Wednesday, 28 June 2017


I am thrilled to be today's stop on the Practice Makes Perfect Blog Tour with my review and a fabulous piece by author Penny Parkes

Published by Simon & Schuster on 29 June 2017

The Practice at Larkford has suddenly been thrust under the spotlight – and its nomination as a ‘NHS Model Surgery’ is causing the team major headaches. Dr Holly Graham should be basking in the glow of her new romance with fellow doctor, Taffy – but she is worried that the team is prioritising plaudits over patients, and her favourite resident, the irreverent and entertaining Elsie, is facing a difficult diagnosis. Add to that the chaos of family life and the strain is starting to show.

Dr Dishy Dan Carter’s obsession with work is masking unhappiness elsewhere – he can’t persuade girlfriend Julia to settle down. It’s only as Julia’s mother comes to stay that he realizes what she has been hiding for so long. Alice Walker joins the team like a breath of fresh air and her assistance dog Coco quickly wins everyone round – which is just as well, because Coco and Alice will soon need some help of their own. Can they pull together and become the Dream Team that the NHS obviously thinks they are?

Practice Makes Perfect is the second novel in the Larkford Series - the first book Out of Practice won the Romantic Comedy of the Year category of the RNA Awards.

I really liked the first book and wondered whether the second could be as good, well it's not as good - it's even better!

Holly's twins are just as boisterous and funny, Dan and Taffy are still having silly bets with each other, I chuckled at the teasing between them, Larkford's resident celebrity Elsie is still as ascerbic but funny as ever, even though her health is not good, though that doesn't stop her from enjoying life!

There is also a new doctor, Alice, who has fitted in nicely, along with her lovely medical assistance dog, which I thought was a great idea, and taught me so much about these fabulous animals who can save lives.

Add to this scene, a TV reality crew who are following Julia around creating problems for her and the lovely Dan, plus the fact that the Practice have been nominated for a Model Surgery award, which comes with its own problems for the staff ...... and you have a story that's full of warmth, humour, never a dull moment, plenty of laughs, but also deals with the more serious side of life.  A great achievement all in one book!

I am so happy that Penny Parkes has written a guest post all about ......

The Making of Larkford

It’s a wonderful thing to create an entirely new world and Larkford is no exception. In fact, the joy of cherry picking different aspects of all my favourite Cotswold places has been the gift that keeps on giving, because now when I return to these much-loved haunts myself, I am seeing them afresh, alert to any nuance or detail that might have escaped me over the years of familiarity.

I have often joked that Larkford is the love-child of Cirencester, Bath and Broadway, but indeed she is – from the honey-coloured rows of cottages that line Broadway’s high street, to the pastel shades of Cirencester’s market place. And of course, Elsie Townsend’s house required a little extra finesse, and where better to find that, than a Georgian townhouse lifted straight from the streets of Bath.

It’s no coincidence that these three places hold a special place in my heart for, having lived in (or near) all three, they have also provided the backdrop to most of my life.

It was a surreal moment indeed, for example, standing in the heart of Broadway in a wedding dress, fresh from the church and wielding champagne and roses, to have a couple of Japanese tourists ‘crash’ the party, snapping away with their Nikons. An undeniably odd thought that our wedding might actually be in their photo album somewhere, when we’ve yet to put our own pictures of The Big Day into an album sixteen years later!

As for Bath, the many, many happy years my husband and I spent hopping from one flat to another as we negotiated our way into the working world and set up home together will forever be a special and memorable time in our lives. Indeed the amount of time I spend poring over the property pages might yet suggest that a reprise might one day be in order.

But right now, our home is in the Cirencester countryside, where The Ginger Ninja and I can take to the fields and our village provides the sense of community we craved as we started a family. Where Market Day is the perfect excuse to swing by a bookshop, pick up a coffee and drink in the joys of a country market town, before going home and writing about one. And maybe one day we’ll find our Larkford too – the perfect combination of all three.

Thank you Penny, for a lovely insight into how the wonderful world of Larkford was created!

Don't forget to check out all the other lovely bloggers on the blog tour

Monday, 26 June 2017


I am so pleased to be today's stop on the Do Not Become Alarmed blog tour

Published by Penguin Random House on 6 July 2017

When Liv and Nora decide to take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship's comforts and possibilities seem infinite. But when they all go ashore in beautiful Central America, a series of minor mishaps lead the families further from the ship's safety.

One minute the children are there, and the next they're gone.

What follows is a heart-racing story told from the perspectives of the adults and the children, as the distraught parents - now turning on one another and blaming themselves - try to recover their children and their shattered lives.

The sun is shining.
The sea is blue.
The children have disappeared...
Do Not Become Alarmed

Do Not Become Alarmed starts off very quaint as the two families begin their holiday on board ship, the trip was Liv's idea as her cousin Nora's mother had recently died and she thought it would be a lovely way for them all to relax and forget their problems.

And at the beginning it was perfect, everyone was getting along, the children loved being on board and all was wonderful in their world.

But, after a day trip to another country in Central America by the wives and the children, somehow they take their eyes off them and the next thing they know they have disappeared.

What follows next becomes quite a dark read as the reader knows exactly what's happened to the children and where they are and sometimes it makes for uncomfortable but absolutely riveting reading.

Meanwhile, at the same time, the parents don't have any idea where they are and are panicking and picking fights with each other, blaming each other, feeling guilty and wondering if they've kept them isolated too much and protected them too much from the real world.  We see the changing situation through each of their eyes in turn, which I though worked really well.  The way in which the children coped with the situation they were in was particularly interesting to watch.

I really enjoyed reading this clever, taut, unpredictable and, in some parts, scary novel.

Special Thanks to Penguin Random House for giving me the opportunity to read this and join the blog tour.

Available from Amazon UK  -  Amazon US  -  BookDepository

Meet the Author

Maile Meloy is the author of the novels Liars and Saints (which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and chosen for the Richard and Judy book club) and A Family Daughter, the short-story collections Half in Love and Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It, and the award-winning Apothecary trilogy for young readers. She has received the PEN/Malamud Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was chosen as one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists. She lives in Los Angeles.

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Thursday, 22 June 2017



Cozy Mystery 6th in Series 
St. Martin's Paperbacks (June 27, 2017) 
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-1250088079 

Torte―everybody’s favorite small-town family bakeshop―is headed for the high seas, where murder is about to make a splash. . . Jules Capshaw is trying to keep her cool as Torte gets set to make its transformation from quaint, local confectionary café to royal pastry palace. Meanwhile, Jules’s estranged husband Carlos is making a desperate plea for her to come aboard his cruise ship and dazzle everyone with her signature sweets. She may be sceptical about returning to her former nautical life with Carlos but Jules can’t resist an all-expense-paid trip, either. If only she knew that a dead body would find its way onto the itinerary . . 
Instead of enjoying tropical drinks on deck between whipping up batches of sea-salted chocolates and flambéing fresh pineapple slices in the kitchen, Jules is plunged into dangerous waters.

Her investigation leaves her with more questions than answers: Why can’t anyone on board identify the young woman? And how can she help Carlos keep passengers at ease with a killer in their midst? Jules feels like she’s ready to jump ship. Can she solve this case without getting in too deep? “A perfect mix for fans of Jenn McKinlay, Leslie Budewitz, or Jessica Beck.” ―Library Journal
“A warm and inviting atmosphere, friendly and likable main characters, and a nasty murder mystery to solve!” ―Fresh Fiction Now,

Meet the Author


Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she's not coated in flour, you'll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. 

Author Links Web: 
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Book Blast Participants June 22 
Books, Dreams, Life 
Sapphyria's Book Reviews 
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers 
Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews 
Queen of All She Reads 
Brooke Blogs 
Christa Reads and Writes 
Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder 
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Melina's Book Blog 
Socrates' Book Reviews 
A Holland Reads 
That's What She's Reading 
Carole's Book Corner 
Back Porchervations 
Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book 
The Power of Words   

June 23 
A Blue Million Books 
Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews 
Texas Book-aholic 
Read Your Writes Book Reviews 
Girl with Book Lungs 
Book Babble 
The Book's the Thing 
Bookworm Cafe 
Bibliophile Reviews 
Celticlady's Reviews 
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Laura's Interests 
Moonlight Rendezvous 
Jane Reads 
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StoreyBook Reviews 
A Cozy Experience 
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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Book Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway: ICED BY AVERY DANIELS

ICED: A Resort to Murder Mystery

Avery Daniels

June 20, 2017 Book Blast


Iced by Avery Daniels
Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime.
She has her work cut out for her with a vengeful high school rival now reporter, the public demanding she be fired, plus family who know what's best for her, and a boyfriend who doesn't understand her. She turns to friends and a new ally to uncover who wanted to put the pastor on ice.
Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to her widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?

Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth
Published by: Blazing Sword Publishing, Ltd
Publication Date: May 31st 2017
Number of Pages: 296
Series: A Resort to Murder Mystery, 1
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Kindle Unlimited  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

Today everything in my life changed.
I’m the events coordinator and membership manager, in training that is, at a five star resort in Colorado. Some days, like today, it feels like I was sacrificed to some sadistic little idol somewhere. Coordination of conferences and meetings of all sizes in the resort’s convention center facility was part of my training. But this particular event, a Leadership Luncheon that brought together the town’s community leaders to network, was a challenge from the first minutes this morning.
"Julienne, this event must be executed with precision and perfection." Those are the favorite words of my boss, Chad. This particular event is a daylong exercise in patience.
Every job has its great parts and it’s not so great. Today encompassed one of the more unpleasant aspects of my job. Occasionally, okay usually, the hardest part of my job is the customer relations and today was particularly difficult. Some customers just can’t be satisfied and some events are riddled with issues.
We were only serving a modest seventy-five attendees, but I had already been assailed with special requests and numerous complaints. Picky doesn’t begin to cover it.
“How hard would it be to setup for a video presentation with a large screen and surround sound?”
“There are windows. It’s too distracting, people will be watching the hotel guests walking around.”
“Can we change the setup of room C from an L configuration to a U shape? But only for that one session, then move it back.”
“Can we get the Lobster for the buffet flown in that morning? Scallops are out….Can we have the scallops after all?”
“Music piped in during the breaks?”
“No music piped in at all.”
“Red tablecloths with white napkins.”
“Royal blue tablecloths with white napkins.”
“White tablecloths with yellow napkins.”
“Candles on mirrors for lunch centerpieces.”
“Fresh flowers for centerpieces.”
The changes continued even after the event started.
The Convention Center, with its classic European décor had a small lobby area with a few potted trees and plants on column stands. The rest extended down a hallway with two large areas on each side that could be divided into smaller rooms via partitions that extend from the walls as needed. The space could be up to eight small rooms, four on each side, or any combination from one to four rooms per side of the hallway.
The hallway was wide with several half-circle console tables including marble tops holding large dried floral arrangements and a few elegant chairs. The walls displayed large paintings of the Italian countryside and vineyards with carved gold gilt frames.
I was in a partitioned room overseeing the set up of the lunch buffet. The Italian Renaissance architecture was accentuated with interior details and décor that created a European elegance, all lit with the warm glow of a massive amber glass chandelier.
The room was a rectangle with the entrance from the hallway to one end and the door to the catering staging area at the opposite end. The buffet table was along the wall next to the staging door so wait staff could easy restock food items. The six-person round tables covered in rich golden linens were scattered strategically throughout the room to allow easy traffic flow. The thick carpet felt plush and cloud-like under foot.
I was surveying the buffet table with a critical eye. The five foot long ice sculpture of a swordfish occupied the center of the table and looked as though it was caught in mid leap, frolicking in a wave and ready to dive back into an unseen ocean. My stomach growled as the succulent smells of seafood teased my nose. The attendees would be returning to this room for their lunch and keynote speaker shortly.
"Brad, where are the crab leg metal crackers and little forks? Can you grab a few dozen and bring them right away?" Brad, slim and serious, had joined the team only two months ago and was picking up extra hours at every opportunity. He had asked to work this event as soon as I blocked out the time on the schedule. This would give him a good paycheck. He was lanky and took off with an easy loping stride to the staging area through the back door.
The door to the staging area had barely closed when I felt a hand grab hold of my derriere with an iron hard grip.
"This is more like it honey. I haven't had any fun today."
I whirled around and stumbled back. "Don’t touch the staff. That includes me Pastor Tom." I practically shouted. Pastor Tom Drake was well known around town, and getting national attention lately with his mega church. He was included in the luncheon due to his influence, but he was just Pastor Tom since he was a local guy who started his church and radio ministry from his garage.
I had contended with bad behavior before, but never this grabby. I think I was going to have a bruise left from his vicious hand.
"You’re not being very fri…friendly." I noticed his eyes were droopy and then I caught a whiff of the scotch he must have gotten at the Gilded Hornet pub next to the convention center building.
I decided to alert security we needed a person to monitor the rest of the event and turned to go. His iron hand grabbed hold of my arm and yanked me to him. Without a thought I took my knee to his groin and enjoyed watching his mouth form an "O" as his breath whooshed out. I broke free and backed away. I wasn’t turning my back on him again.
"I will see you fired for that you bitch." He whispered with a jagged voice.
He couldn’t do that, at least I was pretty sure he couldn’t. I guess I’d find out. I rubbed my still smarting arm where he grabbed it. Brad would be back or the event participants would start to wander in so he couldn’t do much more, but I didn’t want to stay and find out. I backed out the door to the hallway toward the lobby and took my cell phone from my pants pocket.
"Hey Ron, we have a person under the influence at the luncheon in Convention Center. Can you spare someone for the afternoon?"
"I’ll make sure somebody’s there immediately Julienne. How bad is this guy?"
"Well, I’ll probably have a black-and-blue handprint on my arm and …my backside." I took a deep breath.
"Son of a … I’ll be right there. You stay away from him." Like I would go near that Neanderthal again, pastor or not.
The other participants were starting to exit the smaller break out session rooms and meander to the banquet room and bathrooms. The noise level began to creep upward from multiple conversations competing to be heard.
There was a loud crash of metal from the banquet room and a participant jerked open the door and froze in place. "Oh sh…" The participant’s mouth gaped and his eyes were large circles.
I ran over to the open door and saw Pastor Tom impaled through the chest with the sharp end of the Swordfish ice sculpture, from his back right through to the front. His head was forward against his chest. Blood, running down the swordfish tip that jutted from his chest, dripping to the carpet. Drip, drip, drip in a macabre but surreal scene.
Excerpt from Iced by Avery Daniels. Copyright © 2017 by Avery Daniels. Reproduced with permission from Avery Daniels. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Avery Daniels Avery Daniels was born and raised in Colorado, graduated from college with a degree in business administration and has worked in fortune 500 companies and Department of Defense her entire life. Her most eventful job was apartment management for 352 units. She still resides in Colorado with two brother black cats as her spirited companions. She volunteers for a cat shelter, enjoys scrapbooking and card making, photography, and painting in watercolor and acrylic. She inherited a love for reading from her mother and grandmother and grew up talking about books at the dinner table.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !


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Monday, 19 June 2017

Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: DANCING IN THE RAIN BY LUCY APPADOO

Spotlight on my blog today is on Dancing in the Rain by Lucy Appadoo, together with a guest post by the author and a fabulous giveaway!

Can she end the turmoil and escape the firmly built trap to find the freedom she craves?

Book Details:

Book Title: Dancing in the Rain (The Italian Family Series)
Author: Lucy Appadoo
​Category: Adult Fiction, 274 pages
Genre: Historical Coming of Age/Romance/Family Drama
Publisher: Lucy Appadoo
Release date: March 24, 2017
Tour dates: June 5 to 23, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (There is physical abuse and death involved.)

Book Description:

Fifteen-year old Valeria Allegro works diligently on the family farm in Italy, where she is torn between her duty to her family and her desire to find freedom from her strict, domineering father. She finds solace in Dario, a young student who provides a blissful escape—until a neighbour’s son, Gregorio, decides he wants her for himself.

This raises an alarm for her father, which leads to family conflict and aggression. When Dario is threatened and her family is plagued by a series of suspicious accidents, Valeria is desperate to keep her loved ones safe. Can she end the turmoil and escape the firmly built trap to find the freedom she craves?

Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:

Lucy Appadoo is a registered counsellor and wellness coach with a part-time private practice. She also works as a rehabilitation counsellor for the Australian government. In her spare time, she self-publishes or writes nonfiction and fiction texts. She previously worked as a rehabilitation consultant, caseworker, English as a second language teacher, and proofreader.

Lucy has postgraduate diplomas in psychology, education, and English as a Second Language teaching, as well as specialised qualifications in grief counselling and hypnosis. She has also completed wellness coaching courses (levels 1-3) at Wellness Coaching Australia.

Lucy enjoys reading romantic suspense, romance, thrillers, crime novels, family/historical drama, and sagas. She writes in the genres of romantic suspense, historical fiction, and romance. She has enjoyed travelling to exotic places such as Madrid, Mauritius, and Italy, and draws on these experiences in her creative writing.

Lucy’s favourite authors include Kendra Elliot, Christiane Heggan, Theresa Ragan, Tara Moss, Nicholas Sparks, Adriana Trigiani, Erica Spindler, and James Patterson (to name a few).

Lucy’s interests include meditation, playing tennis, journal writing, reading fiction and nonfiction texts about writing, coaching, and counselling, ongoing professional development, spending time with her husband and two daughters, and socialising with friends and family.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook


In Dancing in the Rain, my female character, Valeria experiences intense anger at the hands of her strong, patriarchal father. A misunderstanding about a boy leads to conflict, but I won’t divulge too much of the story.
Valeria learns to loathe her father even more after that experience, and struggles to understand her mother’s own submissive nature when Valeria is independent and assertive. In actuality, her mother in the story feels it is her duty to listen to her husband who is the main provider. He should be respected and obeyed, but Valeria doesn’t understand her mother’s mentality. She doesn’t see that she can respect her father when he acts so cruelly.
This particular anger scene was inspired by my mother’s experience in Italy. The factual story was about an Italian woman from my mother’s village who claimed to have seen my mother talking to a boy. She informed my grandfather (my mother’s father) of what she had seen. In fact, this woman talking to the boy was not my mother. It was a case of mistaken identity. My mother was punished for something she didn’t do as another woman had been involved. Another woman had had contact with a boy, and it wasn’t my mother.
I felt for my mother when she recounted this story to me. However, back in the 1960s and in a small village with a domineering father, girls and women could not stand up for themselves. Freedoms we have now didn’t exist back then. The females did what they were told. You would be punished otherwise.

I guess the lesson you can learn here is that in spite of hardships and trauma, you can be strong at heart and bounce back. You can get some meaning out of the situation and not be broken by the experience. Both Valeria and my mother did bounce back as they are strong at heart.

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Sunday, 18 June 2017



Three little girls set off to school one sunny May morning.
Within an hour, one of them is dead.

Fifteen years later, Alison and Kitty are living separate lives. Kitty lives in a care home. She can't speak, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here, or her life before it.
Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it - this is her chance to finally make things right.
But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that day.
And only another life will do...

Blood Sisters is published by Penguin on 29 June 2017 and is Jane Corry's second novel after the bestseller My Husband's Wife

This is the story of two sisters:

Alison, who feels guilty all the time, but about what we're not sure, she talks about 'the accident' and how her life changed after it, she has no friends which suits her just fine, she's an art teacher and decides to take a job in the local prison even though the thought of being in there with the prisoners makes her nervous.  She self-harms and doesn't visit her sister Kitty.

Kitty is in a care home.  In her dreams she can run, ride a bike, even do her shoe laces up, but in reality she can't do any of those things.  Her voice is loud and clear in her head but her words come out all jumbled up and no-one can understand what she's saying.  At first her memory of what happened is sketchy but gradually she starts to have flashbacks of her life and 'the accident'.

In the prison Alison feels she's being watched and becomes paranoid.  

At this stage of the story there were several coincidences which I found very difficult to believe, and I did consider giving up.  Also, Kitty found love in the care home and, again, some of the situations she found herself in I just couldn't imagine happening in real life.

I did stick with it, though, and overall I'm glad I did, as the story really gripped me and the last 150 pages just flew by.  

The writing was good with well-developed characters.  This is a story of revenge and jealousy, but I felt it suffered from too many coincidences to be entirely credible.

Connect with Jane Corry on Twitter


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