Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Review - The Stranger by Kate Riordan

The Stranger by Kate Riordan
Publisher: Penguin
Release date: 22 March 2018
Back cover blurb: Cornwall, 1940. In the hushed hours of deepest night a young woman is found washed up on the rocks. Was it a tragic accident? Or should the residents of Penhallow have been more careful about whom they invited in? In the midst of war three women arrive seeking safety at Penhallow Hall. Each is looking to escape her past. But one of them is not there by choice. As the threat of invasion mounts and the nightly blackouts feel longer and longer, tensions between the close-knit residents rise until dark secrets start to surface. And no one can predict what their neighbour is capable of . . . In a house full of strangers, who do you trust?

Diana, Jane and Rose are land girls billeted to Penhallow Hall in Cornwall in 1940. Rose ,the elder of the three girls has history with the local area, and has high hopes that she might run into an old acquaintance.

Diana is younger, more determined, some would say bolshy one.

Rose, the practical, friendly one.

Jane, the youngest of the women, is actually related to the owners of Penhallow Hall, but doesn't exactly receive the warm welcome that one would expect.

In fact, it's almost as if Jane isn't welcome there at all. It is clear that Penhallow has its secrets, as do each of the three women. So different in personality, but thrown together by circumstance and determined to do their bit for the war.

Set against the backdrop of World War II, The Stranger is exactly the kind of historical fiction novel that I love. Full of mystery and intrigue, with enough detail about the surrounding times to make you grateful to all who contributed towards the war effort.

As always I look forward to Kate Riordan's next novel.

The Stranger is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the Publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Blog tour: Extract from 'Dear Mr. Pop Star' by Derek and Dave Philpott

Today I’m delighted to hosting a spot on the “Dear Mr. Pop Star” blog tour.

Dear Mr. Pop Star is a genius collection of letters to pop stars (and some equally brilliant answers) questioning song titles, lyrics and everything in between! As a music lover, I’ve been raving on about this book for some time - you can find my original review here.

The extract below is referencing the 1979 hit 'back of my hand ' by The Jags;

And the dazzling reply;

Don't forget to follow the rest of the blog tour here:

About - Dear Mr. Pop Star by Derek and Dave Philpott

For nearly 10 years, ‘Team Philpott’, as their followers fondly refer to them, have been on a quite bonkers crusade, writing good old-fashioned letters to pop and rock stars (sometimes even sent to their home addresses with prior consent!), either picking up on genuine ambiguities within their lyrics or often deliberately misunderstanding them for comedic effect.

The letters are eminently publishable in their own right, mixing sharp wit, confusion, and mundane daily chores with trips to the shops, daytime telly, Derek’s legs playing up, and unarguable logic in relation to questioning the offending chart hits under scrutiny. 

What makes this project especially deserving of attention, however, is that it has achieved a feat never before attempted or probably even thought of. With the missives online for all to see on what was becoming a hugely popular website, the artists quite unexpectedly started to reply, writing back in just as witty and articulate a fashion, politely pointing out exactly where the original letter went wrong...or right.

Also, crucially, nearly all of the responses were procured via ''the back door of the industry'', via roadies, mutual fans, cousins of bass players, and even other famous participants telling the artists directly of the Philpotts’ written pressing inquiries. This marvellous online community, which stretched as far afield as Europe, Canada, Japan, the U.S.A, Australia and Stoke, even cultivated and organically evolved the whole surreal venture by offering up willing stars that the authors would probably not have thought of corresponding with themselves, establishing contact through personal connections.

‘Dear Mr. Popstar’’ proudly features 100 of the best letters and responses from famous and legendary names spanning the whole pop and rock spectrum, all relishing their involvement and revealing their own, in many cases, hitherto unknown humorous sides within what could well be the most interactive dialogue compiled between music stars and their audience ever undertaken. Of course, it is not always possible to reach certain targets, hence many unanswered observations are also included, as they were considered too amusing not to be.

Those to be saluted for their great sportsmanship are:- Deep Purple, Dr. from Dr. and The Medics, Nik Kershaw, Judas Priest, Starship, Tears For Fears, The Eurythmics, Wreckless Eric, Landscape, Smokie, The Strawbs, The Belle Stars, Van Der Graaf Generator, Martha and the Muffins, Thunder, Squeeze, Dean Friedman, Fairground Attraction, The Ruts, Neil Innes from The Bonzo Dog Band, DEVO, Melanie, Alannah Myles, Ian Gillan, Was Not Was, Republica, Then Jerico, Dr. Hook, Toploader, Cutting Crew, Lindisfarne, Spinal Tap, Mott The Hoople, Fuzzbox, Men Without Hats, China Crisis, Mental As Anything, David MacIver and Rupert Hine (Quantum Jump), Timbuk 3, The Rezillos, Saxon, John Otway, The Human League, Chesney and Chip Hawkes, Tenpole Tudor, Shakatak, Katrina and the Waves, Eddie & The Hot Rods, Heaven 17, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, Matthew Wilder, Middle of the Road, Liquid Gold, The Christians, Paper Lace, Dodgy, Daevid Allen, Bruce Woolley, Country Joe and The Fish, Sad Cafe, The Housemartins, Francis Dunnery (It Bites), Johnny Hates Jazz, The Wurzels, Peter Noone, Suzi Quatro, Strawberry Switchblade, Danny Wilson, Racey, Electric Prunes, The Waitresses, Fiddler's Dram, Bauhaus, Climax Blues Band, The Jags, EMF, T’Pau, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Nu Shooz, Owen Paul, Steve Hackett, Steve Ellis of Love Affair, Hazell Dean, The Knack, The Maisonettes, Del Amitri, The Skids, Jesus Jones, The Soup Dragons, City Boy, Modern Romance, Wang Chung, The Kursaal Flyers, Fischer Z, Bruce Thomas of The Attractions, Scarlet Fantastic, The B52s. Junior, Spear of Destiny, Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine.

Ultimately, this book explores how when a song is released into ‘the wild’ the artist loses all control over it, especially pertaining to its interpretation. It is also testimony to the community spirit capable of being created over social media and how positive and fun it can be.

Dear Mr. Pop Star is available to buy now.

Thank You to Dave (and Derek) and the publishers, who kindly invited me to partake in this epic blog tour!

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Review - A Keeper by Graham Norton

A Keeper by Graham Norton
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release date: 4 October 2018
Back cover blurb: Dear Lonely Leinster Lady, I'm not really sure how to begin . . . The truth drifts out to sea, riding the waves out of sight. And then the tide turns. Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother's death, intent only on wrapping up that dismal part of her life. There is nothing here for her; she wonders if there ever was. The house of her childhood is stuffed full of useless things, her mother's presence already fading. And perhaps, had she not found the small stash of letters, the truth would never have come to light. 40 years earlier, a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, the night quiet but for the tireless wind that circles her as she hurries further into the darkness away from the cliffs and the sea. She has no sense of where she is going, only that she must keep on. This compelling new novel confirms Graham Norton's status as a fresh, literary voice, bringing his clear-eyed understanding of human nature and its darkest flaws.

When Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland following her Mother’s death, it is only to clear the house, and only then from a sense of duty. There is no real feeling behind her journey. 

A letter found amongst her Mothers possessions gives Elizabeth a differing aspect of her childhood, and for the first time in her adult life, she wonders who her Mother really was.

Then: Patricia, Elizabeth's Mother was a lonely young woman, 40 years previously, and took a path down a road that would lead her in a very different direction to the one her life was originally headed.

Now: Elizabeth reluctantly starts looking into her Mothers past as she discovers that she has been left a property mysteriously. One she knows nothing about. One that she doesn't much care about. She only wants to get home to her own family.

But as Elizabeth delves into her Mothers past, she begins to realise that her Mother was a very different woman than the one she grew up with, and perhaps there is history worth exploring after all.

A Keeper is a beautifully written novel, detailing family secrets, love, loss and betrayal.

Graham Norton is such a fantastic story teller and his novels are really something to treasure. I look forward to his next offering, for I am sure that there must be one planned!

A Keeper is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Review - I Invited Her In by Adele Parks

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks
Publisher: HQ
Release date: 20 September 2018
Back cover blurb:  When Mel hears from a long-lost friend in need of help, she doesn’t hesitate to invite her to stay. Mel and Abi were best friends back in the day, sharing the highs and lows of student life, until Mel’s unplanned pregnancy made her drop out of her studies. Now, seventeen years later, Mel and Abi’s lives couldn’t be more different. Mel is happily married, having raised her son on her own before meeting her husband, Ben. Now they share gorgeous girls and have a chaotic but happy family home, with three children. Abi, meanwhile, followed her lover to LA for a glamorous life of parties, celebrity and indulgence. Everything was perfect, until she discovered her partner had been cheating on her. Seventeen years wasted, and nothing to show for it. So what Abi needs now is a true friend to lean on, to share her grief over a glass of wine, and to have some time to heal. And what better place than Mel’s house, with her lovely kids, and supportive husband… This dark, unsettling tale of the reunion of long-lost friends is thoroughly gripping exploration of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge from Sunday Times bestseller Adele Parks.

Mel and Abi were best friends in Uni, they were inseparable, but then Mel had to drop out to an unplanned pregnancy. They haven't seen each other for Seventeen years, and their lives couldn’t be more different. If Mel is completely honest, then she wasn't sure that she would ever hear from Abi again, as so much time has passed between them.

So Mel is delighted to hear from her old friend out of the blue, and secretly even more delighted that Abi is asking for her help.

Abi has always been the cool, modern, confident one. Mel, the likeable, dependable one and loves to help those around her. Mel is a genuine friend; the kind, warm, funny, generous friend, that we would all love to have.

When Abi arrives on Mel's doorstep, it is if all the years between them have been erased. Particularly as Abi is now single, having discovered that her husband had been cheating on her. Naturally Mel wants to help her friend in her hour of need, and welcomes her into her family home. She is thrilled at the chance to catch up and relive her younger years by rekindling their friendship.

But Abi has other ideas...

I thought when I read “The Perfect Girlfriend” earlier in the year that Juliette was the most manipulative character I had possibly ever had the pleasure of reading, but Abi may have just won that crown right off of her pretty little head...

Adele Parks has excelled herself with this novel. It’s a twisty, compelling tale of female friendship, betrayal, secrets and lies that will leave you wanting more.

A must read!

I Invited Her In is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who sent me an advanced proof copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Don't forget to follow the rest of the blog tour!

Monday, 17 September 2018

Review - The Rival by Charlotte Duckworth

The Rival by Charlotte Duckworth
Publisher: Quercus Books
Release date: 6 September 2018
Back cover blurb: NOW. Living in her home in the remote countryside - the perfect place to get away from it all - Helena is a career woman with no job and a mother without a baby. She blames Ashley for destroying her life. But is what happened really Ashley's fault? 
THEN. When Helena hires Ashley to work for her, she's startled but impressed by her fierce ambition. They form a dream team and Helena is proud - maybe this is the protégée she's always wanted to have? But soon Helena realizes that nothing will stand in the way of Ashley's drive to get to the top. And when Helena becomes pregnant, everything she has worked so hard for is suddenly threatened, with devastating consequences...  The Rival is an addictive psychological suspense about ambition, female rivalry, and how far you'd go to get what you want.

Helena is a high flying career woman when she employs Ashleigh\Ashley an ambitious but inexperienced young woman. Helena is initially shocked, but then impressed at how badly Ashley wants to progress within KAMU (Kiss And Make Up).

Helena encourages Ashley’s ambition, after all, she has always wanted to mentor someone successfully.

When a new project comes along, Helena realises that perhaps she has underestimated Ashley’s ambition, but once again encourages it, as they become the new office dream team. They are formidable together and really want to make the new project a success.

Then Helena discovers something that threatens to shorten, or at least significantly change her successful career. She confides in Ashley, believing that the young woman will be supportive, but doesn’t get the support she so badly needs.

Quickly the dynamic changes between them, Helena begins to feel sidelined by her protege and as time goes on, begins to realise that ambition can be a very dangerous weapon indeed.

Without saying too much more, The Rival is a novel that shows just how far some women will go to get what they believe they deserve, no matter who or what they harm in the process. A must read.

The Rival is available to buy now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Review - You Let Me In by Lucy Clarke

You Let Me In by Lucy Clarke
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release date: 16 August 2018
Back cover blurb: Nothing has felt right since Elle rented out her house ... I’M IN YOUR HOUSE. There’s a new coldness. A shift in the atmosphere. The prickling feeling that someone is watching her every move from the shadows. I’M IN YOUR HEAD. Maybe it’s all in Elle’s mind? She’s a writer – her imagination, after all, is her strength. And yet every threat seems personal. As if someone has discovered the secrets that keep her awake at night. AND NOW I KNOW YOUR SECRET.  As fear and paranoia close in, Elle’s own home becomes a prison. Someone is unlocking her past – and she’s given them the key… Spine-tingling, chilling, and utterly compulsive, YOU LET ME IN is the stunning new novel from Richard & Judy Book Club author, Lucy Clarke.

Elle Fielding is a celebrated author on a tight deadline for her second (and eagerly anticipated) novel when she finally moves in to her Cornish retreat. The house she has always dreamed of. Except it’s not anymore. Not really.

Because it’s the house she and her husband created together and now he’s gone.

Elle is lonely.

Recently out of the country on a writing retreat she reluctantly rented the house to an Air BnB user.

Now the house doesn’t feel the same.

Elle tells herself she is imagining things. But broken and missing possessions tell her otherwise.

“It’s all in your head”


Elle has heard those words before, a long time ago.

Hearing them again makes her feel like she is going mad. Her writers imagination working overtime. Her closest friends and family concerned for her welfare.

But Elle knows that something just isn’t right.

You Let Me In reminded me a lot of Clare Mackintosh’ first novel. I think mainly because I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen next....

And the novel nearing its conclusion completely floored me with a subtle twist that I could’ve spotted, if only I’d looked a bit harder!

You Let Me Lie is a fabulous novel and I can’t wait for this authors next offering. 

Let Me In is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You To the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.