A Life in Books with Suzie Tullett




This evening I am very happy to welcome author Suzie Tullett to my blog to take part in A Life in Books.  Suzie’s new book The Trouble with Words is released today through Bombshell Books.  Suzie has written a guest post which I have included in the introduction section about her books and writing.  May  I take this opportunity to wish her luck with the book, it looks fab and I will definitely be purchasing a copy.


Suzie Tullett My Life in Books Guest Feature

My writing career began when I got my MA in Television and Radio Scriptwriting. I was lucky enough to be chosen by the BBC for their New Writers’ Scheme, which gave me the opportunity to write for their long running series Doctors. Even though I enjoyed scriptwriting I eventually decided to try my hand at writing books, although looking back at my first novel Going Underground, I can see it’s definitely a transition piece. With its short, sharp chapters there’s no denying my scriptwriting background. It was a wonderful process to go through and writing that book taught me a lot.

I write contemporary humourous fiction and romantic comedy. For me, these genres best suit my voice. I like to write about real people, living real, everyday lives, but who are eccentric enough in their way of thinking to be different. Of course, this leaves them making choices their peers wouldn’t necessarily make, but I like to celebrate these differences, not shy away from them. I also like to make readers smile and what better way to do that, than by writing comedy. And because relationships are a part of all our lives in one way or another, why not include a bit of romance too?

So where do I pen these books of mine? I live in a tiny hamlet in the middle of the French countryside, along with my husband and two Greek rescue dogs, and in  truth, as long as I have a pencil and notebook the answer to this is anywhere and everywhere. When it comes to a first draft I like to write long hand, so you’ll often find me scribbling away at the local café. When it comes to typing everything up though, up until recently my desk sat in the corner of the lounge. However, I’m pleased to say that I now have a dedicated writing room. Nothing fancy, we converted an old oil store attached to the house, I know, an ambitious project for a couple of DIYers like my husband and myself, I’m pleased with the result. Now I can lock myself away without interruption.

You can find me on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/Suzie-Tullett-Author-221204154583599/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

And on Twitter @SuzieTullett

Website: https://suzietullett.com/

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Suzie-Tullett-Author-221204154583599/

Twitter: @SuzieTullett


1. What was your favourite book from childhood?71ZblAkfCaL

As a child I always had my head in a book, so there are so many to choose from. That said, I absolutely adored The Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton. I remember winning a book token at junior school and the excitement I felt at being able to pick any book I wanted from the shelves. I chose The Enchanted Wood, which of course meant I had to then read all the rest.


2. What type of books did you read as a teenager?

The short answer would be anything I could get my hands on. If it was on the shelf, I read it. The books that stick out, however, are those in the Dollanganger series by V.C. Andrews. At the time, everyone was reading Flowers in the Attic and Petals in the Wind etcetera so it’s no surprise I ended up reading them too.


418uOZKwBSL3. When you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?

That’s easy – Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Oh, it did make me cry.

4. What is your favourite classic book?

Again, that would be Oliver Twist.


5. What would you consider to be one of the best books you have had over the last 5 years?

One of my best books during this time would be Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey. Part mystery, part love story, I read it a couple of years ago and am still recommending it. Imagine inheriting an apartment straight from La Belle Époque… For a Francophile like myself, it’s the stuff of dreams.


6. What book to you think you should read but never get round to?61W6nTNmO4L

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin


7. What do you consider to be your favourite book?

I’m going to be a coward here and say I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to a single favourite. I’ve enjoyed tonnes of books and from a whole range of genres, so my brain would hurt if I attempted to pick just one.


8. Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?

Nope, if I start a book I always finish it. As an author myself, I know how much blood, sweat and tears can go into writing a novel. It seems only right I respect the work a novelist has put in and read right up until ‘The End’.


41pizDYbrQL9. If you were stranded on a desert Island which 2 books would you want to have with you?

The first would be my copy of Richard Adams’s Favourite Animal Stories. It’s a collection of animal related short stories whose authors include James Herriot, Rudyard Kipling, Joy Adamson, and Gerald Durrell. It’s the only book I have left from my childhood so it’s too important to leave behind.The second would be my copy of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Not only is it a great read, but it’s a book that my husband bought for me.


10. Kindle or Book?

I don’t mind, as long as I’m reading.


The Trouble with Words is available to buy now.

The Girl in the Glass Tower by Elizabeth Fremantle




Sixteenth Century England and Queen Elizabeth I is on the throne, but she has no heir.  Lady Arbella Stuart, cousin to the Queen, is descended from Henry VII and also has a Tudor bloodline, is seen as the natural heir to he throne.  She is imprisoned at Hardwick Hall by her grandmother Bess of Hardwick, to keep her safe from any political alliances wishing to overthrow the Queen and make Arbella queen.  This is a period where women are silenced, and it is not seemly to have to many opinions, a time when Arbella could be made a puppet for those out for their own motives, a fact that could see her tried for treason and killed

Arbella just wants to be free, to lead a different life, to love and be loved and not be a contender for the throne, but who can she trust, who really has her best interests at heart.  Arbella’s story is re imagined in this tense historical thriller.



The  Girl in the Glass Tower weaves together the stories of  Arbella Stuart and poet Aemilia Lanyer, both historical figures, educated women in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.  Elizabeth Fremantle does admit that they were both at the Royal Court at the same time, probably in Queen Anne’s rooms, there is no actual evidence that they met.  This is a historical fiction and Elizabeth Fremantle uses Aemilia Lanyer and her poetry as a way to tell the story of Arbella Stuart, a lesser known and shadow figure in the Tudor dynasty.  Both women are feisty and want to be incharge of their destiny at a time when that was not possible.  Lanyer, may not have been the first female poet, but she was the first women to declare herself a poet, a very radical thing to do.

The plot follows Arbella’s life, and also Aemilia who is reading writings by Arbella about her life in the hope of finding some sort of forgiveness for an act that we are not privy to until the end of the book.  The only problem was that the chapters were not labeled as to where they are in both date and who they are about;  I think doing this would have made  reading this book a bit easier as there are jumps in time which can cause some confusion.  I would also have liked a family tree at the beginning of the book to refer to to help make sense of all the family relationships.  I had a digital copy to read so I am not sure if it was included in a print copy, but it would have made a difference to my reading experience.  Apart from that it is well written, and it is obvious that Elizabeth Fremantle has done a vast amount of research into the characters and cultural history of the time.  I found myself looking into the characters on the internet to refresh my memory of the details of the characters and the period. I have added two pictures at the end of my review of Arbella Stuart and Aemilia Lanyer for you to look at if interested.

I found The Girl in the Glass Tower  to be an  interesting and engaging read, full of historical fact and political and social intrigue in post Elizabethan England.
Picture of Lady Arbella Stuart, top and Aemilia Lanyer bottom.






A Life in Books with Pat Young


To celebrate the publication of her first book, thriller Til the Dust Settles, author Pat Young joins me to tells us about some of her favourite books in A Life in Books.


Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I grew up in the south west of Scotland where I still live, sometimes. The other extreme, in so many ways, is the south west of France, where I like to go in search of sunlight. However, I must say I find it easier to be productive during the long dark months of a Scottish winter. From bleak November to blustery wet March, it makes sense to sit inside writing. Bit harder when the sun’s shining.
I never expected to be a writer. Then I found a discarded book with a wad of cash and a letter tucked in the flyleaf. ‘What if something awful happened to the owner of this book?’ I thought, and I was off. I used to think my constant ‘what iffing’ was a curse as I fretted about my children. Now I regard it as a blessing. ‘What if’ is the start of a story.
I tried to find someone to write the story that I could see in my head. I knew nothing about writing. I did know a thing or two about books however. Having studied English, French and German at uni, I’d read a fair few! And so, I gave it a go. There was no turning back, although I had other plans, none of which included sitting at a desk from daybreak till dusk. But some days I just have to. Because there’s a story to be told. And when it’s done, I go out to play. On zip-wires and abseil ropes, or just the tennis court.
Sometimes learning, hard work and persistence pay off. Although I was just another pebble on a stony beach, Betsy Reavley of Bloodhound Books found me. I’m delighted to say that my debut novel, Till the Dust Settles, a psychological thriller, will be available from late July.



1. What was you favourite book from childhood? 91ee9N4eSEL

I’ve always had a hyperactive imagination. As a child I devoured books. Depending on what I was reading, usually under the bedcovers, I’d believe I was Heidi. Or that I owned magical ballet shoes, or led secret clubs at boarding school. A far cry from my life in a small village on the Ayrshire coalfields.
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield is my favourite, I think. And I loved The Borrowers.


2. What type of books did you read as a teenager?

I was really into Catherine Cookson and in fact, I answered the literature question in my O Level English exam on a Catherine Cookson novel.
I adored The Catcher in the Rye.


3. When you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?

By sixth form my tastes had matured and I loved DH Lawrence. Sons and Lovers probably was, and still is, my favourite.


41NkqWv4b8L4. What is your favourite classic book?

The Great Gatsby
I re-read it again quite recently and was shocked by two things 1 how short it was and 2 how sad a character Gatsby is. Between the first and second reading many years later, I saw the movie. Robert Redford will always be my Gatsby.



5. What would you consider to be one of the best books you have had over the last 5 years?

I’ve read countless books in that time and I’m ashamed to say, I’m not very good at remembering them all. I really enjoyed The Reader on the 9.27 but I was moved to tears by one whose name I’ve forgotten (!) about a man who has to learn a number of things before he dies by meeting folk in his life and seeing his life-changing events from their point of view. Maybe you’ll get a response from someone with a better memory than mine who can identify the title for us?


6. What book do you think you should read but never get round to?5191u1Xie6L

Gone with the Wind – I remember it on my Gran’s bookshelf a lifetime ago. Fast forward two generations and my daughter adored the film so much we watched it over and over again. Stef has read it, but I’ve never got round to it. Yet.


7. What do you consider to be your favourite book?

That is the hardest question of all ten. I have no idea.
I’m very fickle and often say, that’s my favourite book … till I find another and fall in love with it. (May I say, in case my husband reads this, that the previous comment applies only to books.)


8. Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?
At university, faced with piles of books that I absolutely had to read, I made myself a promise. When I graduated, I swore I’d never force myself to read another book I didn’t like. I’ve stuck to that pledge.
Nowadays I give up on a book if I don’t care what happens to the main character. The world is full of so many wonderful books, it’s a shame to waste a moment’s reading time.


81zuIUxKknL9. If you were stranded on a desert Island which 2 books would you want to have with you?
That would be, for me, such a nightmare scenario, I cannot imagine taking my eyes off the horizon or the creepy crawlies long enough to read a word. I’d much rather have a pair of flippers and a snorkel. But if you insist, I’ll go for the poetry of Robert Burns, a Kilmarnock Edition that I was given by an old Uncle at age fifteen and The Bible. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that it’s another book I should read but never get round to.


10. Kindle or Book?
Can I say both, please? Kindle has made it so easy for readers to access books which is great for authors. I love mine. But a paperback has a tactile quality that I find hard to resist.


Pat’s book is available to buy from today.


til the dust settles cover

A Life in Books with Babs Morton


This evening I welcome author and fellow Geordie Babs Morton to my weekly feature A Life in Books.


Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

Hi, I’m Babs Morton. I live in rural Northumberland with my hubby and my Border Terrier Jess. I’ve always been a bookworm, growing up in Newcastle opposite a library probably had something to do with that. I write crime fiction and historical fiction (BA Morton). My debut crime novel, Mrs Jones, set in New York took second place in The Yeovil Prize literary competition and went on to be an Amazon best seller. My latest works are North East based psychological crime thrillers, published by Caffeine Nights Publishing. I was thrilled to have a short story included in Bloodhound Book’s recent charity collection Dark Minds. I’m currently working on my seventh novel.


1. What was your favourite book from childhood?81YVXyLGTIL

Like most youngsters growing up in the 60s/70s, I was heavily influenced by Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, and any kind of stories that had children having extraordinary adventures. I enjoyed The Chalet School books (midnight feasts and high jinx galore) and I recall a book called The House at World’s End (great title) about abandoned kids, thwarting the system. I think my all time favourites were the Chronicles of Narnia, still enjoy them now.


2. What type of books did you read as a teenager?

I read a lot of science fiction/fantasy as a teenager, hand me downs from an older brother, Mervyn Peake, Isaac Asimov, and of course Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I had pet guinea pigs called Titus, Fuschia and Gandalf. While my original copy of Lord of the Rings still claims a favoured place on my bookshelf I don’t read science fiction now.


3. When you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?

To be honest I can’t recall any books studied at school other than Of Mice and Men and Cider with Rosie. I can’t say that I enjoyed either. I was the one who hid my own choice of paperback inside the school book and read quietly to myself during lessons.


07fa21e98c1c6b74951bec745147c4284. What is your favourite classic book?

I still have my orange Penguin copy of Jamaica Inn, Daphne Du Maurier, and read that at least once per year. Love it! Lent it to a friend once and it came back with a coffee stain on the front cover…arghhhhh!


5. What would you consider to be one of the best books you have had over the last 5 years?
That’s a difficult question. I’ve read some amazing books, mostly crime fiction and all the best leave you wrung out at the end, mainly because of the need to keep reading nonstop until they’re finished. John Connolly is my favourite crime writer, I like the supernatural twist, and the tortured main character Charlie Parker. All Connolly’s books are so beautifully written. I’m also hooked on Indie crime writer Claire Stibbe’s ‘Temeke’ series, dark psychological crime with almost poetic prose – fabulous.


6. What book do you think you should read but never get round to?

Too many. Since joining The Book Club on TBC I’ve been introduced to many new writers and new series and can’t keep up with them all.


7. What do you consider to be your favourite book ?51CcRfIl3PL

The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett – fabulous historical fiction. The book that encouraged my love of all things medieval and set me off writing my own medieval trilogy. It’s a sweeping story charting the lives of three families through turbulent times and the building of a cathedral. It was televised, (poorly in my opinion).


8. Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?

There have been a few. Usually I check on the ‘look inside’ feature on Amazon first to see if the writing grabs me, but occasionally I’ve bought a paperback solely on the back cover blurb and then been disappointed by the read. I recently started a book and just couldn’t get away with the main character and so gave up on it. Others probably love the books that I don’t, so I’d never name a book that I didn’t enjoy as it’s only my opinion.


51SYheF9zuL9. If you were stranded on a desert Island which 2 books would you want to have with you

The White Road, John Connolly and Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett.


10. Kindle or Book?

Both. Kindles take up less room and downloading is instant, no fifty mile round trip to the nearest bookstore, or waiting for the postie to deliver, though my preference will always be for paperbacks.


Babs Morton’s books are available to buy now.

Tara Lyons Deadly Friendship Guest Post


Deadly Friendship, the third booking the DCI Hamilton Series was released July 23rd.  To celebrate Tara Lyons has written a guest post about her inspiration for her books and her writing process.


The journey to Deadly Friendship

Deadly Friendship is the third book in the DI Hamilton series, and I’m delighted readers are following the series and excited to find out more about DI Denis Hamilton.
Although this book is the third in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone. In The Shadows, No Safe Home and Deadly Friendship all deal with different crimes, depravities and threats, but the base city of London and the Murder Investigations Team is the theme which runs through them all. Of course, as the series goes on, readers can delve into the character of DI Hamilton, and his team, and discover more about their backgrounds, motivations and hopes for the future. In No Safe Home and Deadly Friendship, I’ve left little hints of something further to come for one of the characters.
The idea for Deadly Friendship came after a trip I took with some friends to Ambleside in the Lake District – where this book begins. While the scenery on a boat trip we took was stunning, there was also something eerie about the way the trees hung low and dark over an old boat house. I snapped some photos and my friends said this would be a great location for one of your books. However, I like writing about London, as it’s where I’m from – and DI Hamilton, of course – so I wanted to write a story which connected the two places.
In The Shadows and No Safe Home focus very much on family, and in both of those stories there’s an element of me – in terms of something I’ve been through, or how I live my life – so, they’re very personal. I knew I wanted Deadly Friendship to concentrate on the different relationships we can have for people, and the difficulties that can arise from them. But, let me stop you there, this is not the personal side of the book – my friendships are not twisted… I did, however, study at Brunel University, which features in this book.
Like the plot ideas, my inspiration for the characters in my books come from everyday life – friends, television personalities, strangers in the street and people I speak to online. There isn’t one character in any of the books who is an exact replica of someone I know, but rather, they’re all amalgamations of these different people.
My writing process has changed dramatically since In The Shadows – which was completed in the evenings while my son was asleep, with me perched on the sofa in my living room. I’ve now made myself a little office nook in my bedroom, with a desk (my lap certainly appreciates the break) and tend to write more in the day, while my son is at part-time nursery. He starts reception in September, so I’m hoping that’ll mean even more writing time to get the next book out.
I’d like to take a moment to thank Juliet for hosting my guest post today, as well as all the bloggers and readers who go above and beyond to shout about my books. Thanks for sticking with Hamilton, and the series, and I hope you enjoy Deadly Friendship.



You can keep in touch with Tara via the following:


www.bloodhound books.com





Tara Lyons JAN 2017

A Life in Books with Rebecca Chance


Following on from my review of Killer Affair earlier today, this evening I am delighted to welcome Rebecca Chance to my blog to discuss A Life in Books.


Rebecca Chance was born in Hampstead to international art dealer parents, and grew up in the exclusive millionaire’s row surroundings of London’s St John’s Wood. Tiring of her cushioned, privileged existence, she ran away to Tuscany to live a wild bohemian life on a wine-making estate, where she lived in a 14th century villa in a Chianti vineyard, partying with artists, learning Italian, and picking grapes. But big city life was calling her, and after staying in Rome and Porto Ercole, she moved to Manhattan, lured by the glamorous single-girl existence and nonstop nightlife. She spent a decade living the Sex and The City dream in SoHo, equally at home in an uptown penthouse on Fifth Avenue overlooking the Metropolitan Museum, or downtown dancing on the bar of the Coyote Ugly for kicks. Eventually, a handsome American husband in tow, she moved back to London to settle down (as much as she can) and finally fictionalize some of her most exciting and glamorous experiences into her bestselling blockbuster novels.

Rebecca’s interests include trapeze, pole-dancing, watching “America’s Next Top Model”, and cocktail-drinking.

website with info on me is www.rebeccachanceauthor.com


1. What was you favourite book from childhood?51K2KAy4lvL

It’s impossible to pick just one! I loved Rosemary Sutcliffe and Geoffrey Trease, and the Roger Lancelyn Green myth collections, as well as Andrew Lang’s fairy story collections.


2. What type of books did you read as a teenager?

The authors I read the most were Georgette Heyer, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and Jean Plaidy – mysteries and historical romances. I was also obsessed by Francoise Sagan. But I read everything in my teens. My parents had a very well-stocked library and I worked my way through it.


51SU8O0PsJL3. When you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?

Anything by Jane Austen.





4. What is your favourite classic book?

The Chronicles of Barsetshire by Anthony Trollope. Or Dombey and Son by Dickens.


5. What would you consider to be one of the best books you have had over the last 551Twah2UHHL

I really enjoyed Garth Greenwell’s “What Belongs To You” – both reading it and discussing it with friends.



6. What book to you think you should read but never get round to?

I don’t have “should-reads”. If i don’t get round to it, there’ll be a good reason!


518D2AVJEBL7. What do you consider to be your favourite book?

“This Is Not For You” by Jane Rule.




8. Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?

Yes, but I wouldn’t embarrass the author by naming them! I am a really, really fast reader so if a book isn’t working for me, I’ll usually skim it to see what happens in the story.

9. If you were stranded on a desert Island which 2 books would you want to have 41ZRFMC5KTLwith you

I’ll cheat and say the Collected Works of Anthony Trollope and Ngaio Marsh – that should give me a decent amount to read and re-read.


10. Kindle or Book?

Book, though I love my Kindle – especially because I can read it in a car without any motion sickness, which I can’t do with books.


Killer Affair will be published on 27 July.  You can read my five star review of this sassy, sexy and sensational novel on my blog.




Killer Affair by Rebecca Chance published 27 July




Lexy O’Brien is the queen of reality television, she has spent most of her adult life in the spot light and has her own television show following her glamorous life, with her footballer husband and two children.  Her whole life is planned like to precision.  Her PR team want her to write a book about her life, and into Lexy’s life comes Caroline Evans, blogger and the Ghost Writer.  Caroline is overweight, unassuming, drab and dull, rather like her life, but after following Lexy for the book Caroline begins to question why she can’t have Lexy’s life.  They say familiarity breeds contempt, and as Caroline spends more time with Lexy, her family and being in her orbit she begins a campaign to take it all from her.

As the lives of Lexy and Caroline entwine, it is only a matter of time before their lives blow up in a very public way.



Rebecca Chance is up there with Jacky Collins and Jilly Cooper when it comes to writing the perfect Bonkbuster.  As with all her books, the plot line is based on subjects that are very current in today’s society.  Killer Affair is a tongue in cheek look a the world of reality tv stars, who are famous for nothing apart from drinking, partying, sex and drugs, and whose very move is choreographed by a PR team.  Rebecca is very clever in her writing and includes many characters who reference sandals we have all read in the press and magazines; the footballer who groomed a fifteen year old girl and went to prison; famous women who fake being pregnant, and actually use a surrogate; the tennis commentator who makes sexist comments about a female player.  Rebecca Chance’s writing is purely brilliant, her observations, her wit and humour and social observations really bring the novel to life.  I particularly like her take on the famous Jane Austen quote ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a glamour model in possession of a great pair of boobs must be in want of a footballer husband…”.  

The characters are all larger than life, especially the main character Lexy who doesn’t make any kind of decision with out consulting her PR agency, her whole life is lived in the public eye, there is literally nothing she won’t do to gain more viewers and press  She is not a character that the reader empathises with, in a  way it is almost enjoyable to see her life come crumbling down.  However, there is a venerability to her, she is a product of the media world, and just needs a short sharp shock to bring her back down to earth with a bump.  This leads nicely on to her nemesis Caroline, who she refers to as ‘Ghost Mouse’.  Caroline is an aspiring novelist, and being Ley’s Ghost Writer, is her first job.  Lexy and Caroline are polar opposites;  Lexy is rich and glamorous, Caroline is flabby and has hardly any money; Lexy has a huge house, whereas Caroline lives with four other people in a house share the has only one bathroom.  I think one of my favourite comparisons was that Lexy had large tropical showers, where as Carolin’s shower was so small she couldn’t even have sex in it.  Obviously Caroline changes from the ugly duckling in to the beautiful swan and changes her life, but the reader is left to question the addiction of fame, the power it gives and just how far you would got to attain it.

Killer Affair is full of glamour, scandal, revenge and sex, the perfect ingredients for a fab Bonkbuster novel.  The reader is able to escape in to the glamorous, and at times not so glamorous, world of the rich and famous, a perfect choice for your beach bag. If you like your books to be sassy, sexy, sensational and scintillating then this is the book for you, a fabulous read.











A Life in Books with Claire Sheldon.


This evening I welcome fellow blogger Claire Sheldon to my blog to discuss A Life in Books.


Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I am Claire, a mother, an account administrator for an insurance company and Multiple Sclerosis suffer. I was brought a Kindle for my birthday a couple of years back which ignited by enjoyment for reading again. I then started reading books from new authors I had never experienced before which in turn re ignited my passion for writing again. So I decided to also start writing a blog which has been a very surreal experience as I am from the “Live Journal Generation” but who wants to read about my problems.. csheldonblog.wordpress.com


• What was you favourite book from childhood?51u5be9RmFL._SY450_

I always loved the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe as a child it used to be always shown on television at Christmas along with the other chronical of Narnia tales, this was prior to the big film re makes which I can say hands down I didn’t enjoy. I was also brought the audio tape of the Lion, Witch and Wardrobe to which I play repeatedly. I always believed that the Silver Chair was my favourite from memories of the BBC adaptations which I never read till I was much older.


• What type of books did you read as a teenager?

I didn’t read much as a teen, I never used to have the patience with reading I never did Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings I just didn’t have the patience. Though I do remember as a child my dad trying to get my to read The Lord of the Rings at the dinner table which never helped my want to read.


71EQu2YvcIL• When you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?

My favourite hands down was The Inspector Calls. I have seen it on television and the play several times. There was always something about that story that I enjoyed.



• What is your favourite classic book?

Does the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe count!?


• What would you consider to be one of the best books you have had over the last 5 years?

I think hands down the answer will be Mark Edward’s books I really enjoyed a lot of his early books, before I learnt the formula so to speak and became too busy analysing the book and not reading for enjoyment.


What book to you think you should read but never get round to?51rXfhamc-L

So many, have you seen my Amazon wish list? There are books by author’s that I enjoy who keep releasing new books, on top of all the new authour’s I want to explore. This evening I got down from my bookcase “I Let You go” by Claire Mackintosh. I had been looking at this book for ages thinking that I must read it and at last I’ve got round to it.


• What do you consider to be your favourite book ?

To many… but going on the theme above I think I’d go with “Follow you home” by Mark Edwards


• Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?

Sleepy Head by Mark Billingham I tried so many times to keep reading it but I just got bored and gave up.


51vO9+zSZ1L• If you were stranded on a desert Island which 2 books would you want to have with you

Exclusion Zone by J M Hewitt as Jennifer’s books are not only a story but also a history lesson all rolled into one.
Then something I haven’t read and looking at my shelve I think I will go with Sarah Hillary Someone else’s skin.


• Kindle or Book?

The Kindle got me into reading again, by you can’t give a friend a kindle book that you recommend whether as you can with a book.


Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee published 27 July


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Ian Perkins his wife Rachel and son Harry, inherit Cobweb Cottage after a family tragedy.  The cottage and farm land are held in family trust and are passed on to the eldest son in each generation.  But in each generation there seems to be tragedy, which Ian believes to be the Perkins’ family curse, a tale told to him by his father.  After the latest family tragedy, Ian becomes obsessed with the family curse and decides to trace his family tree to prove to his wife that the curse does exist, at the detriment of his relationship.  Do curses exist, and can Ian prove his family is cursed?



Broken Branches is a part psychological thriller, part ghost story.  The narrative is split into two different timelines, the present as we follow Ian and his research into the curse and the problems in his life, and in the past, Ian’s childhood in the cottage.  This is not a narrative where a lot happens, most of it is Ian’s thoughts and musings as he puts together his family tree and researches the curse.  Even in his childhood, it revolves around his relationship with his father a brother an eventual estrangement from his family.

Throughout the book there is a sense of foreboding, as if you know that the Ian is not telling the full story;  I liken it to going down step by step down into a dark cellar, you know that with each step you are getting closer to the darkness and what is waiting there.  The suspense and tension are kept throughout as we learn more about Ian and his state of mind, and his family.  However, if I am honest, the plot didn’t totally grip me.  I found some of the narrative flat and tedious, with so little plot line I began to loose interest by half way through the book.  What brought my rating up from three, to a four book rating was M Jonathan Lee’s writing style. I loved his metaphors taking in the tree and its branches representing the Perkins family.  The characters in the book are well developed and had a sense of verisimilitude.  Mental illness is very much in the headlines at the moment, and M Jonathan Lee showed a knowledge of the subject and how the sufferersare able to rationalise their behaviour.  This was particularly evident in Ian’s character, I can’t comment too much as I never include spoilers in my reviews, but as a suffer of clinical depression I felt the  subject was dealt with great empathy.

Broken Branches is a great  combination of a psychological thriller and a ghost story, that has a dark undercurrent full of foreboding and suspense.

A Life in Books with Malcolm Hollingdrake


Today I welcome author Malcolm Hollingdrake to my blog to celebrate the release of his fifth booking his Detective Chief Inspector Cyril Bennett series Dying Art.


Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

May I start by thanking you for including me in your blog and thank your readers for their interest.
My name is Malcolm Hollingdrake and I am responsible for the DCI Cyril Bennett books, the crime series set in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. I was signed to Bloodhound Books last year after having book three accepted; the first two self-published Bennett books were also taken and a fourth commissioned. The first three were released quickly and owing to their success I was offered a further three book contract. With a seven book deal I knew that I had the makings of not one but two Bennett series.
Book five, ‘Dying Art’ released 17th July commences the second series. In Book four, Cyril faced not only a traumatic case but an emotional conclusion that leaves him psychologically crippled and broken. He has decisions to make as to whether he can return to the force. In book five we see if Bennett manages to overcome his debilitating insecurity, regain his confidence and return to DS Owen and his team.
I have not always been a writer; I spent many years in education and this year’s success is a huge bonus. I think we all have targets and ambitions and to see those realised is a huge pleasure. I have to nip myself every now and again when I attend readings and book signings. This success is not down to just the stories, it’s down to people who have never lost faith in my ability as a writer. My wife has been fantastic, as have the bloggers for whom I have the utmost respect, the social media readers’ groups have been so supportive and of course, the readers. Their reviews have been a real inspiration.



1. What was you favourite book from childhood?41ESLy-EjxL

Probably The Beatrix Potter Tales.


2. What type of books did you read as a teenager?

I was introduced to the Dr Syn books by a school friend, Malcolm Stott. I found the Russell Thorndike books totally fascinating. For a boy brought up in Bradford, Romney Marsh and the life of smugglers intrigued me.


71BfKKAWcdL3. When you were at school what was your favourite book you studied?
I think it must be Kes.


4. What is your favourite classic book?

Treasure Island


5. What would you consider to be one of the best books you have had over the last 5 81u48xOgusL.jpgyears.

Antony Beevor’s ‘Ardennes1944′ Hitler’s Last Gamble’. My father fought with the 53rd Welsh throughout this dreadful period of WW2. I’m sure that those experiences affected him, how could they not? I’ve read it twice and will continue to go back to it. I can never fully comprehend the desperation of those times.


6. What book do you think you should read but never get round to?

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. A friend bought it for me when I was struggling with a difficult situation in school. It has been on the shelf for many years and I look regularly at the kind, supportive dedication!


51+HB7AnqkL7. What do you consider to be your favourite book ?

‘Sagittarius Rising’ by Cecil Lewis.


8. Is there a book that you have started but been unable to finish?

‘Wild Swans’ by Jung Chang.


9. If you were stranded on a desert Island which 2 books would you want to have41ms3ZohcvL with you.

‘SAS Survival Handbook’, please! Just kidding. Two is so difficult. ‘Sagittarius Rising’ Cecil Lewis and I’d like ‘The Feather Men’ by Ranulph Fiennes but if you would allow The complete collection of Saki’s short stories that would be kind.


10. Kindle or Book?

Kindle ( I think!)


Dying Art is available to buy now.