Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Everything but the Truth - Gillian McAllister - taut domestic noir for the internet generation

My Review

Everything but the truth is about relationships and secrets a taut Domestic Noir thriller/ romance.

Rachel and Jack are like any young couple, they are very much of the Social media generation, they haven't been together long enough to really deeply know each other inside out, but what they do know is they are in love, they are in it for the long haul, which is just as well as Rachel is expecting Jacks baby.

Perhaps they should have waited a while, but Things are what they are and they both very much want this baby, after all they have the rest of their lives to get to know the little quirks of each others lives.

But although Rachel is certain that Jacks the man for her to spend the rest of her life with, a judder of deja vu runs through her when, following a glimpse of an email he tries to conceal, she suddenly begins to suspect he may be hiding something from her, after all this has happened to her recently in a previous relationship which crashed when she had cause to mistrust boyfriend Ben. Surely history can't repeat itself?

It soon becomes evident that Jack is hiding something but will Rachel make matters worse if she persists in trying to uncover his past? She is clearly keeping something bottled up herself and her past life as doctor even though she is no longer practising medicine is revealed in snippets and we work out that nothing is straightforward with this couple at all and makes us think perhaps its better not to know than keep digging and digging until the hidden is revealed in its stark hideousness.

The book is very contemporary and Jack and Rachel are the couple of today we see all the time in the cafe sipping their lattes and gazing into each others eyes. Well next time you're people watching maybe this book will make you wonder just what is simmering beneath the surface and ask the question do we really know our partners and ourselves?

With plenty of red herrings, twists and reveals it's a thoroughly entertaining page turner to satisfy the modern romantic with a penchant for examining the darker side of relationships and personalities a taut Domestic Noir for the internet generation.

The Blurb and accolades

Just how much can you trust the person you love?

Everything but the Truth is Gillian McAllister's stunning breakthrough thriller about deceit, betrayal and one woman's compulsive need to uncover the truth

It all started with the email.

Rachel didn't even mean to look. She loves Jack and she's pregnant with their child. She trusts him.

But now she's seen it, she can't undo that moment. Or the chain of events it has set in motion.

Why has Jack been lying about his past? Just what exactly is he hiding? And doesn't Rachel have a right to know the truth at any cost? 

'Packed with twists and turns that will make it almost impossible to put down!' Hello!

'Twisty and emotionally charged. Breathlessly brilliant' Heat

'A gripping, compelling page turner that kept me up half the night' Liz Nugent, bestselling author of Lying in Wait

'You won't be able to put it down!' Hollie Overton, bestselling author of Baby Doll

'Perfection. Intriguing and compelling. An exceptional debut' Clare Mackintosh, bestselling author of I See You

'A beautifully written domestic noir full of secrets and lies' Claire Douglas, bestselling author of Local Girl Missing

Monday, 6 March 2017

Secrets we keep - Faith Hogan - blog tour and Review

My review

Secrets We Keep - Faith Hogan

I wasn’t sure whether I’d love this book, described as romantic contemporary women’s fiction. Of late I find I’m not always enjoying this genre nearly as much as I did, once upon a time.

But I needn’t have worried. Secrets we keep has completely renewed my faith in books written by women, for women, with a lot of heart and a good few twists along the way. This is so much more than Chick-lit it’s a very competent and compelling dual timeline of love and loss and heartache spanning the generations, set in a small seaside town in Ireland called Ballytokeep.

It is in Ballytokeep that Kate arrives, world weary, tired after years in her successful job as a top London lawyer, looking for a change of pace, a place to calm her soul and put down roots, a place like Ballytokeep.

She comes to stay with elderly distant relative Aunt Iris who, with husband Archie, runs a charming, if slightly faded, guesthouse in this seaside village which charms so many folk who return year after year. You will finish this book desperate to visit Ballytokeep yourself and hoping to meet the new friends you make in the pages of this wonderfully descriptive and atmospheric story.

Then there’s Todd, ageing Rock star who gets a sudden wake up call with a health scare which fundamentally changes his outlook on life and brings him to Ireland for a gentler pace of life.

The stories of all these characters are woven intricately around their pasts and present, many of the secrets being kept evolve around the old Bathhouse, owned by Rita and Archie but lying empty and forlorn waiting for the right person to breathe new life into this seaside spa cum café.

The main historical thread looks back at Iris’s youth and the encounters and men who have moulded her. She has rather a tragic past along with dear, darling Archie who for me was the unsung hero in this book. I was swept along with her story even when she makes a decision or two I found hard to accept.

We also spin back 10 years to discover why Kate is middle aged and single, with little time for romance. There is even a strong story woven around Rita, who becomes a good friend to Kate.

The writing is superb Faith writes like Maeve Binchy for the noughties.

The characters are extremely authentic and their lives detailed, rich and believable. Despite this they are not all perfect, in fact several of them are pretty flawed and boy are there some poor decisions made which have long lasting repercussions. But this entrancing book shows us that, although we must live with our past mistakes, that the past undoubtedly shapes our futures, although we can’t go back and put wrongs right, in moving forward we can atone and come to terms with the secrets hidden in our past.

This book is the most perfect holiday read, one to read whilst relaxing in a vintage tea room with a slice of home-made cake, a cup of coffee in a faded bone china cup and the sound of waves crashing on the shore.

The Blurb - from the Author's own website

Two distant relatives, drawn together in companionship are forced to confront their pasts and learn that some people are good at keeping secrets and some secrets are never meant to be kept.

A bittersweet story of love, loss and life. Perfect for fans of Patricia Scanlan and Adele Parks.

The beautiful old Bath House in Ballytokeep has lain empty and abandoned for decades. For devoted pensioners Archie and Iris, it holds too many conflicting memories of their adolescent dalliances and tragic consequences – sometimes it’s better to leave the past where it belongs.

For highflying, top London divorce lawyer Kate Hunt, it’s a fresh start – maybe even her future. On a winter visit to see her estranged Aunt Iris she falls in love with the Bath House. Inspired, she moves to Ballytokeep leaving her past heartache 600 miles away – but can you ever escape your past or your destiny?

About the Author:

Faith Hogan was born in Ireland.  She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway.  She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.

She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.

Her debut novel, ‘My Husband’s Wives,’ is a contemporary women’s fiction novel set in Dublin. It was published by Aria, (Head of Zeus) in 2016.   ‘Secrets We Keep,’ is her second novel.

Contact Faith or visit her webpage:

Twitter (her favourite) 

You can check out her books on:

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Goldsmith Jones - Sam Taylor-Pye - A lawless historical romp

My Review of Goldsmith Jones by Sam Taylor-Pye

Goldsmith Jones - It's like Oliver Twist with sodomy!

Set in the wild west, in the gold rush era, the eponymous character is a teenage rent boy and he is a damn' fool! He just never learns from his mistakes and he gets himself into many risky situations he could so easily avoid, yet lands himself in scalding water, again and again.

I'm not really sure why I found this book so engaging, but I rolled with it and really rather enjoyed it. It's certainly different and darkly exciting.

Goldsmith Jones "My name's not Nancy or Boy" arrives, with his long blond hair tucked beneath a greasy cap, in San Francisco in the mid 19th century to find it a lawless and poverty ridden place.

Orphaned and soon on the run from the law, he begins a life of male prostitution to earn himself a roof over his head and a crust and soon falls in with a succession of unsavoury characters, who in the main, treat him badly, apart from the nearest he finds to a real friend, half breed native American boy Raccoon. Everyone else has an ulterior motive and most of them involve sex, violence or law breaking. 

It's quite strange and rather explicit and covers a lot of rather graphic gay sex scenes, most of them involving or even instigated by the hapless main character who, when the book begins, is only 14! Hmm, it should be SO very wrong, but it is historical fiction and this kind of thing undoubtedly went on. Not for the faint hearted reader though.

This book reads well, its a rollicking romp through the cesspit that is Saint Francis town (San Francisco) filled with bullies and beasts and paedophiles and I couldn't put this book down. It's full of larger than life dislikeable, flawed and enigmatic characters, including two cross dressers I rather did like, Ally a woman who dresses as man and Violet, a man who dresses as a woman, (but I thought she was a woman until she let herself slide and began to grow facial hair) He has a love/hate relationship with a sailor he calls Sweet Virginia from the fragrance of fresh tobacco he always has, and is taken under the dubious wing of gang leader the vicious and unpredictable Saul Suarez.

If you're offended by a child earning his crust by giving blowjobs to drunken sailors up a filthy back alley and the frequently used term c***sucker offends you, I think it's best you don't read this book.

There is a lot of violence as well as a lot of sex in fact there's a fair bit of violent sex. This is a brutal old world, yet its so easy to become immersed in this dark and gritty tale about the dank underbelly of gangland San Franscisco.

It reads like part western (reminded me a little of The Sisters Brothers by Patrick De Witt) part gangland tale. Sometimes Goldmsith comes across as an ingenue, sometimes he's far too knowing, he can be calculating and canny but he always calculates wrongly, always he's a fool to himself and charges in where an angel fears to tread without ever assessing the possible consequences. For much of the book I was thinking "Oh for Goodness sake, you're never going to do that are you?" but he does, and ends up bloody and even more damaged and hurt and I have to be honest I never warmed to him quite as much as I hoped as I just wanted him to grow from his experiences and he really doesn't!

If you're looking for a fast paced, gritty read that's very different from the norm, give this a whirl as long as you're not looking for hearts and flowers, cause you sure won't find any of those here.

The Blurb

San Francisco, 1863. Fourteen-year-old Goldsmith Jones is left stranded in crime-ridden, gangland territory. He finds himself living at The Shades, a home to local street kids.

While selling sexual favours downs the Dead Man's Alley to survive, Jones is charmed by a seaman he knows as Sweet Virginia. Moving further away from the relative security that The Shades and his best friend, Raccoon, offered him, Jones is drawn ever closer to the manipulative Sweet Virginia.

When Raccoon falls gravely ill and is taken to convaless on the rural Rancheria, Jones is left under the controlling powers of the unscrupulous navvy.

Swindled and wrongly accused, he is unexpectedly rescued by the leader of the villanous Suarez Brothers, the charismatic Saul.

Faced with a choice between becoming Saul's 'little brother' and saving Sweet Virginia's life, Goldsmith Jones must embark on a dangerous journey which will change his young life forever. 

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Blog Tour review and giveaway of Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies

Blog tour and Book Giveaway

Before the Rains – Dinah Jefferies

It would be hard to find a more richly descriptive and lavishly depicted book than Before the Rains. Every page bursts with opulent, evocative imagery, colour and vibrancy, including the beautiful cover and it is astonishingly, heart-warmingly, romantic.

Dinah Jefferies is rapidly becoming my go-to author for vivid, plausible escapism. With her words she paints stunning exotic landscapes of epic proportions, which immerse the reader in past cultures, gently educating us about historic events, breaking our hearts a little, before wrapping us in the warmth of a passionate relationship.

In Before the Rains, I was transported to India in the 1930s in the final days of the crumbling British Raj and instantly immersed in the spice laden, colourful, Indian culture, where I met Eliza, a recently widowed British woman of 28.

Wanting to carve out her name as a photographer she accepts a position, through the British Government, to work in a palace as official Royal photographer, a rare and cherished opportunity for a British woman at this time.

Having lived in India as a small child, until the sudden and brutal death of her beloved father Eliza speaks a little of the language and is familiar with many local customs. However it is only after she witnesses the barbaric treatment of a young widow, that she fully appreciates how vital it is to conceal her own state of widowhood for her own safety.

Upon her arrival at the Royal palace she is surprised to discover that she will be living within the palace walls and under constant observation. The culture clashes she experiences make it difficult for her to know who she can fully trust as although she is warmly welcomed by some members of the Royal family she is seen as an interloper by others.

There is an instant affinity between herself and Prince Jay who is easy for her to relate to, having had a very British upbringing due to his education in the UK and she soon feels she’s found a friend. But despite a growing attraction between the young couple it’s clear that a closer relationship must be avoided. A Royal must marry another royal in order to provide legitimate heirs and inter racial relationships are so taboo they can hardly be spoken of, as the secrecy behind the illegitimacy of a young woman called Indi, whom Eliza also tries to befriend, is testament to.

Eliza is in for a rocky ride and despite her determination to be an independent modern career woman things don’t always go smoothly. Close family friend Clifford always seems to have her very best interests at heart but maybe he has an ulterior motive? His pale, sweaty, flushed skin made my skin crawl and despite Eliza obviously viewing him with similar contempt she finds she needs to rely on his protection. 

There are mysteries and subterfuge and underlying tensions which simmer away beneath the romantic exterior.

Jay is a handsome, smouldering, heart stopping hunk of a hero who captivated me yet remained an enigma by the glamour and mystery of his life.

I was completely and utterly engrossed in this opulent and vibrant tale of British Rule in India and forbidden love which is the absolute epitome of historical romance. Eliza’s story transported and enthralled me throughout.

Read more about the author and her other sensational books on her own web page


Now you too can experience Eliza’s India by winning your very own brand new hard back copy of this delightful book.

To be entered into my free prize draw for one of two copies of Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies all you need to do is post a comment after this blog post telling me …. If you could time-travel back to 1930 and be anywhere in the world where would you go, and why? Or Tweet me @Beadyjan with your answer and the hash tag #BeforetheRains 

Two lucky winners will be selected on 11th March and notified by email. So I must have some way to contact you, please also provide a link to your blog, your twitter handle or email address. Good luck!

Blog Tour - The Rectors Daughter by Jean Fullerton - review

Blog Tour - The Rectors Daughter by Jean Fullerton - review Today is my stop on the Blog Tour from Rachels Random Resources for the l...