Thursday 28 April 2022

Blog Tour: Wolfbane by Michelle Paver

I was thrilled to be invited to take part in the blog tour for 'Wolfbane' by Michelle Paver. I've been reading Michelle's books since 2004 when 'Wolf Brother' the opening instalment of the series was published. I've grown up with Torak and Wolf and lived all their adventures with them, so I was both sad and excited to read the epic last book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness which was published by Zephyr Books on 26th April. 

It is early spring, a turbulent, perilous time of sudden storms, frozen river fractures and drifting ice. Fleeing from a demon intent on devouring his souls, Wolf is swept out to Sea far from the Forest and his pack. The ocean too teems with danger: sea wolves, sharks and hunters of the deep, and the demon is gaining ground. Torak and Renn must race to save their pack-brother, battling the harsh, icy waves and merciless torrents. If they can't find Wolf in time, the bond between them will be severed for ever...

Run wild with Wolf Brother for the last time in a Stone Age world we all want to be part of, with three-million-copy-selling author Michelle Paver, Creator of Legends.

'Wolfbane' is the ninth and final book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. I can still remember reading 'Wolf Brother' for the first time so many years ago. It instantly hooked me and I've been a huge fan of Michelle Paver ever since. 

In 'Wolfbane', Torak and Renn are on a desperate journey to save Wolf from an ice demon who wants to eat his souls. Torak will do anything to save him but Naiginn is a dangerous and formidable enemy. He will not be easily stopped and Torak will have to decide how much to risk in his determination to save his beloved pack brother. 

This was a brilliant story, full of excitement and adventure. It was very fast-paced which made it extremely difficult to put down. There is one obstacle after another put in Torak's way and I lost count of the number of cliff-hangers at the end of the chapters. It was also great to see some of the characters who have featured briefly in earlier books and for them to get their own stories explored in more detail too. I particularly loved seeing Dark again and I was very happy with how his storyline was concluded. 

Paver's conception of the unbreakable bond between the boy and Wolf is something that has always felt tangible and real. Their relationship has been the common thread running throughout the whole series and it has drawn readers in time and time again. They have grown up together and formed new families of their own but they have never stopped being there for one another and that's just so lovely and touching to see. 

Michelle Paver is well known for her meticulous research and this shines through in every story she crafts. The settings are authentic, her descriptions of nature are incredible and every situation she places her characters in, is one that she has experienced herself in some way. I love the fact that she includes an author's note at the end which gives the reader a small glimpse into the research that she has carried out in the process of writing the book. 

The story made me smile and cry in equal measure. I felt it was a triumphant end that fans both old and new will enjoy. Everything that I love about the books and the characters was there to see and it was a wonderful (and very emotional!) conclusion to a dearly loved series. 

Although the series is finally ending, I like to think that in the hearts of fans around the world, Torak and Wolf will forever be together and running free through the forest. 

Thank you to Helen Richardson and Zephyr Books for inviting me to join the blog tour and for gifting me such a beautiful and treasured signed copy of Wolfbane. 

Thursday 3 February 2022

Book Trailer: Where Blood Runs Cold by Giles Kristian

Today I am sharing the fabulous book trailer for 'Where Blood Runs Cold' by Giles Kristian. 

Published by Bantam Press on 24th February 2022, this sounds like the perfect wintery survival thriller. I'm going to be taking part in the blog tour for the book so my review will feature on 5th March.   

Erik Amdahl and his spirited daughter, Sofia, have embarked on a long-promised cross-country ski trip deep into Norway's arctic circle. For Erik, it's the chance to bond properly with his remaining daughter following a tragic accident. For Sofia, it's the proof she needs that her father does care. 

Then, far from home in this snowbound wilderness, with night falling and the mercury plummeting, an accident sends them in search of help - and shelter. Nearby is the home of a couple - members of Norway's indigenous Sami people - who they've met before, and who welcome them in. Erik is relieved. He believes the worst is over. He thinks that Sofia is now safe. He could not be more wrong.

He and Sofia are not the old couple's only visitors that night - and soon he and Sofia will be running for their lives . . . .and beneath the swirling light show of the Northern Lights, a desperate fight ensues - of man against man, of man against nature - a fight for survival that plays out across the snow and ice.

Monday 31 January 2022

Blog Tour: The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

I'm today's stop on the blog tour for 'The Christie Affair' by Nina de Gramont. Many thanks to Mantle Books and Midas PR for inviting me to take part.  


In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Only I know the truth of her disappearance.
I’m no Hercule Poirot.
I’m her husband’s mistress.

Agatha Christie’s world is one of glamorous society parties, country house weekends, and growing literary fame.

Nan O’Dea’s world is something very different. Her attempts to escape a tough London upbringing during the Great War led to a life in Ireland marred by a hidden tragedy.

After fighting her way back to England, she’s set her sights on Agatha. Because Agatha Christie has something Nan wants. And it’s not just her husband.

Despite their differences, the two women will become the most unlikely of allies. And during the mysterious eleven days that Agatha goes missing, they will unravel a dark secret that only Nan holds the key to . . .


'The Christie Affair' is a book that I had on my radar as soon as I first heard about it. I'm obsessed with Agatha Christie and after learning more about her life, I was very intrigued by her mysterious disappearance. She went missing for 11 days which coincided with the break-down of her marriage. During this time, the police looked for her all over the country and her disappearance captured the attention of the newspapers, adding to the intrigue of the Queen of Crime. 

Nina de Gramont imagines what may have occurred during those 11 days. She weaves an intriguing story involving Agatha, her first husband Archie, her husband's mistress Nan O'Dea and Nan's love Finbarr. Of course, we'll never know what really happened to Agatha but it's fun to consider all the possibilities. 

I was expecting there to be more emphasis on Agatha herself but instead, I found that the main focal point was actually her husband's mistress. Nan's story was hard-hitting and poignant and the terrible events she suffered through certainly made me feel more sympathetic towards her. I think the development of her character was handled very skilfully throughout the book. In the beginning I didn't warm to her at all and saw her as the catalyst for the breakdown of Agatha's marriage. However, as I learnt about her background and upbringing through flashbacks to her time in Ireland, I began to understand the reasons behind her actions.     

In true Christie fashion, there were the requisite twists that I did not predict at all, including a murder mystery in the hotel where Nan is staying and a healthy dose of romance. Personally, I would have liked to have read more of Agatha's story but putting that aside, this was still an intriguing read with a mystery to unravel.  

'The Christie Affair' is out now, published by Mantle Books.  

Monday 17 January 2022

Blog Tour: The Secret Keeper's Daughter by Samantha King

I'm thrilled to be today's stop on the blog tour for The Secret Keeper's Daughter by Samantha King. I have a wonderful guest post from Samantha, sharing all about her writing process for the novel. 

Like all my novels, A SECRET KEEPER’S DAUGHTER is deeply personal to me. I always write from the heart, and the plots and themes that intrigue me most are generally ones very close to home: families, relationships, love and loss, hopes and fears. In essence, I enjoy creating fictional scenarios that are rooted in everyday life and will challenge readers to ask themselves what they would do in a similar situation!

    In order to do this authentically, I draw on my own experience as a wife, daughter, friend, sister . . . and especially as a mother. In my first two novels, the central character was a mum whose child was under threat, and the same is true of The Secret Keeper’s Daughter – because my writing process begins with my own fears.

    The initial idea for this story arose from a ‘worry box’ – an old shoe box I decorated with my children, inviting them to post notes in it when they had anything on their minds that they found hard to put into words. Having stumbled across this worry box again one day, I reflected on how hard it is to know what’s really going on in someone else’s mind, especially a child’s, and how that can lead to spiralling fear and paranoia.

    I imagined how I would have felt if my children’s notes had hinted at something truly devastating, and the character of Holly Mayhew started to form in my mind: a young mum who already feels under strain, caring for a new baby and worried about the state of her marriage. When her seven-year-old daughter Marley suddenly changes from being lively and chatty to fearful and withdrawn, Holly’s fears go into overdrive. Through her quest to solve the mystery, I wanted to explore parental paranoia and the corrosive impact of family secrets.

    The worry box was at the heart of my story, and I planned the plot around seven notes, over seven days, with each note providing not only a clue to Marley’s fears in the present, but also triggering memories that expose Holly’s fears about her own childhood. The dual timeline needed careful planning to create a dramatic echo between the build-up of tension in the present day, set against the unravelling of traumatic events in the past.

    In a sense, I drew on a therapeutic model in which a person’s beliefs and behaviour are underpinned by long-buried experiences, the unpicking of which can be deeply emotional – as it is for Holly. My training as a psychotherapist helped me enormously in this regard, and it always underpins my writing process, inspiring me to dig into the darkest corners of my characters’ hearts and minds.

    The story setting was also very important to me. My first two novels were set in west London, where I live, but for The Secret Keeper’s Daughter I was inspired by family visits to the Suffolk coast, in particular the quirky seaside towns of Thorpeness and Aldeburgh. The sea, of course, also provided a handy metaphor for hidden dangers lurking beneath the surface of a seemingly idyllic life – and, happily, a couple of extra research trips were required, to soak up the atmosphere and make sure I got details about the setting correct!

    Writing is the perfect chance to give my imagination free rein, but my stories are always firmly grounded in real, everyday domestic life, and the hopes and fears for our loved ones that we all share. Both writing and reading are solitary activities, but they are also about shared experiences and human connection. I never feel alone with a book for company, and I’m never happier than when I’m writing!

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The Secret Keeper's Daughter is published by HQ Digital and is out now. Thank you to Amber and Midas PR for inviting me to be part of the blog tour. 

Monday 6 December 2021

Blog Tour: A Will to Kill by RV Raman

Today I'm hosting a stop on the blog tour for 'A Will to Kill' by RV Raman. This is the first book featuring seasoned investigator, Harith Athreya. 

Ageing millionaire Bhaskar Fernandez has invited his relatives to the remote, and possibly haunted, Greybrooke Manor, high up in the misty Nilgiris.

He knows his guests expect to gain from his death, so he writes two conflicting wills. Which one of them comes into force will depend on how he dies.

Fernandez also invites Harith Athreya, a seasoned investigator, to watch what unfolds.

When a landslide leaves the estate temporarily isolated, and a body is discovered, Athreya finds that death is not the only thing that the mist conceals. . .

The blurb of 'A Will to Kill' instantly hooked my attention as I absolutely love locked room mysteries and I'm always on the hunt for books inspired by the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie. I also really enjoy cosy crime novels and this was exactly what I was in the mood to read. 

The story is set in India and features investigator Harith Athreya, who is invited to stay at Greybrooke Manor by ageing millionaire Bhaskar Fernandez. The setting was perfect for a mystery as the remote Manor is difficult to reach, even more so when it's cut off by a landslide. It is also veiled in stories of tragedies that have befallen previous owners. I actually don't think I've read a book that has been predominantly set in India before so I enjoyed the change of location and the sense of isolation that was created at the beginning. 

The plot revolves around Bhaskar Fernandez, who owns the Manor and wants to put an end to the acrimony between his family - the root cause of which has been battles over money. He has written two wills which will divide his fortune between his relatives in the event of his death. However, which will is used is wholly dependent on the way in which he dies. If by unnatural causes, then he has tasked Athreya with investigating on his behalf.  

I thought that the story started brilliantly with a foreboding sense of atmosphere and drama. I had the feeling that something bad was going to happen at any moment and this kept me on the edge of my seat. I was suspicious of everyone and was instantly thinking about motives in my head. There are lots of clues sprinkled throughout; just enough to help you start to put things together but not enough to truly give anything away. I liked the addition of a floor plan and map of the Manor too as these were reminiscent of many Agatha Christie novels. I thought that Raman did a great job of keeping the suspense going until the very end. Although I had a few guesses at who the murderer could be, I was completely wrong, so the conclusion was also extremely surprising. 

And those are the best whodunnits! The ones where you really get blindsided at the last moment and can't believe you never saw it coming. 

I definitely would have liked to have seen more character development and occasionally I found some of the conversations between people a little stilted. However, I thought that the central figure of Harith Athreya was instantly likeable and I would love to see him in further mysteries in the future.          
A Will to Kill is out now, published by Pushkin Vertigo. Many thanks to the team for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. 

Monday 12 July 2021

Blog Tour: That Night by Gillian McAllister

I'm hosting today's stop on the blog tour for 'That Night' by Gillian McAllister. Many thanks to Penguin Random House for inviting me to take part. 

What would you do to protect your family?


During a family holiday in Italy, you get an urgent call from your sister.

There’s been an accident: she hit a man with her car and he’s dead.

She’s overcome with terror – fearing years in a foreign jail away from her child.

She asks for your help. It wasn’t her fault, not really. She’d cover for you, so will you do the same for her?

But when the police come calling, the lies start. And you each begin to doubt your trust in one another.

What really happened that night?

Who is lying to who?

Who will be the first to crack?

'That Night' is the first book that I've read by Gillian McAllister but it definitely won't be the last because I really enjoyed it and will now be seeking out some of her other titles. The novel was gripping and tense and explores the unusually close relationship between the three Plant siblings - Joe, Cathy and Frannie. 

Set initially in Verona, Italy, where the siblings are on holiday, it starts with a phone call in the middle of the night. Frannie has hit a man with her car and he's now dead. Instead of calling the emergency services and reporting the incident, she calls her brother and sister. From that point onward, events start to spiral out of control. They make the decision to cover up the crime and protect Frannie from a lengthy jail sentence but each step they take in doing so, leads to more and more lies. 

I have to admit that while I was reading this book, I was shocked that Cathy and Joe would involve themselves in making a choice of such magnitude. But that's exactly what the story sets out to explore and expose. Why would they feel that they had to protect Frannie? What might have happened in the past to strengthen the bonds between them? How far will they go to conceal the crime? All these questions and more were rumbling around in my head as I read on. McAllister skillfully peels back the layers of their relationship to poke and prod at the real truth behind it. She doesn't always present the protagonists in a positive light but shows them as flawed individuals who are capable of making mistakes. Although I wasn't a huge fan of any of the siblings, I think this helped me to at least try to put myself in their shoes and understand their motivations. 

There are a lot of ethical and moral dilemmas in the book which the reader has to think deeply about. Nothing is as straight-forward as it first might seem and everything should be looked at from more than one angle. McAllister cleverly weaves a story which I found so taught and suspenseful. Just when I perhaps thought that I had everything figured out, she threw in another twist which completely unsettled me and made me rethink my assumptions about some of the characters. 

More than a standard psychological thriller, 'That Night' is a riveting expose of family relationships and the point that people can be pushed to before they crack. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fast-paced and page-turning read.     

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