Blog Tour: The Daughter by Liz Webb

The Daughter by Liz Webb cover

I lean in and whisper the question I have never let myself utter in twenty-three years.

“Dad, did you murder Mum?”

Hannah Davidson has a dementia-stricken father, an estranged TV star brother, and a mother whose death opened up hidden fault lines beneath the surface of their ordinary family life.

Now the same age that Jen Davidson was when she was killed, Hannah realises she bears an uncanny resemblance to her glamorous mother, and when her father begins to confuse them she is seriously unnerved.

Determined to uncover exactly what happened to her mum, Hannah begins to exploit her arresting likeness, but soon the boundaries between Hannah and her mother become fatally blurred.

I am delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour today for The Daughter by Liz Webb. My thanks to Helen Richardson for inviting me to take part and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Daughter before I started reading it and I have to say it took me a little while to get into the novel. The book is written in the first person, in the voice of Hannah as she is visiting her dementia-stricken father in hospital after he has had a fall. Hannah’s voice was not clear to me to begin with, I wasn’t even sure if the character was male or female at first and, as a result, it took me a little while to become invested in the story.

However, after a couple of chapters, things began to fall into place and my interest was piqued. Hannah is clearly a troubled young woman, engaging in destructive behaviours, and I was curious about what had led her to this place. As we find out more about her dysfunctional family and the tragic events that splintered their family decades before, the reasons begin to make sense, but I was left wondering if she was an entirely reliable narrator, which always makes a book more interesting. Not knowing whether you can believe what the main protagonist is telling you always builds tension, and even Hannah herself questions whether her memories are reliable when they conflict with those of other people present at the time. Who is mistaken? Who is lying to themselves, or others, to hide the dreadful truth?

This mistrust bleeds through to the other characters, particularly her father, who is in a fog of confusion and has begun to mix Hannah up with his long-dead wife, and her brother, from who she has been estranged for 14 years and is practically unknown to her now, and who practises make-believe for a living. Who is telling then truth and who will benefit from lying? These are the puzzles the engaged reader if left to solve.

The cast of characters is small and manageable, the plot engaging and tense and the writing easy to read and flows well. I thought this stood out as a story I hadn’t read before in the domestic thriller genre and, after a shaky start, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It is full of twists and turns and interesting ideas about families, how they work and how they can mess you up. A theme many people will be able to relate to on some level. This book has a different feel to many books in the genre, an interesting edge to it and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a new author.

The Daughter is out now in all formats and you can buy your copy here.

Make sure you follow the rest of the tour for other great reviews:

PxFrLs0A

About the Author

Liz Webb Finals-1524 (2) - Multi coloured top - Photographer Ben Wilkin

LIZ WEBB originally trained as a classical ballet dancer but had to give up following a back injury. She then worked as a secretary at the British Library whilst going to night school at the City Lit to get into Oxford University age 23. After graduating, she worked as a stationery shop manager, an art model, a cocktail waitress, stand- up comic, voice-over artist, script-editor, and radio drama producer before becoming a novelist.

Liz Webb was a stand-up comic for ten years performing at clubs across the UK and at festivals in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leicester and Cardiff. At the same time, she worked as a voice-over artist voicing many TV ad campaigns including The Times, Kellogg’s Just Right cereal and Organics hair products.

She also worked for fourteen years as a prolific radio drama producer for the BBC and independent radio production companies.

Liz lives in North London with her husband, son and serial killer cat Freddie.

Connect with Liz:

Website: https://lizwebb.co.uk

Facebook: Liz Webb

Twitter: @LizWebbAuthor

Instagram: @lizwebbauthor

a-little-book-problem-banner

Blog Tour: Tell Me Your Lies by Kate Ruby

Tell Me Your Lies Cover

You think she wants to help.
You’re wrong.

Lily Appleby will do anything to protect the people she loves. She’s made ruthless choices to make sure their secrets stay buried, and she’s not going to stop now.

When her party-animal daughter, Rachel, spins out of control, Lily hires a renowned therapist and healer to help her. Amber is the skilled and intuitive confidante that Rachel desperately needs. But as Rachel falls increasingly under Amber’s spell, she begins to turn against her parents, and Lily grows suspicious.

Does Amber really have Rachel’s best interests at heart or is there something darker going on? Only one thing is clear: Rachel is being lied to. Never quite knowing who to believe, her search for the truth will reveal her picture-perfect family as anything but flawless.

It is my turn on the blog tour for Tell Me Your Lies by Kate Ruby. My thanks to Sophia Sagir at Midas PR for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the publisher for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Sometimes you read a book and it makes you think, no matter how dysfunctional your family dynamics may be, at least you are not like the people in this book. Tell Me Your Lies is one such novel.

Told from the alternating viewpoints of mother, Lilly and daughter, Rachel, this is the story of some very twisted relationships and the destructive effects that secrets, lies and unhealthy familial links can have on the people involved. Right from the start we can see that Rachel is one very troubled young woman, meeting her we do as she comes round from a drink and drugs binge that ends in her hospitalisation. it is also clear pretty quickly that she sees herself as the black sheep of her successful family and that the relationship with her mother is strained. But is there something darker at play? Lilly brings in therapist, Amber, to help Rachel overcome her demons, but maybe Amber isn’t quite as she seems either.

This is a novel of unpleasant characters, unreliable narrators and deceitful behaviour so the reader is never quite sure who to trust, what is true and what lies around the next corner. Full of revelations and surprises, the book will hook you in and keep you turning the pages to find out what is actually going on behind the lies, behind the facades and at the heart of this family, but you will be afraid you may not like it when you get there. the best kind of page turner.

That being said, this book is quite a slow burn, rather than a heart-racing, pacy novel and you may have to stick with it in the beginning until it buries its claws into you and hangs on. Because all of the characters are fairly unpleasant, there won’t be anyone that you are particularly rooting for, which could make it hard to care about what happens to them. However, the writing is great and the author’s voice is fairly light for the subject matter, but compelling. She knows how to construct drama, and this made the book easy to read for me.

I found this to be an accomplished and engrossing debut and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for something new in the psychological fiction genre. An exciting new voice to watch out for.

Tell Me Your Lies is out now in all formats and you can buy your copy here.

Make sure you follow the rest of the tour:

Tell Me Your Lies Blog Tour Asset

About The Author

Kate Ruby credit Simon Annand

Kate Ruby is a producer and screenwriter, with a highflying career in television. Tell Me Your Lies, a psychological thriller, is her debut novel and is currently in development for a major TV show. As an executive producer for drama, she spent a decade at the BBC, working on shows including Spooks and Being Human. Currently Head of Television for a global production company, she has worked on major Netflix shows including Watership Down, Traitors and The English Game. She has recently worked on the BBC/HBO adaptation of JP Delaney’s bestselling thriller The Girl Before, starring Gugu Mbatha Raw and David Oyelowo.

Connect with Kate:

Twitter: @katerubybooks

a-little-book-problem-banner

Blog Tour: An Island of Secrets by Eva Glyn

An Island of Secrets

I am thrilled to be one of the bloggers kicking off the tour for An Island of Secrets by Eva Glyn today. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

An Island of Secrets final

That was then…

Seventy-five years ago, British SOE spy Guy Barclay was forced to leave behind the woman he loved in war-ravaged Yugoslavia.

…This is now

As ninety-three-year-old Guy’s days draw to a close, he asks his granddaughter, Leo Holmes, to go looking for answers. Given that her marriage has imploded and her City job is on the verge of killing her, Leo agrees and rents a house on the island of Vis, where her grandfather was stationed in the Second World War.

But as Leo’s search takes her down unexpected roads – and into the path of a gorgeous local, Andrej Pintaric – she begins to wonder if this journey down memory lane might yield unexpected results for more than just her beloved grandfather…

I’ll make an admission here. I signed up for the blog tour for this book without reading the book’s blurb because I have loved Eva Glyn’s previous work. I was kind of dismayed when I did get round to looking at what the book was about because, as a general rule, I don’t read novels set in times of modern warfare. It is just a genre I don’t particularly enjoy. However, a promise is a promise, so I decided to give it a go.

Lo and behold, I actually really enjoyed this book. It is set at a time and place during the Second World War that I am not familiar with at all and I found it absolutely fascinating from a historical perspective. I’d never heard anything about wartime activities of the British in, what was then, Yugoslavia and the precursor to the rise of Tito and communism in that country. Despite my lack of enthusiasm about modern conflict-set books, I do love to learn new information, so this previously unfamiliar aspect of the Second World War pulled me in and piqued my interest. It is clear that the author has done a lot of research about the location and what went on there during this period and this really brought the history to life.

Another reason that the book held my interest was that the focus was not primarily on the conflict, but on the relationship between Guy and Ivka and the war was the backdrop for that. Don’t get me wrong, the war is central to the story because their love story only unfolds the way it does because of the situation they find themselves in, but the focus on these intimate, personal experiences of war and how they affected the lives of those involved forever, changing the course of their futures, is what made it absorbing for me. The author has drawn beautiful, sympathetic characters in this book and their story was intensely moving and emotional. It would be a stunted heart that couldn’t feel the pain that war has caused these people by the end.

There are some quite disturbing events described in the book and the author does not shy away from telling the reader the truth about the horror of war, and not just the atrocities committed by the enemy. I was very shocked at one of the story threads running through the book, never having heard anything about such things happening before, and I think one of the best things about novels such as this is keeping the memories of these atrocities alive and trying to make sure they never happen again. Given the threats that women are still facing every single day across the world at the moment, even in supposedly progressive nations, these things are important. I am feeling especially sensitive to media around these topics at the moment, so I found reading this book quite painful and anger-inducing, but these are emotions that are necessary to overcome complacency and apathy and remind ourselves that we need to keep fighting against these things.

This sounds like the book might be a heavy read, but it really isn’t. The writing is engaging, the location setting vivid and immersive and the historical detail fascinating. If a book like this can engage and impress a war-phobic reader like me, fans of the genre are going to love it.

An Island of Secrets is out now in ebook and will be published in paperback on 26 May and you can buy a copy here.

Please do make sure you follow this magnificent tour:

An Island of Secrets Full Tour Banner

About the Author

An Island Of Secrets - Eva Glyn on her travels (1)

Eva Glyn writes escapist relationship-driven fiction with a kernel of truth at its heart. She loves to travel and finds inspiration in beautiful places and the stories they hide.

Her last holiday before lockdown was a trip to Croatia, and the country’s haunting histories and gorgeous scenery have proved fertile ground, driven by her friendship with a tour guide she met there. His wartime story provided the inspiration for The Olive Grove and his help in creating a realistic portrayal of Croatian life had proved invaluable. Her second novel set in the country, a dual timeline looking back to World War 2, will be published in the spring of 2022, also by One More Chapter.

Eva lives in Cornwall, although she considers herself Welsh, and has been lucky enough to have been married to the love of her life for twenty-five years. She also writes as Jane Cable.

Connect with Eva:

Facebook: Eva Glyn

Twitter: @JaneCable

Instagram: @janecable

a-little-book-problem-banner

Blog Tour: The Meet Cute Method by Portia MacIntosh

The Meet Cute Method

I am delighted to be one of the blogs opening the tour for The Meet Cute Method, the new book by Portia MacIntosh, and on publication day to boot! Happy publication day, Portia. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for asking me to take part in the tour and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

THE MEET CUTE METHOD

Do movie romances ever happen in real life…?

Frankie doesn’t believe in true love. As relationships expert at popular magazine Stylife, she has learnt that dating disasters are far more common than happy ever afters.

So when she is tasked to find out if meet cutes can work in real life she is up for the challenge – but whether it’s being a damsel in distress with a flat tyre, or spilling coffee over a stranger, she isn’t convinced this can really lead to love.

But little does Frankie know that the ultimate meet cute opportunity is just around the corner. As she is whisked off her feet (all in the name of her work project of course…) perhaps true love isn’t just for the movies after all…?

What a fabulous, fun, fast read this was! I fairly flew through this book, laughing all the way, so enjoyable was it. A really fresh, funny, frenetic book.

Okay, I’ve run out of adjectives beginning with the letter ‘f’ to describe this story now, so I better get in to the meat of the review. This is a really joyous, light-hearted romantic comedy that will whisk you from London to the sandy shores of Hawaii and the bright lights of LA, following the romantic catastrophes of Frankie George. Frankie is the dating columnist on a women’s magazine and her new boss is demanding fresh ideas from Frankie for her column, or the threat of unemployment dangles over her. But Frankie has exhausted all the tired dating routines, so what can she do. Explore some tired movie dating tropes instead, of course.

Frankie is a disaster area when it comes to love, so none of the things she tries run smoothly, which leads to much hilarity for the reader. Portia has a wicked imagination when it comes to awkward scenarios to drop Frankie into. The dog in the park and the date with Tom had me snorting into my tea. Snorting with laughter was a mainstay of this book, which is always a point in a novel’s favour. But alongside this runs the serious issue of why Frankie’s love life is so tragic, and the sweet relationship which builds between herself and Max.

The author does a really fab job of muddying the waters in the book as to who Frankie will end up with, in the middle I was convinced it might go a different way, but the ending made me very happy. There is nothing not to enjoy here, it contains all the perfect ingredients for the ideal romcom – high jinks, beautiful settings, relatable characters and an ending to melt the stoniest of hearts. Fabulous from start to finish. 

The Meet Cute Method is out in both ebook and paperback format today, and you can buy a copy here.

You can also read my recent interview with Portia here.

Many more great blogs coming up on the tour, make sure you visit a few:

The Meet Cute Method Full Tour Banner

About the Author

Life Author

 

Portia MacIntosh is the bestselling author of over 20 romantic comedy novels.

From disastrous dates to destination weddings, Portia’s romcoms are the perfect way to escape from day to day life, visiting sunny beaches in the summer and snowy villages at Christmas time. Whether it’s southern Italy or the Yorkshire coast, Portia’s stories are the holiday you’re craving, conveniently packed in between the pages.

Formerly a journalist, Portia has left the city, swapping the music biz for the moors, to live the (not so) quiet life with her husband and her dog in Yorkshire.

Connect with Portia:

Connect with Portia:

Website: www.portiamacintosh.com

Twitter: @PortiaMacIntosh 

Instagram: @portiamacintoshauthor

a-little-book-problem-banner

Blog Tour: The Secret Voices by M. J. White

The Secret Voices

So excited today to be taking my turn on the blog tour for the first crime thriller by Miranda Dickinson writing as M. J. White. I love Miranda’s romance novels, so I was excited to see what she would do in this new genre with The Secret Voices.  My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

THE SECRET VOICES_PBB_01 copy

They said they’d keep me safe.

They said, ‘It’s okay, Hannah. You know you can trust me.’

They lied.

When eight-year-old Hannah Perry goes missing in the small Suffolk village of St Just, the community is rocked. Heading up the investigation is Acting DS Rob Minshull, but he’s out of his depth in a case that seems to mirror the disappearance of a young boy, seven years ago. That search ended in unimaginable tragedy…and Minshull is praying that history won’t be repeated.

But with an investigation full of dead ends, and a kidnapper taunting the police with sinister deliveries of Hannah’s belongings and cryptic notes, the young girl’s life hangs perilously in danger.

Until Dr Cora Lael enters the picture. A psychologist with a unique ability, Cora’s rare gift allows her to sense emotions attached to discarded objects. When she is shown the first of Hannah’s belongings, she hears the child’s piercing scream.

With few leads on the case, could Cora prove Hannah’s only hope? And as time runs out, can they find Hannah before history repeats itself…?

Every parent’s worst nightmare, your child going missing, is the basis for this story. The hectic scramble to find them as soon as possible, the fading of hope, the suspicion pointed at family and friends. Inside the police investigation, the officers trawl for leads, trying to get one step ahead of whoever is responsible before tragedy occurs. Pressure piling on from all sides – the press, the public, the family, your superiors. What toll does this take on the detectives charged with finding the missing child, especially if the case has echoes of a similar investigation that failed years before? You might think these are all ideas that have been explored in crime fiction before, what new territory does this book explore? Plenty, I assure you.

Sure, all of these standard elements are present but I have to tell you that Miranda really explores the emotional aspects of this to a degree that I’m not sure I’ve experienced in a crime novel before. I don’t know whether this is some of her experience as a romance novelist making her come at this from a slightly different angle but I really felt the emotional toll of this investigation all the parties involved oozing off the page. Told from the perspectives of the different people involved in the story, including the abducted child herself, the reader is really drawn in to the horror and stress of the story from a full colour, 360 degree perspective. It is totally immersive.

Add to this a completely unique idea for a different dimension to bring to the investigation, and you have a cracker of a story. Cora is a psychologist blessed, or cursed depending on your perspective, with emotional synaesthesia – the ability to detect people’s emotions from their discarded objects. Persuaded to use her ability to help the hunt for Hannah, Cora hopes to find acceptance and purpose for the ability which has made her feel apart and alone most of her life. But is she prepared for the emotional toll the experience will take and will openly revealing her abilities achieve the exact opposite of what she hopes? Following Cora’s journey through the novel was a fascinating and thought provoking process for me and really adds a fresh dimension to the crime thriller genre.

I would say that Miranda’s detour into the world of crime fiction has been a resounding success based on this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, found it to be fresh, complex and accomplished and I can’t wait to read more featuring these characters. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves Miranda’s writing, because all the skill evident in her romance novels is at play here too, and anyone looking for an interesting new voice in the crime thriller genre. Outstanding stuff.

The Secret Voices is out now in ebook and paperback formats and you can buy a copy here.

Please check out some of the other blogs taking part in the tour for alternative reviews of the book:

The Secret Voices Full Tour Banner

About the Author

MJ White author photo 2021

MJ White is the crime pen name of the internationally bestselling author Miranda Dickinson. To date she has sold over one million books worldwide and has been translated into sixteen languages. Miranda has always been a huge fan of crime fiction and The Secret Voices marks the start of a new and exciting departure for her writing.

Connect with M J White:

Twitter: @MJWhite13

a-little-book-problem-banner

Blog Tour: We’ll Always Have Venice by Leonie Mack

Well Always Have Venice

I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour today for We’ll Always Have Venice by Leonie Mack. I loved the first book in the series, A Match Made in Venice when I read it at the end of last year (you can read my review here), so I was eager to get back to Italy and catch up with what was going on with the York girls. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour, and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

We'llAlwaysHaveVeniceHIRES

Who can resist the romance of Venice… 

When Norah arrives in Venice for a ten-week internship she is surprised to discover that her guide for her work trips around the lagoon is the undeniably gorgeous and kind Gianluca. She can’t help thinking he might be too good to be true, with his endless fascinating local stories, and his infectious laugh.

Norah is still bitter after an accident left her with a serious injury and also meant the end of her long-term relationship. And besides, she’s serious about her career and that means leaving Venice at the end of the summer. 

Gianluca has had a summer fling before that led to heartache for him and he won’t do it again. He enjoys the long hours out on the lagoon with Norah, but after a storm strands them on a picture-perfect island for a night, they agree they should just be good friends for the summer. 

But life doesn’t always go to plan, and when it’s time for Norah to go, they have to decide whether what they have between them is really just a friendship, and not something more… 

I was desperate to be whisked back to the romance of Venice when I picked up the new book by Leonie Mack, having enjoyed my last trip there with her so much. Last time it was winter in The Floating City, so it was fun to anticipate how different it might look when we take a trip there in summer with Norah, as she embarks on her summer internship studying the algae that grows in its famous lagoon. (Bear with me, this is way more interesting than it sounds!)

Norah is the younger sister of Didi, who found love with a Ventian glassmaker in the first book in this series. You don’t need to have read, A Match Made in Venice, to enjoy We’ll Always Have Venice, but I highly recommend picking it up anyway because it is a fantastic read. Norah is determined not to follow in her sister’s footsteps though – she has a career to focus on which requires her to leave Venice at the end of summer and, anyway, she’s been let down by people before, best keep herself aloof. It’s going to be hard, though, when she is in such close proximity to Gianluca all summer…

We all know what comes at the end of romance novels, it’s how we get there that is important, and the journey that Leonie takes us on in this book is full of charm, tenderness and truth. She really draws a portrait of two damaged souls who have been hurt so badly in the past that fear is preventing them admitting their feelings for one another in a way that feels very realistic and honest. Watching their relationship grow despite their best efforts in engrossing and immensely touching, and I was completely captivated by their story.

Aside from the romance aspect of the story, what draws me to Leonie’s books is the setting, and the very different and fascinating approach she always takes to showcasing it. Here, Norah’s profession takes us to areas of Venice that are well off the tourist track and ones we would never expect to see normally in this type of book. She has obviously put in a huge amount of research to make this career for Norah sound convincing, there was so much detail woven in to the writing, I was really impressed with how it was done. The way she has used this so integrally to the plot, as opposed to just a mechanism to get her to Venice and in to the arms of Gianluca, is brilliant and I think it makes this book stand out from the herd of travel romance novels.

I continue to be excited by Leonie’s writing and, early in her career as she is, I’m eager to see what she does next. To be so bold and confident at this stage bodes well for her future, and is promising for us as reader that there is more and better to come. Aren’t we lucky?

We’ll Always Have Venice is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here. It is also included in your Kindle Unlimited subscription if you have one.

Please make sure to follow the rest of the tour for more reviews and other great content:

Well Always Have Venice Full Tour Banner

About the Author

IMG_20200907_132257_717

Leonie Mack is an author of romantic comedies with great international locations. Having lived in London for many years her home is now in Germany with her husband and three children. Leonie loves train travel, medieval towns, hiking and happy endings!

Connect with Leonie:

Website: https://leoniemack.com/

Facebook: Leonie Mack

Twitter: @LeonieMAuthor

Instagram: @leoniejmack

a-little-book-problem-banner

Blog Tour: Murder at the Summer Fete by Victoria Walters

Murder at the Summer Fete

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour today for the second Dedley End Mystery by Victoria Walters, Murder at the Summer Fete. Huge thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Murder at the Summer Fete FINAL

A fete worse than death…

After finding the killer of Lucy Roth six months ago, life has settled back to normal for bookshop owner, Nancy Hunter, and her grandmother, Jane. The annual Dedley End village fete is just around the corner, and Nancy is delighted when bestselling author, Thomas Green, agrees to launch his first new novel in ten years there.

But then a series of sinister events lead Nancy to realise someone is trying to sabotage their fete, so she, along with Jane and their journalist friend Jonathan, must turn detective to discover who isn’t at all thrilled about the return of Thomas Green.

When a body is discovered at the summer fete, the death scene mirroring that in Thomas’ latest bestseller, they realise that there’s another killer in Dedley End, but can they outsmart someone who appears to have pulled off the perfect crime?

The clues are right under Nancy and Jane’s noses, if only they can find them. Because the answers to life’s questions can always be found in a book…!

I absolutely adored the first book in the Dedley End series by Victoria Walters when I read it back in the autumn (you can find my review of Murder at the House on the Hill here) so I was really looking forward to returning to the Cotswolds for another dose of cosy crime-solving with the dynamic granny and granddaughter duo. I am happy to say that Victoria did not disappoint and I enjoyed this sequel every bit as much as the first one.

This time, Dedley End are preparing for their annual summer fete and, to publicise their crime-themed bookshop, Nancy and Jane have persuaded bestselling author, Thomas Green, to attend and launch his new novel. They are anxious for it all to go well, so the intervention of a determined saboteur who seems intent on disrupting proceedings is most unwelcome. Then things take a murderous turn and the inquisitive duo, along with journalist Jonathan, can’t resist getting involved again.

The book contains all the best ingredients of the ludicrous cosy crime plots that we fans love. Quaint, picturesque settings; bubbling feuds in insular villages; passion; deceit; secrets; meddling; potential adultery; family tensions; and extremely nosy villagers who are so intrigued by everyone else’s business, and so suspicious of outsiders, that it is impossible for anyone to get away with dastardly deeds unnoticed. If you love Midsomer Murders or Agatha Raisin, this book will be right up your street.

The plot is fast paced and full of intriguing twists and turns. There are plenty of clues scattered throughout the book to help the amateur sleuth amongst us solve the murder along with Nancy and her gran, whilst still making you unsure enough of what is happening to draw you quickly through the pages to the end. I have to say this time I did guess the murderer and the motive before the end, but this did not stymie my enjoyment of the book, I was just eager to finish it so I could check if I was right and then bask in a sense of satisfaction to have my suspicions confirmed.

Victoria’s prose is very easy to read, her characters are warm and likeable, her settings lively and vivid. This is the perfect book to read if you want to be intrigued and entertained but not stretched too much, and it will make you look forward to light summer evenings on the village green or in the garden with a G&T. Also another triumph of cover design, I have already bought the book in paperback to grace my library shelves. I highly recommend it and hope there are going to be many more in the series for me to enjoy.

Murder at the Summer Fete is out now in paperback and digital formats, and you can buy a copy here.

Make sure you check out the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour:

Murder At The Summer Fete Full Tour Banner

About the Author

Victoria Walters author picture

Victoria Walters writes up-lifting and inspiring stories. She’s the author of the bestselling GLENDALE HALL series, which continues with its third book HOPEFUL HEARTS at GLENDALE HALL in September, as well as two other standalone novels – SUMMER at the KINDNESS CAFE, and THE SECOND LOVE of my LIFE. She has been chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent and shortlisted for two RNA awards. Victoria was also picked as an Amazon Rising Star, and her books have won wide reader acclaim.

Victoria is a full-time author. She lives in Surrey with her cat Harry, and loves books, clothes, music, going out for tea and cake, and posting photos on Instagram.

Connect with Victoria:

Website: https://victoria-writes.com/

Facebook: Victoria Walters

Twitter: @Vicky_Walters

Instagram: @vickyjwalters

a-little-book-problem-banner

RONA Awards 2022 Celebration Drinks with… Portia MacIntosh

RONAS

I’m not sure how my liver is fairing after all this virtual drinking recently, how are you lot doing out there? Keeping up? We are pressing on regardless (although I may stay off the spirits tonight!) and I’m delighted to be joined by my next guest from the RONA 2022 nominees. This author’s novel, Life’s a Beach, was shortlisted in the Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy category. It’s… Portia Macintosh.

Portia MacIntosh, Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy, Romantic Novel Awards 2022

Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Thanks for having me! I absolutely love a porn star martini. I love cocktails, and trying new ones, but passionfruit is one of my favourite flavours so, if I see a porn star martini on the menu, I can’t resist. The nicest cocktail I’ve ever had was a passionfruit meringue martini, which was similar to a porn star, but it had a foamy meringue top and it came with a little spoon. I must’ve had a thousand of them before my favourite bar retired them.

Unknown

I love passionfruit too, so I’m partial to a pornstar martini. Estabulo also do the most delicious passionfruit maitai, if you ever find yourself in one of their restaurants! If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

I’m from Leeds and, before I got married, moved to the country and settled down, I was a real social butterfly. I know exactly how to have the perfect night out in Leeds city centre. I know where to eat, where to go, and when to go there. I even know where all the different pro sports teams hang out, so if you fancy bumping into any rugby players…

I might take you up on that, as I’m a Yorkshire lass myself and worked in Leeds city centre for several years, I wonder if we have any favourite places in common? If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

That’s a really good question. My favourite musician at the moment is an Australian singer called Alex Cameron who is just such a brilliantly talented and creative person. His girlfriend is actress Jemima Kirke and I think the two of them would be so much fun to have a drink with. They’re creative, fun, kind of weird. I can’t see how we wouldn’t have a good time hanging out with them. I bet people give such great answers to this question and I’m just like: this odd singer and his cool girlfriend.

Unknown-3

We like odd and cool! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

Workwise, I’m currently working on my two Christmas novels to be released later this year, as well as working through the final stages of my summer release, The Meet Cute Method. I love my job, I find it hard not get carried away. I always have so many ideas buzzing around in my head – it’s so nice to have found a publisher who can keep up with me.

FMcHOXWXIAwItwC

Do movie romances ever happen in real life…?

Frankie doesn’t believe in true love. As relationships expert at popular magazine Stylife, she has learnt that dating disasters are far more common than happy ever afters.

So when she is tasked to find out if meet cutes can work in real life she is up for the challenge – but whether it’s being a damsel in distress with a flat tyre, or spilling coffee over a stranger, she isn’t convinced this can really lead to love.

But little does Frankie know that the ultimate meet cute opportunity is just around the corner. As she is whisked off her feet (all in the name of her work project of course…) perhaps true love isn’t just for the movies after all…?

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing/blogging and what has been your biggest challenge?

Honestly, it’s hard not to feel proud at every step of the way. I don’t feel like the odds were in my favour to have even one novel published, never mind more than twenty. So many little things make me proud, like seeing a new cover, or getting a great review. As far as the big things go, being shortlisted for an RNA Award for the second time means so much to me. I never expected it to happen once so twice is amazing.

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I think all authors would love to see one of their books adapted for the big screen. If one of my books is ever turned into a movie then that’s when I’ll know I’ve made it. I can’t think of anything cooler than seeing a live action remake of the people and the stories who only really exist in my head.

What have planned that you are really excited about?

I’m excited about my three books that are still to be published this year and I’ve just planned out next year’s books too. I just love writing stories and sharing them with people.

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

I love southern Italy. I don’t know if it’s obvious from my books, because I love to visit there on the pages, and everything that comes with it, but it’s where most of my family is from, so it’s special to me for a few reasons.

If I could go anywhere right now it would be Maui but the place at the top of my bucket list to visit has to be New York. I would love to live there, never mind visit.

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

A few people already know that I used to be a music journalist. I don’t think many people know that my early novels were based on my own experiences of things I did and saw while I was in that job though. Just like my main character in those books I used to just head off on tour with my band friends – not even for work, just for fun. I had a bit of an Almost Famous phase. These days it feels like a movie I watched – and I’d hate to do it now. It wasn’t that long ago but I don’t think I could hack it anymore. 

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath has to be my favourite novel of all time. I first read it when I was a teenager and so much of it spoke to me. I think everyone should read it.

41juNG9OrPL._SX309_BO1,204,203,200_

I was supposed to be having the time of my life.

When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther’s life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into depression and eventually a suicide attempt, as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take women’s aspirations seriously.

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath’s only novel, was originally published in 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The novel is partially based on Plath’s own life and descent into mental illness, and has become a modern classic. The Bell Jar has been celebrated for its darkly funny and razor sharp portrait of 1950s society.

So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

Slow and steady. I’ve never been the kind of drinker who likes to get drunk. I always know my limits and take it easy. Drinking loads of water and having a good breakfast the next day will always serve you well – but something delicious, like pancakes. Greasy isn’t always good the morning after.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

I love a lazy weekend these days. Walking the dog and shopping are always great but you really can’t beat an evening on the sofa – ideally with a pizza and a cocktail, in front of a movie marathon or a TV binge. 

Portia, it’s been great chatting with you, thanks for answering my ludicrous questions so brilliantly!

Portia’s RONA-shortlisted novel, Life’s a Beach, is out now, and you can buy a copy here.

Portia MacIntosh, Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy, Romantic Novel Awards 2022, Life's a Beach BOOK COVER

Sun, sea and inescapable exes…

Peach is excited to hear that her sister, Di, is getting married. Of course, she would have preferred her little sister to be engaged to someone she’s known longer than a week – and the fact that his name is Charles doesn’t bode well – but who is she to judge?! After all, her own love life is non-existent, and who doesn’t love a destination wedding?

Whisked away to the gorgeous Italian coast, Peach assumes her role as chief bridesmaid and, despite her reservations about the groom, she tries to ensure everything goes to plan.

But weddings are never straightforward affairs … throw in some unexpected guests (in the form of ex-boyfriends) and one night stands, and soon enough there is more drama than a reality TV show.

Can Peach keep the show on the road, or might she end up in a whirlwind romance of her own…?

Portia’s new book, The Meet Cute Method, will be published in ebook format on 4 May and you can pre-order it here. I will be taking part in the blog tour for the book, so watch out for this coming up soon on the blog.

Portia MacIntosh is the bestselling author of over 20 romantic comedy novels.

From disastrous dates to destination weddings, Portia’s romcoms are the perfect way to escape from day to day life, visiting sunny beaches in the summer and snowy villages at Christmas time. Whether it’s southern Italy or the Yorkshire coast, Portia’s stories are the holiday you’re craving, conveniently packed in between the pages.

Formerly a journalist, Portia has left the city, swapping the music biz for the moors, to live the (not so) quiet life with her husband and her dog in Yorkshire.

Connect with Portia:

Website: www.portiamacintosh.com

Twitter: @PortiaMacIntosh

Instagram: @portiamacintoshauthor

a-little-book-problem-banner

Friday Night Drinks with… Andrew Langley

friday-night-drinks

Taking a break from my celebration of all things romance to chat to an author local to me who has joined me for my regular Friday Night Drinks slot. Please welcome to the blog, Doncaster writer… Andrew Langley.

Andrew Langley author headshot

Andrew, welcome to the blog and thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

It’s great to be here Julie, and thanks for having me. As the son of a Scottish father, I am having a wee dram of my favourite Scotch whisky. Back in the day, when I was teething as a baby, my parents would dip my dummy in whisky to ease the pain. So, you could say, I developed a taste to the strong stuff from a young age! I don’t think this would be the chosen cure for teething in the modern era, but it worked for me.

whiskey-gbf0e17ec6_1280

If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

In real life, we’d be heading to a Chinese restaurant for a slap up meal and wine. Our family treat when I was growing up was a Chinese takeaway every Saturday night. It seemed such a luxury thing at the time, and the distinctive flavours always remind me of my early years in the North East.

I wonder if we favour the same Doncaster Chinese restaurant! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

I’m a huge David Bowie fan, and have followed him since the early seventies – he would be my first pick. Over the years, I’ve seen him in concert many times, and I have fond memories of each performance. He was such a creative guy, who seemed to live life on his own terms, and I’d love to get a chance to chat with him.

I’d also invite Diana Gabaldon, the author of the global phenomena that is the Outlander series. I love her approach to writing about Scotland and Scottish history, and she was a major inspiration behind my latest novel The Hawk Legacy. I wanted to capture how she’d brought the Jacobite era to life, and it would be great to swap ideas about writing historical fiction.

So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

My career has been a reflection of my health. Around the time I turned thirty, I went blind in my left eye. The vision gradually returned, but years later, I was formally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The ongoing deterioration in my mobility meant I had to quit my current day job as a photojournalist and wildlife cameraman. I simply couldn’t carry the kit, or hold it steady any more. As I’d written for newspapers, magazines and contributed to a couple of non-fiction books as a photojournalist, I thought I’d have a go at writing full length fiction. It’s a sedentary job and I can fit the hours around whatever my health is doing on a particular day.

My first attempts were a series of three thrillers set in Whitby, the North York Moors, and Scotland all featuring the same characters. Then I thought I’d have a go at a historical thriller/adventure exploring my favourite historical period – the Jacobite Revolution in Scotland. Hence, the idea for The Hawk Legacy was born, and I based the story on real events from the period. I’d known since my teens of the mystery of a missing gold hoard buried in the Highlands by the Jacobites after the Battle of Culloden, and I thought it would be a great background for a story. A treasure quest over three centuries – surely it could be a good tale to tell. The finished novel was picked up by Vanguard Press and published in January this year.

I’ve outlined a potential sequel to this, and I’m also working on two other novels at the moment. One is a coming of age tale for the over fifties, and the other is a crime story set in the North East.

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing/blogging and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment was holding the finished version of my first novel in hand, and then doing a book signing at the local Waterstones. The staff and everyone who showed up were so nice to me, it was a real privilege to be there.

The biggest challenge I face, along with most authors at the start of their career, is getting your book noticed. Thousands of books are published a month and bookshops only have limited shelf space. Why should they stock yours over a famous name who is on their fifth bestseller? A reader needs to trust that they will be entertained after they’ve handed over their hard earned cash for a book. It is human nature to go for an author you’ve read before, rather than a relatively unknown one. I hope, as my publishing catalogue grows, readers will enjoy my stories and keep coming back for more.

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I think every author wants to see their books gracing the bestseller lists, but only a small handful get there. For me, I’d love to see my stories on television or film. As my background is in media and TV, it would be like my career has come full circle.

What are have planned that you are really excited about?

I love writing. Creating new worlds, and inventing interesting characters that drive the story. What really excites me is the stage in a novel when the characters you’ve made up start talking to you. No, I haven’t gone mad, this genuinely happens to me every time. I’ll be writing a scene, and a character voice will pop up in my head saying, “I wouldn’t do that,” or “You’ve got that wrong.” Even though I plot all the twists and turns in my novel right at the beginning, a developing character can throw in a curve ball at the last moment. It’s wonderful, and has changed the plotted ending of a couple of my stories already.

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

My favourite place is the Scottish Highlands. The mystery of the landscape, the history – everything really. Weirdly, I feel at peace and at home there. In the future, I’d like to travel to Iceland and see more of Scandinavia. I’ve been lucky enough to work in the Arctic Circle, and it was fantastic (but very, very, cold).

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

I’ve had a couple of jobs photographing members of the royal family. After appropriate vetting before the event, I was then summoned for a detailed brief by the people who look after security on the day. This still didn’t stop two non-uniformed officers sandwiching me and my camera gear and escorting me to the side whilst I was attempting to take photographs. They appeared from nowhere, like ninjas in a smart suit with a suspicious bulge under the jacket where their firearms were hidden. After a brief moment of terror and a short interview, they let me go. But the experience left me in awe of the royal protection professionals who have the capability of blending into the background unseen.

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

This is a controversial choice, but the book that got me hooked on thrillers as a teenager was Casino Royale by Ian Fleming. The morals are outdated by modern standards, but the pace of the writing and the exotic locations really fired my imagination. From the opening line, the reader is drawn into a seedy world of danger and intrigue. More up-to-date, I’d say anything by Lee Child. He is another writer who really captures the imagination, and I love the Jack Reacher series.

51eW2hoSIOL

Le Chiffre is a businessman with expensive tastes, and SMERSH’s chief operative in France. But as his dissolute lifestyle threatens to ruin him, his only hope is to risk his paymasters’ money at the card table.

James Bond, the finest gambler in the service, has a deadly new mission: to outplay Le Chiffre and shatter his Soviet cell.

Amidst the opulence of Casino Royale, the two men face each other for a game with the highest stakes of all.

So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

Try not to mix drinks, and down at least a pint of water before heading to bed. If this fails, arm yourself with a greasy fry-up for breakfast, followed by your painkiller of choice. And by painkiller, I don’t mean another alcoholic drink …

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

It’s the time of the evening to kick off the shoes, light a fire and read by the soft illumination of a flickering flame. Then another final dram, before heading for a beautiful sleep. Thanks for having me, it’s been wonderful to spend this time with you. 

Thanks for joining me this evening, Andrew, it’s been lovely chatting to you.

Andrew’s latest novel, The Hawk Legacy, is available now in both ebook and paperback formats and you can buy a copy here. The Hawk Legacy is available as part of your Kindle Unlimited subscription. 

The Hawk Legacy by Andrew Langley

Two soldiers. Three centuries apart. One buried treasure.

All families have secrets, but Jax’s clan ancestors may hold the clues to a lost Jacobite fortune.

Join an epic treasure quest spanning three centuries and two very different version of Scotland, in a story of murder, rebellion, love and family loyalty.

After graduating with honours in physics and astrophysics, Andrew Langley was destined to work in industry. But life had other plans. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at a young age, Andrew reinvented his career as his health deteriorated. With a determination to enjoy each change in direction, he’s been a gambling consultant, TV producer, wildlife photographer and professional magician. These varied experiences have taken Andrew from locations as diverse as the casinos of Las Vegas to the remote wilderness of the Arctic Circle. Andrew now creates his new adventures on paper. The Hawk Legacy is his fourth novel. He is a member of The Magic Circle, National Union of Journalists and Equity.

Connect with Andrew:

Website: www.andrewlangley.co.uk

Facebook: The Hawk Legacy

Twitter: @mirroronthesoul

a-little-book-problem-banner

Blog Tour: River Clyde by Simone Buchholz; Translated by Rachel Ward

RIVER CLYDE proof AW

Mired in grief after tragic recent events, State prosecutor Chastity Riley escapes to Scotland, lured to the birthplace of her great-great- grandfather by a mysterious letter suggesting she has inherited a house. In Glasgow, she meets Tom, the ex-lover of Chastity’s great aunt, who holds the keys to her own family secrets – painful stories of unexpected cruelty and loss that she’s never dared to confront.

In Hamburg, Stepanovic and Calabretta investigate a major arson attack, while a group of property investors kicks off an explosion of violence that threatens everyone.

As events in these two countries collide, Chastity prepares to face the inevitable, battling the ghosts of her past and the lost souls that could be her future and, perhaps, finally finding redemption for them all. Nail-bitingly tense and breathtakingly emotive, River Clyde is both an electrifying thriller and a poignant, powerful story of damage and hope, and one woman’s fight for survival.

I am so thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for the latest Chastity Riley novel by Simone Buchholz, River Clyde. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the publisher, Orenda Books, for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I always go into writing reviews of Simone Buchholz’s books with a sense of inadequacy and trepidation because I know, whatever words I put down on the page, they are going to be inadequate to describe what I just read. In the case of River Clyde, I am feeling this even more keenly than usual because this book is so unlike anything I’ve read before, so difficult to describe, so impossible to categorise.

It’s more of a surreal dreamscape than a classic crime novel, with the story wandering between the mean street of Hamburg, the mean streets of Glasgow, the blasted heath of Rannoch Moor and the interiors of the messed up minds of the main characters, all still trying to process the tragic events which occurred in Hotel Cartagena. This book brings the reader much closer to Chastity than we have ever been before, I left the book feeling like I had crawled into her skin and was watching things unfold from behind her eyes, and it was sometimes a bizarre place to be.

Anyone who has read any of the previous Chastity Riley novels will know that they are not your run of the mill crime novel, but Simone has taken the story telling to a completely different place in this book. The crime that the police in Hamburg are trying to solve is a mere footnote in the book, and afterthought, a distraction from the real meat of the story, which is the fallout that are all feeling personally after the horror that unfolded in the last book and the fact that Stepanovic treats the investigation as such is a clear indicator of what is important to all of these people now. Riley has gone a step further and removed herself from Hamburg and her old life altogether to travel to Scotland in search of family history. Both running away, and running towards, her story here is one of soul-searching. She is looking for a place in the world, now that everything she had in Hamburg seems to be gone.

Anyone looking for a straight forward crime investigation is looking in the wrong place and I think, if you aren’t familiar with the previous Chastity Riley books, this wouldn’t be the ideal place to start. Go back, at least one novel, and catch up on previous events. It will help make sense of what is going on here and be immensely rewarding in its own right. For those of you who have read the previous books, be prepared to be confronted by a completely different novel, and a different view of all of the characters you believe you’ve come to know. They are all finding surprising ways to process their grief, none more so than Chastity herself. All of her usual BS-free, no-nonsense acerbic personality is here, but we see more of her underbelly, more of her inner softness and vulnerability and it is enlightening. There is a blurring of reality and fantasy throughout, the reader, along with the character, finds it hard to tell what is true and what is imagination. There is confusion, pain, understanding, realisation and a letting go. It’s melancholy and life-affirming in equal parts, and I found the whole thing painful and very moving.

Simone Buchholz writing continues to be brutal, honest, startling, fearless and utter unique and her books leap out from the literary landscape in a way that demands they be given attention. Once you’ve read one, you’ll never forget her voice and you’ll be addicted to the rush immediately. A year is too long to wait between hits. I feel the need now to go back to the beginning and ride the whole rollercoaster from beginning to end, although I’m unsure if my nerves could take the force of the full blast in one sitting. I don’t know where she will go with this character next, that’s part of the appeal of the books, but I’m here for the hit.

River Clyde is out now as an ebook and will be published in paperback on 17 March and you can buy your copy here.

Please make sure you check out some of the other blogs taking part in the blog tour:

River Clyde Blog tour banner

About the Author

Simone-Buchholz

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as runner-up in the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. The critically acclaimed Beton Rouge, Mexico Street and Hotel Cartagena all followed in the Chastity Riley series, with River Clyde out in 2022. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

Connect with Simone:

Website: https://simonebuchholz.com

Twitter: @ohneKlippo

a-little-book-problem-banner