29 February 2016

When I'm Old and Grey by L.M.Krier

When I'm Old and Grey: DI Ted Darling Book IIIWhen I'm Old and Grey: DI Ted Darling Book III by L.M. Krier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I'm Old and Grey is the third book in the DI Ted Darling series and like all of L.M.Krier's work I really enjoyed it.

The story starts off where DI Ted has some tragic news that his Grandma has passed away, but it appears that she hasn't died of natural causes. While a serial killer appears to be targeting vulnerable elderly people in care homes and despatching them in the most cynical way. Ted and his team are struggling to get a lead on who the killer really is. Could this be linked is the question? we are introduced to a new team member who is adding to Ted's problems, rather than helping him to solve them. when things couldn't get any worse Ted receives some devastating news about his partner Trevor.

This story starts with a bang and LM Krier has you gripped from the start and this is most definitely a page turner I read this in two sittings. I have to say this is a very unique story I can not recall reading a story line like this before. Has always this is a easy read with some twists and turns.
We get to learn more about the characters as they grow throughout the series. LM Krier clearly shows realistic and likeable characters throughout her writing. For me this story gives more insight to Ted's feeling towards Trevor compared to the previous two stories. Being a fan of Ted is great to see the characters grow from strength to strength. And I cannot wait to read Ted's next case.

I highly recommend this book which I am giving 4 stars and would like to say thank you to L.M.Krier for a copy in exchange for a honest review.

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26 February 2016

The Cabinetmaker by Alan Jones

The CabinetmakerThe Cabinetmaker by Alan Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well I don't actually know where to start with this one, with it being Alan Jones debut novel and I read Alan's second book Blue Wicked first. In comparison they are both totally different kind of crime books. For me The Cabinetmaker is slower paced and not gritty, but nevertheless it has a interesting plot that I found very gripping and kept me hooked from the start.

The story is set in Glasgow starts off in 2008 thirty years after the death of Patrick who was Francis only son. Then we jump back to 1978 where we are introduced to detective John McDaid who has just been transferred from uniform to a probationary period of six months CID and this is John's first murder case. He forms an unlikely friendship with the cabinetmaker, united by a determination to see the killers punished, their passion for amateur football, and by John’s introduction to a lifelong obsession with fine furniture. So the story takes us over a 30 year time span.

Alan takes you through a steady pace unfolding the story with twists and turns of Patrick's murder and search for the truth. This is a story about friendship with and added crime element and for me I really enjoyed it. I have to admit I absolutely love Alan's style of writing the descriptions of the furniture are fantastic to the point where I would buy some. Alan certainly knows his stuff when it comes to furniture making.

And I have to say wow a ending I certainly wasn't expecting that, this is a very well written debut novel.

This is a 4.5 star from me which I highly recommend

Thank you to Alan Jones for a advanced reader's copy in exchange for a honest review.

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Coffee, Tea, the Caribbean & Me By Caroline James Blog Tour

Coffee, Tea, the Caribbean & Me
By Caroline James
Published by Ramjam Publishing Company
February 12th 2016
Women’s Romantic Fiction
ISBN Paperback: 978-0-9573782-8-5
ISBN Kindle: 978-0-9573782-9-2

A romantic comedy – the sequel to Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me, which shot to #3 on Amazon and was E-book of the Week in the Sun.
Continuing the Coffee, Tea... series, join Jo and Hattie as they romp into their middle years and prove that anything is possible!
Coffee Tea The Caribbean & Me was a top ten finalist at The Write Stuff - London Book Fair 2015. The judge’s comments included, “Caroline is a natural story-teller with a gift for humour in her writing.”
Coffee Tea The Caribbean & Me, is a a story about friendship and that there is hope in middle years, romance can happen and life really does begin again.
Set in Cumbria, London and beautiful Barbados.
‘The time to be happy is now...’
Jo remembers her late husband’s words but is struggling to face the lonely future that lies ahead. A heartbroken widow, the love of her life, husband Romany John, has died suddenly and Jo finds herself alone with ghostly memories at Kirkton House - a Cumbrian Manor that until recently, she ran as a thriving hotel. Her two sons have moved away; Jimmy to run a bar in Barbados and Zach, to London to pursue a career as a celebrity chef. Middle-age and widowhood loom frighteningly and Jo determines to sell up and start again, despite protestations from colourful friend, Hattie and erstwhile admirer Pete Parks. Hattie convinces Jo to postpone any life-changing decisions by enjoying a Caribbean holiday in Barbados and their holiday sets off a course of events that brings mayhem and madness to Jo and her family.
Confused and anxious for her future, can life really begin again for Jo? Is there hope in middle years and can romance happen?
My thoughts
This is my first book by Caroline James and definitely won't be my last I thoroughly enjoyed it. I read this in one afternoon I just couldn't put it down. First one all I have to say what a amazing cover it has, it made me want to dive into the picture. I so love the little picture motifs at the start of every chapter, for me this is a lovely added touch.

So Hattie who has had her fair share of problems convinces heartbroken widow  Jo to go on a much deserved holiday to the caribbean. But their holiday sets off a course of events that brings mayhem and madness to Jo and her family. Confused and anxious for her future, can life really begin again for Jo? 

Jo's two  grown up sons have moved away, Jimmy to runs a bar in Barbados, and Zach who went to London to pursue a career as a celebrity chef.

Jo feels like middle age is looming and feels like giving up on love although Pete parks is totally smitten with her or should I say totally fallen for her.

Theses are all characters which you can relate to although I have to say my heart did go out to Jo, I really did feel sorry for her. And Hattie, well what a character she did make me laugh. Yes you guessed it, there are plenty of laugh out loud moments in this light hearted read. I love Caroline's style of writing the descriptions are so well written and pictures I felt like I was there at the Caribbean with them.

Not having read the first book I can definitely say that this can read has a standalone. But I will without a shadow or a doubt be reading the first one to find out how it all began.

So if you're looking for a fun, entertaining, enjoyable read this is the book for you which I highly recommend and I am giving it 4 stars.

 Thank you Brook Cottage Books for a copy of this in exchange for a honest review.

Caroline James was born in Cheshire and wanted to be a writer from an early age. She trained, however, in the catering trade and worked and travelled both at home and abroad. Caroline's debut novel, Coffee Tea The Gypsy & Me shot to #3 on Amazon and was E-book of the Week in The Sun newspaper. Her second novel, So, You Think You're A Celebrity… Chef? has been described as wickedly funny: 'AbFab meets MasterChef in a Soap…' The manuscript for Coffee Tea The Caribbean & Me was a Top Ten Finalist at The Write Stuff, London Book Fair 2015 and the judge’s comments included: “Caroline is a natural story-teller with a gift for humour in her writing.” Her next novel, Coffee Tea The Boomers & Me will be published autumn 2016.
Caroline has owned and run many catering related businesses and cookery is a passion alongside her writing, combining the two with her love of the hospitality industry and romantic fiction. As a media agent, Caroline represented many well-known celebrity chefs and is currently writing a TV script and accompanying book about the life of a well-known chef. She has published short stories and is a member of the RNA and The Society of Authors. Caroline writes articles on food and celebrity based interviews and is Feature Editor for an online lifestyle magazine. When she's not running her hospitality business and writing, Caroline can generally be found with her nose in a book and her hand in a box of chocolates, she also likes to climb mountains and contemplate life.

Twitter: @CarolineJames12

1st Prize - A copy of the book - UK winner (paperback) / Outside UK (ecopy) http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4be03017139/

25 February 2016

Q&A Interview with Christie Barlow

How excited am I, that the wonderful Christie Barlow has dropped by my blog on her publication day  for Kitty’s Countryside Dream (which I gave 5 well-deserved stars!!) to take part in my Q&A Interview..... So without further ado I would like to welcome Christie Barlow

Hello Christie, Happy Publication Day and welcome to my blog
Hello there! and thank you for having me, I am delighted to be here on publication day.

A little bit about myself and my background.
I’m Christie Barlow, a 5ft 5in brunette born in the county of Cheshire. Now at the ripe old age of 43, I lead nothing but a glamorous lifestyle: ironing, mucking out chickens and horses and chasing after my mad cocker spaniel. I’m a mum to four, wife to one and have more animals than the local zoo.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? How did you go about it?
My writing career came as somewhat of a surprise! Once hitting my mid-life crisis (but dodging the tattoo and the fast car) after wholly dedicating my life to the care of my children, they asked me what I wanted to do in life while we were discussing their career options. ‘I’ve always wanted to write a book,’ I found myself answering, and so the notion was born. I had no idea what to write about, so after pondering for a couple of weeks, I started plotting a work of fiction based on the one thing I knew the most about: being a mother.
I began to write every afternoon and a year later my book, A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother was finished. I self-published and will always remember the proud moment I showed my children the finished product. I stood in front of them, with a book that had my name on the cover and the message was loud and clear. If I could achieve something by setting my mind to it, then so could they. I would have been happy enough if my demonstration of what hard work and determination could achieve had ended there, but it didn’t. After setting up a Facebook page and a Twitter account, the book circulated extremely quickly and literally became the talk of the town! Within a few months the book I wrote to prove a point became an Amazon number one bestseller in the UK and the USA. I signed to agent Madeleine Milburn and secured a book deal with publishers Bookouture. I am now a full- time author and I am loving every minute of it.

Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
My first two books, A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother and The Misadventures of a Playground Mother are funny novels about life at the school gates. My new book Kitty’s Countryside Dream is a feel good romantic comedy about life, love and family.
What is your writing process and how long does it take you?
My writing routine is very similar each day. I start the day by ambling across the fields with my best pal Woody. Once we return home I usually switch the kettle on, fire up the computer and then eat my bodyweight in Haribos while writing. On average it takes me five months to write a book and I think I gain about five pounds in weight with every book I write! From my initial idea I have a rough plan of where the storyline will take me but more often than not, I veer off in a totally different direction.
Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
My first two books are based purely on comedic scenarios of mothers that occur in everyday life, and as such it’s meant people reading the diary find it immersive and actually start believing these fictional characters are real, when in fact it’s pure fiction. This just exemplifies my characters and style of writing. My characters aren’t based on specific people but I have drawn on my own experiences and memories. It’s important that I am able to relate to my characters and love who they are – faults as well. I have to enjoy writing the story.
Have you written about a personal experience in your novel?
Now there is a very probing question, Shell Baker! I have! GASP! Everyone is currently thinking OMG is Rachel Young real? Does Christie Barlow know a woman named Penelope Kensington who she went speed dating with and named a baby Lulu? I’m sorry to disappoint, but all those characters were off the scale and pure fiction. However, in my new novel Kitty’s Countryside Dream, the character Kitty Lewis inherits a chicken farm. This book would have never been written if it wasn’t for a local farmer who sold me my very first chicken seven years ago. Since then, he has taught me everything I needed to know about rearing and breeding chickens. Chickens have become a way of life in our house and it was my very own feathered friends that provided the little spark of inspiration for this book.
What research do you do?
I can neither confirm nor deny whether I went speed dating for research purposes in order to write the chapter in The Misadventures of a Playground Mother! However, even though this novel has a light-hearted theme, it is heart-breaking in places due to the cancer storyline. I worked closely with a brave, inspiring woman who had been diagnosed with breast cancer to ensure the subject was covered accurately and sensitively.
Who would you like to co-write with and why?
There is only answer to that question – Gary Barlow! I’m a piano teacher and love music and think he is a musical genius! I know you mean a fellow author, but I would quite honestly be a nightmare to co-write with. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone! I spend most of my day wandering around, eating chocolate and making numerous cups of tea while tapping away at my keyboard. I can often be found talking to myself too. Being a writer can sometimes be a lonely job, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What is my favourite book?
My favourite book of all time is Enid’s Blyton's first Famous Five book – Five on a Treasure Island. This book has stayed with me from the age of seven when I can remember sitting on an old trunk in my bedroom and not moving all day until I finished reading it. I have introduced all my children to these books. They are absolute classics and every child should have the opportunity to read them; they are truly fantastic.
What’s your favourite food?
Curry or Thornton’s' orange chocolates!
What’s your favourite film?
My favourite film of all time is A Few Good Men which I think was released around 1992. It’s a dramatic courtroom thriller. LT Daniel Kaffee, a Navy lawyer who has never seen the inside of the courtroom, defends two stubborn Marines who have been accused of murdering a colleague. However, even though I know this film off by heart, at the last count I have watched it nearly three hundred times. I LOVE Tom Cruise and my gosh he looks hot in his uniform in this movie!
What’s my favourite song?
This is a difficult one as I love music! However, without sounding too morbid I’ve chosen Never Forget by Take That. Why would that be morbid I hear you ask? Well, because that is the song I want playing at my funeral! As I disappear behind the curtain, I would like everyone standing on their pews with their arms in the air singing this song at the top of their voices!
How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
I love to hear from my readers and you can get in touch via my website www.christiebarlow.com Twitter @ChristieJBarlow and Facebook page Christie Barlow author.

Thank you so much for Joining me it has been fun. I must say you do have really good taste in music, have a brilliant day
Thank you I have enjoyed it. I have got a very busy and exciting day ahead of me.

22 February 2016

Q&A Interview with Elaine Spires

After taking part in Elaine's Hot Holidays Interview, it's my turn to interview the lovely Elaine Spires, so without further ado I would like to welcome author of Single Holidays Trilogy (which I highly recommend)…….. The one and only Elaine Spires

Hello Elaine thank you for joining me today
Good Morning and thank you for inviting me.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
I was born in the East End of London and grew up in Dagenham.  Having had a bucket of cold water thrown over me by our careers  mistress, who told me that 'Girls from Dagenham don't go to RADA or appear in the West End' when I'd said I wanted to be an actress, I turned, instead to travelling.  My 'gap' year turned into 16 years, during which I lived in Majorca, Ibiza and Corfu, working as a holiday rep and resort manager,  before opening the first Chinese Restaurant in San Antonio, Ibiza and then a languages school, where I taught English to local people and Spanish to foreigners.

When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?  
I had always enjoyed writing - I used to make up stories to amuse myself when I was a child and even as an adult sometimes.  I have lived a colourful life and several friends egged me on to write my autobiography.  But, who am I?  Nobody knows me!  My daughter was a child-actor and she studied with Anna Scher, in London.  Anna also ran community theatre classes for adults and I rekindled my love of acting and started going along.  Anna encouraged us to write and stage plays, which I absolutely loved.  After staging a play - What's Eating Me - on the London and Edinburgh Fringes, which was very well received, I didn't want to let go of the heroine, Eileen, and so I turned her story into a book - my first novel.  My second book followed, Sweet Lady, which was also based on a play.  By this time I'd worked as a tour manager for a UK singles' tour operator for twelve years and I had seen and experienced so much during this time that I decided to write my Singles' Trilogy: Singles' Holiday, Singles and Spice and, Single All The Way.

Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?   Hmm - I would say my genre is contemporary, reality novels.  My audience is mainly, but not exclusively, female.

What is your writing process? and how long does it take?
I get an idea of main characters and know where I'm starting from and then I just sit down and write.  I tend to chuck it all down and then go back the following day and edit what I've written and then move on, chucking down some more.  I find that the characters almost take over and suddenly the story is racing ahead in a way I hadn't envisaged.    It sometimes takes a long time.  I am behind with my latest book, The Banjo, at the moment. :((

Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?  
They are fictional, although there is a little something of me in Eileen (What's Eating Me) and in Eve (Singles' Trilogy) but of all the other characters I can honestly say only four are based on people I know - three in What's Eating Me and one in Singles' Holiday.

Have you wrote about a personal experience in your novels?
I have written about personal experience, yes.  I have fought food and sugar addiction all my life, much as Eileen does, so a lot of her battle is based on my own.  And some of the incidents that Eve deals with in the Singles' Trilogy are based on real-life situations I faced and dealt with, although the characters aren't at all representative of those who were involved in the original incidents.

What research do you do?
Elaine at Taj Mahal doing research for Singles and Spice
Well, as you've seen above, a lot of it is already in my head - even the locations in all the short stories in Holiday Reads and Holiday Reads 2 - but if there's anything I don't know I'll either approach someone I think can help  - people LOVE helping, I've found - or I turn to good old Google!

Who would you like to co-write with and why?
I want to turn each book in my Singles' Trilogy into a TV series and I'd love to write it with Lenny Henry, Peter Kay or Kay Mellor.  And I'd love to write a book with Caroline James.  I met her recently and loved her - we have so much in common!!

What's your favorite book?
That's so hard!  I have really loved so many, many books.  Possibly The Kite Runner?

What's your favorite food?

What's your favorite film?  
Once again, very hard to choose.  I love West Side Story - the I will take the sight of George Chakiris in that mauve shirt with me to my grave! - The Great Escape, ET, The Godfather, Fatal Attraction, Psycho, Tootsie, The Graduate,too many to choose just one, I'm afraid.  

What's your favorite song?  
Loving You, Elvis Presley.

How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
On my website - wwwelainespires.co.uk 

Thank you so much for joining me today, I hear you on holiday yourself next week, I hope you have a lovely time.
Thank you for it's been fun. And yes I am behind with my latest book called The Banjo, so I am off to Antigua next week for 6 months to finish it.

19 February 2016

Q&A Interview with Nigel May

Today I am really excited to welcome Nigel May Author of Deadly Obsession  which is out today and I highly recommend it giving it 5 stars…........So without further ado I would like to welcome the lovely Nigel May

Happy Publication day Nigel thank you for joining me today
Thank you, I have got a very exciting and day ahead of me

Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
My name is Nigel May, I live in a sleepy little village in East Anglia with my partner and our two cats, Jasper and Oscar (both quite portly ginger toms!). I have written four books so far - TRINITY, ADDICTED, SCANDALOUS LIES and now DEADLY OBSESSION. I am currently writing number five. When I am not writing novels I present on a TV craft channel which is brilliant as I get to be surrounded by bright things like glitter and shiny papers all day long. I worked as a journalist for many years specialising in showbiz and celebrity, which was fabulous as it meant I was able to interview lots of famous names. Everyone from Britney Spears through to David Hasselhoff. I do love a bit of showbiz which is why my books are always jam-packed with celebrities and glamorous locations.  

When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
I loved writing when I worked as a journalist and when I became a TV host I kind of stopped writing for a while as I was so busy with the telly. But I really began to miss the written word so I decided to create some characters and start plotting out a novel. The characters were Evie, Regan and Nush who were the main women in my first novel, TRINITY. About six months later I finished the first draft and sent it to agents. After what seemed like a million rejections I finally received a response from someone who said that they loved my writing. That lead to the incredible journey that a few years later saw me signing to the wonderful Bookouture publishing house.

Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for? They are described as 'bonkbusters' as the do have a little dose of naughtiness in them, but to be honest I think they are more glamour mixed with grittiness. There is always some kind of mystery going on, with people betraying each other and there are quite often deaths and dynamics around every corner. They have been compared to the late Jackie Collins which for me is the ultimate compliment as I adore her books. They always feature strong female characters as I love writing about determined, feisty, ball-breaking women, but they nearly always have some kind of vulnerability to them as well so that the audience can relate to them. My readers are mainly women who like nothing better than a glam-soaked escapist read whether at home or on holiday but I am thrilled to say I have lots of male readers too who seem to like what I do. I am grateful to whoever picks my books up and enjoys them.

What is your writing process? and how long does it take?
The hardest bit of the process is starting the book. I always create all of the characters beforehand and loosely plot out what will happen. Who loves who, who hates who, who might be the villain etc. Then I start writing and see where the flow takes me. Quite often a character who I think will be a real baddie at the start may find some kind of remorse in their hearts and end up being one of the most likable ones. On average the books take about six months to write for a first draft and then there will be edits. I always feel like a father giving birth to the most amazing set of people.

Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
I always have people in mind when I picture a character - it helps me write if I can see them in my head. The characters are never based wholly on a certain person as they are usually a lot more glamorous in the novels than the life I lead. A lot of the names, whether it be first or surnames are friends of mine though or people I work with, so you never know, you may find yourself in one of my novels at some point!

Have you wrote about a personal experience in your novels?
I always try to set books in places that I have visited on my travels so that way I can really have an authentic air about setting the scene. I love travelling and going on holiday. Nowadays I call it research but I do love lying on a beach somewhere tropical and thinking 'oh yes, this will do very nicely for a location in a future novel'. Deadly Obsession features South Africa, Rio, Paris, Barcelona...all places that I have been to where I've made notes about things I'd like to write about.

What research do you do?
Travelling is the main one and obviously if there is something that I don't know about then I will search out somebody who can answer the questions I need to ask to make sure that everything is as factual as can be. I am a great believer in the fact that the people in a book have to be believable in their actions even if the scenario they finds themselves in is often an extreme fantastical one.

Who would you like to co-write with and why?
I adore Victoria Fox - her writing is pure escapism - so I would love to write with her. Also I love the books of Armistead Maupin as he paints the most wonderful characters. The Tales Of The City books are fabulous. I do have a huge amount of respect for the gritty crime authors within Bookouture as well though - people like Angie Marsons and Caroline Mitchell. They write intrigue, mystery and murder incredibly well.

What's your favourite book?
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Such a skilled story, such clever writing and an authoress that nobody will ever top when it comes to the most incredible mysteries. I could read that book time and time again. She is queen! *

What's your favorite food?
I love a steak and kidney pie and chips! You can't beat it. I love a great curry too. My other half is the most awesome chef so I am spoilt with food, which is very handy as my cooking skills are limited to a decent fry-up and a good Sunday roast.
What's your favorite film?
I am a huge horror fan, but it's normally classic horror from days gone by. I adored Vincent Price as an actor. Such an incredible presence on screen and my favourite film is Theatre Of Blood about a group of theatre critics who are killed off one by one by a Shakespearean actor who they gave awful reviews to. It's very camp, very good and had me gripped from start to finish. I must have watched it a hundred times. I love Flash Gordon too. I wanted to be a Birdman when I was younger!

What's your favourite song?
I love happy music. I am such a pop music kind of man. Play anything by ABBA and I am heading to the dance floor. I would say Lay All Your Love On Me or Gimme Gimme Gimme would be my favourites. I love the Pet Shop Boys too - classics like Go West, It's A Sin, Left To My Own Devices are essential and always on my iTunes selection. My favourite pop dance track of all time is You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) by Dead Or Alive. Hi energy happiness!

How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?

Thanks Nigel,have a brilliant day. I wish you all the luck in the world with your book. And I can't wait to host your author chat over on Crime Book Club on Monday
Thanks so much for having me here today, I can't wait until Monday to....see you there at 6.30