The Cosy Canal Boat Dream by Christie Barlow #Review & Q & A @ChristieJBarlow @HarperImpulse

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Today I’m thrilled to share my review for the delightful The Cosy Canal Boat Dream by the super talented Christie Barlow. Anyone who follows my blog will know I’m a huge crime thriller reader, and there’s only a handful of authors who I’m happy to leave the “dark side” for and Christie Barlow’s one of them.

I got to read this highly entertaining book a few months back and I will say I think it’s Christie Barlow’s best book yet. To find out why you can read my review further down this post.  The Cosy Canal Boat Dream will be published by Harper Impulse on the 22nd of August 2017 and I’ve included pre-order links further down the page. 

But before I share my review with you all I have a fabulous Q & A with Christie Barlow. 

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Hi Christie, I’m so excited to have you on my blog so welcome to The Book Review Café. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thank you for having me Lorraine! Here’s a little intro! … I’m a 5ft 5in brunette born in the county of Cheshire and now at the ripe old age of 44, I lead nothing but a glamorous lifestyle: ironing, mucking out chickens and chasing after my mad cocker spaniel. I’m a mum to four, wife to one and my writing career came as somewhat of a surprise! Upon hitting my mid-life crisis (but dodging the tattoo and the sports car) after wholly dedicating my life to the care of my children, they asked me what I wanted to do in life while we were discussing their career options. ‘I’ve always wanted to write a book,’ I found myself answering, and so the notion was born. I self-published my first book, A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother which became the talk of the town and hit the charts. Within 3 months I’d landed myself an agent, a book deal with Bookouture and recently signed to HarperCollins imprint HarperImpulse.
I’ve written six books to date, A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances and The Cosy Canal Boat Dream. I’m currently working on book 7 to be published by HarperImpulse early 2018.

For those readers who haven’t heard of you and your book THE COSY CANAL BOAT DREAM can you provide us with an introduction?

The Cosy Canal Boat Dream is a roller-coaster of emotions, it begins with a powerful prologue that has already had numerous book bloggers and readers reaching for the tissues.

Here’s the blurb:
Welcome to the Little Rock marina – where hearts are healed and dreams are made…
For the last two years Nell Andrews has been struggling to stay afloat. As her life tumbled down around her, the only safety net has been her cosy canal boat, The Nollie. Tucked away inside, Nell has found a place to heal her broken heart. And now she’s ready to move on and follow her dream…
Gorgeous Guy Cornish, with his easy Irish charm, makes him an instant hit with everyone at the marina, and the perfect person to help Nell with her project. But Guy has his own reasons for being at the marina, and a past that threatens to sink Nell’s dream…

Where did the idea for THE COSY CANAL BOAT DREAM come from?

My new book ‘The Cosy Canal Boat Dream’ is a pretty special one as it will be my first published novel with Harper Impulse! How exciting! Well, and slightly nerve-wracking! That’s normal though, right? For this book, my inspiration was right under my nose – believe it or not! When I say under my nose, I also mean under Woody’s (my cocker-spaniel) nose! Every day prior to the book idea, my sidekick and I would go on a walk around Barton marina which has this beautiful, old picture house and a rather mouth-watering deli. And, if that wasn’t enough, the marina is even a home to multiple craft shops. It didn’t take me long to link Barton marina with the deli and old picture house in a storyline capacity. After all, with such beautiful views, stunning buildings, and wonderful smelling food to drool over; I would be doing the marina a disservice by NOT using it as my inspiration for my new book.

Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals?

I have a life size cut-out of Gary Barlow that keeps me company in my writing room and often I will run plot ideas past him!

What do your family think of your writing?

My family are so proud, they think it’s an amazing job to have and I have to agree with them!

My favourite character in THE COSY CANAL BOAT DREAM is of course Nell Andrews, who was your favourite character to write about?

I LOVED every character in this book, for five months they all became my new best friends but I too admire the wonderful Nell Andrews. Clearly I don’t want to give any parts of the storyline away, but, I can mention what inspired me to shape Nell’s character. You may have seen multiple posts online about women empowerment, yes? When I came to create Nell’s personality, I took my inspiration from women icons such as ‘Jane Eyre,’ the suffragette movement, and the inspirational women who are in my life. When you read the book, you’ll find out more about Nell, her backstory, and what shaped her as a person. Just like my other characters from my previous novels, I aim to build their lives with my own personal experiences in mind, and I feel that it’s important to be able to relate to who I am writing about.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being an author?

The past three years have been truly amazing in the land of books and that is down to all the lovely readers, bloggers, friends and family. Just by choosing my book to read makes my day, but then when they send me all the kind words, tweets and messages I really have to pinch myself. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be doing the job I love, so thank you!

On the other side, what would say is the most challenging part of writing?

Writing fiction can certainly be a lonely job and ninety-five percent of that time is spent on my own, tapping at the computer with only my mad cocker spaniel for company, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Which of the books you have written is your favourite?

I thought about this for a moment and realised each book I’ve written has shaped the writer I am today. I love each book and every character for many different reasons.

What’s been your biggest pinch me moment to date?

The first pinch me moment was when I was travelling on a train to Birmingham. I was sat in the carriage watching the scenery whiz by when the woman sitting opposite me took out a book from her bag to read. It was my book, Kitty’s Countryside Dream! The second moment was when the publishing editor Charlotte Ledger from Harper Collins knew of my wonderful books and offered me a contract, oh and not forgetting my first book knocked David Walliams off the top spot! And I got to have a chat with him recently about that very moment at the Harper Collins 200th birthday party celebrations. Every day I pinch myself, I really do have the best job in the world.

Are you able to tell me anything about your next book?

I’m just writing my second book for Harper which is due for release early 2018, and all I can divulge at this stage is it begins in New York, and ends in England. There are secrets, hideaways and romance, but always a happy ending!

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Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances and The Cosy Canal Boat Dream. She lives in Staffordshire with her husband, four kids, horses, chickens and a mad cocker spaniel. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA and Australia.

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with poverish people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being as well as Literary Editor for www.mamalifemagazine.co.uk  bringing you all the latest news and reviews from the book world.

She loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via her website www.christiebarlow.com Twitter @ChristieJBarlow and Facebook page Christie Barlow author

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My review of The Cosy Canal Boat Dream

If you are looking for a book to read that’s not your usual run of the mill Rom Com then look no further, than The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, it’s a highly entertaining read, but it also has so much more to offer, it certainly made for an emotional read so a word of warning have the tissues at the ready! I’m going to say this is definitely Christie Barlow’s best book yet and made for a highly entertaining and emotional read.

Nell Andrew’s appears to have the perfect life she’s living the dream on a boat with the love of her life Ollie, but when he is killed in an accident all Nell’s hopes and dreams for the future are left in tatters. As she struggles to cope with her grief life takes an unexpected turn when an Irishman and a disused cinema come into her life. What follows is a heartwarming tale filled with bittersweet moments. My emotions were all over the place whilst reading this novel, there are so many sensitive and tear jerking scenes in this novel one minute I would find myself laughing uncontrollably and the next minute I would find myself sobbing into a tissue as I reached yet another poignant scene in this charming tale.

What I adore about Christie Barlow’s writing is that she has a knack of bringing her characters to life, friendship and humour play a big part in this novel and you can’t help but become attached to Nell, best friend Bea and the adorable Jacob who despite only being five has a big personality. The author’s characters are so credible and endearing, as usual I was left feeling bereft when I reached the last page of The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, as I’ve said in previous reviews for Christie Barlow’s books I always feel I’m saying “goodbye” to new found friends.

Christie Barlow is able to turn a Rom Com into something much more, yes there’s laughs aplenty, but she also draws on real life issues and writes about them with sensitivity, you can’t help but become involved in each characters story.  In my opinion Christie Barlow is one of the best writers in this genre her books are like a breath of fresh and yes they make me emotional, but ultimately they make for a heartwarming and “feel good” read. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a Rom Com with that extra special something.

Print Length: 272 pages

Publisher: HarperImpulse (22 Aug. 2017)
You can pre-order this fabulous book at : Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

A huge thank you to Christie Barlow for my ARC and for taking the time to answer my questions for the author interview.

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**Blog Tour** #TheGoodDaughter by Karin Slaughter #AuthorInterview #BookReview @HarperCollinsUK @SlaughterKarin

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Today I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour for The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter. I’ve always been a huge fan of this author so I literally jumped at the chance to take part in the blog tour. I never imagined when I started up my blog I would be helping to promote the book of one of the most famous crime thriller authors on the planet, so excuse me while I jump up and down with excitement!

Not only am I sharing my review for this gripping book, but I also have an author Q & A with Karin Slaughter, so without further ado………..

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You write about crimes, particularly those violent crimes against women, that are sadly all too common, but was The Good Daughter based on any specific incidents? If so, do you find that difficult to deal with?

I’m always conscious when I write about crime that this sort of thing is happening everywhere in the world, multiple times a day. Especially when you’re talking about crimes against women. The Centers for Disease control tracks the leading causes of death for all Americans and publishes their report annually. For female infants, the number one cause of death is homicide. For pregnant women, the number one cause of death is homicide. From the ages of zero to 45, you can scan the top five reasons for premature death of women and find the word “homicide” listed. So, statistically, it’s an inherently dangerous thing to be a woman. In fact, almost every act of violence that’s not gang-related generally victimizes a woman, either obliquely or directly. Even terrorist attacks like the horrible bombing in Manchester victimized women. When we have random shooters here in the US, they tend to be angry young men who generally target women, or their first victim in a shooting spree is an ex girlfriend, a mothers, or a woman they think has rejected them.

So, to answer the question, the crimes in the Good Daughter are crimes that are taking place every second of the day, and I don’t find it difficult to write about them so much as feel the weight of that responsibility to hold a mirror up to society and say, “this is happening. What are we going to do about it?”

What’s the first ever story you remember writing?

I have one of only two existing copies: The Boom Diddy Kitty. It’s about a cat who helps a kid who is not very popular.

Cats are amazing.

If you hadn’t become an author, what would you have wanted to do in life?

Being a writer is literally the only thing I’ve ever consistently wanted to do in life, from at least kindergarten. I always assumed you couldn’t make a living being a writer (and that’s true—I’m very aware of how fortunate I am) so I had back-up plans. I wanted to be a lawyer, I wanted to be a comic book illustrator, I wanted to be an astronaut…all the cool jobs. What I ended up doing was being an exterminator, then a house painter, then an employee at a sign shop, then a sign shop owner, then I got very lucky and the thing I had been toiling away at all along during my non-working-hours finally paid off and I got my first book deal. I am aware every single day that I am one of the luckiest folks on earth. Not many people do for a living exactly the job they have always wanted to do.

What’s the best thing about being a published author?

That’s honestly a hard question to answer. I get to work in my pajamas, but honestly, I wore my pajamas to work before and no one really noticed. I get to travel all over the world, which is nice because I’ve met all sorts of interesting people and that one mildy racist woman in Canberra. I love working with my editor because she really gets me. I love being able to write for a job. Maybe the coolest part is walking into a book store and seeing my books on the shelves, but not too many books because people have been reading them and the store needs to get more. That’s really one of the best things about being published—knowing my readers are out there and that they are happy with my books.

It’s certainly not being able to get an expired Nando’s card accepted for a free order of peri-peri chicken!

img_1639Karin Slaughter is the #1 internationally-bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the Will Trent and Grant County series and the instant New York Times bestsellers Cop Town and Pretty Girls. She has sold over 35 million books, making her one of the most popular crime writers today. She is passionate, no-nonsense, provocative, and is one of suspense fiction’s most articulate ambassadors. Her Will Trent Series, Grant County Series, and stand-alone novel Cop Town are all in development for film & television. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia. You can learn more about Karin Slaughter and her books over at…….www.karinslaughter.com

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IMG_2352Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy smalltown family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father – Pikeville’s notorious defence attorney – devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself – the archetypal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again – and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatised – Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case which can’t help triggering the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime which destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried for ever …

IMG_2298I’ve always been a huge fan of Karin Slaughter’s writing and have pretty much read every book she has ever written, so to say I was excited to see she was publishing a new novel was an understatement! The Good Daughter is a standalone, no sign of Will Trent here (I love this series by the way) and once again the author has shown why she is considered to be one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. I was surprised to find The Good Daughter isn’t as fast paced or as graphic as the authors previous books, although some of the scenes and subject matter may not be to ever reader’s taste I must admit! After finishing The Good Daughter I definitely think this is the authors most ambitious and powerful book yet!

Like any book by this author there is plenty of mystery, terrible crimes are committed, but it also gives insight into family relationships when terrible things happen to them. Much of the book is about the horrifying events that happened to Charlie and her sister Samantha during their childhood , and how they are affecting their characters in the present and their relationships to each other and the people around them. I felt this novel was very much character led and the crimes almost felt secondary to the plot, that’s not a criticism by any means as The Good Daughter still made for a disturbing yet compelling read.

Karin Slaughter has created exceptionally complex characters, both sisters have their own demons that continue to haunt them, this novel is very much about the complexity of relationships and bad things happening to good people. Each character in The Good Daughter is garenteed to provoke a strong reactions, like anyone they have their strengths and weakness that make your own feelings towards each character sway constantly depending at what point you are in this throughly compelling read.

The author describes the small town of Pikeville so vividly it feels incredibly stifling, but also very typical, the kind of place where everyone knows you and your business, so it was intriguing to read how and why one sister choose to leave and the other one stayed, the reasons are complex but at the same time credible. Karen Slaughter never shies away from the darker side of life, in fact she hits it head on. The Good Daughter is dark, gritty and at times disturbing, with a superbly written plot, yet again the author has shown me why she continues to be one of my all time favourite authors on the planet.

Buying links:        Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 512 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins (13 July 2017)

Follow  the rest of the blog tour

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**Blog Tour** The Lighterman by Simon Michael #AuthorInterview @simonmichaeluk @urbanebooks #Giveaway

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I’m delighted to have been invited to take part in Simon Michael’s blog tour to celebrate the launch of The Lighterman, the third in his series of 1960s London thrillers featuring barrister antihero Charles Holborne. The Lighterman is published by Urbane Books and was released on the 8th June 2017. 

Matthew over at Urbane Books has kindly given me a paperback copy of The Lighterman as a giveaway, you will find the details on how to enter at the bottom of this post.

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imageThe first two novels in your series, The Brief and An Honest Man, both take place over the space of a few weeks in the early 1960s, but in The Lighterman you go back in time even further, to the 1940s. Why did you do that? Did you always intend to write historical thrillers?

As the series has progressed I have come to know Charles much better. Although when I wrote The Brief I knew he was an East End boy made good and he had been in a bit of trouble with the law in his past, as the series progressed what was a line drawing filled out to become a more three-dimensional portrait in my head. I began to understand his family dynamics better, his psychology, his hang-ups. There’s a major reveal coming in Book 4, and I wanted my readers to understand and believe in it. That entails revealing some of what happened to Charles as a teenager, which takes us back to 1940 and the Blitz. I also have a deeper understanding of how plot and character grow out of the fertile soil of place and history. People have commented that London has become an integral part of the stories; I would go further: I think London is a character in the series in its own right.
So, to answer your question simply, in one sense all stories are “historical” in that all characters have a background and past which dictate how they act in the present. If you want to create real characters, they can’t just arrive on the page in the present moment.

For someone who has his own particular moral code, Charles does a lot of lawbreaking in The Lighterman! Aren’t you worried that some of your readers will dislike him?

The reviews seem to suggest that the aspect of the series which appeals most to readers is Charles’s personality. My favourite, from one woman reviewer, is that she thinks she is “a little bit in love with Charles Holborne”. So I realise it’s very important not to make Charles dislikeable. At the same time, it’s his flaws that make him interesting. He went through the War, lived rough on the Blitzed streets, and grew up in an era when women with careers were oddities, men were expected to be the breadwinners and they weren’t supposed to speak about “feelings”. On top of that Charles has been damaged, and he carries that damage into his relationships with women. But as long as the reader sees that he is trying to overcome his deficiencies, that he’s essentially “a good guy” – even one who makes mistakes – I think (hope!) readers will see him as a complete person. As for his lawbreaking, he does it to save lives and to protect the innocent from the machinations of corrupt and venal men with power. I think most readers will forgive that.

You have mentioned Book 4. How many more are there to be in the series?

Charles is involved in a long-running battle with the Kray twins. They didn’t go to prison until 1968 and left a legacy that lasted some years after that. So I have at least a further five years to cover, and the undermining of The Establishment which occurred during the late 60s is a fascinating period in its own right. Books 4 and 5 are part-written. My guess is that there are at least another four books to come, but we shall see.

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About the author

Simon Michael is the author of the best-selling London 1960s noir gangster series featuring his antihero barrister, Charles Holborne. Simon writes from personal experience: he was a barrister for 37 years and worked in the Old Bailey and other criminal courts defending and prosecuting a wide selection of murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy during what was often considered the “Wild West” of British justice. The 1960s was a time when the Krays and the Richardsons and other violent gangs fought for control of London’s organised crime, and the corrupt Metropolitan Police beat up suspects, twisted the evidence and took their share of the criminal proceeds. Simon weaves into his thrillers genuine court documents from cases on which he worked and the big stories of the 1960s.

Simon was a successful author in the 1980s, published here and in the USA, and returned to writing when he retired from the Bar in 2016. The first two books in the Charles Holborne series, THE BRIEF published in September 2015 and AN HONEST MAN published in July 2016, have both garnered rave reviews for their authenticity and excitement. The theme of Simon’s books is alienation; Holborne, who dabbled in crime and in serious violence before becoming a barrister, is an outsider both in the East End where he grew up and in the Temples of the law where he now practices, where he faces daily class and religious prejudice. He has been compared to Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe and Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade, honourable men surrounded by corruption and violence, trying to steer an honest course.

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Links: Website   Blog     Facebook     Twitter    Goodreads    Amazon Author Page

Book Trailer Facebook 

 

Book description

The Lighterman is the third book in the bestselling series of legal thrillers starring barrister Charles Holborne. Simon Michael’s follow up to the bestselling The Brief and An Honest Man, continues the adventures of criminal barrister Charles Holborne.

When Charles Holborne’s cousin, Izzy, is accused of murder, Charles must dig up the secrets of the past to defend him. But brutal gangland leader Ronnie Kray will stop at nothing to get his revenge on Charles for the events of An Honest Man. Can Charles save his cousin…and his own life?

Simon Michael brings the past vividly back to life across a beautifully rendered 60s landscape, and delivers a gripping piece of thriller fiction that will excite any fan of the Britcrime genre.

Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

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I have one paperback copy of The Lighterman by Simon Michael, unfortunately this is open to UK residents only. Winner will be notified within 24 hours of winning. To enter just leave a comment in the post telling me which era you would loved to have been part of?

All entries will be put into a hat and I will get the ever suffering Mr book review cafe to pick a winner.

You can follow the rest of the tour…..

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**Blog Tour** Vile City by Jennifer Lee Thomson #AuthorQ&A @jenthom72 @caffeinenights @TAsTPublicity

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I do love a good twisty crime thriller and so I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for Vile City by Jennifer Lee Thomson.  I haven’t had the time to read this one yet,  but it definitely sounds like my kind of read, and it’s on my TBR pile of crime thrillers, in the meantime I’m thrilled to have Q & A with Jennifer Lee Thomson.  

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Where did the idea for Vile City come from?

For Vile City I was walking through Glasgow city centre with my partner when we took a short cut down an alleyway to avoid the crowds. It was the middle of the day yet so spooky that I thought imagine coming down this way at night alone. So I created Shelley Craig who goes down that very alleyway to find her boyfriend who was answering the call of nature. She gets worried when he hasn’t come back and discovers him unconscious on the pavement. That’s when she’s grabbed.

What was the hardest part of writing vile city?

My main character Shelley Craig makes a decision in Vile City that I really don’t agree with, but as an author of fiction the characters make the decisions not you as the author.

Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals?

I write in the early hours of the morning. I can sit for seven hours straight writing without taking a break. I read out my writing and act bits out. Crazy, but it works.

Have you always wanted to be an author, and when did you first realise you wanted to write?

I’ve been writing stories since I was a wee girl and used to keep a diary. My professional writing career started when I was 15 and wrote an article on superstitions for a girl’s magazine called Jackie.

Do you write an outline before you start writing?

I start with an idea and see where it goes. I ask myself what if this happened? I don’t plan – I find that boring. If I want readers not to see what’s coming next, I have to keep the same mystery for myself.
You have published books under three different names including Jennifer Thomson and Jenny Thomson why three names? 

I write under different names to distinguish between my different books. My self-help books on bullying, living cruelty free and dog care are written as Jennifer Thomson. My fiction is as Jenny Thomson. Vile City and the rest of the books in the Vile City series, as well as my subsequent fiction will be written under Jennifer Lee Thomson in tribute to my late dad who passed away after a long battle with cancer. He always wanted me to use my full birth name.

How did you come to get published by Caffeine nights?

They publish one of my favourite writers, horror writer Shaun Hutson and when I saw they published crime novels I thought I’d submit Vile City. The publisher liked the outline and asked to see some sample chapters. I was delighted when six weeks later they got in touch to say they liked the book and wanted to publish it.

What do you think makes a good story?

Great characters and a fast moving plot. I hate overlong description and think most readers do too. I always skip it.

Can you describe Vile City in five words? 

Gritty, entertaining, mysterious, page-turning, paranormal.

Can you describe yourself in five words?

Meticulous, funny, hardworking, determined, optimistic.

And just a few quick ones to end the interview 

Favourite food?

Anything vegetarian. I’ve been veggie for 31 years and it’s the thing I’m most proud of.

Favourite Drink?

Smoothies.

Favourite author?

Stephen King. I also love Craig Russell, Anna Smith, Stuart MacBride, Simon Kernick and Camilla Lackberg.

Kindle or book? 

Book. I love the new book smell. Kindles are great to use when travelling and on holiday.

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Book description

DI Duncan Waddell has big problems. He’s borderline diabetic, his boss thinks he’s in the Army and the paperwork is piling up faster than the underwear at a porn shoot. The last thing he needs is the country’s biggest case to land on his lap.
Three women have gone missing in the city he’s fast coming to despise, victims of the GLASGOW GRABBER as their assailant has been dubbed by local hack and all round pain in the backside, Catriona Hastie.

Shelley Craig’s the Grabber’s latest victim, snatched as she and her boyfriend took a shortcut through Glasgow city centre. And she’ll do anything to make it home.
Handling this baffling case is stressful enough without Waddell’s pal DC Stevie Campbell, who’s in a coma after being attacked by a suspect, starting to talk to him. Trouble is, only Waddell can hear him.

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img_1639Jennifer Lee Thomson is an award-winning crime writer who has been scribbling away all her life. She also writes non-fiction as Jennifer Thomson and fiction as Jenny Thomson.

This is her first book as Jennifer Lee Thomson in tribute to her late father who passed away after a long battle with cancer. Books 2 and 3 in the series are already written and she’s working on book 4.
Jennifer is an animal rights and human rights advocate and has a rescue dog.
She also writes the Crime File series of books as Jenny Thomson. Book 1, 2 and 3, are out now. They are in order, Hell to Pay, Throwaways and Don’t Come For Me and feature tough rape survivor Nancy Kerr and her ex-Special Forces boyfriend who fight crime together.
In her spare time, she plans how to survive the zombie apocalypse

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SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VileCitybyJenniferLeeThomson/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jenthom72
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1301634.Jennifer_Thomson
Blog: http://www.ramblingsofafrustratedcrimewriter.blogspot.co.uk
Website: http://www.jenniferthomson.co.uk

BUY LINKS
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vile-City-Jennifer-Lee-Thomson/dp/1910720739
Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Vile-City-Jennifer-Lee-Thomson/dp/1910720739
Amazon Canada https://www.amazon.ca/Vile-City-Jennifer-Lee-Thomson/dp/1910720739

If you want to follow the tour……..

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My thanks to the author Jennifer Lee Thomson, Kate Moloney and Noelle Holten for my ARC, questions & answers and allowing me to be part of the Vile City blog tour 

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**Blog Tour** The Escape by C.L. Taylor #Review #AuthorInterview @callytaylor @HelenaSheffield

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Today I’m thrilled to be the next stop on The Escape by C.L. Taylor blog tour, and my god I absolutely loved this psychological thriller, I’ve always enjoyed this authors books, but without doubt this is definitely her best book yet. The Escape was published by Avon in March so you don’t even have to wait to get yourselves a copy of this gripping book.

You can read my review further down this post, but first I have an exclusive Q & A with C.L. Taylor which I’m so excited to share with you all.

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Hi Cally I’m so excited to have you on my blog so welcome to The Book Review Café Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thank you for having me! My name is Cally Taylor and I live in Bristol with my partner and son. I started my writing career writing romantic comedies as Cally Taylor then, when I was on maternity leave with my son I had an idea for a psychological thriller. That book was The Accident and I have now written four psychological thrillers for Avon HarperCollins and I’m contracted to write three more. My second psychological thriller The Lie has been optioned for TV by The Forge who produced National Treasure featuring Robbie Coltrane. In addition to The Escape which was published in March I also have a young adult thriller The Treatment which will be published by HarperCollins HQ in September.

For those readers who haven’t yet heard of you or your book The Escape can you provide us with an introduction?
The Escape is about a woman called Jo Blackmore who lives in Bristol with her partner Max and their two year old daughter Elise. Jo suffers from agoraphobia and her life is filled with anxiety and fear. One day, when she’s about to get into her car, a stranger asks her for a lift. The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband and she got a glove belonging to Elise. Feeling threatened Jo turns to her husband for support but Max is dismissive. He’s seen Jo overreact to situations before. Jo tries to forget about what happened but the stranger has other ideas. She thinks that Max has something that belongs to her and she won’t stop hounding the Blackmore’s until she gets it back…

Where did the idea for The Escape come from?
I got the idea for The Escape from a local news story. I follow Avon and Somerset Constabulary on Facebook and noticed an update asking for help finding a woman who’d gone on the run with her young son instead of turning up at court to hand over residency of him. As members of the public commented that they’d look out for her the woman’s family told them not to. They said she wasn’t a danger to her son, she was actually protecting him by running away. That made me wonder how I’d feel if I had to go on the run to keep my child safe.

What made you decide to have all the titles of your book begin with “The”?

I didn’t! My title for my first psychological thriller was An End to Silence but my publisher felt that The Accident would be more impactful. The book sold so well that, when it came time to name my second book, my publisher suggested we stick with ‘The…’ title and that book became The Lie. Now all of my books have ‘The…’ titles!

How did you research material for The Escape?

The Escape is my most heavily researched book to date. It took me three months of research before I wrote a word. I talked to a GP, a social worker, a family lawyer, an IT specialist, a journalist and an expert in Irish policing. I also travelled across to Ireland to research locations for the second part of the book and went to dinner with two Irish blogger who answered my questions about life in Ireland now and in the 1980s.

Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals?

I have to have warm feet when I’m writing so I keep a pair of skiing socks close by. I also have a soundtrack to each novel I write. I can’t write to lyrics so will pick an instrumental or film soundtrack album that matches the mood of the novel then I’ll play it on a loop each time I sit down to write. I sometimes have a scented candle burning too (different for each book).

My favourite character in The Escape has to be Jo, Who was your favourite character to write about?

I loved Jo but she was exhausting to write because she’s so anxious all the time and you have to channel the emotions that your character is feeling. I really enjoyed writing Max as I wrote him in the third person and that’s the first time I’ve used that point of view in one of my novels.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being an author?

The emails from authors telling me that one of my novels made them fall in love with reading again, or even that one of my books has ignited a love of reading. When people tell me that they’ve never finished a book before or they normally struggle to read but they sped through one of my books it’s the biggest compliment I could ever be given. Reading those emails always makes me feel very emotional.

On the other side, what would you say is the most challenging part of writing?

Sitting down to write when you’re not in the mood or when you know you’ve got a difficult scene to tackle. At times like those I wish I could magic the words out of my head and onto the screen.

Who is/are your favourite author/authors? What is it that draws you, as a reader, to certain books?
My favourite author as a child was Enid Blyton. Her Magic Faraway Tree series so was so magical it fired my imagination. As an adult I’m a big fan of George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, Maggie O’Farrell, Belinda Bauer, Mark Edwards and Tammy Cohen. I’m not sure what it is that draws me to certain books – it’s normally a writer’s style or voice that draws me in first, then it’s their storytelling ability (they have to write a page turner) and then there’s the subject matter. I’ve always been drawn to dystopian novels which explains George Orwell and Margaret Atwood and I enjoyed the Hunger Games series too.

Are you able to tell me anything about your next book?

My next book is actually my debut YA thriller THE TREATMENT. I recently completed the edits and it’s due to be published by HarperCollins HQ in September 2017. It’s about a young woman called Drew who tries to rescue her younger brother from being brainwashed at a remote residential reform school in Northumberland. In April I’m due to start my fifth psychological thriller for Avon but, as I haven’t written a word, I can’t tell you about that yet!

And lastly can you describe yourself in five words?
Tall, tired, creative, determined, introvert.

My Thanks to Cally Taylor for taking time out of her hectic schedule to answer my questions.

img_1639C.L. Taylor is the Sunday Times bestselling author of four gripping psychological thrillers: THE ACCIDENT, THE LIE, THE MISSING and THE ESCAPE. Her books have sold in excess of a million copies, been translated into over 20 languages and have been shortlisted for three Dead Good Books awards. THE LIE has been optioned for TV by The Forge who produced National Treasure featuring Robbie Coltrane.

Cally Taylor was born in Worcester and spent her early years living in various army camps in the UK and Germany. She studied Psychology at the University of Northumbria and went on forge a career in instructional design and e-Learning before leaving to write full time in 2014.

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Links:

http://www.callytaylor.co.uk
http://writing-about-writing.blogspot.com
http://www.facebook.com/CallyTaylorAuthor

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Book description

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t. The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her. No one believes that Elise is in danger.

img_1258It’s not very often it happens but The Escape by C L Taylor left me with a serious book hangover, I picked up this book thinking I would just read the first couple of chapters, BIG MISTAKE as three hours later I reached the final page in this addictive psychological thriller. There are a huge number of books in this genre so for me the difference between a good psychological thriller and an outstanding one is the authors ability to mess with my head, a plot that contains suspense and “edge of your seat moments” and C L Taylor manages this and so much more with this addictive novel.

The author presents the reader with an unreliable narrator in the shape of Jo Blackmore, a young mother whose behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, she’s neurotic, has panic attacks and she’s paranoid. Unreliable narrators are one of my favourite types of characters and so I was immediately drawn to her tale, unpredictable she also appears to be losing her grip on reality so you are never quite sure what to believe. When she is threatened by a young woman Jo’s life begins to unravel in the most spectacular fashion. You cannot help questioning is what Jo going through real?, is she really in danger? Or is she misinterpreting events? I found I became totally immersed in Jo’s tale, her sense of fear is palatable from the first chapter and this grows as the plot progresses. It’s a disturbing yet believable study of family, lies, and deception and the overwhelming need to “Escape” from the harsh realities of life.

The chapters told in the voice of an unknown narrator add a sense of malice and danger to the tale, and it was these chapters that completely threw me. In fact when I finished reading The Escape I went back and re-read them, a very clever and deceiving ploy by the author I have to say. Wickedly told and fast paced this is definitely one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read this year. C L Taylor delivers the most deliciously devious plot that will throw the reader at every twisted turn, even the most hardened psychological thrillers readers will struggle to put this one down. In my opinion C L Taylor’s writing goes from strength to strength, each of her books is worthy of high praise but The Escape is definitely my favourite so far and I’m already excited to see if her next book can beat this truly gripping read.

Print Length: 433 pages

Publisher: Avon (23 Mar. 2017)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

If you want to read further reviews on this gripping book, you may want to check out some of my fellow bloggers posts…..
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Top Five Friday with The Book Review Café #Thrillers

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Today on Top Five Friday I’ve choosen my five top thriller reads, again this was a difficult one but after some thought these are still some of my favourite books in this genre.

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The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

What I found fascinating about The Theseus Pardox is, that although it isn’t my usual type of book,I found it to be a compelling read. David Videcette is a uniquely gifted story-teller, who draw’s the reader in by writing a chillingly and credible tale based on real circumstances, it’s so well written it’s difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.

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The Killing Game by J. S. Carol

The Killing Game is a highly addictive read, in fact I felt I needed therapy after finishing it, as this book left me with a hell of a book hangover! I couldn’t bear to put it down. In my humble opinion The Killing Games has the hallmarks of a Hollywood blockbuster, with a highly original plot, action a plenty, and bucketfuls of suspense this is the perfect action thriller novel.

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All Fall Down by Tom Bale

Tom Bale should write a masterclass on how to bring suspense to a novel, All Fall Down is packed to the brim with it, as the story unfolds you soon realise the family are being watched, and the author very cleverly adds chapters told by an anonymous narrator which literally made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, these chapters were full of malice and intrigue, so much so I found myself holding my breath as I wondered what lay in store for the family.

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My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Elwood

When I first saw the title of this book I conjured up so many different scenarios but oh my god I couldn’t have been more wrong! New author on the block Nuala Ellwood has certainly written a disturbing and spine chilling tale that I found impossible to put down once I started reading.

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See How They Run by Tom Bale

Tom Bale has written an absolutely fantastic book, I felt like I was on a roller coaster with no let up in pace (cliched I know, but in this case very true), I truly loved every heart stopping page of See How They Run, With a well defined plot that was taut and original in content it’s a compulsive read, and one I could not put down until I reached the nail biting conclusion .

You can read all my reviews for these fabulous books here…

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2015/12/28/author-interview-the-theseus-paradox-by-david-videcette/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/10/17/blog-tour-the-killing-game-by-j-s-carol-jamescarolbooks-review-bookouture/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/09/04/blog-tour-all-fall-down-by-tom-bale-interview-review/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/11/04/blog-tour-my-sisters-bones-by-nuala-elwood-review-nualawrites/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/05/05/see-how-they-run-by-tom-bale/

**My Book Of The Month** January 2017

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Well we’ve reached the end of January 2017 which can only mean one thing, it’s time to choose my Book Of The Month for January 2017.

The Book Of The Month is chosen by myself at the beginning of every month, for the previous month. It goes to the author/book that I found outstanding for that month, and I may have given a higher rating than a 5 star review. I’m also hoping if a do this monthly come December it will make it easier to do a best reads of 2017 post or that’s my plan.

I have read some outstanding books in January, but here is where I fell at the first hurdle as I really couldn’t choose between two books this month, I’m not know for being decisive at the best of times! The two books I have chosen are polar opposites, but both books stood our for me because I still thought about them long after I finished them. Although very different in every way possible, they both had one thing in common they kept me glued to my kindle!

These fantastic books had all the elements I look for when reading books, well developed characters, a strong plot and bucketfuls of suspense, so without further ado the books I have given the Gold Star Award are……….

The Mountain In My Shoe by Louise Beech

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You can read my review here:
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/01/13/the-mountain-in-my-shoe-by-louise-beech-orendabooks-louisewriter-bookreview/

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

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You can read my review here: https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/01/29/blog-tour-behind-her-eyes-by-sarah-pinborough-authorinterview-review-sarahpinborough-wtfthatending/

As I mentioned earlier two very different books but they are two that I would highly recommend to everyone and anyone.

what do you think of my books of the month? Did I choose well? What books would you choose? Please feel free to leave a comment