Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Blood Tide by Claire McGowan **Blog Tour Author interview**

One of the great pleasures of having a book blog is the opportunity to ask current authors a few questions. As part of the Blog Tour for Blood Tide, which is published on March 23rd, Claire McGowan has stopped by and kindly given me some insights into writing her latest book. This will be the 5th in her Paula Maguire series. 

First, a little about the book:


Called in to investigate the disappearance of a young couple during a violent storm, Paula Maguire, forensic psychologist, has mixed feelings about going back to Bone Island. Her last family holiday as a child was spent on its beautiful, remote beaches and returning brings back haunting memories of her long-lost mother.

It soon becomes clear that outsiders aren't welcome on the island, and with no choice but to investigate the local community, Paula soon suspects foul play, realising that the islanders are hiding secrets from her, and each other.

With another storm fast approaching, Paula is faced with a choice. Leave alive or risk being trapped with a killer on an inescapable island, as the blood tide rushes in...


Hello Claire and welcome to Books, Life and Everything!

Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started as a writer?

I'd always wanted to be a writer, and I grew up in a small Irish village with not much else to do, so I spent my whole childhood reading and then trying to write books. For many years I never finished anything, until in my mid-twenties I started taking it seriously. I managed to get my second book published when I was thirty. I think if you can finish your book, your chances of getting published will go up astronomically! 

I believe you also publish under the name, Eva Woods. Could you tell us how you came to have these two literary identities and why?

It's actually quite common for authors to write under two or more names, and it's usually because they're writing very different books. My Eva Woods books are more women's fiction, so more romantic and uplifting, less disturbing than the crime. 

Which is your preferred genre- to read and write?

That's a tough one - I really love both, but I probably find more crime that I enjoy, simply because there is so much of it being published all the time! 

Blood Tide is the 5th in the series about the Forensic Psychologist, Paula Maguire. Did you always intend to write a series when you started out and do you plan more in the series?

I definitely knew it was a series but not exactly how many books. There will be one more, tentatively titled THE KILLING HOUSE, and then probably no more at least for now. 

Have you based the fictional town of Ballyterrin on anywhere you know?

It's very much based on my home town in Ireland, Newry, but with some differences, e.g. the religious balance is different. Like Ballyterrin, Newry is a border town, with all that brings with it. 

Blood Tide is out on March 23rd. How will you celebrate publication day?
It will probably be much like any other day, as I'm teaching in my university job in the afternoon, but I am going on holiday the following week, so I can celebrate then. 

Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
Easiest is definitely coming up with ideas, which I do all the time. For me the hardest part is getting the plot to all line up at the end, because I'm not much of a planner and often have no idea what did really happen! 

If you had 15 words to persuade a reader that Blood Tide should be their next read, what would you say?

A weird island, a storm, strange behaviour, a missing couple, and danger for Paula! 

About the Author 

Claire McGowan grew up in a small village in Northern Ireland and now lives in London, where she runs an MA in creative writing at City University. BLOOD TIDE is Claire's sixth crime novel, and the fifth in the highly-acclaimed Paula Maguire series. She also writes women's fiction as Eva Woods.

 You can find out more about Claire on her Website or follow her on Twitter

Thanks to Millie Seaward and the publishers at Headline Press for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour via Bookbridgr.

Follow the rest of the Tour!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Those Who Lie by Diane Jeffrey **Blog Tour Excerpt and Giveaway**

     I am delighted to be part of the Blog Tour to celebrate the digital publication of those who lie by Diane Jeffrey. Today, I have a taster from the book for you and also a Giveaway to enter -  just follow the link at the end of this post.  I am scheduled to post a review later in the tour on March 31st but first, a little about the book.

Emily Klein doesn’t know she has killed her husband until the day of his funeral.

At first, signs point to a tragic accident. Yet, as Emily pieces together the events before his death – events which led to her own memory loss – she begins to suspect that her husband’s death may have been the result of more than a terrible twist of fate…

But the accident is only the beginning. Because while Emily’s physical scars will heal, the trauma of the accident has awakened old ghosts. She hears strange sounds, catches things that can’t possibly be there in the corner of her eye. Before long, everywhere she looks, she seems to see her husband.

And suddenly, Emily finds herself asking the most dangerous question of all.
Can she really trust herself?

 The snippet I have for you is from Chapter 13 and very intriguing it sounds too!

She feels as if two entities are fighting inside her head to take control: one of them wants her to get to the truth; the other is trying to protect her from the truth, and maybe even from herself. 

About the Author 

Diane Jeffrey grew up in North Devon. She lives in Lyon, France with her husband and their three children, black Labrador and kitten. THOSE WHO LIE is her debut psychological thriller.
Diane is an English teacher. She hates marking and Mondays. When she's not working or writing, she likes swimming, running and reading. She loves chocolate, beer and holidays. Above all, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. 

Readers can follow Diane on Twitter @dianefjeffrey or on

  Amazon UK  |   Amazon US   |   Goodreads


 Enter the Giveaway and have the chance to win one of these prizes:
1st prize: eBook of Those Who Lie
2nd prize: Teddy and chocolates
3rd prize: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland notebook & chocolates
Just follow the link below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Diane Jeffrey, the publishers  HQ Digital and Jenny at Neverland Tours for a copy of the book and a place on the Tour.

See you back on the 31st March for my next stop!


Saturday, 18 March 2017

Dead Embers by Matt Brolly

Welcome to Books, Life and Everything! I am so pleased to be part of the Blog Tour to celebrate the digital publication of Dead Embers by Matt Brolly on March 6th. It is the 3rd DCI Michael Lambert novel. 

An explosive fire. A double murder. And that’s just the start…

When DCI Michael Lambert is called out to an apparent house fire, he knows it can’t be routine. Instead he finds the remains of a burnt house, a traumatised child and two corpses - one of whom is a senior police officer.

Lambert’s got other problems. Anti-corruption are onto his boss. His relationships is on the rocks. He can’t get over his ex-wife and he keeps blacking out.

But when a detective has been murdered the stakes are too high to get distracted. All is not as it seems. As the investigation continues Lambert realises he is getting drawn into something altogether bigger and more terrifying than he could ever have imagined…

Trust no one.

My Thoughts 

    This book may be the third in the series featuring DCI Michael Lambert but it stands up as a standalone read. I found the main character of Lambert to be such a strong one, with a complicated backstory. The book appears to have a simple plot at the beginning with a fire leading to the discovery of two bodies but it grows and grows in complexity as the story evolves, in an ingenious way. The central mystery is full of twists and turns, with it seeming that absolutely no one can be trusted. 

    The plot is well paced with plenty of surprises and explosions along the way. Even though police procedurals are not my favourite genre, it kept me hooked right up to the end, although some aspects were very disturbing. The author persuades us to suspend belief and takes the reader along with him through his skilful writing style and rounded central characterisation. 

In short: pacy, surprising reading with chilling moments.
About the Author

Following his law degree where he developed an interest in
criminal law, Matt completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. He reads widely across all genres, and is currently working on the third in his Michael Lambert thriller series. Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children.

You can connect with Matt on   Twitter    Facebook and on his Website. 

Also visit his Goodreads site. 

Thanks to Faye Rogers and the publishers, Canelo, for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour.

Catch up with the rest of the Tour!


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Summary Justice by John Fairfax **Blog Tour review**

Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour to celebrate the hardback publication of Summary Justice, on March 2nd. John Fairfax's latest novel introduces a new series of courtroom dramas featuring two maverick lawyers who are driven to fight injustice at any cost. Here's a little about the book:

The last time Tess de Vere saw William Benson she was a law student on work experience. He was a twenty-one year old, led from the dock of the Old Bailey to begin a life sentence for murder. He’d said he was innocent. She’d believed him.

Sixteen years later Tess overhears a couple of hacks mocking a newcomer to the London Bar, a no-hoper with a murder conviction, running his own show from an old fishmonger’s in Spitalfields. That night she walks back into Benson’s life. The price of his rehabilitation – and access to the Bar – is an admission of guilt to the killing of Paul Harbeton, whose family have vowed revenge. He’s an outcast. The government wants to shut him down and no solicitor will instruct him. But he’s subsidised by a mystery benefactor and a desperate woman has turned to him for help: Sarah Collingstone, mother of a child with special needs, accused of slaying her wealthy lover. It’s a hopeless case and the murder trial, Benson’s first, starts in four days. The evidence is overwhelming but like Benson long ago, she swears she’s innocent. Tess joins the defence team, determined to help Benson survive. But as Benson follows the twists and turns in the courtroom, Tess embarks upon a secret investigation of her own, determined to uncover the truth behind the death of Paul Harbeton on a lonely night in Soho.

My Thoughts

    Authenticity shines from Summary Justice reflecting the author's previous life as a barrister. All the courtroom sections sound credible, particularly through the voice of the central character, Benson. What an intriguing character he turns out to be. An underdog with dogged determination and a forensically sharp mind, his backstory is fascinating. Just like Tess de Vere, I never knew how much of his story to take at face value.  Despite being looked down on by the Establishment, he uses the law to twist how you regard events. Pragmatic, he swears his innocence yet 'confesses' in order to play the game to get parole. 

    What a cast of characters! I particularly appreciate Benson's prison buddies who add humour in contrast to the more serious courtroom scenes. The author takes us expertly through the series of events, using flashbacks to show us Benson's life in prison. The parallel stories of Benson's alleged crime and the seemingly hopeless case he takes on is striking and makes us doubt quite what can be taken at face value. The plot twists and turns and keeps the reader guessing to the end.  

In short: a satisfying crime mystery with well-matched plot and characters. 

About the Author

John Fairfax is the pen name of William Brodrick who practised as a barrister befor becoming a full-time novelist.  Under his own name he is a previous winner of the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger Award and his first novel was a Richard and Judy Selection.

Thanks to Grace Vincent at Little, Brown Publishers for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour.

Catch up with the rest of the Tour! 

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Quieter Than Killing by Sarah Hilary ** Blog Tour Guest Post**

    I'm pleased and excited to welcome Sarah Hilary to Books, Life and Everything today as part of the Blog Tour to celebrate the publication of her latest crime novel, Quieter Than Killing. This is the 4th featuring Detective Marnie Rome and Sarah has kindly agreed to tell us more about creating Marnie Rome. First though, a little about the book:

 Marnie and Noah are investigating a series of assaults. The attacks appear to be random, the targets young and old, men and women, but all were convicted of violent crimes and recently released. They are on the perpetrator's trail when outside events come to the fore. Marnie's parents' house has been targeted by a gang of youths, her tenants attacked in an apparent robbery and Marnie can't help but feel there's a connection to Stephen, her foster brother. Noah's brother Sol is about to fall foul of the gang he pretends not to be involved in. As they investigate they begin to question whether all three cases linked... after all some crimes are quieter and more insidious than killing...

Welcome to Books, Life and Everything, Sarah. ! And now, over to you!

Writing Marnie Rome

Sherlock Holmes, Tom Ripley and Clarice Starling all play a part in how I write Marnie Rome. Sherlock got in first, whispering in my ear when I was ten about the appeal of a hero with hidden depths. Tom Ripley convinced me that a good character could be made better by being bad. But it wasn’t until I read The Silence of the Lambs and witnessed Clarice Starling’s unique brand of courage, full of very human cracks, that inspiration really took hold.

Looking back, it all seems terribly logical; all roads led to Marnie Rome. But there was a time when I didn’t know she existed, and a time when I thought she was a straight-die detective without secrets of any kind. Perhaps there was a clue in the way she arrived (in a story that came before my debut, Someone Else’s Skin): biker-booted, hiding behind contact lenses. It took a bit of digging to scratch beneath her surface. Marnie doesn’t give up her secrets easily and she has a talent for surprising me, which I hope means she surprises readers, too.

I don’t believe in characters who ‘write themselves’, in case you were imagining something of that sort. Sooner or later you have to sit down and write them yourself. But Marnie has a habit of standing at my shoulder as I write, and shaking her head when I get stuff wrong (such as the time I was about to give her a third cup of coffee and she pointed out that what she actually wanted was a Peroni). Conan Doyle ended up hating Sherlock Holmes, which doesn’t usually happen unless your character has taken on a life of his or her own. I can’t envisage a time when I’ll hate Marnie, but she’s certainly taken on a life that’s at least partly independent of my plans for her. In my latest book, Quieter Than Killing, she surprised me on more than one occasion.

When Someone Else’s Skin came out, someone asked me how hard it was to balance Marnie’s character traits, “She’s psychologically damaged, yet incredibly strong.” Well, I associate strong characters with survival – Marnie’s trauma made her the woman she is; not just strong but compassionate, too. My grandmother, who survived a Japanese PoW camp as a young mother, always said that the trauma she suffered made her a stronger (and better) person. So I think in my mind, the two attributes go hand in hand.

All my favourite characters in fiction are both human and unique. Flawed, yes, but in all the right ways. I like to think Marnie and Clarice Starling would get on a storm.
Thank you, Sarah. What a great insight into your work.  I wonder what else Marnie Rome has in store.
My Thoughts
    Well I am a little late to the party here as this is the first Marnie Rome book that I have read. However, no matter, as I soon picked up on the fact that she is a feisty, complicated character. I found the novel to be full of twists and turns, set in a dark and complex  hinterland of abuse, bullying and intimidation. Family life is seen as a place of danger rather than safety and innocence seems to be trampled in the dust. 

    I particularly enjoyed how family relationships were stripped bare. You sense how the police partners work together at the same time having family tensions which tug at their conscience. This is a multi-layered plotline and I did have to concentrate to keep abreast with the storyline. However, you are taken to a dark world of subertuge and the depth of the plot and characterisation carries you through.  
In short: deep, dark, mesmerising- I loved it!    
About the Author

Sarah Hilary has worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. Her debut, SOMEONE ELSE'S SKIN, won Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2015 and was a World Book Night selection for 2016. The Observer's Book of the Month ("superbly disturbing) and a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, it has been published worldwide. NO OTHER DARKNESS, the second in the series was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the US and was published in 2015. Her DI Marnie Rome series continued with TASTES LIKE FEAR and her fourth book, QUIETER THAN KILLING, is out now.

Follow Sarah on Twitter at @Sarah_Hilary

Thanks to Katie Brown and the Headline Publishing Group via Bookbridgr for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.
Check out the rest of the Tour!
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