Dark City by Sarah Kay Moll ~ #DarkCity #Extract





Dark City


Sarah Kay Moll




Welcome to the blog today! I have a fabulous extract from Dark City by Sarah Kay Moll, which publishes tomorrow!! If that stunning cover isn’t enough to whet your appetite, this extract certainly will! But first, here is a little bit more about the book and its lovely author:



About the Book




Jude has a tender heart. Yet he was born into a criminal empire and groomed from childhood to step into his father’s violent footsteps. To survive, he created a second personality. Ras is everything Jude isn’t—cruel, remorseless, and utterly without fear, as incapable of love as Jude is of malice.
But when Ras meets a ruthless socialite, he begins to feel a strange stirring of emotion, a brush of Jude’s passion against his own dark heart. Meanwhile, Jude finds himself with a knife in his hand, the evil in Ras’s soul bleeding into his own.
As the walls between them crumble, they could lose everything—their lovers, their family, and their hold on the dark city itself.
Coming together could break them…or make them whole.





To purchase a copy of this book, you can follow the links below:

Amazon UK

Publisher’s Website




About Sarah Kay Moll



sarahkay moll.JPG


Sarah Kay Moll is a wordsmith and an amateur homemaker. She’s good with metaphors and bad with coffee stains, both of which result from a writing habit she hasn’t been able to quit. She lives a mostly solitary life, and as a result, might never say the right thing at parties. She’s passionate about books and has about five hundred on her to-read pile. When she does go out, it’s probably to the library, the theater, or the non-profit where she works.

Sarah lives in a beautiful corner of western Oregon where the trees are still changing color at the end of November and the mornings are misty and mysterious. She spends her free time playing video games and catering to her cat’s every whim.


You can find Sarah on Twitter here!

On her website here!

Sign up to her mailing list!

Find her on Goodreads!




extract 1


Extract from Dark City


Ras makes his way down from the deck of the yacht, stained with the blood of a man foolish enough to cross his criminal syndicate. He walks through the pleasantly lit, opulently decorated rooms of the yacht, looking for goodies to steal—cash, jewelry, or if he’s lucky, drugs.
“Hey.” A low voice, with a slight huskiness to it, like coarse fur, comes from a corner of the room. A beautiful woman, maybe twenty years old, smiles at him, a curve of full, luscious lips. She holds her chin high, arrogant and unafraid, and her feet barely seem to touch the ground as she walks toward him. With every step, her hips sway, her silky black dress rippling and flowing over her like an unbroken stream of water. She reminds him of one of those ancient Egyptian statues, queens with long, slender necks set to rule the world.
“You’re a syndicate hitman, aren’t you?” she says, stopping her approach only when they’re close enough he could kiss her if he leaned forward. Now he can see the color of her eyes, brown like sugar cooked to a crystalline crisp, with the same shine. She watches him distantly, her composure icy and flawless.
“Yes,” he says. “And I never leave any witnesses after I do a job.”
“You should reconsider,” she says, and just when he thinks she’s going to kiss him, something sharp scratches against his stomach, a little paring knife pressed to his side.
“Let me off this fucking boat,” she whispers, “or I will gut you.”
It takes some time before he can focus on anything besides the cold turn of her lips, her calculating gaze, like he’s nothing more than a chess piece held between her fingers, hovering above the board as she considers her move. But finally he gets his shit together and strikes, a hand as quick as a cobra, catching her wrist in its bite. He twists hard, instinct and training replacing thought, until she drops the knife onto the carpet beneath them. She doesn’t make a sound.
The next moment seems to stretch and linger, her wrist still in his hand, her eyes cold and fearless as a winter night, as though she could match him, darkness for darkness.
He, who feels nothing, is unsettled by the stirring within him, by the way her every last detail seems fraught with meaning. The bones of her slender arm beneath the heavy press of his fingertips, the steady firm shape of her mouth, the curves of her body beneath a black satin dress that falls soft as a negligee.
She is dangerous, to him, to his father, to the syndicate. And yet…
He lifts the hand that holds her wrist. “Move your hand in a circle.”
She obeys, her hand moving gracefully, delicate fingers, long nails painted wine red. There’s no wince of pain, no hesitation or difficulty. Nothing is broken or sprained, and, for some reason, he’s glad.
“Let me go,” she says, as though her force of will alone could save her.
“Will you keep your mouth shut?” he asks, the words a surprise to himself the moment they leave him.
The corner of her mouth turns up in a cold smile, like she knows she’s won. “I’m not an idiot.”
“How can I trust you?”
“My name is Scarlett Bancroft,” she says. “If I tell anyone, it won’t be hard to find me.”
The last name, at least, is familiar to him; one of the city’s oldest, richest families. The Bancrofts built this city, or so one of the more prominent members of the family liked to say until his campaign for mayor was cut short by a bullet.
“Why aren’t you afraid of me?” he asks, fingers still on her wrist, reluctant to break the current he can feel flowing between them, two circuits feeding into each other a blue-white arc of electricity.
“I have nothing to lose,” she says indifferently. Not a cry of desperation or a plea for pity, just the simple statement of a fact.
“People will be here to take care of the body in fifteen minutes. Be gone by then.”
She nods, and where he expects relief, gratitude, there’s only a kind of determined fatigue, a long march through a cold night not yet over.
“My name is Ras.” He lifts her hand to his lips, kissing her palm, then releases her and turns all at once, walking quickly into the night without looking back.


Wasn’t that wonderful?!






Huge thanks to Sarah Kay Moll for appearing on the blog with a wonderful extract from Dark City!



Blog Tour! This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell ~ #BlogTour #BookReview #ThisCouldChangeEverything

Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Headline

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour today! I’m delighted to share my review of This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell!


This Could Change Everything Cover .jpg

This Could Change Everything


Jill Mansell



On the one hand, if Essie hadn’t written that letter – the one that only her best friend was meant to see – then she’d still be living like an actual proper grown-up, tucked up with Paul in his picture-perfect cottage, maybe even planning their wedding…
On the other hand (if her true feelings hadn’t accidentally taken the internet by storm, that is) she wouldn’t have moved into the attic flat on the square. She would never have met Conor. Or got to know Lucas…
And she wouldn’t have found herself falling in love with someone she really, really shouldn’t fall in love with…





review picture


My Review





Essie Philips has everything she has ever wanted. She has a good job, an intelligent, charming boyfriend and she has finally moved out of the mouldy flat she was stuck in. Life is on the up. With Christmas fast approaching, Essie and friend Scarlett agree to write round robins purely to get things off their chests. But what started out as a simple, harmless bit of fun between friends escalates into something life-changing. Essie’s offensive letter is emailed to the two-hundred people in her contacts list, including her boyfriend Paul and his mother (Essie’s boss.) Feeling wretched, Essie’s life goes from bad to worse when Paul kicks her out and dumps her. With her world in tatters, Essie swiftly realises that when one door closes, another door opens.



Zillah is eighty-two years old and lives her life to the full. After weeks of hunting for a tenant to take over her attic flat, she is relieved to find a young girl called Essie who needs a place to rent. She is the perfect tenant: straight-talker, quiet eater, helpful and not averse to the odd swear word thrown into conversation. Zillah invites Essie into her life and in no time at all they become firm friends. Essie soon discovers a side to her new landlady that is extremely touching. Her generosity and kind nature offer strangers a new zest for life, a helping hand when no others have offered theirs. She sends the boy with a love of animals a year’s membership to the zoo; the withdrawn girl in the cafe a bite to eat, the dying woman her final wish in renewing her vows. Zillah is kind-hearted, generous and determined character who for me was the star of this book



Conor McCauley’s life changed on a relatively normal day. After meeting a woman dying of cancer and wanting to make her will, he decided to quit his job as a solicitor working for a cruel boss and start afresh. Now, he has set up his own gardening business and enjoys each and every moment of it. In his spare time, he takes photographs for the local restaurant, Red House on Percival Square. And with his two friends, Zillah and Essie, encouraging him, soon he might find romance on the cards.



This Could Change Everything is a warm-hearted, touching and often exhilarating new novel from Jill Mansell. Her books get better and better every time. I grabbed the chance to be on this blog tour and I’m so thrilled to share my review of this beautiful story.



Touching, funny, beautiful.





To purchase a copy of the book, you can follow the links below:

Amazon UK

Book Depository





About Jill Mansell



Jill Mansell



Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers including THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT, TO THE MOON AND BACK, YOU AND ME, ALWAYS and MEET ME AT BEACHCOMBER BAY. TAKE A CHANCE ON ME won the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding achievement award.

Jill’s personal favourite amongst her novels is THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU, which is about cystic fibrosis and organ donation; to her great delight, many people have joined the organ donor register as a direct result of reading this novel.

Jill started writing fiction while working in the NHS, after she read a magazine article that inspired her to join a local creative writing class. Her first book was published in 1991 and she is now a full-time novelist. She is one of the few who still write their books by hand, like a leftover from the dark ages. She lives in Bristol with her family.

Jill keeps in touch with her readers on Twitter – @JillMansell – and Facebook – /OfficialJillMansell. You can also visit her website http://www.jillmansell.co.uk/.




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This Could Change Everything Blog Tour Poster .jpg





this could


Huge thanks to Jess Farrugia, Anne Cater and Headline for my review copy and blog tour invite!

Blog Tour! Guest Post from Michael Stanley ~ #DeadOfNight #BlogTour #OrendaBooks #RandomThingsTours

Blog Tours, Guest Posts, Orenda Books, RandomThingsTours

DEAD OF NIGHT lite.jpg



Dead of Night


Michael Stanley





Welcome to my stop on the blog tour! Today I have a fabulous guest post from writing duo Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip who chat about the inspiration behind their new standalone novel Dead of Night! But first, here is a little bit more about the book and its lovely authors:





About the Book





When freelance journalist, Crystal Nguyen, heads to South Africa, she thinks she’ll be researching an article on rhino-horn smuggling for National Geographic, while searching for her missing colleague. But within a week, she’s been hunting poachers, hunted by their bosses, and then arrested in connection with a murder. And everyone is after a briefcase full of money that may hold the key to everything…
Fleeing South Africa, she goes undercover in Vietnam, trying to discover the truth before she’s exposed by the local mafia. Discovering the plot behind the money is only half the battle. Now she must convince the South African authorities to take action before it’s too late. She has a shocking story to tell, if she survives long enough to tell it…
Fast-paced, relevant and chilling, Dead of Night is a stunning new thriller that exposes one of the most vicious conflicts on the African continent…





To purchase a copy of the book, you can follow the links below

Amazon UK

Book Depository



About Michael Stanley






Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both
were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. On a
flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a
wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their
first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the
Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards,
including the CWA Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and
their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for
an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’
award. Dead of Night is their first stand-alone thriller.


Follow Michael Stanley on Twitter here!







Guest Post



Dead of Night – The Rhino War

Our new stand-alone thriller – Dead of Night – has been a long time coming. We started working on it in 2012, but it was quite a while before we really understood the characters and the focus of the story. Our protagonist, Crystal Nguyen, is an American of Vietnamese descent who is passionate about the environment and reports for a local newspaper in Minnesota. She is more than half in love with a young National Geographic journalist, Michael, who disappears in South Africa while researching a dangerous exposé of rhino poaching and rhino-horn smuggling. With the support of National Geographic, she sets out to find him and to finish his article. That quest turns out to be much more challenging than she could ever imagine.
We were always grabbed by the plight of the African rhinos and that forms the backstory of the novel. It’s a huge issue in South Africa: we have 80% of the world’s wild rhinos — around 20,000 animals and, as Crys discovers, it’s a shooting war out there. Over a thousand were killed by poachers last year, their horns hacked off and the carcasses abandoned to scavengers. Adding natural deaths to that, the population will inevitably decline forcing up the price of horn and further increasing the pressure on the game reserves.
Both of us share bush homes in the game reserve area surrounding the Kruger National Park. Michael’s place is on the Olifants River – an idyllic location with views from the front deck overlooking one of the few perennial rivers in the area. Unfortunately, the area is close enough to settlements to make access hard to control. It’s on the frontline of the rhino-poaching war. The manager of our reserve, Mario Cesare, probably knows as much about the issue as anyone, and Dead of Night has greatly benefitted from the insights and observations he shared with us. Mario has thought deeply about options and strategies. For example, in a neighbouring area the rhinos have their horns regularly removed (the horns grow back). What are the downsides? Well, every few years the rhinos must be darted and the horns sawn off and that involves some risk. (There’s no pain, it’s just a haircut.) There is concern about the possible impact on rhino social structure, and the effect on tourists. But since that particular game reserve adopted this policy, they have lost only one rhino – probably shot by mistake.
Crys has a lot to learn and they are painful lessons – fighting poachers in the Kruger national park, avoiding the ‘kingpins’ who control the local trade, and trying to get to grips with all the different standpoints pushed by diverse groups. Not only must she negotiate her way through these convoluted issues and competing interests, but she is also forced to investigate the mafia-like gangs behind the smuggling from Mozambique to Vietnam. As with all illegal and valuable substances, criminals grab the trade and guard their slice of it viciously. They are not good people to cross. They are the real villains.
Understanding the consumer is harder. Many older people in China and Vietnam still believe in the efficacy of powered rhino horn to cure anything from fever to cancer. Rich younger people may show off their wealth by sniffing or knocking back rhino horn powder with their drinks at parties, often mixed with something else to produce the desired effect – cocaine or Viagra, for example. There is, of course, no scientific evidence to suggest that rhino horn has any physiological effect beyond the placebo one.
In Vietnam, rhino horn is more expensive than gold. The poachers get much, much, less than that, of course, but one horn may well fetch more than a rural family can earn in a year. For that, men are willing to risk being shot or imprisoned, and even being eaten by lions. As much as Crys hates the brutality of the poaching, and sympathises with the underfunded and underpaid men and women who protect the rhinos with considerable danger to themselves, she eventually comes to understand the poachers.
She also comes to understand the motivation of rhino horn farmers. Their idea is to supply legal, controlled, and certified horn to the market. There are already such farms in South Africa and a fictional one is pivotal in our story. Does the economics make sense? Would it be possible to flood the market, lower the price of horn, create a new industry for rural people, and, along the way, protect the wild rhinos? It’s an intriguing option, but it’s dead against Crys’s conservation instincts and flies in the face of the approach adopted by international agreement.
Crys encounters poachers, farmers, smugglers and corruption, and finds no one she can wholly trust on any side. The leads to Michael go cold and she almost gives up hope when she learns that he may still be alive. But even this works out quite differently from the way she imagined it would.
Eventually, she has to come to her own conclusions based on her own values and the path she’s been forced to follow. Her story is gripping and entertaining, but we believe it will leave the reader thoughtful about African issues that are much more complex than they appear on the surface.



White Rhino at Olifants River Game Reserve

White Rhino at Olifants River Game Reserve


White rhino bull enjoying the river.jpg

White rhino bull enjoying the river.


Elephants on the river.jpg

Elephants on the river.





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Huge thanks to Michael Stanley for the lovely guest post and stunning photos and to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for my review copy/blog tour invite!!

Blog Tour! Extract from Testament by Kim Sherwood ~ #BlogTour #Extract #Testament






Kim Sherwood






Welcome to my stop on the blog tour today! I’m thrilled to share a fabulous extract from Testament by Kim Sherwood! This extract is so emotional, it instantly pulls you into the story – I’m so looking forward to reading the rest of the book! Before the extract, here is a little more about the book and its lovely author.









About the Book



Her family was always complicated. It’s why Eva was closest to her grandfather: a charismatic painter – and a keeper of secrets. So when he dies, she’s hit by a greater loss – of the questions he never answered, and the past he never shared.

It’s then she finds the letter from the Jewish Museum in Berlin. They have uncovered the testimony he gave after his forced labour service in Hungary, which took him to the death camps and then to England as a refugee. This is how he survived.

But there is a deeper story that Eva will unravel – of how her grandfather learnt to live afterwards. As she confronts the lies that have haunted her family, their identity shifts and her own takes shape. The testament is in her hands.

Kim Sherwood’s extraordinary first novel is a powerful statement of intent. Beautifully written, moving and hopeful, it crosses the tidemark where the third generation meets the first, finding a new language to express love, legacy and our place within history.



To purchase a copy of the book, you can follow the links below:

Amazon UK

Book Depository




About Kim Sherwood





Kim Sherwood was born in Camden in 1989 and lives in Bath. She studied Creative Writing at UEA, is now Senior Lecturer at the University of the West of England, and teaches prisoners. Her pieces have appeared in Mslexia, Lighthouse, and Going Down Swinging. Kim began researching and writing Testament, her first novel, after her grandfather, the actor George Baker, passed away and her grandmother began to talk about her experiences as a Holocaust Survivor for the first time. It won the 2016 Bath Novel Award.

You can follow Kim on Twitter here!









only his body

This is the last conversation we will have.
Silk: ‘Where did it go?’
‘I didn’t go anywhere. I’m right here.’
A half-smile – he is king of the half-smile – a patient grandfatherly smile that tells me I am not interpreting him correctly, but that he has the time to teach me how to read him.
‘Eva. My girl. Did it know I loved it?’
‘Yes. I know.’
Birds perform evensong in the horse chestnut outside his bedroom window, inviting me to escape through the half-drawn curtains from one scene to another, leaving Silk’s deathbed back stage. We used to do that together: clamber in and out of ground-floor windows, trailing mud and paint. Never use demarcated exits, he’d tell me; six years old, no idea what ‘demarcate’ meant, but swearing suspicion against all maps and signposts. I look over my shoulder at the tree. Don’t take this exit, I want to tell him. Stay with me. But I can’t – not when the Silk I know has been forced to surrender pronouns and poetry and can no longer implore me: Eva, only a selfish love exhorts a man not to go gentle into that good night. The horse chestnut is weak, holding up rain-soaked leaves. I think of the pink blossom Van Gogh painted from the window of his madness; I hear the trill of wood pigeons and remember a line from a nature documentary. When the birds stop singing, that will be the sound of extinction.
Whistling pierces the bedroom, inside our walls. It’s Silk, his cracked lips pursed. He does it again, a brief wood warbler, a party trick for summer picnics that is so loud and so sustained by the silent house it is like the ringing of crystal glass.
Silk plucks at my hand.
I don’t want to understand. It might be the last thing he ever teaches me, apart from how to manage death.
But after another nudge I inflate my lungs for an off-tune bastardisation of the roundelay outside. He laughs, does it himself, pitch-perfect. I copy, once, twice, until finally I am good enough and he folds his lips together, shutting a suitcase.
Then follows the procedure of medicine, blankets, pulling curtains to shut out pockets of polluted dusk, pockets I release at his protest, before finally burrowing my hand into his ready fist: goodnight. A creaking floorboard tells me that I am walking away from him, and as with every time I leave him, I think: this could be it.
‘I love you.’
In the dark, he might have been winking.

The stage management of loss. You think you will remember separate moments: a final breath, the weight of morning light across his legs. But the script changes. Loss does not keep to its moment; there is a keenness about grief, a sharp greed to it, hungering inside you. I cannot remember if it really was our last conversation, our last touch, our last lesson, or whether when I went back to him that night – fearing death had infiltrated the scars and sores of his body, old and new, which I had discovered in these last weeks’ intrusion into his privacy – whether we exchanged a joke, a story, a word of thanks, before he left.
But I do remember this: the birds did not sing again in his lifetime.




Wasn’t that incredible?!



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Huge thanks to Ana McLaughlin and Riverrun for my review copy and blog tour invite!

Blog Tour! Review of Sticks and Stones by Jo Jakeman #SticksAndStones #BookReview #BlogTour


Welcome to my stop on the blog tour today! I’m delighted to share my review of Sticks and Stones by Jo Jakeman!



sticks and stones


Sticks and Stones


Jo Jakeman



Imogen’s husband is a bad man. His ex-wife and his new mistress might have different perspectives but Imogen thinks she knows the truth. And now he’s given her an ultimatum: get out of the family home in the next fortnight or I’ll fight you for custody of our son.

In a moment of madness, Imogen does something unthinkable: she locks her husband in the cellar. Now she’s in control. But how far will she go to protect her son and punish her husband? And what will happen when his ex and his girlfriend get tangled up in her plans?






review picture


My Review:




Philip Rochester was Imogen’s knight in shining armour. He swept into her world with honeyed words and loving gestures and swept her up in a life she had only ever dreamed of. He was confidant, ambitious and handsome. A blend she found irresistible, impossible to ignore against the heartbraking backdrop of her beloved father’s demise and her mother’s cold shoulder. Philip offered her a life limited only by her imagination, a way of escaping closed doors and chilly dispositions. With time, they were married. With a bit more, they had a son. Now, Philip Rochester threatens the very foundations of Imogen’s life. He is threatening to take their son away from her. But Imogen knows what makes him tick and how to use his secrets to her advantage. The years under his thumb gifted her with a power she is just beginning to realise she can use.



Naomi is Philip’s current girlfriend. A vulnerable young woman with a grim past and a sudden realisation that she can finally settle down and begin a new life with a loving partner. Her story was incredibly emotional. She sailed from foster home to foster home as a young girl, feeling worthless and unlovable, haunted by the fact that her mother gave her up and scarred by the way it made her feel. Now, she is seeking out her mother to fully come to terms with her past. What she didn’t expect when she entered a relationship with Philip, a respected policeman, loving and estranged husband to Imogen, is the fact that he is a man far removed from the person she believed him to be.



Ruby is Philip’s ex-wife, a dog-loving, kind-hearted soul who dreamed of becoming a vet. When a sudden turn of events capsized her aspirations, she fled to Africa. There, she saw how turmoil and grievances could corrupt people and she learnt to forgive and forget. Despite believing she had moved on, Philip hooked her affection once again and reeled her back into his life. But now she has seen who he really is. And he is someone even she can not learn to forgive.



Sticks and Stone opens with Philip Rochester’s funeral and follows the lives of Imogen, Naomi and Ruby in the preceding weeks. Touching on horrific domestic abuse, manipulation and narcissism, this is quite the nail-biting read. Jo Jakeman keeps the tension and suspense fizzing through the book. This is quite a fast-paced novel but it is also a very emotional one. I really felt for the three women and found myself rooting for them as I whipped through the pages.



Dark. Clever. Emotional.






To purchase a copy of this book, you can follow the links below:

Amazon UK

Book Depository





About Jo Jakeman



jo jakeman



Jo Jakeman was the winner of the Friday Night Live 2016 competition at the York Festival of Writing. Born in Cyprus, she worked for many years in the City of London before moving to Derbyshire with her husband and twin boys. Sticks and Stones is her debut thriller. Find out more at http://www.jojakeman.com.

Follow Jo on Twitter here!



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sticks and stones

Huge thanks to Mia Quibell-Smith and Harvill Secker for my review copy and blog tour invite!

Blog Tour! New Beginnings for Bryony Bennett by Katy Lilley ~ #GuestPost #BlogTour #NewBeginningsForBryonyBennett




New Beginnings for Bryony Bennett


Katy Lilley




Welcome to my spot on the blog tour for New Beginnings for Bryony Bennett! I’m delighted to share a fabulous guest post today from author Katy Lilley who talks about her writing life! But first here is a little more about the book and its lovely author:





bryony bennett



New Beginnings for Bryony Bennett


Katy Lilley



When Bryony Bennett’s godmother dies and leaves her a huge inheritance, Bryony jumps at the chance to get away from it all and start again.

She packs up her life and moves into the (almost) idyllic Cliff Cottage…only to find that starting over is never quite as simple as you imagine. Faced with grumpy neighbours, hostile locals and more than her fair share of disasters, Bryony embarks on a mission to make sure her new life is everything she wants it to be…but will she ever win over the locals and truly be happy in her new life?




To purchase a copy of this book, you can follow the link below:

Amazon UK





About Katy Lilley



katy lilley.jpg



Wine drinker, cheese hater (sorry), sun lover, non-domestic goddess. The softer, sweeter side of Can often be bribed with Sav Blanc and chocolate.


You can follow Katy on Twitter here!








Guest Post



Katy Lilley’s writing life


Typical? Define typical?
That was my husband’s comment when I mentioned that I was writing a blog post about my typical writing day.
I get his point.
As I can write anywhere, and frequently do, I suppose my typical day is…different every time, if that’s not a contradiction in terms.
As in when we’re at home where my study is next to the kitchen, writing seems to get interrupted by the world and his wife. The postie, the white van man with a parcel—not necessarily for us but for anyone around, as you can’t always see house names.
Lost tourists, who insists we must be the bed and breakfast as ‘the sat nav says so’. The kids in the lane asking their parents ‘are we there yet?’
In the winter, trips to the log shed to make sure the fire is stoked. And to the coffee pot of course.
That’s at home. As long as there are no visitors. Then it’s the up at 5.30-6 am and get two hours in before anyone else surfaces. Of course by 10 pm I’m yawning, but that’s life.
When we’re not at home?
Anything goes.
Take one day recently. Long haul, daytime flight. Once the seatbelt signs were switched off, down came the tray table, and out came the laptop. That is normal for long haul. For any flight come to think of it.
Bliss. The only interruptions are for food, drink and a visit to the loo. (Plus my husband looking over the divider to see what I’m up to.)
And that reminds me of another flight, several years ago.
I got up to go to the loo, and when I got back, there was a guy reading my m/s. I did the excuse me bit, and he moved to let me go by. I explained that was my seat, and off he went. Around half an hour later, I wandered off to get a drink and one of the cabin crew said that the guy in seat ‘x’ wanted to know what happened next in the m/s. I handed over my card and said when roughly the book was to be published. Thought no more about it, until in due course I got an email, saying, ‘loved to find out what happened next,’ signed ‘the guy on the plane.’
Of course that’s not typical, but it did happen on one of my, let me get some words down, sessions.
A few weeks ago I was sitting on a covered patio in Barbados and typing as I watched the monkeys on the garden wall. (Baby monkey seemed to be trying to annoy mum, by almost falling off. She grabbed him/her and marched off. A lovely interlude.
Today, I’m at home, sitting at my desk in my study, looking out at the garden. One red squirrel is on the nut holder, another jumping from one tree to another. A melanistic pheasant has just strolled across the lawn, and it’s misty. (It is not quite six am, and it’s Scotland)
The pile of reference books are neat and tidy. By lunchtime they will be all over the place. There’s only one cup half full of coffee cooling because I forgot to finish it, and no tell tale biscuit crumbs on the carpet yet. The patio door is open, because the midges have thinned enough, and for once it’s not raining, and I’m writing.
I seem to get so much more written in the early morning. I love the silence, and the way the day gradually wakes up. The birds with their dawn chorus, the sheep in the nearby field baaing, and yes the guy across the road coaxing his Harley into a deep roar. Or mummy monkey and her baby on their way to wherever.
However, I do tend to block it all out when I’m writing.
Which is why my lovely husband has learned to check the Aga to see if I’ve put anything in there and forgotten about it. It has been known to happen.
I’m incredibly fortunate that I can write anywhere, and do. As my husband said to me when he gave me my first lightweight lap top. Have lap top will travel.
And we do.
It’s all good for research eh?
So there you have it. A day in the life of Katy. I won’t say typical, buy I will say oh so enjoyable.






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Huge thanks to Tracy Fenton, Katy Lilley and Manatee Books for the guest post and blog tour invite!

Book Review: Old Baggage by Lissa Evans ~ #BookReview #OldBaggage

Book Reviews

old baggage



Old Baggage


Lissa Evans



What do you do next, after you’ve changed the world?

It is 1928. Matilda Simpkin, rooting through a cupboard, comes across a small wooden club – an old possession of hers, unseen for more than a decade.

Mattie is a woman with a thrilling past and a chafingly uneventful present. During the Women’s Suffrage Campaign she was a militant. Jailed five times, she marched, sang, gave speeches, smashed windows and heckled Winston Churchill, and nothing – nothing – since then has had the same depth, the same excitement.

Now in middle age, she is still looking for a fresh mould into which to pour her energies. Giving the wooden club a thoughtful twirl, she is struck by an idea – but what starts as a brilliantly idealistic plan is derailed by a connection with Mattie’s militant past, one which begins to threaten every principle that she stands for.







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My Review





Suffragette Mattie Simpkins has dedicated her life to fighting for womens’ right to vote. She has tackled politicians, stood at the forefront of protests and inspired and buoyed the hopes and aspirations of so many under her wing. Now her life, which was once pulsing with speeches (her own), fisticuffs (not her own) and the multiple times she spent in prison, is empty. She is at a loss for what do to.




Mattie is shocked by young womens’ lacklustre reactions to subjects such as politics, history, geography, and more. Taking it upon herself to help, Mattie forms a club. Meeting every weekend on Hampstead Heath, girls from the age of twelve to eighteen are invited to join and broaden their horizons on subjects that could propel them into brilliant vocations. But soon, her past will catch up with her. And someone could bring down everything she is striving for.




Mattie is determined to offer the girls knowledge and opportunities that so many others must forgo. The passion and courage she imbues in them reaps many rewards. In no time at all, the handful of members (Amazons, as they are called) has expanded and every weekend, girls come together under Mattie’s watchful eye. But in the course of her new venture, she discovers a secret in her family.



Health visitor Florrie – The Flea, as she is known – is Mattie’s housemate and is perhaps more reserved than Mattie on the surface but is equally as lovable. You can’t help but cheer on these characters … And also accidentally, excitedly spill your tea when they come up triumphant. Mattie is a force of nature. I loved her for her unassailable courage, commitment, determination and passion.




Old Baggage by Lissa Evans is a rich, tender tale of friendship, love and fighting for what you believe in. Its capacity to move its readers is astounding. I loved it!




Tender. Moving. Beautiful.






To purchase a copy of this book, you can follow the links below:

Amazon UK

Book Depository




About Lissa Evans


Lissa Evans grew up in the West Midlands.  She comes from a family of voracious readers and spent most of her adolescence in the local library, thus becoming well read if not wildly popular.

After studying medicine at Newcastle University, she worked as a junior doctor for four years, before deciding to change to a career in which she wasn’t terrified the entire time;  a job in BBC Radio light entertainment followed, and then a switch to television, where she produced and directed series including  ‘Room 101’ and also ‘Father Ted’, for which she won a BAFTA.

Her first book, ‘Spencer’s List’ was published in 2002, and since then she has written four more novels for adults (one of which, ‘Their Finest Hour and a Half’, was filmed in 2017) and three novels for children.  She lives in London with her husband and two daughters.  She still reads voraciously.

Follow Lissa on Twitter!





old baggage 2



old baggage 1



Huge thanks to Anne Cater, Alison Barrow and Doubleday for my review copy!

Blog Tour! How Far We Fall by Jane Shemilt ~ #BookReview #BlogTour #HowFarWeFall


Welcome to my spot on the blog tour today! I’m delighted to share my review of How Far We Fall by Jane Shemilt!



how far we fall



How Far We Fall


Jane Shemilt




The perfect couple

Meeting Albie gave Beth a fresh start – a chance to leave her past behind. Now she has her new husband; an ambitious, talented young neurosurgeon.

The perfect marriage

Their marriage gives Beth the safe haven she’s always wanted – with just one catch. Albie has no idea of the secrets she’s keeping. He doesn’t know that years ago, Beth had an affair with Ted, the boss helping Albie’s star ascend. Nor that the affair’s devastating ending will have consequences for their own future.

The perfect storm

So when Ted’s generous patronage begins to sour, Beth senses everything she’s built could crumble. And she sees an opportunity. To satisfy Albie’s ambitions, and her own obsessive desire for revenge . . .

She’ll keep her marriage and her secret safe.

But how far will the fall take them?






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My Review




Beth meets Albie at a party and instantly a connection sparks between them. He is a talented, devoted neurosurgeon. She is a ambitious, determined nurse. To him, Beth is a miracle, the perfect woman who strolled into his life one day. To her, Albie is a fresh start, a way of storming the walls of her troubled life and remaking it with the man she loves firmly at its centre. In no time, they are married and talking about starting a family. But Albie is unaware of her dark past, the secret she is devoted to keeping hidden. Her affair with his boss Ted and what followed gouged a hole in her life and left her scarred. When Ted’s friendship with Albie begins to turn rotten, she realises that it wouldn’t take much for her secret to come spilling out. They say the past is in the past. But when hers begins to threaten her future, she sets her sights on revenge.





Beth is quite a cold, calculating character. She is stricken with loss and loneliness when she is introduced. Her affair with Ted, combined with a traumatic childhood has left her with scars but I really couldn’t connect with her. I think her true personality gets stronger further into the book, especially as she begins to manipulate those around her.




It was really interesting to see events play out and how the book twists onto new paths. Jane Shemilt keeps the tension rippling through the pages. I loved the medical aspect of this book. Although a few scenes did make me cringe it was fascinating to learn a bit more about neurosurgery. For me, this gave the book another layer.




With short, sharp chapters, this book is a well-written story. Jane Shemilt captures emotions beautifully on the page. Her seamless descriptions of Jura, one of the locations in the book, really made me feel as if I was on the island and in a few seconds, Albie, Beth and Ted would emerge. How Far We Fall is a dark, intriguing thriller about jealousy, betrayal and the lengths someone will go to for revenge.




Dark. Twisty. Intriguing.





To purchase a copy of this book, you can follow the links below:

Amazon UK

Book Depository





About Jane Shemilt



jane shemilt



While working as a GP, Jane Shemilt completed a postgraduate diploma in Creative Writing at Bristol University and went on to study for the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa, gaining both with distinction. Her first novel, Daughter, was selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club, shortlisted for the Edgar Award and the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, and went on to become the bestselling debut novel of 2014.

She and her husband, a professor of neurosurgery, have five children and live in Bristol.

You can find Jane on Twitter here!






Follow the bloggers on the #HowFarWeFall blog tour!



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how far


Huge thanks to Jenny Platt & Michael Joseph for my review copy and blog tour invite!

Blog Tour! An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim ~ #OceanOfMinutes #BookReview #BlogTour

Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Quercus

Welcome to my spot on the blog tour today! I’m thrilled to share my review of An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim!



ocean of minutes


An Ocean of Minutes


Thea Lim



Polly and Frank are young and in love, a lifetime together before them. But one evening in 1980, as the Texas sun sets over their shoulders, the world is suddenly pulled apart by a deadly virus. Within months, Frank is dying. Polly can save him, but only if she agrees to a radical plan: to time travel to 1993 for a corporation who can fund his life-saving treatment. She can only go forward, she cannot go back. And she must leave everything she loves behind, including Frank.

All they have is the promise of a future together: they will find each other again in twelve years’ time, in Galveston, Texas, where the sea begins.

But when something goes wrong and Polly arrives late, Frank is nowhere to be found. Completely alone, Polly must navigate a terrifying new world to find him, and to discover if their love has endured.







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My Review





When a terrible pandemic sweeps across America, it leaves a trail of destruction in its wake. Everywhere people are falling ill and dying. Families are broken apart and lives are split through the middle. America is swiftly changing. But a way to time travel has been discovered and for some, it will be their salvation. For Polly and Frank, it the only option. They met and fell in love and dreamed of a future with their fates firmly linked. A house, a baby, a world entwined. But then Frank gets sick. Polly courageously agrees to time-travel twelve years into the future to offer her expertise and in return TimeRaiser will give Frank the health care he needs to survive. They agree on a date and location to meet, clinging to the mutual hope of a future, of life they can resume. For her it is a single step, a weighty sacrifice but a worthy one. For him it is wait that transverses twelve years. But can their love endure it?



When Polly arrives in the future, she discovers her journey was rerouted and she has been taken further than she planned. Panicked and afraid, she tries desperately to search for Frank and Aunty Donna but all her attempts are scuppered. With Frank by her side, being stranded could turn into an adventure. But now, stuck in an unfamiliar way of life with loneliness snapping at her heart and hope dwindling to nothing, what she is left with is an endless surge of days in a world – and a time – she was not supposed to have come to. Where Frank is – and who he will be – are the answers she needs. Time parts them, love binds them. But will it be enough?



Alternating between past and present, An Ocean of Minutes is stunningly depicted tale of love, loss, life and self-discovery. Fiercely evocative and extremely poignant, this book will resonate with lots of readers. Watching Polly make her way in a new society was fascinating to follow. Each new challenge she faces gives her a little bit more strength, a little bit more confidence. She felt like a completely different person towards the end. Her journey left a huge impression on me. Thea Lim’s portrait of not only Polly and Frank’s love story but also this new society is a tale you won’t be able to break away from.



An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim is both devastating and heart-warming. I was glued to this book. As soon as I read the first page, I knew I was going to love it! Some books just grab you from the start and keep you under lock and key until the finish. This one is startlingly beautiful! I adored it!



Poignant. Brave. Beautiful.









To purchase a copy of this book, you can follow the links below:

Amazon UK

Book Depository




About Thea Lim



thea lim



Thea Lim’s novel AN OCEAN OF MINUTES is forthcoming in Summer 2018. She holds an MFA from the University of Houston. She has worked as a farmhand, a cocktail server, a souvlaki grill cook, a theatre usher, and an elevator courier; she is now a professor of Creative Writing. She grew up in Singapore and lives in Toronto with her family.

You can find Thea on Twitter here!






Follow the bloggers on the #OceanOfMinutes blog tour!




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Huge thanks to Ana McLaughlin & Quercus for my review copy and blog tour invite!

Blog Tour! Remember by Shervin Jamali ~ #Remember #BlogTour #GuestPost

Blog Tours, Guest Posts





Hello everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour! I’m delighted to share a fabulous guest post today from Brendan Gisby, who talks about his love of Remember by Shervin Jamali! This guest post is fascinating – looking forward to reading this book even more now! Before the guest post, here is a little more about the book and its lovely author.







About the book:



remember cover



Shervin Jamali


As Daniel watches the life ebb from Grace’s body, he wishes they had more time, knew each other when they were young. His wife surprises him by insisting they did. And then she’s gone.

He knows this can’t be true. Can it? They only met later in life, so why would Grace’s departing words hint at a shared youth? Haunted by this notion, Daniel journeys into the past to discover the truth.

‘Remember’ is a unique love story. Find out how it really began…





To purchase a copy of this book, you can follow the link below

Amazon UK




About Shervin Jamali






“I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until recently that it just seemed to click. I’ve had stories locked away, but suddenly, and unexpectedly, they now need to get out. I completed the first draft of “The Devil’s Lieutenant” in just two months, and that was as a result of writing when I had the opportunity to do so. My 8-5 job and family still came first. I look forward to the day when I can be a full time writer who can take my children to school, pick them up and chauffeur them to various activities, with a healthy dose of writing in between.”







Guest Post


Brendan Gisby: Soul Man

I first came across Shervin Jamali on Facebook when his recently published debut novel, The Devil’s Lieutenant, was just out. He seemed to be part of a coterie of crime noir writers, some of whom were known to me. I downloaded the novel, expecting to read another tale in the style of Dashiell Hammett, with its slick turns of phrase and hardboiled language. You know the style I mean: slick as in slicker than the sidewalks in New York City on a rain-soaked night. And hard-boiled as in more hardboiled than an egg left to hatch in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

When I did come to read the novel, however, I was surprised and then delighted to find that Shervin had eschewed that style for something much more straightforward – writing that was spare, simple and devoid of those familiar smartass quips. And yet, simple though it may have been, there was also a depth to the writing. The protagonist, Michael, is vulnerable and guilt-ridden; his feelings of anger, anguish and fear are palpable. He’s on a quest to redeem himself, a quest that is continued in the sequel, Escape From Hell, which is written in the same spare style.

By the time I read the sequel, I had come to know Shervin a lot more through our connection on Facebook. I found him to be an affable guy who was passionate about his books. And there was a sensitivity about him that was apparent in his writing. But there was something else about the writing that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

Which brings me at last to Remember, Shervin’s latest novel and the actual reason for this blog post. I’ve read it. There’s that now-familiar writing style of his, of course. There are also similar themes in the story: a guilt-ridden protagonist, a fight between good and evil, a search for redemption. But the story is far more intense and moving than the first two novels. It even had this tough guy here shedding a tear by its end. If it doesn’t also move you when you read it, all I have to say is that you ain’t got no soul, brother or sister.

And that’s the thing I couldn’t put my finger on after reading the earlier books. Soul. The additional ingredient you find in all Shervin’s books. Shervin doesn’t merely convey his sensitivity in his writing, he puts his very soul into it. There are very few writers who are able or who have the passion to do that, which makes his writing Remember special.

By the way, Remember is billed as a love story, which it truly is – and a unique one at that But I’ll let you into a little secret: The Devil’s Lieutenant and Escape From Hell are love stories as well, just not so overtly.

By the way also, the nice things I’ve been saying about Shervin in this post have nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that he has dedicated Remember to my late wife and I. Nor has it to do with the bar that features in the story being called Gisbys, allegedly named after a famous Scottish author. If I hear you mouthing anything to the contrary, buddy, you might wake up one night looking at the ER end of a .45 Magnum. Oops, sorry! I’ve lapsed into hardboiled talk again.

Brendan Gisby, author, June 2018





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Huge thanks to Caroline Vincent at Bits about Books for my blog tour invite!