Saturday, 17 August 2019

Guest Review: Sinner By Jacqui Rose

Having been brought up amongst the hardest gangsters and faces of London, Franny Doyle learnt never to let love be her weakness. But she’ll do anything to protect those close to her, and at whatever cost.
Her partner Alfie Jennings is under pressure. The only person he ever sent down has recently been released from prison, and his Soho nightclub is under threat from his rival Charlie Eton – a man who doesn’t respond kindly to people taking away his business.
Charlie is playing dirty to come out on top, and when innocent children become involved in the feud, Franny and Alfie are dragged into a dark underworld where Alfie must face demons from his past, and Franny is in a dangerous race against time to ensure her own secrets aren’t exposed.

Betrayal and lies come with consequences, and old sins cast long shadows…

Review: This is the ninth book in a series of crime thrillers by the author. It follows on from the previous instalment, but can be read as a standalone book. It is a story about gangsters in Soho, London. In particular, it describes how Franny Doyle and Alfie Jennings, now back together and running a club in Soho, face up to demons from their past.

This book is definitely not one for the squeamish, since it describes scenes of graphic violence, other scenes which some people may find upsetting, and contains strong language. It deals with the world of violent criminals and the seedier side of life. As such, it is very difficult to feel any sympathy with the characters. However, I did find that I wanted to know how the main characters, Franny and Alfie, would find their way out of the difficult situations in which they found themselves. The story moves at a fast pace and the chapters are relatively short, so I found myself wanting to keep reading to find out the characters' fate. As in the one previous book in this series that I have read, the plot does seem to rely heavily on  coincidences.

Hence, if you are a fan of violent crime fiction, this will appeal to you, but if you are of a nervous disposition, I would suggest that you avoid this one.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Friday, 16 August 2019

Blog Tour: Guest Post from Kate Hunter Author of Common Cause

Today I am lucky enough to be part of the blog tour for Common Cause by Kate Hunter. The book is out now and you can click here to order a copy. I have a guest post from Kate for you today. Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more exclusive content and reviews. 

Here's what it's all about...

It's 1915 and Britain is at war as Kate Hunter's sequel to The Caseroom - shortlisted for the 2017 Saltire First Book Award - opens on the next stage in the lives of Iza Orr, skilled compositor, and the workers in Edinburgh's print industry. At a time of momentous events, we step alongside Iza as she copes with unexpected complexities of patriotism, women's suffrage, worker victimisation and a historic wartime lockout. `It seems the country needs starched cloth-lappers and lunatic asylum attendants, but it does not need books, does not need learning and intellectual stimulation.' Printers are denied reserved occupation status but, with bankruptcies looming, the jobs of Edinburgh's dwindling number of female hand typesetters are on the line. Riven by challenges both political and personal, Iza must weather conflicting calls for loyalty to nation, to class, to gender, to family - her marriage to troubled John, her children, her estranged daughter Mary, now a grown woman - to discover her true common cause.  

And here's that guest post about Kate's favourite character to write from Common Cause. 

Choosing a favourite character to write is a bit like choosing a favourite colour. I can never do it. That’s partly because it depends on my mood, but it’s mostly because colours come to life in combinations – orange and purple, green and red, for instance. Same with characters. It’s the dynamic relationships between characters that fascinates me.

Common Cause uses a close third-person narrative style. This means its third person – she this, she that. But we’re bound by what Iza, the principal character, experiences internally and externally.

So it’s the dynamic between Iza and other characters that excites me – between her and her mum, her and her troubled husband, her friend Margaret, her work chums, especially tasty Geordie Joe (the love angle). Oh, and her daughter Mary, a fraught relationship that tests Iza. Now, Mary I did love creating. She’s a young woman who crackles with eager purpose. 

When it comes to minor characters, I loved creating the elderly Mr Scott, who in a sense voices my views. He says what I’d say, or what I’d like to be able to say, about what’s going on around him, about the state of the world.

My feelings towards posh Mrs Sinclair, active in the Women’s Freedom League, are less straightforward, less worthy. With her, there’s an extent to which I was taking revenge on well-meaning, snobby women I’ve come across.

Then there’s Irish home-rule-supporting mechanic Michael who befriends Iza’s son William. He’s great.

I loved writing the whole lot of them, having them develop in relation to each other.

Thanks to Kat for stopping by the blog today and sharing that post with us. 

Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more exlclusive content and reviews!



Thursday, 15 August 2019

Blog Tour: Spotlight on An Elegant Solution by Anne Atkins

Today I am lucky enough to be part of the blog tour for An Elegant Solution by Anne Atkins. The book is out now and you can click here to order a copy. I am spotlighting this release for you today. Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more exclusive content and reviews. 

Here's what it's all about...

When someone mentions the City of Cambridge you probably think of an iconic building, its four corners stretching out of the once medieval mud and into the arms of everlasting heaven, its white limestone yearning into eternity... and without even knowing exactly what ephemeral joys or permanent wonders the vision brings to mind, it's a safe bet that the one thought which does not occur to you is that the Chapel might not be there by Christmas.
Theo (Theophilus Ambrose Fitzwilliam Wedderburn to his friends) is a Junior Research Fellow in Number Theory. Prompted by a supervisee to demonstrate how to trace the provenance of bitcoins, Theo happens across a shocking revelation, with embarrassing ramifications for the whole University. Meanwhile he is being stalked unseen by someone from his childhood. To his annoyance, Theo falls for a cheap con... and discovers a horror set not only to rock the very seat of power itself but to change the face of Cambridge and its beautifully iconic image for ever.


Anne Atkins is a well-known English broadcaster and journalist, and regular contributor to BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day. She took an involuntary, and long, break from writing fiction when her son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, their daughter repeatedly hospitalized with a severe illness, and finally the family was made homeless.. Thankfully those dark days are now behind her and she and her husband Shaun along with some of her children now live happily in Bedford, England.

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Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Guest Review: Date With Poison by Julia Chapman

Date with Poison is the brilliant fourth novel in Julia Chapman's Dales Detective Agency series.
Spring is in the air in Bruncliffe but not everyone is filled with the joys of the season.
Samson O’Brien of the Dales Detective Agency is being questioned by the police about a murder, with the truth about his policing past about to be brutally exposed. And with Bruncliffe turning on Samson, his business partner Delilah Metcalfe finds herself in the impossible position of defending him to her friends and family.
Then Delilah’s nephew, accused of being under Samson’s influence, runs away from home and a frantic search begins. And with attention turning to Nathan, only a local vet is paying attention to a worrying spate of canine poisonings happening throughout the village.
Bruncliffe is turning toxic and with suspicion raining down on him, Samson knows he has to ask Delilah for help. Can she forgive his transgressions and help him so that they can find Nathan and the poisoner, or has the poison already spread too far?

Review: How delightful to be transported back to the Yorkshire Dales and to revisit the exploits of Samson O’Brien and Delilah Metcalfe in this fourth Dales Detective Agency mystery from Julia Chapman. I have read and enjoyed the other three books in the series, and have been looking forward to the publication of this new instalment. Although part of a series, this story can be perfectly well read as a stand-alone. However, readers of the previous books will no doubt enjoy, like me, meeting up with familiar characters and settings.

In this story, Samson and Delilah become involved in a dash against time to find out who is apparently trying to poison the dogs of the little town of Bruncliffe and surrounding farms. However, the case is complicated by the fact that somebody appears to be out to ruin Samson’s precarious standing in the town by trying to frame him for murder, revealing something of his mysterious past with the Metropolitan police and suggesting that he has begun drawing his godson into his supposedly wicked ways. Even Delilah is having second thoughts about trusting Samson. Can the pair possibly solve the puzzle of who has it in for the poor local dogs and why, and clear Samson’s name into the bargain?

I loved this story from start to finish and can highly recommend it. As I expected, it had me hooked from the very first page and kept me guessing to the very last. Julia Chapman always includes such genuine Yorkshire characters with amazing names in her stories. Of course, I am always rooting for Samson, so I feel more warmth for the people of the town who see the good in him; I am hoping that we will learn more about what went wrong in his career with the Metropolitan police in due course. There is always an element of danger rumbling just under the surface for Samson and Delilah, due mainly to property developer Rick Procter; it sounds as though we may be hearing a lot more from him in subsequent books in the series. Of course, one of the main attractions of these stories is the marvellous setting in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, so well captured by Julia Chapman’s writing that the reader can easily imagine themselves relaxing in the town of Bruncliffe or strolling through the fells. I am already looking forward to book 5 in the series, wondering if we are going to find out more about Samson’s past and how his relationship with Delilah will develop.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Monday, 12 August 2019

Blog Tour: Guest Post from Paullina Simons Author of A Beggar's Kingdom.

Today I am lucky enough to be part of the blog tour for A Beggars Kingdom by Paullina Simons. The book is out now and you can click here to order a copy. I have a guest post from Paullina for you today on the writing process. Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more exclusive content and reviews. Here's what it's all about...

A stunning sequel to The Tiger Catcher, Paullina Simons’ dazzling time-travelling adventure continues in A Beggar’s Kingdom, the second novel in the epic End of Forever saga.
Sometimes a second chance is your only hope.

Follow Julian as he stumbles back in time to reconnect with Josephine – the woman who propelled him through a series of dizzying exploits and turned his entire world upside down.

But travelling through the past has its drawbacks and the journey is never simple.

Julian and Josephine embark on an incredible adventure across time and space. They live amid beauty and ecstasy in the pages of history, facing bloodshed and betrayal, countless dangers and deadly enemies. Destitution, crime, pestilence, disaster, and ancient tribal clashes are among the trials they must survive. 

Desperately searching for a way out, they struggle to hold on to the love that binds them together even as it rips them apart.  But each time they cheat death, Julian and Josephine draw nearer to an unthinkable sacrifice and a confrontation with the harshest master of all…fate.

And here's what Paullina has to say on her own writing process...

The Five Stages of Writing a Novel
By Paullina Simons
 Writing a novel, like any long-term, complex endeavor is a process and happens in stages. The process and the individual stages vary, but for me, the journey has a few predictable benchmarks.
There’s the initial inspiration, then the inevitable doubts and problems that arise—both practical and creative—followed by an extended period of years of work, and hopefully a finished book at the end. Or three.
That’s the short version.
As I write this, I am looking at the final proofreading stage for Inexpressible Island, the third book in my new saga, End of Forever. This story is unique for me because all three books were written in one single, super long stretch. I usually approach my books one at a time, and if you’ve followed my work, I’m rarely quick about it.
Here’s a glimpse behind the curtain into the stages of my writing “process.”

Stage 1: Denial
All my books started with an initial flash of inspiration. Some fragment of a scene or fraction of a character revealed itself to me during inopportune moments. For Tully it was the experience of a friend at a restaurant in Kansas where we both worked, struggling to choose between two men she was involved with.
For Red Leaves it was an image of a naked body frozen in the snow.
The Bronze Horseman and all its subsequent sequels and prequels and cookbooks and memoirs came from a single brief vision of a petite young woman and a tall soldier on the wartime streets of Leningrad.
End of Forever was unique because the entire saga, which now clocks in at half a million words, came to me from beginning to end in a single two-hour sitting. The characters and the bones of the story arrived on my doorstep nearly fully formed.
So if you’re looking for intense inspiration for your own projects, I highly recommend How to Train Your Dragon 2.
It was a first for me. Like a gift.
But my first thought was “No. Please no.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m always grateful for inspiration, but I had many other books in the pipeline I was planning to write. I had in mind another historical love story set in the Ukraine and during the Great Depression. For years, I had been thinking about going back to Spencer and Lily the characters from my earlier novels: I was also contemplating a foray into the Bronze Horseman world.
I couldn’t get side-tracked by a new story, I simply couldn’t. It wasn’t a good time. It couldn’t be real. It couldn’t happen…

Stage 2: Bargaining
My first instinct was to make deals with myself, or with God, or with whatever force sends me on these absurd quests.
If the inspiration was real and the story really needed to be told, it could wait until my other work was done—the work I had been preparing for.
If this inspiration could just wait a gosh darn minute and not cut in line, I would put it on my list and get to it in good time.
But stories are like toddlers—no patience at all.
Now Mom?
How about now?
Okay, I said to myself, I won’t write it, I’ll just sketch it out a bit, maybe jot down a few scenes that are fresh in my mind. This will make it easier to come back to the story later when its turn comes.
If fact, I reasoned, it would be a waste of my creative energies not to make the most of the inspiration, an insult to my muse…

Stage 3: Anger
But as with a child or a persistent suitor, we know from Breaking Bad that those half measures are never enough.
Before I knew it, I was full-measure drowning in Julian and Josephine’s world.
But I wasn’t happy about it.
It wasn’t in the plan!
As the reality of what was happening set in and along with it the painful realization that all the other books dimmed and became black and white, while the End of Forever saga burned in brightest Technicolor, I became angrier and angrier.
I resented the intrusion of this book, and then was upset at my husband, my life, my publishers, my characters, my kids, my houseplants and every living thing under the sun.
The story was huge in scope, vast in breadth. It required extensive research and constant revision and agonizing self-doubt, which led to…

Stage 4: Depression
This was the longest stage.
I was both depressed and anxious. Months went by, and then years. It was taking far too long to write it! My readers would be disappointed not to have another book from me quickly.
I worried it would be too long between books. My readers would forget about me.
I worried that that the story was too big, too unwieldy.
I worried that my meager powers were not enough to bring it to life, to do it justice, to make my readers feel what I was feeling for my doomed lovers and their adventures filled with passion and suffering.
These anxieties were broken up by bouts of writing and hand-wringing over the inevitable problems that arise from working on any book, but especially three books with so many moving parts and which were set both in historical and modern times.

Stage 5: Acceptance
In every story, there comes a point when you see the light. Even though the work is still somewhere between overwhelming and completely insurmountable, you glimpse that the end might be possible.
For me that moment came a few years ago and a few years into the End of Forever when I finally and with reluctance gave up on the notion that I could somehow re-invent storytelling and invent a new language to convey in shorthand the necessary complexity and detail of an epic saga that spans time and space, epochs and centuries, continents and divides.
Acceptance came when I surrendered myself to my story and agreed to just tell it.
End of Forever was always in three parts. But when I finally accepted that it would be in three books, I was able to tell this story.
There was still plenty of backsliding into anger, denial, deal making, and depression.
But there were also longer and longer periods of getting lost in the story itself. And when it was finally finished, I didn’t feel that I had cheated myself, my readers, or my characters.

It’s been five long hard years since I started this journey with Julian and Josephine. Everything else in my life, including my actual life, was put on a backburner in another house while I’ve thought about little else.
But soon the third book, Inexpressible Island, will be at the printers and at last I can return to Spencer and Lily, and my historical love story, and that Bronze Horsemen tale.
I can get back to my plan.

Here’s the problem.

A month ago I was in London, at the Imperial War Museum, visiting a special exhibit of Robert Capa’s previously unseen photographs of the D-Day Normandy invasion, and I saw two words that for some reason stuck with me and then drove their talons into me. What two words, you dare ask? Okay, I’ll tell you.
It was the name of one of the beaches at Normandy. To me it read like poetry. It was magic. Easy Red suggested depth, drama, danger. It suggested a nickname for a soldier who gets lost in enemy territory and requires help from a young Belgian woman in order to survive.
The idea was brand new. Yet it had some of my favorite things in it: war, life and death, thrilling adventure, and passion that must end.
It was too good an idea to pass up. If nothing else I owed it to myself to make a few notes…maybe write a few scenes that were fresh in my mind…
Of course, I would stick to my original plan, but what could it hurt to explore something new for a few days?
And so it goes.


Paullina Simons is the author of thirteen novels, a memoir, a cookbook, and two children’s books. Born and raised in the Soviet Union, she immigrated to the United States in the mid-seventies. She graduated from the University of Kansas and wrote her first novel, Tully, at twenty-nine. She has lived in Rome, London, and Dallas, and now lives in New York with her husband and half of her children.

For more information please visit and follow her on Twitter @paullinasimons or join her no Facebook @PaullinaSimonsAuthor

Thank you so much to Paullina for stopping by the blog today and pleas remeber to check out the other blogs on the tour for more awesome content!

Friday, 9 August 2019

Bout of Books 26 Sign up and TBR

It is Bout of Books time again-how exciting! Here is what this amazing readathon is all about according to their website. 

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, Twitter chats, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 26 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

You can sign up using the link above if you want to join in too-I can't recommend it enough!

So most of these books are going to be taken from my July TBR with possibly a couple of other audiobooks that have come in from being on hold at the library. I'm really not here I thought I would be by now with my August reading so this is quite a difficult TBR to put together and it may well change! I always like to try and read 7 books during the Bout of Books readathon week because that is just my personal goal so I give myself a bit of a pool to choose from...


Thursday, 8 August 2019

Review: Wilde Women by Louise Pentland

You never know what surprises life has in store . . .

Robin Wilde is crazy busy with her exciting job and her lovely new man. She's parenting with flair, and she's feeling better after the heartbreak of last year. But with so little time to herself, and best friend Lacey's increasing struggle with post-natal depression, the cracks are beginning to show. Cue a team trip to New York. It might just be the tonic Robin, Lacey, Auntie Kath, Edward and even Piper need.

But when a huge family secret is exposed, Robin's life looks even closer to falling apart.

Review: This is going to be a hard one to review because I really don't want to give away any spoilers and as the blurb suggests, there is a big family secret unearthed in this book that is juicy and yet I cannot talk about it!

I loved being back with Robin Wilde again, as you know I am a big fan of hers and so it was great to be able to spend another novel with her in her little world and see how she is getting on with her life. I read this one on audiobook, just like the previous two books and the narrator did a great job of bringing Robin, Lilah and Auntie Kath to life once again. 

This novel takes place partly in the UK and partly in NYC just like the last book and there were moments that were so easy to relate to being a Brit living in the states, like the who Milky Way and Mars Bar situation (if you know you know) and so the plot [points were spot on for me. There is romance and relationship drama. Being a new mum is explored as are some of Robin's previous dramas from the other novels. Lilah, as always, provides some comic relief and yet you know that the things she often comes out with really aren't comic for Robin herself!

As always, Louise does a great job of covering some more serious issues sensitively and well over the course of the novel. None of the novels in this series have been specifically issues based novels and yet they have covered issues that women today, no matter their age or relationship status face all of the time. Louise exposes those issues and puts her characters in the position of dealing with them as part of every day life. Because they become part of the novel and part of the journey of that character they become matter of fact and I really life the fact that we can talk about those issues in the context of these novels and so we can start a conversation that might otherwise be taboo or be brushed over. 

Of course there is some wonderful romance in this book peppered with hideously embarrassing moments for almost all of the characters, think Bridget Jones and her big pants. This book is structured and edited so that we have the balance of the comedy, the serious stuff, the family moments and the romance and I think it makes for a great end to the series. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Guest Review: Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts

Primrose Farm is Rachel’s very own slice of heaven. Come rain or shine there’s always a pot of tea brewing by the Aga, the delicious aroma of freshly baked puddings, and a chorus of happy memories drifting through the kitchen.

But the farm is in a spot of trouble. As the daffodils spring, Rachel must plant the seeds of change if she wants to keep the farm afloat, and it’s all resting on a crazy plan. She’ll need one family cook book, her Mum Jill’s baking magic – and a reason to avoid her distractingly gorgeous neighbour, Tom . . .
Swapping their wellies for aprons, can Rachel and Jill bake their way into a brighter future? The proof will be in the pudding!

Review: This is just my second Caroline Roberts book and I was hoping that it was going to measure up to the first one that I read and thoroughly enjoyed. Apart from the fact that I recognised the author, I have to admit to having been drawn towards this particular book by the bright, striking cover bearing an endorsement by one of my favourite authors, Debbie Johnson. Once I started reading, I was transported into the world of the main characters and found it difficult to put down.

This story is set in Northumberland, on Primrose Farm, where single mum Rachel Swinton lives with her mum, Jill, and five-year-old daughter, Maisie. Following the death of Rachel’s father two years previously, she has been struggling to keep the family’s head above water financially and is facing up to the fact that drastic action is required if they are to keep the farm. Rachel hits on an idea to put her mum’s love of baking to good use, and the pair form a new business making cakes and puddings and all things sweet and lovely to serve in the Pudding Pantry, a tea shop they set up in an old barn on the farm. While hoping that this new venture may make the farm’s finances turn a corner, Rachel is gradually becoming aware that Tom, owner of the neighbouring farm, who she has known since childhood, may be turning from the boy next door into more than just a friend.

I absolutely loved this story from the start. The author managed to convey so successfully what a warm and happy home the Swinton’s have, despite their financial problems. I could almost feel myself sitting in that cosy farmhouse kitchen with the delicious smells of cooking wafting under my nose. Although I admired Rachel’s determination to turn the family’s situation around, I did feel sorry for her mother who had to transform herself from a housewife producing hearty fare for the family to a baker making goods on a far larger scale. She didn’t seem to mind though. Rachel’s daughter, Maisie was a very cute and lovable five-year-old with a healthy curiosity about everything; I would love to sit down and chat to her. Readers of Caroline’s other books would recognise Emma from the Chocolate Shop by the Sea, who popped up at one point; it is always nice to see a familiar face. This is most definitely a book that I would recommend. Of course, it is full to brimming with mention of amazing sweet concoctions and even ends with a couple of recipes, so it may be best not to read on an empty stomach!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Review: Is There Still Sex in The City by Candace Bushnell

Twenty years after her sharp, seminal first book Sex and the City reshaped the landscape of pop culture and dating with its fly on the wall look at the mating rituals of the Manhattan elite, the trailblazing Candace Bushnell delivers a new book on the wilds and lows of sex and dating after fifty.
Set between the Upper East Side of Manhattan and a country enclave known as The Village, Is There Still Sex in the City? follows a cohort of female friends--Sassy, Kitty, Queenie, Tilda Tia, Marilyn, and Candace--as they navigate the ever-modernizing phenomena of midlife dating and relationships. There's "Cubbing," in which a sensible older woman suddenly becomes the love interest of a much younger man, the "Mona Lisa" Treatment--a vaginal restorative surgery often recommended to middle aged women, and what it's really like to go on Tinder dates as a fifty-something divorcee. From the high highs (My New Boyfriend or MNBs) to the low lows (Middle Age Madness, or MAM cycles), Bushnell illustrates with humor and acuity today's relationship landscape and the types that roam it.
Drawing from her own experience, in Is There Still Sex in the City? Bushnell spins a smart, lively satirical story of love and life from all angles--marriage and children, divorce and bereavement, as well as the very real pressures on women to maintain their youth and have it all. This is an indispensable companion to one of the most revolutionary dating books of the twentieth century from one of our most important social commentators.

Review: i was so excited when I heard that this book was coming out and it was definitely worth the anticipation and the hype. This book does exactly what it says it is going to, it revisits dating and sex in new york city only now we are older and wiser and we have Internet dating-whats not to love about this premise?

I love the way this book is structured. It is broken down into several essays each under a few different themes. But Candace Bushnell being Candace Bushnell we deviate into personal anecdotes and drama amongst the friendship group. I loved reading it and this style made for a very quick page turning nonfiction read. 

I love that fact that we have a wealth of experience in this novel. This isn't anywhere close to what we read about in Sex and the City. This has thought and such personal information and a certain level of, 'I'm old enough to not give a shit' about it and that felt great to read. This writer shares some deeply personal events, thoughts and feelings with us and for that I am grateful. There are also things in here that happen in the dating world outside of New York city and those felt refreshing and real. I enjoyed every moment of this book. It was great to catch up with this author again and great to have another take on dating life today. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Monday, 5 August 2019

Blog Tour: Extract from The Beijing Conspiracy by Shamini Flint

I'm very excited to be part of the blog tour today for The Beijing Conspiracy by Shamini Flint. I have an extract to share with you and if you like the sound of that, you can click here to order your copy now. Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more exclusive content and reviews. 

Here's what it's all about...

"I need your support. There is no one else I can trust. Please help her. Please help our daughter." When ex-Marine Jack Ford receives a letter containing news of a daughter he never knew he had, he feels compelled to return to China, a country he hasn't visited since 1989 when, as a young American spy, he fell in love with a beautiful student activist and found himself caught up in the horrors of the Tiananmen Square massacre. But why has Xia got in touch now, after a thirty-year silence? On arrival in Beijing, Jack finds himself accidentally in possession of an explosive piece of information both the Chinese and American governments are desperate to get their hands on. Alone in a strange city, suspected of being a traitor by his own side, not knowing whom to trust, Jack is faced with an impossible dilemma: should he save his new-found daughter or prevent a new world war from breaking out?  

And here's that excerpt for you...

The following day, Vice Premier Liu Qi sat in his favourite chair in his Spartan living room. He rocked gently back and forth, his eyes on the dead man on the floor. The small concentration of bullet holes in the chest of the body looked like a bouquet of roses, little bursts of red.
General Zhang marched in. Liu Qi had called him first. The police would have their moment, grovelling and scraping and assuring him, a senior member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, that no blame could possibly attach to him for shooting a man dead in his living room. But his discussions with Zhang would determine how events in the real world, the world of high stakes and high politics, played out.
‘What the fuck happened here?’
‘I shot him,’ said Liu Qi.
‘He stole the memo?’
Zhang prodded the body with the toe of his boot. ‘Did you question him?’
‘Well?’ The impatience, always so close to the surface in the powerful, barrel-chested general, was already spewing like an active volcano.
A shadow passed across Liu Qi’s face. ‘It seems that my aide was an American spy. Codename EMPEROR.’
Zhang rose to his feet and, without warning, rained kicks on the body on the floor. Bones cracked like distant gunshots, flesh split. The sudden surge of rage mottled Zhang’s face; his cheeks and forehead turned red but the skin around his eyes and nostrils was bloodless.
‘What did you say he called himself? EMPEROR?’ he asked.
Liu Qi nodded.
‘Well, EMPEROR is done leaking secrets to anyone.’

About the Author

Shamini Flint was born and brought up in Malaysia. Having studied law at Cambridge University, she travelled extensively throughout Asia for her work as a corporate lawyer, before giving it up to become a writer, part-time lecturer and environmental activist. Shamini now lives in Singapore with her husband and two children. She is the author of the highly acclaimed Inspector Singh mystery series.

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