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Monday, 16 December 2019

#MusicMonday TAKE ON ME by A-HA

It's Monday! It's time for Music!!  Hosted by the fabulous Drew at The Tattooed Book Geek, it's a chance to share a favourite video/song weekly and get the week off to a good start!

Back to the 80's for me today and A-HA!!  This video still wows me!


We're talking away
I don't know what
I'm to say I'll say it anyway
Today's another day to find you
Shying away
I'll be coming for your love, okay?
Take on me (take on me)
Take me on (take on me)
I'll be gone
In a day or two
So needless to say
I'm odds and ends
But I'll be stumbling away
Slowly learning that life is okay
Say after me
It's no better to be safe than sorry
Take on me (take on me)
Take me on (take on me)
I'll be gone
In a day or two
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Pal Waaktaar / Morten Harket / Magne Furuholmen
Take On Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Sunday, 15 December 2019



The extraordinary new novel everyone is talking about from the Sunday Times best-selling author of Sister

Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.

It is a morning's lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.

It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.

It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.

In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. Told from the point of view of the people at the heart of it, from the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.

Publication Date - 9th January 2020



The subject of school shootings is always an emotive one and in this dramatic story, we get to see the horror of an active shooting at a school in the UK play out from the perspective of a variety of characters inside and out of the situation which lends itself nicely to exploring a number of issues - the heroic actions of those trying to save a life, those doing all they can to distract younger children from what is going on outside a classroom door, and the desperation of those on the outside who are trying to figure out who is behind the shooting, and the helplessness felt by the parents as they wait for news.

What I liked about this book was the pace of it all - little snapshots of different situations over the three hours that gave you an overview of the scene as it played out. My only gripe was that because those inside the school were doing such a great job of staying calm to distract the children and trying to carry on as normal, it impacted on the tension for me as there were very rarely any moments where I felt they were all in danger, although that did change when it became very edgy as time ticked on and they all began to wonder how they could try and make an escape.

The role of social media was also cleverly used throughout the book - the rumours and speculation all played out through the media which added to the panic created especially for those watching on outside just waiting for news. And one of the most powerful things for me was the reaction of one of the mothers' when she finds out her son is one of the shooters - the disbelief and reluctance to think of her 'little boy' as being capable of doing such a thing, which just goes to show that so much can be hidden from those closest to you.

A dramatic and enjoyable read!


#BookReview VIOLET by SJI HOLLIDAY #LibraryLoveChallenge


When two strangers end up sharing a cabin on the Trans-Siberian Express, an intense friendship develops, one that can only have one ending … a nerve-shattering psychological thriller from bestselling author SJI Holliday

Carrie's best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they'd planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend's place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

A tense and twisted psychological thriller about obsession, manipulation and toxic friendships, Violet also reminds us that there's a reason why mother told us not to talk to strangers..

published by Orenda Books



Seeing these characters evolve and show their true colours throughout this book has been the icing on the cake for me in this very twisted thriller, and although it might have put me off ever going off on back packing holiday on the Trans-Siberian express, I've loved every single minute I spent on this 'journey'!!

Carrie is travelling alone around the world and has a spare ticket for the Trans-Siberian Express, so when she meets Violet, another lone traveller, it seems that fate has brought them together. They seem to share the same sense of humour and outlook on life so it seems the perfect plan for both of them! But what should be the perfect trip soon turns to something a wole lot more sinister and that darkness kept me turning the pages to discover just how twisted the outcome would be!

We get to see the emails that Carrie sends to her friend Laura back home, telling her of the experiences she's having and the new friend she has met along the way. And Violet just seems besotted with her first impressions of Carrie - she seems to have that kind of 'can do' attitude that rubs off on all those around her, and even when some of the stops along the way aren't what Violet imagined Carrie being part of, she goes along with it and there are many very' interesting' experiences and characters that they meet along the way!

And then it all starts getting messy! You get drawn in by the darker thoughts that Violet seems to have - past experiences and encounters!, and even she becomes a little shocked when Carrie starts to act irresponsibly so you're never really sure which girl is the worst influence on the other.

As a fly on the wall with these girls, you are really never sure where the story will take you next and the twists along the way were really shocking! The hints and teases of darker thoughts are really cleverly played and just when you think you're getting a handle on how the story will play out then bang, you're wrong!!

If you love your thrillers slightly twisted and a little bit messed up, then this is the book for you! Really enjoyed it!


Saturday, 14 December 2019

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 14th December 2019

Hello all! Hoping you've had a fun week bookish wise! All set for Christmas? Still not even put my tree up here - I just can't get in the mood! Think I need to force myself to put up some decorations and then hopefully the festive spirit will follow!

On to books - it's been a fairly decent bookish week for me. Managed to finish 4 books and they were all blooming good so that's always a bonus! Treated myself to a book in a charity shop and there's been a bit of bookpost too so that's always a lovely thing! Just need to catch up with some reviews now.....


Fabulous poetry collection

a proper twisted  thriller!

wonderful novel about Laurel & Hardy

I couldn't resist reading this before release date in 2020 and it's a corker!!


Nothing from Netgalley!! Yay me!

Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson
copy for review ahead of January blog tour

My baptismal name may be Giovanna but here in my mother’s adopted country I have become plain Joan; I am not pink-cheeked and golden-haired like the beauties they admire. I have olive skin and dark features – black brows over ebony eyes and hair the colour of a raven’s wing…

When Joan Vaux is sent to live in the shadow of the Tower of London, she must learn to navigate the treacherous waters of this new England under the Tudors. Like the ravens, Joan must use her eyes and her senses, if Henry and his new dynasty are to prosper and thrive

proof copy for review

Set between German-occupied 1940s Venice and modern-day London, this is a fascinating tale of the bravery of everyday women in the darkest corners of WWII, for readers of Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network and Pam Jenoff’s The Lost Girls of Paris.
Venice, 1943
The world is at war, and Stella Jilani is leading a double life. By day she works in the lion’s den as a typist for the Reich office; by night, she risks her life as a messenger for the Italian resistance. Against all odds, Stella must impart Nazi secrets, smuggle essential supplies across the city, and produce an underground newspaper on her beloved typewriter.
But when German commander, General Breugal, becomes suspicious, it seems he will stop at nothing to find the mole, and Stella knows she faces an uncertain future…
London, 2017
Years later, grieving Luisa Belmont finds a mysterious old typewriter in her attic. Determined to find out who it belonged to, Luisa delves into the past, and uncovers a story of fierce love, unimaginable sacrifice, and, ultimately, the worst kind of betrayal…

bought copy in a charity shop

Introducing a compelling new heroine, Genevieve - office worker by day and pole dancer by night - who finds herself implicated in a mob underworld of murder, corruption and betrayal. Genevieve has finally escaped the stressful demands of her sales job and achieved her dream: to leave London behind and start a new life aboard a houseboat in Kent. But on the night of her boat-warming party the dream is shattered when a body washes up beside the boat, and Genevieve recognises the victim. As the sanctuary of the boatyard is threatened, and Genevieve's life seems increasingly at risk, the story of how she came to be so out of her depth is unfolded, and Genevieve finds out the real cost of mixing business with pleasure..



Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead!!


Friday, 13 December 2019

#BlogTour #Giveaway #BookReview Bluebell's Christmas Magic by Marie Laval @rararesources

Hugely excited to be on the Blog Tour today for the wonderful Marie Laval and Bluebell's Christmas Magic! My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for letting me be part of it all! As well as my review of this festive read, there's also a giveaway with some fabulous prizes to be won!!

                                                               ABOUT THE BOOK

A gorgeous new Christmas story from the author of best selling novel Little Pink Taxi
A flick of a feather duster and a sprinkle of Christmas magic …

Cassie Bell is used to mess. Her cleaning business, Bluebell Cleaning, is well known in the Cumbrian village of Red Moss. However, now it’s almost Christmas and Cassie has a slightly messier situation to deal with than she’s used to.

She’s been hired to help Stefan Lambert, an injured army helicopter pilot who’s staying at the local Belthorn Manor whilst he recovers. Stefan resents Cassie’s interference and is definitely not looking for Christmas cheer. But Cassie prides herself on sparkling surfaces – so, can she bring some festive sparkle to Stefan’s life too?


                                                               ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Add caption
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire with her family. She works full-time as a modern languages teacher and in her spare time she loves writing romance and dreaming about romantic heroes. She writes both historical and contemporary romance and best-selling Little Pink Taxi was her debut romantic comedy novel with Choc Lit. She belongs to Authors on the Edge and writes short stories for the best selling Miss Moonshine’s anthologies. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her native France, as well as her passion for history and research, very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!


Giveaway to Win a small canvas purse and a thick notebook (Open to UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


A wonderful and magical story that had me swept about with the history and romance and left me just wanting more!  There was so much going on in this story and I found myself totally submerged in the lives of the characters - and in Cassie and Stefan you have 2 people who are polar opposites but just have that spark, that neither can explain!

Cassie runs a cleaning business and is one of life's good guys. Always there to help out whoever needs it and a real delight to be around. So when she's given the job of helping to look after a new inhabitant, Stefan,  at the local manor house, she expects to receive gratitude and thanks.  Stefan really just wants to be left alone so doesn't take too kindly to being 'cared' for - he's been injured abroad and isn't up to socialising much so finds it easier to push people away.

Stefan is a wonderful character to explore - seemingly a loner, you know he's got some history that has scarred him, not only physically, and you wonder if he's ever going to let his guard down and let people in to help him get through the darker times he has.  In Cassie, he meets someone who is seemingly a people person! She loves to help and is an invaluable member of the local community.  She also has a wonderful bond with her grandfather and their 'jokes' are a real feature of daily life!
As Stefan explores the manor he uncovers some diaries of a soldier who was at the manor in 1917, and this was another intriguing twist on the story - I do love a historical theme in the stories I read, and it all makes more sense when Cassie starts reading letters her grandfather gives her and a new story evolves about about what happened in the past.

Add to the past storyline, there's also a darker element in the present with a number of burglaries taking place which really puts a strain on the villagers as they can't believe someone could take advantage of them in such a way.

I loved Cassie and Stefan and the way their particular storylines played out - they both had to deal with some harrowing situations but found support when needed, and especially with Cassie who had dreams of a different career and finding out that those she thought she could trust were not quite so honest towards her, you just wondered when she'd get her break.  It gives a good message throughout of being careful who you trust, with some startling things going on that really added shock value.

Loved it!


Thursday, 12 December 2019



The Perseverance is the remarkable debut book by British-Jamaican poet Raymond Antrobus. Ranging across history and continents, these poems operate in the spaces in between, their haunting lyrics creating new, hybrid territories.

The Perseverance is a book of loss, contested language and praise, where elegies for the poet’s father sit alongside meditations on the d/Deaf experience.

published by Penned In The Margins



My thanks to FMCM Associates and The Sunday Times/ University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Awards for sending me a copy of this poetry collection in exchange for a fair and honest review. This was the winning book for 2019.

.A stunning collection of poetry by a very talented young deaf writer. Within this collection he really shows how powerful even just a few words can be especially when dealing with subjects I know very little about. But he shares with brutal honesty the challenges and issues and how they impact on him as a person and I found the poems about family and dementia the most hard hitting and easiest to relate to. The issues with sign language were also brought depressingly to light with the sign for 'alive' looking like the sign for guns and the consequences that brings. Miami Airport and Dementia were also 2 poems that hit home the hardest for me.

It's a fascinating and stark insight into the world of deafness, mixed heritage and family and how he views the world around him and I eagerly await more from this extremely talented and competent writer.




The schoolchildren call it the Ice Palace: a frozen waterfall in the Norwegian fjords transformed into a fantastic structure of translucent walls, sparkling towers and secret chambers. It fascinates two young girls, lonely Unn and lively Siss, who strike up an intense friendship. When Unn decides to explore the Ice Palace alone and doesn't return, Siss must try to cope with the loss of her friend without succumbing to a frozen world of her own making. 



This was the December book club pick for the GoodReads Group - Readalongs With Karen.

A hypnotic and haunting little book that centres around the friendship between 2 girls - very different in life experiences, but very similar in looks and feelings and how the loss of one impacts on the other.

The girls meet at school - Unn is the new girl who is lonely but there's just something about her that fascinates Siss and they become inseparable immediately. But one day Unn doesn't come to school and goes missing, and what follows is the story of the search for and the realisation for Siss that she's bereft without her friend.

It really captures the isolation of grief - the utter despondency that she feels and how she thinks that nobody around her understands her feelings. Unn's aunt provides some connection for Siss to the past and watching her trying to reach out and get Siss to open up is really touching.

It's a short book that really makes an impact on you as a reader - it explores that spark that connects people and how even spending just a short time with them can leave such a massive hole in your life and just how important it is to have people around to make you see they are there to support you.


#BookReview HE by JOHN CONNOLLY #LibraryLoveChallenge


An extraordinary reimagining of the life of one of the greatest screen comedians the world has ever known: a man who knew both adoration and humiliation; who loved, and was loved in turn; who betrayed, and was betrayed; who never sought to cause pain to others, yet left a trail of affairs and broken marriages in his wake . . .
And whose life was ultimately defined by one relationship of such tenderness and devotion that only death could sever it: his partnership with the man he knew as Babe.
he is Stan Laurel.
But he did not really exist. Stan Laurel was a fiction.
With he, John Connolly recreates the golden age of Hollywood for an intensely compassionate study of the tension between commercial demands and artistic integrity, the human frailties behind even the greatest of artists, and one of the most enduring and beloved partnerships in cinema history: Laurel &Hardy.
Published by Hodder & Stoughton


Just stunning!!

I've just been utterly captivated by this novel and found it to be so beautifully written and staged - the story of a bond between two men and their many ups and downs through life, while portraying the images of 'clowns' on the big screen. Laurel and Hardy films were always on TV when I was growing up and I used to love watching them, knowing very little about the men in real life and, despite this being a work of fiction, you really get a glimpse of the reality behind the fame and it definitely wasn't a bed of roses for either of them.

Seeing the story behind them both really gave you such an insight into the difficult lives they faced and the wrong decisions they often made in their own personal lives. But through it all, there was such devotion to one another which was so touching and made their 'act' so much more special.

As 'Stan Laurel' looks back over his life in his apartment he is left with many memories but many regrets and this way of looking back at how his life changed so much from coming over from England and trying to become a 'star' and how the pairing of him with Oliver Hardy 'Babe' was set to change their lives. It delves deeply into their personal lives, the way the film industry changed with the advent of talking pictures and how the studios called the shots of how 'their' actors were to lead their own lives. Little thought was given to the actors dealing with their own demons and issues by the studio bosses, it was all about how it reflected on them and about how much money it was going to make them, or cost them. A very brutal business.

I loved this inventive way of telling their story and it often broke my heart with the sadness that both men faced over the years. Yes, many issues were down to their own poor decisions and lack of fidelity, but it just showed how the image they were portraying often didn't match the reality. There was an overwhelming sadness surrounding both their lives and they never really did seem to find themselves their 'happy' despite the happiness they brought to the public with their films and appearances.

From the highs of making it as stars, to the lows of various scandals and watching their careers come to an end, I have laughed and cried throughout this book and adored every single minute.

#BookReview Paperback Publication Day BLOOD ORANGE by HARRIET TYCE #BloodOrange

Delighted to be part of the paperback publication day celebrations for BLOOD ORANGE by HARRIET TYCE.  I'm reposting my review if this book passed you by when it was released earlier in the year - there's no excuse now not to pick up a copy!!

'Shocking, addictive, dark domestic noir' SARAH PINBOROUGH

'Breathes new life into the domestic noir genre and grips until the final page' DAILY EXPRESS

'What a twist at the end!' LISA JEWELL


Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise - she's just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems...

Just one more night. Then I'll end it.

Alison drinks too much. She's neglecting her family. And she's having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.

Alison's client doesn't deny that she stabbed her husband - she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I'm watching you. I know what you're doing.

But someone knows Alison's secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she's done, and who won't stop until she's lost everything....


'Gripping' Daily Mail

'Sizzlingly addictive' Heat

'Delicious and addictive - a perfectly crafted treat!' Louise Candlish, author of Our House

'Glittering and fierce . . . a glorious bonfire of a marriage thriller' Irish Times

'A smash hit' Best

'A very impressive debut' Observer

'Complex and compelling' Clare Mackintosh

'Dark and disturbing' Louise Jensen

'A superb, compulsive read' Tess Gerritsen

'Gloriously twisted' Emma Flint



I found this to be a book that stays with you for days after you finish reading it! The main character - Alison - is one of those women who on paper has it all! Highly intelligent and working as a lawyer and married with a young daughter BUT still seemingly on a mission to self destruct as she lives life on the edge with a drinking problem and an addiction to affairs.

This story follows her as she negotiates her first big murder case, while trying to work her way through her own problems and dealing with a boss who is in full control of their affair and uses her but she just can't seem to stay away from him.

The murder case is one that strikes a chord with her - a woman who is happily married and does charity work, finds herself accused of murdering her husband in cold blood. The more Alison looks into the case you sense there is more to this than meets the eye, it's just whether Alison has enough focus to figure it out.

And when Alison starts receiving sinister text messages saying 'they know what she's doing' it just ramps up the tension and intrigue into this clever story full of very flawed characters.

I really loved the pace and flow of this story - it's a very dark story and some of the twists were so well crafted that I found myself gasping with each reveal! It showed just how destructive a person can be to themselves, be it through drink or sex, when they should really be enjoying their lives and being happy with what they have. At a time when she should be celebrating her success and rise in the legal world, she finds her life spiralling out of control and dealing with the consequences of her actions

An astonishing debut that was a stunningly shocking read, and Harriet is an author I will definitely be reading more of in the future!

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

#CoverReveal WON'T YOU SAVE ME by WENDY DRANFIELD @RubyFiction

Thank you all for stopping by today! My absolute pleasure in being able to reveal the striking cover for the forthcoming release from WENDY DRANFIELD called WON'T YOU SAVE ME.  My thanks, as always, to the author and publisher for letting me share this news with you!!

Here's a little bit about the book to give you a taste of what it's all about...


Detective Dean Matheson has returned to his hometown to begin his new job and put the traumatic events of his past behind him – but his fresh start won’t last long when the local area is hit by a series of strange disappearances and twisted killings …

A nameless girl badly beaten and dumped in front of the mysterious new church. A shocking murder scene discovered in the apartment over the diner. A child missing without a trace.

These are the crimes Dean Matheson is confronted with in his first week as detective. Are they isolated events, or is something altogether more disturbing happening in Maple Valley now that Dean’s back in town?

Won’t You Save Me is published on 29th January 2020 by Ruby Fiction and will be available to purchase as an eBook on all platforms, as well as in audio at a slightly later date

And here it is.....

Wow! How's that for a cover full of intrigue?!  Roll on January 2020!!

#BlogTour UNEXPECTED LESSONS IN LOVE by LUCY DILLON #BookReview @lucy_dillon @HJ_Barnes #UnexpectedLessonsinLove

Thank you for stopping by today for my stop on the wonderful blog tour for UNEXPECTED LESSONS IN LOVE by LUCY DILLON. My thanks to the author and publisher for letting me be part of it all!


From the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author of Where the Light Gets in and All I Ever Wanted

'Real, heart-breaking - I loved it' Katie Fforde

What happens when 'I do' turns into 'I don't know'?

Jeannie always wanted to fall in love, and now she’s finally got the whirlwind romance she dreamed of. Dan’s gorgeous, he’s a successful young vet, and he flew her to New York and proposed on Brooklyn Bridge. Jeannie has to remind herself this is actually her life. It seems too perfect, too magical, to be real. Yet it is.

But now she’s on her way to the wedding she can’t shake off the tight sensation crushing her chest. Is it just nerves . . . or is this all happening a bit too fast?

Jeannie has one last chance to shout, ‘Stop!’ But just as she grabs it, a twist of fate throws everything she knows into the air like confetti. What Jeannie learns about Dan, about her own heart, and about the power of love itself, will change her world for ever . . .


'Bittersweet, lovely and ultimately redemptive; the kind of book that makes you want to live your own life better' Jojo Moyes

'No one tugs at the heartstrings quite like Lucy Dillon' Red magazine

'Satisfying and clever and deeply moving' Sophie Kinsella 

E-book - out now
Paperback edition - out 9th January 2020


amazon uk


There's just something about the way that Lucy Dillon writes a story that gets me everytime, and in her latest it's another exceptional story that touches at the heartstrings and allows the reader to connect with a group of characters as they face up to an emotional set of circumstances.

Jeannie is on her way to her wedding.. But she's plagued with doubts that she can't shrug off - the ultimate dilemma! Do you go through with the wedding or do you face those fears and call it off?!  When fate steps in the way and makes the decision for you then you're left to deal with the consequences and that is what Jeannie has to do when her husband to be ends up in a coma in hospital on his way to the church.

It's such an interesting dilemma that really allows you to put yourself in her place, and with the time she has by his bedside allows her to look back at the whirlwind romance they shared and to question what it is that led her to say yes to Dan in the first place.

As life carries on while he recovers, she begins to find herself more involved in the local community, especially at the local dog rescue centre and the time spent there really helps her get her mind back on track with what she wants, both personally and professionally.

I felt a little indifferent to Jeannie at the beginning of the book - how could she have got to the wedding day without listening to her doubts? - but as the story develops, so does Jeannie as a character and you realise she's good at giving advice to others but not really so good at giving herself the same insightful advice. She's very loyal and not one to run away from a problem and I really admire her for that. It would have been so easy her to run away and not face up to the situation but she hangs in there and finds out so much more about herself by doing just that.