Taking a short break….


I am loving my reading at the moment but for the next 2-3 weeks time is an issue as there is a lot going on. Things are due to settle down any time now but I’ve found myself exhausted and stressed and not feeling particularly able to get over in words how much I’ve loved (or hated for that matter) the books I’m into at the moment. So its time for a break…

Reviews will still appear but not as often as has been usual, or possibly a whole lot will arrive in a lump!  All blog tour commitments will be met (I’m extremely excited to be a part of them) and my reading schedule has not changed, just my writing schedule, and only for a short time.

So please bear with me folks, and don’t stop sending me your lovely books for review – they will all get my heartfelt love and attention and will be reviewed in all my normal spots as soon as possible. New blog posts will appear every few days so keep an eye out…

In the meantime….Happy Reading!




Liz Currently Loves…The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan


Publication Date: 23rd October 2014 from Randomhouse UK/Cornerstone.

Source: Netgalley

Revelation “Reve” Dyer grew up with her grandmother’s family stories, stretching back centuries to Reve’s ancestors, who founded the town of Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts. Their history is steeped in secrets, for few outsiders know that an ancient magic runs in the Dyer women’s blood, and that Reve is a magician whose powers are all too real.

I do love a bit of magical mayhem, a story set in a place we understand but with hidden gems just below the surface  – Chrysler Szarlan’s “The Hawley Book of the Dead” does this to perfection, using one character, Reve, to ground the story whilst building up around her an enchanting and spellbinding world of mystery, mythology and magic.

“On the day I killed my husband, the scent of lilacs startled me awake.”

….is the first thing Reve tells us and from that perfect set up flows a beautifully constructed and addictive tale, with some terrific characters and clever world building that transports you to another reality.  Reve and her husband have a very popular magic show, one day a terrible accident occurs and her husband is lost. Danger lurks so Reve moves her family back to Five Corners, hoping to be safe and to take time to heal from the tragedy. However things are about to take a sinister turn as Reve discovers more about her family history and the implications of events that occurred many years before.

I really did love how this one flowed from the page – you are caught up in a rollercoaster ride as Reve struggles to protect her girls, find out the truth of her background and fight the evil that stalks her…using a combination of stories told to her as a child, her own past experiences and what is happening right now, the story unfolds in a fascinating and often eerie way…and boy will it keep you turning those pages.

There is some intelligent and imaginative mythology created here, the author managing to fill in the background slowly but surely in a way that is very satisfying indeed. The sense of place is extremely well done with some wonderful descriptive prose, I was fascinated by the hidden layers of the places the characters inhabit. Some elegantly drawn characters can be found alongside Reve, all adding to the whole and I particularly loved “Nan” with her mysterious and often frustrating habit of talking around a given subject.

Particularly engaging for me was the thread of the tale that dealt with magic shows, the staging of such things, the work that goes into it and the planning, I found it absolutely riveting, a whole other world in itself.

Overall then a fantastic magical read, one that I would definitely recommend and I hope very much to meet Reve again in further stories. We shall see!

Find out more here: http://chryslerszarlan.com/

Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/ChryslerSzarlan

Pre-order/Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hawley-Book-Dead-Chrysler-Szarlan-ebook/dp/B00L4HYPB8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413622537&sr=1-1&keywords=the+hawley+book+of+the+dead

Happy Reading Folks!

Stressed out? On Edge?

…I have a perfect solution. Reading as Therapy.

Is this you?


That used to be me a lot, still is sometimes. But ever since I can remember, a good book has relieved the pressure in life, allowed me to escape to another world if only for a while and has at every low point in my life managed to save me from myself. Until recently I had not really considered reading as therapy but I believe it can work for a lot of people whether they are currently avid readers or not..

Can it work for you?

Yes. All you need to do to start is buy a book. Or borrow one. Let the cover art guide you, pick up one that catches your eye, read some blurbs, wander your local bookshop or library to your hearts content until something pops out at you. This in itself you will find strangely relaxing…

Start by deciding what you need to give you a boost. Mundane job getting you down? You need a terrific fantasy novel. Tired, over emotional new parent? Try a humerous novel about other new parents. Lucy Lawrie’s “Tiny Acts Of Love” for example will make you realise you are not alone and will also make you laugh even at your lowest moment.

There is always a book that can take you somewhere you need to go.  You can find ANY escape in a book – another world entirely, or our world, stories about people like you and unlike you..Humour, Education, Magic, Mystery, Excitement, Adventure..ALL to be had within the pages of a book. There is a reason that storytelling is an ancient art after all.




Sometimes a book can save your life. Those of you who follow my posts here on the blog and on Twitter will be aware that it happened to me. Matt Haig’s “The Humans” was a book I read over one dark night of my soul which left me wanting to live. And eat peanut butter of course. Plus now I want a dog. And all this when only a few hours previously I had wondered if life was worth living…




All you need is to pick the right book for you, find a space and do this….

index                         Or this….




You don’t need a lot of time. A few pages, a few chapters, will take you out of yourself and give your psyche a chance to take a breath. At the end of a long day, make yourself a cup of tea (or a stiff drink!) find a comfortable spot, and lose yourself in the pages of a novel. Any novel. I promise it will make a huge difference and give you something to look forward to at the end of the next stressful day…after all, you will need to know what happens in that other world.

Thank you for reading my thoughts for the day! If you would like to know more about “The Humans” please follow the link…




Or about “Tiny Acts of Love”…..




But the choice of reading material is, as ever, yours. Pick a good one!


Happy Reading Folks!




Liz Currently Loves….Cut Out by Fergus McNeill


Publication Date: Available Now from Hodder and Staughton

Source: BookBridgr

Nigel never meant for it to happen. At first, he just wanted to be Matt’s friend. But when he discovers he can hear what is going on in the flat below him, his fascination with his new neighbor drifts into obsession. Rearranging his furniture to recreate the layout of the rooms downstairs. Buying the same clothes, going through his post, his things. Becoming Matt without him ever knowing. And it would have been all right, if Matt hadn’t brought the girl home. When things spiral out of control, Detective Inspector Harland has to unravel the disturbing truth. But there’s far more to the case than meets the eye . .

My first DI Harland novel from Fergus McNeill (There are two others prior to this one, Eye Contact and Knife Edge) and it was a definite page turner and some really excellent crime fiction. It was easily read as a standalone novel, although I will certainly be returning to read the previous stories in the series.

A  drug dealer is murdered but before DI Harland can get his teeth into the case he is moved over to investigate the disappearance of a local woman as fears for her safety grow. As he interviews various people in her life, we are also taken back in time to hear from Nigel, who is becoming more and more obsessed with his downstairs neighbour…

I loved how this one was constructed, making it highly addictive and eminently readable – seeing the police investigation unfold whilst also learning about what has lead up to current events, the author manages to keep you on your toes with some terrific storytelling and an intelligently plotted mystery. Not everything is as it first appears and as the story twists and turns to a terrifically exciting conclusion this is crime fiction at its very best.

I adored the characters, the setting and the flow of it – DI Harland is wonderful as a main protagonist and I also developed a bit of a soft spot for Nigel despite his,erm, quirks. Add to them a well rounded supporting cast, a clever and satisfying set of suspects and an interesting psychological depth when it comes to the issue of stalking and you have a well imagined, intriguing tale which will keep you avidly turning the pages until you are done.

Definitely highly recommended for Crime fiction fans and for anyone looking to dip their toe in the water when it comes to this genre.

Find out more here: http://www.fergusmcneill.blogspot.co.uk/

Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/fergusmcneill

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fergus-McNeill/e/B009ROPGAO/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Also Available:


Happy Reading Folks!



Being “A Writer” – Guest Post from Joanna Courtney


Today its the turn of Joanna to guest post again – this time about Being “A Writer”.


People sometimes ask me on courses ‘when can I call myself a writer’ and I always say – and very firmly believe – that the moment you write something you are a writer. Some people, after all, are happy just to write for themselves or for close friends/family and why not? The question, maybe, is ‘when can I call myself a professional writer’ and for that you do need to earn money from your work.

I sometimes think that as writers we feel a bit apologetic about wanting to earn cold hard cash, as if it somehow sullies our art. That’s stupid, though. After all, Shakespeare wasn’t slow to take payment for his plays! And if Wayne Rooney is paid such a fortune for creating drama (or, indeed, failing to create drama) with his feet, then why should we not also be rewarded for our stories? Besides, there’s nothing quite like someone buying your story/novel/poem/play to make you feel it’s worth something and that, frankly, makes you feel fantastic. Plus, we all need to eat.
The problem, perhaps, comes when we have to earn money by other means whilst we wait for our JK Rowling break. It’s sometimes hard not to resent the time spent not writing, but needs must and there’s nothing like a small window to make you focus!

When my daughter was a baby my stepmum very kindly had her one day a week whilst I was released to the library down the road to write. It was a blissful freedom and a chance to use my slowly rusting mind on something more stimulating than nursery rhymes, but it was also a big pressure. I remember pacing the paths outside the library one morning in despair – I felt I had NO ideas, as if the thousands of stories forever teaming around in my head had deserted me the moment I had time to capture them on paper.
It was tough but it didn’t take me long to get on top of it, mainly by dint of keeping a notebook with ideas jotted down and, ideally, developed just far enough to tantalise me so I was keen to get going once I hit my desk. It’s a practice that has stood me in good stead over years of snatched writing time during playgroups, naps (theirs not mine), playdates and that most guilty of motherly tools – the electronic nanny. I’m sure the same is also true for people writing in lunch hours, days off and (the killer) evenings.
The key, as with so much in life, is in getting started. The blank page is a scary beast, even the blank page of a pretty new notebook (yes, like most writers I am addicted to stationery). It holds the latent threat that you’ve forgotten how to do it. I’m still convinced every single time I start a new story/chapter/episode that all writing ability will have deserted me.
I’ve just spent two gorgeous weeks on holiday. Much of it was lovely family-time but in the mornings I would wake first and lie blissfully in bed thinking about the characters and plot turns of Book 2 of my Queens of the Conquest trilogy. I’ve made lots of notes and am excited about getting started but I’m also half clinging onto the precious time before I do, just in case I simply cannot write any more. That’s especially true this time as I’m aware my lovely PanMac editor Natasha has high hopes for the book and by the time it’s finished (assuming I do get started) there will be real, live readers out there too! That’s amazing but also terrifying.

So I need to get past that blank page, At least once there are a few words written down, autopilot can hopefully take over and I can lose myself in the joys of the unfolding story rather than the terrors of the actual act of creation. Roll on September and the end of the school holidays so I can go for it.
Nowadays, with both children at school I have a much longer writing day (though I confess to yearning slightly for them both being at secondary school in just over a year’s time for an even longer one) but I still feel that being constrained for time helps me, which is a good job as I have to balance my Open University work with my magazine writing, my other teaching, and, of course, writing Book 2.

cornish deskThere are times when I dream of retreating to a remote island, just me and a giant notebook, but I also wonder if panic would set in again. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be willing to give it a try if anyone offered me an island – especially one in, say, the Caribbean – but maybe it’s actually the pressure of fitting other things in that makes my writing time so precious and so valued. I’m a tutor, a mother, a wife, a PTA member and a dog-walker and I love it, but on top of all that I’m delighted to call myself a ‘writer’ and hope others are too.

Dark Tides by Chris Ewan….Hop-tu-naa is coming…


Publication Date: 16th October 2014 from Faber and Faber.

Source: Publisher Review Copy

When Claire Cooper was eight years old her mother mysteriously vanished during Hop-tu-naa, the Manx Halloween. At fourteen, Claire is still struggling to come to terms with her disappearance when she’s befriended by a group of five teenagers who mark every Hop-tu-naa by performing dares. But Claire’s arrival begins to alter the group’s dynamic until one year a prank goes terribly wrong, changing all their futures and tearing the friends apart.

I’ve been a fan of Mr Ewan’s thrillers since Safe House – particularly because he always brings something different to the table with each new novel so you know you are in for a treat (or a trick?) every time, you are just not sure what kind of treat it might be..

In the case of “Dark Tides” the treat was this – one of my favourite types of story (past events invading current happenings) done with this authors particular style, using some terrifically drawn characters facing some terrifying circumstances, all wrapped up in an often scary package – perfect Halloween reading.

Pretty perfectly constructed, we go between past and present to paint a picture of the things that have shaped Claire Cooper – losing her Mother at a young age, growing up fairly insular and isolated but finally finding some really good friends. Sometimes however, friendship can be harmful and this group of eclectic and impulsive characters may not be the best thing for Claire. As events spiral out of control and she faces down a killer, it is compelling stuff and you will be hooked.

I VERY much enjoyed finding out more about the Manx version of Halloween, with all its similarites yet with a deep and imaginative mythology that lent itself brilliantly to the tale being told, giving a perfect backdrop to the often creepy and haunting events. Each of the characters has a heart and a voice all their own, Claire is especially likeable even as she does some rather idiotic things. There are not TOO many male authors who can pull off such an authentic female voice but Chris Ewan is one of them, she is someone you will want to follow along with and will root for all the way.

The mystery element is also intelligently done – ok, so the author did not manage to “trick” me but there were some fascinating insights into a heart full of darkness and an exellent flow to the proceedings, one of those books that keeps you up in the night and leaves you bleary eyed the next morning. I loved it – my favourite so far without a doubt and most definitely Highly Recommended.

I will be part of the Dark Tides Blog Tour on the 28th October when you will find a guest post from the author. And on Halloween itself keep an eye out, there may be a treat in store. No tricks. I promise…

Find out more here: http://chrisewan.com/

Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/chrisewan

Pre-Order information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Tides-Chris-Ewan/dp/0571307434/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412675533&sr=1-1&keywords=dark+tides+chris+ewan

Happy Reading Folks!


Liz Currently Loves….Help for the Haunted by John Searles.


Publication Date: Available Now from Sphere.

Source: Publisher Proof Copy.

It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping “haunted souls” find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church’s red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.

I absolutely adored this beautifully written, haunting and evocative novel about two sisters and their strange childhood and coming of age, growing up in a house with parents who are not by any means normal and whose career lends itself to some strange and sometimes scary goings on…

Exquisitely constructed, the story opens on that fateful night at the old church, then moves backwards and forwards in time telling the tale of Sylvie and Rose as they grow up and slowly but surely revealing the background and events leading up to the time that everything changes. It is truly compelling throughout and highly addictive – as Sylvie struggles to make sense of her life and the lives of those around her you will be enthralled, immersed into their world and barely able to look away. Often horrifying, definitely upon occasion very creepy and yet with an elegance and depth to it that will resonate, this is absolutely one of the best books I have read this year.

Sylvie provides our eyes and ears – she is the “good” daughter, the one who is accepting and who never causes trouble. She has a love/hate relationship with her sister Rose, who is a completely fascinating character, not so willing to forgive or understand and who has her own inner demons to fight..as such I found her enthralling and often eminently dislikeable yet more fragile than she cares to admit. Extremely well drawn both, they provide the anchor around which all else flows, in a tale that is at turns enchanting and alarming.

I kind of don’t want to give anything else away. How they cope, what happens, where and why – these are all things to discover as things unfold…at its heart it is  the tale of one family, the author simply allowing his characters to speak, and the reader to draw their own conclusions. An intelligent and very appealing novel, with some surprising twists and turns, a complete tale which lends itself well to allowing the readers imagination to have full flow, I’m very sorry to say goodbye to this one. And without doubt I shall be reading more from this author. Preferably VERY soon.

Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/JohnSearlesAuthor

Follow the Author on Twitter: https://twitter.com/searlesbooks

Purchase Information: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/john+searles/help+for+the+haunted/10125629/

Happy Reading Folks!




Competition Time – Jo Fletcher books and The City of Stairs…


City of Stairs launches from Robert Jackson Bennett this week. I am currently reading it and let me tell you, its a corker! A review will follow at some point but the lovely lot at Jo Fletcher are running a competition. They have five books to give away and ONE lucky winner will receive a £100 Red Letter Day experience.

Book Blurb:

You’ve got to be careful when you’re chasing a murderer through Bulikov, for the world is not as it should be in that city. When the gods were destroyed and all worship of them banned by the Polis, reality folded; now stairs lead to nowhere, alleyways have become portals to the past, and criminals disappear into thin air.

The murder of Dr Efrem Pangyui, the Polis diplomat researching the Continent’s past, has begun something and now whispers of an uprising flutter out from invisible corners. Only one woman may be willing to pursue the truth – but it is likely to cost her everything


Here is what you need to do:


Let Jo Fletcher know on their blog, Facebook page or Twitter – with #CityOfStairswhat tangible miraculous object you would create if you were a god of Bulikov.  A door which takes you to the past and a knotted cord that brings rain when untied are just some of the miracles the gods brought to Bulikov, but we want to know what other people would add to them. The competition is open until October 30th for your chance to win.

So get thinking people – below are all the links you need to enter.

Jo Fletcher Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoFletcherBooks

Jo Fletcher Blog: http://www.jofletcherbooks.com/blog/

Jo Fletcher on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jofletcherbooks?fref=ts

Good luck everybody and Happy Reading!

Novella Spotlight: We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory.


Publication Date: Available now from Tachyon

Source: Netgalley

Harrison was the Monster Detective, a storybook hero. Now he’s in his mid-thirties, and spends most of his time popping pills and not sleeping. Stan became a minor celebrity after being partially eaten by cannibals. Barbara is haunted by unreadable messages carved upon her bones. Greta may or may not be a mass-murdering arsonist. Martin never takes off his sunglasses. Never. No one believes the extent of their horrific tales, not until they are sought out by psychotherapist Dr. Jan Sayer. What happens when these seemingly-insane outcasts form a support group? Together they must discover which monsters they face are within—and which are lurking in plain sight.

A short and brilliantly imaginative read this, once you start it just demands that you finish it to the exclusion of all else, so its probably a good job that I started this one on an evening when I had nothing else that had to be done…

We meet an eclectic group of wonderfully drawn characters, brought together by Dr Jan Sayer, psychotherapist, due to their similarly odd experiences. Over the course of the tale, the backstory and motivations of each individual become clearer and it is endlessy compelling.

Very clever, the lines between fact and fiction blurring, the more the story evolves the more you will sink into that world. The author has created a tremendously fun and often scary mythology here, pretty much character driven but that manages to be part thriller and part mystery at the same time. The relationships between each individual ebb and flow and not all is as it appears – multi layered and highly inventive, it is one of those stories that make you reassess things in a new light.

I really don’t want to give anything away – whether or not this group are all a bit nuts or whether there is in fact something other worldly going on here I will leave you to discover for yourself…it is a journey worth taking for sure, 90 minutes for me of pure reading joy. Hint: Do not pick this up if you have to catch a bus in half an hour. You WILL miss the bus.

Highly Recommended.

Find out more here: http://darylgregory.com/

Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/darylwriterguy

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1616961716/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-5&pf_rd_r=18GQYNGZWKSAZRGVASN6&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=455333147&pf_rd_i=468294


Happy Reading Folks!




Liz Currently Loves….The Man from Berlin by Luke McCallin


Publication Date: 27th November 2014 from No Exit Press.

Source: Real Readers.

Yugoslavia, a German officer has been shot and killed. Along with him a young, beautiful filmmaker and photographer—a veritable hero to her people—has been brutally murdered.
Assigned to the case is military intelligence officer Captain Gregor Reinhardt. Already haunted by his actions in war and the mistakes he’s made off the battlefield, he soon finds that his investigation may be more than just a murder.

Part crime drama and part war story, The Man from Berlin is a tremendously good read, involving and intriguing with some wonderfully drawn characters not least of which is our main protagonist, Gregor Reinhardt.

During World War 2, Reinhardt is tasked with finding the murderer of a German Officer – found with him, Marija Vukic, a young and free spirited filmaker – in order to solve the crime, Reinhardt must battle his own demons whilst dealing with both political and personal agenda’s which may allow the killer to escape punishment. Determined not to accept a quick and convenient “solution” he finds himself in all sorts of trouble.

I loved the fact that this was what I call a “meaty” story – there are a lot of layers to it, all very well plotted and a bit like a literary jigsaw puzzle, you find yourself slotting the pieces together, not always in the right places. Add to that the very “noir” feel that the author brings to his prose, the absolute depth he gives to all the characters and the really fascinating backdrop and you have a winner.

Descriptively speaking, the war torn Sarajevo comes to life and the exploration of the various political and military groups working in and around the location in 1943 are compelling, realistic and add an intensity to the story which raises it above the level of standard crime and mystery thrillers. Overall I found it to be extremely readable and very very addictive at times, that thing where its 3am and you are thinking “just ONE more chapter then I’ll go to sleep”…

It is not perfect – there are times when you feel less could have been more – but those times are rare, overall the ebb and flow of it is wonderfully accomplished and if you are a fan of tales set in this era you will find a lot to love here. Crime and Thriller fans will also be happy, the “whodunnit and why” portion of the story is brilliantly done and will test your mettle when it comes to working out what may be going on.

All in all then a first rate read and as a start to a series (so pleased that Gregor will return!) I can certainly highly recommend it.

Find out more here: http://lukemccallin.com/

Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/mccallinluke

Pre-Order information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1843445476/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=04ZCS90V8JV5PS0WK5PB&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=455344027&pf_rd_i=468294

Happy Reading Folks!