Category Archives: Blog Tour

Blog Tour: The Long Forgotten by David Whitehouse

the long forgotten

I’m absolutely delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for David Whitehouse’s latest novel, The Long Forgotten.  This was a novel that I was eager to read as soon as I heard about it late last year, drawn by both the blurb and the comparisons to the works of David Mitchell and Matt Haig.

When the black box flight recorder of a plane that went missing 30 years ago is found at the bottom of the sea, a young man named Dove begins to remember a past that isn’t his. The memories belong to a rare flower hunter in 1980s New York, whose search led him around the world and ended in tragedy.

Restless and lonely in present-day London, Dove is quickly consumed by the memories, which might just hold the key to the mystery of his own identity and what happened to the passengers on that doomed flight, The Long Forgotten.

There are multiple threads to this novel, and it wasn’t immediately clear how they were connected.  Firstly, there is Dove – a young man working in ambulance dispatch who was abandoned as a baby.  Whilst he was taken in by a loving older couple, the emotional scars that he bears as a result of his abandonment and not knowing his birth parents are easy to see, and I felt a great deal of sympathy for Dove as he feels the need to keep other people at arms’ length, his fear of abandonment still strong even as an adult.  He is a lovely if slightly unusual character, and I enjoyed the slow reveal of both his past and present, the latter of which is dominated by the memories that he begins to experience – memories that can’t be his own.

The memories he begins to experience are those of Peter Manyweathers – a man who cleans the houses of the recently deceased – usually when they weren’t found straightaway.  After finding a bog violet on one of his jobs, he quickly becomes obsessed with seeking out rare flowers around the world.  For me, Peter’s adventures were the best part of the novel.  Whilst set in the very recent past, travel at the time was so different to what it is today, and I loved the journeys he made as he sought out increasingly rare blooms that are often situated in inaccessible places, flowering for a brief period of time.  Whilst not much of one for flowers, I couldn’t help but look up some these blooms myself as I read along, thoroughly intrigued by this unusual hobby.

There is also the mystery of the black box flight recorder of flight PS570, which disappeared 30 years ago, and I was intrigued to see how the novel would play out and how the various threads would come together by the end of the story, which didn’t quite end as I expected it to.  This is a wonderfully touching novel, by turns amusing (usually because of Professor Cole, who discovers the flight recorder) and sad.  It explores themes of memory, identity and self-discovery, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Long Forgotten will be published on 22 March by Picador.  Many thanks to Emma Finnigan for the review copy, and to Anne Cater for inviting me to join the blog tour.

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Make sure you check out the other stops on the blog tour:

The Long Forgotten Blog Tour Poster


Blog Tour: The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson

the darkness

I’m delighted to be able to share my review of The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson as part of the blog tour today.  The Darkness is book one of the Hidden Iceland series, and if this first instalment is anything to go by, readers are in for a treat with this new series.

A young woman is found dead on a remote Icelandic beach.

She came looking for safety, but instead she found a watery grave.

A hasty police investigation determines her death as suicide . . .

When Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir of the Reykjavik police is forced into early retirement, she is told she can investigate one last cold case of her choice – and she knows which one.

What she discovers is far darker than suicide . . . And no one is telling Hulda the whole story.

When her own colleagues try to put the brakes on her investigation, Hulda has just days to discover the truth. A truth she will risk her own life to find.

There are many things that I enjoyed about this novel, and the unusual protagonist is one of them.  Hulda is in her sixties and due to retire at the end of the year, and to say that she is not looking forward to it is something of an understatement.  So it comes as a complete blow when she is asked to retire early, being given the opportunity to work one last cold case before doing so.  It’s clear from the beginning that Hulda is a thorough and conscientious detective, and yet she harbours a sense of bitterness about the way she has been treated by the police force, passed over for promotion many times in favour of her younger, often male colleagues.  I felt a great deal of sympathy for Hulda, although she admits that collaboration isn’t her strong point, and understands that this will have played a part in her circumstances.

The cold case that she picks is a fascinating one, concerning the death of a Russian asylum seeker a year earlier.  The investigation at the time ruled it a suicide, and yet Hulda has a number of concerns about the investigation, particularly as the officer involved is known for his lazy, slapdash approach.  Even a year on, Hulda is able to obtain additional evidence and witness statements that suggest that the death may not have been a suicide after all.  Despite the modern setting, there is something quite old school about the investigation, and this does feel like a classic mystery as Hulda tries to work out what happened, doing a lot of leg work in the process and tracking down those who were connected to Elena.

I loved the way in which we learn about Hulda’s background, from her childhood, which wasn’t entirely straightforward, to her relationship with her husband who passed away.  These snippets of Hulda’s past are woven into the main narrative brilliantly, resulting in a fully-formed character with many smaller details thrown in to explain elements of her behaviour and why she is as she is.

There are some books that you start reading and you just know that you are in for a treat.  The Darkness was one such book for me.  From the opening chapter, I was immediately hooked by Jónasson’s slightly unusual protagonist and the situation she finds herself in, and I found Elena’s case to be absolutely fascinating.  The Darkness is intricately plotted and reads like a classic mystery with some darker themes running through it, and it went in a completely different direction to what I was expecting.  I can’t recommend The Darkness enough, and I fully expect it to appear in my list of the top books of 2018.

The Darkness will be published on 15 March by Michael Joseph.  Many thanks to Laura Nicol for the early review copy, and the opportunity to take part in the blog tour.

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Make sure you check out the others stops on the tour:

Blog Tour

We Were the Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard

we were the salt of the sea

I’m delighted to be sharing my review of We Were the Salt of the Sea today as part of the blog tour alongside the lovely Eva at Novel Deelights.

As Montrealer Catherine Day sets foot in a remote fishing village and starts asking around about her birth mother, the body of a woman dredges up in a fisherman’s nets. Not just any woman, though: Marie Garant, an elusive, nomadic sailor and unbridled beauty who once tied many a man’s heart in knots. Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales, newly drafted to the area from the suburbs of Montreal, barely has time to unpack his suitcase before he’s thrown into the deep end of the investigation. On Quebec’s outlying Gaspé Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves. Interviews drift into idle chit-chat, evidence floats off with the tide and the truth lingers in murky waters. It’s enough to make DS Morales reach straight for a large whisky… Both a dark and consuming crime thriller and a lyrical, poetic ode to the sea, We Were the Salt of the Sea is a stunning, page-turning novel, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

We Were the Salt of the Sea is a beautifully written novel that is as much a love song to the sea as it is an intriguing mystery to be solved.  It opens in 1974 as a woman gives birth to her child aboard her sail boat.  It then flashes forward 33 years as Catherine arrives on the Gaspé Peninsula in search of her birth mother.  I didn’t completely warm to Catherine at first, although I did feel a great deal of sympathy for her situation, and I found myself warming to her as the novel progressed.

The small town that Catherine arrives in is populated by an extremely close-knit community of idiosyncratic characters.  I love novels that are set in small towns or communities, and Bouchard does it brilliantly here.  Many of the locals work on the sea, and they are an extremely practical, down to earth bunch.  If there was one element of the novel that didn’t work for me personally, it’s that many of the characters have a “catchphrase” or a statement that they’d roll out repeatedly such as “Christ in a chalice”.  I did find this to be a little repetitive, although it does make it very clear who is speaking.  This is a purely personal preference, however, which just didn’t suit my personal tastes, and it is a minor point.

We Were the Salt of the Sea isn’t a fast-paced novel, but it presents an intriguing mystery in a wonderfully unique setting that is brought to life through Bouchard’s fantastic prose. Part crime novel, this is also a work of literary fiction, and won’t suit those who are looking for a fast-paced thriller.  For those who like a small-town vibe with dashes of humour, however, this could be for you.

We Were the Salt of the Sea will be published in paperback on 30 March by Orenda Books, and is available to buy now as an eBook.  Many thanks to Anne Cater for the advanced copy and the opportunity to take part in the blog tour.

We Were The Salt of the Sea BT Banner

Blog Tour: These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper

Paperback Jacket

I read These Dividing Walls in 2017 – you can find my review here – and I’m delighted to be kicking off the blog tour to celebrate the paperback release of this delightful novel with an extract from the novel.

The Blurb

What building doesn’t have secrets? 

How much does anyone know of what goes on behind their neighbour’s doors?

On a hot June day, grief-stricken Edward arrives in Paris hoping that a stay in a friend’s empty apartment will help him mend. But this is not the Paris he knows: there are no landmarks or grand boulevards, and the apartment he was promised is little more than an attic room.

In the apartments below him, his new neighbours fill their flats with secrets. A young mother is on the brink, a bookshop owner buries her past, and a banker takes up a dark and malicious new calling.

Before he knows it, Edward will find himself entangled in their web, and as the summer heat intensifies so do tensions within and without the building, leading to a city-wide wave of violence, and a reckoning within the walls of number 37.


Prologue: The Building

Far back on the Left Bank, there is a secret quarter. Beyond the neon-lit slopes of Montparnasse, the winding cobbles of the fifth arrondissement, a warren of quiet streets lie sandwiched between boulevards. Little traffic comes through here.

Number thirty-seven sits at the meeting of two streets in this forgotten corner of the city. It is much like the buildings that surround it – late nineteenth-century, pale stone. But for its turquoise door it might slip from view altogether.

On summer nights, its residents return home as the sun sinks over the city. Lights are turned on, windows opened; dinners cooked and babies put to bed. The smell of garlic browning in a pan drifts into the courtyard, along with a child’s cries and snippets of conversation caught on the breeze.

Within its walls, people kiss. They talk, they laugh; someone cries, perhaps. A few are glad to sit alone. Others wish that they did not.

As darkness falls, the lights are gradually extinguished again. On such a heat-soaked, airless night as this, number thirty-seven’s residents lie in their beds, listening to the rise and fall of neighbours’ breath. Life is measured by the scrape of strangers’ plates, the tinny ring of someone else’s telephone, the grunts of sex (and other functions), until all is finally quiet again.

Number thirty-seven has its stories; in this it is like any building. For what building doesn’t have secrets? How much does anyone know of what goes on behind their neighbours’ doors?

About the Author


In August 2012 I moved to Paris, and that first night in my new apartment I was fascinated to discover I could hear my neighbours snoring. I had never met these people, yet there was something so intimate in how much of each others’ lives we were privy to, and I became fascinated by the idea of all the different stories that might go on behind an apartment building’s closed doors.

I spent three magical years in that apartment, and my first novel, These Dividing Walls, tells the story of just such an apartment building over the course of a hot and politically troubled summer.

Lamenting the loss of cheap French wine and fresh baguettes, I now live in London with my fiancé Alex and our three-legged cat, Chip, who shares my penchant for staring out of windows and keeping an eye on the neighbours. When I’m not scribbling away on my second novel, The Two Houses, I can be found watching geeky BBC documentaries , taking long bubble baths, and attempting ambitious yoga poses.

Make sure you check out the other wonderful stops on the tour!

Twitter Blog Tour Banner

Blog Tour: Force of Nature by Jane Harper

force of nature new

Today I’m absolutely delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Jane Harper’s latest novel, Force of Nature.  I absolutely loved The Dry (you can see my review here), and so I was thrilled to receive a copy of Harper’s follow up, which brings Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk back into our lives.

Is Alice here?  Did she make it?  Is she safe?

In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare.

Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.

Five women on a team building exercise head out into the Giralang Ranges with camping equipment and essentials for surviving in the wilderness for three days.  Phones are left behind, not that they’d be much use in this remote area.

Three days later, only four women make it to the final checkpoint, arriving several hours late.  No one knows where Alice Russell is, or how or why she disappeared.  And survival in the wilderness with limited supplies and experience won’t be easy…

The Dry was always going to be a tough act to follow, but I think that Harper has succeeded in Force of Nature.  I was swept away by this novel, eager to know what had happened to Alice, although I couldn’t really bring myself to care about her character – it was the mystery I wanted to solve.

Force of Nature alternates between the investigation in the days immediately after Alice goes missing, and what happened during the three days the women were out in the wild.  Whilst exercises such as this are meant to build trust and to encourage team work and cooperation if not friendship, it’s clear from the beginning that these five women are never going to get along.  Alice in particular is painted in a poor light – aggressive and cruel, she’d be a nightmare to get on with in any situation.  Whilst I didn’t care for her personally, I did want to find out what happened, however, and I enjoyed the gradual reveal of what had taken place during their time in the great outdoors.

So where does Aaron Falk fit in?  As a member of the financial crime unit, missing persons aren’t part of Falk’s jurisdiction, but Alice Russell was helping Falk and his partner, Carmen, in their latest investigation into BaileyTennants – the company that the five women work for.  This raises questions as to whether Alice’s disappearance was a result of misadventure or foul play, and I love the way in which both options were kept open and entirely plausible, keeping the reader on their toes until the denouement, which did come as a surprise to me.  I loved how the novel ended though – all the clues were there, but so subtly delivered that I missed them along the way.

Force of Nature follows on from The Dry, but can easily be read as a standalone, as the references to the previous novel are kept to a minimum.  I would absolutely recommend reading both, however, as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them, and I’m hoping that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Aaron Falk.

Force of Nature is available to purchase in hardback and eBook.  Many thanks to Grace Vincent and Little, Brown Book Group for my review copy, and to Kimberley Nyamhondera for the invitation to take part in the blog tour.

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Make sure you check out the other fantastic stops on the blog tour today:

Force of nature 8 Feb

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Katherine Arden’s The Girl in the Tower today, and I have a Q&A with Katherine to share with you, as well as the opportunity to win a copy of both The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, courtesy of the publisher, Ebury.

About the Books

The Bear and the Nightingale (Book One in the Winternight Trilogy)

the bear and the nightingale pb

Frost-demons have no interest in mortal girls wed to mortal men. In the stories, they only come for the wild maiden.

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church.

But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods…

Atmospheric and enchanting, with an engrossing adventure at its core, The Bear and the Nightingale is perfect for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman.

You can read my review here.

The Girl in the Tower (Book 2 in the Winternight Trilogy)

the girl in the tower

For a young woman in medieval Russia, the choices are stark: marriage or a life in a convent. Vasya will choose a third way: magic…

The court of the Grand Prince of Moscow is plagued by power struggles and rumours of unrest. Meanwhile bandits roam the countryside, burning the villages and kidnapping its daughters. Setting out to defeat the raiders, the Prince and his trusted companion come across a young man riding a magnificent horse.

Only Sasha, a priest with a warrior’s training, recognises this ‘boy’ as his younger sister, thought to be dead or a witch by her village. But when Vasya proves herself in battle, riding with remarkable skill and inexplicable power, Sasha realises he must keep her secret as she may be the only way to save the city from threats both human and fantastical…

You can read my review here.

Q & A with Katherine Arden

  1. For those who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself, please?

I am an American writer who was born in Texas but now lives in Vermont. I studied Russian in school and worked odd jobs while writing my first book, The Bear and the Nightingale. 

  1. Have you always wanted to write?

No. I thought of doing all kinds of things.  If I weren’t a writer I’d probably be an interpreter.

  1. Moving on to your books, two novels of the Winternight trilogy – The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower – have been published.  Can you tell us a little about them?

They are set in Russia during the Middle Ages and they are a cross between Russian history and Slavic folklore and fairy tales.

  1. What was the inspiration for these novels?

I have a degree in Russian, and I have always loved Russian fairy tales, so writing a book set in Russia and based on a fairy tale was a natural progression. The specific story grew in the telling.

  1. The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower borrow quite heavily from Russian folklore, and go far beyond Baba Yaga – was this difficult to research?

No – it was plenty of work, but there are books on the topic if you are willing to dig them up.

  1. Through both books, I’ve loved the Domovoi who can help or hinder on a whim.  Do you have a personal favourite, and if you had to live with one, which would it be?

I’d love a domovoi to help around the house. Although my personal favorite has always been the bannik, the bathhouse spirit. So mischievous.

  1. I absolutely adore Vasya!  Whilst she lives in a different time, I think that she delivers a strong feminist message about choosing your own path that is relevant today.  Is this something that is important to you?


  1. There’s is one more novel to come in the Winternight series – what can readers expect?

Romance. Death. Personal growth.

  1. And after that?

I have a horror novel for younger readers called Small Spaces, coming out in September in the US. After that we will see.

  1. Looking a little at the writing process, are you a planner, or do you just write and see where the story goes?

I just write and see where the story goes.

  1. How long did it take you to write your two novels?

It kind of went in fits and starts, but I started writing The Bear and the Nightingale in 2011 and the final book was published in January 2017. I started writing The Girl in the Tower in the spring of 2016 and it was just published. 

  1. What sort of novels do you like to read, and who are your favourite authors?

I love fantasy and historical fiction. Favorite writers: Dorothy Dunnett, Mary Renault, Daphne DuMaurier, Patrick O’Brien, Naomi Novik, Hilary Mantel.

  1. Finally, a question that I like to ask everyone – what are the three best pieces of advice you’ve ever been given? (not necessarily writing specific)

Finish what you start

Be patient

Don’t give up

Many thanks to Katherine for taking the time to answer a few questions.


As part of the blog tour, I’m delighted to be able to offer one reader the opportunity to win a paperback copy of The Bear and the Nightingale, and a hardback copy of The Girl in the Tower.  This giveaway is open to UK residents only, and you must be willing to share your postal address with me so that I can send you your prizes!  To enter, leave a comment on this blog post answering this question:

Katherine’s novels feature elements of Russian fairy tales and folklore.  What is your favourite fairy tale or story from folklore?

I’ll pick a winner at random from all entries on 24th January.

Good luck!

Make sure you check out the other stops on the blog tour!


Blog Tour: Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb


I thoroughly enjoyed Deep Down Dead – the first novel to feature Florida bounty hunter Lori Anderson – and I was delighted to be invited to take part in the blog tour for Broadribb’s follow up, Deep Blue Trouble.

Single-mother Florida bounty hunter Lori Anderson’s got an ocean of trouble on her hands.  Her daughter Dakota is safe, but her cancer is threatening a comeback, and Lori needs JT – Dakota’s daddy and the man who taught Lori everything – alive and kicking.  Problem is, he’s behind bars, and heading for death row.

Desperate to save him, Lori does a deal, taking on off-the-books job from shady FBI agent Alex Monroe. Bring back on-the-run felon, Gibson ‘The Fish’ Fletcher, and JT walks free.  Following Fletcher from Florida to California, Lori teams up with local bounty hunter Dez McGregor and his team.  But Dez works very differently to Lori, and the tension between them threatens to put the whole job in danger.

With Monroe pressuring Lori for results, the clock ticking on JT’s life, and nothing about the Fletcher case adding up, Lori’s hitting walls at every turn.  But this is one job she’s got to get right, or she’ll lose everything…

One aspect of Deep Blue Trouble that I really liked was that it picks up immediately where Deep Down Dead finished, throwing you straight back into the action.  Whilst I’m sure that Lori would have liked some time for the bruises to heal, she has no choice but to take on another case straightaway in order to get JT, her mentor, and the father of her child, released from jail.  As such, I wouldn’t recommend reading Deep Blue Trouble without first reading Deep Down Dead.  It could be read as a standalone novel, but you’d miss so much of the background to this case, and what Lori, Dakota, and JT have been through that I think that this is a series that is best read in order.

Like its predecessor, Deep Blue Trouble is incredibly fast-paced throughout, and the tension never lets up.  Whilst I liked Deep Down Dead, I preferred this second instalment.  It felt more like Lori doing her own thing, and I felt that we saw a bit more of her strategic capabilities, and that she was more reliant upon her own instincts.  Even when she is teamed up with Dez and his Californian bounty hunters, she trusts her gut, and does things her way.

Lori is an absolutely fantastic character – a kick-ass lady who you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of.  She is incredibly driven, and whilst both novels have had a personal element for Lori, I think that she would tackle any job with the same determination and perseverance – she’s that kind of girl.  She’s not perfect, however, and she does make some mistakes, but to me, this makes her character more realistic.  I also really like the brief flashbacks to her training with JT which helps to flesh out both characters, and provides some context to the situation they’re in.

I’m also impressed with how authentically American Braodribb’s novels are – you’d never guess that she was born in the UK, and even having spent some time across the pond, I don’t think that it’s the same as having been born and raised there, and the people, places, and the linguistic differences are spot on.

Deep Blue Trouble continues an amazing series with an unforgettable heroine, and I’m delighted that there’s scope for another instalment – I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for a third book in the series!

Deep Blue Trouble is available now, and is published by Orenda Books.  Many thanks to the publisher and to Anne Cater for the opportunity to review this title, and to take part in the blog tour.

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour:

Deep Blue blog poster 2018