taker; you can’t imagine the number of brilliant plot twists I’ve thought of in the shower that have gone by lunchtime.

The first month or so of a new book I spend on getting the story straight in my head, getting an idea of the characters who are going to appear, trying to think of the key moments and picturing a sequence. I don’t always worry about the ending just yet, as that usually comes into focus after I’ve started writing. It’s also a good time to be really critical and try and find holes or inconsistencies in the idea and in the way the sequence is coming along. That way I don’t have to backtrack so much to unpick something after I’ve started writing. The next step after that is a short time putting the key scenes into some sort of an order. I usually end up giving up on trying to find the later ones as I know they’ll change in the writing, and I’m starting to get impatient to get on with writing it. What that means is that I know the first three or four major moments in the story and I have a rough idea of how things will develop after that; the rest will fall into place later.

Then it’s the scary bit: writing. The blank screen is pretty daunting, but getting the first few words down is just the best. I don’t know if other writers do this, but I normally start with the second chapter. I write a few notes and a couple of ideas for opening lines for the first chapter, but I like to leave it at that until I’ve finished the book so I know exactly what the opening has to do once I’ve got the whole story in place. As I’m writing, the later key scenes start to take shape and I sketch them out. These scenes are useful as they show me what needs to happen between one key moment and the next – I usually have a couple of pages of notes for each of these sections, which I add to as I write. I use Scrivener for the first draft, by the way. It takes a bit of setting up, but then it’s great for taking care of the structure and format, leaving me to get on with telling the story.

Once the first draft is down, including the first chapter, I export it to Word and start working on redrafting. That’s when I see all the bits of fluff or the most glaring inconsistencies and I can get rid of them. In an ideal world, I like to be able to leave a couple of weeks between drafts, but there’s this thing called a deadline… After this bit, I print the manuscript and go through it with a red pen and make notes all over the pages. I’ve learned to make proper notes that I’ll be able to understand a few weeks later – I can’t count the number of times I’ve looked at a scrawl in the margin and wondered how much I’d had to drink that day. This is usually the stage when I have to delete long sections and add bits that I haven’t made clear. I nearly always have to trim the dialogue a fair bit. Another thing I’ve learned is that the quicker I write a scene at first draft stage, the more I have to cut in subsequent drafts – you can get on too much of a roll; and the longer a passage takes me to write, the more I have to add to it, as I’ve given myself the false impression that it’s going on too long.

That whole redrafting process is repeated until it looks like something I wouldn’t be too afraid to send to my publisher. I email it to both my editor and my agent, and then I sit back and stare feverishly at my inbox for a week or so. They both then send the manuscript back with notes and suggestions, which I stare at glumly for a while and then start working out how to go about doing the redraft. Oddly, I love this stage. So much of the first drafts was done in solitude that I find I enjoy this collaborative aspect. There are always doubts in my mind about scenes or strands, and their feedback normally ends up confirming what I’d thought, but they also find ways of improving the book that I’ve missed. It’s easy to get too caught up in it and I need someone else’s vision to help me sharpen the story. The final part of this stage is the copy-edit, which is also perversely enjoyable. The copy editor sees all the repetitions and clumsy phrases that have slipped through the net so that I can put them right – it’s very satisfying honing your words.

Now we get to the sexy bit. One of the best moments of all is seeing the cover design. There are lots of emails back and forth about what should be on the cover and some sample images, but even though I have an idea of what it’s going to look like, there’s still nothing like the thrill of seeing the finished piece. Something that’s strangely exciting is seeing the lettering – the three Elisenda books have a very strong cover font and it’s the coolest thing to think it’s how my books are identified.

And then, finally, the really scary bit: publication. It’s great fun getting lovely messages from readers, bloggers and other writers, but it’s still a daunting moment when your darling is released into the wild and you wait for the first comments to come back. It’s still worth every minute of everything that came before it, though. And, of course, there’s the bottle of red wine to celebrate it. That feels pretty good too.

Lastly, thank you Jess for hosting me on Jess Hearts Books today.

Thank you so much for being on the blog today Chris 

 Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Who's That Girl? Blog Tour: Q&A with Mhairi McFarlane and Giveaway

Hello everybody and welcome to my stop on the Who's That Girl? blog tour! I'm a huge fan of Mhairi McFarlane and absolutely loved Who's That Girl? when I read it in hardcover last year, if you missed it you can check out my review here. To celebrate the paperback release I have a Q&A with Mhairi herself and am giving you the chance to win a copy of the book over on Twitter.


Q&A with Mhairi McFarlane

1. Who’s That Girl? is your fourth novel what can fans of your previous books expect from this one?
I was talking to a friend the other day who said I dish worse and worse things out to my heroines, so, trauma, it seems! Who’s That Girl? is about 30something Edie, who becomes a social pariah after an incident at a wedding and is thrown out of her Instagrammable London life, back home to Nottingham, where she has to contend with unfiltered reality. Whereupon she meets hot new star, actor Elliot, who’s handling being famous, while Edie is coping with being infamous. Antics ensue.

2. One of my favourite things about your books is your heroines. Which of your characters is the most like you? 
Ooh that’s a good question. Probably Rachel in You Had Me At Hello, if that’s not too obvious an answer. I’m an ex journalist who loves Manchester, and like Rachel, an arch procrastinator who can’t make her mind up about anything. Obviously the plot of that book is not autobiography though! When I wrote it, I was somewhat tired of chick lit heroines being lovely angels who are assailed by bad luck, when lets face it, most of the time, we have a big hand in making our bad luck. So I definitely gave Rachel plenty of my flaws. Her habit of getting out of difficult conversations by making crass jokes…yeah…I didn’t stretch a million miles to write that. Like Rachel, I had a great time at university and made some lifelong friends, too. The idea for that book came from me thinking what a powerful nostalgia those years gave me, and wondering: wow, what if you’d met your love of your life during those years, and not seen him since? Imagine THAT. For me, fiction starts in a truth, a jumping off point for playing the What If? game.

3. What’s been your best moment as an author so far? 
Hmmm let’s see. The funny thing is, you spend so long dreaming of getting a book deal and once you have one, you wait for it to ‘land.’ I’ll be honest, I thought there’d be a key moment – possibly holding a cocktail, on a villa balcony, watching a setting sun – where it’d dawn on me ‘OMG! I AM AUTHOR!’ but it never happened. I still don’t quite believe it and fully expect to wake up and find myself late for a shift on my old job (I still have that anxiety dream.) I can’t pin one best moment, really: a call from my agent to say I’d had a pre publication offer for my first book from Germany was an absolute ‘I don’t believe this happening’ swoon. I ran home and shouted up the stairs to my boyfriend ‘We can get the fridge!!’ (I had an obsession with getting a green Smeg. Yes, I am a dreadful person.) I hope that answer doesn’t make it sound like it was all about money because it absolutely wasn’t, but knowing I had enough funds for a while to call it my official job? That was incredible. And seeing the cover artwork for You Had Me At Hello, with my name on it. My editor emailed me it and I was screaming at the thumbnail photo before I’d even opened it. And then there’s the day you get a box of books…your own book. Best job in the world.

4. You’re known for writing smart, funny women’s fiction are there any authors who influenced your writing style? 
Thank you! Oh God, plenty. Marian Keyes is the don, of course, for humour, storytelling smarts, and that wonderful voice you could read all day and night. Oddly, also, I’d have to say Joss Whedon made all the difference to me. Watching Buffy was when I realised that genre could tell really impactful, adult stories: so many people dismissed Buffy as teen fluff and it was a total Trojan horse for some stunningly inventive, mature ideas. It gave me the confidence to bend a few of chick lit’s unofficial rules.

5. Where do you get the ideas behind your books? 
I start with a challenge or question that interests me. So for example, with Edie in Who’s That Girl, it was, what if someone good at managing her image, found it all crashing down in one day? You know, so much of our self worth is now bound up on these social media sites which we look at constantly on glass computers in our pockets. What if you had all that torn away and had to confront who you were, without all that superficial affirmation? When I plan a book, it doesn’t start with ‘who’s the boy?’ Although that question follows shortly behind…

6. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
I have so much I never know what to pick! The most basic I can find is: never write ‘into the market,’ ie, try to second guess what will sell. Always, always start with the story that grabs your guts and won’t let go. If yours doesn’t do that, scrap it and find the one that does. Enthusiasm is palpable in the writing, and contagious: if you love your book then so will other people. NB: I am talking about the initial concept, NOT the process itself. You will hate your own writing five times a day and tell yourself you’re useless and awful. I’m afraid the self doubt never goes away.

7. What’s the last great book that you read?
Right now I’m reading Sarah Pinborough’s new thriller Behind Her Eyes and it’s a belter. So, so tense! Will be a film I reckon, I’m calling it now.

8. Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next? 
My fifth novel! Readers can expect: a northern city setting. A big shock. Loss. Lots of messy emotion. More social media and mobiles messing up our lives. My first BLONDE heroine, a barmaid with attitude called Georgina. Probably the same amount of swearing. A love interest or two. No spoilers.

Thank you so much for being on the blog today Mhairi!

For your chance to win a copy of Who's That Girl? head over to Twitter 


Don't miss the rest of the blog tour


Who's That Girl? is available to buy in paperback in all good bookshops as of the 9th February

Monday, 6 February 2017

January Favourites: Life, Books, Blogs and More!

Hello everyone and welcome to my very first monthly favourites post! This is my new, more personal way of wrapping up each month that allows me to include some of my favourite things outside of books and blogging. I hope that you like the new format as much as I do! Here are the things I have been loving in January...

 Favourite Books 

 

Out of the ten books that I read in January my absolute favourites have to be Wing Jones by Katherine Webber and My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon. Wing Jones is a YA book set in the nineties that follows a biracial teenage girl who takes up running after her brother is in a car accident. It's a gorgeous debut about about losing your way, finding your feet, and chasing your dreams and was the perfect book to start the year off with! My Sweet Revenge follows a lady called Paula as she sets out to make her husband fall back in love with her after finding out that he's been having an affair so that when she leaves him it hurts him as much as he's hurt her. This is such an entertaining and fun read and is perfect if you like smart and sassy Women's Fiction. I reviewed both books this month so if you'd like to read more of my thoughts you can check out my review for Wing Jones here and my review for My Sweet Revenge here.

Favourite to Listen to

   

I'm a huge Ed Sheeran fan and have loved his music and followed his career since the very beginning so when he dropped two new singles at the start of the year it's safe to say that 2017 was already off to a good start for me. I love both songs so much and have been playing them on repeat ever since they came out, I think they show two totally different sides to Ed's music and demonstrate just how diverse his range of talents are as a songwriter and musician. If I had to pick one I'd say Castle on the Hill is my favourite although I absolutely love the Shape of You music video. Roll on the 3rd March, I already have my copy of Divide on pre-order!

Favourite to Watch


So last year I discovered the absolute joy that is Brooklyn 99 on Netflix and since then it's become one of my all time favourite shows. The 4th season is currently airing in the UK on Thursday nights on E4 so needless to say Thursday nights have become my new favourite. This show never fails to cheer me up when I'm feeling down or have had a bad day and it goes from strength to strength with each season. It's funny, witty and silly with a great cast of characters who at this point have honestly come to feel like friends. If you haven't watched this show yet and want to watch something guaranteed to make you laugh and feel good this is the show to watch!

Favourite in Beauty


After the indulgence of Christmas my skin has been breaking out like crazy so for my birthday I asked for a few new skincare products to help clear it up. After doing a lot of research on my favourite beauty blogs I decided to try out the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser and the three L'Oreal Paris Pure Clay Masks and I absolutely love them, they've definitely helped balance out my sensitive, combination, acne prone skin. I use the Liz Earle cleanser daily followed by a toner and moisturizer, I absolutely love the smell of this product and how using it feels like having a treatment at a spa. It's so gentle on my sensitive skin and has lots of skin loving ingredients that make my skin feel really clean and clarified after use. I use the face masks two to three times a week, each mask does something different so I apply them on the areas needed as a multimask. Once a week I use the detox mask all over, the charcoal in it is really good for drawing out impurities in the skin helping to avoid the breakouts that I am prone to. The combination of these products has left my skin looking healthier and clearer and all without drying out or irritating my sensitive skin - perfect!

Favourite Online


Being a blogger I absolutely love January, everyone always comes back to blogging after Christmas refreshed and ready for a new year and there are always so many brilliant posts and videos to watch. This month saw the return of one of my favourite book bloggers Vicki at Cosy Books, Vicki is one of the very first book bloggers I started to follow so I am thrilled that she is back. We have very similar taste in books so if you don't already I'd definitely recommend giving Vicki a follow! Over on YouTube I have been absolutely loving watching Fabulous Book Fiend's vlogs she features a good selection of Women's Fiction, YA and Non-Fiction and does lots of different types of videos. My recent favourite has to be her review of The One We Fell in Love With by Paige Toon it made me finally decide to pick it up and I ended up really enjoying it. A blogger who I always love reading is Jim from YA Yeah Yeah but I especially loved his post in January all about jealousy and not feeling good enough it's a topic I could really relate to and if you haven't read it already I'd recommend checking it out here.

Favourite Thing


I received a 2017 Happiness Planner for Christmas and I have been absolutely loving it! This isn't just your typical planner, if you couldn't guess from the title it is a planner with a focus on fitting more of what makes you happy into your life. The first section of the planner has a series of questions to help you figure out what makes you happy, what makes you sad, your goals and the obstacles in the way of you achieving them. It then helps you formulate a plan to help you get the most out of the year ahead. After using this for a month I'd say this planner is helping me live a more balanced life focused in the present. It's perfect for personal goals, work goals and to help you create a schedule that balances what you need to do and what you want to do. It's kept me so organized and the gratitude section at the bottom of each page to fill out at the end of every day has really helped me to change the way I think and to actively seek out the good things that would usually get overshadowed by the bad things. Already this planner has massively changed my life from the way I think, to taking the time to do the things that make me happy, to helping me work towards my goals every single day. I can't recommend this planner enough.

Favourite Memory


This month me and two of my best friends visited one of my favourite places in the world for my birthday, Astley Book Farm. It's the largest second hand bookshop in the Midlands and I am lucky enough to live a ten minute drive away. I'm not exaggerating when I say that you can spend a whole day there and that's exactly what we did lost in the corridors of books, eating large slices of their delicious cake and chatting on one of the squishy sofas in front of a burning log fire. It was absolute bliss. I wrote a whole post about why it's my favourite bookshop for Books are my Bag here if you haven't been yet and live close enough I'd definitely recommend a visit!

 I hope you had a great start to the New Year! 
What were some of your favourite things in January?

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Perfect Remains Blog Tour: Who Killed Helen Fields? Clue Number 10

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Perfect Remains blog tour! Today I have the next chilling clue to help you find Helen Fields' killer. Make sure you follow the rest of the blog tour to discover all of the clues and solve the case!



Follow the rest of the blog tour!


Perfect Remains is available to buy now from all good bookshops

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The One Blog Tour: Extract and Giveaway!

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on The One blog tour! Today I have the first chapter of the book to share with you and if you just can't wait to read more then you're in luck as I have 3 copies to give away to 3 lucky readers!


CHAPTER 1 

MANDY

Mandy stared at the photograph on her computer screen and held her breath.

The shirtless man had cropped, light brown hair, and posed on a beach with his legs spread apart with the top half of his wetsuit rolled down to his waist. His eyes were the clearest shade of blue. His huge grin contained two perfectly aligned rows of white teeth, and she could almost taste the salt water dripping from his chest and onto the surfboard lying by his feet.

‘Oh my Lord,’ she whispered to herself, and let out a long breath she didn’t realise she’d been holding. She felt her fingertips tingle and her face flush, and wondered how on earth her body would react to him in person if that’s how it responded to just one photograph.

The coffee in her polystyrene cup was cold but she still finished it. She took a screengrab of the photograph and added it to a newly created folder on her desktop entitled ‘Richard Taylor’. She scanned the office to check if anyone was watching what she was up to in her booth, but no one was paying her any attention.

Mandy scrolled down the screen to look at the other photographs in his Facebook album ‘Around the World’. He was certainly well travelled, she noticed, and he had been to places she’d only ever seen on TV or in films. In many pictures he was in bars, trails and temples, posing by landmarks, enjoying golden beaches and choppy waters. He was rarely on his own. She liked that he seemed the gregarious type.

Curious, she looked back further into his timeline, from when he first joined social media as a sixth former and through his three years at university. She even found him attractive as a gawky teenager.

After an hour and a half of gawping at nearly the entirety of the handsome stranger’s history, Mandy made her way to his Twitter feed to see what he felt the need to share with the world. But all he ranted about was Arsenal’s rise and fall in the Premier League, occasionally broken up by retweets of animals falling over or running into stationary objects.

Their interests appeared to differ greatly, and she questioned exactly why they had been Matched and what they might have in common. Then she reminded herself she no longer needed the mindset required for using dating websites and apps; Match Your DNA was based on biology, chemicals and science – none of which she could get her head around. But she trusted it with all her heart, like millions and millions of others did.

Mandy moved on to Richard’s LinkedIn profile, which revealed that since graduating from Worcester University two years earlier, he’d worked as a personal trainer in a town approximately forty miles from hers. No wonder his body appeared so solid, she thought, and she imagined how it might feel on top of hers.

She hadn’t set foot in a gym since her induction a year ago, when her sisters insisted she should stop lamenting her failed marriage and start concentrating on her recovery. They’d whisked her away to a nearby hotel day-spa where she’d been massaged, plucked, waxed, hot-stoned, tanned and massaged again until any thought of her ex had been pummelled out of every back and shoulder knot and each clogged pore of her skin. The gym membership had followed along with a promise that she would keep up with the workout schedule they’d set up for her. Motivating herself to work out regularly had yet to become part of her weekly routine, but she paid for the membership regardless.

She began to imagine what her children with Richard might look like, and if they’d inherit their father’s blue eyes or be brown like hers; whether they’d be dark haired and olive skinned like her or fair and pale like him. She found herself smiling.

‘Who’s that?’

‘Jesus!’ she yelled. The voice had made her jump. ‘You scared me to death.’

‘Well, you shouldn’t have been looking at porn at work then.’ Olivia grinned, and offered her a sweet from a bag of Haribo. Mandy declined with a shake of her head.

‘It wasn’t porn, he’s an old friend.’

‘Yeah, yeah, whatever you say. Keep an eye out for Charlie though, he’s after some sales figures from you.’

Mandy rolled her eyes, then looked at the clock in the corner of her screen. She realised that if she didn’t start doing some work soon she’d end up taking it home with her. She clicked on the little red ‘x’ in the corner and cursed her Hotmail account for assuming the Match Your DNA confirmation email was spam. It had sat in her junk folder for the last six weeks until, by chance, she had discovered it earlier that afternoon.

‘Mandy Taylor, wife of Richard Taylor, pleased to meet you,’ she whispered. She noticed she was absent-mindedly twiddling an invisible ring around her wedding finger.

 Want to keep reading? For your chance to win a copy of The One head over to Twitter! 



 Don't miss the rest of the blog tour

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
Blog design by Imagination Designs using images from the Valentine Owls and Valentine's Day clip art kits by Pink Pueblo