Sunday 31 March 2019

The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl @ko_dahl BLOG TOUR @OrendaBooks #NordicNoir Translated by Don Bartlett

In 1942, Jewish courier Ester is betrayed, narrowly avoiding arrest by the Gestapo. In a great haste, she escapes to Sweden, saving herself. Her family in Oslo, however, is deported to Auschwitz. In Stockholm, Ester meets the resistance hero, Gerhard Falkum, who has left his little daughter and fled both the Germans and allegations that he murdered his wife, Åse, who helped Ester get to Sweden. Their burgeoning relationship ends abruptly when Falkum dies in a fire.

And yet, twenty-five years later, Falkum shows up in Oslo. He wants to reconnect with his daughter. But where has he been, and what is the real reason for his return? Ester stumbles across information that forces her to look closely at her past, and to revisit her war-time training to stay alive…

Written with Dahl's trademark characterization and elegant plotting, The Courier sees the hugely respected godfather of Nordic Noir at his best, as he takes on one of the most horrific periods of modern history, in an exceptional, shocking thriller.

The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl was published in paperback by Orenda Books on 21 March 2019. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. I'm delighted to close the Blog Tour today.
The Courier is translated by Don Bartlett.

Historical fiction has never been my first choice of genre, and a historical spy thriller would usually send me running for the hills. However, this is written by Kjell Ola Dahl, and published by Orenda Books; two great reasons for reading. Dahl's writing is so precise and engaging and Orenda Books publish some of the finest genre fiction there is, so I had to give it a go.

The Courier is also set in Norway; a country that fascinates me and a place that I've longed to visit for many years. I now have my first trip to Norway booked for September 2020 and I am currently consuming every fiction title I can find that is set there. 

The Courier begins in August 2015, in Oslo as Turid comes across an article in a newspaper. She is shocked and dismayed to see a photograph of a bracelet that is included in a Norwegian auction. She recognises that bracelet. It was hers. It was stolen from her almost fifty years ago. 

The author then takes the reader back to October 1942. We met Ester, a jewish courier who risks her life to work with the resistance, delivering newspapers. She is betrayed, and has to flee her country, leaving her family behind her.

Ola Dahl also sets some of his story post-war, in 1967, where once again we meet Ester. An older and more experienced woman now, she's shocked when faces from her past reappear, with many questions to be answered.

That's a quick synopsis, but leaves out the drama and intrigue that creates Ester's story during the war, and afterwards and much later on in the modern-day. Whilst all of us will be familiar with the horrors inflicted by Nazi Germany during the war, I think many of us will be unaware of Norway's wartime history, and the author deals with some of the darkest and most terrible parts of this country's past. 

To go into detail about the plot would be wrong, for Ola Dahl does that with a flair and passion and the aim of this review is to get my readers to go out and try the book for themselves.
You will be treated to a tense but beautifully written wartime spy story that is drenched in atmosphere with a female lead character who is so engaging, and dogged and so skilfully crafted.

The short, sharp sentences are almost bullet like, and this author uses every single word carefully and with a sharp precision; there's an almost breathless feeling to the narrative and this is expertly translated by Don Bartlett.

The Courier is a riveting mystery thriller with a vividly created sense of place. Highly recommended.

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. 
He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. 
n 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. 
His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.

Twitter @ko_dahl


 ‘A masterclass in plotting, atmosphere and character that finely balances shocking twists with the coppers’ complicated personal lives’ The Sunday Times Crime Club 

‘A chilling novel about betrayal’ The Sunday Times 

‘If you have never sampled Dahl, now is the time to try’ Daily Mail 

 ‘Dark, stylish and suspenseful, Faithless is the perfect example of why Nordic Noir has become such a popular genre’ Reader’s Digest

Saturday 30 March 2019

Nobody's Wife by Laura Pearson @LauraPAuthor BLOG TOUR @AgoraBooksLDN @TheyCallMePeyto #NobodysWife

' Of the four of us only three remained, and there was no going back from that.’

Emily and Josephine have always shared everything. They’re sisters, flatmates, and best friends. It’s the two of them against the world.

When Emily has the perfect wedding, and Josephine finds the perfect man, they know things will change forever. But nothing can prepare them for what, or who, one of them is willing to give up for love.

Four people. Three couples. Two sisters. One unforgivable betrayal.

From the best-selling author of Missing Pieces comes a heart-wrenching story about family, loyalty, and obsession that will have you racing to the finish.

Nobody's Wife by Laura Pearson was published in paperback on 28 March by Agora Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and who invited me to take place on this Blog Tour

Nobody's Wife is an intricate and finely balanced study of relationships. The family bond of siblings, and the emotional bond of lovers. At just under 250 pages, it is not a long novel, but it is an emotional read that lingers in the mind, long after the final page has been turned.

The short prologue sets the scene for the story that follows. The reader learns that where there had been four people, there were now three and the reader is then taken back a year to the morning of Emily's wedding to Michael.

Emily and Josephine are sisters and are so close. They became closer after their mother moved to the other side of the world with her new partner; they shared a home and had a special relationship. Emily and Michael will leave the flat after the wedding, to begin their married life in the home that the sisters grew up in.

Both Emily and Josephine are anxious about being apart, but when Josephine meets Jack, she falls deeply in love and it seems that everything will be fine. They will be two couples; friends and relations .... until Emily and Jack meet, and everything is turned upside down.

This is not a fast-paced, twisting and turning story. It's a beautifully developed and emotionally intelligent look at the effect of deception and betrayal upon relationships. The characters are all flawed in places and some of them make decisions that are questionable, but that's the beauty of the story - that's what happens in real life.

Laura Pearson's writing is immaculately paced and her characterisation is so very well done. Nobody's Wife is an engaging, fluent read that captures the texture of human emotion so well.

Laura Pearson has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. 
She spent a decade living in London and working as a copywriter and editor for QVC, Expedia, Net a Porter, EE, and The Ministry of Justice. 
Now, she lives in Leicestershire, where she writes novels, blogs about her experience of breast cancer (, runs The Motherload Book Club, and tries to work out how to raise her two children.

Author Page on Facebook
Twitter: @LauraPAuthor

Friday 29 March 2019

A Gift For Dying by M J Arlidge @mjarlidge @MichaelJBooks BLOG TOUR #AGiftForDying

Nothing surprises Adam Brandt anymore. As a forensic psychologist, he's seen and heard everything.
That is, until he meets Kassie.
Because she claims to have a terrible gift - with one look into your eyes, she can see when and how you will die.
Adam doesn't believe her, obviously.
But then a serial killer starts wreaking havoc across the city, and only Kassie seems to know where he'll strike next.
Against all his intuition, Adam starts to believe her.

He just doesn't realise how dangerous this trust might be . . .

A Gift For Dying by M J Arlidge was published on 7 March 2019 by Michael Joseph Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, and to Tracy Fenton who invited me to take part in this Blog Tour

A Gift For Dying is the first book that I've read by this author. His Helen Grace series is very popular and I was looking forward to getting to know his writing in this, his first standalone novel.

It's a very long book! It has an extremely interesting premise and I found the lead character, Kassie quite intriguing. The author has created a believable angry, depressed teenage girl, but one with a difference. Kassie can see how someone is going to die. She just looks into their eyes and she claims to be able to see when and how that person will die. A gift, or maybe a curse? For Kassie, it does seem to be something of a curse and she does her best to avoid people. She's a very unhappy girl, who live with her widowed mother in a deprived area of Chicago.

Adam Brandt is a forensic psychologist and Kassie intrigues him too. He's determined that he will do his best to help her, but this will only lead him into trouble ... big trouble.

At the same time, the police are chasing a sadistic, violent serial killer, and Kassie becomes involved in this case too; the police suspect her, but all she wants to do is to prevent the deaths from happening.

The author writes well and I particularly enjoy the short, snappy chapters. However, despite the thrill packed storyline, there were parts of the book that felt long and drawn out, leaving me a little frustrated. I just wanted to get on with the story line, and would prefer less of the abrupt swapping around of narrative and a little more insight into the characters.

It's also pretty violent in parts; there's some no-holds barred descriptions of murders which are pretty unsettling at times, and again, I'm not sure that they were all completely necessary. Sometimes it's the imagined that appeals more to a reader.

A Gift For Dying is an easy and quick read, despite having almost 500 pages and the author writes with great imagination. He can certainly spin a tale, even if it may be a little over spun at times. Recommended for fans of action packed crime thrillers who like a little bit of grisly gore every now and again.

M J Arlidge has worked in television for the last twenty years, specializing in high-end drama production, including prime-time crime serials Silent Witness, Torn, The Little House and, most recently the hit ITV show Innocent.

In 2015 his audiobook exclusive Six Degrees of Assassination was a number-one bestseller.

His debut thriller, Eeny Meeny, was the UK's bestselling crime debut of 2014. It was followed by the bestselling Pop Goes The Weasel, The Doll's House, Liar Liar, Little Boy Blue, Hide and Seek and Love Me Not, Down to the Woods is the eighth DI Helen Grace thriller.

He has sold over one million books in the UK since first being published in 2014

A Gift For Dying is his first standalone novel.

Twitter @mjarlidge

Thursday 28 March 2019

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston @PaulBurston @OrendaBooks #TheCloserIGet

Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.
Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.
When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.
But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.
A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk just one ‘like’ away…

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston is published by Orenda Books; ebook on 11 May 2019, followed by the paperback release on 11 July 2019.  My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

Tom Hunter's first novel was a huge success. A bestseller, adapted for Hollywood and praised widely by literary critics. He's struggling to write a second book and stares at the blank page, day in and day out.

Evie Stokes is Tom's biggest fan. She's obsessed with him, and her obsession is causing problems for them both.

The story opens with a letter from Evie to Tom, headed up 'Day One'. After reading the letter, the reader is aware of how far her obsession has gone; she talks about seeing Tom today, but it wasn't a social occasion. No, Evie has been in the court room, charged with stalking Tom. Her letter isn't an angry rant at Tom, it's more of a love letter; detailing their interactions. She calls him darling, and is certain that this is all a mistake.

The author takes us back to eight months earlier, to the day that Tom visited the police for the first time, to put in a complaint about Evie's behaviour.

There's a darkness to this story that will haunt the reader throughout. Filled with uncertainties and never knowing just how reliable either Evie or Tom are. This is an exquisitely constructed novel with two leading characters who are startlingly real; and gloriously murky.

The Closer You Get is bang on the minute. It wouldn't have been possible to write this ten years ago, and it is sure to date. However the absolute precision in the writing will always appeal to readers who appreciate tense, imaginative and gripping thrillers.

Paul Burston's skill in creating characters is outstanding; suspicion, paranoia, obsession and accusation abound throughout this tale. Both Tom and Evie are incredibly flawed, yet they are mesmerising. Both are sly, and clever and manipulative, and the reader's view will change, more than once, throughout this whole gripping tale.

The Closer You Get is brilliantly written, it's compulsive and twisty and the final reveal will unsettle and startle the reader. The psychological mind games played out by the characters are so accomplished.

Intelligent, gripping and compulsive. This is incredible writing that challenges the reader; complex, subtle and incredibly powerful.

Paul Burston was born in York, made in South Wales and now divides his time between London and Hastings.

His books include the critically-acclaimed novels 'Shameless' (shortlisted for the State of Britain Award 2001), 'Star People' (2006), 'Lovers and Losers' (shortlisted for the Stonewall Award 2007) and 'The Gay Divorcee' (2009).

In October 2018, The Bookseller announced that he had signed a two book deal with Orenda Books. The first, a social media psychological thriller called 'The Closer I Get', will be published on July 11, 2019. 

Paul Burston is also host of London's award-winning LGBT literary salon, Polari, at the Southbank Centre, and founder of The Polari First Book Prize for LGBT-themed work. For more info go to

In March 2016 he was featured in the British Council's FiveFilms4Freedom Global List, celebrating “visionary people who are promoting freedom, equality and LGBT rights around the world.”

Website :
Twitter : @PaulBurston

Checking The Traps by Joan Livingston @JoanLivingston BLOG TOUR @rararesources #CheckingTheTraps #MyLifeInBooks

Isabel Long is a bit banged up from her last case with a broken collarbone and her arm in a sling. But that doesn’t stop her from pouring beer at the Rooster Bar or taking her third case with Gary Beaumont, a local drug dealer who once terrorized her. Gary is convinced his brother didn’t jump off a bridge known for suicides. Somebody pushed him.
Gary’s brother was a boozer who drove for a highway crew. But what interests Isabel and her ‘Watson’ — her 93-year-old mother who lives with her — is that the man wrote poetry.
The chief suspects are one of Gary’s business associates and a famous poet who plagiarized his brother’s poetry for an award-winning book. Yes, he was that good.
As a journalist, Isabel did regular meetups with her sources for stories. She called it checking the traps. She does the same as a private investigator, and this time, she’ll make sure she doesn’t get caught in one.

Checking The Traps by Joan Livingston was published in February 2019. As part of the Blog Tour, organised by Rachel from Rachel's Random Resources, I'm delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today. She's talking about the books that are special to her, in My Life In Books.

My Life in Books - Joan Livingston

Before I became an author, I was a voracious reader beginning when I was a young girl. Through books I discovered worlds that were so different than my own sheltered childhood. I give thanks to my teachers and mostly my mother for inspiring me to read.

My mother didn’t grow up with the educational advantages I had. She loved school and wanted to be a nurse, but that was during the Great Depression. She was the daughter of immigrants from Madeira. Her father pulled her out of high school in her sophomore year to work in the textile mills of New Bedford, Massachusetts. She never realized that goal.

When it came to reading, my mother was a great role model. She took me once or twice a week to the town library to stock up on books. During the summer, a bookmobile came to the church parking lot at the bottom of our street, and she would ask me to bring back a stack of books.

She is nearly 95 and hasn’t stopped reading. And she inspired one of the characters in my Isabel Long Mystery Series. She is Isabel’s mother and sidekick.

Here is a summary of the books I feel influenced me as a reader and writer

WINNIE THE POOH SERIES  I was captivated by A.A. Milne’s books when my fourth-grade teacher, Irma Darwin, read them aloud to our class. Mrs. Darwin also encouraged me to write plays, which my classmates performed.

A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN   I was older when I found Betty Smith’s novel about the perseverance of a girl growing up in hardship. I was delighted as an adult to buy a first edition, a little beaten up, of this book, which exposed me to an experience far different than mine.

THE DIARY OF YOUNG GIRL   Anne Frank’s account was an eye-opener for me. As I read and reread this book, I felt I was inside that hiding place with this doomed young girl and her family

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD   I have read Harper Lee’s book several times. I even taught it to middle-school kids when I was a student teacher. This novel meets my standard for a great book: I was so immersed, I forgot I was reading.

INVISIBLE MAN  In college, I first encountered Black writers, including Ralph Ellison. When I had to give a presentation on the book for a course, I recorded my paper and pretended that I was delivering it as an invisible person. My point and also Ralph Ellison’s: who sees who we really are? Other authors I met are Richard Wright and James Baldwin.

PUBLIC LIBRARY: No, that’s not the name of a book. As an adult and a busy mother — I had six kids — I read whatever I could get my hands on in the public library where we lived. The authors included Henry Miller, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, J.D. Salinger, the Bronte sisters, T.S. Eliot, Ken Kesey, oh, the list is exceedingly long. I would also throw in trashy Hollywood novels and non-fiction books.

SMALL TOWN BOOKS: This is a general topic. I have lived in very large cities, but my preference is very small ones, say around a thousand people.
A friend turned me onto the late Larry Brown, who wrote about the scratchier side to Mississippi in such books as Facing the Music.
Other small town books I cherish are: Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News 
Russell Banks’ The Sweet Hereafter  and Kent Haruf’s Plainsong

Their books inspired me to write what I observe — how people interact in very small towns — and then have my way with it. A lot of it’s good, some of it is bad. But all of it is made up.

Joan Livingston - March 2019 

Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Checking the Traps, published by Crooked Cat Books, is the third in the mystery series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. The first two are Chasing the Case and Redneck’s Revenge.
An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.
After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, she returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including the Isabel Long mystery series.

Twitter: @joanlivingston 

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Remember Tomorrow by Amanda Saint @saintlywriter BLOG TOUR @RetreatWest #RememberTomorrow

England, 2073. The UK has been cut off from the rest of the world and ravaged by environmental disasters. Small pockets of survivors live in isolated communities with no electricity, communications or transportation, eating only what they can hunt and grow.

Evie is a herbalist, living in a future that’s more like the past, and she’s fighting for her life. The young people of this post-apocalyptic world have cobbled together a new religion, based on medieval superstitions, and they are convinced she’s a witch. Their leader? Evie’s own grandson.

Weaving between Evie’s current world and her activist past, her tumultuous relationships and the terrifying events that led to the demise of civilised life, Remember Tomorrow is a beautifully written, disturbing and deeply moving portrait of an all-too-possible dystopian world, with a chilling warning at its heart.

Remember Tomorrow by Amanda Saint was published by Retreat West on 21 March 2019. I'm delighted to share my thoughts about this book as part of the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour today.

Before I begin, I have to talk about the exquisite cover of Remember Tomorrow, I remember when I saw it first, when it popped into my inbox. I was absolutely stunned by its beauty, and continue to look at it in awe. And now, having actually read the story beneath the cover, I can see exactly where the illustration fits.

The story begins in the year 2073. The world has changed, and it doesn't seem as though it's for the better. It's certainly not better for Evie who is suffering at the hands of a zealous group of people who've labelled her a witch. She's hungry and she's an outcast, and the most hurtful thing is that the people who hate and detest her so much are led by her own grandson Jonah.

Tales of a dystopian future are not new at all, and like many women, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale is one of my all time favourite books; a novel that has stayed with me for the 30 years since I read it first. That book ignited my interest in novels such as this and I'm always delighted to discover something new.

Amanda Saint has created a world that is neither brave, nor new. We may be reading about the future, but it's blighted with the same problems that have beset mankind since the beginnings of time. Humans have destroyed the planet, and new religions have emerged. The need for power and control is paramount and the destruction of the environment, and of community is central to the plot.

The reader learns about Evie, the outcast and is then taken back to learn about her life before the huge change. We grow to know more about her, and her character; she has her flaws and makes mistakes but is basically a good woman.

There's a lot to ponder when reading this story. It's often disturbing, and that's because the reader knows that it's probably possible. Whilst it's the author's fiction, it's also very possible.

I enjoyed every page of Remember Tomorrow. The writing is beautifully emotive and the characters are wonderfully created. It's a world that we hope won't happen, but it's also a world that may not be too far away. Compelling, gripping and at times, deeply unsettling. Remember Tomorrow is a must read and is highly recommended by me

Amanda Saint is a novelist and short story writer. 
Her debut novel, As If I Were A River, was a NetGalley Top 10 Book of the Month, longlisted for the Guardian Not the Booker Prize, and a Top 20 Book of 2016 on the Book Magnet Blog. 
Her prize-winning short stories have been widely published in anthologies and literary magazines. Amanda runs her own creative writing business, Retreat West, through which she runs writing retreats, courses and competitions; and an independent publishing house, Retreat West Books.

Find out more on her websites: and

Twitter : @saintlywriter

Tuesday 26 March 2019

The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris @Joannechocolat BLOG TOUR @orionbooks #TheStrawberryThief @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Vianne Rocher has settled down. Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, the place that once rejected her, has finally become her home. With Rosette, her 'special' child, she runs her chocolate shop in the square, talks to her friends on the river, is part of the community. Even Reynaud, the priest, has become a friend.
But when old Narcisse, the florist, dies, leaving a parcel of land to Rosette and a written confession to Reynaud, the life of the sleepy village is once more thrown into disarray.
The arrival of Narcisse's relatives, the departure of an old friend and the opening of a mysterious new shop in the place of the florist's across the square - one that mirrors the chocolaterie, and has a strange appeal of its own - all seem to herald some kind of change: a confrontation, a turbulence - even, perhaps, a murder...

The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris is published by Orion on 4 April 2019, and is the fourth in the series that began with Chocolat, twenty years ago.
Chocolat and the following books are some of my all-time favourite books, and I can assure you that The Strawberry Thief is just as good as the others, if not better.
I loved it, and my review will be published very soon

As part of the Blog Tour, organised by Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers, I'm delighted to welcome author Joanne Harris to Random Things today, she's talking about the books that are special to her in My Life in Books

My Life in Books - Joanne Harris 

Myths of the Norsemen: H.A. Guerber. Out of print even when I first read it, this was one of the great influences of my childhood. A compendium of Scandinavian and Icelandic myths, from which arose my lifelong fascination for old Norse mythology, language and culture.

Nights At the Circus: Angela Carter. Flamboyant, feminist and funny, steampunk before the term was coined, this novel is a pure delight, and featuring one of the most appealing heroines I’ve ever read – Fevvers, the Cockney bird-woman, whose irrepressible nature and raucous, unapologetic voice marks her out as one of the most memorable creations in literature.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson. A powerful, frightening tale of deception, affection, small-town life and the horrors of the mundane, by the ultimate unreliable narrator.

R is for Rocket: Ray Bradbury. A vibrant and wonderful short story collection from one of the 20th century’s great masters of the art. Bradbury’s prose is magical; evocative, crisp and filled with unabashed joie-de-vivre.

Gormenghast: Mervyn Peake. Dense, ominous, strange and compelling, Peake’s masterwork defies categorization, and continues to offer new insights and perspectives at every re-reading.

Les Misérables: Victor Hugo. One of the great passions of my adolescence, by the author that ruined Dickens for me forever; a massive, breathtaking novel, thrilling but literary, perfectly poised between epic and melodrama.

The Inimitable Jeeves: P.G. Wodehouse. One of my perennial comfort reads. After all these years in print, still as surprisingly witty and fresh as a Noel Coward musical.

From a Buick 8: Stephen King. An existential portrait of life in small-town rural America, and a chilling glimpse into the horror of everyday things.

Blood Meridian: Cormac McCarthy. The bleakest of Westerns, written in the darkest, most thundering Biblical prose. I love it.

Perfumes, the Guide: Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. Articles, history and reviews ranging from the elegiac to the hilariously scathing. Bitchier than Joan Collins; cleverer than Stephen Fry.

The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To the Galaxy: Douglas Adams. It seems a little obvious to put this on the list, and yet, no list seems complete without it. Funny, wise and perennially true, sci-fi wouldn’t be the same without it.

Joanne Harris - March 2019 

Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French writer, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories.
Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy.
In 2000, her 1999 novel Chocolat was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp.
Chocolat has sold over a million copies in the UK alone and was a global bestseller.
She is an honorary Fellow of St Catherine's College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded an MBE by the Queen.

Twitter : @Joannechocolat
Instagram : @joannechocolat
Author Page on Facebook

Thursday 21 March 2019

The Truth About Love and Dogs by Lilly Bartlett @MicheleGormanUK #Covers #UKvUS

Four little words, uttered by her husband…
‘Oh my god,’ he gasped into her shoulder. ‘Shannon!’
There’s just one problem: her name isn’t Shannon.

Rewind six months and Scarlett and Rufus aren’t in the honeymoon stage anymore so much as the honey-should-we-bother phase. Desperate to get their sparkle back, Scarlett has plotted, planned and waxed more than any woman should have to, but none of it is working. Which makes it very hard to start the family they want. 

At least her business is going strong, even if her marriage isn’t. She and her best friend spend their days tangled up in dog leads and covered in fur. Scarlett/ is the fairy dogmother, training hopeless pets like compulsive eater Barkley, impulsive Romeo Murphy and bossy Biscuit. Meanwhile, her best friend walks the dogs and pines for the man who doesn’t know she exists. Thank goodness the women have each other. 

If only Scarlett could work out how to get her marriage back on track. But Rufus isn’t sharing his feelings with her. He is, though, sharing with her best friend. Her best friend, Shannon.

The Truth about Love and Dogs by Lilly Bartlett is launched this month, in the UK and the US.

You can buy it from Amazon UK, or from Amazon US 

I'm delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today, she's written a piece about book covers, and the differences between the book cover here in the UK and in the US.

UK COVER                                                         US COVER 

How often do you pick up a book because of the cover? I do it all the time. It’s what makes me take the time to look at the description, read the first few paragraphs, and, if I like all that I see, decide to buy it.

So, is it any wonder that covers cause us authors so much angst? They might even make us more nervous than writing the book itself. That’s because writing is an evolutionary process. It takes months to do, plus there are many rounds of editing. But the cover is the instant, one-and-only first impression your book will make. It’s like getting ready for a first date with someone that you really really want to impress! You’ve only got one chance.

Every single author I know holds her breath when that email comes through from the publisher saying “Here’s the cover art and we hope you’ll love it as much as we do.”

So here it is: my one chance. These are the two covers we’ve chosen to make a first impression for The Truth About Love and Dogs. 
What do you think? They’re very different from one another, aren’t they? That’s because tastes in romcom covers in the UK are so different from preferences in the US.

For the US cover – the basket of pups – we wanted something fun and eye-catching that conveys the book’s tone rather than the story exactly. Publishers go for the look and feel more than an image that literally tells you what the story is about (that’s the job of the title and the description). There are pugs in the book, by the way!

The UK cover might have a very different look, but its tone is the same. There, we wanted to project a cover the reader can fall into, with intriguing groupings of people that provoke curiosity.

I always ask my Facebook friends and newsletter followers for their feedback about my proposed covers, and the US readers mostly go for a photographic cover while UK readers love the illustrated ones. Does that hold true for you? 

Which do you like better?

Whichever cover grabs you most, I hope you’ll love the story inside!

Happy reading!
Lilly xo

If you want to connect with me on Facebook or through my newsletter then you can get involved in my next cover choices! 



Website :

Michele writes books packed with heart and humour, best friends and girl power. 
Call them beach books, summer reads, romantic comedy or chick lit... readers and reviewers call them "feel good", "thought-provoking" and "laugh out loud". 
She is both a Sunday Times and a USA Today bestselling author, raised in the US and living in London with her husband. 
She is very fond of naps, ice cream and Richard Curtis films. 

Michele also writes cosy chick lit under the pen-name Lilly Bartlett. Lilly’s books are full of warmth, romance, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.

Monday 18 March 2019

*** COVER REVEAL *** Someone Is Lying by Jenny Blackhurst #someoneislying @JennyBlackhurst @headlinepg #coverreveal

I am absolutely delighted to be part of this Cover Reveal for Someone is Lying by Jenny Blackhurst, along with fellow bloggers CrimeBook Junkie, Chapter In My Life, Live and Deadly, Compulsive Readers and Liz Loves Books

Published in ebook on 5 September and paperback original on 14 November by Headline - take a look at this! 

It's been a year since Erica Spencer died in a tragic accident at a party, and the community where she lived has moved on with their lives. 

Everybody has secrets. But someone thinks it wasn't an accident. 

Someone thinks it was murder. 

Some are worth killing for. 

And when an anonymous podcast names six local suspects, shockwaves ripple through the neighbourhood. 

Before the podcast is over, the police will be opening more than one murder enquiry. 

Because someone is lying... But who?

Jenny Blackhurst grew up in Shropshire where she still lives with her husband and children. 
Growing up she spent hours reading and talking about crime novels - writing her own seemed like natural progression.

Twitter : @JennyBlackhurst