Books reviews, book tours, cover reveals and anything else book-related.

Blog Tour: The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island by B. J. Rowling and D. G. Lloyd

on
Tuesday, 30 July 2019
The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island



Today is my stop on the blog tour for the YA novel The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island by B.J. Rowling and D.G. Lloyd. Thanks to Sarah Hardy at Books On The Bright Side, to Olympia Publishers and to the authors for providing me with a copy of the book for review.

Title: The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island
Author(s): B. J. Rowling and D. G. Lloyd
Publication date: 25 October 2018
Publisher: Olympia Publishers

Blurb


Some secrets are best kept hidden... and some are just too magical not to share. Teenagers, who unexpectedly acquire a vast collection of magical, mystical powers and abilities, find an ancient map. This map leads them on a quest for buried treasure to a mysterious island filled with hidden secrets, booby traps and a ruthless villain who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. What could possibly go wrong? A lot!

Review

YA books are not my normal genre and I must admit that when the email arrived offering me the chance to read and review The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island, I did have to think twice. However, on scanning the blurb my attention was piqued. As a child, I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton's The Famous Five and this book sounded familiar. 

I've learnt that when reading YA books, you have to put your sense of disbelief to one side. Some artistic licence will be applied to push the story forwards and it is best to accept those elements for what they are and simply enjoy the adventure.

The book follows a group of teenagers who are attending a geocaching weekend to Makinac Island in Michigan with their respective families in the hope of winning a prize. Whilst the weekend begins with a bit of rivalry between the opposing families, the revelation of some family secrets and the discovery of an ancient treasure map forces the teens to join forces in the hope of finding some real-life treasure! Throw in a couple of bad guys, a wannabe rapper, a maze of hidden tunnels and a hint of mystical forces... what more can you ask for?

The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island certainly brings a sense of adventure to the table. It is a classic combination of mystery and adventure with a dash of humour and a smidgen of romance. I note that other reviews liken the book to the classic 80's film, The Goonies, and there certainly are some similarities as the kids venture into underground tunnels in seek of treasure! 

One of the best things about reading is the opportunity to learn something new. As such, one of my favourite things about this book was the historical element at the heart of the story. It gave context to the treasure hunt, whilst providing a bite-sized history lesson for the reader. 

With regards to the cast, the characters are written in an almost caricature-like way - J.J. is a typical boy, Genius is the computer geek and Aaron is the teenage lothario; there was no question that Bruno and Roberts were the bad guys, and hunter (aka Original-One) was at times quite humorous despite (or maybe because of?) his annoying wannabe-rapper pretensions. 

I have to be honest and say there was one aspect of the book which did not sit easily with me and that was the occasional reference to Sandra's boobs. I found it all a bit unnecessary. In particular, there was an early scene between J.J. and Sandra where Sandra trades a glimpse down her shirt to the teenage J.J. in order to manipulate him into providing information. I felt that this issue was a bit too adult for the book and I also felt that it was not resolved in a satisfactory way. I would have preferred that this scene included a moral outcome to show the young readers why this sort of trade off is not a good idea.

Back to the positives, The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island is ultimately a action-packed adventure along the lines of The Famous Five, The Goonies and possibly even a little hint of Indiana Jones or Lara Croft. It's fun, it's thrilling and it's certainly entertaining!

Written by a duo of scriptwriters, you won't be surprised to hear that the movie version will apparently be coming to the Big Screen soon....

About the Author(s)

B.J. Rowling and D.G. Lloyd
B. J. Rowling, a native of England, is an author, screenwriter, producer, actress and cousin of Harry Potter author, J. K. Rowling.

D.G. Lloyd is an American-Australian author, screenwriter, producer, actor and script coverage analyst.

Social Media Links:
Facebook: /BJRowling




Check out the rest of the blog tour at the blogs listed below:

Blog tour for The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island



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Book Review: Living My Best Li(f)e by Claire Frost #bookclub

on
Tuesday, 23 July 2019
Living my best li(f)e by Claire Frost


Title: Living my best li(f)e
Author: Claire Frost
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: 23 July 2019

Contact Links
Twitter: @FabFrosty 

Blurb

This heart-warming and funny novel is the perfect balm for the insta-weary mind – get ready to shatter the illusion that is #LivingMyBestLife 

Bell never thought she’d be facing her 40th birthday single. Recently dumped by her boyfriend of ten years, Bell is struggling to move on with her life – and surrender the fleecy pyjamas she’s been living in since January. Sick of being bombarded by #blessed on social media and feeling like her life doesn’t live up to everyone else’s, she decides it’s time for a change; time to find out who she really is,not who she thinks she should be.

Enter Millie, a successful online influencer posting under the handle @mi_bestlife. But as a single mum trying to make ends meet and stay ahead of the younger generation snapping at her heels, her Instagram feed is far more #BestLie than #BestLife. With the internet trolls continuing to bring her down and an ex who cares more about playing football than seeing their son, Millie begins to wish her life was more like her filters.

It isn’t until Millie and Bell’s paths cross that the two women begin to realise what they’re missing. Will Bell finally learn to live life for herself? And will Millie see that she needs to start living for the moment and not for the likes?

Review

After a few weeks of non-stop crime thrillers, Living my best li(f)e was a breath of fresh air and a much-needed dose of light-hearted humour!

How many of us have opened up Facebook/Instagram, usually out of either boredom or habit, and been left with a feeling of inadequacy or envy after seeing posts about an amazing experience, a fabulous holiday or the most perfect of relationships?  How many times do we find ourselves sitting on the sofa holding our mobile phones and counting the ‘likes’ and comments to our new photo/post rather than being out having new experiences or making new memories?  How many times have we missed seeing something happen right in front of us because we’re too busy trying to record/photograph the moment to share on social media?  It is possible (or maybe probable?) that we’ve all got a bit too used to viewing life through social media, rather than experiencing it for ourselves. This makes Living my best li(f)e very relevant today. It explores society’s obsession with social media and demonstrates how it can be used to distort reality - what we see is not necessarily what is real and true. It is very relatable and very real.

The writing style is uncomplicated and easy-to-read, with the chapters being split between the two main characters, Bell and Millie. This allows us to experience the tale from two different angles – from the person advertising the perfect life and from the person who is looking in on that perfection. There is an easy flow to the book that kept my attention and helped the story move along at a good pace.

I enjoyed getting to know each of the main characters. They are both likeable and genuine, and within a similar age range to myself, which always makes me identify more with a character. Both women are strong, single and in need of something more in their lives. The supporting cast are an eclectic and interesting mix, although I felt that I didn’t really get to know them that well. Millie’s interactions with her ex, Louis, were sadly quite believable. Here is a man who does love his son and who is happy to contribute to his upbringing, and yet he fails to realise that the responsibility is a regular and continuous one. Turning up once a month to see his son, cancelling plans to fit in with his work/social events, and ‘flashing the cash’ for treats but failing to pay regular boring maintenance – these are simply not the hallmarks of a responsible parent. And yet, he doesn’t do this out of spite nor a deliberate intention to avoid his responsibilities. He’s not a horrible person. He simply doesn’t realise how much his actions impact everyone involved.

The story is centred around a local community centre. This is where the different characters meet and where friendships are born, as the community comes together to try to save the centre.  It is a somewhat predictable plotline, however the strength of the story lies in the characters and their interactions. The entire book has a wonderfully warm feeling to it – it is absolutely a feel-good tale!

This is a fun and heart-warming tale about community, friendship and the importance of 'keeping it real' (a great moral to the tale) rather than filtering and staging our lives to maximise the ‘likes’. 

A great debut novel from Claire Frost and a big thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for providing me with a proof copy of the book for review.

About the Author

Claire Frost
Claire Frost grew up in Manchester, the middle of three sisters. She always wanted to do a job that involved writing, so after studying Classics at Bristol University she started working in magazines. For the last 10 years she's been at The Sun on Sunday's Fabulous magazine, where she is Assistant Editor and also responsible for the title's book reviews. She can mostly be found at her desk buried under a teetering TBR pile.



Quote by the Curious Ginger Cat






Buy Links

Amazon UK  |  Amazon US  |  Goodreads  |  GooglePlay  |  Kobo 

Blog Blitz: The White Scorpion (James Ryker Book 5) by Rob Sinclair

on
Tuesday, 16 July 2019
The White Scorpion by Rob Sinclair


Title: The White Scorpion (James Ryker Book 5)
Author: Rob Sinclair
Publisher: Bloodhound Books
Publication date: 16 July 2019

Contact Links
Website: www.robsinclairauthor.com
Twitter: @RSinclairAuthor
Facebook: RobSinclairAuthor

Blurb

Rule number one for an agent of the secretive JIA is to follow orders, no matter what.

But James Ryker has never cared much for rules. He only wants to do what is right.

Assigned to join of crew of elite security personnel in Chabon, Africa, Ryker’s mission objective is clouded by politics and obfuscation, and he knows only that to protect British interests in the region, he is to infiltrate the close protection team of the government of Chabon, a country with a dark and violent past.

Arriving in Chabon’s crumbling capital, Kilpassa, Ryker finds a country on the brink of civil war. A growing civilian rebellion threatens peace, with claims of atrocities committed by both sides, including the frail government run by enigmatic President Benyu - a former military general who took control of the country in a violent coup.

Drawn into Benyu’s inner circle, it soon becomes clear to Ryker that in Chabon, the lines between good and bad, and right and wrong, are nearly impossible to identify.

With a crisis of epic proportions unfolding before his eyes, Ryker knows one thing for sure: with or without the backing of his superiors, he must take drastic action, and quickly, or risk putting millions of innocent lives in danger.

Review

The story is set against a background of political unrest in the fictional African country of Chabon. Ryker and his team of ex-special ops soldiers are in the country to help further British interests. Their mission is to protect the current Chabonese leader, Benyu, from threats made by local rebel leader, Chima Muampa, and therefore maintain stability within the country. Unfortunately, the power play between an allegedly corrupt government and the rebel militia ensure that things don’t go quite to plan for Ryker and his team.

As Ryker digs deeper into the matter, he quickly realises that he is only being told half-truths by his bosses. How can he do his job effectively when he doesn’t know who he can trust…?

As always, Ryker is a great character. Intelligent, tough and intuitive. If ever I was in trouble, there’s no one I would want on my side more than Ryker!  Peter Winter is a returning character who adds a bit of shadiness and intrigue to the story. Whilst he is one of the good guys, he’s always slightly evasive and a little bit too slippery to fully trust. The book also adds new character, Sam Moreno, a tough cookie with a sense of humour. I enjoyed the dynamics between Ryker and Moreno and felt that added a personal dimension to the tale.

The story itself is well-plotted and well-written. All loose ends were nicely tied up by the end, except for those which could potentially appear once book 6 is published (I’m assuming there is a book 6 on the horizon – there better be!!).

Tense, fast-paced and action-packed, The White Scorpion is yet another great addition to the James Ryker series. If you like a good action thriller, this is definitely a book not to be missed! And if you’ve not yet read anything by Rob Sinclair, I recommend that you do so. His books are all suspenseful, twisty and
thoroughly entertaining!

The book can be read as a standalone, however I would recommend starting from the beginning in order to get the most out of the series. It’s worth doing because after reading The White Scorpion I’m pretty sure you’ll want to go back and read the rest of the series, if you haven’t already done so!

Thanks to Heather from Bloodhound Books and to author Rob Sinclair for inviting me to be a part of today’s Blog Blitz.

About the Author

Rob Sinclair

Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy, James Ryker and Sleeper series of thrillers. His books have sold over 900,000 copies to date with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob's work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn. 

Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.

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Why not check out the other stops on today's blog blitz, details are listed below....

The White Scorpion by Rob Sinclair

Book Review: The Holiday by TM Logan

on
Thursday, 11 July 2019
The Holiday by TM Logan


Title: The Holiday
Author: TM Logan
Publisher: Zaffre Books
Publication Date: 25 July 2019
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Contact Links:
Website: www.tmlogan.com
Twitter: @TMLoganAuthor
Instagram: @tmloganauthor
Facebook: @TMLoganAuthor

Blurb

Seven days. Three families. One killer.
 
It was supposed to be the perfect holiday, dreamed up by Kate as the ideal way to turn 40: four best friends and their husbands and children in a luxurious villa under the blazing sunshine of Languedoc-Roussillon.
 
But there is trouble in paradise. Kate suspects that her husband is having an affair and that the other woman is one of her best friends. One of these women is willing to sacrifice years of friendship and destroy her family. But which one?

As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined.

Because someone in the villa is prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.

Review

The central theme to The Holiday is deception - it is a tale of secrets and lies.  Whilst I'm not a religious person, I think there is something to be said in the biblical quote "the truth will set you free" (John 8:32). 

Of the three couples in the story - Kate and Sean, Jen and Alistair, Rowan and Russ - all of them have secrets, not just from the other couples but from their partners also. There is a distinct lack of communication and honesty amongst them, which appeared to be a repeating theme throughout the book. I was disappointed at how quickly Kate jumped to conclusions about her husband's activities and yet steadfastly refused to confront him about her suspicions. Surely this indicates an underlying lack of trust in their relationship? I also fail to understand why certain characters would put their own relationships at risk in order to keep someone else's secret.

The plot is complex and whilst the reveal is a bit of a slow-burner, the story does have a good pace to it. Every time I thought I had figured out what was happening, another twist or red-herring appeared!  It is obvious from the start that something bad is going to occur and the author then keeps the reader on tenterhooks as to when the event will occur and who would be involved. This really ramps up the suspense. It is not until well into the final quarter of the book that the action really takes place.  The tale is not action-packed and instead relies on this underlying tension and suspicion to drive the story towards its conclusion.

The setting for the tale is well thought-out. There is nothing like muggy summer heat, rising temperatures, a large family group and a bit too much wine to fray tempers and set moods slightly on edge  On a lighter note, my parents have a house not too far from Beziers, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region and it has made me want to explore the area a bit more when I next visit.

With a gripping plot and past-paced writing, The Holiday is certainly a page turner. This book will undoubtedly be a summer hit - perfect holiday reading!  

Thank you to Zaffre Books for providing me with a review copy of the book.

About the Author
TM Logan AuthorBestselling author TM Logan was a national newspaper journalist before turning to novel-writing full time. His debut thriller Lies was one of Amazon UK's biggest ebooks of 2017 - selling 350,000 copies, gathering more than 1,400 5-star reviews and winning a Silver Award at the Nielsen Bestseller Awards.

Together with his second standalone thriller, 29 Seconds (2018), his books are now published in a dozen countries around the world including the USA, South Koream Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and the Netherlands. His new thriller The Holiday is due to be published in the UK by Zaffre Books on 13 June 2019.

Tim lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children, and writes in a cabin at the bottom of his garden.


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Book Review: Am I Guilty? by Jackie Kabler

on
Wednesday, 26 June 2019
Am I Guilty? by Jackie Kabler



Title: Am I Guilty?
Author: Jackie Kabler
Publisher: Killer Reads
Publication Date:  19 April 2019 (ebook) 27 June 2019 (paperback)

Social Media/Website:
Twitter: @jackiekabler
Facebook: /jackiekablerauthor


Blurb

A mother’s job is to protect her child…
But everyone makes mistakes…


Gripping, exciting and emotional, this book will grab you from the first page and refuse to let you go until the final chapter!

I never thought it would happen to me…

One moment I had it all – a gorgeous husband, a beautiful home, a fulfilling career and two adorable children. The next, everything came crashing down around me.

They said it was my fault. They said I’m the worst mother in the world. And even though I can’t remember what happened that day, they wouldn’t lie to me. These are my friends, my family, people I trust.

But then why do I have this creeping sensation that something is wrong? Why do I feel like people are keeping secrets? Am I really as guilty as they say? And if I’m not, what will happen when the truth comes out…?

Review

Following on from her humorous murder mystery series, the Cora Baxter Mysteries (The Dead Dog Day, The Deadline and The Development) published by Accent Press, Jackie Kabler has taken a slight change in direction. Am I Guilty? is her debut psychological suspense novel published via the HarperCollins imprint, Killer Reads.  The ebook was published on 19 April 2019 and I was so excited to finally get my hands on it!

Since listening to a certain podcast recommended by my husband, I have found myself obsessed with the first sentence/paragraph of a book. I want it to really draw me in. I want to see scene setting, character introduction and intrigue - Am I Guilty? certainly delivers in this regard. The moment I started reading the book, I was hooked!

Thea is living through every mother’s worst nightmare – the loss of a child. This situation is made all the more tragic by the knowledge that Zander’s death is all her fault…. or is it?  Can she trust her returning memories?  Will those memories return in full before the trial date?  

It is a difficult subject matter to address, yet Kabler manages to do so sympathetically. The main character, Thea, is well-rounded if somewhat unstable. You could forgive this due to the recent circumstances, yet there is suggestion that this was the case even prior to Zander’s death.  She has long been the centre of a tug-of-war between her husband Rupert and her best friend Isla. Despite Thea’s obvious flaws, I had a lot of sympathy for her and I was convinced that there was more to the story than Thea believed.

The book is written from several points of view – Thea, Annabelle, Flora, Rupert, Greg and Isla.  The character interactions were interesting to read about and whilst some of those characters feature more prominently than others, the use of multiple voices enables the reader to get to know the characters whilst gradually piecing together the puzzle surrounding that same fateful day.

I enjoy the challenge of a good mystery, although more often than not I find myself successfully predicting the outcome. In this case, I didn't guess. The story is well crafted and precisely plotted. Each and every character seems capable of something, but what that something was I wasn't sure. 

Whilst I very much enjoyed Kabler's earlier novels, Am I Guilty? really is a step up. What a rollercoaster of a ride! Full to the brim of twists and turns, the book really did have me on the edge of my seat. Whilst it doesn't necessarily have an 'in your face' shock factor, it certainly packs a punch; it is completely unnerving and totally gripping. 

Would I recommend this book to others - absolutely yes! It is one of the best psychological suspense novels that I've read this year.

If this sounds like the book for you, the ebook version is already available and the paperback version is being published tomorrow (27 June 2019). Links to the book are listed below.

About the Author

Jackie Kabler
Jackie Kabler was born in Coventry but spent much of her childhood in Ireland. She worked as a newspaper reporter and then a television news correspondent for twenty years, spending nearly a decade on GMTV followed by stints with ITN and BBC News. During that time, she covered major stories around the world including the Kosovo crisis, the impeachment of President Clinton, the Asian tsunami, famine in Ethiopia, the Soham murders and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Jackie now divides her time between crime writing and her job as a presenter on shopping channel QVC. She has a degree in zoology, runs long distances for fun and lives in Gloucestershire with her husband.




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An Evening with HarperCollins at #DestinationHQ

on
Friday, 21 June 2019
#DestinationHQ


On Monday I had the good fortune of attending the HarperCollins offices for their HQ imprint event #DestinationHQ.  The purpose of the event was to showcase their future releases for Summer 2019 to Spring 2020.

The event was held at the HarperCollins offices in London, situated next to The Shard. Held on the 17th floor, the room was surrounded by floor to ceiling windows which provided the most amazing views over the Thames.

View from HarperCollins HQ


After negotiating the suffocatingly hot underground to London Bridge, followed by a momentary panic upon seeing the complicated elevators in The News building, I arrived on the 17th floor where I was greeted by a table of very welcome fruity cocktails - vodka, orange and grapefruit. Delicious!

HQ cocktails


Just as welcome were the table of HQ branded water cooling fans available for our use - marvellous idea from those fab HQ folks!

HQ fans


On a third table situated by the window, as we walked into the main event room, were a pile of HQ branded tote bags and a table laden down with some of the future releases from HQ, along with copies some of the authors' earlier works.  I was very restrained at first, selecting only the two books which I was most keen to read. However, after each author gave their 60 second pitch presentation, I couldn't resist heading back to the book table to select a few additional books.  The line up coming from HQ sounds, quite simply, wonderful. Every book showcased sounded absolutely fantastic!

books from HarperCollins HQ Stories



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Debut Authors

The presentations began with Publicity Director Sophie Calder giving a welcoming speech, before handing over to Senior Press Officer Joe Thomas to introduce the HQ debut authors. We were treated to 60 second pitches from each of the authors to introduce their upcoming publications.


The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd


The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd
Publication date: 11 July 2019 
Pre-order here

Lauren Pailing is born in the sixties, and a child of the seventies. She is thirteen years old the first time she dies.

Lauren Pailing is a teenager in the eighties, becomes a Londoner n the nineties. And each time she dies, new lives begin for the people who loved her - while Lauren enters a brand new life, too.

But in each of Lauren's lives, a man called Peter Stanning disappears. And, in each of her lives, Lauren sets out to find him.

And so it is that, with each new beginning, Peter Stanning inches closer to finally being found...

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie


Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie
Publication date: 25 July 2019
Pre-order here

On an ordinary Saturday morning in 1996, the residents of Nightingale Point wake up to their normal lives and worries.

Mary has a secret life that no one knows about, not even Malachi and Tristan, the brothers she vowed to look after.

Malachi had to grow up too quickly. Between looking after Tristan and nursing a broken heart, he feels older than his twenty-one years.

Tristan wishes Malachi would stop pining for Pamela. No wonder he's falling in with the wrong crowd, without Malachi to keep him straight.

Elvis is trying hard to remember the instructions his care worker gave him, but sometimes he gets confused and forgets things.

Pamela wants to run back to Malachi but her overprotective father has locked her in and there's no way out.

But when the sun sets, Nightingale Point is irrevocably changed and somehow, through the darkness, the residents must find a way back to lightness, and back to each other.

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank


The Lost Ones by Anita Frank
Publication date: 31 October 2019
Pre-order here

Some houses are never at peace.

England, 1917.

Reeling from the death of her fiance, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick - but she arrives to find a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.

Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella that plague Madeleine - sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs - and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic past of the house.

Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick's dark and terrible secrets - secrets the dead whisper from the other side...

The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain


The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain
Publication date: 20 Feburary 2020
Pre-order here

Your roots can always lead you home...

Amjad never imagined he'd be a single father. But he must step up for his two children - while his world falls apart.

Saahil dreams of providing for his dad and little sister. But his life is about to take an unexpected turn.

As the baby of the family, Zahra is shielded from the worst the world has to offer. But, as she grows up, she wonders if she can rely on anyone but herself.

There's no such thing as an easy journey. But when life sends the family in different directions, will they take their own paths - or find their way back to each other?


This Lovely City by Louise Hare


This Lovely City by Louise Hare
Publication date: 12 March 2020
Pre-order here

The drinks are flowing. The music is playing. But the party can't last.

With the Blitz over and London reeling from war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England's call for help. Fresh off the Empire Windrush, he's taken a tiny room in South London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door.

Touring Soho's music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home and it's alive with possibility. Until, one morning, he makes a discovery that will send shockwaves through the community. And the city's newest inhabitants will be the first to feel them.

Precious You by Helen Monks-Takhar


Precious You by Helen Monks-Takhar
Publication date: 30 April 2020
Pre-order here

Twenty-four-year-old Lily Lunt is a privileged, politically correct millennial, a 'fucking Snowflake': soft, entitled, earnest. She's got it easy.

Katherine Ross is a career woman in her early forties, a self-assured London homeowner with a loving partner, childless by choice. She's got it all her own way.

But when their professional and personal lives collide, Katherine finds herself obsessively drawn to Lily. as the stages mount in their cat-and-mouse game, a deeply disturbing picture emerges of two women who are not what they seem - and who are desperate enough to do anything to come out on top.

***************

Uplifting Fiction

Lucy Richardson, HQ's Publicity Manager, then introduced HQ's 'uplifting' fiction releases and we were treated to a further set of pitches from those authors.

About That Night by Elaine Bedell


About That Night by Elaine Bedell
Publication date: 11 July 2019
Pre-order here

Elizabeth Place might have been jilted on her wedding day one year ago, but at least she's still got her brilliant job producing one of the biggest shows on TV!

But when larger-than-life TV host, Ricky Clough, dies live on air, her life is sent spinning out of control. And with foul play suspected, the spotlight is turned firmly on his colleagues - especially Hutch, the man desperate for Ricky's job and whom Elizabeth is secretly dating.

As her world comes crashing down around her, Elizabeth realises that perhaps the only person she can really trust, is herself.

The Last Concerto by Sara Alexander


The Last Concerto by Sara Alexander
Publication date: 22 August 2019
Pre-order here

Famed for its natural beauty and rich history, Sardinia in 1968 is notorious, too, for the bandits who kidnap wealthy landowners for ransom.

Eleven-year-old Alba Fresu's brother, and her father, Bruno, are abducted by criminals who mistake Bruno for a rich man. After a grueling journey through the countryside, the two are eventually released - but the experience leaves Alba shaken and unable to readjust to normal life.

Accompanying her mother to cleaning jobs, Alba visits the villa of an eccentric Signora and touches the keys of a piano for the first time. The instrument's spell is immediate. During secret lessons, forbidden by her mother, Alba is at last able to express emotions too powerful for words alone.

But her path will lead her to a crossroads, and Alba will have to decide how to reconcile her talent with her longing for love and family, and convey the music of her heart...

Mr Doubler Begins Again by Seni Glaister


Mr Doubler Begins Again by Seni Glaister
Publication date: 22 August 2019
Pre-order here

Baked, mashed, boiled or fried, Mr Doubler knows his potatoes. But the same can't be said for people. Since he lost his wife, he's been on his own at Mirth Farm - and that suits Doubler just fine. Crowds are for other people; the only company he needs are his potato plants and his housekeeper, Mrs Millwood, who visits every day.

So when Mrs Millwood is taken ill, it ruins everything - and Mr Doubler begins to worry that he might have lost his way. But could the kindness of strangers be enough to bring him down from the hill?

What Happens Now? by Sophia Money-Coutts


What Happens Now? by Sophia Money-Coutts
Publication date: 22 August 2019
Pre-order here

After eight years together, Lil Bailey thought she'd already found 'the one' - that is, until he dumped her for a blonde twenty-something colleague. So she does what any self-respecting singleton would do: swips right, puts on her best bra and finds herself on a first date with a handsome mountaineer called Max. What's the worst that can happen?

Well it's pretty bad actually. First Max ghosts her and then, after weeing on a stick (but mostly on her hands), a few weeks later Lil discovers she's pregnant. She's single, thirty-one and living in a thimblesized flat in London, it's hardly the happily-ever-after she was looking for.

Lil's ready to do the baby-thing on her own - it can't be that hard, right? But she should probably tell Max, if she can track him down.

Surely he's not that Max, the highly eligible, headline-grabbing son of Lord and Lady Rushbrooke, currently trekking up a mountain in South Asia? Oh, maybe he wasn't ignoring Lil after all...

The Day We Meet Again by Miranda Dickinson


The Day We Meet Again by Miranda Dickinson
Publication date: 5 September 2019
Pre-order here

"We'll meet again at St Pancras station, a year from today. If we're meant to be together, we'll both be there. If we're not, it was never meant to be..."

Phoebe and Sam meet by chance at St Pancras station. Heading in opposite directions, both seeking their own adventures, meeting the love of their lives wasn't part of the plan. So they make a promise: to meet again in the same place in twelve months' time if they still want to be together.

But is life ever as simple as that?

This is a story of what-ifs and maybes - and how one decision can change your life forever...

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan


A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan
Publication date: 31 October 2019
Pre-order here

First to arrive are the bride's parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter's marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret about their own: they are on the brink of divorce.

Rosie's older sister Katie is also dreading the wedding. worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister fro herself. If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans...

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiance but is having serious second thoughts. As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget.


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Domestic Suspense

The final set of presentations, HQ's forthcoming domestic suspense releases, were introduced by HQ's Publicity Assistant, Izzy Smith.

Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks


Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks
Publication date: 19 September 2019
Pre-order here

Daisy and Simon's marriage is great, isn't it?

After years together, the arrival of longed-for daughter Millie sealed everything in place. A happy little family of three.

And so what if Simon drinks a bit too much sometimes - Daisy's used to it, she knows he's letting off steam. Until one night at a party things spiral horribly out of control. And that happy little family of three will never be the same again.

The Move by Felicity Everett


The Move by Felicity Everett
Publication date: 26 December 2019
Pre-order here

Karen is driving through a strange landscape into a new life. Always a city girl, now she is on her way to an idyllic country cottage, refurbished for her with impeccable taste by her husband Nick. They're making a fresh start.

But something is awry in the new house. It's not just the fact that Karen and Nick are ill at ease in one another's company - that their recent history is far from picture perfect, it's the whole vibe. The landscape is breathtaking by day, eerie by night. If the countryside is supposed to be a place of peace, far away from curtain-twitchers, who is the person watching them from the hill? And who are their new neighbours?

The Dilemma by B.A. Paris


The Dilemma by B.A. Paris
Publication date: 9 January 2020
Pre-order here

It's Livia's fortieth birthday and tonight she's having a party, a party she's been planning for a long time. The only person missing will be her daughter, Marnie.

But Livia has a secret, a secret she's been keeping from Adam, her husband, until the party is over. Because how can she tell him that although she loves Marnie, she's glad their daughter won't be there to celebrate with her?

Adam is determined everything will be just right for Livia and the party is going to be perfect... until he learns something that will leave him facing an unbearable decision.

She by H C Warner


She by H C Warner
Publication date:  9 January 2020
Pre-order here

She's everything he dreamed of. Isn't she?

Ben can't believe his luck when the beautiful Bella walks into his life, just when he needs her most.

Still bruised and vulnerable since breaking-up with long-term girlfriend, Charlotte, he falls head over heels in love.

But Bella isn't quite the ideal partner that Ben believes her to be. She quickly decides that everything is better when it is just the two of them - making it harder for friend and family to stay in touch.

And then a sudden death triggers a chain of events that throws Ben headlong into a nightmare...

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What an incredible line-up for HQ over the next 6 months!

Once the presentations concluded, more drinks were served, canapes were circulated and it was time to mingle and chat with the authors, publicists and some fellow bloggers.  I was very happy to see some friendly faces and had a lovely time catching up with some blogger friends, including Zarina (@zarinatweets), Linda (@Lindahill50Hill), Rachel (@gilbster1000) and Sharon (@ShazsBookBlog). I was also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to discuss haunted houses with Anita Frank, unappetising cookbooks with Adele Parks and awkward sex scenes with Sophia Money-Coutts!

I was fortunate enough to be accompanied by Adele on my trek back to the station which made for a very pleasant journey, although I last saw her walking the wrong way down the platform at Waterloo underground station....! :) 

A huge thanks to the lovely folk at HQ for an absolutely wonderful evening, albeit I've been left with a sore shoulder from carrying my book haul across London to catch my train and a significantly longer wishlist on Amazon now that I've heard the great pitches from HQ's wonderful authors!

If you want to hear more from HQ, then you can visit them on Twitter at @HQstories.