#BlogTour The Poppy Field by Deborah Carr

I missed the Publication Day Push (12th October 2018) for The Poppy Field by Deborah Carr, so I am just going to sneak myself onto the end of the BlogTour instead.

About the Author

Deborah Carr lives on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands with her husband, two children and three rescue dogs. She became interested in books set in WW1 when researching her great-grandfather’s time as a cavalryman in the 17th 21st Lancers.

She is part of ‘The Blonde Plotters’ writing group and was Deputy Editor on the online review site, Novelicious.com for seven years. Her debut historical romance, Broken Faces, is set in WW1 and was runner-up in the 2012 Good Housekeeping Novel Writing Competition and given a ‘special commendation’ in the Harry Bowling Prize that year. The Poppy Field is her second historical novel.

Follow @DebsCarr @HarperImpulse on Twitter

About the book

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Young nurse, Gemma, is struggling with the traumas she has witnessed through her job in the NHS. Needing to escape from it all, Gemma agrees to help renovate a rundown farmhouse in Doullens, France, a town near the Somme. There, in a boarded-up cupboard, wrapped in old newspapers, is a tin that reveals the secret letters and heartache of Alice Le Breton, a young volunteer nurse who worked in a casualty clearing station near the front line.

Set in the present day and during the horrifying years of the war, both woman discover deep down the strength and courage to carry on in even the most difficult of times. Through Alice’s words and her unfailing love for her sweetheart at the front, Gemma learns to truly live again.

This is a beautifully written epic historical novel that will take your breath away.


This is a story about a woman finding herself via the medium of a voice from the past. A stranger’s love story helps Gemma to acknowledge that she needs to take what she wants with both hands and to live life with no regrets.

Gemma finds a metal box full of letters from Alice, a VAD during WW1, written to her paramour. My great-grandmother was a VAD in France in the Great War, and now and again she would speak of a Canadian love she met and lost there, so the read had sentimental value for me. The love letters become a path of discovery and make Gemma more aware of her own needs and desires.

The connection to the farmhouse, the area, and a very handsome contractor, make Gemma feel even more as if she has found a place to call home. Instead of seeing the content of the letters as Gemma reads them the reader is taken into the past to WW1 and the life of Alice Le Breton. There are parallels between the lives of the two women, which is what fascinates Gemma, despite the many years that separates them.

I have to give Carr her dues for combining fact with fiction, especially when it comes to the more harsh realities of WW1. Facts such as; the short life expectancy of a pilot, the flimsy material the planes were made out of and the fact the pilots couldn’t see where they were going or flying, and the vicious use of gas as a weapon. How frightened the soldiers were by the noise, the brutality and hopelessness of the situation, and how limited the medical professionals were when it came to saving lives.

Carr reminds us how brave both the volunteers and the enlisted were, and how many lives both in the UK and abroad were devastated by the Great War.

It’s an emotional combination of historical fact and fiction with romance and love at the very core of both tales.

Buy The Poppy Field at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: HarperImpulse  Pub. date 12 Oct. 2018


#BlogTour False Witness by Michelle Davies

Today it is my pleasure to finish off the fabulous BlogTour for False Witness by Michelle Davies. It is the type of psychological thriller that makes you take sides and ponder the question of guilt and punishment.

About the Author

Michelle Davies was born in Middlesex in 1972, raised in Buckinghamshire and now lives in north London.

Her debut crime novel, Gone Astray, was published in Hardback in March 2016 and features Family Liaison Officer DC Maggie Neville as its central police character. The paperback version is due for publication on 20th October 2016. Gone Astray was part of a two-book deal with Pan Macmillan and the follow-up, Wrong Place, also featuring DC Neville, is due for release on 27th February 2017.

When she’s not turning her hand to crime, Michelle writes as a freelance journalist for women’s magazines including Marie Claire, Essentials, YOU and Stylist. Her last staff job before going freelance was as Editor-at-Large at Grazia and she was previously Features Editor at heat. She began her career straight from school at 18, working as a trainee reporter on her home-town newspaper, the Bucks Free Press.

About the book

7.15am: Two children are seen on top of a wall in a school.

Shortly later one of them lies fatally injured at the bottom.

Did the boy fall or was he pushed?

As a family liaison offer, DC Maggie Neville has seen parents crumble under the weight of their child’s death. Imogen Tyler is no different. Her son’s fall was witnessed by the school caretaker, a pupil is under suspicion, and Imogen is paralysed by grief and questions.

For Maggie, finding the truth is paramount if she is to help the mother. But as she investigates, further doubts emerge and the truth suddenly seems far from certain. Could the witness be mistaken about what happened, and if he is, then who is responsible? And how far will they go to cover up the boy’s death?

False Witness by Michelle Davies is the gripping third novel in the critically acclaimed Maggie Neville series, following Gone Astray and Wrong Place.


In the UK there is a notorious and very tragic case, which involves children killing children. Although this is less graphic and painful to read it does bring up the same topics of age, guilt and punishment. There is a legal age when a child becomes culpable and punishable by law, despite that the public views crimes by children differently.

Our brains aren’t fully developed till about mid 20’s, does that mean a child isn’t aware of right and wrong? When are they able to distinguish between crime and just rough play? In this story two children go up on a wall and only one comes down. Was the boy pushed or did he slip? Is it just an accident or was Poppy fully capable of making the decision to harm Benji? Was it just an emotional reflex or are we talking calculated?

Can you really isolate a child from family, peers and society and expect them to turn out anything other than damaged property. Or are there crimes that are so indefensible that there is no other choice but to do that. Not every child who commits a criminal act has a psychopathy.

One of the other interesting aspects of this story is the way the author portrays the influence social media and the media has on these kind of cases. Families and children are vilified without facts or evidence. They are tried, quartered and hung via comments before even stepping into a court room, which means there is no such thing as an objective view on the situation.

Davies presents both sides of this difficult scenario to create an emotional and gripping read. In the end the waters are so muddied that there is no clear answer. Why? It’s a child that’s why, which means the brain says one thing, whilst the heart and body can say or do a completely different thing.

It’s a read which will make people discuss, and I can imagine even argue at times. Perhaps because there is no clear cut answer to these types of incidents or crimes, and each case is individual. Either way it is a gripping read.

Buy False Witness at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Pan MacMillan

#BlogTour Somewhere Between the Silences by Lydia T. Kelly

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Somewhere Between the Silences by Lydia Kelly, Helen Rogers-Williams (Illustrator). It’s a fast-paced psychological thriller with an unusual ending, which promises further encounters with Katy.

About the Author

Born and raised in Buckinghamshire, favourite book since I was 11 is Pride and Prejudice. Loved to write even as a child.Moved to Tenerife in 2014, came back to England in 2015 and gave birth to my beautiful son in February 2016.

Diagnosed with depression and anxiety in 2017, writing allows an enormous release, almost like slowly combing knots from your hair. Writing gives me a chance to express experiences that perhaps are too challenging to discuss outside of fiction.

Studying for a degree in English Literature, The Arts Past and Present, Spanish and Law, and work in a secondary school, mainly supporting children with special educational needs. Will get out of bed even if it’s 3am just to make n+ot+es of potential plots or character profiles.

Can never write one book at a time, currently in the middle of 4 (all due out by end of 2018):

A Poisoned Apple, The Wolf in Mine, A Single Mum’s Guide to Life (Dating, Depression and Down Right Disasters), Ella’s not-so Fairytale

Follow @LydiaKelly3 on Twitter

Buy Somewhere Between the Silences

About the book

Somewhere Between the Silences is a short, sharp psychological thriller, revealing the sinister truth of what lengths one man will go to, to keep his secrets silenced. Katy Young was a radiant and out-going young woman in the prime of her life, longing for a new adventure with the man she loved. That was until Katy was involved in a hair-raising accident which caused seemingly irreversible damage to her memory; it now falls upon her adoring husband to revive those absent aspects of her past. To look at, Ryan Young is a stereotypical man in his thirties, works hard and clearly dotes upon his wife and their only son, Aaron. But, beneath the surface lurks a monster, capable of unimaginable destruction. Katy is well aware she does not exist in a regular marriage but how much of her past life has her husband repressed to keep control of his wife? Recommended for 18+ due to mature themes and sexual content.


Imagine having a seemingly perfect life, with a husband and child, and yet somewhere in the back of your mind there is a niggle of doubt. A slither of suspicion weaving its way slowly through her entire body and mind. A lot of her suspicion is perhaps easily explained by the severe brain trauma and memory loss she suffered after a severe road traffic accident.

Her husband is increasingly violent during their sexual encounters, and rape is his idea of fun rough sex, which is obviously ‘consensual’ in his mind because they are married. Slowly buried memories start resurfacing, which calls everything she thinks is true into question, including the fact she is allegedly married to Ryan. Her questions and doubts put herself and others in danger. Rocking the boat is a bad idea when you are cast adrift in a sea of memory loss.

I adore the cover, (Illustrator – Helen Rogers-Williams), it is hauntingly beautiful and yet it doesn’t seem to accurately reflect the content. Unless the roots and the branches of the tree are supposed to represent the memories buried deep inside Katy and the ones she cannot grasp or retrieve at all any more.

At times it is a little disjointed and as fuzzy as the memories Katy is trying to grab and hold on to. Where are all the people from her life before the accident, and the poor baby is almost an afterthought somewhere in the background. Less haste more details.

The ending leaves enough room for further ventures into this twisted game of control and obsession. Nothing is as it seems, and nobody is without blame in this situation. Will Katy ever get the peace and justice she deserves?

It’s a fast-paced psychological thriller with an unusual ending, which promises further encounters with Katy.

Buy Somewhere Between the Silences at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

#BlogTour Star Jumpers: The Lion Roars by Zoe Baxter

Today it’s my stop on the BlogTour for Book 1 in the Star Jumpers series, The Lion Roars by Zoe Baxter. It’s an exciting fantasy adventure featuring a group of unsuspecting teenagers, as the unintentional soldiers in a fight, which has nothing to do with them.

About the Author

Zoe Baxter is the author of the Star Jumpers series, a fast-paced urban fantasy adventure set in the Dark Sky Park of Northumbria. An avid scribbler, she lives in a world filled with vicious and venomous creatures breathing down her neck, and has even been known to take the odd zip wire flight in the name of research.

Follow @zoebaxterbooks

Or Zoe Baxter on Facebook  or on Instagram

Buy Star Jumpers: The Lion Roar

Enter the Giveaway (bottom of the post) – Win a Star Jumpers paperback, bookmark and postcard (UK Only)

About the book

Four Teens: One Quest: A World of Magic and Adventure

It was no ordinary zipwire flight. Thrust into the magical world of Hadrixia, flame-haired Zara Bulmer and her three teenage companions must thwart the Dark Ruler of Hadrixia in their quest to locate the Stone of Exerith. The fate of the Empire depends on their success…and safe return to Star Camp.

On their journey, the foursome must tangle with vicious creatures like the horn-headed Warnoks and the venomous web-tailed Tarquids. Will they succumb to the persuasive chants of the fire-loving Brozigs or be mauled to death by the tree-swinging Harnts?

The friends join forces with Hadrixian teenager, Quinn, and encounter the kindness of Semyon, an aged wizard potionmaker.

Will Zara fulfil the destiny bestowed upon her before the sun sets on the last day of July? Or will the Portwall to the Outside remain sealed, imprisoning the four intrepid teenagers in Hadrixia, consigning them to a future of chaos, destruction, or even death?

There’s only one way to find out: Welcome to the perilous world of Hadrixia…

It’s an exciting fantasy adventure featuring a group of unsuspecting teenagers, as the unintentional soldiers in a fight, which has nothing to do with them. Friendships are formed quickly, as they resign themselves to the quest of retrieving a magical stone. A stone that will help to restore peace in a kingdom ravaged by greedy oppressors.

There are interesting parallels between our world and this fantasy world, especially when it comes to natural resources. Destroying food, polluting the world with no regard for any future generations. Stripping the world bare of any and all resources we need to survive and poisoning the rest. Sound familiar? Might not be so different in other worlds after all.

This is a read you can buy for children (over 10 and up) and older readers. It is a fantasy adventure featuring a group of teenagers, as they are propelled into a battle and a quest to free a country from oppression. Not just any old country, a place you can only gain access to via portals, which apparently are now in the middle of activity parks. Might need to watch out for that, not sure I want to accidentally end up travelling to goodness knows where.

I enjoyed the way Baxter just thrust the reader and characters straight into the midst of the adventure they embark upon. Without preamble – just jumping right into the fray. I think the characters are just as surprised as the reader, when a zip-line turns out to be a portal to another world.

It is certainly fast-paced and has a lot of potential, especially when the future tasks they have to achieve or conclude to get their friends to safety, are plenty and seem insurmountable. I am sure Zara, Oscar, Fergus and Aimie will be up to the task, even if it means jumping off a mountain to regain entry into Hadrixia.

Buy Star Jumpers: The Lion Roars at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Paperback edition

Enter Giveaway below –  Win Star Jumpers paperback, bookmark and postcard (UK Only) (see Terms and Conditions of the Giveaway organiser below)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries only welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

#BlogTour The Story of Our Lives by Helen Warner

Today it is my pleasure to take part in the Blog-Tour for The Story of our Lives by Helen Warner. It’s a testimony of love, loyalty and friendship between four friends throughout the good and hard times. Unconditional love and support over twenty years.

About the Author

Helen Warner is Director of Daytime for ITV where she oversees a wide range of programming from ‘This Morning’ to ‘The Chase’. Previously, she was at Channel 4 where she was responsible for shows including ‘Come Dine With Me’, ‘Coach Trip’ and ‘Deal or No Deal’.

She lives in Essex with her husband and their two children and she writes her books on the train to and from work.

Follow @HQStories

Buy The Story of Our Lives

About the book

Four friends. Twenty years. One powerful secret. Everyone remembers where they were on 31st August 1997, the day Princess Diana died.

Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa certainly do -– a beautiful cottage in Southwold, at the start of an annual tradition to have a weekend away together.

Every year since, the four best friends have come back together. But over time the changes in their lives have led them down very different paths. And it’s when those paths collide that the secrets they’ve been keeping come tumbling out.

One Day meets Big Little Lies in this unputdownable read about four friends, one long-buried secret and the histories we all share.


Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa are a close-knit group of friends. The reader follows them through their trials and tribulations over a period of two decades. They meet every year at the same time to celebrate their friendships and all the changes in their lives. Pregnancies, career changes, marriages, affairs, betrayals and life in general.

There is a fair amount of victim blaming when it comes to Amy and her situation. ‘If only she was a little tougher. If she stood up for herself it wouldn’t happen.’ This is a common reaction and misconception when it comes to domestic abuse, the assumption that it is just about the victim not being able to stand up for themselves. Even her friends are quick to place the blame on her.

It’s easy to ignore the obvious, when it comes to domestic abuse. The hard part is supporting victims, despite the fact they may go back to their abuser. It takes an incredible amount of courage to leave a situation of complete control, isolation and fear.

I have this rule of thumb when it comes to books or stories I read. If the characters or premise evoke any kind of emotion, even if it is anger or irritation, then the author has done their job. So with that said let me just have a grumble about Sophie and the way she reacts at the end. Can we all just say hypocrite. Her indignation and anger are misplaced, and ironic to say the least. Talk about selective memory and being judgemental. Okay, I feel much better now.

Warner has created a story that will resonate with a lot of readers, especially those who understand the complexities of friendships between women. Friendships that stand the test of time, relationships with people who exhibit loyalty under extreme duress and are willing to stand by you through your hardest times. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

The Story of Our Lives is an ode to the special connections we make in life, about the paths we choose and the mistakes we make. It is also about the people who walk with us instead of away from us when things crumble and fall apart around us.

Buy The Story of Our Lives at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.


#BlogTour Girl Targeted by Val Collins

Today is my stop on the Blog-Tour for Girl Targeted by Val Collins. It is a tale of murder with an underlying sense of darkness throughout, but not just because of the murder per se. Her main character has a nose for murder, which leads to the discovery of self and snake pit full of lies.

About the Author

“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to read but writing is a pretty new adventure for me.

Of course I wrote stories when I was very young and I especially loved rewriting the ends of movies but I was an impatient kid and had an unfortunate tendency towards perfectionism. When, at around the age of ten, I realised my attempts at writing dialogue were dire, my writing career came to an abrupt end. A few years ago I decided to try my hand at writing again and Girl Targeted was the eventual result.

Girl Targeted is set in Ireland where I have lived all my life. It’s set in an office, an environment I know well as my entire working life has been spent doing office work. I’ve worked for small and medium sized organisations, for multinationals and for many different business sectors. Unfortunately, I was never lucky enough to come across anything as exciting as a murder so I had to rely on my imagination to create Aoife’s world.

I really loved writing Girl Targeted and I hope you enjoy reading it. Val”

Follow @valcollinsbooks on Twitter or ValCollinsBooks on Facebook

Visit valcollinsbooks.com

Buy Girl Targeted(UK)

Buy Girl Targeted (US)

About the book

A Psychological Thriller/Suspense set in Ireland.

Office jobs can be stressful. Aoife’s may be lethal.

Aoife’s life is finally on track. She’s happily married, pregnant with her first child and has the world’s best mother-in-law. But when Aoife accepts a job as an office temp, her entire life begins to unravel. Is one of Aoife’s colleagues a murderer? Is Aoife the next target? Why is her husband unconcerned?

Can office politics lead to murder? Girl Targeted is a perfect read for fans of Behind Closed Doors, Girl on a Train and the Silent Wife.


It is a tale of murder with an underlying sense of darkness throughout, but not because of the murder per se. The feeling of fear, uncertainty and confusion comes from an entirely different place.

The story pulls the reader in two directions, and if I am being completely frank, I am not sure that was intentional. I think the relationship between Aoife and Jason was supposed to be a mere distraction in the background with the murder mystery taking centre stage. Personally I found their relationship and the clear message it sends, far more compelling than Aoife playing a very young and naive Miss Marple.

There was one thing that bothered me about Girl Targeted, and I could not be clearer about it being a personal preference thereby having nothing to do with how much I enjoyed the read. When it comes to names that look one way and are pronounced a completely different way I tend to suffer from my very own version of the Stroop Effect. Example: the word purple being written in red, do not read the word say the colour. So, the same happened with the name Aoife. Pronounced Ee-faa (and yes the author does tell the reader how to say it), my mind says Oyff. I was annoyed by own brain going Oyff nope Ee-faa the entire time. ‘Sigh’

I digress.

Let’s get back to what really had me intrigued when it came to this story. On the surface Aoife and Jason appear to be a happy young couple with a new baby. Jason’s views are perhaps a wee bit chauvinistic, but there is nothing wrong him wanting her to stay at home with the baby, right. There is however something wrong with Jason. He wants to control all the money, the narrative and who Aoife meets or talks to.

Wrapped in a bubble of apparent concern is the insidious nature of the beast called abuse. Jason uses emotional abuse to control Aoife. He uses neglect and coercion to convince her to do everything he wants. He traces her every move, controls every penny and manipulates others to get his wife to do what he wants.

It seems almost innocent and can easily be mistaken for overprotective love or concern for a loved one, which is often how an abusive partner gets away with it. They try and take away any financial freedom, make the victim dependent upon them in every way and seclude them from family and friends. Extreme jealousy and paranoia are usually precursors for abusive behaviour.This element of the story, and the way it evolved, was really interesting.

Girl Targeted is a murder mystery with the serious topic of abuse woven into the story. The main character has a nose for murder, which leads to the discovery of self and a snake pit full of lies.

Buy Girl Targeted at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

#BlogTour Turning for Home by Barney Norris

I am absolutely delighted to be part of the #BlogTour for this incredibly talented author. Believe you me the hype is not only worth it, it is also absolutely accurate. Barney Norris has a knack for storytelling and is a scribe worth watching.

About the Author

Barney Norris was born in Sussex in 1987, and grew up in Salisbury. Upon leaving university he founded the theatre company Up In Arms. He won the Critics’ Circle and Offwestend Awards for Most Promising Playwright for his debut full-length play Visitors. He is the Martin Esslin Playwright in Residence at Keble College, Oxford. Barney’s new play Nightfall is one of the three inaugural productions at Nicholas Hytner’s new Bridge Theatre, beginning early 2018.

Follow @barnontherun @DoubleDayUK

Buy Turning for Home

About the book

Once a year, every year, Robert’s family come together at a rambling old house in the country to celebrate his birthday. Aunts, uncles, grandchildren, distant cousins – it is a milestone in their lives and has been for decades. But this year Robert doesn’t want to be reminded of what has happened since they last met – and neither, for quite different reasons, does his granddaughter Kate. Robert is determined that this will be the final party. But for both him and Kate, it may also become the most important gathering of all.

As lyrical and true to life as Norris’s critically acclaimed debut Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain, this is a compelling, emotional story of family, human frailty, and the marks that love leaves on us.

Barney’s debut novel, Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain was bestselling and critically acclaimed – the Guardian called it a ‘state of the nation novel’, and ‘deeply affecting’, and the Mail on Sunday praised it as ‘outstanding…a moving, strangely uplifting novel…Superb’. It featured as Waterstones Book of the Month, and was shortlisted for prizes including the RSL Ondaatje Prize and Debut of the Year at the British Book Awards.

In Turning for Home, Barney tackles the issue of eating disorders, a very personal subject that has affected someone close to him. Barney has much to contribute to current discussion around how mental health and eating disorders in particular are handled by our health services.


It isn’t often one finds an author self-assessing their own novel at the end of said novel, and then pinpointing exactly what my thoughts are on the story in question.

Norris himself says that initially this started out as a story about the Boston Tapes. They started out as a series of frank interviews given by former loyalist and republican paramilitaries that chronicles their involvement in the Troubles, in an attempt to create an oral history of those times. In return for names, dates, places and details, the former paramilitaries made a deal that the interviews wouldn’t be made public until after their deaths.

Including the frank admission that Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams had his own squad within the IRA, who were responsible for the so-called ‘Disappeared’ of the Troubles. The people who were targeted, kidnapped, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA.

I digress.

Turning for Home is like reading two stories in one, and I am sure both would make excellent stand-alone novels. Together they become something special. A spark ignites and weaves its way through this poignant tale of pain, grief and control.

The reader follows Robert and Kate, grandfather and granddaughter. Their individual tales collide at the annual celebration for Robert’s birthday. A family reunion that has an air of finality to it, especially since the loss of Robert’s wife.

Robert is dealing with the implications of the Boston Tapes. The possibility of secrets being aired has some of his connections running scared, and after so many years the past has the power to insert itself into the future.

Kate’s story is a wee bit more complex. She suffers from anorexia nervosa, which comes under eating disorders in the DSM. Norris gives the reader a candid look into the thought process of someone with an eating disorder, and how many misconceptions there are about how to help someone with the disorder. Even so-called mental health professionals have difficulty really comprehending the grip it can have, and the impact it has on entire families.

It’s all about control and loss of control. When you experience loss of control it is a normal response to try and regain it. You start to look for the one thing no one else can control but you. Food, fat and calories become the enemy and you start to fight them with every inch of your body.

Aside from the obvious familial connection, the thread that connects both Robert and Kate, and their stories, is coping with loss and feelings of guilt. Unresolved emotional distress, trauma and conflict are the equivalent of malignant tumours in our bodies. Sometimes the inner enemy is evident and sometimes it is a ticking time-bomb waiting to explode.

Norris writes with a finesse and wisdom beyond his years. He has the gift of gab, a knack for telling a story and pulling his readers along with him on a journey even he doesn’t have the directions for. Eventually he brings himself and us home, regardless of wherever that may be.

Buy Turning for Home at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.