Forget Me Not by Claire Allan | @ClaireAllan @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K | #blogtour #bookreview #ForgetMeNot

Delighted to join the blog tour for Forget Me Not by Claire Allan today! My thanks to Sabah at Avon for the opportunity to join and for the fab review copy!

Author : Claire Allan
Title : Forget Me Not
Pages : 336
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : May 30, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

I disappeared on a Tuesday afternoon. I was there one minute and the next I was gone. They’ve never found my body…

It’s six in the morning during the hottest summer on record when Elizabeth O’Loughlin, out walking her dog, comes across Clare, a victim of a horrific knife attack, clinging onto life at the side of the road.

Clare dies minutes later, but not before whispering her haunting last words to Elizabeth.

When it becomes clear that Clare’s killer has more than one murder on his mind, Elizabeth has to take drastic action or face losing everything.

But what if she can’t stop a killer determined never to be forgotten?

| MY THOUGHTS |

And Claire Allan strikes again! Yowza!

Early one morning, Elizabeth sets out walking her dog when she comes across a young woman called Clare, who’s been the victim of a knife attack. Sadly, Clare dies minutes later while Elizabeth holds her hand, but not before whispering two haunting words. A series of events soon show Clare’s killer is on a mission. Can her killer be stopped from achieving their aim?

This is one of those books you just can’t put down once you’ve started reading. The prologue alone already had me sitting up and paying attention. It’s one of those beginnings where you just can’t help flipping the pages back to it, trying to figure out how the prologue fits into the rest of the story. And just like with Claire Allan’s previous books, that’s when I knew I’d be hooked from start to finish. It’s pretty tense and the tension only ramps up as you get closer to the conclusion.

The chapters alternate between Elizabeth and Rachel, who was one of Clare’s best friends. Elizabeth is one of those characters I immediately felt myself drawn to. Living on her own in isolation with just her dog for company, there is something quite sad about her. It makes you wonder what happened that made her come to be this way. Finding Clare abandoned by the roadside opens up a whole can of worms for her. Meanwhile, Rachel too is struggling to come to terms with Clare’s death. Finding little support in her husband’s arms, she seeks comfort elsewhere.

I felt rather smug, thinking I had the whole thing figured out and in a way I sort of had, but not quite (I know, totally confusing. 😄). Somehow Claire Allan managed to keep me doubting my theory and keep me wondering. I said it last time and I’ll say it again, it’s an absolute credit to the author’s writing that even when you think you know it all, the journey to get to the end remains every bit as thrilling.

Sometimes quite heartbreaking but always gripping, Forget Me Not is another fantastically addictive page-turner by this author. Claire Allan’s writing just gets better and better and once again she delivers with an incredibly clever and suspenseful plot, intriguing characters, twists and turns and an ending that will chill you to the bone. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

Forget Me Not is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Claire Allan is an International Bestselling Author from Derry in Northern Ireland.

Her debut psychological thriller, Her Name Was Rose, was published in June 2018. It hit the bestseller charts in the UK, Australia, Canada and is a USA Today bestseller. Her next novel, Apple of My Eye, was published in January 2019 and hit the bestseller charts internationally. 

Allan’s third psychological thriller, Forget Me Not, was released 30th May 2019. 

Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor | @melaniecantor @TransworldBooks | #blogtour #bookreview #RandomThingsTours

Delighted to join the blog tour for Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my beautiful review copy!

Author : Melanie Cantor
Title : Death and Other Happy Endings
Pages : 300
Publisher : Bantam Press
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Jennifer Cole has just been told that she has a terminal blood disease. She has three months to live — ninety days to say goodbye to friends and family and put her affairs in order. Trying to focus on the positives (at least she’ll never lose her teeth) Jennifer realises she has one overriding regret: the words she’s left unsaid. 

Rather than pursuing a frantic bucket list, she chooses to stay put, and write letters to three significant people in her life: her overbearing, selfish sister, her jelly-spined, cheating ex-husband, and her charming, unreliable ex-boyfriend finally telling them the things she’s always wanted to say but never dared.

At first, Jennifer feels cleansed by her catharsis. Liberated, even. But once you start telling the truth, it’s hard to stop. And, as she soon discovers, the truth isn’t always as straightforward as it seems, and death has a way of surprising you. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

Something somewhat different on my blog today. Far removed from all the crime fiction and psychological thrillers I tend to read, it was the book description for Death and Other Happy Endings that immediately appealed to me. Who doesn’t just want to let go and really tell people what you think of them?

Jennifer Cole is told she has an incurable disease and only has three months left to live. What would you do? Pull out a bucket list and cram as much as you can into those ninety days you have left? Or take a good, long look at the life you’ve led so far; the good and the bad? Jennifer decides this is the perfect time to write letters to her ex-husband, her ex-boyfriend and her sister. Three people who have been immensely significant in her life, but who have also let her down and maybe Jennifer has let them get away with just that little bit too much. Finally, she feels the time has come to tell them how she really feels about them. After all, she’s dying and won’t have to face the consequences, right? But there are a few surprises in store.

You’d be forgiven for thinking this story would be absolutely depressing but I promise you, it’s really not. A lot of that down is to the character of Jennifer, who is absolutely delightful. From the very first page, I already knew I was going to love her to bits. As heartbreaking as the news about her diagnosis is, there was something about her personality that immediately drew me to her. Even while sitting in the doctor’s office, receiving bad news, she somehow managed to make me laugh.

It’s remarkably easy to imagine the feeling of liberation Jennifer has when she finally posts the three letters. It almost made me feel slightly jealous, thinking I too would love to tell some people a few home truths. Although preferably without a death sentence hanging over my head. Why is it that we often don’t or wait until it’s too late?

Death and Other Happy Endings is a moving, yet witty and heartwarming story about relationships, friendships, life and regrets. I absolutely adored this book. I found it immensely enjoyable and entertaining, yet also quite thought-provoking. This is a truly delightful debut from Melanie Cantor and I would have absolutely no problem shoving my crime fiction and thrillers aside to read more by her.

Death and Other Happy Endings is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Melanie Cantor was a celebrity agent and publicist for over thirty years. Her clients included Ulrika Jonsson, Melinda Messenger and Melanie Sykes. 

In 2004, she hosted a makeover show on Channel 4 called Making Space and in 2017 having just turned 60 she was scouted on Kings Cross station, subsequently appearing as a ‘real model’ in the most recent Dove campaign. 

She turned her hand to writing in 2008. Death and other Happy Endings is her first published novel.

Weekly Wrap-Up (June 16)

Halfway through June and still no sign of Summer. This past week, we had so many thunderstorms I lost count. I have no idea what’s going on but I do not approve.

What’s a girl to do when the weather is crap? Well, in hindsight, I suppose I could have done some ironing. Oops. Instead, I read. There was a bit of a wobble mid-week, when two books made their way onto the DNF pile. One I gave a go twice in the last few months. Seems safe to say it’s not for me. It was one of my 20 Books of Summer too, which means it’ll need replacing.

Anywho! What did I read this week? And did I manage to read more than 3 books this time around? Let’s find out!

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Well, would you look at that!!!! I’m too impressed with myself to say any more than that 😉. Probably all downhill from here again though. 🤣

Spoiler : one of those is currently my book of the year. It’ll take something special to knock if off that number one spot. Yes, you’re allowed to guess. No, there won’t be a reward. 😜

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Karin Slaughter!!!!!!! I couldn’t possibly be more excited! It arrived early too (yesterday instead of Monday/Tuesday) so obviously I’m already reading it. It’s SO GOOD! I’m incredibly annoyed that I have to go and be social today or I would have stayed up all night reading it, instead of going to bed and get some sleep in order to look halfway decent today. (Didn’t work, should have just kept reading 😂)

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Titan Books be spoiling me. A Shroud of Leaves is the second book in a series, which I wasn’t aware of. So naturally, I’m going to have to get the first one first because I just can’t help myself. 🙄

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Shared my review of All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride

Tuesday : Posted an extract for my stop on the blog tour for What Lies Around Us by Andrew Crofts

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for A Modern Family by Helga Flatland and shared my Week in Books

Thursday : Joined the blog tour for Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

Friday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Without A Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Busy, busy. Good thing that reading slump is a tad less hormonal than a few weeks ago 😂

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

Tuesday : Blog tour | Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | The Serpent’s Mark by S.W. Perry

Thursday : Review | The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor

Friday : Blog tour | Review | The Whisper Man by Alex North

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Want to know something? I have read all of those! I know, right? Go me! I do still have two reviews to write but hey, can’t have everything. Besides, that’s not my fault but Karin Slaughter’s 😉

Personally, I think this entire wrap-up is most impressive. If you’d like to shower me with prizes, I won’t say no. 😂

That’s it for this week. I am now going to spend an insane amount of time staring at my wardrobe, trying to figure out what to wear for this lunch I am forced to attend. There will be wine! I’ll be raising a glass to my granddad, who would have turned 100 years old today, if he had still been with us.

Enough babbling. Wishing you all a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

Without A Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch | @carissaannlynch @KillerReads | #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Without A Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for the review copy!

Author : Carissa Ann Lynch
Title : Without A Trace
Pages : 230
Publisher : Killer Reads
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

A little girl has gone missing.

Lily was last seen being tucked into bed by her adoring mother, Nova. But the next morning, the bed is empty except for a creepy toy rabbit.

Has Nova’s abusive ex stolen his “little bunny” back for good?

At first, Officer Ellie James assumes this is a clear custody battle. Until she discovers that there are no pictures of the girl and her drawers are full of unused toys and brand new clothes that have never been worn…

Is Ellie searching for a missing child who doesn’t actually exist?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Nova Nesbitt and her four year old daughter, Lily, arrive in a small town in the middle of nowhere, desperate to escape Nora’s abusive husband. But when Nora checks on her daughter the next morning, the little girl has gone missing. Convinced her husband has already found her and has taken her daughter, Nora calls the police. Officer Ellie James attends the scene. She assumes this is a clear custody battle but after searching the log cabin and interviewing Nora, Ellie starts to wonder if Lily even exists.

This story is told through three women : Nora, the mother; Ellie, the rookie cop; and Clara, the neighbour and owner of the log cabin. Ellie seems pretty straight-forward, but both Nora and Clara come across as rather unreliable, though both for very different reasons. Clara quite obviously has something to hide, a secret she’s desperate to protect. Nora is a nervous wreck, which is understandable considering her daughter has gone missing. Yet, just like Ellie, I couldn’t help but feel there was something a tad off about her.

This well-paced and quickie read has some surprises in store. If at any point I thought this would turn out into something a bit predictable, I was quickly proven wrong. I couldn’t at all figure out if Lily was real or not. If she was, what had happened to her? If she wasn’t, what on earth was going on?

Apart from maybe one or two characters, the men in this story don’t exactly make a good impression. Ellie faces a daily struggle with her colleagues, especially after an incident involving a senior male officer. But more than that, this story deals with domestic abuse in all its ugly forms and the resilience, strength and determination of the women trying to make a change in their lives.

Without A Trace took me by surprise. It is a tense and gripping story, with quite the chilling undertone to it. It’s a story that will have you rooting for the women, while flipping the pages faster and faster to reach the conclusion. I had no idea where things would end up and the author kept me guessing until the end. Without A Trace is a twisty and suspenseful book that will keep you on your toes.

Without A Trace is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Carissa Ann Lynch resides in Floyds Knobs, Indiana with her husband, three children, and a massive collection of books. She has a degree in psychology and worked as a counsellor. 

Sister Of Mine by Laurie Petrou | @lauriepetrou @noexitpress | #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Laurie Petrou
Title : Sister of Mine
Pages : 250
Publisher : No Exit Press
Publication date : June 20, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Penny and Hattie are sisters in a small town, bound tight to the point of knots. They share a secret they cannot escape, even while it pulls them apart. 

One night, a match is lit, and Penny’s terrible husband is killed – a marriage going up in flames, and offering the potential of a new life. The sisters retreat into their family home – a house of secrets and memories – and try to live in the shadow of what they put in motion. But Penny’s husband is not the only thing they are hiding, from the outside world and from each other.

Under a cloud of long-held resentments, sibling rivalry, and debts unpaid, the bonds of sisterhood begin to crack. How long will Penny and Hattie demand the unthinkable of each other? How often will they say, “You owe me,” and when will it ever be enough? 

| MY THOUGHTS |

There is always something quite fascinating about the relationship between sisters, for some reason. However, the relationship between Penny and Hattie is a tad on the dysfunctional side.

The two sisters have always found themselves on the outside of the small community where they’ve lived their entire lives. As a teenager, Hattie makes a break for freedom but young love and the lure of her hometown soon bring her back home. After Hattie’s husband dies in a fire, the sisters retreat to their family home and try to live with a massive secret. Sibling rivalry is a dangerous thing, however, and cracks start to appear in their relationship.

Sister of Mine makes for some compulsive reading. While relatively on the slow side, I found myself glued to the pages; wondering what would happen, all the while feeling it couldn’t be anything good. These two characters don’t exactly come across as particularly likeable. Is one a good sister and the other a bad one? Are they both bad? I had a heck of a time trying to decide. Yet, having a younger sister of my own, there were some moments I could absolutely relate to.

There’s a rather great sense of claustrophobia throughout this novel. It’s not only brought on by the small town feeling, where everybody seems to know your business, and no matter how hard you try there doesn’t seem to be any escape. It’s also in the relationship between the sisters themselves. This secret they both keep is an explosive one. One that could change their lives if it ever came out. If you’re not entirely sure the other person will keep their mouth shut, there’s little you can do but constantly keep an eye on them, ultimately putting your own life on hold.

Sister of Mine is a tense and character-driven psychological thriller that really brings to the fore how thin the line between love and hate can be. There are no dazzling twists or shocking surprises but there didn’t need to be. This dark story is all about the complex characters and how far they will go to test the bond between them and this gripping tale of sisterhood will undoubtedly appeal to fans of the domestic family genre.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Author, Professor, PhD, drinker of tea.

Most of my adventures take place inside books. I am, I think, part Hobbit: I love my books, my armchair, my garden… but I am not at all stealth (was once described as a Clydesdale for the way I clomp around the house).

 My 2nd book, Sister of Mine, won the inaugural Half the World Award, and was on a number of Best Of lists, including the Top 100 Books of 2018 of the Globe and Mail (2nd time running). 

This Week in Books (June 12)

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 |

I disappeared on a Tuesday afternoon. I was there one minute and the next I was gone. They’ve never found my body…

It’s six in the morning during the hottest summer on record when Elizabeth O’Loughlin, out walking her dog, comes across Clare, a victim of a horrific knife attack, clinging onto life at the side of the road.

Clare dies minutes later, but not before whispering her haunting last words to Elizabeth.

When it becomes clear that Clare’s killer has more than one murder on his mind, Elizabeth has to take drastic action or face losing everything.

But what if she can’t stop a killer determined never to be forgotten?

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Early in the morning of Monday 8 July 1895, thirteen-year-old Robert Coombes and his twelve-year-old brother Nattie set out from their small, yellow-brick terraced house in East London to watch a cricket match at Lord’s. Their father had gone to sea the previous Friday, the boys told their neighbours, and their mother was visiting her family in Liverpool. Over the next ten days Robert and Nattie spent extravagantly, pawning their parents’ valuables to fund trips to the theatre and the seaside.

But as the sun beat down on the Coombes house, a strange smell began to emanate from the building. When the police were finally called to investigate, the discovery they made sent the press into a frenzy of horror and alarm, and Robert and Nattie were swept up in a criminal trial that echoed the outrageous plots of the ‘penny dreadful’ novels that Robert loved to read.

In The Wicked Boy, Kate Summerscale has uncovered a fascinating true story of murder and morality – it is not just a meticulous examination of a shocking Victorian case, but also a compelling account of its aftermath, and of man’s capacity to overcome the past.

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Treason sleeps for no man…

London, 1591. Nicholas Shelby, physician and reluctant spy, returns to his old haunts on London’s lawless Bankside. But, when the queen’s spymaster Robert Cecil asks him to investigate the dubious practices of a mysterious doctor from Switzerland, Nicholas is soon embroiled in a conspiracy that threatens not just the life of an innocent young patient, but the overthrow of Queen Elizabeth herself.

With fellow healer and mistress of the Jackdaw tavern, Bianca Merton, again at his side, Nicholas is drawn into a dangerous world of zealots, charlatans and fanatics. As their own lives become increasingly at risk, they find themselves confronting the greatest treason of all: the spectre of a bloody war between the faiths…

From a psychological thriller to true crime to historical fiction. You won’t be seeing that often 😄

What are you reading this week? Do let me know! I feel like buying some books so I need suggestions 😉. Happy reading! xx

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland | @HelgaFlatland @OrendaBooks | #blogtour #AModernFamily #bookreview #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Modern Family by Helga Flatland. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my beautiful review copy!

Author : Helga Flatland (trs Rosie Hedger)
Title : A Modern Family
Pages : 250
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When Liv, Ellen, and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s 70th birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce.

Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.

A bittersweet novel of regret, relationships, and rare psychological insights, A Modern Family encourages us to look at the people closest to us a little more carefully, and ultimately reveals that it’s never too late for change.

| MY THOUGHTS |

This novel is the perfect example of why I love doing blog tours as much as I do. It isn’t exactly the type of book I’d normally go for. In fact, I was rather worried it wouldn’t be my thing at all. But Orenda Books has never let me down before and as I have the utmost faith in their books, I decided to go for it. Didn’t regret it for a second!

On a trip to Italy to celebrate their father’s 70th birthday, Liv, Ellen and Håkon’s lives are thrown into turmoil when their parents reveal their decision to get divorced. Each must now come to terms with the changes that will bring.

I didn’t particularly like any of these characters. Yet the feelings they are struggling with were immensely relatable. It’s easy to forget sometimes that your parents are just people too, with their own thoughts, opinions and feelings. How well do we ever really know our parents and the life they lead when we aren’t around? Just because they don’t argue in front of us, doesn’t mean they don’t argue in private, for instance. Watching the siblings struggle with their parents’ divorce made sense. In effect, it is a safety net that has vanished and for Liv especially, who tried to model her own marriage after her parents, things fall apart rather quickly. If her parents can’t make their marriage last, how can she?

A Modern Family is a beautifully written story about relationships and the shifting of family dynamics. It delves deep into the psychology of these characters and shows remarkable insight as the characters start to analyse, not only themselves, but also those closest to them. I often found myself nodding at some of the things that were said and you just can’t help reading this and subsequently put your own family under a magnifying glass. With complex characters and issues, this beautifully written story soon became utterly immersive and that is no mean feat when you realise there are no bells and whistles, no twists and turns, but just everyday people dealing with everyday problems.

A Modern Family surprised me in the best way possible. Moving, powerful, thought-provoking and immensely absorbing, it paints a wonderful and realistic picture of a family going through the ups and downs of modern life.

A Modern Family is published tomorrow and available for preorder!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Helga Flatland is already one of Norway’s most awarded and widely read authors.

Born in Telemark, Norway, in 1984, she made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Stay If You Can, Leave If You Must, for which she was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas’ First Book Prize.

She has written four novels and a children’s book and has won several other literary awards. Her fifth novel, A Modern Family, was published to wide acclaim in Norway in August 2017, and was a number-one bestseller. The rights have subsequently been sold across Europe and the novel has sold more than 100,000 copies.

What Lies Around Us by Andrew Crofts | @AndrewCrofts @RedDoorBooks | #blogtour #RandomThingsTours #extract #excerpt

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for What Lies Around Us by Andrew Crofts! Today, I have an extract to share with you all but first, let’s see what this book is all about.

Author : Andrew Crofts
Title : What Lies Around Us
Pages : 256
Publisher : RedDoor Publishing
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

It is possible that since this book’s publication you will have heard that I have died in ‘suspicious circumstances’. Obviously I hope that will not be the case, but I believe it is worth taking the risk in order to get this story out there.

Why would one of Silicon Valley’s most powerful billionaires offer a British ghostwriter a million dollars to write the autobiography of Hollywood’s biggest star?

Only once he is living and working among the world’s richest and most beautiful people does the ghost realise that there is way more than a publishing deal at stake.

The ghostwriter must face the dark underbelly of the tech industry. He must face corruption and manipulation, come to blows with people who will do anything to remain at the top of their game and uncover the dark truth behind what it really means to be an influencer . . .

| EXTRACT |

From Chapter 1

The day the first email arrived, Caroline suggested I start a diary, although neither of us had the slightest idea how enormous the story would become.

All I knew was that I had been contacted personally by one of the mightiest beasts from the world of the business and technology superpowers. Roger Rex’s name was right up there with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk; a modern-day witch doctor who was believed to not only be able to see into the future but to be able to shape it too; a magician for our times. And instead of a fire-breathing dragon, this sorcerer had his billions to give credibility to the rumours of his magical powers and stupendous brain.

I was aware that the email could have been a hoax. I mean, what were the chances that one of the half dozen richest people on the planet had actually sat down and written a note directly to me? But there was no reason not to accept it at face value, at least until it proved to be something else. The message was simple; I am going to be in London next week and I would really like to discuss a possible project. Could we meet for lunch? I will be staying at the Four Seasons.

Even if it came to no more than a lunch with Roger Rex at the Four Seasons it would be an adventure worth having. I would love to, I emailed back, just let me know where and when you would like to meet.

“I love your work, Andrew,” he said once the complications of the menu had been ironed out and the staff had quietly withdrawn to prepare the meal as ordered and attend to other customers. “Particularly the human interest stories; ordinary people battling against the odds…”

“Really?” I said. “You’ve read my work?”

“Of course,” he seemed shocked by the suggestion that he might have come to a meeting unprepared. Leaning down beside his chair he dipped his hand into his backpack, which he had refused to relinquish to the staff at reception, producing Secrets of the Italian Gardener with a flourish, making the gold inlay of the cover glitter in the subdued restaurant lights. “Fantastic story. And short too. I like a book I can read in one flight.” He paused for a moment before adding awkwardly, “my condolences on your loss by the way.”

“Thank you.”

The social niceties apparently now out of the way he reverted to monologue-mode. I wished I was recording him because I wanted to remember everything he was saying so that I could relay it to Caroline once I was home, but our relationship had not yet reached a point where I could whip out a Dictaphone or a notepad. At this stage it was just a casual lunch and I still had no idea why he wanted to meet me. Everything he said was interesting. There was too much of it for me to hope to remember more than a few main themes; too many ideas, too many digressions, too many extraordinary pieces of information and exciting predictions, all sparkling with the most dazzling name-drops in the world – Clinton, Obama, Gates, Mandela, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Soros, Clooney, Swift, de Niro and Streep – delivered with no apparent self-awareness, simply reporting something interesting they had said to him or done. He had no need to boast about who he knew, it just so happened that many of the people he talked to in the course of his average days were world famous. I wasn’t even sure that he realised how famous they were, or cared.

“So,” I grabbed a fleeting opportunity to interrupt his flow, “are you thinking of writing a book?”

“Sure,” he said, apparently surprised by the question, “sure, sure, but not yet.”

“If we were to commission a book but we had very strong ideas about what should or shouldn’t be in it. Would you mind being told and having to re-write and edit a great deal?”

“Usually I suggest that I write the first draft as I think it should be,” I replied, “but ultimately it is the author’s story, so they can make whatever changes they want.  When you say ‘we’ would have very strong ideas …?”

“There are a few people interested in the outcome of this book. It could have huge global impact. Absolutely huge.

“Can you give me an idea what you mean by ‘global impact’?”

“Not yet, no. Not until you’ve talked to the lawyers. You would be great for this job, really great. Your books made me cry. You’ve done celebrity books too, right?”

“Yes, a few.”

“It’s important not to be star struck.”

I remembered reading that he had been buying up film studios and television networks, corralling creative talent so that he could control the creation of the content he needed for streaming services into smartphones and social media. Were these the sort of stars he was talking about? I felt my heart thump a little faster – surely everyone’s star struck about somebody.

“Can you tell me anything about the story at all?”

“No,” he shook his head and gave a sharp bark of laughter which made several heads turn in our direction. “Lawyers. You’ll have to sign away your life before we can tell you anything. Do you have an agent? Is there someone we have to talk to?”

“We can go through an agent if you like,” I said, “there are a few that I use for different projects. Or you can just deal with me.”

“We would prefer that, if you don’t mind. If there is an agent involved then that is one more person who has to know at least some of the details of the project, one more person who might leak, one more stage in the process, slowing things down. This is really great coffee! Such a great aroma.” He held the tiny cup close to his nostrils and inhaled deeply, closing his eyes in apparent ecstasy. “We will want to pay you an outright fee so that we own the copyright completely. Your name would be visible nowhere. Would that be a problem?”

“Absolutely not.”

“This is great, really great. It’s going to be so great!” he rocked happily back in his chair, clapping loudly, his huge hands flapping like a seal’s flippers. “I’ll get the lawyers to contact you. We are going to make history.”

If this extract has left you wanting more, then why not to go ahead and grab yourself a copy of What Lies Around Us!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Andrew Crofts is a ghostwriter and author who has published more than eighty books, a dozen of which were Sunday Times number one bestsellers. He has also guided a number of international clients successfully through the minefield of independent publishing.

His books on writing include “Ghostwriting”, (A&C Black) and “The Freelance Writer’s Handbook”, (Piatkus), which has been reprinted eight times over twenty years.

Throughout his bestseller, “The Ghost”, Robert Harris quotes Andrew’s seminal book, “Ghostwriting”. Harris’s book went on to become a major movie by the same name, directed by Roman Polanski and starring Ewan McGregor as the eponymous ghost. The opening lines in Robert Harris’s book sum up Andrew’s philosophy:

“Of all the advantages ghosting offers, one of the greatest must be the opportunity that you get to meet people of interest”.

Andrew was on the Management Committee of the Society of Authors from 2012 to 2015. He lectures on the subject of making a living from writing at Kingston University, presents Masterclasses on the subject at The Guardian and frequently guests at writing workshops, literary festivals and in the media. He blogs regularly on matters pertaining to publishing, self-publishing and writing.

All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Stuart MacBride
Title : All That’s Dead
Series : Logan McRae #12
Pages : 437
Publisher : Harper Collins
Publication date : May 30, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Inspector Logan McRae was looking forward to a nice simple case – something to ease him back into work after a year off on the sick. But the powers-that-be have other ideas…

The high-profile anti-independence campaigner, Professor Wilson, has gone missing, leaving nothing but bloodstains behind. There’s a war brewing between the factions for and against Scottish Nationalism. Infighting in the police ranks. And it’s all playing out in the merciless glare of the media. Logan’s superiors want results, and they want them now.

Someone out there is trying to make a point, and they’re making it in blood. If Logan can’t stop them, it won’t just be his career that dies.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Few things get me as excited as the arrival of a new Logan McRae book so as soon as my pre-order arrived, I dropped everything and settled in for what I was sure would be an entertaining afternoon.

On his first day back at work after a year long absence, Logan McRae is hoping for a nice and easy ride but luck is not on his side. High-profile and anti-independence campaigner Professor Wilson goes missing from his home and that’s just the start of a major shit-storm all over the place. Social media goes mental, there’s a war brewing between between factions for and against Scottish Nationalism and the media is having a field day.

Gee, I wonder where Stuart MacBride got his inspiration from 🤔. All That’s Dead is extremely politically tinted, if you hadn’t guessed that yet, and thus sadly incredibly apt in this day and age. This may not be to everyone’s liking and I dare say the author took quite a risk putting this out there. Personally, it didn’t bother me at all. It makes for a great story and ultimately that’s all I’m ever looking for.

I always worry slightly about how much Logan McRae can actually be involved in an investigation, being that he now works for Professional Standards. I shouldn’t have though, because he’s not on the fringes of this one at all. Logan McRae is tasked with keeping an eye on the investigating Detective King and this puts him smack-bang in the middle of it all. There are some surprises, some twists, many dubious decisions and quite frankly, if I were the big chief who gets a say in these things, I’d fire pretty much the entire force.

The Logan McRae books are always a treat but even though I found this one a fabulous read and it had me hooked as these books always do, I also felt it was missing something. It’s hard to explain but there’s a special kind of Stuart MacBride magic that seemed to be lacking this time around. Many of the characters that normally bring a brilliant kind of dark humour to the table were now just plainly getting on my nerves. I missed that particular way Stuart MacBride has of combining the darkest of crimes with a healthy dose of chuckles, even sometimes at the most inappropriate moments.

Was this the best book in the Logan McRae series? I’m sorry to say that no, it wasn’t. Although I also fully admit that my expectations are always insanely high. But I did still enjoy it immensely and if Stuart MacBride decides to carry on with this series, I’ll still be every bit as excited as I used to be.

Can’t leave without mentioning that for a The Hobbit fan like myself, seeing “Tuftin Oakenbeard” pop up in the middle of a page genuinely made me laugh out loud.

All That’s Dead is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Book 1 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

Weekly Wrap-Up ( June 9)

Looks like Summer pissed off again. Instead we’ve had huge thunderstorms, rain and gusts. One of my young trees toppled over and is currently quite elegantly stuck between two rubbish bins so it stays upright. Idea courtesy of the other half 🙄

Reading-wise, my week got off to a great start! And then my reading mojo decided to throw yet another spanner in the works, resulting in starting two books that quickly found their way back to the bookshelf. Instead, I watched some tennis and did a whole lot of absolutely nothing.

However, I did manage to read more than 3 books this week so that’s progress! And I would have finished another one yesterday if a certain buddy reader would have stopped procrastinating 😉😂

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

I’m switching back and forth between blog tour books and books from my 20 Books of Summer list and so far, it’s working like a charm. Fingers crossed I can keep this up! Reviews for three of those will be up on the blog this week.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

This pre-order arrived at the start of the week so naturally I dropped everything and read it straight away. I mean, come on! It’s Stuart MacBride!

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

A giveaway win, two for a blog tour and one that might be for a tour? I’m not exactly sure. 😂 With thanks to Transworld, Orenda, Penguin and Jo!

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Nothing to see here

Tuesday : I was going to post and then I forgot what I wanted to do so I didn’t do anything 😳

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Shared an extract of The House On The Edge Of The Cliff by Carol Drinkwater for my stop on the blog tour

Friday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride

Tuesday : Blog tour | Extract | What Lies Around Us by Andrew Croft

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

Friday : Blog tour | Review | Without A Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Oooh. Could this be the start of a busy summer?

Question of the week : How far ahead do you start planning your holiday reads? How do you decide which books to shove into your suitcase? Are there books you deliberately keep aside for when you’re on holiday?

That’s a wrap! Have a fabulous week and I’ll see you next time! Happy reading! xx