Book Blog Tour for Rubies in the Roses

I’m so happy to be asked to join in the blog tour for Vivian Conroy – I ‘met’ Vivian as part of a Twitter hour for authors (which you are very welcome to attend!) #TheAuthorHour and first read her Lady Alkmene books set in the 1920’s.

You can find out more about Vivian as part of our regular author interview series…

Rubies in the Roses is the second Cornish Castle mystery, and although you don’t need to have read the first book to enjoy it – I liked the feeling of familiarity when meeting the main characters again, and I enjoyed having a sense of knowing the surroundings already. The main characters were developed further with great success and you can start to understand more about their backgrounds and the impact of that on their current situations, as well as explaining more about why they respond and react the way they do.

Choosing such an interesting island setting with a castle and all the historical stories that are possible is a stroke of genius – the Rose and Stars goblet is entirely plausible and the hunt for artefacts in the grounds is exactly what would happen (and I’m sure often does) when an intriguing find looks likely. It is also a brilliant observation of the motivation and behaviour of people when money, history, family and affection all start to rub together.

Dolly the dog still steals the show, but the real mastery is in the careful writing and clever plot. There are more red-herrings and cul-de-sacs with a triumphant ending so well crafted that I can’t wait to read the third book! They are just 99p currently, which is such a good deal for a fun scamper around a Cornish castle. Conroy has been compared to Agatha Christie, but there is much more humour in these series and so I think I may even prefer them…


I received my copy of Rubies in the Roses as a member of NetGalley.

Hey Caimh McDonnell!

Author Interview


 5 Questions to Know You Better…


Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

 I’m afraid I’m somewhat of a freak and I drink none of those things! I’ve never drank a cup of coffee in my life, The only cup of tea I’ve had in the last decade was when three horses totalled my car and, while I love things that are both hot and chocolate individually, I keep trying hot chocolate and then remembering that I don’t enjoy it either. So – I’ll have a Diet Pepsi if you’re offering.

 Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

Detective Bunny McGarry – he was supposed to be a relatively minor character in my first book, but essentially walked in and took over. He’s clearly a big favourite with my readers too. There’s a strong element of wish fulfilment to him – he is the man who does the things I would secretly love to do if I didn’t have to live with the consequences.

Do you have a particular place where you write –  can you show us a picture?

 Where I definitely can’t write is my own apartment, so I have an office in a co-op with cartoonists, researchers, charities etc that I go to. This also forces me to put on trousers every day which is a good idea in general.

(ED. this the second non-photo interview… I might start issuing penalties…)

 Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

 In the shower in the morning, or at least that’s where they make themselves known. I like to think of my brain like a PA who is reporting back what my subconscious has been working on over-night while I’ve been out of the office. (Note: not normally acceptable workplace practice to have your PA in the shower with you.)

 What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

 I’m technically in what you’d call the pre-production phase of the third and final part of my Dublin trilogy. I spent ten minutes in bed last night explaining what was going to happen to the wife so I’m pretty sure it might be time to go into the production phase. 


I will be reviewing Angels in the MoonLight, once I’ve finished laughing – it arrived the same week as my birthday and school starting so my reading time has been a bit curtailed. It’s is BRILLIANT, but until I have that last chapter read I don’t want to put the review up… 



Apologies for the slightly sporadic posts of late, it’s all because of the very exciting news that we are creating a bigger and better blog – as part of a website that will have lots of nerdy cool features and lots and lots more BOOKS!

The Friday (an occasional extra) Interviews will remain, but expand beyond authors  into the extended world of writing and reading….

There will also be a FEATURED AUTHOR each month with extra information, interviews, reviews and a full catalogue of their books available. If you would like to be considered as a FA please do get in touch as we are filling up our calendar x 

There will also be more seasonal, genre and other fun collections of books featured, as well as other things I haven’t quite got my head around yet.

IF YOU have any ideas of things you would like to be featured, or available do let me know as we are working like elves in the evenings to make it happen. ALSO SEND TEA!

Book Review


Condition: The Final Correction by Alec Birri

I was nervous to start reading this, one because it’s the third book in a trilogy and I haven’t read the first two – and secondly because I read the introduction and was already a bit scared…

However, good writing is good writing whatever the subject matter and despite this dystopian tale which is disturbing and complex, it’s completely unputdownable because of the quality of Birri’s prose. I do feel that reading the first two stories would have been an advantage in the back story and character development, and I plan to go back and read them once The Final Correction is less sharp in my mind.

I am always drawn to military writers and themes as I have a strong connection to the military – Birri served in the British Army for 30 years and his writing has a cathartic element that seeps through the story. The book raised a number of moral and ethical questions that were deeply provoking and sparked some challenging conversations with myself and in groups as I felt compelled to discuss the story and ‘what ifs’ with others. For this reason alone it would make a brilliant book club choice. I can’t use the word ‘enjoy’ as the book (for me) was too dark for that, but I’m very glad I’ve read it and was unable to think of much else while navigating the relationship between the main characters – both of whom are flawed and cracked and brilliantly portrayed, although opposites in every way. The story is convoluted and unpredictable which makes it all the more attractive and unusual. In a world of repeats and covers, it was refreshing to read something new and unexpected.

I’m looking forward to reading all of the reviews in the blog tour, as I suspect there will be a range of reactions, I’m also pleased to be able to discuss the story with people that have read it – it’s the kind of book that raises lots of questions you need to talk to people about. I try to mix up  my reading so that something challenging is followed by something ‘lighter’ – I may go for a childrens book review next!

You can learn more about the trilogy and new works on Birri’s website  There is also an interview with him here on the website. 

Thank you to Bookollective who provided me with a copy of this book to review.

Meet the real deal – Alec Birri

5 Questions to Know You Better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Tea! No, wait – coffee! But now you’ve mentioned hot chocolate…

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

It’s a tie for Professor Savage and Alex Salib – they’re total opposites in every sense of the word and I loved taking their ‘relationship’ to a similar extreme

Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?

Somewhere small and claustrophobic (concentrates the mind) No windows allowed!

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

Some of the more unsettling things I got up to in the military – check out my bio for more

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

Alt Truths will be out in 2018 – think of it as the masses v mass media – more dystopian worlds colliding!

Meet the creator of Dolly!

An interview with… Vivian Conroy

Five questions to get to know you better

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee,or maybe hot chocolate?

Tea most definitely: I love all kinds, black, green, even white tea!
I have countless flavours on the shelf and my current favourite
depends a lot on the time of year and my mood. I love green tea with
raspberry/mint and rooibus honey or vanilla. I don’t drink coffee –
yet – my friends are trying to persuade me!

Of all your characters you have created, who is your favourite?

Lady Alkmene, the heroine of my 1920s’ Lady Alkmene mysteries. I
submitted the first chapter of book 1, A Proposal To Die For, to a
special call from HarperCollins and within 3 weeks I had a 3-book
deal for the series. So you could say I owe my writing career to
this wonderful lady! Lady Alkmene is feisty, determined and has a
tendency to stumble into murder and other mystery (diamond theft,
missing heirs), while reporter Jake Dubois, a fierce hater of titles
and wealth, tries to keep her out of his hair and his cases!

Do you have a particular place where you write, can you show us a

I can write in most places as the flow of writing distracts me
completely and I become oblivious to anything around me. I love
typing to be in the flow of the story and try to keep up with my
characters. But plotting is best done in long hand! As a stationery
fan, I always have an excuse to buy new notebooks, coloured pens and
post-its for to-do lists. (ED – we were refused a photo as the desk is such a mess!!)

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

Everywhere! While watching the first stretch of the Tour de France
2016, which started on Mont St. Michel, a tidal island off the coast
of France, I was like: what a great setting for a mystery series.
Then taking my inspiration from Mont St Michel’s counterpart off the
coast of Cornwall, which has a castle on top!, my Cornish Castle
series was born. My mysteries in general are heavily inspired by all the
classic mystery tropes: mistaken identity, locked room, inheritance
intrigue etc. Once I discovered Agatha Christie at 13, I devoured
all of her books and I hope to bring my readers the same excitement of
piecing together the puzzle that I have myself when diving into a great

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read

The first book in my Cornish Castle mysteries has just released and
readers can find it at all retailers for a special introductory
price. Book 2, Rubies in the Roses, will release late August and is
already up for pre order. When word gets out that a rare bejewelled
wedding goblet is hidden in the gardens of Cornisea Castle,  claimants
are at each other’s throats …
And in October Lady Alkmene embarks on a
new adventure, facing dangerous opponents at a masked ball. Fatal
Masquerade is also already up for pre order so you can ensure you
read it first! If you’re on Twitter please drop by @VivWrites and
share your favourite mysteries, tea flavours, dog breeds and
chocolate desserts with me! You can also find all of my books on
Goodreads, Fantastic Fiction and Book Bub.

If you want to check out the wonderful Death Plays A Part, there is a blog tour throughout July



It’s Friday!

Author Interview with Rachel Crowther


5 Questions to Know You Better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

That’s tricky – I’m definitely a tea AND coffee person, and I’m not averse to hot chocolate either, in the right circumstances (long walk, winter evening, nice fire). But I am quite picky about what and how, as far as tea and coffee are concerned: Earl Grey, no milk, and black filter coffee, not too strong, unless I happen to be in Italy when the only thing to drink is a tiny, dark, rich espresso

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

That’s tricky too: a bit like asking which is my favourite child! I tend to bond pretty strongly to my central female characters – Olivia in ‘The Partridge and the Pelican’, and Flora in ‘The Things You Do For Love’ – but my new novel ‘Every Secret Thing’ has several equally important female leads, and two important male characters too. Oddly enough, I think it might be the men I’m most drawn to in this one – Bill and Stephen – although I have a very soft spot for Marmion, and also for Fay, the older woman who befriends them all. They are all, in different ways, imperfect, and all, in different ways, unfulfilled, and that makes them very absorbing and compelling for me – and I hope for the reader!

Do you have a particular place where you write –  can you show us a picture?

I have a wonderful writing shed, although to be honest I write all over the place: at the kitchen table, in bed, perched on the edge of my husband’s desk – wherever I happen to be when there’s a quiet moment. But in my imagination I go out to the shed every morning, and that’s what tends to happen when I’ve got a novel in full flood. I don’t know whether I write any better out there, but I do love it. Here’s a picture of it:

(ED: I have a shed too!)

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

I find the problem is more filtering ideas than coming by them in the first place. I have a whole stack of synopses and short-stories-that-really-want-to-be-novels sitting on my computer, and more of them arrive every week. Most of them are just vague ideas or scenarios, or interesting characters who aren’t going anywhere, but I think you can find novels everywhere if you decide to look for them. Life is so full of stories, dilemmas, heartbreak and unexpected joy: everything you need for an infinite supply of novels.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

I’ve actually got three novels on the go at the moment. That might sound mad, but the road to publication for a novel involves a lot of stopping and starting – rounds of editing with a lull in between – and I often find I want to work on something new when a lull comes, rather than picking up what I was doing last time – so I end up with several manuscripts-in-progress waiting for me. At the moment I’m really enjoying revisiting all of them and trying to decide which to throw myself into over the summer, when Every Secret Thing is safely launched. The working titles of the two most likely candidates are The Treasure House and The Painted Ceiling, and I hope that whichever I plump for will be ready for submission by next summer.

Giveaway and Review!

Every Secret Thing by Rachel Crowther

This is such a wonderful page-turner of a book, whenever there are secrets to be revealed in a story you know that each page will bring more information and build into a crescendo of shocks and surprises. As these five old friends are reunited after 20 years, their pasts come back to haunt them – there are some things you just can’t forgive and forget.

The book has a wonderful pace and all the characters are all so beautifully human you can sympathise with them all in different ways, they are flawed and real which I find much more engaging. As I once lived in Cambridge I also enjoyed the descriptions of the city and felt very at home in the book. As the story builds it really does become a book you need to finish, and I read it over night!

Unlike so many modern novels this also has a satisfying ending, there is a sense of completion and although the story has stayed with me, I do feel my questions were answered.

If you would like to read it for yourself we have a giveaway to win a copy of the paperback, just enter via Twitter or Facebook using the link below – what could be easier?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Going Through the Change – Menopausal SuperHero Book 1

I have to admit to being somewhat nervous about reading this book! It didn’t seem the sort of thing that I would like, and certainly not something I would ordinarily read – but that’s the real beauty of reviewing, I get to widen my horizons in so many wonderful directions and meet amazing authors with the most creative minds!

It’s a truly creative and fun book, the story centres around several women who gain new ‘skills’ of a remarkable nature, but can’t figure out why or how these new powers have developed. They do not appear to have anything in common, but as the story continues small snippets of their lives start to cross over, and soon a single scientist brings the group together. The story has lots of great human interactions, engaging characters and I can’t wait to read Book 2 (I’m a a bit behind as Book 3 is out this week!!). Despite the outlandish changes the women go through, their inner ‘beings’ are totally relatable and their struggles are very real. It’s a crazy comical story but somehow I was still swept along and enjoyed every minute of it. I have no idea what genre to put it in, but have gone with fantasy and sci fi…