A brilliant crime novel...


A woman at home in Liverpool is disturbed by a persistent tapping at her back door. She's disturbed to discover the culprit is a raven, and tries to shoo it away. Which is when the killer strikes.

DS Nathan Cody, still bearing the scars of an undercover mission that went horrifyingly wrong, is put on the case. But the police have no leads, except the body of the bird - and the victim's missing eyes.
As flashbacks from his past begin to intrude, Cody realises he is battling not just a murderer, but his own inner demons too.
And then the killer strikes again, and Cody realises the threat isn't to the people of Liverpool after all - it's to the police...

I scare very easily. I am convinced that one day a zombie apocalypse could happen and I even get jumpy when watching Jurassic Park (seriously).  
With this in mind, I really shouldn’t have picked up and started reading A Tapping at My Door when my husband was on a night shift… This book needs to come with a serious warning – do not read when you’re home alone.

50 pages in I was convinced that I could hear someone knocking on my front door (it doesn’t help that I live in an apartment block with thin walls so I can always hear comings and goings…) and then when I finally did sleep, I dreamt that my balcony was full of birds all trying to get in and get me…

So basically, David Jackson’s A Tapping at My Door is completely unsettling but completely brilliant. It’s one of those books where you can never predict quite how it’s going to end. 

On a side note, I really enjoy books that are set in places I am familiar with. I was a student in Liverpool for four years and still visit a lot so a lot of the places and street names were places I’ve been too so I could really visualize the characters and what was happening in the plot even more – maybe that’s why it made it so much more scarier?!

I can’t believe I have never read any of David Jackson’s novels before. A Tapping on My Door is certainly one of the best crime fiction novels I have read in a while and I can't wait to read more of his work.

A romance novel you just have to read...


Kate and Becca are cousins and best friends. They have grown up together and shared all the most important milestones in their lives: childhood birthday parties, eighteenth birthdays, and now a wedding day as they each marry their childhood sweethearts, Charlie and Julian. 
Kate has always loved Charlie - they were meant to be. Then she discovers that life never turns out quite how you expect it to. And love doesn't always follow the journey it should. 
But best friends are forever, and true love will find a way, won't it…?

I'm a sucker for a pretty book cover. I'm also a sucker for, and I've said this many times, books where fate intervenes early on and sends the characters in the book on a completely different path to what you'd expect. These Days of Ours ticked both these boxes so I was hooked instantly. 

We meet Kate and Becca when they are just children and then are taken on a journey throughout their lives as they reach major milestones. 

These Days of Ours is such brilliant storytelling and you can't help but have strong feelings for the characters (I loved Kate but found her a bit of a wet lettuce at times and I thought Becca needed a good slap but I couldn't help find her hilarious too!) 

It's a completely original novel and I was so engrossed from the start that I actually sailed past my tube stop! Early on I knew what I wanted to happen but I had no idea if it would pan out that way… And I'm not going to say anymore than that…!  

A 'Will they? Won't they?' romance novel that is just brilliant. I urge you to read it.  

And the author Juliet Ashton told me the top five things she does to beat writer's block...

Does Writer's Block exist? I believe it's a name given to a whole raft of situations. Tiredness, boredom, distraction, anxiety - all these help to build that block at the front of your mind. When I find myself sitting at the computer, deleting more than I write, tugging at my hair, these are my favourite ways to deal with it.

1 Do something physical. 
Writers are soooo indolent. We don't have to get dressed to go to work; that messes with your brain. So if I'm stuck in the midst of a scene, putting dull dialogue into my characters' mouths, I go for a walk. There are two parks nearby, one that hugs the river, so I take the spaniels for a trot. If I replay the scene in my head, nine times out of ten, it comes together by the time I'm home again.

2 Read
This one can be tricky. Reading something too similar to the work in progress can result in a kind of impersonation, as if writing style is catching, but if I wander off and bury myself in a meaty biography or a crime series, I find it refreshes my mojo. (Not sure what a mojo is, exactly, but its refreshed.)

3 Talk
Chat saves lives. A coffee with my chum who lives around the corner (and is usually up for coffee as she works from home herself) perks me up and takes me out of myself. Hearing about her day reminds me that there is life beyond the keyboard!

4 Eat
A dangerous one, this. A natural grazer, I find myself buttering toast and ravishing the Rich Tea biscuits far too often. Actually cooking something from scratch, however, is genuinely therapeutic. The book is pushed to the side, but it doesn't entirely disappear; as I'm chopping onions or grating cheese, little plot niggles resolve themselves. Plus I have an epic lunch to eat (usually it's just more toast).

5 Push through
Sometimes it's just lack of energy, or a disinclination to work that gets in the way. I try not to give in; if you downed tools every time you felt a little bleurgh no books would get written. Push, push, push - and suddenly you're freewheeling down a (metaphorical) hill, the wind in your (metaphorical) hair. There's no feeling quite like it.

6 (I know there should only be 5, but this one's a goodie)

Keeping a writing diary is a life saver. I can flick back and see that all these problems have cropped up before, but I've got through them. Writer's block can be smashed!

*Book Review and Author Chat* The Second Love of my Life by Victoria Walters


In the Cornish town of Talting, everyone is famous for something.
Until recently Rose was known for many things: her infectious positivity; her unique artistic talent; and her devotion to childhood sweetheart Lucas.
But two years ago that changed in one unthinkable moment. Now, Rose is known for being the young woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four.
Though Rose knows that life must go on, the thought of carving out a new future for herself is one she can barely entertain. Until a newcomer, Robert, arrives in Talting for the summer...

Can Rose allow herself the chance to love again?

I loved The Second Love of my Life immediately. The characters. The setting. And of course the story itself.
Whilist incredibly sad in places (have a box of tissues to hand), the book is also full of hope too and you’ll end with a smile on your face.  
A really impressive debut novel, I can’t to see what Victoria Walters has next up her sleeve! 
And on that note… Victoria spills the beans on writing The Second Love of my Life… 
Victoria with her co-author, her cat Harry!
The four things I have on my writers desk - and the one thing I shouldn't… 

I actually don’t have a desk, which I probably should get! But when I write I have my laptop and phone, a mug of tea and usually have a blanket draped over me as I get really cold writing!
What I shouldn’t have is my cat Harry who is always trying to distract me as I write!

The five things that inspired me to write this book…

This is a hard question!!! Just wanted to state that for the record! It wasn’t really things as such, more general life questions about grief and love but certain parts of the story were inspired these …

1. The town the book is set in: The Gilmore Girls
2. The main character’s art: Starry Night by Vincent Van Gough
3. The town the book is set in: Cornwall
4. The music the main character listens to and mentions: see soundtrack question
5. The cat Taylor – my own cat Harry!

The five things I learnt when writing this book… 

1. That I had been using ‘brought’ instead of ‘bought’!
2. How to re-read my writing again and again and not go crazy
3. My writing makes people cry
4. Editing notes are not about what is wrong with your book but how it could be made even better
5. That I can write a 90,000 word novel! There were moments when I wasn’t quite sure I’d make it.

My soundtrack to writing this book… 

I created a playlist for the book, which you can listen to on Spotify – here’s a sample of it:

1. Famous In A Small Town – Miranda Lambert
2. See You Again – Carrie Underwood
3. Some People – LeAnn Rimes
4. Better Place – Rachel Platten
5. Ready To Love Again – Lady Antebellum

The five things I couldn't have done without when writing this book… 

1. Twitter – talking to people helps me get through the tough writing days!
2. My cat Harry for making me laugh and for cuddles
3. Laptop obviously
4. Music – I have to listen to music when I write
5. Cake (self explanatory)

Perfect for the weekend, get your copy here...

Flying High…


When the The Infinite Air by Fiona Kidman landed on my desk, I knew it was a read that my dear friend Kim would love - and I was right! *smug face* 

So what's it about? 
Jean Batten became an international icon in 1930s. A brave, beautiful woman, she made a number of heroic solo flights across the world. The newspapers couldn't get enough of her. 
In 1934, she broke Amy Johnson's flight time between England and Australia by six days. The following year, she was the first woman to make the return flight. In 1936, she made the first ever direct flight between England and New Zealand and then the fastest ever trans-Tasman flight. Jean Batten stood for adventure, daring, exploration and glamour. The Second World War ended Jean's flying adventures. She suddenly slipped out of view, disappearing to the Caribbean with her mother and eventually dying in Majorca, buried in a pauper's grave. 
Fiona Kidman's enthralling novel delves into the life of this enigmatic woman. It is a fascinating exploration of early aviation, of fame, and of secrecy...

And here's what Kim had to say… 

Throughout history, daring men and women have boldly gone where no one has been before, conquering land, sea and sky. Just 100 years ago, aviation was new and thrilling. Imagine crossing continents by air! We all take it for granted these days that we can fly to <insert cheap sunshine break here> on our holibobs, but once upon a time not that long ago, we didn’t know how to fly. 

Indeed, the first pilots to attempt long distance travel did so at their peril. Many died. The first man to successfully fly from England to Australia did so in a tiny biplane, the journey taking him 15 days. Think about that next time you settle in for what we have now come to think of a ‘long haul’ flight.

Never one for learning as a child, I now have an insatiable appetite for knowledge. Making up for lost time I guess. That, coupled with the fact my Grandma flew spitfires in the war and it’s too late to ask her everything I wish I had asked her, is why I loved this book. 

The Infinite Air charts one woman’s journey from childhood to aviation pioneer, to old age. I loved the insight into the pivotal moments in Jean Batten’s childhood, the moments that formed the brave and tenacious woman she was to become. Every record breaker has a backstory and it’s fascinating to be privy to it. To see inside their mind and their world and witness the legend being created. 

I was still talking about Jean Batten weeks after I finished the book. I couldn’t stop thinking about how much life has changed for women in less than 100 years. The feminist in me, she likes fair play. She spikes at any suggestion a woman can’t do anything a man can. You should have seen the punch I almost threw at the fella who insisted on calling our games room the ‘Boys Room’ where boys go to do sport. 

That’s about as much sexism as I face. But Jean Batten was laughed off the runway when she told people she wanted to fly. Getting married and having babies was all women were good for back then. Reading about Jean’s early years had me incredulously turning the pages, scanning for more evidence of just how shit it was to be a woman back then. A man told Jean she’d make a good secretary. Jean told the man women might require secretaries too one day. The man highly doubted it. Jean’s own father told her: ‘Girls don’t fly.’ Ouch.

Women like Jean paved the way for our generation to do not just anything a man can, but also whatever we damn well please. People told Jean to stop dreaming and be a good young lady, marry and stifle her big ideas. The were just stoking Jean’s fire - she was determined to be somebody. Not just a good female pilot, but a great pilot. Full bloody stop.

The book made me happy and sad. Happy that women like Batten existed then and now. Happy that a woman’s place in the world has changed so much. But sad for Jean. Batten was courageous and determined, yet tortured and lonely. It made me question the true cost of fulfilling such extreme ambition. Because with great achievement must come great sacrifice.

I doff my cap to our foremothers. Each and every woman like Jean, every suffragette, every pioneer feminist who defied, questioned and ignored the low and dull expectations society had for women. We owe those legends the lifestyle we take for given today.
Fab words from this lovely face!

Read all about Kim's legendary Grandma here

Kim's Grandma had WINGS!

**NEW crime book review** The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent


There are SO many brilliant books being released in April. And I am kicking the month off with The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent… 
Can you ever truly know the one you love?
Fran Hall and her husband Nathan live in a farmhouse on the edge of the Fens with their two children. One February night, when Fran is woken by her baby, she finds the bed empty beside her and Nathan gone. Searching the house for him she makes a devastating discovery.
As Fran finds herself under intense police scrutiny, she and her two small children become more isolated as she starts to doubt whether or not she really knew Nathan. Was he really the loving husband that Fran had trusted him to be?
As police suspicion grows the questions for Fran begin to mount. Is there something that she is hiding from them - something that she has kept hidden from everyone, including her husband?

I do love a good thriller especially ones where a major event happens within the first few pages and then you try and spend the rest of the book guessing and second guessing what the hell the outcome is going to be.
So I was very excited to get my hands on The Loving Husband as I knew from the synopsis it was going to be a rollercoaster read – and it really was…
Completely compelling, this novel ticked all the crime boxes for me: dark, addictive, with an explosive end.
I haven’t read anything by Christobel Kent before but The Crooked House is now on my TBR list as its received outstanding reviews and I loved her writing style. 
If you’re a fan of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, then The Loving Husband is certainly for you.