Thursday, 1 December 2016

Penhaligon's attic

Penhaligon’s Attic

Published 1st December
Paperback Original | £8.99

A close-knit Cornish fishing village is divided by the arrival of a troubled young widow. What is Anna Garvey running from, and is she all she seems?
1910. Anna Garvey arrives in Caernoweth, Cornwall with her daughter and a secret. Having come from Ireland to take up an inheritance of the local pub, she and her eighteen year-old daughter Mairead are initially viewed with suspicion by the close-knit community.
Anna soon becomes acquainted with Freya Penhaligon, a vulnerable girl struggling to keep her family business afloat in the wake of her grandmother’s death, and starts to gain the trust of the locals. As their friendship deepens, and Freya is brought out of her shell by the clever and lively Mairead, even Freya’s protective father Matthew begins to thaw.
But when a part of Anna’s past she’d long tried to escape turns up in the town, she is forced to confront the life she left behind – for her sake and her daughter’s too . . .

About the author:

Terri Nixon was born in Plymouth in 1965. At the age of nine she moved with her family to Cornwall, to the village featured in Daphne du Maurier's Jamaica Inn – North Hill – where she discovered a love of writing that has stayed with her ever since. Her first commercially published novel was Maid of Oaklands Manor, published by Piatkus in 2013. She has since published two more novels in the Oaklands Manor trilogy: A Rose in Flanders Fields and Daughter of Dark River Farm.

My Review

This book tells the story of two female protagonists, Freya Penhaligon and Anna Garvey, whose lives overlap when  Freya runs her grandmother's bookshop, Penhaligon's Attic and Anna comes to the village to take over the running of the local pub.
The setting of the book in a Cornish fishing village at the end of the nineteenth century really captured my imagination as the characters spring to life. When Anna arrives, bringing with her secrets of her own, a new chapter starts. There are hints throughout the book as to what this secret is but I'm pleased to say I was still surprised by the ending. I thought I'd worked it out and then there was a further twist which worked well and explained everything neatly.
The author is skilled at taking the reader with her for the journey. The only point at which I felt the book lost pace was when Freya leaves Cornwall as a child before returning many years later. Much more could have been made of this part or alternatively if it doesn't add much to the narrative then it could have been dropped or mentioned in flashback.
All in all, wonderful location and characters and a story that stays with you. A lovely, romantic read.


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Stroud book festival

November 14th 2016

Inspired by the Bewdley Book Festival earlier in the year, I knew that this one would be another event not to miss. Firstly it was on my doorstep and secondly it promised an evening of historical fiction with two fabulous local writers, Dinah Jefferies and Kate Riordan.
In an intimate setting with seating for an audience of around fifty, there was a lovely atmosphere as Kate and Dinah both talked about what is most important to them - location. This really resonated with the audience especially since the writers' locations are completely different to each other. Kate is inspired by old houses and took a house at the top of Leckhampton Hill as the inspiration for her book. Dinah meanwhile has set her books in more exotic locations of the far East. It was interesting that after writing her first book, The Separation, set in Malaya ( now Malaysia), she then set her subsequent books in locations which had also changed their name. 'The tea planter's wife' is set in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, 'The silk merchant's daughter' is set in Vietnam, which was formerly part of Indo Chine and her new book out in February 2017 is set in Rajasthan which used to be Rajputana.

Dinah Jefferies

Dinah was asked why she sets her books in the Far East and gave a wonderful description of being a three culture child, having been brought up in Malaya until the age of nine when the family came back to England. Whether it is a search for something left behind, a longing to belong in a different culture to that of either of your parents or simply because it makes a good setting, at any rate her readers are grateful for taking us on the journey with her. It was amazing to discover that Dinah hadn't visited any of the other countries before writing about them, which just goes to show what wonderful research she does.
Kate preferred to take a different view. Whilst she takes care to research detail as background to her books, she doesn't do a lot of research. After all, as she says, she is writing a work of fiction not a social history and so aims for capturing a flavour of the period rather than overloading the reader with too much historical detail.

Kate Riordan

There was a gasp of horror from the audience as Dinah spoke about the editorial process and admitted that she had to cut around 49,000 words from her first novel. It was a lesson well learned as she is much more rigorous in planning the structure of her books now. A tip which seems to have worked. In the end, both authors admitted that paradoxically it has got harder and harder to write the next book rather than easier as you might expect. Let's just hope that both of them mange to finish their next work in progress without too much soul searching.

A wonderful evening and a pleasure to meet two fabulous writers.

Me with Dinah

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

A year and a day

From the author of My Map of You

Welcome to a city where wishes are everywhere

For Megan, a winter escape to Prague with her friend Ollie is a chance to find some inspiration for her upcoming photography exhibition. But she's determined to keep their friendship from becoming anything more. Because if Megan lets Ollie find out about her past, she risks losing everything - and she won't let that happen again . . .

For Hope, the trip is a surprise treat from Charlie, her new partner. But she's struggling to enjoy the beauty of the city when she knows how angry her daughter is back home. And that it's all her fault . . .

For Sophie, the city has always been a magical place. This time she can't stop counting down the moments until her boyfriend Robin joins her. But in historic Prague you can never escape the past . . .

Three different women.

Three intertwining love stories.

One unforgettable, timeless city.

'Think love, laughter and tears all shaken up in a Prague snowglobe. Just fab'


Isabelle Broom

Isabelle Broom was born in Cambridge nine days before the 1980s began and studied Media Arts at the University of West London before starting a career first in local newspapers and then as a sub editor at heat magazine. Nowadays, when she’s not writing novels set in far-flung locations, Isabelle spends her time being the Book Reviews Editor at heat and walking her beloved dog Max round the parks of north London. Oh, and she does a lot of laughing, too. Her debut novel My Map Of You, published by Penguin Michael Joseph, is out now, and her second book, A Year And A Day, will follow in November.

If you like pictures of dogs, chatter about books and very bad jokes, you can follow her on Twitter @Isabelle_Broom or find her on Facebook under Isabelle Broom Author.

My Review

This is a wonderfully evocative book which takes you on an unforgettable journey to Prague. The descriptions are pictures painted with words so that the reader sees the city through the eyes of three women who are staying at the same hotel. We are gradually allowed little glimpse into the lives of the characters to discover what brings them to Prague. There's a little bit of magic woven into the stories as the characters open up to reveal their hopes and fears. I guessed one of the character's stories but just couldn't see how it could work; cleverly the author adds a twist but the real skill is in the telling of the story. This is a beautiful winter read and as a direct result, Prague has now been bumped up my list of must-see destinations. In fact, it would be the perfect book to take as my guide.


Monday, 17 October 2016

Candidate for Murder

Book Description for Candidate for Murder :

It’s election time in Spencer, Maryland, and the race for mayor is not a pretty one. In recent years, the small resort town has become divided between the local year-round residents who have enjoyed their rural way of life and the city dwellers moving into their mansions, taking over the town council, and proceeding to turn Deep Creek Lake into a closed gate community—complete with a host of regulations for everything from speed limits to clothes lines.

When the political parties force-feed two unsavory mayoral nominees on the town residents, Police Chief David O’Callaghan decides to make a statement—by nominating Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s German shepherd, to run as mayor of Spencer!

What starts out as a joke turns into a disaster when overnight Gnarly becomes the front runner—at which point his political enemies take a page straight out of Politics 101. What do you do when you’re behind in a race? Dig up dirt on the front runner, of course.

Seemingly, someone is not content to rest with simply embarrassing the front runner by publicizing his dishonorable discharge from the United States Army, but to throw in a murder for good measure. With murder on the ballot, Mac Faraday and the gang—including old friends from past cases—dive in to clear Gnarly’s name, catch a killer, and save Spencer!

Buy the book:   Amazon

Author's Bio:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries. The twelfth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series, Candidate for Murder will be released June 2016.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with Lauren: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Book Trailer:



Win a Fire Tablet, 7" Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB (Open internationally) Winner will be person to use #Vote4Gnarly most often

Giveaway ends Sept 24.

My Review

If you're a cosy mystery fan then this series is the one for you. With all the political controversy around the world at the moment,this book made me laugh as my favourite character, Gnarly the dog, runs for election. Compared to the other candidates, Gnarly should win by a length but in politics they don't play fair and Gnarly sees his reputation in tatters. Can it be salvaged? Can a dog, even as brilliant as Gnarly actually be mayor? In the process, we find out the secrets of the others, secrets that they will do anything to protect.
Of course there is a more serious side as murder is involved.
I loved the way that the book switches from the serious to the plain silly - how many kittens did Gnarly rescue being one of them. It also casts a rather unflattering light on the media and distorting the truth but it's all told in Lauren Carr's inimitable style. I enjoyed the last book of hers but this one is just as good.


The ice beneath her


by Camilla Grebe
Published 8th September 2016 / Hardback
£12.99 / E-book Available

Having drawn comparisons with Jo Nesbo and The Bridge, international anticipation is building for the publication of The Ice Beneath Her, a spellbinding and deeply disturbing story about love, betrayal and obsession.

What does love do to us, and what can love make us do?

Meet Emma Bohman, a timid sales assistant at Clothes & More, whose life is turned upside down by a chance encounter that leads to a love affair with the charismatic and controversial CEO, Jesper Orre. But almost as quickly as the passionate affair ignited, it was over when Orre inexplicably disappears. Then one frightening thing after another begins happening to Emma, leaving her certain that her runaway lover is to blame. Her confusion and heartbreak quickly transforms into anger. 

Fast forward two months and a young woman is found beheaded in an upmarket suburban home, a brutal crime made all the more disturbing by its uncanny resemblance to an unsolved murder ten years earlier. But this time there is a suspect: Jesper Orre, who owns the home but is nowhere to be found.

More overleaf….

More information overleaf…
In search of the suspect and a motive, homicide detectives Peter Lindgren and Manfred Olsson turn to brilliant criminal profiler Hanne Lagerlind-Schon. Once a valued police asset but now dealing with early onset dementia, marooned in unhappy retirement and a crumbling marriage, she’s eager to offer Lindgren and Olsson a window into the secret soul of Jesper Orre.

Camilla is available for interview. For media and event enquiries please contact:
Head of PR Emily Burns on / 0207 566 58 98
Now, pursuing the same mysterious man for different reasons, Emma and the police are destined to cross paths in a chilling dance of obsession, vengeance, madness, and love gone hellishly wrong.


Camilla Grebe was born near Stockholm. She co-founded audiobook publisher Storyside. She has written four celebrated crime novels with her sister, Åsa Träff, about psychologist Siri Bergman, the first two of which were nominated for Swedish Crime Novel of the Year by the Swedish Crime Writers' Academy. Camilla has also written the popular Moscow Noir trilogy with Paul Leander-Engström. The Ice Beneath Her is Camilla's debut novel as a solo author and announces hers as a fresh new voice in suspense writing.

Reviews from the Danish publication of The Ice Beneath Her:
‘A captivating, thrilling, and frightening crime novel about failure, infidelity, and the ugliest of feelings.’
‘I’m still clapping my little hands with delight after having read this book. Camilla Grebe is spot on, and as a reader you’re quickly drawn into a story that might as well have taken place right before your eyes. You wouldn’t suspect any danger before it was too late. […] There’s something off, a bad feeling in your gut, you guess and guess and try to find clues in the book to work out the plot. I did not succeed, and I’m still not convinced everything was quite as it seemed in the end. […] I’m sure The Ice Beneath Her will delight many crime readers. It has everything it takes to stand out, and it's just not yet another crime novel in your bookcase.’
‘The stories of the three main characters melt together during the course of the novel. This structure is well-known, but I don't think I’ve ever before guessed so wrong as I did while reading The Ice Beneath Her. The book is so hard to figure out, which is why this is one of those crime novels that has kept me awake at night, thinking I might as well squeeze in an extra chapter in the hopes of bringing clarity to what on earth has happened.’

Reviews from Swedish publication of The Ice Beneath Her:
The Ice Beneath Her is a book that holds a lot between its pages. Apart from a few mysterious disappearances and extremely brutal murders, it’s about the power and betrayal of men. […] This is a story that holds the shadow-side of life. The protagonists are at a crossroads. Something simply must happen, otherwise they’re at risk of breaking apart. Perhaps they’ll break anyway, but before then they’ll want to fight for some kind of justice.’
‘You plow through this book at high speed; at times the suspense is unbearable! […] Very thrilling entertainment.’
‘I devoured it in one sitting.’

My Review

There is something about Scandinavian thrillers that pierces the soul; perhaps it's the darkness of the winter months that give them a blackness, snow and shorter days physically reflecting the psyche of the protagonists. Whatever it is, Camilla Grebe's 'The ice beneath her' does all that and more. it's a psychological thriller that doesn't need to go into graphic gruesome detail of murder to make its point. Nor is there a sudden twist that makes you think I never saw that coming! Instead we have a psychological analysis of several characters, each with their own demons. The book gathers pace as we red on, leaving us with a satisfying ending that is totally believable. Well-written, well-planned and well-executed, this book will hopefully be the forerunner of more to come. Thoroughly enjoyable if somewhat uncomfortable to read!


A convenient marriage


The idea of two complete strangers getting hitched has always intrigued me, for one simple reason—why would they do such a thing? Could such a relationship succeed? By successful relationship, I understand not only the longevity of the marriage…but is it possible for the participants to actually fall in love with each other in such a strange arrangement? Love is found in the most unexpected places.
A Convenient Marriage grew over a number of years. The basic story was simple—a divorcee with two children, an ex-husband being difficult over visitation, as well as a fiancée unable to commit. Holly’s friends suggested that she needed a new husband, placing an advert in the paper for one behind her back. Joshua was struck by a simple plan when he saw the ad and responded to it.
Why would Holly marry a man she’d never met, and why would Joshua respond to an ad for a husband, then actually propose to a woman he had never clapped eyes on? So, in came the dawdling fiancée, Nicole. Both Holly and Joshua were justified in not planning the marriage to be a real one, because they each had an agenda of their own, but Nicole was the injured party. For their plan to succeed, they had to marry—the real kind, down to that all-important piece of paper married—and they had to seem to be totally in love with each other. That it is all a scam, only they would know.
And here comes the ‘but’. Holly and Joshua’s plans go awry from the moment they meet on the steps of the chapel where their fake marriage is to take place, when both recognize the immediate attraction. Back at Joshua’s wine estate—yes, he is a rich landowner where Holly expected him to be a pauper—Holly meets Joshua’s mother, his brother and sister-in-law, and Nicole, the fiancée, who found out about Joshua’s duplicity in a room full of people. No one can blame Nicole for being a tad upset. Or can they? To add to Holly’s woes, she seems to have acquired a ‘ghost’ demanding she tell a story.
Amidst Nicole’s shenanigans, Joshua’s mother’s disapproval, Holly’s ex’s aggression, and the ghost following Holly around, will these two accomplish what they set out to do? Or will life get in the way?
Joshua’s and Holly’s journey through the uncharted seas of a blind marriage, where no rules apply, is a stormy one. Place your order here:

About the Author

Maggie Tideswell lives in Johannesburg—South Africa, with her husband, Gareth. She began writing when her kids were still very young, squeezing a few paragraphs at a time between the hectic schedule of raising three children, and working full time in the catering industry. She wrote many books before considering having them published. Now that the children have all made lives for themselves, there is more time for writing.

After much experimentation, Maggie writes passionate paranormal romance, of varying levels of heat. The paranormal, things that happen for which there are no logical explanations and ghosts are of particular interest to Maggie. What events in a person’s life would prevent that person from ‘resting’ after death? The ‘Old Religion’ is another special interest. And love, of course. Why do people fall in love? What keeps them together for a lifetime when so many relationships fail?
Maggie’s advice to aspirant novelists is two-fold. Never give up, and write every day. Writing is a craft that has to be honed with practice. And the only way to practice writing is by doing it. And a bonus, never stop reading your favorite genre. Reading it and writing it is the only training for a writer.

“Maggie Tideswell's latest novel, A Convenient Marriage, will have you turning pages as her characters cope with a marriage of convenience, well-meaning but nosy friends, a meddling ghost, jealous exes, and more. My advice: Make room on your Keepers shelf for this story!” (Loree Lough, best-selling author of 107 award-winning books, including Harlequin Heartwarming's "Those Marshall Boys" series.)