Battlestar Suburbia by Chris McCrudden #BookReview (@cmccrudden) @farragobooks @NetGalley #BattlestarSuburbia #NetGalley


“In space, no one can hear you clean…

When Darren’s charge-cart gets knocked off the Earth-to-Mars highway and lost in space forever, he thinks his day can’t get any worse.

When Kelly sees Darren accidentally short-circuit a talking lamppost, and its camera captures her face as it expires, she thinks her day can’t get any worse.

When Pamasonic Teffal, a sentient breadmaker, is sent on a top-secret mission into the depths of the internet and betrayed by her boss, a power-crazed smartphone, she knows this is only the beginning of a day that isn’t going to get any better.

Join Darren, Kelly and Pam in an anarchic comic adventure that takes them from the shining skyscrapers of Singulopolis to the sewers of the Dolestar Discovery, and find out what happens when a person puts down their mop and bucket and says ‘No.’

Battlestar Suburbia will be loved by fans of Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Jasper Fforde, as well as anyone who’s ever wondered just how long someone can stay under one of those old-fashioned hairdryers.*

*The answer is: a really very, very long time.”

If I tell you that I spent my teenage years bingeing on the books of Douglas Adams and episodes of Red Dwarf (yes, the first time around when Dave Lister didn’t look mad/sad in his leather jacket and hat) that is really going to age me, isn’t it? However, I think I am exactly the age group that was going to enjoy this book the most because it reminded me of those things I enjoyed in my youth. (Middle-aged people, yes.)

Although I am afraid, for me, that no writer is ever going to be able to reach the genius heights of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, this book comes as close as anyone is likely to get. It manages to attain that perfect level of absurdity and humour balanced with wit and intelligence and a healthy dollop of pop culture references to spot and snigger over as you wend your way through the book, a really delicious mix to relish.

We are set in a dystopian future where machines have got sick of being used as tools by infinitely less intelligent units, namely humans, and have turned the tables so that humans now serve them, mostly in the form of mopping floors. This happens not in a creepy Terminator/Matrix way, but in a humorous way where some machines actually secretly decide that they miss having their touchscreens fondled… that pretty much gives you a taste of what to expect. Throw in a very ‘mobile’ hair salon with the best pun name ever whose clientele are at least several millennia old and you must be totally intrigued by now, surely.

Humans have similarly decided that they aren’t overly happy about cleaning up after toasters and a resistance has formed, while some of the machines in the higher echelons have dreams of taking a form more physical, more squashy, more feeling… Quite what will happen when these two opposing desires clash, well you will have to read the book to find out.

This book is extremely well-written – very clever, very witty, great fun and with plenty of action and absurd plotting to keep you intrigued to the last page and beyond. The jokes appealed completely to my warped sense of humour, even the really, really corny/bad  ones. In fact, especially the really, really corny/bad ones (seriously, the salon name, genius). I have ordered a paperback copy of this book and I am already looking forward to the sequel. In space, no one can hear you…tapping your fingers in impatience to see what happens next. I highly recommend this book to everyone…man, woman, cyborg…of any age or persuasion, but especially ageing Dwarfers like me.

Battlestar Suburbia hot of the press and you can buy a copy here.

My thanks to NetGalley and Farrago for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

About the Author

Chris McCrudden was born in South Shields (no, he doesn’t know Cheryl) and has been, at various points in his life, a butcher’s boy, a burlesque dancer and a hand model for a giant V for Victory sign on Canary Wharf.

He now lives in London and, when not writing books, works in PR, so in many ways you could describe his life as a full-time fiction. If you like science fiction, graphs and gifs from RuPaul’s Drag Race you can follow him on Twitter for all three, sometimes at once @cmccrudden.

Costa Del Churros by Isabella May #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway (@IsabellaMayBks) @crookedcatbooks @RaRaResources #CostaDelChurros #RachelsRandomResources #FictionCafeWriters

Costa Del Churros

Another blog tour today (not mega-relevant as this book was published yesterday but can anyone tell me why so many books are being published today, there seem to be dozens!) and this one is for Costa del Churros by my fellow Fiction Cafe Writer, Isabella May, so I am delighted to be taking part. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for my place on the tour and to the author and publisher for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. There is also a fabulous giveaway after the review so make sure you enter that.

Costa Del Churros Cover

“The rain in Spain doesn’t mainly fall on the plain…

Brits abroad Belinda, Julia, Laura and Georgina need more than the sweetness of churros with chocolate dipping sauce to save them from their unsavoury states of affairs.

Cue Carmen Maria Abril de la Fuente Ferrera, the town’s flamboyant flamenco teacher! But can she really be the answer to their prayers? 

One thing’s for sure: the Costa del Sol will never be the same again.”

Anyone who doesn’t really, really want a sugar-coated churro and some chocolate sauce to dip it in after seeing that book cover? No, didn’t think so, it must be the tastiest looking book cover I’ve ever seen.

This is the story of four very different women who become unlikely friends when they are drawn together in a flamenco class run by the enigmatic Carmen on the Costa del Sol and it could not get more Spanish if it tried. Isabella really brought the whole feel of the location alive and the fish-out-of-water feeling of the non-Spaniards who have made it their home.

To begin with, I found it hard to warm to a couple of the characters, as they are all very different to me but as the book progresses they all grew on me, much as they grew on each other as they learn things about themselves over the course of the novel and the flamenco classes. Isabella’s writing style is very chatty and easy to read and the characters all too believable, even in their more extreme moments so it is easy to get carried along by their stories. There are a number of very astute observations in the book, it cuts close to the bone in places and might make you wince with its accuracy, and it is also quite funny, so plenty to keep the reader entertained.

Having read Isabella’s previous two books, I felt like she has really got in to her writing stride in this one and it was the most comfortable and convincing for me. I think it really grasps the nature of female friendship and the kind of dilemmas that women are faced with, at the same time as having that touch of the exotic (for those of us who aren’t living the ex-pat lifestyle anyway) that takes us away from our every day lives. A really good read for anyone looking for an escapist read now that the nights are drawing in and we are all missing the hot summer days.

Now, where are my churros, please?

Costa del Churros is out now and you can get your copy here.


Giveaway Prize - The Cocktail Bar

Isabella is giving away a signed copy of her book The Cocktail  Bar. To be in with a chance to win, just click the Rafflecopter link below:


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

To follow the rest of the tour, checkout the blogs below on the relevant date:

Costa del Churros Full Tour Banner

About the Author

Author Pic

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing. As a co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One). She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’! Costa del Churros is her third novel with Crooked Cat Books, following on from the hit sensations, Oh! What a Pavlova and The Cocktail Bar. 

Connect with Isabella:


Facebook: Isabella May Author

Twitter: @IsabellaMayBks

Instagram: @isabella_may_author

The Tainted Vintage by Clare Blanchard #BlogTour #Extract (@CBcrime) @fahrenheitpress @damppebbles #TheTaintedVintage #damppebblesblogtours

the tainted vintage

“In the small Czech town of Vinice the mayor has been found dead in his wine cellar.

Detectives Jana Dvorska and Ivan Dambersky are called to the scene and soon realise that despite appearances, Mayor Slansky’s death was most definitely not from natural causes.

Almost immediately, the close-knit community closes ranks to try and brush the unexplained death under the carpet with the minimum of fuss.

Dvorska & Dambersky are drawn deeper and deeper into secrets that many hoped would remain buried forever and they’re forced into pursuing an investigation where their own lives are put in danger.

The Tainted Vintage is the first book in a wonderful new series set in and around The Czech Republic, an area rich in history, literature and culture that still remains largely unexplored by contemporary crime fiction fans.”

Delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour today for The Tainted Vintage by Clare Blanchard. My thanks to Emma Welton at damp pebbles blog tours for inviting me on to the tour and to the author for allowing me to reproduce the extract from the book for you below.


On an instinctive whim, Dvorska went into silent mode to see what effect it would have on Mrs. Slanska, who she could see from these first few minutes was used to having the upper hand in most conversations. Under certain conditions, silence – especially when unexpected – could be one of the most powerful weapons in the interrogation repertoire. So, she flicked her inner mental switch into freewheel, focused softly on her breathing, in and out, in and out, and waited…

It couldn’t have been more than twenty seconds before she noticed the sharp blue eyes of Magda Slanska darting across at her over the immaculately ironed tablecloth, attempting to gauge her intentions. But Dvorska had arranged her features into a veil of blandness. Quietly, deliberately not meeting Mrs. Slanska’s gaze, she took another sip of her coffee, and waited a little longer. Her silence was starting to make Mrs. Slanska feel uncomfortable, as if she were being wordlessly probed. It was Dvorska’s hope that when the silence became too much for Mrs. Slanska, it would break at the point of greatest weakness in the family façade. So Dvorska waited a little longer.

“Of course Daniel was such a wonderful husband and father,” Slanska eventually blurted out with a proud flourish.

“Bingo!” thought Magda to herself, trying hard not to show her reactions. Mrs. Slanska’s last statement almost certainly meant that Daniel Slansky had been anything but a wonderful husband and father, just as she had suspected. Why else, she had been asking herself for the last twenty-four hours, would the Slansky children have been dispatched to their other grandmother in Brno at the very time when you would most expect a family to want to be together?

“I’m sure he was,” Dvorska answered, putting down her coffee cup and lying through her teeth. She went on, carefully maintaining her blandness: “This must be a terrible time for the children. You must be so worried about them.” Magda Slanska now clutched for all she was worth at the straw she had been offered. “Oh yes! – they’re absolutely devastated! They adored their father!” she effused in relief at restoring the conversation to the track from which she feared it had been derailed. But Dvorska now seriously doubted that the Slansky children had adored their father. 

“So Petr and Jirina are staying with their other grandmother in Brno?” she asked cheerfully, putting down her cup and standing up to leave.

“Oh, oh yes. They were so upset!” answered Mrs. Slanska, evidently a little surprised that Dvorska already knew the answer to the question she was asking.

“I can imagine,” said Dvorska. “Well, thank you so much for the delicious coffee. Don’t worry, I can see myself out!” And she was gone before Mrs. Slanska could think of anything more to say.

If this extract has whetted your appetite for the book, you will be pleased to know that The Tainted Vintage is out now and you can buy a copy here.

If you would like to read some reviews of the book, you can follow the blog tour below:

tainted vintage banner

About the Author

Clare Blanchard

Originally from the North Yorkshire coast in England, Clare Blanchard spent half her lifetime in the Czech Republic, where her books are mainly set. Inspired by Nordic noir, where the settings are often like another character in the plot, she writes crime mysteries and other fiction, usually with a historical twist. She loves beautiful landscapes and architecture, cross-country skiing, the wine of South Moravia, and of course Czech beer. When she’s not being literary she knits funky socks.

Connect with Clare:


Facebook: Clare Blanchard Books

Twitter: @CBcrime

dpbt 2

Haircuts, Hens and Homicide by Stephanie Dagg #BookReview #BlogTour (@llamamum) @RaRaResources #HaircutsHens&Homicide

Haircuts, Hens and Homicide

A very belated turn on the blog tour today for Haircuts, Hens and Homicide by Stephanie Dagg so apologies for the late posting to the author and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources who invited me on to the tour. I have been hampered by severe headaches the past two days, hence my erratic blogging, but I hope normal service will be resumed tomorrow. Now, on to the book!


“Megan finds mayhem when she arrives in France to bury her Gran and sort out her affairs. She expected difficult encounters with civil servants and red tape but not with wandering chickens, an imperious policeman and a dead body. Together with her unlikely new friend, the elderly and grumpy Alphonse and his canine equivalent, Monsieur Moustache, Megan becomes involved in investigating the fowl-related foul play that’s at work in this sleepy part of rural France.
She’s helped but mainly hindered by the people she comes across. These include the local mayor, who wants Megan to stay and set up a hair salon in his village to help keep it alive. There are the cousins Romain, the gendarme, and Nico, the clumsy but hunky farmer. They have always clashed, but do so constantly now that Megan is on the scene. Michelle, Romain’s terrifying ex who wants him back, appears along the way, as does Claudette, a wheelchair-bound old lady, and Kayla, Megan’s best friend, who is hugely pregnant but not above taking on the forces of French law and order when Megan finds herself the prime suspect after Alphonse is stabbed.”

What can I say except I really, really loved this book! Part romance, part cosy mystery with a strong element of comedy running through the story, it was sweet, mad, lovely nonsense that was just a delight to read.

Megan arrives in France to bury her Gran and discovers she has inherited her gran’s cottage, her hens and a lot of fairly eccentric but friendly neighbours in a small, rural town. While deciding whether to stay in France, she encounters a poultry-obsessed geriatric with a bad-tempered dog, hunky French cousins warring over her affections and a phalanx of old ladies demanding her hairdressing talents. As Megan becomes embroiled in local life, largely against her will, she is thrust into the centre of a murder mystery that might be the death of her.

Megan was a character I instantly warmed to. Vulnerable but feisty in equal measure, she is very easy to like and begin to root for. She manages to get herself into some terrifying situations through a combination of naivete and a soft heart which is very appealing. Her romantic dilemma was a lovely one for a girl to be faced with, but I’m not sure I would have made the same choice she does…

The plot was hilarious and, whilst I did guess the identity of the murderer about 60% of the way through, I was mystified as to the possible motive and was hooked on the story right to the end. The story was sufficiently crazy to be raucously entertaining and the book is peopled with delightfully mad but believable characters that I just adored.

There is nothing about this book I didn’t like. The writing style is warm and enticing with plenty of detailed description to bring the story to life. we are left with a great cliffhanger at the end to make it imperative that I get my hand on the sequel, Perms, Pigeons and Poison as soon as it is available. Wonderful stuff, buy this lovely book immediately.

Haircuts, Hens and Homicide is out now and you can get your mitts on it instantly here.

Follow the rest of the blog tour below:

Haircuts, Hens and Homicide Full Tour Banner

About the Author


I’m an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. I now consider myself a European rather than ‘belonging’ to any particular country. The last ten years have been interesting, to put it mildly. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie, makes for exciting times. The current array of animals includes alpacas, llamas, huarizos (alpaca-llama crossbreds, unintended in our case and all of them thanks to one very determined alpaca male), sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys, not forgetting our pets of dogs, cats, zebra finches, budgies , canaries, lovebirds and Chinese quail. Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it’s been a steep learning curve. I recount these experiences in my book Heads Above Water: Staying Afloat in France and the sequel to that, Total Immersion: Ten Years in France. I also blog regularly at

I’m married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful.     

I’m a traditionally-published author of many children’s books, and am now self-publishing too. I have worked part-time as a freelance editor for thirty years after starting out as a desk editor for Hodder & Stoughton. Find me at The rest of the time I’m running carp fishing lakes with Chris and inevitably cleaning up some or other animal’s poop.   

Connect with Stephanie:


Facebook: Stephanie Dagg Books

Twitter: @llamamum

The Goodnight Song by Nick Hollin #BookReview #BlogBlitz #PublicationDay (@vonmaraus) @Bookouture #NetGalley #TheGoodnightSong


“What would you do if someone used your deepest secrets to commit the darkest crimes?

When the cold, lifeless body of a policeman is pulled from the Thames in the early hours of the morning, it appears at first glance to be a terrible accident.

But when old diary pages predicting the exact details of the crime start appearing online, ex-criminal psychologist and owner of the diary, Nathan Radley, becomes the number one suspect in the most terrifying murder investigation the London police has ever seen.

Nathan’s partner, Detective Katie Rhodes knows that he is innocent, because she was with him the night of the attack. But as more extracts are posted, and more bodies begin to surface, how much longer can she ignore the connection?

The trail leads Katie from one dead end to another, until a tiny clue buried deep within the pages leads them to a new suspect; someone dangerous, someone close, someone they trusted…”

Happy to be joining the publication day celebrations for The Goodnight Song by Nick Hollin with my review, albeit a little late in the day. I hope you have had a fabulous publication day, Nick. My thanks to Noelle Holton at Bookouture for my copy of the book via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is the second book featuring Nathan Radley and Detective Katie Rhodes and the events follow on from those in book one which, unfortunately, I have not read. I have to say that, whilst the writer does a good job of filling in as much back story as possible without regurgitating the whole plot of the first book, I think I would have benefitted from reading Book One, Dark Lies, first so I had a full understanding of the events in that book, as they did play a major part in this book. I felt I was floundering a little by not knowing the full story and playing catch up. My enjoyment of this book would have been greatly enhanced had I read book one and not had to concentrate so hard on working out what had gone before to enjoy this story. So, top tip – read Book One first!

That being said, it is possible to pick up the plot from this book as a standalone – it just takes a bit more work – and once I had got it all sorted, I was fully invested in the story. The dynamic between the two main characters is fantastic, the author has written them both brilliantly and we are given the story equally from both their perspectives which is unusual and a really interesting spin on the detective genre, particularly as they are in a relationship which it is fascinating to see from both sides. They had such different takes and approaches to the situation they find themselves in.

Nathan is quite a divisive character, as the good guy with bad thoughts and I can see why  people can’t quite decide how to take him. Again, this is a fascinating idea to explore and I really enjoyed watching it play out throughout the book as he switches between hero and potential villain in the eyes of the other characters, and thus in the reader’s eyes, over the course of the story. We are never sure whether he can be trusted or not until the end, in fact he doesn’t even seem one hundred percent sure himself, which keeps the reader continually on the edge of their seats.

This book is a very fast paced and tense thriller, with a myriad of twists and turns throughout. Everyone seems to be hiding something and everyone is a potential suspect to the point where I had absolutely no idea is anyone could be trusted at all or how the story was going to end up and my head was spinning with different theories, none of which turned out to be correct in the end, so the author did a great job of throwing in false clues and red herrings to confuse the reader and keep us on our toes. At times, the story got a little too confusing and convoluted and I got a bit lost. A couple of characters were brought in to the frame on what seemed like fairly tenuous links and flimsy evidence to me and the connections between some of the characters were complicated and coincidental to the point of stretching my credulity almost to breaking point. I am not sure, now knowing the ending, that I would ever have got there in a month of Sundays by myself or that I have still unraveled in my head all the connections but it has definitely given my brain a work out!

This book is an engrossing, fast-paced and intelligent read, suitable for anyone who likes cryptic puzzles and to have their brain and nerves stretched by a book. I would recommend it for crime fans, but make sure you read Dark Lies  first to get the most out of it. Now I’m off to rest my poor, tired spaghetti brain.

The Goodnight Song is out today and you can buy a copy here. The first Rhodes and Radley thriller, Dark Lies is available here.

To see what my fellow bloggers on the blitz thought of the book, check out the blogs below:

The Goodnight Song - Blog Tour

About the Author


From bookbinder to gardener to forensic analyst, Nick has enjoyed an extremely varied working life. At home his interests are equally diverse, but nothing beats books. Collecting, reading, writing, they have always been a passion in one form or another. A graduate of Royal Holloway’s Creative Writing Masters, he’s fulfilling a long-held dream of being published and hopes to be at this for a good while yet. He lives in Cambridgeshire with his partner, young son and cat. 

Connect with Nick:

Twitter: @vonmaraus


The Holiday Cruise by Victoria Cooke #BookReview #BookBirthdayBlitz (@VictoriaCooke10) @HQDigitalUK @RaRaResources #TheHolidayCruise #NetGalley

The Holiday Cruise

Delighted to be taking part in the blog blitz today for the book birthday of The Holiday Cruise by my fellow RNA member, Victoria Cooke. Have a very happy book birthday, Victoria and thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly. My thanks also to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the blitz.

The Holiday Cruise Cover

“As if it weren’t enough to be cheated on by her husband of ten years, Yorkshire lass Hannah Davis is losing her beauty salon business too. Luckily, her big sister is there to pick up the pieces, but Hannah is desperate to find some independence.

Impulsively, Hannah applies for a spa job…on a cruise ship! Christmas in the Caribbean, springtime in the Mediterranean, what’s not to like? But, despite being in her thirties, Hannah has never done anything on her own before, and she’s terrified.

As the ship sets sail, Hannah has never been further from home…or closer to discovering who she is and who she wants to be.”

This book has the perfect recipe for a light romantic read. It has a compelling heroine, a dastardly man doing the dirty, a great relationship between sisters, a suitably difficult dilemma for the heroine to deal with, new friends, a potential new romance and fabulous exotic locations beautifully described along the way. Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir for several hundred pages before turning out the perfect beach (or any other time for that matter) read. (Can you tell I am writing this just after watching Bake Off?)

We start the book with our heroine, Hannah, at the lowest of low points in her life. Her husband has left her for the other woman and, in the course of mourning her marriage, she has let her business go to the point of no return. It looks like she is out of options until she is given the idea of applying to work on a cruise ship, and a chink of light appears. Encouraged by her stalwart sister, she decides to go for it and the rest of the book follows her experiences on the ship.

Oh how much I enjoyed this book. I felt all the highs and lows with Hannah along the way. I really wanted to punch Daniel in the face for what he did to Hannah, and I’m really not a violent person, which just goes to show how quickly I was sympathising with Hannah. I loved her sister galloping to her side, it reminded me of how much my sisters support me in times of need, and the ladies in the village backing her up as they shun her wayward ex and his floozy. Victoria had me on side from the very beginning and I was desperate for Hannah to take the chance on the cruise.

Once she got on board, I was fascinated by the insight into working behind the scenes on the cruise ship and all the new friends she makes on board. The visits to the ports were fabulous – armchair-travelling at its best which is one of my favourite things to do in books, especially now the evenings are getting longer and darker and I am missing the summer sunshine.

The thing I enjoyed most about this book was that Hannah and her personal growth and development was the focus o the book, rather than her finding a new romance. There is a romantic aspect to the book, but it is not the central theme. This is a book about a woman overcoming personal challenges to find out who she is and what she wants out of life, with or without a man, and that is more interesting and compelling to me than a woman jumping from one relationship straight into another because she can’t be alone. Women are tougher than that!

This is a fabulous, light and delightful read, the perfect contemporary read. Grab yourself a slice for a sweet treat.

You can get your copy of The Holiday Cruise here.. Victoria’s new book, It Started With A Note will be published in December.

About the Author

Victoria Cooke Image

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love,’ in 2016

Connect with Victoria:

Facebook: Victoria Cooke Author

Twitter: @VictoriaCooke10

Instagram: @victoriacookewriter

Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer by Lily Mae Walters #BookReview #BlogTour (@LilyMaeWalters1) @RaRaResources #Giveaway #JosieJames

Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer Blog Tour

Taking my turn on the blog tour today for Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer by Lily Mae Walters (the pen name of my fellow Fiction Cafe Writer, Florence Keeling). My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for my place on the tour and to Lily Mae/Florence for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly. Make sure you check out the giveaway after the review for a chance to win a signed copy of the book.


“Josie James is an ordinary 13 year old until something extraordinary happens during her summer holidays.

Whist staying at her Great Grandmother’s cottage in the country she finds herself swept into the cursed world of Suncroft where it is perpetual winter.

Her new friends believe she could be the Chosen One who it is foretold will lift the curse, but there are more pressing matters.

The Teardrops of Summer – magical crystals that render the owner immortal – have been stolen.  Along with her telepathic husky-dog Protector Asher and her new friends, Josie must race to find the Teardrops and prevent catastrophe for their world.”

This is a really enchanting fantasy read aimed at the middle grade reader which is the start of a series I am really looking forward to.

The main character, Josie James, has no idea she is special until the summer she is thirteen when she visits her great grandmother and everything changes. She is taken to a new hidden world full of magic and talking dogs where she may be the ‘chosen one’ foretold in a prophecy. The plot will draw a child in in the best traditions of the Narnia books or Alice in Wonderland. What child can resist a hidden magical world?

There is plenty of action and magic and intrigue to keep a child wanting to read to the end, and is left well balanced at the end of one mystery but with more to discover in the next story, so to hook the child in to the series. Josie is a really appealing lead character, strong, resourceful, curious, slightly rebellious, slightly insecure – I am sure a lot of children will relate and wish they could have the same kind of adventures. Making a central characters that children want to be is the main part of the battle in drawing the young reader in.

I think the author did a great job in setting up a world that children will find intriguing and magical. The book took a little while to get going while the story was set up in the first half, but the second half was action-packed and I am sure the following books in the series will not have the same slowish start as the stage is already set. I did also think that some of the writing near the beginning was a little simplistic and pitched the book at the lower end of the middle grade age range or at the reluctant reader – my ten-year-old is a more sophisticated reader than some of the language in this book is aimed at, but that is not necessarily a draw back. I think she would still enjoy the story and I will share it with her and get her reaction.

I was really drawn in to the world and the story created in the book and look forward with pleasant anticipation to the second book in the series. I would definitely recommend this book to children of ages 7-10, boys and girls, especially those who like a slightly less demanding and gentler paced read to encourage them.

Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer is out now and you can get your copy here.


To be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer, enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

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

Make sure you check out the stops on the rest of the tour on the blogs listed below:

Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer Full Tour Banner

About the Author

Lily Mae Walters chose her pen name in honour of her beloved grandparents who also stare in the Josie James series.

She is married with two teenage children, and two huskies that are the inspiration behind Murphy and Asher in the books.

Lily Mae lives in Nuneaton, England and finds herself using local  places and even her old school in her stories.

Family and friends mean the world to Lily Mae and many will find themselves popping up throughout the series.

Lily Mae also writes for adults under the name of Florence Keeling.

Connect with Josie:

Facebook: Josie James

Twitter: @LilyMaeWalters1

Instagram: @lilymaewalters