Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove by Kim Nash

Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove

My enormous thanks to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources at for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove by Kim Nash. I can’t believe it’s approaching a year since Kim stayed in with me to chat about her previous book Sunshine and Second Chances in a post you can read here.  I loved and reviewed Kim’s debut novel Amazing Grace here and was just as impressed by her next, Escape to Giddywell Grange. You’ll find my review of that book here. Consequently, it’s a real pleasure to review Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove today and to help close the tour.

Published on 30th March 2021, Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove is available for purchase on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove

When thirty-four-year-old Nellie Wagstaff loses her job and discovers her fiancé is a cheating scumbag in a single day, she feels like the world has come crashing down. And that’s before the solicitor’s letter, along with a request to visit a place she hasn’t thought about for a very long time.

Heartbroken, Nellie escapes to the beautiful seaside town of Muddleford in Dorset, where she discovers she’s inherited more than she ever bargained for. Nellie never knew why her mother stopped talking to her sister, but now childhood memories of Muddleford come flooding back: long hot summers, the sea glistening beyond the sandy cove… and a stolen kiss with a boy called Jack.

Jack, now a devilishly handsome vet, has the local pet owners swooning over him, and as Nellie and he become close once more, and she gets used to gossiping with the locals and sipping wine at her beach hut with sand between her toes, she’s sure she can feel sparks flying once more. But just as she thinks she might be able to open her heart again, her newest frenemy, the glamourous Natalia, tells her a secret about Jack that changes everything.

Nellie will never know why her mother and aunt parted ways. She’ll sell the house, forget about Jack, and get back to real life. Because there’s nothing for her in Muddleford… is there?

An utterly uplifting and completely hilarious summer read about learning to trust yourself and of finding love and friendship in the least expected places for fans of Jessica Redland, Heidi Swain and Holly Martin.

My Review of Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove

Ellen’s life is about to change.

I thoroughly enjoyed heading off to Muddleford Cove and am hoping that this won’t be my first visit. Kim Nash has created a wonderful, warm and witty environment that totally transported me to Dorset and left me entertained, happy and uplifted. I thought the narrative was just lovely.

Although there is a smashing, romantic story in Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove, with several laugh aloud moments, plenty of twists and turns, and that wonderful knowledge of this genre that everything will turn out well eventually, what I most enjoyed about Kim Nash’s writing this time was the level of wisdom behind her story. Whilst entertaining her reader the author manages to show them how we shouldn’t leave it too late to mend bridges and tell those we love how we feel. Through Nellie’s story we come to realise that life is what we make it and that we should be true to ourselves and make the most of the opportunities that come our way. I thought this aspect of Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove was just wonderful.

Equally as inspiring was the characterisation here. Aunt Lil may not actually be present in the story, but she shapes it so convincingly that I felt she was someone I’d known all my life. Ellen, or rather Nellie, is a delight. Her delusions, her self-knowledge, her friendships and her love are all realistic so that she feels like a real woman and not merely a character. Natalia exemplifies the falseness and obsession with appearance that sadly pervades society and I could picture her through Kim Nash’s writing as easily as if I were sitting opposite her. However, although I loved meeting Nellie, it was Jack who held my attention most but you’ll have to read Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove to find out why – though you should be prepared to fall in love a little bit yourself too!

When I’d finished reading Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove I felt I had had a lovely break from the corrupt, Covid dominated world we’ve been living through, and that I had been able to take a stroll along the Dorset beach with Nellie and Norman, very much enjoying their company.

Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove is such a lovely read. It’s warm, funny and romantic so that it really is a tonic for the woes of the world. I finished the book feeling soothed and uplifted. It’s a lovely story.

About Kim Nash

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Kim Nash is an author of uplifting, funny, heartwarming, feel-good, romantic fiction.

She lives in Staffordshire with son Ollie and English Setter Roni, is Head of Publicity for Bookouture and is a book blogger at Kim The Bookworm.

Kim won the Romantic Novelists Association’s Media Star of the Year in 2016, which she still can’t quite believe. She is now quite delighted to be a member of the RNA.

When she’s not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog, reading, standing on the sidelines of a football pitch cheering on Ollie and binge watching box sets on the TV. She’s also quite partial to a spa day and a gin and tonic (not at the same time!) Kim also runs a book club in Cannock, Staffs.

Amazing Grace was her debut novel with Hera Books and came out in April 2019.

Escape to Giddywell Grange is Kim’s second novel and was published in September 2019.

Sunshine and Second Chances is Kim’s third novel and is published today, June 4th 2020.

For more information, visit Kim’s blog:, where you can sign up to be the first to hear about new releases. Your e-mail will not be shared with anyone else and you will only contacted about Kim’s books.

You can also find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @kimthebookworm, and Instagram.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove Full Tour Banner

The Republic of Love by Carol Shields

I cannot begin to think how long ago it was that I first read The Republic of Love by Carol Shields, but when Anne Cater of Random Things Tours got in touch to say she was organising a blog tour for this new edition I had to be part of it, despite my intention to take the whole of the beginning of April off from blogging as I celebrate turning 60 on 7th. It is such a pleasure to rediscover an old book friend.

Published by World Editions, this edition of The Republic of Love with a foreword by Margaret Atwood is available for purchase through the links here.

The Republic of Love

A celebration of love in its many guises, The Republic of Love recounts the heartfelt tale of two of life’s unlucky lovers: Fay, a folklorist whose passion for mermaids has kept her from focussing on any one man; and, right across the street, Tom, a popular radio talk-show host who’s been through three marriages and divorces in his search for true happiness.

Touching and ironic, The Republic of Love flies the flag for ordinary love between ordinary people.

‘Vividly fresh, glittering and spangled with fabulous surprises.’ —The Sunday Times

‘The Republic of Love marries a wide diversity of elements, mythical and modern, ironic and moving, exhilarating and melancholy … a love-surveying story that is enticingly seductive.’ —The Times Literary Supplement

My Review of The Republic of Love

A story of everyday love.

It’s years since I first read The Republic of Love by Carol Shields and I had forgotten just what a magnificent writer she was. Her eye for detail is just perfect so that her readers can visualise every nuance she presents with absolute clarity. It was a total joy to rediscover The Republic of Love. And although this book is some thirty years old, it has a resonance with today’s society that remains as fresh and vital now as it was then.

In essence, there isn’t a great deal of action in The Republic of Love but to say that totally belies the intensity of emotion and the wonderful exploration of what love really is that Carol Shields presents. She has a razor sharp perception of human frailty, desire and struggle so that frequently I found myself nodding in agreement at Fay and Tom’s thoughts and behaviours. I loved too, the gentle, wry and brilliantly witty humour that runs through The Republic of Love. Carol Shields peels back the layers of Tom and Fay’s lives and pasts through perfect vignettes so that the reader understands them completely – even more than they understand themselves.

However, this isn’t just a story of romantic love. Rather, Carol Shields presents aspects of love from filial to sexual, self love to passion so that there is an intensity behind the narrative that is so compelling.

Similarly, The Republic of Love causes the reader to look deep into their own lives, relationships and memories and to wonder how much they really know those they love. Carol Shields sees between the cracks of who we are and reveals as much through what is withheld as she does through what is said. This is especially affecting as the lives of minor characters are uncovered.

The Republic of Love is a book to savour and I really appreciated having it back in my life.

About Carol Shields

Carol Shields (1935–2003) was born in the United States, and emigrated to Canada when she was 22. She is acclaimed for her empathetic and witty, yet penetrating insights into human nature. Her most famous novel The Stone Diaries was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, along with the Governor General’s Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Happenstance was praised as her tour de force, masterly combining two novels in one. The international bestseller Mary Swann was awarded with the Arthur Ellis Award for best Canadian mystery, while The Republic of Love was chosen as the first runner-up for the Guardian Fiction Prize. In 2020, the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction, a North American literary award dedicated to writing by women, was set up in her honour. Her work has been published in over 30 languages.

Staying in with Gillian Jones-Williams

When I was unexpectedly invited by Dawn Newson of Emerge UK to the online launch of Locked Down But Not Out by Gillian Jones-Williams I was intrigued and was delighted to accept. I had a fantastic evening when I discovered more than I had imagined, I simply had to invite Gillian to Linda’s Book Bag to tell me more about the book, because Locked Down But Not Out supports a very worthwhile cause.

Staying In With Gillian Jones-Williams

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Gillian. Thanks so much for agreeing to stay in with me. Tell me which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

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I have bought my latest book Locked Down but Not Out – a Covid 19 Diary.  It was published a month ago and it is to remember of all of the NHS members who worked so hard to save us – it is also in memory of Captain Sir Tom Moore, who I fell in love with during lockdown.  All proceeds from the book are going to raise money for the bereaved families of NHS Workers who died through Covid.

That’s amazing. I think Captain Sir Tom Moore touched us all, but, importantly, he stood for all those who have been affected by Covid 19, none more so than those who’ve lost their lives trying to save the lives of others.

I understand that, as well as supporting charity by buying Locked Down but Not Out either directly from your organisation by emailing info@emergeuk.com or on Amazon, blog readers can also donate directly to the charity The Healthcare Workers Foundation Families Programme here too.

That’s right Linda. And it’s such a worthwhile cause.

I agree. So, what can we expect from an evening in with Locked Down but Not Out?

You can expect to laugh out loud, to experience the joy of miraculous recovery, but also to cry as the book is both heartbreaking and heart-warming. You will be reading my brutally honest day to day diary of everything that happened from the middle of March 2020 when we rapidly returned from our skiing holiday as France locked down to a fast-changing UK to the end of the first lockdown. 

I think that sounds something we can all relate to Gillian. Tell me more.

Whilst I tell the story through my eyes, the everyday issues that we were all encountering such as queuing in shops, fighting for click and collect spots, missing sport and music, watching every event and holiday being cancelled, I am sure you will be nodding throughout as it will no doubt parallel your own journey.  I left nothing out, every detail of my (extremely frequent) breakdowns, as I struggled to save a business that I have loved and nurtured for 25 years decimated by the pandemic, the moments of change and reflection as my crazy life travelling around the world ground to a halt and the deep joy of an amazing event (no spoilers!) that has changed my life, my perspective and my business. There are plenty of learnings from the lockdown, both personally and for my business and it may remind you of your learnings.

Oo. Intriguing! I loved hearing about Locked Down but Not Out at the recent launch and am so pleased to have a copy here waiting to be read. How had it been received?

Here is a recent review “Reading this book was like reading a gripping, fictional thriller. The devastating evidence of destruction with documented death rates at the end of each chapter provided a sense of impending doom, enough so that I had to remind myself that this story isn’t fiction.

Although the book focuses on the loss the virus has caused, it is also one of hope, gratitude & perspective. I can’t wait to treasure this book. It will be a great insight for future generations to discover the trauma caused by COVID-19 throughout 2020 & 2021.”

It sounds to me as if you’ve created a personal, yet universal insight into a very particular time in history.

The final entry is dated 30th November 2020. Total deaths in the UK: 57,000. It makes me nauseous that I released this book on 24th March 2021. Total deaths: 126,000. The pandemic is by no means over. But the personal story of the pandemic is interwoven through my factual account of every decision the government made as I wrote every single night through the government briefings, so you can expect to feel anger and irritation as you remind yourself of some of the promises we were made by ministers and watch the response to the pandemic unfold day by day. You will also discover my love/hate relationship with Piers Morgan as I watched the news on GMB each morning and recorded it – but I will leave you to read the book to see if it was more hate than love!

I have a feeling a few readers might have views here!

My husband said I mentioned Piers more than him in the book, but you will also get to know my long-suffering husband pretty well – in the 10 years we have been together I have travelled so much we have probably only been in the same place for 1 of those years!  Living together 24/7 for a year was something we never planned to experience and like many other people had to make many adjustments.

I think I’ve been lucky in that respect Gillian. I’ve spent 24/7 with my husband for years. We even taught in teh same school at one point.

I think you may also see the book as a historical record, just imagine if you have a 6-year-old child now, reading the book in 10 years. Whilst they might have only been able to remember that very hot spring and summer when mum and dad were at home all the time, they can then fully understand what it was like to live through the pandemic– something I sincerely hope that will never happen again.

I hope you’re right. What else have you bought and why have you brought it?

I couldn’t bring it, but if I could it would have been my hot tub as we spent so many evenings in there. Could you come to me and have a night in there instead? 

I think that sounds like a very welcome idea!

I would also bring my best friend Sarah who features heavily in the book and I missed her terribly all year – that would lead to Prosecco and much bad singing and dancing, yes a lot of dancing. 

As long as we can play some Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music that is fine by me!

Thanks so much for staying in tonight to chat about Locked Down But Not Out Gillian. I think it sounds brilliant and I hope it raises a bucket load of money for such a worthwhile cause.

The irony of this whole ‘Staying In’ article, is that the whole book was about staying in!!  So now I wonder, will anyone want to read it or will they be so busy going out now that they can!

Well let’s give them the details. They don’t need to read it – just buy it and support the charity!

Locked Down But Not Out

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No one could have predicted what would happen in 2020, the year that shocked the world. When coronavirus hit it plunged every country into lockdown and killed millions of people. For the NHS it was a major unprecedented crisis as they worked in horrendous conditions to save as many lives as possible.

Everyone was touched by the pandemic; our freedom was brutally taken away and our income affected – some more than others. Businesses were closed, whole industries were shut down, jobs were lost and mental health was affected. For Gillian Jones-Williams, her training company that she founded twenty-five years ago, was devastated, with all bookings cancelled within a few weeks. And whilst she struggled to turn the business around, the world went through changes that we could never have envisaged. Each day brought new shocks as we watched legendary events being cancelled, airports grinding to a halt, shops and restaurants closing, and politicians making life-changing decisions that had far-reaching effects.

This book documents not just one woman’s fight to save her business, but a daily diary of events that occurred, and every decision that the Government made.

But more importantly, it is to remember the extraordinary NHS workers who died from Covid-19 and it celebrates the amazing people in the NHS who fought so bravely to save us, and the key workers who kept our country running. And, of course, the legendary Captain Sir Tom Moore.

They gave their lives to help our families. Now we must help theirs.

May we always remember.

Every one of us has our own pandemic story, but few can tell theirs with such panache and visceral colour that Gillian Jones-Williams can. Her story shows us all how to sieve the good out of so much bad, how to be locked down, but certainly not out. A wonderful book, and supporting a wonderful cause.

Dr Dominic Pimenta BSc (Hons) MBBS MRCP and best selling author of Duty of Care

All proceeds from the book go to the fund for families of NHS workers who lost their lives during the pandemic.

Buy Locked Down but Not Out by emailing info@emergeuk.com or on Amazon,.

About Gillian Jones-Williams

Gillian Jones is Managing Director and founder of Emerge Development Consultancy. For over 25 years Gillian has worked on organisational strategy development and change initiatives with companies worldwide.  Gillian partners with many organisations to implement culture change and has designed and delivered programmes of varying sizes to national organisations and independent companies.

Gillian is also an author, having co-authored 50 Top Tools for Coaching which was published by Kogan Page in Autumn 2009 and is now on its 5th edition. Gillian is an expert in organisational culture change and her second book ‘How to Create a Coaching Culture Strategy’ is in its 2nd Edition.

In the last 5 years she has been specialising in championing Women’s development, specialising in supporting women to achieve their goals, develop their confidence and reach more Senior Positions.  In 2015 she developed the acclaimed Empowering Women’s programme RISE which is delivered in the UK and the Middle East.

Gillian is a regular speaker at many conferences specialising on the subject of Diversity and Inclusion and Women’s Development. She has a passion for equality and is working with many companies on Conscious Inclusion workshops with a particular focus on Black Lives Matter. 

You can find Gillian on Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook or follow her on Twitter @gjones8 for further information.

The Therapist by B A Paris

I’ve been meaning to read B A Paris for simply ages and have all of her books on my bookshelves or Kindle, but life has always got in the way. This time, however, when lovely Sian Baldwin at Harper Collins sent me a copy of B A Paris’ latest book, The Therapist, in return for an honest review I was determined I’d get to it. I’m so glad I did and am delighted to share my review today.

Since I wrote this review back in January, I have been privileged to participate in a wonderful question and answer session with B A Paris, enjoying The Therapist themed goodies too. My enormous thanks to Sophie Calder for inviting me to join in.

It was fascinating to learn that B A Paris finds that her characters take over when she writes and that she feels she has an analytical brain which is why psychological thrillers appeal to her as a writer. She loves solving puzzles and enjoys exploring issues that could or should be discussed more openly. She is currently working on her next book which is another twisty psychological thriller.

Published by Harper Collins imprint HQ on 15th April 2021, The Therapist is available for pre-order through the links here.

The Therapist

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…

As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating, grisly secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.

Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbours are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…

The million-copy Sunday Times bestselling author B A Paris returns to her heartland of gripping psychological suspense in this powerful tale of a house that holds a shocking secret.

My Review of The Therapist

A gated community might not be as safe as Alice thinks.

I’ve been meaning to read B A Paris for ages because I’ve always seen such high praise for her writing. As a result, The Therapist had a lot to live up to. I’m delighted that it met all my expectations and was a complete cracker of a read.

It’s not going to be possible to say too much about the plot as I’d be afraid of revealing spoilers, but let me say that it is meticulously constructed so that I was swept along with the narrative, believing every element even when I was certain I wouldn’t have taken some of the decisions Alice takes. The Therapist is fast paced, creepy, exciting and has secrets to uncover along the way. I loved the resolution and the dénouement of the story had my heart thumping and my breath held. I thought the extended ‘locked room’ constraints of The Circle setting added an extra layer of claustrophobia and menace that was highly effective so that I found myself experiencing the same thoughts as Alice as I read.

Alice is a far more complex character than might at first be thought. She is flawed, naïve, foolish, quick to judge and easily manipulated – and I loved her. Alongside all her faults she has ideals, is self-critical, brave and determined. I certainly couldn’t envisage myself having her strength on occasion and I found myself admiring her even when I thought she was being foolhardy. The other characters in The Therapist are so well done because any one of them could have committed the crime Alice becomes obsessed by, so that B A Paris left me wondering how much we can ever trust those around us. I found the occasional injection of italicised first person accounts from the therapist very unsettling!

Alongside a roller-coaster plot filled with convincing characters, what is particularly riveting in The Therapist is the way B A Paris manipulates her readers and provides themes that make them think. Partly, the reader is given information that draws them in and makes them aware of why events take place and partly B A Paris cleverly obfuscates detail so that the reader is duped and receives surprises too as the truth is uncovered. I thought this was incredibly well balanced, making for a thrilling read. I loved the themes of trust and past history, loyalty and friendship, that ripple through the narrative.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Therapist. I found it exciting, thought provoking and hugely entertaining. It’s a brilliant read and let’s just say I shall be checking the doors and windows and I won’t be having therapy any time soon!

About B A Paris

B A Paris is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, Bring Me Back and The Dilemma. Having sold over one million copies in the UK alone, she is a New York Times bestseller as well as Sunday Times bestseller and a number one bestseller on Amazon and iBooks. Her books have been translated into 40 languages. Having lived in France for many years, she and her husband recently moved back to the UK.

For more information about B A Paris, you can follow her on Twitter @BAParisAuthor. You’ll also find her on Instagram and Facebook.

Staying in with Christina James

As many of you know, I’m involved in my local Deepings Literary Festival and a year ago we were hoping to hold our Read Dating event with lovely Christina James as one of our authors. We all know what happened to live book events! Consequently, I’m particularly pleased to welcome Christina to Linda’s Book Bag today to stay in with me to chat about her latest book. It feels like some compensation for not getting together in real life.

Staying in with Christina James

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Christina and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me. 

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

I’ve brought De Vries which is a psychological crime novel and the ninth in the DI Yates series, all set in South Lincolnshire. It is the sequel to Sausage Hall, the third of the series – but all of the books can be read independently.

Crikey. Are there really nine books in the series now? What can we expect from an evening in with De Vries?

De Vries continues the story of Kevan de Vries, a wealthy industrialist who returns to Sutterton after seven years of exile. Kevan is a morally ambiguous character: there are several strands to the narrative, each of which adds to his complexity and the reader’s opinion of him. For example, can a murder ever be justified? Why will some people risk everything to find out who their parents were? Do old houses truly carry memories of events that have happened in them in the past?

I love the sound of exploring those questions Christina. How had De Vries been received so far?

Here is part of a review by Mickey J. Corrigan, an American author whom I greatly respect:

DI Yates and DS Armstrong are back on the job. Drawn in by the possibility that de Vries is hiding out at Sausage Hall, they launch another one of their intuition- based investigations, only to get side-tracked when a townswoman goes missing.

Will de Vries solve his paternity mystery before the law finds him? Will he be able to explain his legal troubles to Agnes? Is the child trafficker dead – or still in business? What will the Archaeological Society dig up? And where did those old skeletons at Sausage Hall come from? Are there more?

Enquiring minds must find out, which is why I couldn’t stop reading. I greatly admire a writer who can lure me in with an addictive plot and make me fall in love with a motley group of well-drawn characters as she fits all the puzzle pieces together. I won’t say more as I don’t want to spoil your read. It’s fun by one master storyteller.”

How brilliant! 

And here is a trailer for De Vries.

I enjoyed watching that Christina – those images of Stamford were very familiar to me. 

What else have you brought along and why have you brought it?

For sustenance, I have brought some jars of honey, as my husband keeps bees, and some home-made cider.

That honey looks glorious. I’ll get some fresh bread in a while when we’ve finished chatting.

Ruth with de Vries

I’d also like to introduce a couple of guests: Ruth Cropley, the present owner of the house I have called ‘Sausage Hall’, and the spirit of my grandmother, Elizabeth Mary Wood. Some years after ‘Sausage Hall’ (the book) was published, Ruth tracked me down because her daughter had read it and recognised the house from the description. Her diligence in doing this and enthusiasm for my books has brought a new and highly valued friend into my life.

That’s just wonderful. Ruth is most welcome. But why your grandmother? 

I’m bringing my grandmother because she was the paid companion/housekeeper of the old lady who owned the house in the 1950s and 1960s. Elizabeth died in 1979, but as I’m a writer among writers here I’m sure her ghostly presence will be understood and welcomed, particularly as, like Sausage Hall, De Vries raises some ancient ghosts. I know my grandmother would have been delighted to meet Ruth and fascinated by what Ruth has made of the house today. Before she worked at Sausage Hall, Elizabeth was housekeeper to Samuel Frear, the last of the great Lincolnshire sheep farmers. She was born in Kent; her father was a manager for a ‘gentleman farmer’ who also owned farms in Lincolnshire, so her family moved to an isolated farm in the Fens when she was a young woman. Like Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and at around the same time, she started work as a poultry maid. Then one of her employers sent her to Bart’s Hospital in London to train as a nursery nurse and subsequently she worked as nursemaid to the children of a Scottish diplomat, before returning to Lincolnshire in her later years. She was an indomitable lady with a wry sense of humour and fierce work ethic. I hope perhaps some of her qualities have rubbed off on me.

She sounds utterly fabulous and from what I can tell, Christina, she’d recognise many traits of herself in you.

Thank you so much for staying in with me to chat about De Vries. I think it sounds brilliant. Now, you pour the cider and I’ll tell readers more about De Vries.

De Vries

Widower Kevan de Vries returns to ‘Sausage Hall’, his house in Sutterton, after seven years’ exile in St Lucia.

He must remain incognito because police want to question him about the unexplained disappearance of Tony Sentance, former employee and leader of a child trafficking gang that operated from within De Vries Industries.

De Vries is obsessed with the identity of his father, never disclosed to him by his mother. He enlists the help of Jackie Briggs, his former housekeeper, and Jean Rook, his solicitor and erstwhile lover, who wants to rekindle their liaison. He reluctantly agrees.

Agnes Price, a young primary school teacher, becomes concerned about the welfare of one of her pupils and Leonard Curry, a schools attendance officer sent to investigate, is attacked. Shortly afterwards, Leonard’s niece, Audrey Furby, goes missing.

De Vries is the sequel to Sausage Hall. The two novels can be read as a pair or each as a standalone text.

‘De Vries’ can be purchased from www.quoscript.co.uk, and most online booksellers on both sides of the Atlantic.

About Christina James

Christina James is the pseudonym of Linda Bennett, née Linda Sherrard, a former pupil of Spalding High School. She has been a book-lover for as long as she can remember – and certainly longer than when she first learnt to read. Books have always been a part of her professional life in some guise: she has worked as a library supplier, an academic, a bookseller, a publisher, an editor and a consultant for publishing and library projects.

Like many book-lovers, it was always her ambition to become a writer herself and after a couple of false starts (and a textbook along the way) she began work on the DI Yates series in 2010. Linda is married with a grown-up son. She lives on the Yorkshire side of the Pennines with her husband, a rescue cat and about three hundred thousand bees.

For more information, visit Christina’s blog, find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @cajameswriter.

Staying in with Rob Sinclair on Renegade publication day

I absolutely love Rob Sinclair’s thrilling writing and can’t believe it’s almost two years since Rob last appeared on Linda’s Book Bag. Then I was reviewing The White Scorpion in a post you’ll find here. In other posts, Rob generously wrote a wonderful guest post about becoming a full time writer that you can read here and I have my review of Rob’s book Red Cobra, that you can read here. Rob previously stayed in with me to chat about The Green Viper in a post you can see here and today I’m delighted to welcome him back to tell me about his latest book. Let’s find out more:

Staying in with Rob Sinclair

Welcome back to Linda’s Book Bag Rob and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me once more.

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

I’ve brought Renegade, the first book in the ‘Ryker returns’ thriller series, which is my most recent release (publication 30th March!).

Oh. Happy publication day Rob! I’ve enjoyed your Ryker Series so what can can we expect from an evening in with Renegade?

This is technically the ninth book I’ve written about James Ryker, though it definitely feels like the start of something new, which is a big reason why the publisher has branded this a the start of a new sub-series (Ryker Returns).

Readers first saw covert agent James Ryker under a different name – Carl Logan – in my Enemy series, which were the first books I wrote, several years ago now. Having seemingly walked away from his dangerous life for one of peace (which didn’t last long at all), he returned under the new identity of James Ryker for The Red Cobra, which subsequently spawned four more sequels.

I absolutely loved The Red Cobra. Such a thrilling read.

But by the point The White Scorpion came out in 2019, I knew that it was time for Ryker to once again move in a new direction.

Having read and adored The White Scorpion too, I agree. Tell us more about Ryker.

He’s a complex man, with a very dark and disturbing past, but Ryker, more than anything, wants to disassociate from that past and just be left alone. We see this tension in particular in Renegade, with the book starting with him working for his old agency on an ad-hoc basis, but with the title clearly referencing his internal struggle to toe the line his old bosses expect him to toe.

I can imagine that leads to quite a bit of excitement. I can’t wait to read Renegade.

Come the end of the book though… let’s just say Ryker’s future path is set, and it’s a very different path to the books that preceded it. To me, Ryker is a new man once more, and with that he’s going to be getting into a whole load of new scraps. I’ve already written book 2 in this new series, with book 3 well on the way as well!

That’s brilliant news.

What else have you brought along and why have you brought it? 

atlas

I’ve brought an atlas. It might sound silly but I love atlases. I’ve always been fond of facts and statistics, and I’m fascinated by the world, our knowledge of it, and how our own views of our planet change over time. Why is this relevant to Ryker? Mainly because Ryker is so well-travelled. I can’t count how many countries I’ve thrown him into now on his adventures, and I always make a point of trying to tie the location to the story. I.e. if the book is going to be in Country A, there has to be a specific reason for it, not just because it sounds good. The Ryker books have taken place on every continent now, and for Renegade, I used a collection of locations from around Europe, from London, to Paris, to rural France, to the German Black Forest – each of the locations with their own unique traits in terms of both the places, but also the people and cultures. I put a lot of thought into doing the locations justice, so hopefully I’ve achieved that.

I know you have in the Ryker books I’ve read Rob and I love the way you manage to transport your reader to another place through your brilliant descriptions.

backpack

I’ve also brought a backpack. I’ve never called it this in a book, but think of it as a zombie survival kit. If you’ve never heard of one of those, you haven’t watched enough zombie apocalypse movies, but I’m sure you get the idea.

I don’t watch zombie films but I’ve had so many times when I’ve had to rush one of my parents to hospital in the past that we all have emergency bags packed now!

Ryker, at heart, is a nomad. He doesn’t call anywhere home, and although the Ryker Returns series starts with him seemingly settled in England, I can assure you it can’t and won’t last. He’s also not a materialistic man. He doesn’t care for possessions, but like any traveller, he needs something. I know fine well Ryker has his own zombie survival kit. That bag that’s by the front door, always ready and packed with the essentials he needs to survive. Cash, utility knife, compass, torch, first aid kit, a few clothes. Toothbrush? Maybe. All the basics, just in case the apocalypse really does happen. Or at least if the bad guys suddenly arrive at his door and he needs to make a quick getaway. Have you got your own zombie survival kit ready? If not, why not?!

Why not indeed! Thanks so much for staying in with me again Rob. I’ve loved hearing about Ryker’s new adventures and I cannot wait to read Renegade. I’m thrilled it’s on my TBR. Happy publication day once more.

Renegade

He’s back and better than ever.

James Ryker, a veteran intelligence agent now freelancer, working for the secretive Joint Intelligence agency on an op-by-op basis, finds himself embroiled in a complicated mission that will test him to his limit.

When a simple surveillance mission goes awry and the key target is kidnapped in broad daylight in a busy London square, Ryker knows he has his work cut out.

Ryker is tasked with figuring out what went wrong. But when his good friend Sam Moreno disappears without a trace, the mission becomes more personal than he could have imagined.

Torn between toeing the government line, and finding the answers he needs, Ryker realises there’s only one way to find those responsible and to punish them… His way.

James Ryker Returns in Renegade

This fast-paced, explosive thriller is the perfect follow-on for readers for the massive bestselling original Ryker series, but can also be read as the start of a thrilling new espionage series.  It will appeal to fans of books like the globe-trotting thriller I Am Pilgrim, as well as to fans of authors like Lee Child, Mark Dawson, L.T. Ryan and David Baldacci.

Published by Bloodhound Books today 30th March 2021, Renegade is available for purchase in all the usual places including here.

Rob Sinclair is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy series and James Ryker series of espionage thrillers as well as the globetrotting thriller hit Sleeper 13. His books have sold over half a million copies to date with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob’s work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn.

Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.

You can follow Rob on Twitter @RSinclairAuthor, visit his website and find him on Facebook and Instagram for more information.

Featuring What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson

My enormous thanks to Ellie and Dave for inviting me to participate in the UK launch of What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson. It’s such a shame that I wasn’t able to read for review today, because I don’t feature nearly enough YA fiction hereon Linda’s Book Bag, and when you see the details about What Beauty There Is, you’ll understand why I am so disappointed not to have been able to do so. Sadly my weird sight is finding e-books increasingly tricky so I’ll just have to wait until the paperback is available!

Published by Penguin on 8th April, What Beauty There Is is available for purchase through the links here.

What Beauty There Is

When everything you love is in danger, how long can you keep running to survive?

Life can be brutal
Winter in Idaho. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.

Jack knew it
Jack Dahl has nothing left. Except his younger brother, Matty, who he’d die for. Their mother is gone, and their funds are quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care, or find the drug money that sent his father to prison.

So did I
Ava lives in isolation, a life of silence. For seventeen years her father, a merciless man, has controlled her fate. He has taught her to love no one.

Did I feel the flutter of wings when Jack and I met? Did I sense the coming tornado?
But now Ava wants to break the rules – to let Jack in and open her heart. Then she discovers that Jack and her father are stalking the same money, and suddenly Ava is faced with a terrible choice: remain silent or speak out and help the brothers survive.

Looking back, I think I did . . .

Perfect for fans of Patrick Ness, Meg Rosoff and Daniel Woodrell, What Beauty There Is an unforgettable debut novel that is as compulsive as it is beautiful, and unflinchingly explores the power of determination, survival and love.

*

Now doesn’t that sound EXACTLY my kind of read?

About Cory Anderson

Cory Anderson is a winner of the League of Utah Writers Young Adult Novel Award and Grand Prize in the Storymakers Conference First Chapter Contest. She lives in Utah with her family. What Beauty There Is is her debut novel.

You can follow Cory on Twitter @coryanderwrites, visit her website and find her on Instagram. You can follow the blog tour too:

The Cosy Little Cupcake Van by Annette Hannah

A couple of months ago I was delighted to help reveal the cover of Annette Hannah’s latest book The Cosy Little Cupcake Van. If you head over to that blogpost you can read an extract from the book too. As Annette is my very good friend, I’m thrilled today to participate in the blog tour for The Cosy Little Cupcake Van.

Annette has also featured here on Linda’s Book Bag when I reviewed her debut novel Wedding Bells at the Signal Box Café and we stayed in together to chat all about it.

Published by Orion imprint Dash on 22nd March 2021, The Cosy Little Cupcake Van is available for purchase here.

The Cosy Little Cupcake Van

A deliciously feelgood romance, perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Ali McNamara and Rebecca Raisin!

Camilla’s delicious cakes are the talk of her village. If you need a perfectly iced mouthful of joy, Camilla “Cupcake” is your woman. But after losing her mother, she finds her home and her business in jeopardy. She needs a little helping hand…

Thankfully her friends are always there for her, and when she is given an old ice cream van, Camilla’s dream of a cupcake delivery service is born. Now she can bring happiness – and buttercream frosting – to the whole town.

But when her ex Blake appears back on her doorstep, Camilla must decide if she can trust him again or if her heart might belong to someone else…

Bursting with romance and sprinkled with humour, this is a deliciously feel-good story about one woman putting her life back together, one cupcake at a time.

My Review of The Cosy Little Cupcake Van

Camilla needs to start again.

The Cosy Little Cupcake Van is an absolute delight but should come with a warning. Whatever you do, don’t try to lose weight whilst you read it. The descriptions of food, especially cakes, and the wonderful drinks are so delicious sounding I swear I put on four pounds just reading this book! I genuinely had to start getting my lunch at 11.45 because it made me so hungry.

In all seriousness, Annette Hannah has such a deft ability to evoke the senses that The Cosy Little Cupcake Van truly is a book to experience sensuously rather than just to read. Every sense is catered for, whether that’s through the touch of a hand, the sound of laughter, the taste of lemon meringue, the sight of a newly decorated cupcake or the scent of flowers, in such a vivid way that The Cosy Little Cupcake Van is a pleasure to read. I thought the description and settings too were brilliantly drawn.

Although there are references to Annette Hannah’s debut Wedding Bells at the Signal Box Café with some returning characters, The Cosy Little Cupcake Van works perfectly well as a stand alone novel. That said, I think readers would be missing out not to read both books. I loved meeting up again with some of the people, especially Jackson, whom I’d grown so fond of before, as well as encountering new people.

There’s a plot based on an action of greed and deceit in The Cosy Little Cupcake Van that is surprising, but that works so well because Annette Hannah illustrates so gloriously that what doesn’t break you makes you stronger as Camilla learns to get her life back on track. The sense of friendship and community that weaves through the narrative is heart-warming and uplifting and whilst, as might be expected in this genre, the path of true love doesn’t run entirely smoothly, there is a reality in The Cosy Little Cupcake Van that I thoroughly appreciated. Along side the relationships explored is the positive sentiment that is is people and not possessions that provide happiness. In a world where we have all been struggling of late, The Cosy Little Cupcake Van feels like a beacon of happiness and positivity – even if I did shed a tear towards the end of the book.

The Cosy Little Cupcake Van is a perfect example of its genre. It’s the book equivalent of getting into clean bedding after a relaxing bath; it’s soothing, comforting and oh so enjoyable – a kind of hug in a book. I loved it and think some of those well established, award winning, romantic fiction novelists need to look out. Annette Hannah is after their crowns.

About Annette Hannah

Annette Hannah Author Pic

Annette Hannah is a Liver Bird who relocated to leafy Hertfordshire in the 80’s and now lives near a river with her husband, two of their three grown up children and a crazy black cocker spaniel. She writes romantic comedies in settings inspired by the beautiful countryside around her and always with a nod to her hometown. As an avid reader she became a book blogger and eventually realised her dream to become an author in 2020.

She loves long walks along the river, travelling to far flung places, the odd glass of Pinot Blush and spending time with her friends and family.

You can find out more by visiting Annette’s blog or website and following her on Instagram and Twitter @AnnetteHannah.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

Future Perfect by Felicia Yap

It’s a long time since I met lovely Felicia Yapp at an author and blogger event I wrote about here. Since then, I reviewed her debut Yesterday here and it became one of my favourite reads of 2017. Consequently, I was thrilled when Antonia Whitton at Headline asked if I might be prepared to read and review Felicia’s latest book, Future Perfect. Would I? Try and stop me! I’m delighted to share my review today.

Published by Headline imprint Wildfire on 18th March, Future Perfect is available for purchase through the links here.

Future Perfect

What if today was your last day…

A bomb has exploded during a fashion show, killing a beautiful model on the catwalk. The murderer is still at large… and he may strike again. Yet this is the least of Police Commissioner Christian Verger’s worries. His fiancée Viola has left him. He has to keep his tumultuous past a secret. To make things worse, his voice assistant Alexa is 99.74% sure he will die tomorrow.

Moving from snowy 1980s Montana to chic 1990s Manhattan to a drone-filled 2030s Britain, FUTURE PERFECT is an electrifying race to solve a murder before it’s too late. Yet it is also a love story, a riveting portrait of a couple torn apart by secrets, grief and guilt. A twisted tale of how the past can haunt a person’s future and be used to predict if he will die… or kill.

My Review of Future Perfect

An explosion at a fashion show is just the beginning.

Future Perfect opens in dramatic style and doesn’t let up throughout, as Felicia Yap takes her reader on a terrifyingly plausible narrative set just slightly in the future. What works so well is that technology is at the heart of the story but it is futuristic technology that has already begun to make an appearance now, such as delivery drones and driverless cars, so that the events that occur feel based in truth and are all the more unsettling as a result. I really did feel quite tense reading Future Perfect and thought it was a thrilling read. Equally, I found Future Perfect innovative and fresh in style so that it felt unlike other books I’ve read.

Future Perfect is so much more than a futuristic thriller. Somehow, Felicia Yap has woven romance, relationships, science fiction, AI and crime into a captivating narrative set in the world of high fashion that draws in the reader completely. The plot is a true masterclass, twisting perceptions and manipulating the reader until they are as affected by events as are Viola and Christian. I permanently felt one step behind for much of the time, just like Christian, so that unlike other thrillers, Future Perfect was never predictable. There’s a real irony in that sensation, given the technological reliance on prediction and probability in the narrative! The fast paced action is balanced by beautifully natural imagery and a wonderful appeal to the senses so that Future Perfect has something for every reader. I finished reading this book rather in awe of Felicia Yap’s prescient understanding of society, the criminal mind and humanity. This is a book that entertains, certainly, but it has a depth that gives the reader much to think about too.

Indeed, it is the presentation of humanity in Future Perfect that makes for such compelling reading. I loved the insight into how our past shapes our present, that emerges through the stories of Christian and Viola. Felicia Yap explores human frailty and resilience, our self-deceptions and our self-criticisms, so that the narrative affords an understanding of both perfection and imperfection in a manner I found mesmerising. Alexander King is the ultimate enfant terrible manipulator and yet he has a vulnerability that is quite affecting. He made me think of Shelley’s Ozymandias because of the way art and artifice are so closely entwined in Future Perfect. Even more compelling for me was the exploration of living in the moment and not looking too far ahead. Never have I been more thankful that I do not have Alexa or smart technology in my own home, but to say more would be to spoil the story for others!

I thought this book was brilliant because of the sophisticated storytelling, the vivid characters and the terrifyingly possible situations it contains. Elegantly and eloquently written, Future Perfect is totally captivating, unnerving and surprisingly emotional. I really, really recommend it.

About Felicia Yap

Felicia Yap grew up in Kuala Lumpur. She read biochemistry at Imperial College London, before achieving a doctorate in history (and a half-blue in competitive ballroom dancing) at Cambridge University. She has written for The Economist and The Business Times. She has also worked as a radioactive-cell biologist, a war historian, a Cambridge lecturer, a technology journalist, a theatre critic, a flea-market trader and a catwalk model. Yesterday was her debut novel. Future Perfect is her second.

You can follow Felicia on Twitter @FeliciaMYap and visit her website. You’ll also find her on Instagram and Facebook.

Mini Rabbit Come Home by John Bond

It was a real pleasure when children’s book Mini Rabbit Come Home by John Bond popped through my letterbox unexpectedly. My thanks to Tina Mories at Harper Collins for sending me a surprise copy

Mini Rabbit Come Home was published by Harper Collins Children’s Books on 18th March 2021 and is available for purchase through the links here.

Mini Rabbit Come Home

Mini Rabbit is back in another adventure from leading new talent John Bond!

Mini Rabbit is making a camp in the garden.
He can’t wait. It’s going to be the BEST DAY ever!

But there are still a few last things he needs to get, and it looks like it might rain. Will Mini Rabbit ever manage to get everything home in time?

Another hilarious adventure featuring the irrepressibly enthusiastic Mini Rabbit. Wittily told and beautifully illustrated from dynamic author/illustrator talent John Bond

My Review of Mini Rabbit Come Home

Mini Rabbit is having another adventure.

As with all my children’s book reviews, I have to comment on the physical qualities of the book’s production and Mini Rabbit Come Home is absolutely excellent. Bound in a thick, robust, good quality cover I can see this book being very durable in both home and school settings. The pages are also superb quality.

I have a tiny criticism which arises out of my personal preference as I would rather not have upper case words in the middle of sentences in children’s books. That said, in Mini Rabbit Come Home, they are used for emphasis, so I can see the opportunities for discussing writing technique with emergent writers was well as encouraging young readers, and the upper case words certainly add drama to the story when it is read aloud.

And there’s a smashing story here as Mini Rabbit heads off to gather the items needed for his camping. The fact he loses half of them on the way home or, like the marshmallows, they curiously vanish adds humour that children will love. The events add all manner of opportunities to discuss with children what has actually happened and the lovely illustrations help less secure young readers interpret the text. The message about the joys of home and safety comes through brilliantly as does the exploration of disappointment and overcoming adversity. This really is a lovely story.

I thought the balance of writing to illustration was perfect and indeed, the illustrations are glorious. It’s wonderful that Mini Rabbit is black rather than fluffy white, as might be expected, as I feel insufficient children’s books challenge expectation as well as this one does. I have no idea whether it was intentional, but Mini Rabbit is helped to make camp by his Mum which gives status to female roles and there is no mention of his Dad which I feel represents positively single parent families.

I think Mini Rabbit Come Home is a super book for young children.

About John Bond

,

John Bond is an illustrator, author and artist. He grew up on a farm in the Cotswolds and went on to study a degree in Illustration at Kingston University, London. He now lives and works in Worthing on the south coast. His studio is based at Colonnade House.

With a background in animation and digital media, he spent 7 years working at an award winning creative agency – designing and directing a multitude of projects for broadcast, digital, and interactive content.

He now works independently as an illustrator and artist, balancing commercial jobs with self initiated projects alongside running his own online store. Bond’s work has been exhibited in galleries worldwide and he has spoken at industry events such as PictoplasmaGlug and Pecha Kucha.

For more information, visit John’s website, follow him on Twitter @iamjohnbond and Instagram or find him on Facebook.