Sunday, 28 July 2019

Found by Erin Kinsley - Review and Blog Tour

Found by Erin Kinsley - Review and Blog Tour

Today I have the pleasure of being part of another fabulous Random Things Blog Tour.

A BBC Radio 2 book club choice, there is plenty to talk about in Found and I hope my thoughts on this twisty new psychological thriller help you decide whether to read it.

#Found has just been published by @headlinepg and you can grab a copy right now.

My Review

Found is the story of every parents’ nightmare – imagine if your child went missing – wouldn’t that be …

…the WORST thing that could EVER happen? 

Well, it’s happened to Matt and Claire. Their 11 year old son Evan disappears without trace after setting off for a bus, he doesn’t come home from school and the family’s nightmare scenario begins and the reader is about to be with them all the way, experiencing their grief, frustration and anger at a system which leaves the police so overworked that it seems they haven’t the resources to find one small boy. 

We watch Mum and Dad’s lives fall apart all the time they are hoping and praying that their story will have an increasingly unlikely happy outcome. Memories become interspersed with blame and recriminations and life turns overnight into something dark and twisted and filled with uncertainty.

Then something wonderful DOES happen, Evan turns up and is reunited with his desperate parents. 

Isn’t that just about 

…the BEST thing that could EVER happen? 

Maybe not.

Their ordeal is far from over, it’s just about to begin.

The happy go lucky, cheerful lad who went missing has changed to a fearful, surly, silent boy who refuses to reveal where he’s been and the families misery continues as they try to adapt to the new situation after he is found, becoming suspicious and bitter themselves in the process, unsure of exactly what kind of crime has been committed, wanting someone to blame they turn on each other and even blame the lad himself for his continued reticence. They no longer know who they can trust and as a reader, everyone they encounter becomes not just a part of their story but suspected of involvement.

Engrossing and fast-paced, even though at times it seems nothing is happening, this is a fab holiday read when you want a change from romance and sweetness, enter the darker world of the Ferrers family tribulations and get to know the harassed police officer determined to get to the bottom of this mystery.

The characters with all their flaws are really convincing, their story could happen to anyone, their reactions rather than the circumstances creating their own nightmare.

As much an emotional journey as thriller, this book examines parenthood and family and coping when your imagination won’t let go. It’s psychologically adept and very twisty and will definitely appeal to anyone who enjoyed Broadchurch and who likes psychological thrillers and domestic dramas.

The Blurb

When 11 year old Evan vanishes without trace, his parents are plunged into
their worst nightmare - especially as the police, under massive pressure, have
no answers.

But months later Evan is unexpectedly found, frightened and refusing to speak.
His loving family realise life will never be the same again.

DI Naylor knows that unless those who took Evan are caught, other children
are in danger. And with Evan silent, she must race against time to find those

Friday, 26 July 2019

The Girl at the Window - Rowan Coleman - A Random Things Blog Tour

The Girl at the Window - Rowan Coleman - A Random Things Blog Tour

Today I am delighted to be part of another Random Things Blog Tour, this time it's for the new book by Rowan Coleman and its a superb romantic read with everything book lovers will adore. 

Look at the exalted bloggers I'm joining - do pop by their blogs too.

I have read this delightful book and am pleased to share my review:

My Review

The Girl at the window is a delightful, eerie, atmospheric multi timeline story with a haunting sense of romance and loss.

In a Yorkshire setting of a spooky and legend filled old crumbling family home called Ponden Hall, we find the main character Trudy returning to the home where she grew up. Her unconventional crotchety Mother still lives there and when tragedy strikes Trudys happy marriage, it is back to Ponden that Trudy brings her young son Will when both are left reeling with shock and disbelief that Wills beloved father Abe is missing believed dead and their happy family life is no more.

At Ponden Hall mysteries have lain hidden for centuries and Trudy’s skill as a book archivist, leads her to investigate the strong links within the Hall with the Bronte’s and it is this link which gives Trudy something to cling to and focus on to cope with her grief. 

What unfolds is not the usual dual-time historical romance but a triple timeline story, with the lives of 3 young women all linking with each other over time. Modern-day Tru struggles to get on with the cantankerous mother she has always found it difficult to relate to, Back in the annals of time we hear the voice of a young woman called Agnes who worked at the hall and had the very unusual skill of reading and writing in a time when such skills marked a woman out as a rebel and she finds herself in a dire predicament. She shares her thoughts with her journal snippets of which emerge centuries later to reveal glimpses of her life. Plus there is the story of Emily Bronte who used the library at Ponden Hall (now bereft of books)  and even stayed there in a concealed window bed which still remains in the 21st century. 
There is a really creepy atmosphere throughout, glimpses of the past coupled with legends of a black beast who appears when a family death is imminent, serve to create an eerie and haunting Gothic backdrop to this contemporary love story.

It’s a lovely uplifting and heartwarming story of family ties, loyalty and abiding love. Will is a great little lad, and the Bronte link makes it all the more realistic. Tru is fighting hard to cope with losing the love of her life and bring up a small boy and everything in her life is change and mayhem, little wonder she finds it hard to get by and is easy to spook when she imagines things that go bump in the night … or IS it her imagination?

This is just the perfect book to lose yourself in, whether you are on a sunny beach whiling away your holidays or cosied up indoors with the rain lashing outside. It’s got everything a thoroughly enjoyable read should have…. Great characters with plenty of depth, flaws and foibles, lots about books, legends and ghosts, a haunting old house I’d love to have a look around, grief and forgiveness and a damn good "gallop along with it and gulp it all up" story.
There is a timeless quality to this book reminiscent of books I've enjoyed by Suzanna Kearsley and Barbara Erskine. 

Superb writing and a story so damned easy to get swallowed up in, I lost a couple of days in this book hardly even noticing life was continuing, just great escapism of the highest calibre.

The Blurb

A beautiful new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book and The Summer of Impossible Things. The Girl at the Window is a beautiful and captivating novel set at Ponden Hall, a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors and famously used as a setting for Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Known as the place where Cathy’s ghost taps on the window, Emily Bronte used to visit often with her sisters and use the extensive library there. It’s a magical place full of stories.

In The Girl at the Window, Ponden Hall is where Trudy Heaton grew up, but also where
she ran away from…
Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, Trudy returns home with her young son,
Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead. While Trudy tries to do her best for her son,
she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present...

The Girl at the Window is hauntingly beautiful, and centred on an epic love story with a twist that draws you in fast. The strong themes of grief, absent fathers and maternal instincts are consistent emotional pulls throughout. Trudy and Abe are the ultimate love story, but there is also a wonderfully atmospheric ghostly mystery to be solved as well.

Author Rowan Coleman

Rowan Coleman lives with her husband and their five children in a very full house
in Hertfordshire. She juggles writing novels with raising her family. Rowan’s last novel,
The Summer of Impossible Things, was selected for Zoe Ball’s ITV Book Club. Rowan has an everlasting love for the Brontes, and is a regular visitor of Ponden Hall. | @rowancoleman

Monday, 22 July 2019

Blog Tour and Review - The Last Stage Louise Voss

Blog Tour and Review - The Last Stage Louise Voss

I am very pleased to be part of the Blog Tour for The Last Stage by Louise Voss as I've read and loved her previous books. I read, enjoyed and reviewed her previous book The Old You also for a Blog Tour and am thrilled to report that readers who loved The Old You are in for a treat with the fast-paced chilling read which is The Last Stage.

My Review:

The Last Stage is a taut and terrifying look at how one womans life begins to unravel as her past and present collide and old threats and fears come back to haunt her.

We meet the main protagonist Meredith as she is managing the Gift Shop at a stately home, in her 40s her life is very different to what it was in her 20s when she was the lead singer in a chart-topping Punk Band. 

Still single and notoriously bad at long term relationships she is lonely, with only her twin brother as a trusted confidant. But she can still put away a few bevvies and proves herself to be just as good at making BAD decisions in her middle age as she was when she was younger when she seizes the chance of a quick one night stand with a colleague which has a disastrous end.

This is only the beginning of a series of disasters and incidents which lead Meredith to believe she is being targetted. It wouldn't be the first time, her physical scars are almost as deep as her psychological ones and as her past is revealed little by little it's clear that someone may have it in for her. She doesn't know hwo she can trust and yet she can't really think of anyone who she should mistrust, as a result, I suspected every innocent soul she comes across of harbouring a death wish against her. 

Things pile up, from mild vandalism to outright murder and mayhem, the pace is relentless and the storytelling is superb. If you like to be taken on a roller coaster ride and never quite know who's doing what to whom this book will delight. I had a lot of empathy for Meredith, she has been pretty self-centred in her youth and this rings true. We all do stuff we wish we hadn't and we change as we mature, it makes her flawed but believable. The secondary characters are also really well rounded and real.

I know its easy to say I didn't see THAT coming! But I really didn't work out the culprit, despite suspecting almost every character in the book and there is wry humour, along with the hapless clumsiness of Merediths attempts to lead a normal life. 

Its a wonderfully twisted tale with psychological turns and terrifying consequences and quite a twist in the tail. Devilishly clever and immensely readable.

My thanks go to RandomThingsTours for including me on the Blog Tour.

The Blurb

A violent and horrific incident forces a young woman to go into hiding, at the peak of her career as lead singer of an indie pop band. Years later, strange things start to happen and it becomes clear that some know who she is…

At the peak of her career as lead singer of a legendary 1980s indie band, Meredith Vincent was driven off the international stage by a horrific incident. Now living a quiet existence in a cottage on the grounds of an old stately home, she has put her past behind her and come to terms with her new life.

When a body is found in the manicured gardens of her home, and a series of inexplicable and unsettling events begins to occur, it becomes clear that someone is watching, someone who knows who she is … Someone who wants vengeance.

And this is only the beginning…

A dark, riveting and chilling psychological thriller, The Last Stage is also a study of secrets and obsessions, where innocent acts can have the most terrifying consequences.

The Author - Louise Voss

Over her eighteen-year writing career, Louise Voss has had eleven novels
published – five solo and six co-written with Mark Edwards: a combination of
psychological thrillers, police procedurals and contemporary fiction – and sold
over 350,000 books. Her most recent book, The Old You, was a number one
bestseller in eBook. Louise has an MA (Dist) in Creative Writing and also works
as a literary consultant and mentor for writers at

She lives in South-West London and is a proud member of two female crime-

writing collectives, The Slice Girls and Killer Women.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Expectation Anna Hope - Blog Tour and review

I jumped at the chance to join the blog tour for the latest book by Anna Hope as I absolutely adore her previous books, both historical novels, Hope and the stunning Ballroom. This lady is without doubt an exceptionally talented and accomplished author with the ability to create a world into which you are gently immersed then suddenly drowning in emotion.

Expectation couldn’t be more different in style and setting to both this authors previous books and I must admit I was a little wary of the genre change, historical fiction being a theme I am reluctant to relinquish.

This is edgy women’s contemporary fiction, with a modern day setting and themes of female ambitions and friendship. The author will gather a whole new following with this book. Featuring twenty and thirty-something girls written with depth and feeling. Youthful and contemporary the book centres around feelings of dissatisfaction when life never goes quite to plan and opportunities are missed. It explores what people will do to try and put things right, dealing with envy, loss and a sense of self failure.

Expectation is woven around the lives of three women, Hanna, Kate and Lissa and moves back and forth between their lives when they were students, sharing a flat in London with a world of opportunity spread before them and moves forward 10 years to the present day when they are all dissatisfied thirty somethings

All 3 women are dissatisfied with where life and their choices have taken them. It is true to life, in that so many of us follow routes expected of us, make poor decisions and end up feeling “this isn’t the life I should be living” It’s easy to let this feeling overwhelm you especially when you see other people seem to have what you wanted. In these circumstances it’s easy to feel resentment and envy towards others who we perceive have done better than we have and often these are those closest to us, friends.

The 3 young women back in their twenties, studying at University, have pretty clear ideas of where they want to be in ten years and they all make every effort to be successful in their life choices, sometimes quite ruthlessly but things never go quite as planned and there is a lot of truth in the old adage be careful what you wish for, as even when you get it, things may not be what you hoped for.
When they are young I didn’t think I would be able to relate to any particular girl, but as they mature I felt a deeper empathy with one in particular which meant I connected with her story most. I think there is at least one of them who you will think I have felt exactly like that.

Present day again and each young woman sees at least one of her friends has something which she herself has missed out on. The women drift apart and back together, always friends but not always happy with each other. Resentments and jealousy create tension and ambition gets in the way clouding their judgement. Yes ladies this is life!! and we are allowed to vicariously live the lives of failing actress Lissa, bewildered and dissatisfied Wife and Mother Cate and Hanna desperate for a baby of her own.

There are a lot of dark and sad events in the book, interspersed with some lighter and wryly humorous moments. It is above all a testament to the ups and downs of relationships, female friendship, the roles women are expected to play in society and the pressure put on them to conform to society’s ideals of womanhood. It’s topical and current with loads of tension and emotion which I think would make a great tv drama.

The Blurb

Hannah, Cate and Lissa are young, vibrant and inseparable. Living on the edge of a common in East London, their shared world is ablaze with art and activism, romance and revelry – and the promise of everything to come. They are electric. They are the best of friends.

Ten years on, they are not where they hoped to be. Amidst flailing careers and faltering marriages, each hungers for what the others have. And each wrestles with the same question: what does it take to lead a meaningful life?

EXPECTATION is a novel of the highs and lows of friendship – how it can dip, dive and rise again. It is also about finding your way: as a mother, a daughter, a wife, a rebel. Most of all, it explores that liminal space between expectation and reality, the place – full of dreams, desires and pain – in which we all live our lives.

The Author

ANNA HOPE studied at Oxford University and RADA. 

Her contemporary fiction debut, Expectation, explores themes of love, lust, motherhood, and feminism, while asking the greater question of what defines a generation.

She lives in Sussex with her husband and young daughter

Monday, 8 July 2019

Storytellers by Bjorn Larssen - Blog Tour and Extract

Storytellers by Bjorn Larssen - Blog Tour and Extract

Today I join fellow bloggers Jera's Jamboree and The Divine Write on the Blog Tour for the new book by Bjorn Larssen - Storytellers which sounds so tempting I couldn't pass by the chance to share an extract even though I haven't yet got around to reading my much-anticipated copy.

The Blurb

In March 1920 Icelandic days are short and cold, but the nights are long. For most, on those nights, funny, sad, and dramatic stories are told around the fire. But there is nothing dramatic about Gunnar, a hermit blacksmith who barely manages to make ends meet. He knows nobody will remember him – they already don’t. All he wants is peace, the company of his animals, and a steady supply of his medication. Sometimes he wonders what it would feel like to have a story of his own. He’s about to find out.

Sigurd – a man with a plan, a broken ankle, and shocking amounts of money – won’t talk about himself, but is happy to tell a story that just might get Gunnar killed. The blacksmith's other “friends” are just as eager to write him into stories of their own – from Brynhildur who wants to fix Gunnar, then marry him, his doctor who is on the precipice of calling for an intervention, The Conservative Women of Iceland who want to rehabilitate Gunnar’s “heathen ways” – even the wretched elf has plans for the blacksmith.

As his defenses begin to crumble, Gunnar decides that perhaps his life is due for a change – on his own terms. But can he avoid the endings others have in mind for him, and forge his own?

A free Extract

For Icelanders, America was the New World, a place they barely dared to dream of. Bjarni had spent his youth trying and failing to go and build a new life there. Arnar, his brother, made it, but decided to return – why...?

When Arnar joined the other patrons, Niels was already finishing his second ale. “Why did you return from America?” he asked between quick swigs, as if worried Guðrún was going to change her mind and take his pitcher away.
“And a good evening to you,” answered Arnar, immediately irritated.
“Manners,” huffed Guðrún. “So, Arnar… would you like some brandy whilst you’re telling us about it? On the house.”
Arnar looked around, as if seeking escape, only to find five pairs of eyes glued curiously to his face. Bjarni’s stare was the most intense, the taste in his mouth bitter. He, too, was ready to hear why anybody would return from the New World to live in a fishing village without a name. A year before Arnar’s escapade Bjarni tried to join the others who went to America. He failed. When his brother’s attempt not only worked but turned out to be such an enormous success, Bjarni took it personally. As he was still putting together basic cabinets and digging shacks in the hills, Arnar was earning a lot of money and courting the most beautiful woman in the world. It would have been an easier pill to swallow if Arnar had stayed there and never returned.
“If only you knew,” sighed Arnar. “Thank you, Guðrún. America isn’t what people describe in their letters and articles. It’s an awful place to live. Aye, if you’re smart, strong and hard-working, like me, you can succeed. Just look at my wife and my house,” he said proudly, before returning to his gloomy tone. “But living there to stay? A whole different story. People who do not return are simply failures who can’t save enough money to make it back here. They have to lie to pretend they are better than they really are.”
Doubtful looks were exchanged.
“It’s nothing like here. Imagine that someone takes all this away,” Arnar waved his hand around. “All the farms, the valleys, the sheep, the huts, the skies, the coast…”
“I wouldn’t mind that at all if it got me rich,” said Valdimar.
“The weather is unbearable. In the summer it’s too hot to breathe. In the winter you get so much snow your door won’t open. But can you take a break from working? No. Do they have winter-gatherings? Maybe they do, but I wouldn’t know because Icelanders are not invited. Not unless they want to show off that they can afford one. Like a pet. Remember the powdered sugar, Bjarni?”
His brother muttered something and shifted uncomfortably on the bench.
“What about powdered sugar?” asked Niels immediately.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” said Bjarni quietly.
“Well, we want to know,” said Niels. It was easy to be brave around Bjarni. If he got upset the worst he would do was leave the inn in a huff.
“Someone get my brother another ale, he’ll need it,” laughed Arnar. “This was a year before I left. Hallgrímur, a friend of ours, came back to visit his family and Bjarni invited him over to listen to his stories. Hallgrímur told us that in America raisins grew in the earth like grass grows here in Iceland, so people did raisin-making like they would do hay-making at home. Then Hallgrímur said they would get blizzards in America, but it wouldn’t melt, because icing sugar fell from the sky instead of snow. So, when you had a wife – and it is very easy to marry in America, I can tell you that’s true – she would love sweeping the porch to save the icing sugar for later.”
Bjarni was staring at his pitcher, his face purple.
“So, this will come as a surprise to all of you, but it wasn’t true. There were no raisins and no powdered sugar waiting. Just a lot of work for people who made fun of you. Weird people you couldn’t even understand.” He wagged his finger threateningly. “That is what happens there. Your friends who went to America, why do you think so many of them never return? They are too ashamed. If you ever go there, do as I have: take the Americans’ money, take their women, and run…”
“Isn’t that illegal?” interrupted Niels. “How did you manage to get a permit?”
“You don’t need a permit there.”
“So you didn’t even ask her parents’ permission?” Magnus was dumbfounded.
“Of course not! We made a plan, took all we needed, then went straight to the boat and came here.”
“I don’t know if I believe you,” said Bjarni, his voice finally back and his face slowly returning to its normal colour. “So many people wrote letters, and I’ve read it in the papers as well. I don’t think you’re telling the truth.”
“I swear to God,” answered Arnar, then grinned at his brother. “If you don’t believe me, go and find out. Bring back some raisins and powdered sugar.” He got Bjarni another ale to soften the impact of the joke. “It’s not worth dreaming about,” he whispered into his brother’s reddened ear. “You’re doing just fine here. If you went there you’d be yet another pet Icelander working for somebody else. Here you’re an independent man who hires others. You have me working for you, that’s how well you are doing. Trust me, brother. There’s nothing for you in America. I swear to God,” Arnar repeated, then smiled. He had no intention to remain Bjarni’s employee for long.

Buy the book here
US  -

About the author

Bjørn Larssen was made in Poland. He is mostly located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, except for his heart which he lost in Iceland. Born in 1977, he self-published his first graphic novel at the age of seven in a limited edition of one. Since then his short stories and essays were published in Rita Baum Art Magazine, Writer Unboxed, Inaczej Magazine),,, and Holandia Expat Magazine. He is a member of Alliance of Independent Authors and Writer Unboxed.

Bjørn has a Master of Science degree in mathematics, worked as a graphic designer, a model, and a blacksmith. He used to speak eight languages (currently down to two and a half). His hobbies include sitting by open fires, dressing like an extra from Vikings, installing operating systems, and dreaming about living in a log cabin in the north of Iceland, even though he hates being cold. He has only met an elf once. So far.

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