Thursday 29 July 2021

The Perfect Life by Nuala Ellwood BLOG TOUR @NualaWrites @PenguinUKBooks #ThePerfectLie @EllieeHud #BookReview


Vanessa has always found it easy to pretend to be somebody different, somebody better. When things get tough in her real life, all she has to do is throw on some nicer clothes, adopt a new accent and she can escape.

That's how it started: looking round houses she couldn't possibly afford. Harmless fun really. Until it wasn't.

Because a man who lived in one of those houses is dead.

And everyone thinks Vanessa killed him...

The Perfect Life by Nuala Ellwood is published on 5 August 2021 by Penguin. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour 

All of us would love 'the perfect life'. We'd love to live in a beautiful house, with a partner that adores us. We all want a job that makes us happy and fulfilled, it's most people's dream. 

Vanessa also wants that life and her way of dealing with the traumas that life have thrown at her is to view expensive properties. She has regular notifications from the Dream Properties website and not only does she make appointments to view them, she also takes on a whole new persona. Vanessa is not doing anyone any harm ..   However, the story opens with a murder.  A well-known children's author has been found dead at his home, and Vanessa just happened to have visited to view the house that very same day. 

It's a long time since I've actually held my breath whilst reading a book, but A Perfect Life left me gasping a few times. The author has cleverly structured her story in the then and the now, we follow Vanessa as she deals with the consequences of her little hobby and we also learn about her earlier life. 

Most people would think that Vanessa already has a pretty perfect life. She has the dream job, working in cosmetics and is well loved by her employer. She has a wonderful relationship with her elder sister Georgie, who became a mother to her when their own Mum tragically died when Vanessa was just ten years old. Vanessa has recently met and fallen in love with Connor, and whilst that relationship has soured her long-time friendship with Lottie, she really knows that Connor is her perfect man. Kind and generous, funny and handsome, he's the guy that she always imagined.

Nuala Ellwood slowly takes the reader to darker places and there were times when I actually had to close the book, take a break and think about Vanessa's situation. An outsider, looking in can see just what is happening, but Vanessa can't, and it's like a car crash waiting to happen. 

Alongside Vanessa's domestic situation, there are some pretty dark and bizarre things happening elsewhere and it's not long before her perfect life has crumbled around her, impacting on those around her and reducing her to a shadow of her former self. 

This is a book that perfectly describes the effect of manipulation and control, we see the utter destruction of a mind and how vulnerabilities are exploited by those who have power. 

It's chilling, with characters who are flawed but realistic. I was gripped throughout. 

Nuala Ellwood is the author of three bestselling novels: My Sister's Bones for which she was selected as one of the Observer's 'New Faces of Fiction 2017', Day of the Accident and The House on the Lake. 

Nuala lives in York with her young son.

Twitter @NualaWrites

Dead To Me by Pamela Murray BLOG TOUR @pamelamurraywr1 @darkedgepress #Win #Competition #Giveaway @RandomTTours #DeadToMe #Prize


When four friends meet up for a girls' night out, only three of them make it home alive.

Maria Turnbull's friends think her death was the result of a heart condition, but the pathologist thinks otherwise.

When other people close to the astrologer they visited that night are murdered, detectives Burton and Fielding begin to suspect her. But is it misdirection on the part of the killer and, if so, why is she being implicated?

Dead To Me by Pamela Murray was published on 26 July 2021 by Dark Edge Press.

As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I'm delighted to offer one digital copy as a giveaway.

Entry is simple, just fill out the competition widget in this blog post. 


One digital copy of Dead To Me by Pamela Murray

Pamela Murray is from the North East of England, and is the author of The Manchester Murders
book series featuring detectives Burton and Fielding.

She began writing in her teens, when she and her school friend used to write short stories for one another. The writing continued on and off over the years, but was only reignited within the last decade when the same school friend introduced her to the local writers group she was in.

She had intended to enter journalism after leaving school but found herself going to work in a public library instead, so there’s always been more than a passing interest in books, writing, and literature

Wednesday 28 July 2021

The Beresford by Will Carver BLOG TOUR @will_carver @OrendaBooks #TheBeresford #Leaveyoursoulatthedoor #DontRingTheDoorbell


Just outside the city – any city, every city – is a grand, spacious but affordable apartment building called The Beresford.

There’s a routine at The Beresford.

For Mrs May, every day’s the same: a cup of cold, black coffee in the morning, pruning roses, checking on her tenants, wine, prayer and an afternoon nap. She never leaves the building.

Abe Schwartz also lives at The Beresford. His housemate, Sythe, no longer does. Because Abe just killed him. 

In exactly sixty seconds, Blair Conroy will ring the doorbell to her new home and Abe will answer the door. They will become friends. Perhaps lovers. 

And, when the time comes for one of them to die, as is always the case at The Beresford, there will be sixty seconds to move the body before the next unknowing soul arrives at the door.

Because nothing changes at The Beresford, until the doorbell rings…

Eerie, dark, superbly twisted and majestically plotted, The Beresford is the stunning standalone thriller from one of crime fiction’s most exciting names.

The Beresford by Will Carver was published digitally by Orenda Books on 22 May 2021, the paperback edition was published on 22 July. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review for this Blog Tour. 

Anyone who has read anything by Will Carver before will know that you should always expect the unexpected. Those of you who have yet to experience the delights of this author ... be afraid, be very afraid. This is an author who makes his readers work hard. He taxes the brain with his vivid imaginary and I believe that every reader will take something different away from this book.

At times grotesque, often darkly funny and always compelling, The Beresford is a stand alone novel that pushes the reader to their boundary. Populated with characters who will shock and surprise and a setting that is as much a character as the humans, it's a book that is so hard to write about. 

Mrs May has owned The Beresford forever. It could be fifty years, it could be one hundred years. It doesn't matter really. What matters is that she's there, with her strict rota for every day.  A bath, cold coffee, gardening, wine ... and making sure she knows everything about her tenants.  She does know everything .... or does she?

The Beresford is a house for loners and people who want to escape. No questions asked, cheap rent, one tenant out, one tenant in. No crossover. Simple. People die at The Beresford, quite a few people actually, but there's always someone to take their place. Mrs May doesn't ask questions, nobody asks questions.

I'd talk about the plot ... if I had the words, but I don't. I'll talk about the reading experience and how I was left feeling when I turned the final page. I had a million questions in my head, I laid in bed thinking about the answers that I wanted, coming to all sorts of conclusions, not really knowing if I was right or wrong. 

Will Carver does this. He does this every single time. His absolute precision with words and character building are extraordinary, yet I still feel as though I don't really know Abe, and Mrs May and Blair, and Gail. I'm not sure they know themselves, I think they know who they'd like to be, but I think their actions have surprised themselves as much as they've shocked me. 

Carver tells his readers, in every book, that nothing important happened here today. He lies, something really important happened; this book happened and it's important and valuable. It's unique and genre busting; a mix of crime, horror and precise, sometimes angry, but always perfect, social commentary. 
There's an underlying anger that rises through the pages, about the world and what people are doing to it, and to each other. It's incredibly clever and thought provoking ... it is like no other story that I've read. 

I apologise if you are no closer to knowing anything about the plot, and what happens at The Beresford. I don't think it's my place to tell you. I'd urge you to #ringthedoorbell yourself, and if you do, #leaveyoursoulatthedoor

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series and the critically
acclaimed, mind-blowingly original Detective Pace series that includes 
Good Samaritans (2018), Nothing Important Happened Today (2019) and Hinton Hollow Death Trip (2020), all of which were ebook bestsellers and selected as books of the year in the mainstream international press. 
Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for both the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award 2020 and the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. 
Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for Guardian‘s Not the Booker Prize. 
He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. 
He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. 

He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his children.

Twitter @will_carver

Instagram @will_carver

Tuesday 27 July 2021

Under A Greek Moon by Carol Kirkwood BLOG TOUR @carolkirkwood #UnderAGreekMoon @HarperCollinsUK @RandomTTours @fictionpubteam


She can escape Hollywood, but can she escape her past?

A-list actress Shauna Jackson has the perfect life. Fame, fortune, marriage. Or so it seems.
Running from a scandal, Shauna must return to the place that changed her life twenty years ago, the idyllic Greek island of Ithos.
Captivated once more by her island escape, bittersweet memories resurface of one summer, one unforgettable man, and a long-hidden secret.
Can Shauna take the chance to confront her past?

Under A Greek Moon by Carol Kirkwood was published on 8 July by HarperCollins. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 

Under A Greek Moon feels like a real blast from the past. I spent my earlier adult years devouring books from authors including Danielle Steel and Penny Vincenzi, and this story took me right back to those times. I adore Greece too, and any book that offers just hint of blue seas and gorgeous Greek locations will tempt me in. 

This is a story that would be best read laying on the white sands of a secluded Greek beach, preferably with cocktail at hand and a warm breeze to cool the heat. I had to make do with a scorching Lincolnshire garden, and a bottle of cold beer, but nevertheless, I did feel transported across the oceans to heaven on earth. 

It's a story that's been told many times; that of a young, fairly innocent girl who meets a gorgeous, rich man and whose dreams are shattered. For Shauna, those few weeks on a remote Greek island will shape the rest of her life. No matter that she finds fame and fortune, becomes rich and much loved, there's always a piece of her left on Ithos. 

Twenty years after her first visit, Shauna returns to Ithos. Accompanied by her original travel partner and loyal friend Roxy, they decide that they need to lay their ghosts to rest. Not really knowing what they will discover, but both having lived through heartaches and tragedy, they feel ready to face up to what happened so many years ago. 

Carol Kirkwood takes her readers back and forth throughout the story. We meet Shauna as a newly widowed, grief stricken woman of the world, and we then go back and meet her when she was wet behind the ears, young and impressionable and looking for adventure. 

I loved losing myself in this story. I don't mind the unashamed name dropping ... again, I was reminded of my author heroine Penny Vincenzi as mentions of famous film stars and top brand designers were littered throughout the story, and for me, this only adds to total glamour of it all. 

At the heart, theres's a tender and quite emotional story of lost love and misunderstanding. Of opportunities missed and the power of family and friends. 

Glamour, glitz and Greece, what's not to love?

Carol Kirkwood is one of the BBC’s most loved TV presenters, best known for presenting the weather.

She lights up viewers’ homes every day, appearing on programmes such as BBC Breakfast, Strictly Come Dancing, Wimbledon Tennis Fortnight, and Zoe Ball’s Radio 2 Breakfast Show.

She is hugely popular with fans and Carol frequently trends on Twitter. Beyond the television screen, she can often be found ensconced in a book, singing, dancing, and driving fast cars.

Twitter @carolkirkwood

Saturday 24 July 2021

The Godmothers by Monica McInerney #Giveaway @welbeckpublish #MonicaMcInerney #Prize #Competition #Win #TheGodmothers


In order to find out who her father is, Eliza has to discover who her mother truly was . . .

As the only daughter of a troubled young mother, Eliza Miller's life was kept on track by the constant support of her watchful godmothers Olivia and Maxie – until a tragic event just before her eighteenth birthday changed everything.

Thirteen years on, Eliza is cautious, lonely, and dedicated to her work in Melbourne. Out of the blue, an enticing invitation from Olivia, now based in the UK, prompts a leap into the unknown. Within a fortnight, Eliza is at the centre of a complicated family, and the busy hotel they run in Edinburgh's West End.

Amidst the chaos, Eliza unexpectedly begins to explore her past. Her godmothers have long been waiting for her to ask about her mother's mysterious life – and the identity of the father she has never known. But even they are taken by surprise with all that she discovers . . .

The Godmothers by Monica McInerney was published in paperback on 22 July 2021 by Welbeck.

I read and reviewed The Godmothers back in January this year, for the hardback publication. I loved it and am delighted to have one paperback copy to give away today.

Entry is simple, just fill out the competition widget in this blog post. 
UK and ROI entries only please.

Good Luck! 

One copy of The Godmothers by Monica McInerney

Monica McInerney is the Australian-born, Dublin-based author of 13 bestselling books, published internationally and in translation in 12 languages.

Friday 23 July 2021

Little Rebel by Jérôme Leroy BLOG TOUR #JérômeLeroy t. @RobertsGraham1 @CorylusB #LittleRebel


Divided along so many social fault lines, a city in the west of France is a tinderbox of anger and passion.

As the tension grows, things go badly wrong as a cop is killed and a terror cell is scattered across the city. A school on the deprived side of the city is caught up in the turmoil as students, their teacher and a visiting children’s author are locked down.

Making his first appearance in an English translation, Jérôme Leroy gives us a subtle and sardonic perspective on the shifts taking place in politics and society in this disturbing novella.

Little Rebel by Jérôme Leroy was published on 1 July 2021 by Corylus Books and is translated by Graham H Roberts. 

My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this blog tour. 

Little Rebel is a very short read; a novella of just under 80 pages in total. I read this in around an hour, and it was one of the most tense and challenging 60 minutes of my reading life!

The author writes in spare language that is excellently translated from the French by Graham H Roberts. We are told this tale by an anonymous, all-knowing, all-seeing narrator who describes the action with precise, engaging and sometimes shocking prose.

A unnamed town in France and an officer from the French Directorate for Internal Security is killed. Shot in the face and killed outright. Shot by another policeman, one who pulled the trigger purely because the officer was 'Arab'. And so begins this totally relevant, and up-to-date story of our times. It's political and it's all consuming, as the reader meets a variety of characters, who seem unconnected at first, but who are all brought together in the startling and tragic finale. 

Seemingly ordinary people; a children's author, a teacher, students who will become part of history. Part of a history that has begun to define Europe and continues to do so as the radicalisation of bored young men continues. 

Shocking and written with style and flair, I'm hugely impressed by this novella and look forward to reading more, lengthy work from the author in the future. 

A prolific author of novels for both adults and young adults, essays and poetry, Jérôme Leroy is from Rouen. 

His work has appeared in a number of languages, but Little Rebels is his first work to be translated into English. 

Originally from Liverpool, Graham H Roberts has lived in the northern French city of Lille since 2003.
When he's not translating French crime fiction, he teaches at a number of HE institutions in the Lille area and in Paris. 

Thursday 22 July 2021

Rory Hobble and the Voyage to Haligogen by Maximilian Hawker BLOG TOUR @MaxHawker @RandomTTours @unbounders #Win #Prize #Giveaway


Eleven-year-old Rory Hobble has it tough: he gets upsetting thoughts all the time and they won't go away – 'Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)', the head doctors call it. His mum hasn't been very well for a long while either. Perhaps it's his fault... Maybe that's why she doesn't always feed him; maybe that's why she screams at him. At least Rory has his telescope – gazing at the unchanging stars keeps him calm. But, one night, Rory sees something impossible in the sky: mysterious lights – artificial and definitely not of earthly origin.

When his mum is abducted by the shadowy Whiffetsnatcher, Rory – accompanied by his space-faring, care-experienced social worker, Limmy – travels beyond the Earth, chasing those mysterious lights to the frozen ends of the Solar System. Along the way he must outwit a breakaway human civilisation living on a Martian moon; survive the threat of otherworldly monsters; and learn to speak to alien whales.

But his greatest challenge left Earth with him and it will take all the courage he has not only to overcome his OCD, but to decide whether he wants to rescue an abusive mother if he gets his chance…

Rory Hobble and the Voyage to Haligogen by Maximilian Hawker was published by Unbound on 8 July 2021.

I am delighted to be a 'super patron' for this book. Unbound are a unique publisher where readers pledge for books to be published. I've pledged for a quite a few books over the years, and it's a delight to have my own copy of this one, with my name proudly displayed at the front as a Super Patron.

As part of this #RandomThingsTours blog tour, I'm delighted to offer one copy to one reader today. Entry is simple, just fill out the competition widget in this blog post.  UK Entries only please. 


One copy of Rory Hobble and the Voyage to Haligogen by Maximilian Hawker

Praise for Rory Hobble

'Warm, funny, pacy, endlessly inventive and life-affirming; there are lots of young readers who will identify with Rory' Chris Beckett, Arthur C. Clarke-Award winner

'A boy-and-social-worker space-travelling duo... What's not to love?! A truly unique sci-fi adventure, which does not shy away from the difficult realities being faced by some children here on Earth. Uplifting, and at moments so insightful it staggers, it's definitely a story Aniyah from The Star Outside My Window would have picked up' --Onjali Q. Raúf, winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2019 and Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2019

Wednesday 21 July 2021

Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdottir BLOG TOUR @evaaegisdottir @OrendaBooks t. Victoria Cribb #GirlsWhoLie #ForbiddenIceland


When single mother Maríanna disappears from her home, leaving an apologetic note on the kitchen table, everyone assumes that she’s taken her own life … until her body is found on the Grábrók lava fields seven months later, clearly the victim of murder. Her neglected fifteen-year-old daughter Hekla has been placed in foster care, but is her perfect new life hiding something sinister?

Fifteen years earlier, a desperate new mother lies in a maternity ward, unable to look at her own child, the start of an odd and broken relationship that leads to a shocking tragedy.

Police officer Elma and her colleagues take on the case, which becomes increasingly complex, as the number of suspects grows and new light is shed on Maríanna’s past – and the childhood of a girl who never was like the others…

Breathtakingly chilling and tantalisingly twisty, Girls Who Lie is at once a startling, tense psychological thriller and a sophisticated police procedural, marking Eva Björg Ægisdottir as one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdottir was published digitally by Orenda Books on 22 May 2021. The paperback edition is released on 22 July 2021. Girls Who Lie is the second in the Forbidden Iceland series and is translated by Victoria Cribb.
My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this blog tour.

I read and reviewed the first in this series; A Creak on the Stairs, back in October last year and was totally and utterly hooked. That book went on to win the Crime Writer's Association, CWA New Blood Dagger award, and was so well deserved. 

Ægisdottir is back with yet another tantalising and gripping case for police officer Elma and her colleagues and in this, she has proved for sure that she's no one-hit-wonder. Here's an author who is going from strength to strength, creating plot lines that thrill whilst dealing with some of darkest and disturbing issues that push people to behave so badly. 

Elma is a complex and fascinating character. She's been back in her home town of Arkranes for just over a year, having spent time with the Reykjavik force. Despite the small size of the the town, she's been kept pretty busy over the past twelve months; not just with work, she's also dealing with her own personal issues, and whilst these are many, they never impact on her professionalism. Elma is loyal and true and a determined police officer, always going that extra little bit, to ensure justice is done. 

When the decaying remains of a woman's body are found in the lava fields it soon becomes clear that this is Maríanna; a single mother who went missing seven months ago. It was always suspected that she had taken her own life, having left an apologetic note for her teenage daughter Hekla. Maríanna was not always the best mother. Young Hekla had been abandoned in the past, on more than one occasion, and is now living with foster parents who clearly adore her. However, further investigation reveals that this is not a suicide and that Maríanna was murdered. 

Elma and her police partner Sævar take on the investigation and as is often the case, it soon becomes clear that there are plenty of potential suspects. Despite the size of Arkanes, there are many secrets simmering just below the surface. 

Interwoven between the present-day action, the author brings us passages written by an unknown woman, almost diary form, and these are chilling and so very dark. The reader will come to all sorts of conclusions when reading these, impacting on what we expect to happen. Be prepared for shocks and twists a plenty though, never assume ... 

Victoria Cribb's excellent translation adds so much to this wonderful slice of Nordic Noir. The reader is transported to the desolate, bitterly cold landscape of Iceland, and thrust into the middle of the small community of Arkanes, whilst also being privy to the innermost thoughts of the characters. 

This is crime writing at its finest and I'm not sure how Ægisdottir will top this one, although I am excited about finding out where Elma goes next. 

Finely detailed and perfectly plotted, Girls Who Lie is thoroughly gripping and lushly atmospheric. There's a feeling of menace that runs throughout; not from the murder plot, but from the workings of damaged minds and how they go on to seek their revenge. 

Absolutely recommended by me. 

Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva Björg Ægisdóttir studied for an MSc in Globalisation in Norway before returning to Iceland and deciding to write a novel – something she had wanted to do since she won a short-story competition at the age of fifteen. 
After nine months combining her writing with work as a stewardess and caring for her children, Eva finished The Creak on the Stairs. 
It was published in 2018, and became a bestseller in Iceland, going on to win the Blackbird Award, a prize set up by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Ragnar Jónasson to encourage new Icelandic crime writers. The Creak on the Stairs was published in English by Orenda Books in 2020, and became a number-one bestseller in ebook in three countries, and shortlisted for the Capital Crime/Amazon Publishing Awards in two categories. 
Girls Who Lie, the second book in the Forbidden Iceland series, was published in 2021. 

Dubbed the ‘Icelandic Ruth Rendell’ by the British press, Eva lives in Reykjavík with her husband and three children and is currently working on the third book in the Forbidden Iceland series. 

Follow Eva on Twitter @evaaegisdottir