Tuesday, 7 August 2018

In Conversation with Claire Allan

Today I am in conversation with Claire Allan, author of Her Name was Rose. So without further ado, let's ask Claire some questions....

Any advice to anyone dreaming of becoming an author?
 JUST DO IT! The best advice I can give is just to write. Sit down and open a file on your computer, or take out a notebook and write something.
If it feels like a big task, set yourself a goal. 200 words maybe. Don’t overthink it. No author gets it right the first time, even the most experienced authors go through countless drafts before they have the book you eventually read. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be written!

Where do you get your writing inspiration from?
From everything! I’m a people watcher (I think most writers are), so I love to watch people interact and imagine what their story can be. I can also hear a phrase or a song, or sit in the sun on a lovely day and have a scene come into my head that becomes something much more. There are  stories happening around us all the time, in everyone’s life. My 18 years in journalism taught that me that so many people have these incredible life experiences that they don’t tend to talk about, and that the most extraordinary stories come from “ordinary” people.

What are you working on next?
I’ve just submitted the first draft of my second thriller ‘Apple of My Eye’ to my publishers. It’s a story about a mother’s obsession with her daughter and the steps she will go to to protect her child. I had great fun writing it and letting my imagination run wild!

If, heaven forbid, there was a fire, what possession would you grab first to save?
Assuming my family and pets were safe and well, it would have to be my laptop. Mostly because I’m not half as good at backing up my work as I should be and the thought of losing work is horrendous! Also I form a certain bond with my laptops. I’ve gone through four in my writing career so far and my current is my favourite. It’s the nicest to work on and I’ve it customised just how I want, complete with a sticker my daughter chose for the cover.

What five people, living or dead, would you choose to invite to a dinner party?
I probably should pick writerly sorts? Shouldn’t I? But in truth, I’d love to sit around a table with Oprah Winfrey (and sure, if she wanted to choose me for her book club that would be lovely!) and Michelle Obama for the inspiration and political chat. Marian Keyes for the literary chat and a good laugh. Michael Buble as he is my one true love and Jane Austen, to see what her take on the modern dating world would be.

Thank you Claire for taking part with in conversation with. You can follow Claire on Twitter @Claireallan or visit www.claireallan.com to see what she is up to! My review of Her Name was Rose will be up shortly but if you can't wait, you can grab a copy now (and the kindle edition is only 99p)!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 6 August 2018

The New Girl

The New Girl by Ingrid Alexandra
Published by Avon Books
October 2018

When Rachel moves into the spare room in Mary’s flat, everyone is quick to jump to the conclusion that there’s something strange about her. Everyone apart from Mary.
And when Rachel starts sleepwalking, the flatmates’ fears grow. But there’s something about the new girl that Mary can’t help but trust, and having recently escaped a toxic relationship, she needs the support.
Rachel becomes a friend and an ally, and Mary soon discovers that they have more in common than she ever could have imagined.
In fact, Rachel seems to know more about Mary than she knows about herself…

Ingrid Alexandra's novel The New Girl comes out in paperback in October but you can grab a copy on your kindle right now for the bargain price of 99p; perfect for reading by the beach or pool this summer.

Mary is an orphan following her parents' disappearance when she was in her teens, resulting in a wealthy inheritance. She's recently moved across Australia in a bid to escape from her ex-boyfriend Mark who is violent and has been threatening to kill her. No one else knows of her location about from her Aunt who despite Mark's most recent visit, isn't about to reveal where she is staying. Mary now lives in a flat with Ben and her best friend Cat.  In order to raise more funds the friends advertise for a new flatmate and it is left to Mary to show around applicant Rachel.  They instantly hit it off and Rachel soon moves in, though it appears that Cat isn't so sure about her.

Rachel starts to confess in Mary, asking her to keep her past secret from Cat and the two become even closer, prompting disharmony between the former friends; add to that a blossoming relationship between Ben and Mary and some odd phone calls from a mystery caller who can only be Mark.  Rachel's behaviour becomes a little odd; sleepwalking into Mary's bedroom at night and watching her sleep. The problem for the readers is that Mary drinks - so how reliable is her narrative, can the reader actually trust her past or even her present?!

The ending comes with a twist and is certainly a cliffhanger!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Friday, 27 July 2018

Fatal Inheritance

Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys
Published by Doubleday
July 2018

London 1948: Eve Forrester is trapped in a loveless marriage, in a gloomy house, in a grey suburb. 
Out of the blue, she receives a solicitor’s letter. A wealthy stranger has left her a mystery inheritance but in order to find out more, she must travel to the glittering French Riviera. 

Eve discovers her legacy is an enchanting villa overlooking the Mediterranean sea and suddenly, life could not be more glamorous.

Alone in paradise, Eve must unlock the story behind her surprise bequest – before events turn deadly…

This is the second novel by Rachel Rhys (a.k.a. the crime writer Tammy Cohen) following her fabulous debut Dangerous Crossing last year and it doesn't disappoint.  Set in the French Riviera at the end of the second world war, the book is atmospheric, gripping and totally believable.  Sitting in the garden with the English sunshine this week I could almost feel myself transported to the heady coast of Southern France where the sky turns everything pink and everyone is beautiful.  

France in 1948 is nothing like its English counterpart.  Where rationing and make-do-and-mend are still in place in Britain, along the coastline of Cannes there is still a world of glitz and glamour and the rich and famous arrive there in droves expecting to be fully entertained.  

When Eve Forrester is summoned to a meeting with a solicitor she has never heard of before, it is not to expect to be travelling to France to discover what she is about to inherit.  Her dull, and quite frankly, annoyingly controlling husband Clifford doesn't want her to go, claiming it will all be a waste of time, but Eve is intrigued by the bequest and heads off alone to France to find out more about her surprising inheritance.

When she discovers she has been left a share in a beautiful villa overlooking the Riviera, she is suitably shocked, as are the family who own the rest of the property.  They presume that Eve has had an affair with the deceased, Guy Lester but Eve is more surprised than any of them, as she has never heard of this man before, let alone met him.

The family want nothing more than to sell the house and take the cash it will provide them, but slowly day after day, Eve begins to fall in love with the house and her new life.  However her refusal to part with her share in the property will lead to her downfall because someone wants her inheritance; with or without her permission, and Eve isn't as safe as she once thought she was.

With a whole host of glamorous characters in a fabulous setting, Fatal Inheritance is the perfect read for the summer but can you work out who is out to get Eve Forrester?  I certainly didn't!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Sleeper 13

Sleeper 13 by Rob Sinclair
Published by Orion
June 2018

Smuggled to the Middle East as a child.
Trained as one of the most elite insurgents of his generation.
Forced to do things no one should, for a cause he couldn't believe in.
But as his brothers were preparing to kill, he was looking for a way out.
Now, on the eve of the deadliest coordinated attacks the world has ever seen, he finally has his chance.
He will break free and hunt down those who made him a monster.
He must draw on all his training to survive.

He is SLEEPER 13.

Now I'll be honest with you all, I'm not really a thriller so-of fan but Sleeper 13 sounded interesting enough for me to request to be part of the blog tour.  I've not read any of Rob Sinclair's books before (he's written a few others) so I can't comment on any of  his earlier works.  This book is set across the globe as there are a number of central characters, all seemingly unrelated but as you progress with the book you soon realise that they are connected in more ways than one.  

Aydin Torkal begins our story in France where he is desperate to leave the group where he is solely referred to as number thirteen; one of a group of children who have been brought up by the Teacher to kill those who do not follow their faith and beliefs.  Aydin knows that this move will not be easy, for the group will not just let him walk away without so much as a backward glance; in fact the only way in which the group will let Aydin leave will be by his death.

Across the globe in the Middle East we have Rachel Cox, a British secret service agent who has spent years tying to track down a group of children she believes have been trained and smuggled out of the area and who are plotting to carry out an horrific attack.  However those higher up than her are starting to believe that the evidence she has is not strong enough for her to continue her work - until that is the death of one of her informants, a charity worker called Nilay; a woman that Rachel believes has more information on this group of boys than anyone else she has met.

So how does this tie together you may be asking yourself?  Nilay is infact the twin sister of Aydin and when he learns of her death he vows revenge on those who carried it out.  So now the hunted becomes the hunter and Rachel Cox is going to find herself caught somewhere in the middle!

This is a great story, full of twists and turns and a real page-turner as you don't know where the story is going to take you to next.  What I can say is that there is a follow-up novel and I can't wait to find out what is going to happen in the sequel.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Monday, 18 June 2018

The Burning Chambers

The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse
Published by Mantle
3rd May 2018

Carcassonne 1562: Nineteen-year-old Minou Joubert receives an anonymous letter at her father's bookshop. Sealed with a distinctive family crest, it contains just five words: SHE KNOWS THAT YOU LIVE.
But before Minou can decipher the mysterious message, a chance encounter with a young Huguenot convert, Piet Reydon, changes her destiny forever. For Piet has a dangerous mission of his own, and he will need Minou's help if he is to get out of La Cité alive.
Toulouse: As the religious divide deepens in the Midi, and old friends become enemies, Minou and Piet both find themselves trapped in Toulouse, facing new dangers as sectarian tensions ignite across the city, the battle-lines are drawn in blood and the conspiracy darkens further.
Meanwhile, as a long-hidden document threatens to resurface, the mistress of Puivert is obsessed with uncovering its secret and strengthening her power . . .

Having loved Kate Mosse's first trilogy of books set in France, I was super eager to get my teeth, as it were, stuck into her new series of books, once again set in the Languedoc region. This time we are transported to 1562 where the battle between the Huguenots and the Catholics is starting to come to fruition and lives can hang in the balance dependent on which faith you follow.  Minou Joubert and her family are Catholics and they own a bookshop in Carcassonne.  Her father has been ill for some time, and Minou has been running the shop for him whilst also caring for her younger brother and sister.  One day whilst at the shop she receives a mysterious letter that contains the words - "She knows that you live" but that is all; Minou has no clue as to the author of the letter or to whom the letter is referring to.

Our story then moves across France to Toulouse where the battle for religious supremacy is nearing a climax and Minou begins to spend more time with Piet Reydon, a man she initially met in Carcassonne but who has returned to Toulouse carrying a most sacred possession that keeps his life in danger.  

Kate Mosse now weaves a historical tale filled with characters both good and evil but whilst also maintaining that grip on historical fact so that you could actually believe that this story really did happen, and that these characters really did exist.  I can't wait to read the next instalment to find out what is going to happen next in this wars of religion trilogy and how on earth the reader is going to be transported from 16th century France to 19th century South Africa.  The mind boggles!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Almost Love

Almost Love by Louise O'Neill
Published by Riverrun
1st March 2018

When Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard.
So it doesn't matter that he's twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she's sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him.
Sarah's friends are worried. Her father can't understand how she could allow herself to be used like this. And she's on the verge of losing her job.
But Sarah can't help it. She is addicted to being desired by Matthew.
And love is supposed to hurt.
Isn't it?

So this is the story of Sarah, her current love Oisin and her former lover Matthew.  The book weaves back and forth to the heady first days of meeting Matthew at the parent's evening where she is his son's art teacher, to the start of their in-clandestine relationship, it's demise and of her current situation with Oisin.  I don't know if anyone reading this could actually like Sarah, but maybe that is the point.  You want to slap or shake her into waking up, into seeing that her relationship isn't what she believes it to be, to take a look around and see the damage that it is doing not only to herself but to those around her too.  Only she doesn't and as a reader I could feel myself getting increasingly frustrated with her as the book progresses.

Matthew does not love Sarah, let's make that perfectly clear.  He wants sex and gets off on the thrill of meeting her in a hotel room for an hour or so to get his fill as it were.  Sarah spends her life looking down at her phone waiting for just a text from him whereby she will instantly drop everything and everyone in the process to be by his side.  Her friendships start to fall apart because of the choices that she is making and the only person who cannot see that damage that is being done is Sarah.

Fast forward to the present day and Sarah is in a loving relationship with Oisin, living in his parent's house.  His mother is a very successful artist and Sarah wants for nothing.  However, in this situation money doesn't buy you happiness and Sarah is constantly thinking back to her time with Matthew to the detriment of her relationship with Oisin, because no matter what he does or doesn't do, he isn't and never will treat her in the way that Matthew did.

This is an interesting take on the way that a relationship can take over your whole being and Louise O'Neill does just that in Almost Love though it doesn't necessarily make for pleasant reading at times.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

The Fear Blog Tour

The Fear by C. L. Taylor
Published by Avon
March 2018

After my review yesterday, I wanted to share an exclusive extract from The Fear to whet your appetite for reading this gripping thriller.  Currently, if you have a kindle, it's also only 99p at the moment, so what are you waiting for? 

If you fancy seeing who else has been on the final part of the blog tour, and who else is still to come, here is the list of us all:

And now for that extract....

How long does it take to get discharged from a hospital? When I was woken up just after six this morning to have my vitals taken, I asked the nurse whether I could leave, seeing as everything appeared to be normal. She told me no, I needed to be officially discharged by a doctor. It’s now lunchtime and there’s still no sign of a doctor. When I moaned to the nice lady who brought me a tiny portion of spaghetti bolognaise with a pile of overboiled carrots and a cup of tea, she shrugged and said, ‘You might be here for hours yet, darling. They’re all terribly overworked.’

Find out who is in hospital, and why by getting a copy of The Fear!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x