Saturday, 20 August 2016

Book tour: The Irish Inheritance - M.J. Lee (#1 Jayne Sinclair)



June 8, 1921. Ireland. 
A British Officer is shot dead on a remote hillside south of Dublin.

November 22, 2015. United Kingdom. 
Former police detective, Jayne Sinclair, now working as a genealogical investigator, receives a phone call from an adopted American billionaire asking her to discover the identity of his real father.

How are the two events linked?

Jayne Sinclair has only three clues to help her: a photocopied birth certificate, a stolen book and an old photograph. And it soon becomes apparent somebody else is on the trail of the mystery. A killer who will stop at nothing to prevent Jayne discovering the secret hidden in the past 
The Irish Inheritance takes us through the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence, combining a search for the truth of the past with all the tension of a modern-day thriller.

It is the first in a series of novels featuring Jayne Sinclair, genealogical detective.


My opinion.
I’ve been a history geek for as long as I can remember and I’ve always enjoyed learning more about it through (historical) fiction. And The Irish Inheritance did exactly that. The Irish Revolution or the Easter Rising weren’t things I was particularly familiar with. M J Lee however took me on a journey with this book, transporting me straight into the heath of things, giving his reader a wonderful glimpse of the past thanks to detailed and rich writing throughout.
The story itself was full of unexpected twists and turns and kept me on the edge of my seat. The detective side mixed with history made for a new, unique and exciting cocktail. I truly enjoyed reading The Irish Inheritance and I’ll be on the lookout for more by M J Lee.



 

Author bio: Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.
He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.
Whilst working in Shanghai, he loved walking through the old quarter of that amazing city, developing the idea behind a series of crime novels featuring Inspector Pyotr Danilov, set in 1920s and 30s.When he's not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, practicing downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.

Author links:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/WriterMJLee
Website: www.writermjlee.com





Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Book review: From the Sideline - Amy Avanzino (Wake Up Call #2)


After losing her marriage, life savings, and waistline, Autumn Kovac is terrified of being hit by more heartache. So when her only child decides to try out for the football team, the overprotective, sports-illiterate mom has a near phobic reaction. But Zachary hasn’t smiled since his father left, and she’s desperate to make him happy (and doing nothing and hoping for the best hasn’t been working). She reluctantly enters a new world of youth competitive sports, full of overzealous coaches with Vince Lombardi dreams and fanatical parents trying to achieve vicarious glory. 

Unexpectedly, Autumn begins transforming within this strangely addictive new culture, finding her voice, facing her past, tackling her fears…and uncovering the secret that’s been keeping her from her son. After meeting her ideal catch, she finds herself back in the dating game and discovers some fierce competition of her own. Will Autumn make it off the sideline? Can the underdog finally win? 


My opinion.
What a treat From The Sideline was. I truly enjoyed reading this second installment in Amy Avanzino's Wake Up Call series. Belgium is not particularly known for their football knowledge, since our "football" is the "soccer" kind of football. At the start of the story therefore, I knew as much - or maybe even less - than Autumn did about this game.
With Autumn however Amy wrote one of the most relatable characters I've been introduced to in a while. Apart from her anxiety, there's not much we have in common, but for some reason I just understood her, which made her a perfect main character. I loved seeing both Autumn and Zachary grow. Both their relationship and their individual journeys were emotional to say the least and I teared up quite a few times reading this.
The connection I felt with Autumn also made it easy to get caught up in her growing interest in and joy for the game, and Amy's writing was so contagious I felt myself cheering 'Zeke' and his team on. A joy to read.



 






Monday, 27 June 2016

Book tour: My Girl - Jack Jordan


Paige Dawson: the mother of a murdered child and wife to a dead man. 

She has nothing left to live for… until she finds her husband’s handgun hidden in their house. 

Why did Ryan need a gun? What did he know about their daughter’s death? 

Desperate for the truth, Paige begins to unearth her husband’s secrets. 

But she has no idea who she is up against, or that her life isn’t hers to gamble – she belongs to me

From the bestselling author of Anything for Her, Jack Jordan's My Girl is the new chilling thriller that you won't want to miss.


My opinion.
I've probably used the phrase "eyes glued to the pages" before when describing a book. But it has never been so true as it is for My Girl. Literally from the first chapter Jack Jordan drew me in and I was unable to stop reading. Paige's life is a nightmare. A train wreck you, for some twisted reason, you can't look away from. And just when you think things can't get any better, the turn of events is so disturbing you forget there's an outside world and you just turn page after page.
I'm not sure I can say I enjoyed the story since it was so upsetting and perplexing, but I couldn't put it down; only did so to catch some sleep. So as far as storytelling goes, Jack Jordan definitely captivated his audience and kept the momentum going throughout the entire book - and I can't fault an author like that.


 



Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Book tour: The Little Village Bakery - Tilly Tennant (Honeybourne #1)


Help yourself to a generous slice of Victoria sponge, a perfect cup of tea and a big dollop of romance. Welcome to the Little Village Bakery.

Meet Millie. Heartbreak has forced her to make a new start and when she arrives at the old bakery in the little village of Honeybourne she is determined that this will be her home sweet home. Her imagination has been captured by the tumbledown bakery but with no running water and dust everywhere, her cosy idea of making cakes in a rural idyll quickly crumbles.

Luckily the locals are a friendly bunch and step in to help Millie. One in particular, Dylan, a laid-back lothario, soon captures her attention.

But just as Millie is beginning to settle in, an unexpected visitor from her past suddenly turns up determined to ruin everything for her. It’s time for Millie to face the skeletons in her closet if she’s going to live the dream of running her little village bakery, and her blossoming romance with Dylan.


My opinion.
I read The Little Village Bakery at a busy and stressful time for me. As soon as I opened the book however, all that faded into the background and I felt completely calm and relaxed. Tilly Tennant provided the perfect entertainment with these wonderful, colourful characters. Intrigued by Millie's past and the journey that got her to Honeybourne, I was immediately drawn to her - despite the mystery surrounding her. The same went for Jas. Although very full-on and quite intimidating at times, her sweet nature and quirky style had me sold from the start.
The developments in this small town took me by surprise and even when things got ugly, I still enjoyed seeing everything unfold. And how thrilling it turned out to be! Not quite what you'd expect from a little country village. Nosy as they are, the people of Honeybourne are a special group and I grew very fond of them by the end of this.
Now excuse me while I'm getting myself some very yummy baked goods ;-)



 



Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing, graduating in 2009 with first class honours. She wrote her first novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them. 

Tilly is represented by the wonderful, gorgeous Peta Nightingale at LAW. 





Monday, 20 June 2016

Cover reveal: Whyte Lies - KC Acton (DCI Whyte #1)




The perfect family? Or the perfect lie?
 Gunshots ring out on the sweltering summer air, shattering the peaceful silence. The stench of exhaust fumes and burning rubber fill the humid breeze as the wheels spin against the embankment. In front of the car, a girl lies hunched, her blonde hair stained red. Her light summer dress is torn. She’s missing a sandal. Part of her wishes she were dead.

Inside the car, the girl’s father is slumped over the steering wheel. Behind him, the girl’s mother lies motionless.
The forest is eerily quiet, silenced by the violence, while the shadows of the trees protect the carnage.
Crime and justice are Detective Faith Whyte’s business. Murder is her speciality. She thinks she has seen it all, until she investigates the brutal killing of a family in Killarney National Park.
However, the killer is closer than she thinks, and Faith must open her eyes before someone else becomes the victim of a dark and deadly mind.

Faith has spent a lifetime running, but the past is about to catch up with her. Now, she must surrender to the present and trust her instincts more than ever.

What happens when the present collides with the secrets of the past? 

Find out in Whyte Lies, a story about family secrets, the ties that bind, and the true cost of the lies we tell.

 WHYTE LIES is the first book in a gripping new series of detective thrillers, set against the beautiful backdrop of Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland.

The dead are silenced, and Detective Faith Whyte will stop at nothing to give them a voice.


 



Sunday, 19 June 2016

Book tour: Four Weddings & a Fiasco - Catherine Ferguson



Meet Katy Peacock. She has a fun-filled life as colourful as her name, and you can always rely on her to be the life and soul of any party. And it’s a good job too, given she spends her weekends photographing other people’s weddings.
Yet underneath it all, things aren’t so good. Her wedding photography business has fallen on tough times, and she’s had her heart broken more times than she cares to remember.
But she’ll get through it, she knows she will. She just needs to avoid best men, bad men, and ushers of any variety. Oh dear…

My opinion.
Four Weddings & A Fiasco is as fun and entertaining as you'd expect from both title and cover. With a main character that photographs weddings for a living, you just know you're in for a treat: lots of wedding disasters, drunk guests, fun bridal parties and romantic moments. And that sums up both Katy's experiences and the "vibe" of the book perfectly. It was a joy to read.I can't wait to research a photographer for my own wedding now, and I know I'll have endless respect for him/her on the day, as well as a clear idea what sort of a bride I don't want to be!As a main character, Katy is just perfect. I love her job and personality, but I mostly love that her struggles and insecurities bring something more original to the genre. Very refreshing!
I also really enjoyed the secondary story lines and the beauty of the "older generation" which usually wouldn't get a chance to shine in a book like this. 
If only a picture could to this gorgeous, shiny golden cover justice.


 



Read part IV of Catherine's short story:

ONE BRIDE AND A BOMBSHELL

4
Camilla turned out to be one of those women it’s impossible to put an age to. With her flamboyantly flowing dress and scarf in mauves and pinks, distinctive purple winged glasses and stiffly-lacquered bleached blonde bun, she could have been anything from late forties to a very well-preserved sixty-five.
She gave my hand an icy shake and proceeded to grill me over my experience, her sharp eyes looming spookily large through the lenses of her glasses.
‘A photographer’s assistant should be invisible,’ she declared. ‘You should be wallpaper, unless I instruct you otherwise.’
I didn’t see how this approach could possibly encourage creativity, but I went along with it. It seemed to me that what Camilla wanted was an obedient little mouse following in her magnificent wake. As long as I didn’t push myself forward, do anything outrageous off my own bat or take better photos than Camilla, I’d probably be fine.
My tea grew cold and the bourbon biscuits lay untouched as I put my all into coming across as willing and extremely humble – the perfect person for the position of Camilla Radcliffe’s new assistant.
Even so, I wasn’t expecting the news to be good.
But amazingly, Camilla’s secretary called the very next day to say Camilla wanted to give me a trial. I could assist at her next wedding, if I’d like to.
If I’d like to?
I accepted in a sober, professional tone. Then I yelled, ‘Woo-hoo!’ to the world in general, before double-checking to make sure I had actually ended the call.
I had. So then I did an improvised Highland Fling around the living room, which ended in me knocking a cheese plant off the shelf and spilling soil all over the carpet.
I didn’t have long to wait for my trial wedding.
It was happening on a Saturday, so the night before, I travelled back to Willows Edge, a host of butterflies fluttering in my stomach at the thought of landing my very first job in the weddings industry. I had it all planned. I’d do my nails and have an early night so I’d be fresh as a daisy for the following day.
My sister, however, had different plans for me…

Be sure to check out all the previous AND upcoming posts on the tour!




Friday, 17 June 2016

Book tour: The Girl from the Savoy - Hazel Gaynor

 

Presenting a dazzling new historical novel … The Girl From The Savoy is as sparkling as champagne and as thrilling as the era itself.

Sometimes life gives you cotton stockings. Sometimes it gives you a Chanel gown …

Dolly Lane is a dreamer; a downtrodden maid who longs to dance on the London stage, but her life has been fractured by the Great War. Memories of the soldier she loved, of secret shame and profound loss, by turns pull her back and spur her on to make a better life.

When she finds employment as a chambermaid at London’s grandest hotel, The Savoy, Dolly takes a step closer to the glittering lives of the Bright Young Things who thrive on champagne, jazz and rebellion. Right now, she must exist on the fringes of power, wealth and glamor—she must remain invisible and unimportant.

But her fortunes take an unexpected turn when she responds to a struggling songwriter’s advertisement for a ‘muse’ and finds herself thrust into London’s exhilarating theatre scene and into the lives of celebrated actress, Loretta May, and her brother, Perry. Loretta and Perry may have the life Dolly aspires to, but they too are searching for something.

Now, at the precipice of the life she has and the one she longs for, the girl from The Savoy must make difficult choices: between two men; between two classes, between everything she knows and everything she dreams of. A brighter future is tantalizingly close—but can a girl like Dolly ever truly leave her past behind?
 


My opinion.
'Glamorous' is the word that keeps coming back when I think about describing this book. Both the cover and the characters and the amazing old-London locations have that wonderful glitz and glamour, red lipstick and champagne -magic to them.
Hazel Gaynor didn't just write an historical novel. She transports her readers to this jazzy era full of contradictions between classes, the past, present and future. 
The detailed descriptions of the wealth and luxury, as well as the "downstairs" lives had me transfixed. 
I loved piecing together these characters' stories by the snippets of information they gave about their past, although the end result wasn't what I expected - wonderfully surprising.
The beautiful yet stark contrast between the horrors of the past and the hopes and dreams for the future made The Girl from the Savoy an incredibly captivating read. A gem of a book. 
I'll be on the lookout for Hazel Gaynor's next novel!