Maybe This Time by Jill Mansell | Blog Tour Book Review |#MaybeThisTime

Published by Headline Review
ebook and hardback (24 January 2019) | Paperback (13 June 2019)
432 pages
Source: Review copy received from publisher

About the Book

Mimi isn’t looking for love when she spends a weekend in Goosebrook, the Cotswolds village her dad has moved to. And her first encounter with Cal, who lives there too, is nothing like a scene in a romantic movie – although she can’t help noticing how charismatic he is. But Cal’s in no position to be any more than a friend, and Mimi heads back to her busy London life.

When they meet again four years later, it’s still not to be. Cal is focusing on his family, and Mimi on her career. Then Cal dives into a potentially perfect new romance whilst Mimi’s busy fixing other people’s relationships.

It seems as if something, or someone else, always gets in their way. Will it ever be the right time for both of them?

My Thoughts

A new book from Jill Mansell is always a treat to look forward to and this book made me smile so much.

Mimi’s first introduction to the Cotswold village of Goosebrook is not without incident. On her way to visit her father who has moved there with his partner Marcus, she encounters Cal, who appears to be attacking a sheep. Once the misunderstanding is sorted, Mimi realises that she would rather like him to be more than just a friend however Cal is not available. Mimi meanwhile has a busy PR career to look forward to and besides she will be coming back to Goosebrook regularly.

However fate has other ideas for Mimi and there are shocking and difficult times in store for her but never one to mope, she just gets on with it and finds herself being introduced to some totally outrageous but nevertheless wonderfully likeable characters. Yes, CJ I’m looking at you! Poor Mimi needed the patience of a saint to deal with author CJ although I was pleased to see that she gave as good as she got!

Throw together the gorgeous setting of the Cotswolds, add in the myriad of engaging characters including the charismatic and good looking, the charming, the completely OTT and the absolutely vile – and you have a book that is a joy to read.

Set over a timeline of a few years, this is not all fluff and lightness. Without giving away any spoilers, there is some sadness and there are some more difficult issues dealt with but overall it is such an uplifting and feel good read that you can’t help but smile at some of the witty one liners or the absurdity of some of the characters’ antics. What I particularly liked was the community feel to the village and the way that they all looked out for each other. Perhaps this could be a bit claustrophobic in real life but it makes a nice change to read about people that care and want to help others.

There is always something rather special about a Jill Mansell book. It’s escapism at its very best and just for a while its a wonderful life to immerse yourself in. I think we all need an escape from reality at times and this will do very nicely thank you.

I loved everything about it, the setting, the characters and the humour. Definitely a recommended read.


My thanks to Headline for the review copy and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part.

About the Author

Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers including The One You Really Want and Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay. Take a Chance on Me won the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding achievement award.

Jill’s personal favourite amongst her novels is Three Amazing Things About You, which is about cystic fibrosis and organ donation; to her great delight, many people have joined the organ donor register as a direct result of reading this novel.

Jill started writing fiction while working in the field of Clinical Neurophysiology in the NHS, but now writes full time. She lives in Bristol with her family.

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In Safe Hands (DCI Anna Tate #1) by J P Carter | Blog Tour Extract #InSafeHands

Published by Avon
Available in ebook and paperback (24 January 2019)
368 pages

About the Book

How far would you go to save the ones you love? 
The first book in a gripping new crime series featuring DCI Anna Tate.

When nine children are snatched from a nursery school in South London, their distressed parents have no idea if they will ever see them again. The community in the surrounding area in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.

But DCI Anna Tate knows that nothing is impossible, and she also knows that time is quickly running out. It’s unclear if the kidnappers are desperate for money or set on revenge, but the ransom is going up by £1million daily. And they know that one little boy in particular is fighting for his life.

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DCI Anna Tate has ever worked on – not only because nine children are being held hostage, but because she’s pretty sure that someone close to them is lying…

EXTRACT

It was a quiet morning so Detective Chief Inspector Anna Tate was taking the opportunity to get to grips with the pile of paperwork on her desk. There were witness statements, forensic reports, and dozens of crime scene photographs.

All the documents and pictures related to the eleven ongoing cases that were being dealt with by the Major Investigation Team based in Wandsworth, South London.

The team were making slow progress on most of them, partly because they had run out of leads and partly because resources were almost at breaking point. But it was the same story all across London, which had been hit by a perfect storm of soaring crime and police manpower cuts.

For Anna the quiet days were the hardest because she had too much time to dwell on the personal issues that made her life so difficult. This morning her thoughts kept switching between her troubled past and the argument she’d had the previous evening with Tom over their future together. 

It was why she was finding it difficult to concentrate on the file she was currently wading through. This one dealt with the murder of a teenage girl in Battersea. Her body had been found four months ago and they were still no nearer to finding her killer.

Anna sighed as she picked up a photograph of the girl’s body lying in a narrow alley. She’d been badly beaten and sexually assaulted, and it had happened only three days before her sixteenth birthday.


At the time of posting, In Safe Hands can be downloaded from Amazon UK for just 99p.


My thanks to Sabah of Avon for the blog tour invitation and for providing the extract.

About the Author

J. P. Carter is the pseudonym of a bestselling author who has also written sixteen books under the names Jaime and James Raven. Before becoming a full-time writer he spent a career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and television producer. He was, for a number of years, director of a major UK news division and co-owned a TV production company. He now splits his time between homes in Hampshire and Spain with his wife.

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The Manor on the Moors by Liz Taylorson | Blog Tour Guest Post|A Day in the Life of an Author |@taylorson_liz @BooksManatee #ManorontheMoors

Published by Manatee Books
Available in ebook (24 January 2019)
264 pages

About the Book

Alice has landed her dream job, searching the Misterley Manor archives for tales of the elusive Gilbert Fox-Travers – life should be perfect, if only she could untangle her complicated love life…

Caroline is desperately trying to keep Misterley from falling down around her ears, and it’s a tough enough job without throwing a stroppy teenager, a difficult ex-husband and a cantankerous father into the mix. 

When disaster strikes, Caroline and her family must pull together to save her beloved family home…Can Alice uncover the mystery of Gilbert Fox-Travers in time to save the Manor?

A Day in the Life of An Author
by Liz Taylorson

  1. Get up. Feed cats, chickens, children in that order. Wave husband and children off to work and school. Have a cup of tea. Dishwasher on, laundry in, beds made. It’s a beautiful day, I’m brimming with energy. Time to work!
  2. Check social media and the news to make sure that I’m on top of what’s going on in the world before I settle down to write for the morning. Aim for 2,000 words before coffee; manage about 1,000 and a few posts on Facebook – do they count?
  3. Break for Popmaster with Ken Bruce on Radio 2, and a cup of coffee. Fail miserably to answer any of the sensible questions, but manage to remember that Grandma, we love you … was by St. Winifred’s School Choir.
  4. More writing. Inevitably involves rewriting most of what I wrote before Popmaster (and occasionally bursting into the chorus of Grandma, we love you … because it’s now stuck in my head).
  5. Reach a dead end with the writing – in chapter 3, if Jeremy has only just met Anthea, how on earth can he believably know about her ex-husband’s poodle with the broken leg? 
  6. Realise that it’s time to go for a run. Try and come up with a reasonable excuse NOT to go for a run. Fail. Run. 
  7. Whilst running, come up with the perfect answer to how Jeremy knows about the poodle. I’m on top of the world! I can run for miles!
  8. Five minutes later, collapse in sweaty heap, unable to remember the elegant solution to the poodle problem. In fact, just about the only thing I can remember is the chorus of Grandma, we love you … and that doesn’t help.
  9. Lunch, sandwiches whilst I watch the lunchtime news which inevitably makes me miserable or angry – or both.
  10. Sensible, non-writing jobs after lunch. Cleaning, errands, e-mails, until the kids come in from school, then run around after kids or, if I’m really lucky and they’re doing homework (or they’re pretending to do homework), I might get some more writing done. I will undoubtedly drink more tea.
  11. Tea time. Usually three different meals at three different times depending on what clubs and social events we all have in the evening. Load the dishwasher, sort the recycling and drink more tea.
  12. Once the chaos subsides I try to sit down and read something stimulating or watch some uplifting film or television programme. Inevitably I end up spending an hour on social media chatting about Grandma we love you … or asking some writer friends what they think about the potential solution to the poodle problem whilst watching repeats of You’ve Been Framed. Drink more tea (decaf so that I might be able to sleep).
  13. Go to bed and read because I don’t feel even slightly sleepy. Get woken up by husband five minutes later to complain that I have fallen asleep reading again, I’m snoring, and I’ve stolen all the bedcovers. The last thing going through my mind before I finally drift off to sleep is the gentle strain of “Grandma, we love you …”

***

My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to take part in the tour and to Liz for providing such an entertaining guest post. Even if I do now have that blimming song going round in my head…..yes – I am old enough to remember it and I hated it then!

About the Author

Liz has always surrounded herself with books. 

As a child, she was always to be found with her head in one and she still has a bookcase full of her childhood favourites to this day. (She once read The Lord of the Rings thirteen times in a row, cover to cover!). All through childhood and adolescence she wrote – mainly historical romances involving impossibly perfect heroes. All this reading and writing led to a degree in English Literature (and another book-case full of books) and then a job as a cataloguer of early printed books for a major University Library. 

Children (and then cats and chickens) interrupted her bibliographic career, and having given up library work Liz started writing fiction and hasn’t stopped since, joining the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme to try to learn how to write novels properly in 2015. She has also written some short stories, with one “The Second Princess” winning a competition in Writing Magazine which led her to think that maybe publication wasn’t a pipe dream after all.

The publication of her first novel, “The Little Church by the Sea” published by Manatee Books in November 2017 is a dream come true.

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Louis and Louise by Julie Cohen |Blog Tour |Book Review

Published by Orion
Available in ebook and hardback (24 January 2019)
304 pages
Source: Review copy received from publisher

About the Book

ONE LIFE. LIVED TWICE.

Louis and Louise are the same person born in two different lives. They are separated only by the sex announced by the doctor and a final ‘e’.

They have the same best friends, the same red hair, the same dream of being a writer, the same excellent whistle. They both suffer one catastrophic night, with life-changing consequences.

Thirteen years later, they are both coming home.

A tender, insightful and timely novel about the things that bring us together – and those which separate us.

My Thoughts

I’m delighted to be starting off the blog tour for the publication of Louis & Louise together with fellow blogger Kerry of Herding Cats, my thanks to Orion for the review copy and to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to take part.

One life, told two ways.

Meet Louise. A red haired daughter born in 1978 to Peggy and Irving Alder.

Meet Louis. A red haired son born in 1978 to Peggy and Irving Alder.

We follow both Louis and Louise from childhood through to adulthood. They have the same friends, the same ambitions to be a writer, they go into and out of relationships and have the inevitable parental issues to deal with in later life. However they are not really treated equally.  Because of that ‘e’ and their gender, society and their families treat them differently, not only in emotional and practical terms, such as inheritance, but in expectations.

Aged 18 on graduation night, something happens to Louis and Louise which will have a life changing effect, the memory of which they will never forget. It’s enough to make them leave the paper mill town of Casablanca. Maine and not return for many years until they are called back by family.

Told by Louis and Louise in their separate voices, with other chapters being non-gender specific (‘Lou’) and which relate to both of them, I was completely absorbed by both their stories and the path that they had taken.  There are some dark times for Lou and some quite emotional moments.

It’s a Sliding Doors type of book – some of the characters are not necessarily in the same situations in both realities and although initially, this threw me a little once I’d got my head round it, it wasn’t an issue at all.

There is a real sense of place in the setting of the story, not only in the vivid description of the location but also that of the townspeople and you really have that feeling of small-town America with its prejudices.  The paper mill, owned by generations of male (not female) Alders, is the town’s main employer and although it enables people to live, its foul smell poisons the atmosphere.

Aside from Lou, there are some excellently drawn supporting characters who are integral to the story, including Dana, Louise’s petulant teenage daughter, Irving their father, Allie the best friend – they all stood out for me.

I’ve always loved Julie Cohen’s writing and this book is possibly one of her best.  It’s beautifully written with a narrative that is both poignant and thought provoking. She says in an introduction that it could be the most personal book she has written – this certainly comes across in the novel for me.

There are many themes explored here, including gender, sexuality, and forgiveness. I enjoyed it very much indeed and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

About the Author

Julie Cohen grew up in the western mountains of Maine. Her house was just up the hill from the library and she spent many hours walking back and forth, her nose in a book. She studied English Literature at Brown University and Cambridge University and is a popular speaker and teacher of creative writing, including classes for The Guardian and Literature Wales. Her books have been translated into fifteen languages and have sold nearly a million copies; DEAR THING was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. Julie lives in Berkshire with her husband, son and a terrier of dubious origin.

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The Liars Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard | Book Review | Blog Tour |#TheLiarsGirl

Published by Corvus Books
Available in ebook, audiobook and paperback (3 January 2019)
336 pages
Source: Review copy

My thanks to Anne Cater and the publisher for the copy to review and for the place on the tour. Having reviewed Catherine’s debut thriller, Distress Signals in 2016 (was it really that long ago!) I was looking forward to this and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m delighted to share my thoughts below, but first here’s a little about the book.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Her first love confessed to five murders. But the truth was so much worse.

Dublin’s notorious Canal Killer, Will Hurley, is ten years into his life sentence when the body of a young woman is fished out of the Grand Canal. Though detectives suspect they are dealing with a copycat, they turn to Will for help. He claims he has the information the police need, but will only give it to one person – the girl he was dating when he committed his horrific crimes.

Alison Smith has spent the last decade abroad, putting her shattered life in Ireland far behind her. But when she gets a request from Dublin imploring her to help prevent another senseless murder, she is pulled back to face the past – and the man – she’s worked so hard to forget.

MY THOUGHTS

29 year old Alison Smith has spent the last 10 years living in the Netherlands trying to forget that she was once the girlfriend of a serial killer.  Nobody there knows about her past and that’s how she would like it to stay until she suddenly finds two Irish detectives at her door, with a request that she accompany them back to Ireland to talk to Will; the man she hasn’t seen or spoken to for 10 years after he had been jailed for killing five young women.

Another woman has been found dead, killed in what looks like the same manner, however Will has been incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital. Will lets it be known that he has some information but insists that the only person he will speak to is Alison.  The last thing she wants is to return to the past but if it will stop other girls being killed, she feels she has no option other than to at least speak to him. 

The story moves between the past to when Alison was a student at St John’s College in Dublin and how she came to meet Will, and the present time. Will appeared to be the perfect boyfriend and I can quite understand why Alison never suspected that he could be a killer. She has never really recovered from that period of her life, she thought that her and Will would have a life together and then it was taken away so brutally, it’s not surprising that she has trust issues and keeps people, even female friends at arm’s length.

I really enjoyed this. It doesn’t have a fast moving plot but there is tension and intrigue, both with the current killings and also from the story of Will and Alison.  There are also chapters from the killer’s perspective which racks up the suspense. As much as I felt sympathy for Alison, she did frustrate me at times. Despite her earlier protests about not wanting to be involved, she did actually involve herself a bit more than she should have done and at times you just knew she was about to do something that she absolutely shouldn’t! Just don’t go there Alison!

The Liar’s Girl is a story of murder, manipulation and deceit and of course there is a twist in the tale!  I was a fan of the author after reading Distress Signals, and this has certainly made sure that I will read her next book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Photo Credit: Steve Langan

CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1982. Prior to writing full-time, Catherine worked as a campsite courier in France and a front desk agent in Walt Disney World, Florida, and most recently was a social media marketer for a major publisher. She is currently studying for a BA in English at Trinity College Dublin. Her debut novel Distress Signals was published by Corvus in 2016 and was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger

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