Monday 30 May 2016

Wanderlust - Simon Foster

After 9/11, Aussie expat Luke Bales is determined to make a success of his New York bar, The Billabong.

But when a hot fashion student goes missing from the bar, Luke’s liquor license is threatened and his sidekick placed under suspicion.

To keep his dream alive, Luke follows a bloody trail through the city’s boroughs, soon realizing that evil can strike thousands of miles from home.

Or just around the corner. 

What did I think?

Well this was a little hidden gem of a book and I absolutely raced through it one rainy Saturday afternoon.  I knew I was going to love it from the very first page; not just because it was set in a bar (as many people know I'm a beer lover) but because of the easy going Aussie lingo that reminded me of happy days watching Home and Away and Neighbours.  Lingo that greeted me like an old friend, drawing me in and pulling out a seat with my name on it at this friendly bar in NYC named The Billabong.

The book is named after a beer cocktail served at The Billabong - beer cocktail, you say?  Yes, you heard me right.  I have got to try The Wanderlust, although I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to put a dash of Tabasco in my beer.  Anyway I digress enough about the beer, on to the book...

The story starts as Luke and his assistant, Anchor, are setting up his bar one Monday afternoon for what will surely be another busy evening, when in walk two NYPD detectives.  They are investigating a case of a missing Australian girl who was last seen at The Billabong on Friday night.  Luke recognises her from her photograph but can't say who she was with or when she left the bar as it was so busy, so the detectives want to speak to Anchor, who conveniently made a sharp exit as they entered the bar.  When body parts start turning up, it's not long before Anchor's shady past is revealed and he is collared for the crime.  Luke is convinced of his innocence but the detectives are happy they have got their man.  Case closed.  The case is far from closed for Luke who follows a trail around New York, getting into scrapes along the way and using his Aussie charm to talk himself out of trouble.  

Luke is a great character with some cracking lines; there are too many to mention here and by doing so would spoil the book anyway. Needless to say I was crying with laughter at times despite the sometimes serious storyline.  Any character that says, 'Don't be a galah' to an impending fight scene is a winner for me! 

Wanderlust will appeal to all crime fiction fans and the added humour and laid back Aussie style make it something that little bit different; I'm sure Wanderlust is destined for great things and I know without a doubt that it will be one of my top reads of 2016.  It is so addictive that you can't put it down and as usual I didn't get the whodunnit right.  Either I'm really bad at picking up clues or the author is really clever...I'm going to go with the latter!  If you're looking for something a bit different, you won't go wrong with Wanderlust.

An absolutely cracking (or should I say bonzer?) debut from author Simon Foster and I do hope that Simon lets us catch up with Luke and The Billabong again.

I received this e-book from the author, via Books Go Social, in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

Saturday 28 May 2016

Book Birthday Blog Tour - Bride Without a Groom

I read Bride Without a Groom in September 2015, after picking it up from Amazon.  It is an absolutely hilarious laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that I remember with fond affection, almost as if Rebecca was an old friend.  You can read my review here.
I am really excited to be part of the Book Birthday Blog Tour and I have an extract from Bride Without a Groom to share with you.

The Priest in the Living Room
Our conversation is cut short. There’s someone at the door. The bell rings again and Barry stands.
Whoever it is,’ I bark, ‘tell them to kindly shove off!’
Father Maguire!’ Barry cannot hide his surprise. The conversation at the front door is muffled, and I’m ear-wigging like my life depends on it.
Won’t you please come in?’
Oh no!
The miniature priest is standing in our living room. I’m feeling decidedly queasy.
Ah, Rebecca. Thank you for your email last week. I was just passing, so I thought I’d pop in quickly. Hope it’s not a bad time?
How’s your mother?’
I… eh… she’s… please have a seat.’ I scooch Jess from the couch and he hisses at me.
I’m staring at the priest blankly and Barry is making a puzzled face behind him. The penny drops. My email! Last week!
Thank you,’ the priest receives the tea that Barry has brought in on a tray.
Biscuit?’ Barry offers.
Yes, please. Well, now. First of all, congratulations.’
Sweet mothering divine Jesus H Christ our Lord and Saviour.
I pray that the ground will open up and swallow me. God declines my request. I have lied. To an actual priest! I’ve told porkies right into his sweet innocent Catholic face. I’ll surely burn for all eternity. Barry’s eyebrows are raised and his eyes are piercing mine, but I stay silent.
So. You were requesting dates for the church.’ Father Maguire flicks through his black pocket diary.
Well, I…we…’ I’m unable to form the words.
Aha. Yes. You’re in luck. Now, it’s usually booked well in advance. Especially the Saturdays. But we do have a cancellation for February. What date were you thinking?’
I’ve never seen that particular shade of purple on Barry’s face before. The power of speech has eluded me. I’ve been caught red handed, it seems. Lock me up and throw away the key.
Pencil us in for June,’ Barry’s face is like thunder.
Right. So, there’s Saturday the twentieth? Two o’clock?’ his pencil hovers over the date.
Fine.’ Barry refuses to look at me.
OK, then…’ the priest is unable to understand. He has missed the punch line of the sick joke.
Please excuse me, Father. I’m off on a business trip this evening, so I need to get packing. Thanks for stopping by.’
Barry shakes his hand and leaves the room without glancing in my direction.
Eh, more tea?’ There is a tremor in my voice and the teapot lid is rattling.
Thank you, Rebecca, but no.’
Father Maguire is on his feet and moving in the direction of the front door.
Must be off. I’m on my way to see another parishioner. Just recovering from a stroke, poor dear. God bless. I’ll be in touch.’
My hands are glued over my mouth and nose as Barry returns to the room.
Listen, I can explain…’

Happy Book Birthday!

Single, coupled-up or married, this laugh-out-loud summer read is the perfect anecdote for the wedding season!

Rebecca has chosen the most luscious, five tiered, wedding cake. The engagement ring that she has selected is celebrity inspired. The wedding singer is on speed dial. He doesn’t usually do Michael Bolton, but as it’s for a first dance he’ll make an exception. Father Maguire is checking dates for the parish church as we speak. The deposit on the white sand honeymoon is paid for in full on Barry’s card. She has fallen for an ivory lace couture gown that is to die for. The down payment may require her to sell a left kidney, but it will be worth it. Isn’t that why you have two?

There’s one teeny tiny problem. It’s nothing, really. No need to panic! It’s just that Barry has yet to propose. Says he’s not ready! He can be a bit of a kill joy that way. In fact, he's gone away on a business trip and says that he needs some space. Meanwhile, Barry's tie loosens, the Tiger beer is flowing, and his colleague Shelley is providing more than a shoulder to cry on. Back in Dublin, Rebecca worries, putting Operation Win Back Barry into action. But who is the mysterious dark haired woman that is so keen to talk to her, and what is it that Barry wants to get off his chest? 


Amy Lynch is an Irish author of humorous romantic women’s fiction, but not always with fairy tale endings! She has been working in the charity sector for many years, is married and has two young children. When she is not writing, she can be found juggling school runs, packing lunch boxes, tackling the laundry mountain and walking two large rescue dogs who stare at her until she walks them. Talk about multi-tasking!
Her debut novel ‘Bride Without a Groom’ is a laugh out loud Bridezilla comedy, was published by Avon, Harper Collins in May 2015. 

Follow the tour:

Monday 23 May 2016

BLOG TOUR: The Girl Who Lied - Sue Fortin

I'm really excited to be taking part in my first HarperImpulse blog tour and you can read my review of The Girl Who Lied here.  For the blog tour I have a special blog post from Sue Fortin with a clever writing tip that she used when writing The Girl Who Lied.

Blog Post – Upping The Stakes

I’ve been on some fabulous courses over the years, run by some very inspiring writers, such as, Sarah Duncan, Sue Moorcroft and Julie Cohen. I’ve come away with great advice from each of them.

One particular exercise at Sarah Duncan’s course always comes to mind when I’m plotting and, indeed, throughout the whole process of writing a novel and that is to ‘up the stakes.’

The exercise we went through was to first think of an incident that was illegal or dangerous. 

We said shoplifting.

We were then asked to up the stakes. Our response was a friend was shoplifting.

We then had to again up the stakes

The friend was caught by the security guard.

Up the stakes…

The security guard knew the woman.

Up the stakes…

The security guard was the woman’s husband.

So now, the stakes are so much higher, there’s much more conflict and tension to be had in the storyline.

As I say, I find this such a useful piece of advice and when I wrote The Girl Who Lied, I used this throughout. Without giving away the plot, I had to push my characters to their limits which I did by upping the stakes the whole time. It was great fun to see just how far they would go and to see the story develop into something with so much more exciting than the initial idea.

About Sue Fortin:

Published by Harper Collins' imprint Harper Impulse, Sue Fortin writes romance, mystery and suspense. 

Her originally self-published debut novel was awarded the INDIE Brag Medallion and later when published by HarperImpulse was short-listed for the Joan Hessayon Award (2014). Sue was also short-listed for the Festival of Romance, New Talent Award (2013). Her second novel, Closing In, reached number one in the Romantic Suspense Kobo chart at the end of 2014. Sue blogs regularly with the on-line writing group The Romaniacs (

Lover of cake, Dragonflies and France. Hater of calories, maths and snakes. Sue was born in Hertfordshire but had a nomadic childhood, moving often with her family, before eventually settling in West Sussex.

Sue is married with four children, all of whom patiently give her time to write but, when not behind the keyboard, she likes to spend her time with them, enjoying both the coast and the South Downs, between which they are nestled.

Sue is represented by Kate Nash Literary Agency.

You can catch up with Sue at
Twitter @suefortin1
Website & Blog

The Lad Lit Blog Tour

Well this is something a bit different.  I have to admit that I wasn't aware of the existence of Lad Lit, so many thanks to Steven Scaffardi and his laugh out loud books, The Drought and The Flood, for introducing me to the genre.  The Lad Lit Blog Tour is a gargantuan tour with no fewer than 39 stops, and I am delighted to be one of them.

There are so many great characters in the book but my favourite has to be Ollie as he's so innocent in his hilarious observations.  I asked Steven Scaffardi if he wouldn't mind putting a few questions to Ollie, so read on for some cracking answers.

So Ollie, tell us a little about yourself.

Hi Michelle, thanks for having me! I don’t normally get to do these public speaking thingy’s. Jack always tells me I don’t have the vocadbury to have a proper conversation. I don’t know why he always laughs at me and offers me a Dairy Milk chocolate bar when I say that, but there are a lot of things Jack does that I don’t really understand. Anyway, back to me! What can I tell you about myself? Well, I’m a postman and I recently joined LinkedIn so I could connect with all of my clients. Only two have accepted so far, but that’s pretty good. When I’m not delivering the post, you can normally find me in the pub.

You're a really close knit group of 4 guys who seem to get on really well; can you briefly describe your 3 friends?

Rob is like the leader of our little gang. He’s a bloody good looking bloke, and he’s brilliant to have around when you’re trying to chat up the ladies. I normally send him in first and then take whatever is left. Jack is my best friend. We’ve known each other since Primary School. He’s quite cocky though. I am allowed to say cocky, right? Oh that’s good. And then you have Dan. He’s a great guy. Shit with the ladies, but a great guy.

How do you think the group dynamic changed with the introduction of firstly Ieuan and then the girls, Steph and Shaila, from Dan's work?

I really like Ieuan, and since he has come along, it’s taken the heat off me a little as Jack now has two people to take the piss out of. It used to just be me. And he even takes the piss for no reason. You know that documentary about the old American President that came out a few years ago? You know, the one about the guy with the beard who fought all those monsters? Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter! That one. Well, Jack is always laughing at me for liking that documentary, but at least I know my history!

And the night I met Steph and Shaila was really special. I really like Steph. She’s super smart, and we’re always talking about things like religion and politics. Talking of which, you know that programme Question Time? Jack told me there would be nudity in that programme, but I haven’t seen any yet. I’ll keep watching though because you never know.

You often seem to be the butt of your friends' jokes – what part do you think you play in the group?

What are you talking about? I’m not the butt of their jokes. I’m no one’s butt. I’m more of the silent thinker type. But I’m also the one who can down 10 pints and still walk straight for the rest of the evening. Pretty cool eh?

Who is your ideal woman and what would be your best chat up line when you meet her?

I don’t really do chat-up lines – that is more a Jack thing. But I have to say that when I go back to a girl’s house for the night, there are two things I insist on – a cooked breakfast in the morning and a lift home. My ideal women would probably be Dawn French. Bigger women are always more appreciative and put in a bit more effort.

Who do you get on best within the group and why?

Even though he always takes the mickey out of me, Jack is my best friend. We’re a bit like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito from that film Twins. Jack hates it when I compare him to Danny DeVito, but it always gets a good laugh from everyone else. I like all the boys, but I’ve known Jack the longest and he’ll be my best man if Steph ever decides to break up with her boyfriend and get with me.

What was your favourite subject at school?

I really enjoyed maths, but that was mainly because there was a really fit foreign exchange student in our class from Turkey. Her name was Kama Sutra. I’m not sure if I am saying that correct because the boys always laugh at me when I mention her name.

You're currently pursuing a career as a postman; if you could do any job what would it be?

Steph’s boyfriend is a banker, so maybe something smart like that. Steph is really smart too, and I won’t hear a bad word said against her. A few weeks ago Jack said that he had met goats with more brains than Steph. That was a stupid thing to say for two reasons: 1. Where do you even go to meet goats? And 2. It made me so angry that I threw a stress ball at his head and nearly knocked him out.

If you were a superhero, who would you be?

Probably Duffman from The Simpsons because he gets to drink beer all day.

Which Dan did you prefer and which is the real Dan Hilles? Dan in The Drought – the woman repellent or Dan in The Flood – the babe magnet?

The babe magnet?! I’m not sure he’s ever been or ever will be a babe magnet! To me he was the same old Dan in both books. Yes, in The Flood he had a bit more luck, but at what cost? He was dating a stalker, his crazy ex-girlfriend, the office ice queen, and a girl who he has struck out with twice already!

I like to call Dan sexual Kryptonite such is his rubbish performances with the ladies. Don’t get fooled by The Flood – it is the same old Dan. The problem with Dan is that he is just too nice to juggle multiple girls at the same time. I tried to warn him but he wouldn’t listen. As I said to him then – there is nothing wrong with being a nice guy. In fact, some girls like the missionary position all night.

Many thanks to Ollie for answering my questions in his own unique way!

A  little bit about the author:

Steven Scaffardi was born in Tooting, south London. A former journalist, The Drought was his first novel and received praise from television personalities and journalists alike, as well as being shortlisted for the Shirley You Jest Book Awards.

In 2011 he spent 12 months on the London open mic stand-up comedy circuit, finishing runner-up in the Golden Jester stand-up comedy competition for his brand of comedy that combined witty observation with self-deprecating humour; incorporating tales of relationships, dealing with life in his 30s, and the situations he encounters as a man.

In March 2016 he created the #LadLitSunday hashtag to promote news about lad lit, before embarking on a 30-date blog tour in April 2016 to raise awareness of the genre.

His second novel, The Flood, is the next instalment in the Sex, Love and Dating Disasters series due for eBook publication on April 30 and paperback release on May 19.

Praise for Steven’s books
Steven Scaffardi’s first novel is absolutely hilarious and will leave every reader, male or female, laughing out loud.” Chick Lit Plus

A pleasantly darker alternative to the offerings of Mike Gayle. All hail the arrival of Steven Scaffardi.” Ortis Deley | Television & Radio Presenter

I laughed so hard I spat my tea out! An absolutely cracking debut novel. Highly recommended!”

WARNING - This book will make you cry... with laughter! The perfect gift for the lad in your life!” BCF Book Review

Witty, well -written, and pulls no punches. Scaffardi has an imaginative mind that needs to be unleashed!” Angellica Bell | Television & Radio Presenter

Useful links

Download The Drought from Amazon here and The Flood here for the bargain price of only 99p each.

Saturday 21 May 2016

The Girl Who Lied - Sue Fortin

The truth hurts…

Erin and Roisin were once friends until a fatal accident ruined both their lives. Now, Roisin has discovered a secret—one Erin has kept for over a decade—and she’s determined to make Erin pay for her lies.

Erin wants nothing to do with Roisin. She has a new life in London and no intention of going back home. Yet when her father is mysteriously and critically injured, Erin has no choice but to return and face Roisin—and her past. Erin knows if the secret of what she gave up got out, the consequences could be devastating.

When Roisin suddenly disappears, suspicion soon lands on Erin. She would do anything to protect her family, but just how far is she willing to go when time is running out…?

What did I think?

What would you do if your deepest, darkest secret was about to be revealed?  How far would you go to protect the ones you love? These questions were posed to Erin when she returned to Ireland after thinking that she left her past and her secrets behind for good.

The book starts with Erin Hurley receiving an email from her old schoolfriend, Roisin.  Roisin is a part of Erin's past that she wants to forget, but Roisin won't give up and keeps pestering Erin claiming that she knows Erin's secret and even has proof.  Erin is determined to ignore Roisin in the hope that she will go away but when Erin's Dad has an accident and she returns to Ireland, it's only a matter of time before she bumps into Roisin.  How much does Roisin really know and will she really reveal Erin's secret?

Erin has a very strained relationship with her Dad and you could feel her conflicting emotions as she visited him in hospital.  As the days went on it was almost like she defrosted and you could see the little buds of love starting to reappear on her family tree.  Whilst Erin is visiting her Dad we are treated to flashbacks of Erin's school days.  Days that were far from happy thanks to Jody Wright calling her Curly Hurley and Bunny because of her curly carrot coloured hair.  There's one in every class, isn't there?

As with any small town, it was inevitable that Erin would run into Jody and his teasing hasn't lessened as the years have passed, he still has his schoolboy humour and is completely ignorant of the hurt his words have caused.  Jody's cousin, Kerry, on the other hand is warm and caring and it isn't long before Erin is drawn to him and finds that the attraction is mutual.  Erin doesn't want to get close to anybody but Kerry has really strong feelings for her - feelings that would see him going to any lengths to protect her.

When Roisin's threats don't abate and she suddenly goes missing, I felt like I was reading a game of Cluedo.  With so many people caring about Erin, any one of them could have caused harm to Roisin, including Erin herself.  The way that Sue Fortin leads us up to Roisin's disappearance was brilliant; any one of four people could have met with Roisin and seen her come to an unfortunate end.  I certainly had my money on one of them in particular but, yet again, I was completely wrong!

I really enjoyed this as a story about family relationships and how blood is thicker than water.  Roisin's disappearance was an added bonus that added an extra thrilling dimension to the story.  Although some of the story was guessable, it was so completely engaging that it left me with a lump in my throat and tears running down my face at the end.  The Girl Who Lied is a superb book that drew me in from the very first page then put me through the emotional wringer and left me reaching for the tissues at the end.

I received this e-book from the publisher, HarperImpulse, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

Wednesday 18 May 2016

COVER REVEAL: The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower - Rebecca Raisin

Book Information

Title: The Little Antique Shop Under the Eiffel Tower
Author: Rebecca Raisin
Series: The Little Paris Collection, Book 2
Standalone?: Yes
Release Date: July 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Don’t miss the exciting new title The Little Antique Shop Under the Eiffel Tower by Rebecca Raisin available on July 1, 2016 - pre-order your copy today!

Watch for more in The Little Paris Collection
  1. The Little Bookshop on the Seine (available now)
  2. The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower
  3. The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Élysées
What reviewers are saying about The Little Bookshop on the Seine

‘ This novel is a love letter to Paris, and even more so a love letter to books; it is absolutely a must-read book for book lovers.’ – Rather Too Fond of Books

‘easy to read and devoured quickly, I literally could not get enough and I was so sad to finish it. It was a truly captivating, spellbinding tale of taking chances and living life to the full that I am sure will ring true with many readers.’ – Compelling Reads

‘I love love love this author, and this book cements the fact that this series is a winner!’ – Fiona (Goodreads)

‘I loved every second of The Little Bookshop on the Seine, easy to read, with words oozing charm and good feeling, that just made me feel warm and cosy.’ – Rachel’s Random Reads

‘a beautifully written novel’ – Hilda (Goodreads)

‘A delightful story that's perfect for reading in your favorite cozy chair. … Such a good book to lose yourself in.’ – Janet Robel (Goodreads)

‘It really brought Paris to life … extremely romantic, love is most definitely on the menu’ – Elaine (Goodreads)

‘a great escape to Paris and I’m looking forward to the other books in the Little Paris Collection.’ – French Village Diaries

Book Links
About Rebecca Raisin

Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been published in various short story anthologies and in in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance.

Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and most importantly believe in true love.

Come and say hello to Rebecca on her Facebook page or Twitter.

Follow Rebecca

Monday 16 May 2016

BLOG TOUR: Anything For Her - Jack Jordan

What an honour to be kicking off the blog tour for Anything For Her, a book that was named in many readers' top books of 2015, including mine.  This really is a book not to be missed, as evidenced by the many rave reviews from bloggers and readers alike.

As part of the blog tour, I am reposting my review from July 2015, updated with the stunning new cover for Anything For Her.  

Sometimes the past comes back to haunt you.

Louise Leighton’s life has fallen apart, all because of one fateful night. Her husband is an adulterer, her sister is his mistress, and soon, Louise will lose everything she owns. But she never imagined she would lose her daughter.

Eighteen-year-old Brooke Leighton is missing. It’s up to Louise and the Metropolitan Police to find her. Has Brooke run away? Or has she been taken against her will? And can Louise aid the investigation without mentioning the night where all of her troubles began?

If she mentions that night, she will incriminate her daughter for heinous crimes. But if she doesn’t, she may never find Brooke; and if she has been abducted, the person who took her may come for Louise, too.

Sometimes the past comes back to kill you.

What did I think?

Louise Leighton is happily married to Michael with two happy carefree children, Brooke and Dominic, when an unfortunate event shatters her world.

Wow!  This book fell through my letterbox and didn't even hit the bookshelf - once I picked it up, it refused to be put down!  It gripped me from the very first page when Michael revealed that he had been having an affair with his sister-in-law.  He blames his actions on Louise, as she has changed after “that night”.  “That night” is the hook that had me turning page after page, long after I should have been asleep and dreaming of books, beer and cheese.

Jack Jordan has very cleverly chosen a mindless act for “that night” that sets in motion a series of events with cataclysmic consequences, resulting in a shared secret between Louise and her daughter, Brooke.  The tension was palpable as more details of “that night” emerge and the past doesn’t just come back to haunt them, it comes back to get even.

This is an exceptional debut novel; the writing is sublime with an abundance of magnificent metaphors that had me mentally applauding on every page.  This is definitely a contender for my book of the year.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

You can also read my Q&A with Jack Jordan here.

Follow the Anything For Her blog tour below and look out for Jack Jordan's new gripping page-turner, My Girl, coming very soon.