Meeting Lydia by Linda MacDonald @LindaMac1 @matadorbooks @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Meeting Lydia by Linda MacDonald! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

39676820

Author : Linda MacDonald
Title : Meeting Lydia
Pages : 321
Publisher : Matador
Publication date : March 22, 2018

aboutthebook

When Marianne comes home from work one day to find her husband talking to a glamorous woman in the kitchen, insecurities resurface from a time when she was bullied at school. Jealousy rears its head and her marriage begins to fall apart. Desperate for a solution, she finds herself trying to track down her first schoolgirl crush: Edward Harvey. Even thinking his name made her tingle with half-remembered childlike giddiness. Edward Harvey, the only one from Brocklebank to whom she might write if she found him.

mythoughts

Meeting Lydia is a thought-provoking and sometimes moving account about relationships and growing old(er). At an age where you’re supposed to have it all figured out, insecurities crop up. Never mind a grey hair or two, what’s with all these wrinkles and saggy bits? Not helped by the fact that you feel time is running out. Is your life all you thought it would be? What happened to your ambitions and dreams? What if you’d done this or said that when you were younger? Would your life have been different?

Marianne’s concerns and feelings are undoubtedly familiar to quite a few of us. She was bullied quite severely as a young child, an experience that still affects her to this day. So when she returns home one day and finds her husband, Johnny, in the kitchen talking to a glamorous colleague, all her old insecurities resurface. Is she not beautiful or sexy enough anymore? Jealousy rears its ugly head and while Marianne is also forced to deal with the dreaded menopause, her marriage begins to fall apart.

In her time of need, Marianne turns to an old classmate. A boy she used to have a crush on, one who didn’t bully her. It is in talking to him and facing her past that she and her husband may still have a future together. I must say that this correspondence didn’t quite turn out the way I expected it to and while it is explained why Marianne decides to turn to this person, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around that. The more interesting conversations are the ones Marianne has in her head, where she talks about things she doesn’t communicate in person.

Meeting Lydia covers a variety of interesting topics. From relationships both in “real life” and online, to menopause, to bullying and its effects. It explores human behaviour, not just through Marianne’s life but also through the psychology lessons she teaches her students. You’d think Marianne would follow her own advice but as they say “those who can’t do, teach”, I suppose.

Relationships take work and communication is key. Nobody is a mind-reader and that’s probably for the best. But in this case, I’d say Marianne’s struggles put a strain on her marriage that could possibly have been avoided if she’d known how to talk about and tackle her feelings. Will she be able to find some self-confidence and stand up for herself? Can her marriage be saved? And who is this Lydia? You’ll have to find out for yourself when you read this honest, realistic and relatable story about how the past and unresolved issues can affect your future, no matter how old you are.

Meeting Lydia is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Linda MacDonald was born and brought up in Cockermouth, Cumbria. She was educated at the local grammar school and later at Goldsmiths’, University of London where she studied for a BA in psychology and then a PGCE in biology and science. She taught in a secondary school in Croydon for eleven years before taking some time out to write and paint. In 1990 she returned to teaching at a sixth form college in south-east London where she taught psychology. For over twenty-five years she was also a visiting tutor in the psychology department at Goldsmiths’. She has now given up teaching to focus fully on writing.

Author link : Twitter

page-divide_12_orig

05262018_lydia

The TV Detective by Simon Hall @SimonHallNews @fahrenheitpress @damppebbles #blogblitz #guestpost #TheTVDetective

Welcome to the final day of the blog tour for The TV Detective by Simon Hall. My thanks to Emma Welton at damppebbles for the invitation to join.

Sadly, because there’s still no fix for the “not enough hours in the day” problem I’m suffering from, I didn’t have time to read this one. However, author Simon Hall visits the blog to talk about what lead him to start writing a book. But first, here is what The TV Detective is all about.

39665552

Author : Simon Hall
Title : The TV Detective
Pages : 314
Publisher : Fahrenheit Press
Publication date : March 22, 2018 (first published in 2010)

aboutthebook

Dan Groves is a television reporter newly assigned to the crime beat and not at all happy about it.

Dan knows next nothing about police work or how to report on it, so when he persuades Detective Chief Inspector Adam Breen to allow him to shadow a high-profile murder inquiry it seems like the perfect solution. Sadly for Dan it soon becomes clear some members of the police force have no intention of playing nice with the new boy.

With his first case Dan is dropped in at the deep-end. A man is killed in a lay-by with a blast through the heart from a shotgun. The victim is notorious local businessman Edward Bray, a man with so many enemies there are almost too many suspects for the police to eliminate.

As tensions rise Dan comes close to being thrown off the case until the detectives realise that far from being a liability, Dan might actually be the key to tempting the murderer into a trap.

Buy direct from the  Fahrenheit Press shopGoodreads

guestpost

Life has a way of playing strange tricks on you. The kind that seem awful, but turn out to be wonderful. And one of those led to my career as a writer.

I was already a kind of writer. Kind of meaning I was a journalist, a BBC TV News Correspondent, specialising in the environment.

It was a great job. Wandering across cliff tops, wading through crystal moorland rivers, searching out rare species of bird, all in the name of work.

But I say kind of writing because my reports were only a couple of minutes long. Maybe 150 words. Not a lot of room for creativity, for setting scenes, casting characters, telling deep and intriguing stories.

Still, I was happy enough. Until the day of the summons to my editor’s office.

The old Crime Correspondent had retired. Cost cutting meant he hadn’t been replaced. We were missing good stories. The viewers were noticing.

Would you like to take up the crime beat? he asked.

No thanks, I replied. I’m very happy with the environment.

You don’t understand, the grizzled old hack said, leaning forwards so he slipped into the shadows, the smell of cigarettes tainting the area around me, a yellowed finger tapping on a stack of P45 notice of termination of employment forms.

Would you like to take up the crime beat?

I slipped into a dark well that night. I was very happy covering the environment. I knew all the stories, the key players. About crime I knew precisely nothing. Except that it sounded nasty, something to be avoided, not wallowed in.

The first couple of stories were a straightforward disaster. All the other crime reporters knew their stuff and picked up on angles I missed. I visited my editor’s office again, and it was even less fun that the last time.

So I came up with a solution. To shadow the police on a murder inquiry. To get a fast track, insider’s experience of detective work.

Luckily for me, the cops saw the potential of having a hack to indoctrinate and manipulate. They went for it.

And it was absolutely, five star, trumpet fanfare fascinating.

The way detectives go about their work, the tricks they pull, the games they play, I had no idea. And I was even useful myself. With a story I put out, and what it lead one of the suspects to do.

I can’t go into any more details on this one. It’s a kind of told you too much already, now I’ll have to kill you thing. 

But I was so intrigued by this dark and devious, seedy and shady new world that I didn’t just want to write news about it. I began to write a book.

And that’s where The TV Detective was born.

A television reporter who doesn’t just cover crimes but gets so involved in the cases that he helps the police to solve them. Often using the power of the media to do so.

Just don’t ask me how much of my books are autobiographical.

[So, Simon, how much of your books is …. Just kidding. Thank you so much for stopping by!]

abouttheauthor

Simon Hall is an author and journalist. He has been a broadcaster for twenty five years, mostly as a BBC Television and Radio News Correspondent, covering some of the biggest stories Britain has seen.

His books – the tvdetective series – are about a television reporter who covers crimes and gets so involved in the cases he helps the police to solve them. Seven have been published.

Simon has also contributed articles and short stories to a range of newspapers and magazines, written plays, and even a pantomime. Alongside his novels and stories, Simon is a tutor in media skills and creative writing, teaching at popular Writers’ Summer Schools such as Swanwick and Winchester, on cruise ships and overseas.

Simon has also become sought after as a speaker, appearing at a variety of prestigious literary festivals. His talks combine an insight into his writing work, along with some extraordinary anecdotes from the life of a television reporter, including the now notorious story of What to do when you really need a dead otter.

Now 49 years old, he began a broadcasting career as a DJ on the radio and in nightclubs, then moved into radio and TV news. He worked in Europe, London, Ireland, and the south west of England, before settling in Cambridge.

Simon is married to Jess, Director of Libraries at the University of Cambridge, and has an adopted daughter, Niamh. She’s an army officer, which makes her father both very proud and very nervous.

Simon lectures on careers in the media at Cambridge University, and in schools and colleges. Amongst his proudest achievements, he includes the number of young people he has helped into jobs in broadcasting, and aspiring writers into publication.

As for his likes, Simon lists beer – he judges at real ale festivals – cycling the countryside, solving cryptic crosswords, composing curious Tweets and studying pop lyrics.

Author links : Twitter | Website

page-divide_12_orig

05252018_tvdetective

 

The Cathy Connolly Trilogy by Sam Blake @samblakebooks @BonnierZaffre #blogtour

It is a real pleasure to be joining the blog tour celebrating the release of the third book, No Turning Back, in the Cathy Connolly Trilogy by Sam Blake today! My thanks to Imogen Sebba at Bonnier Zaffre for the invitation to join the tour!

I’ve read all three of these books and today, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the newest release, No Turning Back. Here is what the book is all about.

36436280

Author : Sam Blake
Title : No Turning Back
Series : Cathy Connolly #3
Pages : 341
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : May 17, 2018

aboutthebook

Orla and Conor Quinn are the perfect power couple: smart, successful and beautiful, they have an enviable relationship and an idyllic family life. But then the unthinkable happens. Their oldest son, Tom, is the victim of a hit-and-run. What was Tom doing out walking so late at night? Did he really have problems sleeping, or was he secretly meeting someone? Is it a coincidence that his friend, Lauren, committed suicide nearby – or is there something more sinister going on?

Detective Garda Cathy Connolly is part of the team investigating both incidents. As she delves deeper, she realises that all is not what it seems in the Quinn household and that everyone connected to both cases have their own reasons for hiding things from the police.

With her boss and mentor, Dawson O’Rourke, in line for a promotion on the other side of the country, it’s time for Cat to consider not only what she wants from her career, but also where their relationship is going. However, when a terrorist threat is unveiled close to home, will Cat be able to put the pieces together in time to save the day? Whatever happens though, there is no turning back …

mythoughts

No Turning Back is the third book in the Cathy Connolly series. I think you might possibly get away with reading this as a stand-alone but why would you want to? Read all three, as I have done and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this latest one is the best one yet.

Young Tom Quinn is found dead in the road from what looks to be a hit-and-run. His parents are obviously devastated but something isn’t quite right in the Quinn household. Then Tom’s classmate, Lauren, is also found dead at the bottom of a cliff from an apparent suicide. Are these two events connected somehow? O’Rourke, Cathy and the rest of the team have their work cut out for them because these two families may look like they have it all but they’re all hiding secrets they desperately don’t want to reveal.

There are multiple exciting layers running throughout this story. Not only are there the investigations into the deaths of Tom and Lauren, we also get teasing glimpses of an unknown character seemingly plotting terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, Cathy is also getting increasingly confused about her relationship with O’Rourke while also wondering about her future and where the next step in her career might be. Things are definitely changing.

This is a well-plotted, compelling and tense addition to the series with an explosive and action-packed conclusion. The investigation spreads far and wide and held my attention from start to finish. However that was mostly due to a professor with an intriguing background and connections in the CIA. With many twists along the way, it is a suspenseful book that will keep you hooked and will make you think twice about modern technology. Although I must admit that some of that technical stuff went right over my head, I will definitely not forget to cover up the cameras on all my devices. Just in case.

No Turning Back wraps up this trilogy nicely and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s in no way an ending, but it does promise a new and exciting change for Cathy Connolly and it will be interesting to see where Sam Blake takes Cathy and this series next.

No Turning Back is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Sam Blake is a pseudonym for Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, who is originally from St. Albans in Hertfordshire but has lived at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland for (almost) more years than she lived in the UK. She has been writing fiction since 1999 when her husband went sailing across the Atlantic for 8 weeks and she had an idea for a book.

Vanessa is also the founder of The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and the Irish national writing resources website Writing.ie. She is Ireland’s leading literary scout who has assisted many award winning and bestselling authors to publication.

Author link : Twitter

page-divide_12_orig

05252018_deepwater

That Summer in Puglia by Valeria Vescina @Bookollective #blogtour

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for That Summer in Puglia by Valeria Vescina! My thanks to the publisher for my review copy and to Aimee at Bookollective for the invitation to join the tour!

39291948

Author : Valeria Vescina
Title : That Summer in Puglia
Pages : 303
Publisher : Eyewear Publishing
Publication date : March 12, 2018

aboutthebook

Tommaso has escaped discovery for thirty years but a young private investigator, Will, has tracked him down. Tommaso asks him to pretend never to have found him. To persuade Will, Tommaso recounts the story of his life and his great love. In the process, he comes to recognise his true role in the events which unfolded, and the legacy of unresolved grief. Now he’s being presented with a second chance – but is he ready to pay the price it exacts?

mythoughts

Thirty years ago, Tomasso left Italy for England. He’s been living under the radar ever since, not wanting anyone to know where he is. But now, a young private investigator has tracked him down. Tomasso asks him not to divulge his whereabouts to anyone but in order to convince the private investigator, he’ll need to tell the story of his life and the reasons he left his home.

Most of the events are set in 1980’s Italy and the author really brings that setting to life. I could see myself sitting on a bench in the Piazza, smell the espresso in the air while watching the villagers go about their daily lives, disappearing into narrow alleys. Tomasso’s parents are property developers and they live in a villa outside the village, with glorious views all around. Again, the beautiful descriptions transported me straight there, from the olive trees to the scent of the flowers.

That summer, Tomasso meets Anna and they fall in love. This will set in motion a sequence of events that will affect Tomasso for years to come. At its heart, That Summer in Puglia is a love story but it’s so much more than that. It is a relatable character study full of complexities that oozes atmosphere.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. The way we react to certain things in the heat of the moment can have a huge effect. It isn’t until later on, that we maybe think “I could have” or “I shouldn’t have”. As a nineteen year old boy, Tomasso makes some dubious decisions based on very little but sheer perception. Did he make the right choices? That’s up to you to find out when you read this novel.

With beautiful descriptions and well-developed rich characters, Valeria Vescina takes us on a moving journey through Tomasso’s life. That Summer in Puglia is a brilliantly written, poignant, thought-provoking character-driven story about young love, loss, grief, family and second chances. An absolutely wonderful debut by Valeria Vescina.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryGoodreads

abouttheauthor

Valeria Vescina is an author, reviewer and creative writing tutor.  She’s from Puglia (Italy), was educated in Switzerland and the UK, and has lived for years in London.  After a successful career in management, she gained an MA in Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Her first novel, That Summer in Puglia (Eyewear Publishing), had its debut at the FTWeekend Oxford Literary Festival 2018

Author links : Twitter | Website

page-divide_12_orig

05242018_puglia

The Chosen Ones by Carol Wyer @carolewyer @bookouture #blogblitz #TheChosenOnes

Absolutely thrilled to welcome you all to my stop on the blog blitz for The Chosen Ones by Carol Wyer! Make sure you also check out the other fabulous bloggers kicking off the blitz today! My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the opportunity to join and for my review copy.

Happy publication day, Carol! Hope it’s all kinds of fantabulous!

39349291

Author : Carol Wyer
Title : The Chosen Ones
Series : DI Robyn Carter #5
Pages : 409
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : May 24, 2018

aboutthebook

They had not been forgiven. And they would never be forgotten ….

When a doting young father is murdered and his body discovered in a cornfield for his family to see, it’s a harrowing new case for Detective Robyn Carter. But just as Robyn starts to investigate, a popular local doctor and young mother, is found dead outside her surgery.

As Robyn tries to find the link between the victims, she uncovers a dark web of secrets. Were these much-loved members of the community as innocent as they seemed?

The killer has a message for Robyn and the carefully chosen victims. Can Robyn get to the truth before she becomes the next target?

mythoughts

From the very beginning, the Robyn Carter series captured my heart. From Robyn and her team, to the incredibly well thought-out cases and all the stuff in the background involving Davies, it had me hooked and I knew this series would be special. So whenever I’m offered the opportunity to read the next addition, I quite happily drop whatever it is I’m doing and tell the husband to take care of dinner himself because … well, priorities, people.

With every single book, I think this is the best one yet and that I couldn’t possibly love this series any more if I tried. And yet every time, Carol Wyer effortlessly proves me completely wrong. Not surprising then that I think The Chosen Ones is an absolute corker and the author has knocked it out of the park once again. Like way out of the park. At least two cities beyond it.

A young man is found murdered in a cornfield. Stuff of nightmares right there but I’ll let you discover that for yourself. You’re welcome. It seems the killer is somehow trying to convey a message but will the team figure out the clues? The case is hampered by a rich and hugely unlikeable businessman, who’s entirely unwilling to cooperate and making Robyn’s life a living hell. However, if you know her, then you also know she doesn’t give up without a fight and she’ll do whatever it takes to get to the truth.

Just when you’re settling into the investigation, trying to look for clues so you could maybe figure things out, Carol Wyer comes up with a devilish and heartbreaking chapter and just massively sucker-punches you right in the feels! Killers aren’t supposed to be people you feel sympathy for and yet. I enjoy moments like these. It makes them look human instead of just randomly psycho. That makes sense in my head and maybe it will to you as well once you get to reading this book. But at the same time, they’re insanely vicious, yet also highly creative. I almost sound as if I’m admiring them (I’m not, in case you wondered) but their murderous ways are quite something.

Of course, a Robyn Carter book isn’t complete without mention of Davies but my lips are sealed so tightly, I may never be able to open my mouth again. There is an event (vague, I know, so sorry!) that made me feel far more emotional than I thought it would. Like serious lump in throat sort of thing. I may never recover.

If you’re a fan of this series, I promise you, this book has everything and more than you could possibly ask for! It’s well plotted, gripping, utterly addictive, full of great characters and a total page-turner. In short, The Chosen Ones is an absolute corker and it will leave you begging for more! It gets all the stars from me and if you’re not reading these, you are seriously missing out! I continue to love this series fiercely and for as long as Carol Wyer keeps writing, I’ll be right there at the front of the line to keep reading.

The Chosen Ones is OUT TODAY!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryKobo | WorderyGoodreads

abouttheauthor

Carol E. Wyer, who also writes as Carol Wyer, is an award-winning author whose humorous books take a light-hearted look at getting older and encourage others to age disgracefully. In 2017 she moved to the “dark side” and embarked on a series of thrillers. The first, gripping Little Girl Lost, shot to the #2 best-selling spot on Kindle #9 best-selling audiobook on Audible, and was also a USA Today top 150 best-seller.

Her book, Grumpy Old Menopause won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction 2015.

Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ‘Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’ and on BBC Breakfast television. She has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’ featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and the Huffington Post.

Author links : Blog | Twitter | Website

page-divide_12_orig

05242018_chosen

This Week in Books (May 23)

this-week-in-books

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Last book I finished reading

36572093

Two years ago, Julia lost her family in a tragic accident. Her husband drowned trying to save their daughter, Lily, in the river near their rural home. But the little girl’s body was never found—and Julia believes Lily is somehow still alive.

Alone and broke, Julia opens her house as a writers’ retreat. One of the first guests is Lucas, a horror novelist, who becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Lily. But within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of eerie events.

When Lucas’s investigation leads him and Julia into the woods, they discover a dark secret—a secret that someone will do anything to protect…

What really happened that day by the river? Why was Lily never found? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?

The book I’m currently reading

39676820

When Marianne comes home from work one day to find her husband talking to a glamorous woman in the kitchen, insecurities resurface from a time when she was bullied at school. Jealousy rears its head and her marriage begins to fall apart. Desperate for a solution, she finds herself trying to track down her first schoolgirl crush: Edward Harvey. Even thinking his name made her tingle with half-remembered childlike giddiness. Edward Harvey, the only one from Brocklebank to whom she might write if she found him.

What I’m (probably) reading next

38885462

Everyone knows an Aisling:

Loves going Out Out, but secretly scared of liquid eyeliner.
Happy to drink the bar dry, but will bring her own coaster if necessary.
Would rather die than miss a cooked hotel breakfast, but can calculate the Points in a Snickers at fifty paces.

Aisling’s the girl with a heart of gold, but a boyfriend who still hasn’t made a peep about their Big Day even after seven years.

But then a disastrous romantic getaway shows Aisling that it’s time to stop waiting around and leave John behind for the bright lights of Dublin. After she’s wailed her way through Adele’s Greatest Hits, that is.

Between glamorous new flatmates, a scandal at work and finding herself in a weird love square, Aisling is ready to take on the big city. So long as she has her umbrella with her.

page-divide_12_orig

Bit of a mix this week. I quite approve!

What are you reading this week? Let me know! xx

Wrong Way Home by Isabelle Grey @IsabelleGrey @QuercusFiction @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

Thrilled to join the blog tour for Wrong Way Home by Isabelle Grey today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation and to the publisher for my review copy!

36161357

Author : Isabelle Grey
Title : Wrong Way Home
Series : DI Grace Fisher #4
Pages : 384
Publisher : May 17, 2018
Publication date : Quercus

aboutthebook

Everyone in Southend remembers the night of the fire. Two lives were saved from the burning Marineland resort, while metres down the beach another was lost when a young woman was raped and murdered. The killer was never found. Now, twenty-five years on, DI Grace Fisher is handed new DNA evidence that could blow the cold case wide open. But what are the chances of really getting to the truth after all this time?

Meanwhile, eager would-be journalist Freddie Craig decides to prove himself by conducting his own investigation and turning his findings into a podcast. It will be good for his CV, and maybe he’ll even make a breakthrough in the case… Experienced hack Ivo Sweatman is flattered when the cub reporter turns to him for advice, but as Freddie becomes more obsessed with the case, Ivo starts to worry that the line between fact and wishful thinking is becoming dangerously blurred.

Just as a series of revelations lead Grace to believe the case is closed, a similar murder is committed. Does she have the wrong man? Or are there two separate killers to deal with?

mythoughts

How did I not know about this series?!

Wrong Way Home is the fourth instalment in the DI Grace Fisher series, a wee detail I didn’t actually know when I signed up for the blog tour. So once again, I find myself breaking my own rule of never starting a series anywhere else but with book one. Luckily, for me, this reads perfectly well as a stand-alone. There may have been a few tiny references to things I didn’t know anything about but as far as background goes, I’d say Isabelle Grey does a great job of hooking new readers without making them feel they are missing out on a truckload of information.

I came to the conclusion a little while ago that I actually really like reading stories about cold case investigations and this one was truly as gripping as gripping can be! Twenty-five years ago, a huge fire and the murder of a nineteen year old girl rocked the community of Southend. The killer was never caught but now, new DNA evidence may just bring DI Grace Fisher and her team a little closer to finding out what happened that night. But after all this time, is the killer still even alive? And if by chance there were any witnesses, how much do they even still remember?

On that same fateful night, Freddie Craig was born. He seems to feel there is some sort of cosmic connection between his birth and the death of the young woman all those years ago. Through a series of podcasts, he sets out on his own investigation into the murder and the mind of a rapist and murderer. Local reporter Ivo Steadman is happy to help out this budding journalist but things quickly turn rather creepy.

From corruption, to murder, to dysfunctional families, this story offers a lot of juicy stuff to sink your teeth into. What struck me the most though, is how Isabelle Grey never loses track of the victims in all of this. How events have affected them, how they’re dealing (or not dealing) with things. It added an extra layer you don’t always find in this genre, which I found just as absorbing as the actual investigation.

Wrong Way Home is a deeply compelling and engrossing crime fiction story. I really enjoyed my first introduction to DI Grace Fisher, although I must say that for a super investigator, she often seemed to jump to conclusions without any proof concerning more private matters and there was one colleague I felt quite bad for. She and her team work incredibly well together on the whole though, complimenting each other and all the while talking things through. The investigation wasn’t at all as straightforward as I thought it would be when I first started reading. Many times, I was convinced I had the whole thing figured out, only to be proven wrong.

This is a thrilling, compelling and utterly addictive story that I found pretty hard to put down. I’m incredibly glad I discovered this series now and I’m determined to catch up on the previous three books as soon as I can. Even though I really need another series like a hole in the tooth, I’ll gladly make some space on the shelf for this one!

Wrong Way Home is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Isabelle Grey is a television screenwriter whose credits include Jimmy McGovern’s BAFTA award-winning Accused: Tina’s Story as well as over thirty-five episodes of Midsomer MurdersCasualtyRosemary and ThymeThe Bill and Wycliffe.

She has also written non-fiction and been a magazine editor and freelance journalist.

Isabelle’s previous novels include two psychological thrillers, The Bad Mother and Out Of Sight as well as the first three books in the DI Grace Fisher series, Good Girls Don’t Die, Shot Through the Heart and The Special Girls. Isabelle grew up in Manchester and now lives in north London.

Author links : Twitter | Website

page-divide_12_orig

05232018_wrongway

Three Secrets by Clare Boyd @bookouture #blogblitz

Welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for Three Secrets by Clare Boyd! My thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture!

38817373

Author : Clare Boyd
Title : Three Secrets
Pages : 392
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : May 17, 2018

aboutthebook

Robert kisses his wife on the head before heading out to the shop for more wine; he walks up the hill, takes a left across the footbridge and jumps to his death on the busy motorway below.

Two years later, Francesca and her young daughter are leaving London for a fresh start, money is tight and Robert’s mother has found them a little cottage in her village. Francesca is grateful for the help, but why does Robert’s mother want to keep them so close? Does she know about what Francesca did in the hour before Robert’s death?

Soon Francesca begins to suspect there was more to her husband’s death than she realised, that there might be even darker secrets hiding in his past than her own…

The closer she gets to uncovering the truth, the more she asks: is her own life in danger now too?

mythoughts

Two years after her husband’s suicide, Francesca and her daughter move to live closer to his family. But living this close means Francesca starts to pick up on dynamics within the family that she hadn’t really noticed before. Soon, she begins to suspect there may be more to Robert’s death than she first realised.

Hello, incredibly dysfunctional family! If ever there was an award for this kind of thing, Robert and his family would be an absolute shoe-in! Ruled by the, quite frankly, awful mother-in-law, this family has secrets like no other. A few of them have a huge impact on the lives of these characters, leading to devastating consequences. You never know what goes on behind closed doors and honestly, if you read this story, me thinks that’s a blessing!

There are way more secrets than just three. A few are revealed quite early on and some I felt were a bit predictable. But overall, the suspense was highly entertaining. This story deals with a multitude of issues, from depression to addiction, from suicide to affairs … it’s like a wee soap opera all wrapped up into a psychological suspense tale. It left me both desperately wanting Francesca to find out the truth, and thinking maybe it was better if she never did at all. Who do you trust when all around you people are obviously lying to hide their secrets?

Three Secrets is a twisted and gripping story about lies, secrets and family. Some characters I could almost sympathise with, others I felt like slapping. Written from two perspectives and switching between the past and the present, it held my attention from start to finish. I had no idea where things were heading and didn’t see that ending coming at all. Quite satisfying though, I must say.

All in all a brilliantly written, tense, suspenseful and twisty domestic drama that will keep you hooked.

Three Secrets is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Clare lives with her husband and their two daughters in Surrey, where her little green shed at the bottom of the garden provides a haven for her writing life. Before becoming a writer, she enjoyed a career in television, as a researcher in documentaries and then as a script editor in drama at the BBC and Channel Four, where her love of storytelling took hold.

Author links : Twitter

page-divide_12_orig

05222018_threesecrets

The Man Who Lived Twice by David Taylor @matadorbooks @annecater #blogtour #guestpost #RandomThingsTours

Well, hello there! I’m kicking off the week with a guest post by author David Taylor for my stop on the blog tour for The Man Who Lived Twice. My thanks to David and Anne Cater at Random Things Tours!

Here’s what the book is all about.

37420224

Author : David Taylor
Title : The Man Who Lived Twice
Pages : 432
Publisher : Matador
Publication date : October 31, 2017

aboutthebook

The Man Who Lived Twice is a panoramic novel that follows the exploits of Colonel George St Leger Grenfell, a courageous but deeply flawed Cornish cavalryman who was the highest ranked British officer in the Confederate army in the American Civil War.

A hero to General Robert E Lee and a legend to the gullible hillbillies under his command, Ole St Lege charged with the Light Brigade in the Crimea, hacked his way through the Opium War and defended the bullet-strewn barricades in the Indian Mutiny. Yet the mercenary that performed these feats of derring-do was a wanted criminal, a fraudster who bankrupted his own father.

In his search for redemption, Grenfell faces the raw realities of late nineteenth century America. He is frequently shot at and brutally tortured by prison guards, soars precariously over enemy lines in a balloon and rides the rails to the Old West, meeting the characters who made, marred and mythologised the American century: the beautiful spies and back-shooting gunslingers as well as the business tycoons and Lincoln conspirators. And somehow he survives to lead a better life.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

guestpost

DOING THINGS THE HARD WAY BY DAVID TAYLOR

Writing words on a page seemed a fairly uncomplicated form of communication until I read Stephen King’s book on the subject in which he claimed that the relationship between writer and reader was a paranormal activity. ‘All the arts depend upon telepathy to some degree,’ King stated, ‘but I believe that writing is the purest distillation.’

Well, there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth, and you cannot argue with a man whose books have sold more than three hundred million copies. But if, through thought-transference, you are sending your readers a flurry of feelings, sensations and imagery, there must be a strong connective thread which brings you back to the age-old question of where authors get their plots from.

Is there a moment of truth perhaps, a blinding light of creativity? For some very distinguished writers, blessed with vivid imaginations, the answer seems to be yes. Stephenie Meyer dreamed about a vampire meeting a high-school girl, woke up, and started to write the Twilight series. JK Rowling was travelling alone in a railway carriage when Harry Potter entered her head. All Kazuo Ishiguro needed to jump-start The Remains of the Day was one of his wife’s little jokes. The actual flashpoint for JRR Tolkien was the discovery of a blank page in an exam paper he was marking. On it, he scribbled, ‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit’ and the rest was history.

Most of us, however, have to struggle to find our inspiration. In my own case, it took a 4500-mile journey and a large slice of luck before I had a compelling outline for The Man Who Lived Twice. It happened like this. My wife and I were on holiday in Key West when we noticed a dockside advertisement urging us to board a high-speed catamaran called the Yankee Freedom III and ‘escape to the secluded islands and tropical beaches’ of the Dry Tortugas where we could snorkel to our heart’s content in ‘crystal blue waters.’ We left the next morning for our ten-hour trip through the Gulf of Mexico.

As we voyaged west, the first of the Tortugas came into sight, an acre of coral reef covered in thick brushwood, mango and prickly pear. Our guide explained how such reefs were built out of the cup-shaped skeletons of small coral animals. But what he didn’t prepare us for was what came next. Out of the dancing heat haze, a weird-looking vessel loomed up. Although her outline was blurred by the thickening air, a turreted battleship seemed to lie in wait. As we got nearer, the battleship morphed into an immense fortification, a three-tiered, six-sided brick castle that appeared to rest on the surface of the sea.

‘Welcome to the Fort Jefferson National Park,’ said our fact-happy guide. ‘Consisting of over sixteen million bricks, it is the largest brick masonry structure in the Americas.’ I was utterly astounded. Why build such a massive fortress on a coral atoll in the middle of nowhere? It beggared belief. Everything must have been brought by ship: all the skilled artisans and labourers, all the timber and cement, every last brick and nail. And to what end? The guide had the answer. ‘To stop you from invading us,’ he said. ‘After the War of 1812 when the British set fire to Washington and the White House, we built a chain of coastal forts to protect ourselves. Fort Jefferson was designed to be the ultimate defence system.’

To take a closer look, we crossed the imposing drawbridge and went into the fort. The walls were eight-feet-thick and fifty-feet-high with embrasures for hundreds of heavy guns. And it wasn’t even finished. A guide in a National Park T-shirt explained what had gone wrong. ‘The fort took too long to build,’ he told us. ‘Technological advances in warfare rendered it obsolete. During the Civil War, it became a military prison, mainly for deserters. But its most famous inmates were the Lincoln conspirators who were given life sentences for plotting to assassinate the president. Would you like to see their cell?’

How could one possibly refuse such an invitation? Instead of snorkelling happily among the tropical fish and sponges in the azure shallows we found ourselves bent over in a dark dungeon, above which someone had scratched the words, ‘Whoever enters here leaves all hope behind.’ The National Park historian talked about one of the four men who had been locked up here in irons. Dr Samuel Mudd had had the misfortune to set John Wilkes Booth’s broken leg shortly after he had shot Lincoln. ‘People say Mudd was just an innocent country doctor but don’t you believe it. He knew what he was doing. Not that he was a bad man. There was a yellow fever epidemic in the fort and the surgeon died. Mudd took over the doctoring and saved many lives. He was helped by one of his cellmates.’ And who might that be? ‘Oh, an English spy called Grenfell. He was a strange guy; volunteered to nurse the sadistic officers who had tortured him months earlier.’

I sat up and took notice, banging my head on the cell ceiling. Why was he tortured? ‘Grenfell managed to get an anonymous letter published complaining about the casual brutality of the prison guards. Finding out who had written it, they strung him up on an iron grating, naked to the waist and without water, exposed to the burning sun and the mosquitoes for almost a day, before dragging him down to the quay and dunking him in the water several times with weights attached to his feet. But he was as stubborn as a mule. He wouldn’t die.’ What happened to him? ‘Oh, a year later, in 1868, Grenfell bribed a prison officer and escaped in a small boat, never to be seen again. They say he died at sea but there were several later unconfirmed sightings of him in Cuba.’

That was all the guide could tell me but I wanted to know more. This is what I eventually learned. Colonel George St Leger Grenfell was the highest ranking British officer in the Confederate Army. A mercenary by trade, he fought for the South without any payment. He was an incredibly brave man who rode with Morgan’s Raiders, trained the Confederate cavalry and was with Lee at Gettysburg before being arrested trying to break into a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp in Chicago. Sentenced to death by a military tribunal, he eventually ended up doing hard labour in Fort Jefferson. But what made him even more remarkable was his chequered past. Born into one of Cornwall’s most influential families, George Grenfell had bankrupted his father and been disowned. He was wanted for fraud in France and mosque desecration in Morocco. A man of infinite resource but no firm convictions, he had gone to war all over the world, seeking to redeem his reputation.

Here was the perfect antihero for my novel. Living as I do in Cornwall, I might have found him by going down the road to Penzance instead of crossing the Atlantic. But I rarely do things the easy way.

abouttheauthor

David Taylor was educated at the Royal Grammar School Newcastle and at University College London where he read history and was president of the students’ union. He has won national and international awards for print, radio and television journalism. His book Web of Corruption was published by Granada.

He wrote for the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, reported for Panorama and World in Action, presented BBC2 series on defence and civil nuclear power, edited Radio 4’s current affairs programme File on 4 and BBC2’s Brass Tacks and On The Line, produced several series of Great Railway Journeys and of the Wainwright and Fred Dibnah programmes and was head of BBC Features before forming an independent production company called Triple Echo which has won scores of awards, mainly for adventure broadcasting.

page-divide_12_orig

05212018_livedtwice

Weekly Wrap-Up (May 20)

weekly-wrap-up

I’ve had one of those weeks where I thought I was being superbly productive but upon looking back, it looks as if I’ve not done much of anything.

Yesterday, I spent my day in front of the television. This is a big deal at my house. I don’t normally watch a lot of tv. Hence why I spent five minutes trying to figure out how our remote worked again and where the channels were. 🙄 Anyway, I watched coverage of the Royal Wedding and really enjoyed it. As a fan of Suits, I was looking forward to seeing the cast in all their finery and they didn’t disappoint. I don’t care what anyone else says, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are just lovely together and I wish them all the happiness in the world.

I also had a horrible migraine and a few really long phone conversations with my dad involving all sorts of complicated and bang-your-head-against-a-brick-wall family issues. Reading-wise, this of course put a bit of a dent into things. However, I still managed 5 books so it’s not all bad.

Books I read this week

Books I’ve bought this week

I wasn’t going to buy any. But my finger slipped.

ARC’s received via Netgalley

At least I still have this relatively under control. Downloaded for blog tour purposes.

38817373

On the blog this past week

I knew May was going to be nuts but seriously. Every week, I’m stunned I managed to fulfil all my commitments.

Monday : Joined the blog tour for A Mind Polluted by Martin Geraghty

Tuesday : Shared an extract on the blog tour for Absolution by Paul E. Hardisty

Wednesday : Joined the blog tour for Meet Me At The Museum by Anne Youngson

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog blitz for Blood Runs Cold by Dylan Young

Friday : Finally got to share my review for Dying Truth by Angela Marsons  on the blog blitz

Saturday : Reviewed The Brighton Mermaid by Dorothy Koomson

Sunday : Joined the blog tour for Juliet & Romeo by David Hewson

Next week on Novel Deelights

No less than eight (8!!!) blog tours. Yes, I’m losing the plot. Why do you ask?! 😜
Among them The Chosen Ones by Carol Wyer and I’ll be joining in the celebrations for the Cathy Connolly Trilogy by Sam Blake as well. Lots to look out for. May need to squeeze in a nap or two (ten).

In other news, the Annual Blogger Bash Awards Winners were announced yesterday. I didn’t win, didn’t even make the top three in my category. It’s okay, I’m over it now. 😄. Huge congratulations to everyone who won and was nominated! You’re all fabulous to me! And a massive thank you to those who nominated me and voted for me. I appreciate it all! Much love ❤️

And that’s it for another week. Off to prep some posts and start reading. Such a glamorous life I lead.

Have a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! xx