Tuesday 30 April 2024

The Kitchen by Simone Buchholz BLOG TOUR #TheKitchen @ohneKlippo @OrendaBooks t. @FwdTranslations #ChastityReloaded


When neatly packed male body parts wash up by the River Elbe, Hamburg State Prosecutor Chastity Riley and her colleagues begin a perplexing investigation.

As the murdered men are identified, it becomes clear that they all had a history of abuse towards women, leading Riley to wonder if it would actually be in society’s best interests to catch the killers.

But when her best friend Carla is attacked, and the police show little interest in tracking down the offenders, Chastity takes matters into her own hands. As a link between the two cases emerges, horrifying revelations threaten Chastity’s own moral compass, and put everything at risk…

The Kitchen by Simone Buchholz was published on 11 April 2024 by Orenda Books and is translated by Rachel Ward. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour. 

The Kitchen is the second in the Chastity Reloaded series, although not the second in the entire series of Chastity Riley books. In her last book; The Acapulco (published 2023), Simone Buchholz took her readers back to the days when Chastity Riley was fairly new in her role as State Prosecutor in Hamburg, Germany. The Kitchen follows The Acapulco, and whilst yes, this is a series, this book is also a fabulous novel that can be read as a stand alone story. 

So, explanations of context out of the way .... what about The Kitchen?

Oh my goodness, it is just so good to welcome Chastity Riley back into my life. She is one of the greatest creations that I've ever come across. A strong, independent woman, living and working in what is predominantly a man's world, but holding her own for sure. She's flawed, of course, but she's loyal and honest and determined to make the world a better place. 

It's the height of summer in Hamburg and the temperatures are rising daily. Almost unheard of heat envelops the city, bringing out the drinkers on street corners, making people lethargic and angry. It's not a nice heat and doesn't show Hamburg at its best. 

Chastity is finishing off the paperwork for the last case she worked on. A case that affected her deeply, more young women traumatised and exploited by men, she gets very angry. When male body parts are found in the city, neatly packaged up, Chastity can't quite find the anger that she had for the last case.  When another body is found and the link between these men seems to be that they all have a history of violence towards women, it's even harder for her.  However, she's a professional and she and her team are determined to get to the bottom of what is going on. 

Interwoven between chapters, there's a narrative from an unknown source. This narrative is frightening and anger inducing, a whole sorry tale of the experiences of a woman at the hands of men. Not always overly violence, but intrusive, unwelcome and intimidating. The narrator is angry. 

This is a truly brilliant piece of writing. It's a short novel that packs such a punch. Simone Buchholz writes with a passion and insight that makes the skin creep at times. It is wonderfully translated from German by Rachel Ward, and thank goodness, for I'd hate to think that I would miss out on this exceptional series. 

Very dark at times, with a clear message and packed with colourful, complex, often disturbed characters. I realised just what was happening a couple of minutes before Chastity did, and it is horrifying, yet the action that Chastity takes when she solves the case is unexpected, but extremely satisfying. 

Another perfectly formed novel in the Chastity Riley series. Highly recommended. 

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. 
In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as runner-up in the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the Krimi ZEIT Best of Crime List for months. 
The critically acclaimed Beton Rouge, Mexico Street, Hotel Cartagena and River Clyde all followed in the Chastity Riley series. 
Hotel Cartagena won the CWA Crime in Translation Dagger in 2022. 
The Acapulco (2023) marked the beginning of the Chastity Reloaded series, with The Kitchen out in 2024. 
She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

Rachel Ward is a freelance translator of literary and creative texts from German and
French to English. 
Having always been an avid reader and enjoyed word games and puzzles, she discovered a flair for languages at school and went on to study modern languages at the University of East Anglia. 
She spent the third year working as a language assistant at two grammar schools in Saaebrücken, Germany. 
During her final year, she realised that she wanted to put these skills and passions to use professionally and applied for UEA’s MA in Literary Translation, which she completed in 2002. 
Her published translations include Traitor by Gudrun Pausewang and Red Rage by Brigitte Blobel, and she is a Member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting.

Follow Rachel on Twitter @FwdTranslations, and on her website www.forwardtranslations.co.uk

The Family Home by Lorraine Mace BLOG TOUR #TheFamilyHome @lomace @AccentPress @rararesources #BookSpotlight



Sally has lived in fear of her husband long enough. But after twenty years of suffering, she has been left with nothing of her own and no one to turn to - except her estranged sister, Alison.

When Alison agrees to help Sally escape, she knows she must return to the one place she was told never to show her face again - the family home - and confront her father once more.

But soon, Sally begins to suspect that all is not as it seems, and as she is forced to face the ghosts of the past, she discovers there may be secrets hidden in her own memory that are best left buried . . .

A twisting and compulsive page-turner, with a shocking twist. If you love Keri Beevis, L H Stacey and K. L. Slater, you'll love The Family Home.

The Family Home by Lorraine Mace was published on 25 April 2024 by Headline Accent. I am delighted to shine a spotlight on this book as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel's Random Resources. 

Born and raised in South East London, Lorraine lived and worked in South Africa, on the Island of Gozo and in France before settling on the Costa del Sol in Spain. 
She lives with her partner in a traditional Spanish village inland from the coast and enjoys sampling the regional dishes and ever-changing tapas in the local bars. 
Her knowledge of Spanish is expanding. 
To stop her waistline from doing the same, she runs five times a week.

Lorraine is the author of the D.I. Sterling series and two psychological thrillers, The Guest and The Family Home.


Monday 29 April 2024

The French Cookery School by Caroline James #TheFrenchCookerySchool @CarolineJames12 @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources #MyLifeInBooks


Mix together a group of mature students:

A culinary Sloane, a take-away cook and a food journalist.

Add in:

A handsome host

Season with:

A celebrity chef

Bring to the boil:

At a luxurious cookery school in France!

Waltho Williams has no idea what he’s letting himself in for when he opens the doors of La Maison du Paradis, his beautiful French home. But with dwindling funds, a cookery school seems like the ideal business plan. 

Running away from an impending divorce, super-snob Caroline Carrington hopes a luxurious cookery holiday will put her back on her feet. Blackpool fish and chip café owner Fran Cartwright thinks she’s won the lottery when her husband Sid books her on a week working alongside a celebrity chef. Meanwhile, feeling she is fading at fifty, journalist Sally Parker-Brown hopes her press week covering the cookery course will enable her to boost her career.

But will the eclectic group be a recipe for success, or will the mismatched relationships sink like a souffle? 

Whip out an apron, grab a wooden spoon and take a culinary trip to La Maison du Paradis, then sit back and enjoy The French Cookery School!

The French Cookery School by Caroline James was published on 25 April 2024 by One More Chapter. As part of this Blog Tour organised by Rachel's Random Resources, I am delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today. She's telling us about the books that are special to her, in My Life In Books 

My Life in Books - Caroline James 

Hello Anne and many thanks for inviting me to your excellent blog as I celebrate the publication of my new novel, The French Cookery School 

I was about fifteen when I first read this book, and it left such an impression on me that I left home a little while later. It is a powerful story about a group of young runaways from different backgrounds who meet in Torremolinos in the summer of ’69. Full of disenchantment and feeling adrift from the world during the Vietnam era, they travel to exotic locations with their hopes and dreams and experience a ‘summer of love’. It is a brilliant historical account of that era. Although it may feel outdated today, it is as powerful now as it was then.

“Food is Life. Life is Food.”

Keith Floyd is the most eloquent food writer and a brilliant cook. Cook, not chef – this was his term for himself. In this memoir about his roller-coaster life, he tells us of lost fortunes, four wives, the fame that he never really came to terms with and the ups and downs of his illustrious career. I adored Keith Floyd, and even today, many years after his death, I love to watch re-runs of his hilarious yet informative shows. But it was his writing style that hooked me. Floyd on food is like a symphony, a marriage of the best cuisine and finely honed descriptions that linger long after the taste buds have died. I followed Floyd’s footsteps to his beloved Kinsale to set a novel there, and he inspired me to write my own culinary tale. 

The Old Wives Tale – Arnold Bennet

I grew up in Cheshire on Stoke on Trent’s borders, near the five towns featured in this story. Arnold Bennet draws on his experience of life in the Potteries. The period detail is excellent as is the historical perspective of the German siege of Paris in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. The main characters are the Baines sisters, who grew up in a local general store and the story is told from their viewpoints, tracing the arc of two very different lives. I have always been impressed that the author wrote so brilliantly from a woman’s perspective. It’s been a writing bible for me, and I’ve read it many times.

“A universally loved classic of twentieth-century literature.”

This is a story of disaffected youth, and having loathed my Grammar school, I was drawn to this book as a teen. I feel this is a book that you either love or hate. Holden Caulfield is a privileged but damaged sixteen-year-old privately educated in New York in the fifties. I felt connected to the character, possibly because my school years were also damaged. It’s about coming to terms with life through the eyes of a young person and navigating the challenges of growing up. It is a book I often return to. 

I’ve spent my life working in the hospitality industry, and I remember that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough when I read this gripping expose from the King of the tell-all behind the culinary scenes. This isn’t about the cosy celebrity lives of the chefs we see on TV; this is a no-holds-barred on what really went on in the kitchens that Bourdain worked in during his fascinating life on the road. In the literary version of Kitchen Nightmares, he was ahead of his time, and his writing is superb.

My go-to book for inspiration. The Artist’s Way is a twelve-week programme that intends to capture the universe’s creative energy and thus undo your creative blocks. Using Julia Cameron’s carefully tested exercises – I found my writing life transformed. When I started writing in later life, I had no idea how to begin. Through the pages of this book, my first manuscript was born, and when I feel closed in and unable to turn up at the page, this is where I return. It’s a personal journey, but one I feel lucky to have trodden.

My favourite quotes:  
“Don’t let the old man in.” Clint Eastwood

“Don’t think twice, it’s alright.” Bob Dylan

Huge thanks again, Anne, and I do hope that readers enjoy The French Cookery School  - I wish you and your visitors many happy reading hours. 
Warmest wishes, Caroline xx

Caroline James always wanted to write, but instead of taking a literary route, followed a career in the
hospitality industry, which included owning a pub and a beautiful country house hotel. 

She was also a media agent representing celebrity chefs. 

When she finally glued her rear to a chair and began to write, the words flowed, and several novels later, she has gained many bestseller badges for her books.

The French Cookery School is Caroline’s tenth novel. 

Previously, The Cruise, described as: ‘Girl power for the over sixties!’ was an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller. 

Caroline’s hilarious novels include The Spa Break and The Best Boomerville Hotel, depicted as ‘Britain’s answer to the Best Marigold Hotel’.

She likes to write in Venus, her holiday home on wheels and in her spare time, walks with Fred, her Westie, or swims in a local lake. 

Caroline is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the SOA, ARRA and the Society of Women’s Writers & Journalists. 

She is also a speaker with many amusing talks heard by a variety of audiences, including cruise ship guests.

Danger With Lashings of Caviar by Liz Hinds BLOG TOUR #DangerWithLashingsofCaviar @LizHindsAuthor @RandomTTours #BookExtract

When Tabby wakes up in a rubbish skip - again - she decides the time has come for action. 

The bad guys might have got away with it so far but it's time to turn the tables. 

With the help of her mum, a disgraced policeman, a farting dog, and two homeless friends Tabby is determined to bring the handsome criminal millionaire to justice.

And she was only supposed to be making a few sandwiches.

 Danger With Lashings of Caviar by Liz Hinds is published in April 2024. As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today. 

Extract from Danger With Lashings of Caviar by Liz Hinds 

This is getting plain silly. When you wake up and find
yourself gagged and bound in a sack — and, from the
smell, in a rubbish skip at that — and your first
thought isn’t, “What happened?” but, “Oh no, not again,” it’s
time to take a long hard look at your life.
And that’s what I’m going to do. Just as soon as I get out of here.

In books gorgeous crime-fighting females regularly find
themselves in these positions but I’m not a crime-fighter. Nor
am I gorgeous. Pretty maybe on a good day. But I make
sandwiches for a living. So where did it all go wrong?
I shake my head to help me think but it hurts so much I
whimper pathetically instead. It’s not like this in films. You
never see Bruce Willis begging for paracetamol. I groan. Or I
would but my mouth is taped so it comes out as more of a
small grunt.

And to think that three months ago I thought my day was
exciting if I had an order for a hummus and red pepper pitta
wrap. But that was before I met Jack Billington.
My name is Tabitha Fielding — although most people call
me Tabby — I’m twenty-eight years old, I live with my
mother, and I make sandwiches for a living. So far so normal.
Okay, a single woman living with her mother might not be
your idea of normal but it works for me. At least it does on a
good day. On other — that is most — days I resolve to get my
own place before she drives me scatty, but just as I’m scanning through the accommodation to rent in the local newspaper my mother calls to say Eastenders is on and did I want a chocolate biscuit with my tea and that’s that.

But where was I? Oh, yes, Jack Billington.

I’m a golden-retriever-loving granny, who enjoys walking by the sea or in the woods, who eats too much chocolate and gets over-excited when the Welsh team plays rugby. 

I have self-published three novels, This Time Last Year, and its sequel, This Year Maybe, and The Dog-walking Club, but I'm also an experienced freelance writer and author of several non-fiction books published by Hodder & Stoughton, Scripture Union and Kevin Mayhew. 

I’ve also produced two podcasts.

Friday 26 April 2024

The Other Tenant by Lesley Kara BLOG TOUR #TheOtherTenant @LesleyKara @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours #BookReview

Marlow has always lived in unusual places. But when she accepts a position as a live-in property guardian, she finds herself moving somewhere she swore she’d never return to.

Right from the start, she knows it’s a terrible mistake. The elegant Victorian school is due to be turned into luxury apartments, but its eerie, empty corridors are full of Marlow’s worst memories.

And now something sinister is happening on the site. One of the other tenants has disappeared without warning, and Marlow suspects that the nine other guardians know far more than they’re letting on. She’s determined to find out what happened to the missing woman – but which of these strangers can she trust?

And can she uncover the truth before her own past catches up with her?

The Other Tenant by Lesley Kara was published on 25 April 2024 by Bantam. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 

I have read and enjoyed all of Lesley Kara's novels starting with her debut, The Rumour, back in 2018.

I really love it when I learn something new from a book and The Other Tenant introduced me to property guardians. I wasn't sure if this was something that the author had created for her story and immediately fell down a Google rabbit hole to research. Yes, property guardians exist and are doing a roaring trade. Licences are issued for these short-term lets. A property guardian is someone who has entered into an agreement to live in a building or part of a building that would otherwise be empty for the primary purpose of securing and safeguarding the property. There are currently between five and seven thousand people in the UK living as property guardians.

Marlowe is one of them. She's been living in an old church and has enjoyed her stay there, she's a photographer and there are so many opportunities for excellent images in the old building. However, the let has come to an end and Marlowe is given the opportunity to move into an old school that is earmarked for development. Her only problem about this is that it's the school that she attended and where the biggest tragedy of her life took place. Against her better instincts and with nowhere else to go, Marlowe moves in to one of the old classrooms. 

She'd really love to occupy the room left empty when the last tenant left unexpectedly, but Rob, the head guardian makes it clear that is not possible. The door to that room is locked and Rob claims that there is water damage, making it unsafe for habitation. 

Marlowe is introduced to the other guardians living in the property. A mixed and quite strange bunch of people that are difficult to figure out. They all seem to be hiding something, but Marlowe has many secrets of her own. 

Marlowe becomes obsessed with what happened to Hayley, the last tenant. The other guardians are suprised that she left so quickly, without saying goodbye. As Marlowe explores the building, she discovers things that lead her to believe that Rob's story about Hayley is not true. 

This is a great thriller, the old school itself becomes a major character in the story. The old building, filled with memories for Marlowe, and discarded items from years before is so wonderfully developed, adding an atmosphere that is threatening and eerie. 

Throughout the story, we hear from an unnamed person. Someone who appears bitter and twisted, with long held grudges and will prove to become a danger to Marlowe, along with all of the other things that she discovers as she slowly tries to piece together what is really going on. 

A novel that will keep the reader on their toes, with a mystery at its core that is intriguing. Characters who are all slightly odd, and combined as a group make for an excellent cast. Recommended by me. 

LESLEY KARA is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Rumour, Who Did You Tell?, The Dare and The Apartment Upstairs. 

The Rumour was the highest selling crime fiction debut of 2019 in the UK, and a Kindle No.1 bestseller. 

Lesley is an alumna of the Faber Academy 'Writing a Novel' course. 

She lives in Kent.

You can follow Lesley on Twitter @LesleyKara or visit her website at www.lesleykara.com

Now That I Have Your Attention by Nicolas Hamilton BLOG TOUR #NowThatIHaveYourAttention #NicolasHamilton @Octopus_Books @RandomTTours #BookSpotlight


Nicolas Hamilton has been exceeding expectations since day one.

Born with a form of cerebral palsy, Nicolas was told that he would never walk and would need a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Today he not only walks everywhere but he is the first disabled athlete to ever compete at the top level of British motorsport, The British Touring Car Championship, where he lines up on the grid alongside some of the world's best drivers.

Now That I Have Your Attention follows Nicolas's remarkable journey and shares the valuable, tough, and often surprising lessons learned throughout his life.

Nicolas's journey has at times been hostile and has forced him to navigate periods of anger and resentment, but by building his mental strength and pushing himself beyond the physical limits of what anyone had ever expected of him, Nicolas has changed his life - and believes you can too.

With each of these 7 Lessons, Nicolas's message is simple and universal: with self-discipline and self-compassion you can defy the limitations imposed upon you.

Now That I Have Your Attention by Nicholas Hamilton was published on 11 April 2024 by Radar / Octopus. As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to spotlight this book with you today

Nicolas Hamilton is a British racing driver who currently competes in the British Touring Car Championship.

Alongside Nicolas's racing career, he is a prolific public speaker and uses his social media platform to reach beyond fans of motorsport. He has been featured in British Vogue and worked with a variety of brands such as Meta, Amazon, and MINI to name a few, sharing his clear vision and understanding of how brands can improve diverse representation.

Now That I Have Your Attention is his first book.

Instagram @nicolashamilton