Monday, 20 May 2019

Becoming Mrs Lewis by Patti Henry Blog Tour

Today I am opening the blogtour for Becoming Mrs Lewis by author Patti Henry

For my stop I have a Q&A with the author.

What prompted you to write this story?

At first I thought I was writing about the improbable love story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis but then I realized that I was actually writing about the beautiful and fiery transformational journey of an incredible poet and writer. Joy’s life and how she overcame hardship inspired me to tell her story from her point of view.

How much research did you do?

I spent years deep in the life of Joy Davidman, and to some extent therefore C. S. Lewis. I made a decision early on to tell this story from her point of view; from behind her eyes; from the key of empathy. I was tired of hearing about her and wanted to hear from her.

Is the extracts from the letters from the originals?

The letters are imagined. All of Joy and Jack’s letters to each other have either been lost or destroyed. Although I had to imagine the letters, they were inspired by real letters they both wrote to others during that time period.

The voice is very authentic, I feel like I have picked up her diary, how much is Joy and how much is you?

Oh, wow. This is the nicest compliment. I wanted to fully inhabit her voice and often I felt like I did. Nothing of my life is in this novel, but how to know how much of myself snuck in? I don’t know. I always say that the work isn’t about me, but it is from me.

How much of the book is artistic license?

The skeleton of the story is as solid true as history can tell us. The timeline, the books they wrote, the actual events, etc. What must be imagined are their emotions and conversations for the most part. The scenes as they are fleshed out also must be imagined. We can know they met for dinner, but the scene itself must unfold in the mind and heart.

There are a few historical events or happenings nodded to, did you do a lot of research for that?

Yes! I mapped out the times and years that the book took place and made sure that each day was historically accurate.

What was your favourite thing about writing the book?

Coming to know Joy was my very favorite part of writing this. She came alive for me in so many ways. I felt as if she had just been waiting to be dusted off and brought back to life in her story. I was honored to do so.

Did you worry about writing this particular story? From an authentic point of view, capturing what they had?

I was worried, yes. I still am sometimes. These are real people who lived real lives in the world. I worried very much, and still do, about being authentic and fair to them and to their families. I do know, though, that I did the best I knew how and honored them with all my heart and words.

How did this compare to the other books you have written?

It was only different in the research and in the attempt to stick to a definite timeline and solid facts. Otherwise the process of sitting down and understanding a character’s motivations and heart were the same.

What is next for Patti?

I have a summer novel coming out June 4th, 2019 titled The Favorite Daughter and I am working on a new historical novel set in Savannah, Georgia.

You can buy your copy NOW from Amazon HERE

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Lara The Runaway Cat by Dion Leonard

Lara The Runaway Cat: One Cat’s Journey to Discover Home Is Where the Heart IsLara The Runaway Cat: One Cat’s Journey to Discover Home Is Where the Heart Is by Dion Leonard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 288

Publisher - HarperElement

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Lara the Runaway Cat tells the story of Gobi, the loveable pup who followed Dion Leonard across a gruelling 155-mile trek across the Gobi Desert, and her mischievous cat sister, Lara, who runs away from her family, seeking a courageous adventure and different life.

Lara doesn’t realise how good she has it in her home in Edinburgh with her owners, Dion and Lucja, and of course her sister, Gobi. If she’s being honest, she’s jealous of Gobi’s fame and the international attention she has received ever since Dion found her. Okay, Gobi may have survived an ultra-marathon across the Gobi Desert, but it’s not as if Lara doesn’t earn her fresh prawns! She dreams about the day when she can go outdoors and see the world, discover new friends and be free to make her own name.

But Lara’s wishful thinking gets the better of her as she takes a leap into the unknown and is forced to decide between her loyalties to her family and need to experience an adventure to rival Gobi’s. Join Lara in her eventful travels from Edinburgh to France, Beijing to Australia, where she is faced with challenges that will change her life forever.

Following on from the astounding real-life story of Dion Leonard, this fictionalised tale is a must-read for animal lovers everywhere.

My Review

Gobi is the famous dog who has her whole book and came home to Lara's family, Lara is a cat by the way and not happy. All she hears is Gobi's adventures, her family goes off touring and travelling well now it is Lara's turn.

Told from Lara's perspective and voice with the odd chapter by Gobi we get an insight into the life of a cat with a famous dog sibling. She decides she is going for her own adventure and takes the reader with her.

Doing good deeds, helping others along the way, learning to be self sufficient instead of the pampered puss she has always been we follow her journey and adventures. We see a huge change in Lara and the insight into what we want isn't always what we really want but we don't always realise until we find our own path. Yes it is a story told by a cat but a lot of the lessons/relationships and love within the pages are applicable to humans, 3.5/5 for me this time. I haven't read Gobi's story but after the references in this book I think I may check it out. If you like stories told by and from animal points of view you will enjoy this.

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Friday, 17 May 2019

Sonny and Me - Ross Sayers Book Launch

Today was the perfect day for my wee Cranachan totebag. I was meeting the girls for food then we headed to Waterstones for the book launch "Sonny and Me" by Ross Sayers, out to buy now, treebook and ebook format - Amazon link!

Blurb for the book

FOURTH YEAR. TWO PALS. ONE MURDER.WELCOME TO BATTLEFIELD HIGH...‘Whoever said yer school days are the best days ae yer life was at the absolute wind up. I hink maist adults dinnae mind whit it was really like. Wait til yeese hear whit Sonny and me got detention for...’Daughter and Sonny are two best friends just trying to get through fourth year at high school. But when their favourite teacher leaves unexpectedly, and no one will say why, the boys decide to start their own investigation. As they dig deeper into the staff at Battlefield High, they discover a dark secret which one person will kill to protect...Will they uncover the truth without being expelled? Can their friendship survive when personal secrets are revealed? And will they manage to skive off double English?"A unique blend of crime and comedy with an inclusive cast of characters, SONNY AND ME is brilliant: intriguing, heart-warming, and very funny." Sophie Cameron

The place was packed, every seat taken and folk standing.

Ross was interviewed by fellow author Caroline Logan whose book is coming out, by Cranachan, in October this year "The Stone of Destiny".

Ross read the first chapter of the book and we all laughed, I love Scottish humour/banter so I will be bumping the book up my TBRM.

His mum made wee biscuits with the book cover on it, I love this and just think it is such a lovely wee touch!

You can find Ross on Twitter and Facebook

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd

Things in JarsThings in Jars by Jess Kidd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over a week

Pages - 416

Publisher - Canongate books

Source - Review book

Blurb from Goodreads

London, 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet. Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist.

As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen.

Things in Jars is an enchanting Victorian detective novel that explores what it is to be human in inhumane times.

My Review

Victorian era, 1800s, meet Bridie, anatomist/detective she is hired to discreetly find Christabel, a child that no one knows about and very valuable on the black market. Meeting blocks at every turn Bridie has to do what she can to save the child but Christabel is no ordinary child and some folk will kill to get their hands on her.

This is a bit of a mixed bag, Bridie is a belter of a character, different, fierce especially for her time and she encounters a ghost that follows her around. Whist doing her thing and following the clues we also get kick backs to when Bridie was younger and how she came to be who she is now, her interest in human bodies/anatomy.

I laughed at a few parts of this, some tongue in cheek type humour and just the way Bridie is. Then there are some real dark parts too, poverty, death, murder, folklore - it is a mixed bag. This was my first read at this author it won't be my last, I can't say the author reminds me of X author as I don't think I have read anything like this before. I enjoyed it and wasn't sure where it was going, certainly a different read and kept my interest, 3.5/5 for me.

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Monday, 13 May 2019

The Wrong Envelope by Liz Treacher

Welcome to the blog blitz for "The Wrong Envelope" by Liz Treacher, this is a blog blitz for #LoveBooksTours.

Blurb for the book

Summer 1920. Two worlds are about to collide.Evie Brunton loves her job. Twice a day, she spins along the narrow lanes of Devon on her bicycle, delivering letters from a heavy post bag. When the flamboyant London artist, Bernard Cavalier, drops like a meteor into her sleepy village, everything changes. Bernard is supposed to be painting for an important exhibition, but the countryside has its own charms, in particular his young post lady…Light and witty, and full of twists and turns, The Wrong Envelope is a charming romantic comedy. It captures the spirit of another age – when letters could change lives.

Buy Link from Amazon.

About the author

Liz is a writer, a Creative Writing teacher and an Art photographer. She lives in the Highlands of Scotland with a view of the sea. Her love of images influences her writing.

Her debut novel, 'The Wrong Envelope', is a romantic comedy, set in 1920 in Devon, England. It tells the story of Bernard, an impulsive artist and Evie, his beautiful post lady. You can watch the trailer on this page, under 'Videos'. Light and witty, and full of twists and turns, 'The Wrong Envelope' captures the spirit of another age - when letters could change lives.

The sequel, 'The Wrong Direction', follows Evie and Bernard to London, and charts their further adventures in Mayfair's high society. Wild parties, flirtatious models, jealous friends - Bernard and Evie must negotiate many twists and turns if they are to hold on to each other.

You can find Liz on her website and Twitter

For my stop I have a wee extract from the book, enjoy!

This extract is about when the post lady, Evie Brunton invites the artist, Bernard Cavalier for dinner with her parents.

Mr Brunton looked pointedly at his watch. ‘I’m sure he’ll be here any minute—’ Evie began. ‘I hope so dear, or the chicken will be overdone,’ said Mrs Brunton, hurrying out to have another look at it.‘I can’t abide lateness in a young man,’ said Mr Brunton.

The doorbell rang and Evie rushed to get it. Bernard was well turned out in a jacket and tie. But in the pocket of his jacket, an enormous spotted hanky, possibly the one that had earlier acted as a germ barrier, fanned out in an over-exuberant way. It seemed so out of place in their dingy porch that she couldn’t bear to look at it. It also made her dress look shabby somehow. ‘Do come in,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’ He was holding a bunch of flowers and they hadn’t travelled well. As he stepped into the house, a few heads fell off and landed on the carpet. She led him into the parlour where her father was waiting. ‘Bernard Cavalier,’ said her father, getting up to greet him. He said cavalier, like the adjective. ‘E – A. Caval E – A, like the French knight,’ Evie said quickly. ‘Mr Burnton,’ Bernard smiled, getting his own back. Mrs Brunton emerged from the kitchen, flushed from the range. Bernard gave a low bow. ‘Enchanté, Madame!’ he said and, taking her hand, kissed it in a very gallant manner. Mrs Brunton giggled. Then he held out the wilting posy. ‘Thank you. Wild flowers are my favourite,’ said Mrs Brunton graciously.

Evie quickly took them from her mother. ‘They look as though they need a drink,’ she said, keen to escape, even for a few moments. She ran into the kitchen, steamy from the vegetables boiling on the stove, opened a window and leaned her forehead against it. This was going to be a nightmare. When she came back through, Bernard was talking loudly, waving a glass of sherry around as he spoke. ‘I didn’t actually see active service,’ he was saying, ‘you see, luckily for me war ended while I was still in training.’ ‘I see,’ said Mr Brunton. ‘It feels awkward sometimes,’ confessed Bernard. ‘What, not getting maimed, gassed or killed?’ asked Mr Brunton helpfully. ‘I suppose I feel as if I didn’t really do my bit.’ ‘Well, I suppose you didn’t. Is dinner ready, dear?’

They moved from the parlour into the dining room. As they made the short silent walk from one room to the other, Bernard spied a piano across the hallway. ‘Do you play?’ he asked Mrs Brunton. ‘A little,’ said Mrs Brunton and she giggled again. The table was set with their best china and cutlery. Evie thought it looked very old-fashioned. Bernard sat opposite her and beside Mrs Brunton. As one, the Bruntons released their napkins from their rings, unfolded them and put them on their laps. Bernard ignored his. Between the grapefruit starter and the roast chicken, it rolled sadly onto the floor. The conversation improved over dinner: Mrs Brunton asked about London and Bernard was full of stories about people he knew and she had heard of. Evie picked at her chicken wing. Despite snubbing his napkin, Bernard had decent table manners. He managed to polish off his chicken, peas and roast potatoes without talking with his mouth full, spitting or elbowing Evie’s mother. This was silently noted by all three Bruntons. After the main course, Evie sprang up, cleared the plates and brought in the jam roly-poly.

The pudding was not one of Mrs Brunton’s best. The sponge had dried up, taking most of the jam with it, and the whole thing tasted rather rubbery. The covering of custard did little to disguise the disappointment of what lay beneath. Bernard gallantly pushed his helping around the plate and Mrs Brunton noticed. ‘I’m sorry about the pudding,’ she mumbled. ‘Mais Madame,’ replied Bernard, reverting to the French of earlier, ‘Votre cuisine est magnifique!’ ‘I beg your pardon, sir?’ Mr Brunton spoke fluent French. ‘I feel a song coming on!’ cried Bernard. As Evie choked on the last of her roly-poly, he jumped up and nimbly hopped over to the piano room opposite, leaving the door open. He settled himself on the piano stool and started to compose a ballad for his hostess.

The grapefruit was divine, the chicken was sublime, So who cares if the dessert is just a little tough? Yes, just a little rough, at least it’s not as dry as a desert. The reluctant audience could hear Bernard loud and clear, but they could only catch glimpses of him smiling at them as he swayed backwards and forwards, coming in and out of view from behind the doorframe, singing his heart out. Mrs Brunton looked confused and embarrassed; an expressionless Mr Brunton took the opportunity to stretch his neck, backwards and forwards, this way and that. Evie thought she might die of excruciation, wished she could, but she would first murder Bernard.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

House of Skin by Jonathan Janz Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour for House of Skin, please check out the other stops as we all offer different content.

About the author:

Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forestand a graveyard, which explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows "the best horror novel of 2012." The LibraryJournal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin,"reminiscent of ShirleyJackson's The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub's Ghost Story" Since then Jonathan's work has been lauded by writers like Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, Tim Waggoner, Bryan Smith,and Ronald Kelly. Novels like The Nightmare Girl, Wolf Land, Savage Species,and Dust Devils prompted Thunderstorm Books to sign Jonathan to an eleven-book deal and to give him his own imprint, Jonathan Janz's Shadow Side. His novel Children of the Dark received a starred review in Booklist and was chosen by their board as one of the Top Ten Horror Books of the Year (August2015-September2016). Children of the Dark will soon be translated into German and has been championed by the Library Journal, the School Library Journal,and Cemetery Dance. In early 2017, his novel Exorcist Falls was released to critical acclaim. Jonathan's primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children,and though he realizes that every author's wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliché happens to be true. You can learn more about Janz at

House of SkinHouse of Skin by Jonathan Janz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 312

Publisher - Flame Tree Press

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

All it needs to live again is fresh blood!

Myles Carver is dead. But his estate, Watermere, lives on, waiting for a new Carver to move in. Myles’s wife, Annabel, is dead too, but she is also waiting, lying in her grave in the woods. For nearly half a century she was responsible for a nightmarish reign of terror, and she’s not prepared to stop now. She is hungry to live again…and her unsuspecting nephew, Paul, will be the key.

Julia Merrow has a secret almost as dark as Watermere’s. But when she and Paul fall in love they think their problems might be over. How can they know what Fate—and Annabel—have in store for them? Who could imagine that what was once a moldering corpse in a forest grave is growing stronger every day, eager to take her rightful place amongst the horrors of Watermere?

My Review

When Paul Carver inherits the estate of Watermere he is set for life, estate, money and finally the chance to write the book he has always wanted and escape his mundane life. A family he knew nothing about, his uncle Myles now dead everything is his. The book will be written,, the dead won't rest and Paul will find out why his family was so hated in this wee town.

If you think back to old school horror, the black and white movies on at the weekend in the 80s, hammer horror, haunted houses with eerie back stories you get the feel for House of Skin. We have a duo timeline, current day with Paul and the past with his uncle and the beautiful Annabel. Coveted by many, she is stunning, beautiful a force to be reckoned with, fierce, dark and deadly, Watermere was Annabel's home and Annabel isn't ready to let go.

There is a lot of spooky hair raising scenes, some subtle and as the book progresses the levels of chilling darkness rise. There is also a lot of sex, sexual undertones, obsession, haunting, abuse, some really dark elements of humanity. I think fans of horror will eat this up especially if you like books combined with sex, flips in and out of duo timelines and a building tension, 3.5/5 for me. I have read this author before and will read him again. I think a prequel to this book would be epic and have reached out to the author about it. I think there is so much of this, the past, that would be amazing to explore and uncover it would give readers tons of insight into these characters, I so hope he pens it, fingers crossed.

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Thursday, 9 May 2019

Amazing Grace by Kim Nash

Amazing GraceAmazing Grace by Kim Nash
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 257

Publisher - Hera Books

Source - NetGalley

Blurb from Goodreads

She’s taking her life back, one step at a time…

Grace thought she had it all. Living in the beautiful village of Little Ollington, along with head teacher husband Mark and gorgeous son, Archie, she devoted herself to being the perfect mum and the perfect wife, her little family giving her everything she ever wanted.

Until that fateful day when she walked in on Mark kissing his secretary - and her perfect life fell apart.

Now she's a single mum to Archie, trying to find her way in life and keep things together for his sake. Saturday nights consist of a Chinese takeaway eaten in front of the TV clad in greying pyjamas, and she can’t remember the last time she had a kiss from anyone aside from her dog, Becks…

Grace’s life needs a shake up – fast. So when gorgeous gardener Vinnie turns up on her doorstep, his twinkling eyes suggesting that he might be interested in more than just her conifers, she might just have found the answer to her prayers. But as Grace falls deeper for Vinnie, ten-year-old Archie fears that his mum finding love means she’ll never reconcile with the dad he loves.

So when ex-husband Mark begs her for another chance, telling her he’s changed from the man that broke her heart, Grace finds herself with an impossible dilemma. Should she take back Mark and reunite the family that Archie loves? Or risk it all for a new chance of happiness?

A funny, feel good romance about finding your own path and changing your life for the better – readers of Cathy Bramley, Jill Mansell and Josie Silver will love this uplifting read.

My Review

Meet Grace, working single mum to Archie and focusing on life getting back to "normal" after separating from husband Mark. Moving house, getting her ducks together and keeping focused on her boy and dog. Thankfully best friend Monica is on hand to help Grace focus on her, a new look, dipping back into the world of dating we follow Grace on a journey of self discovery and personal growth. In among all of this we hear wee snippets from Grace's mum who passed away but is overseeing Grace's life/struggles/choices/disasters and journey.

This is a debut although it really doesn't read like one. Grace is one of those characters I think any reader can relate to, we all have those self doubts, that moron ex, grief, loss and if we are lucky a few good eggs in our lives. This book draws you into Grace's world, everything that is important to her and the importance of including our own happiness in the things that are important to us.

There are some laugh out loud moments, oh how I cringed for her but did howl, bless Grace she is a wee chop. Family is everything to her and this allows for her ex husband to maximize his manipulative deplorable behaviour, I honestly wanted to smash his melt in at a few points. The passages from Grace's mother, for anyone who has lost a parent will struggle to get through some of them with a dry eye. Even for those lucky enough to still have their parents I think the passages are written so well you would need a heart of stone not to be touched.

The book takes you on a bit of a rollercoaster ride, infused with laugh out loud feel good with more than a few tender moments to kick you in the feels. Grace is a very human character and some of her choices/thought processes will resonate with some readers and others shouting no guuuuuuuurl. A fab step into the world of writing and I look forward to see what Nash will be bringing next, 4/5 for me this time.

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