Monday 28 February 2022

The Plant Hunter by T L Mogford BLOG TOUR #ThePlantHunter @ThomasMogford @welbeckpublish #Win #Prize #Giveaway #Competition


1867. King's Road, Chelsea, is a sea of plant nurseries, catering to the Victorian obsession with rare and exotic flora. But each of the glossy emporiums is fuelled by the dangerous world of the plant hunters – daring adventurers sent into uncharted lands in search of untold wonders to grace England's finest gardens.

Harry Compton is as far from a plant hunter as one could imagine – a salesman plucked from the obscurity of the nursery growing fields to become 'the face that sold a thousand plants'.

But one small act of kindness sees him inherit a precious gift – a specimen of a fabled tree last heard of in The Travels of Marco Polo, and a map.

Seizing his chance for fame and fortune, Harry sets out to make his mark. But where there is wealth there is corruption, and soon Harry is fleeing England, rounding the Cape of Good Hope and sailing up the Yangtze alongside a young widow – both in pursuit of the plant that could transform both their lives forever.

The Plant Hunter by T L Mogford was published in hardback on 17 February 2022 by Welbeck. As part of this Blog Tour I am delighted to offer one copy as a giveaway.

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


One copy of The Plant Hunter by T L Mogford

Praise for The Plant Hunter 

'It's a great Stevensonian adventure but with a 21st century spin. Harry and Clarissa work really well – wholly believable and sexily engaging. The detail and the textures throughout are exemplary: lightly worn but dripping with atmosphere and exotic life. Really brilliantly achieved' 
William Boyd

'The Plant Hunter is a feast for the senses and a must for every reader who enjoys great adventure writing. The exuberant life in these pages and the drama of the story along with Mogford's lively engaging writing make this a life-enhancing pleasure to read. Be swept away' 
Imogen Robertson

'An old-fashioned adventure yarn with all the virtues of the genre, The Plant Hunter engages, informs and entertains, while taking the reader to distant, unexpected places. Highly recommended' 
Mick Herron

'It's excellent. No other word for it. I found the period and technical detail absolutely fascinating, and the characterisation really convincing. A beautiful, charming book that stays in the mind long after you've closed it and put it away. I was delighted by it' 
John Simpson

'Carried along by the drama, the history, the travel, the romance, the love of a dog, let alone the plant-hunting. I couldn't put this down' 
Sarah Raven

'It is a belter!' 
Jessie Childs, author of God's Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England

'A terrific swash-and-buckle adventure. The detail is eye-opening, the story gripping and unusual. Bravo!' 
Elizabeth Buchan

Cleanly written ... and exquisite' 
Times Literary Supplement

T.L. Mogford can trace his roots back to a line of famous horticulturalists – his great-grandfather
has an apple tree named after him. 

Before becoming an author he worked as a journalist for Time Out and as a translator for the European Parliament. 

The Plant Hunter is his first historical novel.

Friday 25 February 2022

Unhinged by Thomas Enger & Jørn Lier Horst BLOG TOUR @EngerThomas @LierHorst @OrendaBooks #Giveaway #Unhinged #Win #Prize #Competition


When police investigator Sofia Kovic uncovers a startling connection between several Oslo murder cases, she attempts to contact her closest superior, Alexander Blix before involving anyone else in the department. But before Blix has time to return her call, Kovic is shot and killed in her own home – execution style. And in the apartment below, Blix’s daughter Iselin narrowly escapes becoming the killer’s next victim.

Four days later, Blix and online crime journalist Emma Ramm are locked inside an interrogation room, facing the National Criminal Investigation Service. Blix has shot and killed a man, and Ramm saw it all happen. 

As Iselin’s life hangs in the balance, under-fire Blix no longer knows who he can trust … and he’s not even certain that he’s killed the right man…

Two of Nordic Noir’s most brilliant writers return with the explosive, staggeringly accomplished, emotive third instalment in the international, bestselling Blix & Ramm series … and it will take your breath away.

Unhinged by Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst was published in paperback by Orenda Books on 17 February 2022 and is translated by Megan Turney. This is the third in the Blix and Ramm series.

As part of this Blog Tour, I am delighted to offer one print copy as a giveaway. Entry is simple, just fill out the competition widget in the blog post. UK entries only please


One print copy of Unhinged by Thomas Enger & Jorn Lier Horst


‘An exercise in literary tag-teaming from two of Norway’s biggest crime writers’ The Sunday Times

‘A devilishly complex plot, convincing red herrings, and well-rounded characters ... a winner’
Publishers Weekly 

‘Grim, gory and filled with plenty of dark twists ... a Scandinavian chill in the air with this fascinating read’ The Sun

‘Impressive ... [they] know exactly how to manipulate the reader’ Financial Times ‘Masterly’ New Books Magazine

Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively. A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense. 

Thomas Enger is a journalist-turned-author whose trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer. 

Death Deserved was Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger’s first co-written thriller, closely followed by Smoke Screen, and the series has sold more than two million copies worldwide, outselling Jo Nesbo in their native Norway, Sweden and Germany.

Thursday 24 February 2022

Fear Less Live More by Aimee Fuller BLOG TOUR @aimee_fuller @Octopus_Books @RandomTTours #FearLessLiveMore


As someone who has lived outside her comfort zone, Aimee Fuller has a lot to say about fear. A former professional snowboarder who spent years riding on the fine edge of progression at the top of her sport, Aimee made history as the first woman to land a double backflip in competition and competed in two Winter Olympics. In 2019, she fronted the documentary Running in North Korea, which shows her running her first-ever marathon in one of the most isolated countries in the world. Through testing her own resilience, she has discovered that while it is scary to step outside your comfort zone, it can also be a prerequisite for growth.

In this bright and insightful book, Aimee gives an honest account of her experiences with fear and how, when the worst happens, she manages to pick herself back up again with purpose and an even greater thirst for life. Encouraging you to get up close and personal with your fears, Aimee shows you:

What fear is, both physically and mentally

How to recognise it in yourself

How to be mindful of fear without letting it take control How to reframe fear and build a healthy relationship with it What to do when things go wrong

Drawing on her training as a professional athlete, Aimee provides confidence-building tools that can be applied to any aspect of life, like goal-setting, maintaining consistency, celebrating your strengths, learning from failure, taking comfort in choice, owning your decisions and visualising success.

Fear Less, Live More is for anyone who wants to be the driver of their own life.

Fear Less, Live More by Aimee Fuller was published in hardback on 17 February 2022 by Aster / Octopus Books.

As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today 

Extract from Fear Less Live More by Aimee Fuller

2018 Olympics, Pyeongchang

You only get two jumps at the Olympics Big Air event and I've missed the final practice. Feeling cold and a little bit flustered, I'm running a dialogue with myself that goes something like, okay, Aimee, this is not ideal, but it doesn't matter. Just get on with it. You've done it before, you can do it again. It is what it is. Don't let this feeling consume you, don't let it define you, don't let it be you. Shit. Aimee, get your head in the game. This is the Olympics!  I convinced myself that I'd be fine because, sometimes, as I like to tell myself, I'm better when I'm not prepared. 

I'm at the top of jump one of two, trying to work out which way I'm going to heel-toe, flat-based 'bam' before I drop in. The flat-based 'bam' bit is the point at which I'm set to explode off the jump to initiate the manoeuvre. I drop in, still cold and flustered, but I manage to get it. I do the 180, the double back flip, and land both feet on the ground. Then I fall down. Flat on my arse. I just think shit. If I had landed this without falling down, the doors of opportunity would have opened. Now, I could feel them close. Fuck. What now? I feel a mental pain that could eat me alive. 

Aimee Fuller is a two-time Olympian, broadcaster, and sport and media personality. She is a qualified
yoga instructor and loves to share her passion for movement.

As a professional snowboarder, Aimee made history as the first woman to land a double backflip in competition at the X Games. She took part in two Winter Olympics for Team GB and, in 2017, ranked third in the world in the Big Air World Cup rankings. She is now a member of the British Olympic Association (BOA Athletes’ Commission.

Aimee hosts regular features on BBC One’s Ski Sunday and presents live TV events across sport for Red Bull TV and the Olympic Channel. She hosts a weekly podcast, Monday Mile with Aimee Fuller, in which she invites celebrity guests excelling in their field to walk a mile with her and share their secrets to Monday motivation. It’s all about taking the conversation outside, away from the screens - after all, they do say the best conversations happen sideways.

In collaboration with BBC Sounds, Aimee presented a 13-part podcast series around the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. In The Olympic Mile, Aimee walked a mile with some of Team GB’s finest athletes as they discuss their training plans, mindset, Olympic goals and much more.

Wednesday 23 February 2022

The Psychopath by A M Edwards BLOG TOUR #ThePsychopath @amedwardspacing @RedDoorBooks #BookReview


'Eventually Leighton stops lecturing me, probably just to catch his breath. After our last encounter I can take it a bit better and am feeling more robust. I even manage to look at the artery increasingly protruding and pulsing in his neck as he spits venom at me. I wonder what it would be like to pop a pencil straight into it and watch it burst like crimson rain all over his office. I might enjoy that.'

Meet Jez.

Jez is adulterous husband to Maxine, devoted father to Jamie, promiscuous lover, university professor, pro-vice-chancellor for research – and a serial killer aiming to get to the top by any means necessary.

His passion for murder parallels his love of music, and he matches each kill with its own special theme song to enhance the experience as he works towards assembling his very own top forty greatest hits.

When the vice-chancellor of lowly ranked Francis Drake University begins to sexually pester Jez's mistress Bella, it accelerates his plans for domination. But will he get there?

The Psychopath by A M Edwards was published on 10 February 2022 by RedDoor Press. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this blog tour. 

Well, this has been a shocking, rocky, disturbing and at times, hilarious read. Reading The Psychopath felt a bit like watching something terrible happen, you know you really shouldn't look, but you just can't help yourself.

Some people will hate this, some will be offended, some will not appreciate the humour. Lead character Jez; the psychopath of the title is utterly contemptible. He is vile, his thoughts are misogynistic, he's seriously violent ... he kills people. He makes his own kill play list and he is very matter of fact about it. I was drawn in from the beginning and raced through this one in a couple of sittings. You may feel grubby after reading, but your head will be buzzing! 

A M Edwards writes like a mash up of early Will Carver and Bret Easton Ellis. If you've read either of those authors, you know what to expect. This doesn't have the social issues that Carver cleverly weaves into his narrative but the voice of Jez reminds me so much of the killer narrative of his first novel; Girl 4.

I didn't like Jez, it would be impossible to like anything about him as a reader, as we are privy to his innermost thoughts. However, Jez is pretty much adored by the women around him. He is handsome and keeps himself fit, he wears good quality, well cut clothes and is a charmer. He's also married to Maxine, a woman who feels like a victim too, but in fact, is a pretty layered character herself. 

Told over two time lines; the present day and earlier in Jez's life, when he first got a taste for murder, the reader is exposed to a life that on the face of it, seems to be of a man on the up. However, Jez's real life is made up of dark violent episodes, mixed in with various sexual adventures. He's very good at hiding the truth, but for how long?

I particularly enjoyed the insider look at academia and how universities are run. The author writes about this setting with authority due to his personal background and it's certainly interesting and eye opening stuff. 

This is total entertainment, suspend your disbelief and your inner prejudice and just read it, if you dare. Enjoy the darkness of the humour, and grit your teeth at the sexism and violence and remember, Jez isn't real! 

Watch out for the ending! 

Andrew Edwards was born in Wantage, Oxfordshire and he spent most of his youth in the south of England.

He subsequently gained undergraduate, masters and doctoral qualifications at Sheffield Hallam University in Yorkshire before commencing his academic career with the University of Reading in 1999.

Since then, he as worked as an academic across the UK, New Zealand and Australia and is the author of the best-selling academic text Pacing in Sport and Exercise published by Nova Scientific.

He had two young adult novels published in 2014 and The Psychopath is his first adult novel. 

Twitter @amedwardspacing

Tuesday 22 February 2022

Reputation by Sarah Vaughan BLOG TOUR @SarahVaughanAuthor #Reputation @simonschusterUK @RandomTTours #BookReview


Emma Webster is a respectable MP.

 Emma Webster is a devoted mother.

 Emma Webster is innocent of the murder of a tabloid journalist.

 Emma Webster is a liar.

 #Reputation: The story you tell about yourself. And the lies others choose to believe…

Reputation by Sarah Vaughan is published in hardback on 3 March 2022 by Simon & Schuster. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours blog tour.

I have been reading Sarah Vaughan's novels for years now. Beginning with her earlier contemporary fiction novels and then moving on to her more recent thrillers. She's an excellent story teller who writes with conviction and authority. Her background in political journalism really shines though, especially in this, her latest and, in my view, her best book; Reputation. 

Emma Webster was brought up by a father who always asked her 'what are you going to do about it' when she voiced her anger about the world. She is now in her forties and is a Member of Parliament. Her election was something of a shock, she really didn't expect to enter the House of Common so soon. Her plan was to be a councillor for a few years before the move to Parliament. The public can never be relied upon though and her fast track through the ranks was a shock. It was also the cause of her marriage break down and she now shares custody of her fourteen year old daughter Flora with her ex husband.

Emma's aim has always been to fight for women. She is particularly keen to ensure that the victims of revenge porn are protected from media intrusion, and working alongside a constituent whose sister took her own life after becoming a victim online, and with the help of a journalist, she's making waves with her bill, nicknamed 'Amy's Law'.

However, there are other constituents who would prefer that she dealt with other matters, and as a woman in the limelight and in power, she herself is often the victim of vile and threatening internet trolls. The messages, comments and emails directed at her are breathtaking in their horror and hate and Sarah Vaughan does not hold back here. 

After a Guardian interview, accompanied by a photo of Emma showing her at her hardest and best, things escalate and it's not just Emma who is affected. Daughter Flora also suffers at the hands of bullies and it is one mistake made by this frightened child that changes Emma's whole life. 

Emma is on trial for murder. The first serving politician to stand in court accused of this crime and she needs to fight for everything. Most of all, she needs to ensure that her reputation remains intact, whilst also protecting her daughter, the most important person in the world.

This is a terrifying and eye-opening story, written with such style. Vaughan's characters are not always likeable, but they are so believable. We all know about internet trolls, we've all seen comments that really should be taken down, I'm sure we've all blocked people who write them. I know that I have. 

Emma's experiences mirror so many women in the public eye, she's just an ordinary woman who has worked her way up into a place where she could do so much good, but to many, she is just a woman. A figure on whom they can direct their hate and poison and it's often grubby.

This is a story that reflects our time, it is a story that will both shock in its intensity but also induce anger that this continues to happen.

An absolute triumph. Written so well and evoking so many emotions. Highly recommended by me.

Brought up in Devon, Sarah Vaughan read English at Oxford and went on to become a journalist. 

After training at the Press Association, she spent eleven years at the Guardian as a news reporter, political correspondent and health correspondent, before leaving to freelance and write fiction. 

Anatomy of a Scandal, her third novel was an instant international bestseller and translated into 22 languages, long-listed for the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year 2018 and short-listed for the Audible Sounds of Crime Award, GoodReads Jury’s Out award, French Elle’s Prix des Lectrices and Richard & Judy’s ‘Best of the Decade.’ 

Anatomy of a Scandal has been adapted for screen and will air on Netflix as a six-part series in Spring 2022. 

Little Disasters, her fourth novel, was selected as a Waterstones Thriller of the Month in 2021, has been sold to the US, France, Portugal, Sweden and Spain, and optioned for TV. 

Reputation is her fifth novel.

Monday 21 February 2022

Off Target by Eve Smith BLOG TOUR #OffTarget @evecsmith @OrendaBooks #GeneticEngineering #ChillingWinterReads #BookReview


A longed-for baby

An unthinkable decision

A deadly mistake

 In an all-too-possible near future, when genetic engineering has become the norm for humans, not just crops, parents are prepared to take incalculable risks to ensure that their babies are perfect … altering genes that may cause illness, and more…

 Susan has been trying for a baby for years, and when an impulsive one-night stand makes her dream come true, she’ll do anything to keep her daughter and ensure her husband doesn’t find out … including the unthinkable. She believes her secret is safe. For now.

 But as governments embark on a perilous genetic arms race and children around the globe start experiencing a host of distressing symptoms – even taking their own lives – something truly horrendous is unleashed. Because those children have only one thing in common, and people are starting to ask questions…

 Bestselling author of The Waiting Rooms, Eve Smith returns with an authentic, startlingly thought-provoking, disturbing blockbuster of a thriller that provides a chilling glimpse of a future that’s just one modification away…

Off Target by Eve Smith was published in paperback by Orenda Books on 17 February 2022. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, as part of this Blog Tour 

I read Eve Smith's debut novel, The Waiting Rooms in May of last year and was totally astounded by the concept. Not only does she write about science with such authenticity, she also creates characters and plot that are both chilling and compelling.

And so, to the 'difficult second novel' .. Off Target. How would the author follow her wonderful first book? What's in store for the reader?

Once again, this is a story that deals with science. I am in no way at all a science expert, I am always utterly amazed by the new developments, especially in health care that these incredible brains deliver. However, Eve Smith's writing is so accessible and descriptive that even a science ignorant like me can follow it. Saying that, it never ever reads like a text book. Quite often, her descriptions are so matter of fact, just part of the new normal that there were times that I actually believed these things were happening. 

And, this is one of the joys of this book. Set in the very near future, there is no doubt that these things really could be possible one day. Already, in my lifetime, medical advances have soared and the author cleverly incorporates existing procedures into the story. 

So, we are in a world of designer babies in this novel. Most parents are getting screened, to enable them to identify any potential illnesses that any as yet, unborn child may have. This is a massive, money-making business, and like most things, there are some clinics and some countries who will cut corners to increase profit. 

Susan desperately wants a child with her husband Steve. Steve has been married before, his relationship broke down due to infertility issues and he is determined that they will only conceive naturally. It's not happening though. One mistake on Susan's part creates just what she wants. A pregnancy. However, she needs to be sure that Steve is the father. When she discovers that there is no possibility that he could be the biological father of her unborn child, she takes drastic action. 

Fast forward and Susan and Steve's daughter Zurel is pre-teen. She's also elective mute, she used to speak but has stopped and Susan's fear is that her actions before the girl was born has created this condition.  Susan and her family now have to face up to the consequences of those decisions that she made many years ago and it's going to tear them to shreds. 

This is a story that raises so many questions of the reader. We constantly question the morals and ethics of what Susan has done, and the fact that these procedures are so easily available. We can recognise the protestors who regularly campaign against the what the scientists are doing. Imagine the scenes during the Abortion Referendum in Ireland, or the images of heckling crowds outside of abortion clinics and you get some idea of what is happening. 

This is complex, chilling and very frightening story. Eve Smith writes with a compassion for both sides of the arguments, enabling the reader to hear many voices, not least that of Zurel who is central to the story, yet whose own opinions are rarely considered by the adults. 

The fact that this story of fiction is so close to reality is both disturbing and haunting. It's science-fiction with heart and soul and a book that will stay in my mind for a long time to come. 

Longlisted for the Guardian's Not the Booker Prize and described by British bookshop chain Waterstones as: "an exciting new voice in crime fiction", Eve Smith's debut novel The Waiting Rooms was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award and was selected as a Book of the Month in The Guardian just after launch.

"Smith combines the excitement of a medical thriller à la Michael Crichton with sensitive characterisation and social insight in a timely debut novel all the more remarkable for being conceived and written before the current pandemic."

Eve writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues.

She attributes her love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills.

Her new thriller, Off Target, is another chilling, prophetic page-turner set in a near future, when genetic engineering has become the norm for humans, not just crops, and parents are prepared to take incalculable risks to ensure their babies are perfect.

Eve’s previous job as COO of an environmental charity took her to research projects across Asia, Africa and the Americas, and she has an ongoing passion for wild creatures, wild science and far-flung places.

When she’s not writing, she’s chasing across fields after her dog, attempting to organise herself and her family or off exploring somewhere new.

Find out more at

Follow Eve: @evecsmith on Twitter, EveSmithAuthor on FB & Instagram

Friday 18 February 2022

The Lost Chapter by Caroline Bishop BLOG TOUR #TheLostChapter @calbish @simonschusterUK @RandomTTours #BookReview


1957, France. 

Florence and Lilli meet at finishing school in Lyon. Despite some differences, they forge a firm friendship that promises to last a lifetime. But a terrible betrayal prematurely tears them apart.

 Years later in England, Florence has become the woman her friend knew she could be – creative, bold, and independent. The exact opposite of Alice, a young woman troubled by a recent trauma, whom Florence is determined to help bring out of her shell. Just as Lilli once did for her.

 When Florence discovers that the novel she’s reading is written by Lilli and is based on their time at school, the two stories begin to unfold together. Past events illuminate the future, and it becomes clear that long-held secrets can't stay buried for ever.

The Lost Chapter by Caroline Bishop was published on 3 February 2022 by Simon & Schuster. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours blog tour.

I do love a story set over a dual timeline, and am especially fond of the 1950/60s era. Add in a dash of France and some feisty young women and this book could have been written for me!

Caroline Bishops opens her story with an entrancing and intrigue prologue. It's 1958, in Lyon, France and a narrator is waiting for someone. There's a definite air of mystery to this, who is the narrator? Where are they going? Who are they waiting for?

We are then introduced to Florence in the modern day story. Florence is eighty, she lives alone apart from her pets, a dog and cat named Eric and Ernie. She has a bit of reputation locally, with the youngsters, most of them think that she's something of a crazy cat lady, but there's far more to Florence than meets the eye. A talented artist, she's travelled the world and has many stories to tell. 

Eighteen-year-old Alice is anxious and always worried about everything. She's suffered a great loss in her young life which continues to affect both her and her mum Carla, whose over protective ways are becoming overbearing. When Alice meets Florence after agreeing to walk Ernie the dog, they recognise something in each other.  

Florence is reading 'The Way We Were', a novella by an American author called L P Henri. She bought the book after reading about it in the newspaper, and whilst the names are changed, it is clear to Florence that the main characters; Lenny and Fran are in fact, her and her dear friend Lilli. She suspects that Lilli is the author. They have not seen each other for over sixty years, and Florences holds such guilt about the way they parted. 

It's a really clever way to structure this dual time story, a little unusual, and sometimes a little challenging to get the character names straight in your head. 

I loved reading about headstrong American Lenny and quieter, tamer Fran, and their exploits during their time at finishing school in Lyon. The author captures the era so very well, with the strict boundaries imposed upon the girls and the injustices meted out to those who rebelled. 

The modern day story is just as enticing and as Alice's own story slowly unfurls, the reader feels such empathy toward this young woman who struggles every day with the impact of a tragic event. 

At its heart, this is a story of the power of the female bond and how friendship can endure years apart, both in time, and in age. Florence and Alice are incredibly well created characters who the reader cannot help but cheer for. 

A stylish and evocative read, a mix of modern day issues combined with those of the not so distant past. I enjoyed it very much. 

Caroline Bishop began her journalism career at a small arts magazine in London, after a brief spell
in educational publishing. 

She soon moved to work for a leading London theatre website, for which she reviewed shows and interviewed major acting and directing stars. 

Caroline turned freelance in 2012 and a year later moved to Switzerland, where her writing veered towards travel and she has contributed to publications including the Guardian, the Independent, the Telegraph and BBC Travel, writing mainly about Switzerland, and co-wrote the 2019 edition of the DK Eyewitness Guide to Switzerland. 

For two years Caroline was editor of, an English-language Swiss news site, and it was during this time that she became fascinated with aspects of Swiss history and culture, particularly the evolution of women's rights.

Twitter @calbish