Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Skipper's Child By Valerie Poore


                     Silver Award in the Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards 2013:

 Arie Kornet hates school holidays on his family's barge, the Rival, which is home to Arie, his two sisters, his father, and his deaf mother. But because his father is a commercial skipper, all they do is travel from one place to another on the Dutch and other European canals and waterways - the binnenvaart. Arie is intensely frustrated with it all. It seems there is nothing for him to do, and no escape. That is, until an unexpected brush with Russian secret agents, international plots, and a startling stow-away bring him far more excitement than his dreams had ever bargained for! Suddenly his own life, and those of his entire beloved family, could be in danger. Arie has difficult choices to make, and even more difficult actions to take.

When I read a book written by Valerie Poore it's usually a travel memoir but Val has plenty of strings to her bow and as well as her four travel memoirs, her fiction book, How to Breed Sheep and Goats she has also written this book for young adults although I would say that The Skipper's Child is a book for all ages. I read it without thinking it was for anyone younger and I also think a child from about seven upwards would enjoy reading it or it being read to them in instalments. The cover is beautiful but I feel it looks like it's aimed at younger children and as I said it's easily read and enjoyed by all ages.

 The year is 1962 and the Cold War is raging between America and Russia. Carrying goods back and forward on a barge is not an easy life. It's a life that the young teenager Arie doesn't want for himself, he wants to live on dry land and visit museums and galleries and see the world. Arie is home from boarding school for the Christmas holidays and his father is happy to have his help taking a consignment of wool from Rotterdam to France. This may sound easy enough but with the waterways very busy and snow falling and ice in the water it makes for a long laborious journey.

One day Arie finds a stowaway, a young Russian boy called Dmitri. The family including Arie's mother and two sisters becoming involved in trying to save this boy from the powers that be but it is very dangerous and can they really outwit the KGB?

I enjoyed this book so much. As well as the exciting storyline it's a book about love, about children seeing their parents in a whole new light and about having the courage to do what is right.
Arie's father, Hendrik is a very honourable man who likes to do things by the book but sometimes people force your hand and he shows himself then to be a formidable adversary.

This book is beautifully written and it could only have been done by someone who loves barging, someone who doesn't mind the hard work and cold mornings this kind of life throws at you. Valerie Poore lives on such a barge and the idea for the book is based on her partner Koos's life on a barge as a child, although the story is fiction. Val explains it on her blog  Who is the Skipper's Child?

The descriptions of Arie and his sisters moving the snow from the barge and trying to move the ice in the water so they could sail were so vivid they made me shiver with cold. 
I loved the relationship between the members of the family. My heart wept for Arie's mother who nurses a heartache that only her husband can see. His two sisters, Anneke and Jannie were a delight, just typical sisters.
I was so glad there was an epilogue at the end of this book as it ended it off nicely. I could see this story being made into a TV drama either as a film or serialised and I'm sure Valerie Poore could come up with more stories about the Kornet family.

The fiction books I like to read most are the ones that leave me with some knowledge of something new. Having read Valerie Poore's books on her life on the dutch waterways in a barge I new a little of the life. I didn't know what it was like to grow up on a working barge where family life and work involves everyone. It must have been a hard life, an interesting life and sometimes, I imagine, a boring life for a child, and Arie taught me that. 

The Skipper's Child is reduced for kindle right now for a few days. At 99p it's a great download for any young people who have been lucky enough to receive a kindle for Christmas and also for any adult wanting a good read with no drugs, sex or bad lanuague. 
On Amazon.co.uk for kindle or paperback                   Amazon.com

Valerie's other books can be found  here

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Follow Me by Angela Clarke

The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.
But this is no virtual threat.
As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.
Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?
Time's running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?

Freddie is struggling as a journalist. She has written article for an online newspaper but as yet nothing in print. The editor has told her she needs to find a big story, put herself out there and write about it,then it will be in print.

Freddie is working part time in a cafe to make ends meet and even at that ends are not meeting.
 One night she sees an old schoolfriend Nas who she had a falling out with years ago. She follows her and finds out she is a policewoman on her way to the scene of a murder. Freddie becomes involved as she puts on white overalls and pretends to be part of the investigation team. She has her story.

I will start with saying that I enjoyed this book and found it to be a page turner. There was quite a hype on Twitter about this book before it was published and I thought it might keep me awake at night but I'm glad to say it didn't.

The writer asks us to believe that Joe Bloggs or Freddie in this story can just walk off the street and into a crime scene just because she has white overalls on and that her ex friend Nas would cover for her even although she is ambitious and trying to make sergeant.
We also have to believe that no one on the police payroll can understand the workings of Twitter and social media and the inspector allows Freddie to instruct the murder investigation team on what the murderer is up to on Twitter. 
Freddie and Nas have a big secret from their schooldays which is why they stopped being friends. 
I liked Nas better as a character. She is focused in her job and wants to get on in life. 
Freddie is a mess and annoying with it. Her language is awful and I don't think it adds anything to the story at all. I felt it hard to empathize with her although I tried.

The kindle download is 99p and its worth a read especially if you know the workings of Twitter and social media.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

A Christmas Cracker by Trisha Ashley

This Christmas is about to go off with a bang!
Things can’t possibly get worse for Tabby. Framed for a crime she didn’t commit, she suddenly finds herself without a job. Then to make matters worse, Tabby’s boyfriend dumps her and gives her cat away to a shelter.
But rescue comes in the form of kindly Mercy. A master of saving waifs and strays, Mercy wants Tabby to breathe new flair into her ailing cracker business. Together, they’ll save Marwood’s Magical Christmas Crackers.
But someone has other ideas. Mercy’s nephew Randal thinks Tabby’s a fraudster. Stubborn, difficult and very attractive, her future depends upon winning him round. But it’s that time of the year when miracles really can happen. Standing under the mistletoe, Tabby’s Christmas is set to be one that she will never forget . . .

When I first started to read this book I had to check it was really written by Trisha Ashley. It didn't start off like one of her books. When the lead character Tabby went to prison for a crime she didn't commit, framed by someone she thought was a friend I really had to check who had written it.
Like every Trisha Ashley book it redeemed itself when Mercy entered and saved the day. Tabby is being released from prison,she has no where to go as her horrible boyfriend has told her not to come back to his flat. Mercy offers her a job and a place to live. Mercy owns and runs  Harwoods Magical Christmas Cracker factory. Things are not going well and as she sees how artistic Tabby is she wants her help to turns things around. Her nephew Randal is part owner and wants to renovate the factory and turn it into a tea room. With the help of a wonderful cast of people the story unfolds.
I love Trisha's books. I love that she mentions villages and people from her other books. I love the familiarity. The beginning of the book is filled with not nice people but we are soon introduced to the ones who make life worth living.
I liked Tabby although I did want to shake her a bit. Mercy is wonderful. Randal is okay but gets better and his girlfriend made me laugh,I loved her dog too.
A good festive read and when it's over you'll want to go and live in the village. 

A Christmas Cracker is out now For kindle  or paperback in all bookkshops.

Friday, 6 November 2015

The Years of Loving You by Ella Harper

What if your first love was your only love?
When Molly is diagnosed with a life changing illness, it feels like her whole world has come crashing down. She hopes the news will make her marriage to Sam stronger. But why does Molly always call best friend Ed in a crisis?
Ed. The very same Ed that Molly fell in love with at a party when they were teenagers, underneath a star-filled sky. Then life took them in very different directions. They could only ever be friends.
Suddenly Molly starts to question every decision she’s ever made. What if they could turn back the clock? Back to the very beginning. When the only certainty they shared was each other …

I have read a few books lately with the formula of, boy and girl meet, hate each other until the last chapter then they fall in love. Predictable and I'm a bit bored with it.
I'm glad to say that this book, although it's a love story is different and I lost myself in it.

Molly and Ed love each other but circumstances prevent them doing anything about it, so they decide that they're meant to be just best friends.  Life moves on and they meet other people and have other relationships but when things in each of their lives go wrong they each turn to the other for support. The reader just knows they have to be together but I was never sure it would happen and I was still guessing right up until the last chapter.
I loved Molly and Ed and I loved they way Ed always put Molly's feelings first even if it made him look bad.
I think the author Ella Harper has been clever in her writing of this book. It does not run along the lines of the formula I spoke about at the beginning.
The story goes between the present and the past and it is through that we learn of how Molly and Ed met and what happened to bring us to their present day predicament.
I'm not going to divulged any more of this story except to say it is beautifully written and kept me wondering until the end when the tears came.

The Years of Loving you is our for Kindle download on Amazon UK
and out in paperback and in the shops on 19th November.
The author Ella Harper also writes as Sasha Wagstaff.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan

Skylar Tempest has never understood Alec Hunter’s appeal. So what if he’s a world-renowned historian? He’s also cynical, aloof and determined to think the worst of her. So when a twist of fate finds her spending the lead-up to Christmas with Alec and his family, she’s not expecting the season to be either merry or bright.
Alec has learned the hard way not to trust beautiful women—and Skylar is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. But as he watches her throw herself into his family’s festive chaos, Alec realises there is far more to this blonde bombshell than meets the eye.
With Christmas around the corner, Alec and Skylar return to Puffin Island, a tentative bond forged between them. Neither intends to fall in love but as the nights become darker, and the fire between them grows hotter, could this be the chance for Alec and Skylar to find their own happy ending?

The book has a lovely cover with a scene of London at Christmas and covered in glitter and sparkly starts. This is the third book in Sarah Morgan's Puffin Island Trilogy, however you don't have to have read the first two as it can be read as a stand alone book without detracting from the story.
The main Character in the book is Skylar Tempest and with a name like that she just has to be gorgeous and American. Why she is with the obnoxious Richard is beyond my understanding as I don't think she even likes him. Richard fits in with her parents idea of a perfect match but as her parents seem to be obnoxious too I can see why they like him.
Skylar is an artist and jewellery designer and at her first showing of her work Richard shows himself for the prat that he is and Skylar needs help.
Enter Alec a friend of her friends in Puffin Island but no friend of hers. They definitely don't like each other but I think they protest too much and as Alec becomes her knight in shinning armour can they resist each other?
Skylar is torn between having a lovely Christmas with her friends and pleasing her parents and having a regimented Christmas with them and their business associates. I think that would be a no brainer but Skylar loves her parents and has always tried to please them.
I enjoyed the comradery of Skylar and her friends on Puffin Island. Although the island was a bit remote the author's descriptions made it sound like a magical place to stay as it seemed to have changed the lives of the people who came to live there and their stories are probably told in the first two books.
Once I got involved with the story I enjoyed it. It was romantic but predictable and not many threads to it apart from the will they/won't they love story.
If you like the usual Mills and Boon type stories then you'll enjoy this one.

 In paperback or kindle download here and in all bookshops.

Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Little Girl Gone by Alexandra Burt

When Estelle’s baby daughter is taken from her cot, she doesn’t report her missing. Days later, Estelle is found in a wrecked car, with a wound to her head and no memory. Estelle knows she holds the key to what happened that night- but what she doesn't know is whether she is responsible....

This was quite a page turner. I thought I had guessed who had taken baby Mia but I was wrong until just before we found out.
I have no idea why Jack married Estelle,they were so unsuited and there didn't seem to be any love between them. When Mia was born she was a colicky baby who cried from morning until night and Jack was the only one who had patience with her. It was obvious to the reader that Estelle had post natal depression but Jack just didn't see it. Instead of helping her he returns to work, dumps mother and baby in an apartment miles away from where they live as he is supposedly having money troubles. 
The apartment is in a large house Jack is renovating for re sale to make some money so it's never really a home. It is indeed the worse place for a new mum and a colicky baby with all that noise and builders coming and going. To top it all Jack is away from home for weeks at a time, a recipe for disaster. 
Then disaster strikes.
Estelle is found in a wrecked car with a blow to her head, no memory and no baby. She enters a psychiatric hospital where  Dr Ari tries to get her to remember what happened to Mia. As he enables her to piece her memory together Jack is no where to be seen as he has decided that Estelle had something to do with Mia's disappearance. Dr Ari seemed to be the only one on her side and it was through her sessions with him that the book picks up pace and we find out what really happened.
One thing that struck me was the lack of friends and family around. Not only was Estelle isolated in the apartment in a strange town with a crying baby she also had no one to speak to even by phone.
Towards the end this story is so sad and I worried that Mia would never be found.
I was mad at Jack all through the book, he was a terrible husband.
I couldn't put it down and I enjoyed the ending.
Little Girl Gone is out in paperback and kindle download which is 99p here

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for a download of this book in return for a truthful review.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Honour and Obey by Carol Hedges

When a young woman's body is discovered lying in an alleyway off Carnaby Street, Detectives Stride and Cully do not realise that her brutal murder is only the beginning of a killing spree that will terrify the whole of London and leave them both baffled. It will take all their skill and deductive powers to track down the serial killer, and their investigation will lead them into new and frightening territory. Meanwhile, Hyacinth Clout, a young woman of some beauty but few prospects, decides to end the servitude of her life looking after her dictatorial sister by seeking love instead. She is not alone: love is in the air for several young women in 1861 London, but will their search lead to romance or ruin? Honour & Obey is the long awaited sequel to the much acclaimed Diamonds & Dust, once again featuring Detective Inspector Leo Stride and his assistant Detective Sergeant Jack Cully of the recently formed Detective Division of the Metropolitan Police.

I love the way this book is written. A narrator sets the scenes between the dialogue and this gives the story a real eerie feel to it. We are onlookers, seeing and hearing things we maybe shouldn't.
Young girls are being brutally murdered in Victorian London.  The murdered girls are poor yet respectable seamstresses and not the prostitutes that the police expected. As Inspector Stride and Sergeant Cully investigate they are once again hampered by the press and by copycat killers but only they know exactly how the murderer disposes of his victims.

The author takes us on a ride through Victorian London, the sights, the smells which I'm glad not to have experienced. We are then immersed in the whole atmosphere by way of her words.
Poor women worked their fingers to the bone and their bodies to exhaustion,sewing for the rich pampered ladies. These rich ladies didn't have such a great life either,pampering to older sisters, fathers and mothers with no real lives of their own.

 Another part of Carol's writing which I love is the names she gives her characters. It seems if your not very nice you have a name like, Morbid Crevice or Lobelia Clout and if you are nice you have a name like Emily or Hyacinth. There are many more strange names but I'd like you to find them yourself. I am in no doubt that these were all actual Victorian names as I know the author does her research well.  I will say that I love the little Mullygrub children and I now think all children should be called Mullygrubs,what a great name.
I loved Hyacinth and was willing her to stand up to certain people throughout the book. Lovely Emily and the hard life she had. I disliked the  usual horrible pious people like Lobelia and Rev Bittersplit, he made my skin crawl.
The more into this book I read the more I liked it and especially enjoyed the ending where the reader is the only one privy to what happened.

I enjoyed the first book in this series which was Diamonds and Dust. Although the same policeman are involved both books can be read on their own.
The third book of the series is Death and Dominion and will be published on 13th October.
 These books would make a great drama series on television.

Honour and Obey can be found here.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland

Home is where the heart is . . .

With a whirlwind lifestyle travelling the world, the one thing Jess Millward relies on is Christmas with her gran in cosy Cranberry Cottage. When her grandmother reveals the house is directly in the path of a new high-speed railway, Jess is determined to fight.

Can Jess save the cottage from demolition, or will she have no home to come to this Christmas?

 Cranberry Cottage is where everyone given the chance would spend their Christmas. Tess wants to do that too but according to her gran it will probably be her last. Tess is a photographer, a job which takes her here there and everywhere and because of that she has not spent as much time with the gran who brought her up as she should. As she fights to save Cranberry Cottage from demolition is she doing it to make up for her absences or because she think her gran is getting bad advice. Enter Tom who is the one persuading her gran to sell the cottage but could he also be a future love interest?

I can't say anymore because this is a short story, but Talli has managed to cram a lot of information into it. I now want to know more about Tess and Tom and the village where they live. I'm left wondering if this is an introduction to these characters for a future novel, after all it would be a shame to give us a taster and then leave it like that.
A lovely Christmas short story, short enough to read between wrapping gifts and drinking wine and eating chocolate.

Christmas at Cranberry Cottage can be downloaded here for kindle

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Trouble With Words by Suzie Tullet

Promises are easy to make but hard to keep.

Having long made a promise to her husband, young widow Annabel has no intentions of breaking it. What she does plan to do, though, is have a baby. Not the easiest of tasks for a woman with a deceased other half, and having explored all her options, her only choice is to take the unconventional route. Setting out to find her own donor, Annabel meets Dan. Single, fun-loving and definitely not looking for commitment, this unruly blonde, blue-eyed man seems perfect for the job.

Dan wants nothing more than to find his dream woman. But with a mother intent on sabotaging his every relationship, he can't help but think he's destined to remain single. Of course, he knows his mother doesn't really want him all for herself, why else would she keep insisting he meet Maeve? Why else would she insist Dan promise to find himself a wife before she meets her maker?

Forced to negotiate matters of love, life and death, Annabel and Dan seem the answer to each other's prayers. But will they really be able to keep the promises they made? And is having a baby really the answer?

I am delighted to be the next stop on the blog tour for The Trouble with Words by Suzie Tullet.

Annabel wants a baby,which is what her and her husband planned to do before he died but now Annabel wants to find a donor and do it by herself. Like any non sensible person she grabs the first decent man she sees in the pub and asks him to oblige. Luckily it turns out that Dan is a decent man.

No one else thinks this is a good idea as Annabel is still in love with her husband but can Dan change that?
I enjoyed this story, it was very bittersweet. It was the story of a widow moving on from the death of her husband. Annabel still went to her husband's grave to tell him what was happening in her life, but it's lonely when you get no answer back.
I didn't think Annabel was doing the right thing in looking for a sperm donor as it meant she was giving up on finding love again.

I think Dan was lonely too, he still lived with his mother never finding the right woman who lived up to her expectations. She was desperate to get him together with her old friend's daughter and no one else would do.
I didn't like Dan's mother at all through most of the story I thought she interfered with her son's love life too much and I couldn't understand why he didn't get his own place to live. I liked her more towards the end of the book when she seemed to soften.
There are many funny moments with Annabel and her sister and her friend and some parts are really sad when she speaks to her deceased husband.
The question seems to be,when can you move on? When can you start to want the things that make you happy? And can you do it without the person who you thought was the love of your life?
This book makes you ask all these questions and more.

You can find it here for kindle.

I was provided with a download of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Make a Christmas Wish by Julia Williams

Last Christmas, when Livvy was knocked down in the supermarket car park she certainly wasn’t ready to actually be dead! For months now she’s floated on the edge of the afterlife, generally making a nuisance of herself.
And she’s not ready to go just yet! She’s furious about the new woman in her husband’s life and she’s worried about her beloved son who doesn’t seem to be adjusting to life without her at all.
This Christmas, Livvy is given one last magical chance to make everything right. Will she take it and give her family the perfect Christmas?

 It doesn't matter whether you believe in the afterlife or spirits just put your beliefs to one side and delve into this fantasy.
Livvy has just discovered that her husband is having an affair, she texts a horrible message to him and the next thing is she is dead, knocked down by a car. She has a spirit guide, Malachi who apppears in the shape of a cat and tells her she has time to right wrongs that were in her life. The only problem is that Livvy does not want to do that because she has done nothing wrong and the only thing that Livvy wants is revenge on her cheating husband and Emily, his girlfriend.

Livvy and Adam have a teenage son, Joe, who has Asperger's syndrome and he is who Livvy misses most. How will he be able to cope without his mum fighting his corner? All his life she has fought for him to be treated like any other child. She has felt she battled alone without any help from her husand and so what if she needed a few drinks to get her through the day, it's not her fault.
Malachi can manipulate time and he shows her past Christmasses and eventually future ones with and without her in them.
There are some fun parts of the book when Livvy meets other spirits in the bar where they drink and more fun parts where she starts trying to get noticed by her family.
I could tell you the whole story here I enjoyed it so much but I will hold back.
I surprized myself with being in tears at the last few chapters of the book and I thought about it for a while afterwards.
Joe is such a lovely boy and the thought of him being without his mother just about broke me.
There is a message in this story, maybe a slightly different one for everyone but something for us all to think about.

This is the first book I've read by the author Julia Williams but it won't be my laugh.
In conclusion it was a seasonal, fun book which brought me to tears. Hope you enjoy it too.
At only 99p for Kindle it's cheaper than a cup of coffee Amazon for kindle
Paperback will be released on Nov 5th 

The Sea Between Us by Emylia Hall

In a remote Cornish cove, on one of the last days of summer, Robyn Swinton is drowning. She is saved - just - by local boy Jago Winters, and it is a moment that will change both of them forever.
Over the next seven years, Robyn and Jago's paths lead them in different directions, to city streets and foreign shores. Will the bond forged that day Jago dragged Robyn in from the sea be strong enough to bring them back to one another, or has life already pulled them too far apart?

Robyn and  her parents move to a remote part of Cornwall, not the best place for a teenager but Robyn finds Rockabilly cove and passes her time learning to surf. Jago who has lived there all his life saves her from drowning and they become friends.
The friendship is very delicate and it could be something more but neither one of them can tell the other their true feelings in case they are not reciprocated so their paths eventually take different turnings.

This is a beautifully written book with lovely words. The descriptions of the Cornish coast and the sea and sky is almost poetic. I enjoyed reading it but I thought the first part of the book was a bit slow and wanted a bit less describing and more of the storyline.
The will she/he, won't she/he did go on for a bit but it came across as a very tender and delicate relationship.

Elliot, the rock singer rolled onto the scene turning Robyn's heart away from Cornwall and although Elliot meant well, his lifestyle was never going to fit in with Robyn's love of the sea and surfing.
I liked the characters including Jago's dad who hadn't recovered from loosing his wife and Robyn's parents who I thought were a bit stuffy at first until I warmed to them.
The second half of the book was great and I loved the ending it's well worth a read.
Thanks to the publisher and Bookbridgr for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Sea Between Us can be found on Amazon   here  I have linked to the paperback as it's cheaper than the kindle download which at £7.49 I think is a bit expensive.
The Book Depository have free delivery worldwide here

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Release day for The Trouble With Words by Suzie Tullet.

Today is release day for The new novel by Suzie Tullet.  The Trouble with Words. I am part of the blog tour and will be posting my review on 7 th Oct so not long to wait.  Here is a taster of what the book is about. A good book to read before the Christmas ones hit the shelves.

Promises – easy to make, hard to keep.

Having long made a promise to her husband, young widow Annabel has no intentions of breaking it. What she does plan to do, though, is have a baby. Not the easiest of tasks for a woman with a deceased other half, and having explored all her options, her only choice is to take the unconventional route. Setting out to find her own donor, Annabel meets Dan. Single, fun-loving and definitely not looking for commitment, this unruly blonde, blue-eyed man seems perfect for the job.

Dan wants nothing more than to find his dream woman. But with a mother intent on sabotaging his every relationship, he can't help but think he's destined to remain single. Of course, he knows his mother doesn't really want him all for herself, why else would she keep insisting he meet Maeve? Why else would she insist Dan promise to find himself a wife before she meets her maker?

Forced to negotiate matters of love, life and death, Annabel and Dan seem the answer to each other's prayers. But will they really be able to keep the promises they made? And is having a baby really the solution?


The Trouble with Words by Suzie Tullett is available on Amazon:

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Trouble-Words-Suzie-Tullett-ebook/dp/B0153VEIFI/

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Trouble-Words-Suzie-Tullett-ebook/dp/B0153VEIFI/

Amazon EU: http://www.amazon.de/Trouble-Words-Suzie-Tullett-ebook/dp/B0153VEIFI/


Suzie Tullett is an author of contemporary humorous fiction and romantic comedy. As well as The Trouble with Words, her novels include Going Underground and Little White Lies and Butterflies, which was short-listed for The Guardian's 2013 Not the Booker Prize. She has a Masters Degree in Television & Radio Scriptwriting and worked as a scriptwriter before becoming a full-time novelist. And when she's not tapping away on the computer creating her own literary masterpiece, she usually has her head in someone else's.


More about the author:

Website: http://suzietullett.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/suzietullett

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Suzie-Tullett-Author/221204154583599?fref=ts

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Cover Reveal - Make a Christmas Wish by Julia Williams

It's Official ! The new Christmas books are dropping into my inbox and that must mean it's time to get shopping for the big day. I'm delighted to share this cover reveal for the first one. The synopsis sounds good and I can't wait to read it. My review will follow shortly.

Last Christmas, when Livvy was knocked down in the supermarket car park, she certainly wasn’t ready to actually be dead! For months now she’s floated on the edge of the afterlife, generally making a nuisance of herself.

And she’s not ready to go just yet! She’s furious about the new woman in her husband’s life and she’s worried about her beloved son who doesn’t seem to be adjusting to life without her at all.

This Christmas, Livvy is given one last magical chance to make everything right. Will she take it and give her family the perfect Christmas?


The kindle edition will be released on 1st Oct  and will be followed in Nov by the paperback
download for kindle can be pre ordered for 99p here

Monday, 14 September 2015

The Gori's Daughter by Shazia Hobbs

With the fullest cast of characters, The Gori's Daughter isn t just about understanding mixed race unions and identity, or even the turmoil of the polygamous household. Hobbs also shines a bright light on why some cross cultural marriages happen and ultimately fail, but touchingly also demonstrates the elements of care, loyalty and desperately sought love that bind people from disparate heritages together. Hobbs debut isn't a criticism, not of Islam, not of Pakistani culture, wider White society, or even her family. It is a fair and compassionate exposé of all of these dynamics and more, and a unique accomplishment for that. Whilst readers eagerly await the forthcoming sequel, The Gori's Son.

It took me longer than usual to read this book. The reason for this is it affected me deeply and I just had to put it down and read something lighter for a few days.
 Based on a true story it tells of Aisha who has a Scottish white mother and a Pakistani father. Her father also had a Pakistani wife he brought over from Pakistan with their children to live with his white wife and her children. As you can imagine such an arrangement was never going to work out and Aisha bore the brunt of this.
At the age of three her father sent her to live with her grandparents in Pakistan and that was the only time in her childhood that Aisha felt loved only to be torn from them five years later and brought back to Glasgow and a loveless life. From believing she was a Pakistani child to being told she wasn't and only a Gori's ( white woman's) daughter, Aisha never fitted in.

This book brought out all kind of emotions in me. 
Nostalgia, as I read about places in Glasgow I have known all my life, Dennistoun,Thornliebank, Polllokshields, Govanhill, etc.
Fear, at times I feared for Aisha's life as she pushed herself to the limit with drugs and moved from place to place.
 Sadness, that her mother did not have the gumption to leave the father and build a life for her children. 
Disbelief, that a father could treat a child as if she was nothing and push her kicking and screaming into a forced marriage. 
I felt anger at Aisha too, at her constant yearning for approval for her parents. Her father had already dis-owned her and said she was dead to him. Her mother was so apathetic she could do nothing without approval from her husband and his other wife.
Aisha's father's attidue had a snowball effect on all members of the family. The brothers and sisters, step brothers and step sisters and it spread to the wider family and neighbours. He ruled the house and his word was law. All the time he was gambling and seeing other women. His laws clearly didn't inculde him.
Apart from Aisha I don't think there was anyone in book I liked except for Aunt Wilma and of course Ben who deserves a sainthood for waiting for Aisha to find her Pakistani roots again only to find out that nothing had changed in her family and the community's attitude towards her.

The author has opened a window into the Glasgow Pakistani way of life. Her book starts in the sixties and it's to be hoped that things have change since then, but I'm not so sure.
Aisha's life is one none of us would want and I wanted to hug that beautiful child and tell her that eventually life would be good. It made me appreciate the happy childhood I had. The story kept me awake at night preying on my mind. I think you've written a worthwhile book if you can keep someone awake thinking about your story.
If this is based on a true story then I hope that Aisha is still enjoying her life with Ben and her children and loves the ones who love her back. 

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Inside The Crocodile : The Papua New Guinea Journals by Trish Nicholson

In the wilds of the most diverse nation on earth, while she copes with crocodiles under the blackboard and sorcery in the office, Trish Nicholson survives near-fatal malaria and mollifies irascible politicians and an ever-changing roster of bosses – realities of life for a development worker. 

With a background in anthropology and a successful management career in Europe, five years on a development project in the remote West Sepik province of Papua New Guinea more than fulfils Trish Nicholson’s desire for a challenge. In extreme tropical conditions, with few only sometimes-passable roads, travel is by a balus – an alarmingly tiny plane, landing on airstrips cut with grass knives and squeezed between mountains. Students build their own schools, babies’ weights are recorded in rice bags and women walk for days, carrying their produce to market. 

I'm always drawn to books about people who've made life changing choices, done the unusual and had experiences that I will only ever read about.
Trish Nicholson writes memoirs like this. Her other books about Butan and the Philippines were fascinating and this one more than equals them. 

We all hear and see through the media of television how people live in different parts of the world but back in the eighties to think of visiting such a place would never enter our head.

Trish broke the mould, she accepted a job in Papua New Guinea in a place called Sandaun. She brought order to the chaos that was the Department of Personal Management,obeyed the local customs and endeavoured to work around bureaucracy within the local government.
This is an adventure story too. Trish didn't just relax during her free time, she risked her life in small planes which sound like they were held together with blue tack to explore the surrounding islands. Walking across bridges made with vines which were fraying in the middle, swimming  in rivers shared with crocodiles and shrugging off her repeated bouts of malaria as if they were the common cold.  Each one of her adventures in the book is a story in its own right. You just never know whether she'll make it back to her home in Sandaun in one piece. The writing in this book is so descriptive that I felt I was walking alongside Trish frequently telling her not to get on that plane or cross that rickety old bridge.
Dr Trish Nicholson

I enjoyed reading about her work colleagues, Jim, Martha,Sinur, Clarkson and I fell in love with Jim's dog Frisbie. The local lanuague was mostly Pidgin which I had fun trying to work out what it meant but a glossary at the end of the book helped.
Local politics meant constant changes of staff with some being promoted or demoted frequently. Trish coped with it all with her pragmatic common sense and won the respect of the locals and politicians.

Eventually the continuous bouts of Malaria catch up with Trish and it becomes a life or death situation. One of her colleagues makes a phone call which ultimately is a lifesaver.
One thing I didn't expect from this book was for it to make me shed a few tears. At the end when Trish's time working there is over I felt sadness at her having to leave all the friends she had made over the years. I also wondered just how hard it would be for her to return to normal life with all the modern conveniences after living so frugally. 
More tears came when we are told what happened over the years to the friends who worked alongside her. I'm sure I'm not the only one who read this part and felt some sadness. 
I enjoyed this book so much and I'm so glad that Trish scribbled away in her diaries to bring us these memoirs. 
So Trish if you're reading this, "Tenk yu tru."
Paperback or for kindle- here 
paperback from The Book Depository, free worldwide postage

This is Trish's video of the people of Papua New Guinea


Saturday, 29 August 2015

The Last Kiss Goodbye by Tasmina Perry

Everyone remembers their first kiss. But what about the last?
1961. Journalist Rosamund Bailey is ready to change the world. When she meets explorer and man about town Dominic Blake, she realises she has found the love of her life. Just as happiness is in their grasp, the worst happens, and their future is snatched away.
2014. Deep in the vaults of a museum, archivist Abby Morgan stumbles upon a breathtaking find. A faded photograph of a man saying goodbye to the woman he loves. Looking for a way to escape her own heartache, Abby becomes obsessed with the story, little realising that behind the image frozen in time lies a secret altogether more extraordinary.

Tasmina Perry has done it again,written another unputdownable book!
When we meet Dominic Blake in the first chapter it is 1961 and he is attending Lady Victoria's affluent dinner party. He is fashionably late and comes across as a bit of a cad.
 He is an adventurer and explorer and meets Rosamund when she protests against his magazine. They fall in love but Dominic has already planned his next adventure to the Amazon.

We are then Introduced to Abby who lives in 2014. She is working in the archives of the Royal Cartography Institute and while looking at photos for an exhibition comes across one of a man and a woman in an embrace as if kissing goodbye. Abby, who is going through a marriage break up decides she wants to know the story behind the photo and what happened to the couple.
This is where the story really begins with Abby delving into the past. We move between eras seamlessly and as in all good stories eventually the past and the present meet.

I could not put this book down. I thought I had worked out how it would end and although I was partly right I didn't guess it all.
I like Rosamund but was never sure about Dominic, he had too many secrets. Abby was lovely and the search for answers from the past helped keep her mind off her heartache.
I haven't given away any spoilers but there is so much more to the story than I have written.  Tasmina Perry is such a good writer that she keeps you riveted to her books and when you finish one it stays with you for a long time.
My only disappointment in this book is that the photo on the front cover is not the photo I've been reading about. Although it is of a kiss the one in the story didn't take place in Paris as on the cover.

The Last Kiss Goodbye is published on 10th Sept. The kindle copy is priced quite high, I don't know if that's because it's not published yet.
You can download a free sampler here

 Thank you to Bookbridgr and Headline for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

My Sister's Secret by Tracy Buchanan

Everything you're built your life on is a lie.
Willow’s memories of her parents are sun-drenched and full of smiles, love and laughter. But a mysterious invitation to a photographic exhibition exposes a secret that’s been buried since a tragic accident years ago.
Willow is forced to question everything she knew about Charity, her late mother, and Hope, the aunt she’s lived with since she was a child.
How was the enigmatic photographer connected to Willow’s parents? Why will Hope not break her silence?
Willow cannot move forward in her life without answers. But who can she really trust? Because no one has been telling the truth for a very long time.

I'm delighted to be a stop on the Avon blog tour for Tracy Buchanan's new book, My Sister's Secret,  If you haven't read her first book,The Altas of Us then you are missing a great story. I have been waiting for this one and it didn't disappoint.
The story begins in 1977  with three sisters,Faith,Hope and Charity. We hear of their dreams for the future,of finding submerged forests around the world and diving down to explore them. Faith is the one who has this dream but her sisters agree they will go with her too. 
Quickly we are introduced to Willow in present day. She is Charity's daughter. Her parents have died in a tragic accident and her Aunt Hope has taken care of her. Willow wants to dive to the submerged forests in memory of her mother.
The book jumps back and forward from Willow's present day story to the story of the three sisters. Full of secrets and intrigue but Willow is determined to find out the truth about her parents. Aunt Hope seems distant and not much help but what is she not telling Willow? 
There's not much more I can tell you of this story without giving away spoilers. There are twists and turns in every chapter. 
I found it sad reading about Charity while knowing she loses her life,it really tugged at my heartstrings. 
We learn about this in the first chapter so I'm not giving anything away. I liked all the characters in the book apart from Dan and his manipulative wife Lana but the author made sure she gets her just desserts.
An enjoyable book and quite the page turner. Tracy Buchanan is fast becoming a favourite of mine and I'm already looking forward to her next offering. 
At the time of writing this My Sister's Secret is 99p for kindle download but please check in case it's changed.


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The Dress by Kate Kerrigan

 Lily Fitzpatrick loves vintage clothes - made all the more precious because they were once owned and loved by another woman. Thousands follow her vintage fashion blog and her daily Instagram feed. But this passion for the beautiful clothes of the past is about to have unforeseen consequences, when Lily stumbles upon the story of a 1950s New York beauty, who was not only everything Lily longs to be, but also shares Lily's surname. 
Joy Fitzpatrick was a legend. But what was the famous dress which she once commissioned - said to be so original that nothing in couture would ever match it again? What happened to it - and why did Joy suddenly disappear from New York high society? 
Kate Kerrigan's enthralling novel interweaves the dramatic story of Joy, the beautiful but tortured socialite and that of Lily - determined to uncover the truth and, if possible, bring back to life the legendary dress itself. 

I'm still wiping the tears from my eyes after reading this book that had me hooked from the prologue and even before that with the stunning front cover.
The story is set in London in the present day and we meet Lily, a dress designer who has given up designing for wearing and selling vintage clothes.
While tracing her family history she comes across a photograph of a dress designed in the fifties for an American socialite and is determind to re- create it.
We fall seamlessly into the fifties and the story of Joy who wore the dress and Honor who made it. Attached to them is Lily's great uncle,Francis Fitzpatrick who Lily has just found out about.
As we move between the two stories I became drawn into their lives. Each of the characters in the fifties story had their good and bad points. One minute I loved them and the next I disliked them. I felt particularly let down by Francis or Frank. I thought he would turn out to be a really good man but I'm not so sure that he did.
Joy became a flawed character and then redeemed herself and as for Honour, she discovered what happens when you let yourself be manipulated and go against your inner voice.
The story of Lily was every bit as good and I loved the ending.
I loved this book and couldn't put it down.

The Dress by Kate Kerrigan is  available for kindle or in hardback

The Stolen Child by Jennie Felton

Will anyone believe her baby is gone? When Stella Swift is discovered holding a shard of broken glass near her newborn baby boy, fears...