Tuesday, 15 October 2019

The Girl At The Window by Rowan Coleman @rowancoleman @EburyPublishing #TheGirlAtTheWindow

A house full of history is bound to have secrets...

Ponden Hall is a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors, a magical place full of stories. It's also where Trudy Heaton grew up. And where she ran away from...

Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, she is returning home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead.

While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present...

A hauntingly beautiful story of love and hope, from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book and The Summer of Impossible Things

The Girl At The Window by Rowan Coleman was published by Ebury on 8 August 2019. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 
This review was originally published in the Daily Express, Books on Friday feature. 

Trudy Heaton has returned to her childhood home Ponden Hall. She is shattered and devastated after the sudden and tragic loss of her husband.
Trudy ran away from Ponden Hall many years ago, her relationship with her mother was always strained and troubled, yet she is determined that her young son Will should learn about his Yorkshire heritage.
Ponden Hall has always been a house of secrets; entwined with the story of the Bronte sisters who lived nearby in the Parsonage at Haworth. The budding authors spent time at Ponden Hall and it is rumoured that Emily based her one novel; Wuthering Heights at the house.
Trudy is determined that Ponden Hall will be brought back to its original state and enlists the help of a local restoration expert. Whilst working on the house, Trudy discovers something that could potentially be the most thrilling discovery in the history of English literature for hundreds of years.
Rowan Coleman has expertly and hauntingly brought Ponden Hall to life. Mixing fiction with fact, she’s created a beautiful story of love, hope and ghosts.

Moving seamlessly from the present day, back to Emily Bronte’s lifetime, and then further back to discover the story of a young servant girl Agnes, the reader is treated to a story that passionately and sensitively told.

There’s romance, history and ghosts woven between these layers, with a touch of treachery and obsession to darken things up.

Completely enthralling and utterly spellbinding. A must read for fans of the Brontes; of Yorkshire;  of old houses and of stylish writing.

Rowan Coleman's first novel Growing Up Twice was a WHS Fresh Talent Winner. Since then, Rowan has written fifteen novels, including The Memory Book which was a Sunday Times bestseller. It was selected for the Richard and Judy Bookclub and awarded Love Reading Novel of the Year, as voted for by readers.

Her latest novel, The Summer of Impossible Things, is a Zoe Ball TV Book Club selection.

Rowan lives with her husband and their five children in a very full house in Hertfordshire, juggling writing novels with raising her family. She really wishes someone would invent time travel.
You can find out more about Rowan at www.rowancoleman.co.uk or follow her on Facebook or Twitter @rowancoleman

Monday, 14 October 2019

The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins @FionaAnnCummins @panmacmillan #TheNeighbour

A new home. A new start.
It’s all the Lockwoods want.
And on The Avenue, a leafy street in an Essex town near the sea, it seems possible.
But what if what they want isn’t what they get?
On their moving-in day they arrive to a media frenzy.
A serial killer has struck in the woods behind The Avenue.
The police are investigating.
And the neighbours quite clearly have secrets.
With their dream quickly turning into a nightmare, the Lockwoods are watching everyone.
But who’s watching them?

The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins was published in paperback by Pan Macmillan on 3 October 2019.

Having absolutely loved this author's first two books, I was really looking forward to this one; a stand alone novel, quite separate to the first two.

The Lockwoods are moving into 25 The Avenue. It's a new start for them; they are not exactly moving up, but they've moved away. Whilst they had heard about the recent spate of murders carried out by a killer nicknamed The Dollmaker, they really did think that the killer would have been caught and imprisoned by now. They certainly didn't expect to move in amidst a crime scene.
Another body has been found in the woods behind the Avenue, and the killer could be anyone.

Incredibly dark, with a tension that is quite breath taking; The Neighbour is a story that could be set on any suburban street. A road full of ordinary properties, housing seemingly average people ... however, this clever author turns The Avenue into a nightmare street. As the reader learns a little about each resident, the doubts and worries begin to mount up.

Fiona Cummins writes crime so very well; and it's the things that she doesn't actually put into words that are the most chilling. There are scenes that feel like a punch to the gut, but all done with incredible imagery.  She doesn't need to add gore and guts and violence to make the reader gasp; she's far cleverer than that.

An average street, filled with people that we pass every day. Interwoven with the voice of a killer that is so very creepy. And dolls ..... a room full of parts of dolls ..... scared the hell out of me!

Twisted, dark and devilish. The Neighbour took me totally by surprise; it hooked me from the opening scenes and gripped me right up until the outstanding reveal at the end.

Fiona Cummins is a genius.  This is masterful crime fiction, full of suspense and darkness.

Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror show business journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course.  
Rattle, her debut novel, has been translated into several languages and received widespread critical acclaim from authors including Val McDermid, Lee Child and Martina Cole. Marcel Berlins wrote in The Times: 'Amid the outpouring of crime novels, Rattle is up there with the best of them.'

Fiona was selected for McDermid's prestigious New Blood panel at the 2017 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, where her novel was nominated for a Dead Good Reader Award for Most Exceptional Debut.

Rattle is now being adapted into a six-part TV series by the producers of Golden Globe-nominated Miss Sloane.

A sequel, The Collector, was published in February 2018 and David Baldacci described it as 'A crime novel of the very first order'. 

Her third novel - standalone thriller The Neighbour - was published in April 2019.

When Fiona is not writing, she can be found on Twitter, eating biscuits or walking her dog. She lives in Essex with her family.

Twitter @FionaAnnCummins 

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Violet by SJI Holliday @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks #Violet

Carrie's best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they'd planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend's place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

A tense and twisted psychological thriller about obsession, manipulation and toxic friendships, Violet also reminds us that there's a reason why mother told us not to talk to strangers...

Violet by SJI Holliday was published by Orenda Books as an ebook on 14 September 2019 and will be released in paperback on 14 November 2019.

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of SJI Holliday's writing. I've been reading her for years and the quality of her writing is always incredible.
Her books published by Orenda are a little different to her earlier works, and I adored the first Orenda book; The Lingering. I've been looking forward to Violet for a long time.

I practically inhaled this book in one sitting. I've had a  miserable couple of weeks suffering with a nasty chest infection and Violet has really helped me through. The startling and compelling story kept my mind from my cough and swept me off along the Trans-Siberian Express.

This is the story of toxic relationships. Not just the female friendship either; as the story progresses, the reader discovers that both of our main characters are so much more than they appear, and bringing them together in this fast paced and clever story really was a touch of genius.

When Carrie and Violet first meet, in a Bejing hotel, it appears just meant to be. Carrie's friend Laura broke her ankle before their planned trip and Violet has been dumped by her boyfriend Sam. Carrie has a spare ticket for the Trans-Siberian Express; Violet needs a ticket.
Perfect! They can travel together. Two young women, a similar age, out for some fun.What could possibly go wrong?

The reader accompanies the two girls as they set out on their adventure. It's not an easy journey and there were times when I, as a fifty-something woman, wanted to scream at them to STOP! Stop talking to strangers, and drinking so much. Stop smoking strange pipes and taking risks. Their total neglect of self care and their risk-taking is incredible and adds a tension to the story that is palpable.

The story is told, in the main, by Violet. However, we can never be quite sure just how truthful Violet is; is she even actually called Violet? As she lets little things slip about her past, we begin to realise that Carrie really could be in a lot of danger ....... but ...... do we trust Carrie either?
Nestled in amongst Violet's narration, the author include snippets from email conversations that Carrie has with her friend Laura. Whilst on first glance, these messages don't appear to say much, on closer inspection, they reveal so much more than expected.

I realise that I've not said much about the actual plot of Violet.
It's the story of a meeting, a journey and a explosive and unexpected relationship. It's dark and sometimes a little bit grimy; I felt as though I needed a wash after days of train travel, drugs, alcohol and dirty sex!  It's an exploration into the damaged mind, obsession and manipulation and will shock, and possibly horrify the reader at times.

The setting is glorious, the pace is exquisite. Violet is original, chilling and quite quite perfect.

S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a pharmaceutical statistician by day and a crime and horror fan by night. Her short stories have been published in many places and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize with her story ‘Home from Home’, which was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in spring 2017. 

She is the bestselling author of the creepy and claustrophobic Banktoun trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly) featuring the much-loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and has dabbled in festive crime with the critically acclaimed The Deaths of December
Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, which she loved writing due to her fascination and fear of ghosts. She is proud to be one of The Slice Girls has been described by David Mark as 'Dark as a smoker's lung.' 

She divides her time between Edinburgh and London and you will find her at crime-fiction events in the UK and abroad.

Follow Susi on Twitter @SJIHolliday or visit her website sjiholliday.com

Friday, 11 October 2019

The Shape Of Night by Tess Gerritsen BLOG TOUR @tessgerrisen @TransworldBooks #RandomThingsTours #Win #Giveaway

We’ve all done things we’re ashamed of . . .

When Ava arrives at Brodie’s Watch, she thinks she has found the perfect place to hide from her past. Something terrible happened, something she is deeply ashamed of, and all she wants is to forget.

But the old house on the hill both welcomes and repels her and Ava quickly begins to suspect she is not alone. Either that or she is losing her mind.

The house is full of secrets, but is the creeping sense of danger coming from within its walls, or from somewhere else entirely?

The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen was published by Transworld / Bantam Press on 3 October 2019.

I'm delighted to be able to offer one reader the chance to win a copy today, as part of the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour.
Entry is simple; just fill out the competition widget at the end of this post.   UK Entries only please.



"A captivating and seductive tale exploring the dark embrace of grief and guilt, reminding us that nothing can haunt us as insidiously as our personal demons. This is the incomparable Gerritsen at her finest!" (SYLVIA DAY)

"Beguiling! Gerritsen is at her atmospheric best in this spine-tingling tale of a lone woman, an old house, and all the secrets everyone tries to hide." (LISA GARDNER)

"A close-knit community, a gothic house, and a shadowy stranger inside . . . I love Tess's writing and The Shape Of Night is as compulsive as it gets." (Lesley Kara, author of THE RUMOUR)

"Curl up in your favorite reading chair and let Tess Gerritsen whisk you away to a coastal town reminiscent of Daphne Du Maurier’s best settings. As the chills run down your spine, and the creeping sense of danger curls your toes, don’t say I didn’t warn you: you are in for a dark and sexy night, and you will be up very late with Tess’ twisted, haunting tale." (IRIS JOHANSEN)

"Reminiscent of the best of du Maurier, this modern gothic is eerie, tantalizing, spine-tingling, and sensual . . . an altogether delicious read." (SANDRA BROWN)

One copy of The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen

Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.

While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Call After Midnight, a romantic thriller, was followed by eight more romantic suspense novels. She also wrote a screenplay, "Adrift", which aired as a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week starring Kate Jackson.

Tess's first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), The Bone Garden (2007), The Keepsake (2008; UK title: Keeping the Dead), Ice Cold (2010; UK title: The Killing Place), The Silent Girl (2011), Last To Die (2012), Die Again (2014), Playing With Fire (2015), and I Know A Secret (2017). Her books have been published in forty countries, and more than 30 million copies have been sold around the world.

Her books have been top-3 bestsellers in the United States and number one bestsellers abroad. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award (for Vanish) and the Rita Award (for The Surgeon). Critics around the world have praised her novels as "Pulse-pounding fun" (Philadelphia Inquirer), "Scary and brilliant" (Toronto Globe and Mail), and "Polished, riveting prose" (Chicago Tribune). Publisher Weekly has dubbed her the "medical suspense queen".

Her series of novels featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the TNT television series "Rizzoli & Isles" starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.

Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.

For more information on Tess Gerritsen and her novels, visit her website: www.tessgerritsen.co.uk.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

I Wanted You To Know by Laura Pearson BLOG TOUR @LauraPAuthor @agorabooksldn #IWantedYouToKnow

Dear Edie, I wanted you to know so many things. I wanted to tell you them in person, as you grew. But it wasn’t to be.

Jess never imagined she’d be navigating single motherhood, let alone while facing breast cancer. A life that should be just beginning is interrupted by worried looks, heavy conversations, and the possibility of leaving her daughter to grow up without her.

Propelled by a ticking clock, Jess knows what she has to do: tell her daughter everything. How to love, how to lose, how to forgive, and, most importantly, how to live when you never know how long you have.

From best-selling author Laura Pearson comes her most devastating book yet. Honest, heart-wrenching, and emotionally raw, I Wanted You To Know is a true love letter to life: to all its heartache and beauty, to the people we have and lose, to the memories and moments that define us.

I Wanted You To Know by Laura Pearson was published by Agora Books on 3 October 2019. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and who invited me to take part on this Blog Tour

Beautiful, funny, heart-breaking, emotional, real, profound, compelling.

I could probably just list a long long line of words that perfectly sum up this novel, and then tell you all to go out buy it, read it and let me know what you think. I could do that, but that really wouldn't be fair.

There's a lot of talk about 'trigger warnings' being used in book reviews, and to be honest, it's not something that I'm a huge fan of. Nobody knows just what would trigger another reader; it could be something that another person wouldn't give a second thought to.  However, I do feel that reading I Wanted You To Know is probably the nearest that I've come to being 'triggered' by fiction.

It's almost a year since my oldest friend died from cancer. Not one day passes where I don't think about her, where I don't miss her, and wish that she were still here.  If you are a friend, or a mother, or a sister of someone with cancer; then prepare yourself before you read this; it's so incredibly perceptive that I honestly feel as the author has been by my side. Laura Pearson tells her readers that she was diagnosed with cancer when she was thirty-five, and it is from that experience that she has based this heart-breaking story on.

Jess is just twenty-one years old. She's a single mother to tiny Edie and is living with her own mother. When she is told that she has breast cancer, she's shell-shocked. Life is difficult enough; trying to get used to being a mother; dealing with her very fraught relationship with her own mother and deciding if she will ever introduce Edie to her father.  Cancer .... she's twenty-one ....

Laura Pearson's emotive and astute novel is heart-breaking at times. However, it is also an ode to female relationships and it's the support and love that Jess gets from her best friend Gemma that really touched me the most. There is no doubt at all that this story line will affect all readers, and even though it's utterly devastating, it's also a beautifully written story about the love of a friend.

Throughout the novel, the author has included letters written by Jess, to her baby daughter Edie. This is a clever touch and enables the reader to have an insight into just exactly how Jess feels about her diagnosis and what she wants for Edie's future. A stark contrast to Jess's often spiky and resistant mannerisms in the other parts of the book. 

Powerful, uplifting and tender; I Wanted You To Know is Laura Pearson's best book to date.

Highly recommended

Laura Pearson has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. 

She lives in Leicestershire with her husband and their two children. 

Her third novel, I Wanted You To Know, is available now to pre-order.

Twitter : @LauraPAuthor
Author Page on Facebook

The Umbrella Men by Keith Carter BLOG TOUR @keithcarter88 @NeemTreePress #TheUmbrellaMen #Giveaway #Win #RandomThingsTours

A witty and acerbic novel for our times about corporate greed, the hubris of bankers, contradictions of the clean energy economy and their unintended consequences on everyday people. Finance, environmentalism, rare-earth mining and human frailties collide in a complex of flawed motives. 
We follow Peter Mount, the self-made Chief Executive of a London-based rare-earth mining company as he and his business are buffeted by crisis-torn Royal Bank of Scotland and by his own actions, real and imagined. Meanwhile in Oregon, Amy Tate and her group of local environmental activists do their contradictory part to undermine a component of the green economy, unwittingly super-charged by the Chinese state. The repercussions of events in pristine Oregon are felt in the corporate and financial corridors of New York and London with drastic consequences. 
This is a deeply involving novel about the current workings of capitalism, miscommunication, causes and unexpected effects, love and survival. 

The Umbrella Men by Keith Carter was published by Neem Tree Press on 4 April 2019. As part of the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I'm delighted to offer one copy as a prize.
Entry is simple; just fill out the competition widget at the end of this post.
UK Entries only please.



"After reading a lot of claustrophobic, navel-gazing books, it is refreshing to pick up The Umbrella Men -- a rich, immersive novel of the type that really isn't seen much these days...what makes this book so readable and likeable are the well formed characters whose lives are disrupted personally and professionally by machinations of those in power." Netgalley reviewer 

"A witty, globally-scoped expose of corporate greed and environmentalism told through an absorbing character-rich tale...Astute on the personal, environmental and financial butterfly effects of capitalism, this expansive novel is packed with surprises and reveals the complex and often contradictory interplay between human and economic forces." Joanne Owen, Love Reading UK

One Copy of The Umbrella Men by Keith Carter

Keith Carter was born in Scotland to a Dutch mother and British father. He read Economics at Cambridge, taking a First in 1981 when he was elected a Scholar - too late to enjoy the privilege of walking on the grass. 
He worked as an investment banker before going straight and running a small pharmaceutical company. 
He is now a writer and business consultant and lives in East London with his daughters. 
He enjoys travel, politics and economics, reading and writing, languages, music, the English Lake District, sailing of all kinds and meals with family and friends. 
Keith suffered a spinal cord injury in March 2018 and since rides a wheelchair.

Twitter @keithcarter88

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Three Little Truths by Eithne Shortall @eithneshortall BLOG TOUR @CorvusBooks #ThreeLittleTruths #RandomThingsTours

On the idyllic Pine Road, three women are looking for a fresh start...
Martha was a force of nature, but since moving to Dublin under mysterious circumstances, she can't seem to find her footing.
Robin was the 'it' girl in school. Now she's back at her parents' with her four-year-old, vowing that her ex is out of the picture for good.
Edie has the perfect life, but she longs for a baby, the acceptance of her neighbours, and to find out why her dream husband is avoiding their dream future.
The friendships of these women will change their lives forever, revealing the secrets, rivalries and scandals that hide behind every door...

Three Little Truths by Eithne Shortall was published by Corvus Books on 3 October 2019. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour

I've been absolutely captivated by Three Little Truths; whilst suffering with a nasty cough and chest infection, this has been the perfect medicine for me. It's an absolute delight of a read and I was hooked in as soon as I began to read.

Pine Road is a collection of smart houses somewhere in Dublin. It's unusual in this day and age to have any real sense of community, but the residents on this road really go the extra mile to ensure that nothing, and nobody is missed. The story is led by the female residents, who, as a collective seem pretty damn scary to me. I'm not sure that I'd be allowed into their gang if I'm honest!

The three lead female characters; Martha, Robin and Edie couldn't be more different, yet they are all three perfectly formed. Martha is the newest resident; her family is a mystery to the more established residents. Edie is overjoyed to be the first Pine Road resident to meet Martha properly, and takes great thrill in reporting back to the WhatsApp group.  Yes, these women have a WhatsApp group for Pine Road Gossip; in fact there's more than on WhatsApp group and these are such fun to read.
Robin is a single mother, just returned home to live with her parents. Her relationship with Eddy is over as far as she's concerned; he's a bad boy and she's only just beginning to realise that whilst life with him was easy, it wasn't 'right'.

Eithne Shortall has created a community that is endearing, frustrating and at times laugh out loud funny. There's the overbearing Bernie and her sidekick Ellen, and lots of minor characters who just add joy to the mix. I loved every one of them; I loved listening in on their plans for the Pre Easter Street Party, and I loved seeing it all unravel around them.

Nestled in amongst the comedy, this clever and astute author has dealt with some darker issues, and she's done that very well too. Whilst these don't pull the overall feeling of the book down, they do add a depth that is welcome.

How well do you know your neighbours?  Who could guess what goes on behind closed doors?

Fabulous and recommended by me.

Eithne Shortall is an author and journalist. Her debut novel, Love in Row 27, has been published in 13 languages and the TV rights have been optioned by NBC/Universal. Grace After Henry (2018) was an international bestseller. It won Best Page Turner at the UK’s Big Book Awards and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards. Her third novel – Three Little Truths – will be published in the UK and Ireland in October, 2019 and in North America in June, 2020.
Eithne is the chief arts writer with the Irish edition of the Sunday Times newspaper and a regular contributor to RTE Radio.
Eithne was born and grew up in Dublin, Ireland. She studied journalism at Dublin City University and spent four months living in West Virginia. She lived in Paris for a year in her early twenties and vaguely thought about writing. She went to London to write her first novel, Love in Row 27, which is set there. Her follow-up, Grace after Henry, is set in – and is partly a love letter to – Dublin, where she now lives. Three Little Truths is inspired by the Dublin cul-de-sac on which Eithne grew up – though her mother wishes she’d stop telling people this.
Eithne has been a regular contributor to RTE Radio for several years. She has worked as a TV presenter with RTE, BBC Northern Ireland and she fronted a music series, entitled Ceol ar an Imeall, for TG4.
Eithne is an avid cyclist, voracious reader, eater of sweets and lover of radio. Her Mastermind topic would be the life of Lucia Joyce, twentieth century Irish visual art, 1980s teen movies or Dawson’s Creek. It depends on the day.