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**Blog Tour** The Smuggler’s Daughter by Kerry Barrett


One night, young Emily Moon witnesses the brutal murder of her father. Unable to tell anyone what she has seen, her mother thinks that he has simply disappeared, leaving her to find solace in the alcohol that she sells at their clifftop inn in Cornwall. Knowing that the smugglers that operate nearby are the ones responsible for the murder, Emily is not happy that the killers are seemingly getting away with this horrific crime.

Present Day

After a tragic case, police officer Phoebe Bellingham decides that a break in Cornwall would be the ideal way to get some respite. Staying with her friend at The Moon Girl pub, she comes across the story of Emily and is immediately intrigued. Just what did happen to Emily Moon and are we about to see history repeat itself over 200 years later?

As a fan of dual timeline books, The Smuggler’s Daughter ticked all of the boxes for me. The author successfully transported me back to Georgian England, painting a very descriptive picture of the Cornwall coastline, something straight out of du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn. I could almost smell the sea air and hear the wind whistling across the cliffs.

Although the time frames are two very different eras, we get to see a parallel in the plots due to the place the story is set, with smuggling being the common link. We also see some similarities between the two lead characters, both of them with an eye for justice and a desire to do the right thing. My heart went out to Phoebe who is torturing herself due to what she perceives as a failure on her part to do her job properly on her last case. It was easy to see why she needed something to occupy her mind, her investigation into Emily Moon being the perfect distraction.

Emily Moon is a fantastic character. Dismissed by locals as a simple young girl, she was actually an incredibly strong young woman, brave beyond her years. I loved every scene she was in and had my fingers crossed throughout the book that she would go on to live a happy life. I admired her tenacity, even when faced with extreme danger, and understood her need to revenge the death of her father, whatever the cost.

The Smuggler’s Daughter is one of those books that draws you in straight away and I found it difficult to put down, reading it in a few sittings. This is the perfect book for someone wanting a mix of history and mystery and I will definitely be looking out for more books by this author.

With thanks to HQ and Net Galley for my ARC and to Sian Baldwin for organising the blog tour.


**BLOG TOUR** Who I Am by Sarah Simpson

I am really pleased to be the latest stop on the tour for the new book from Sarah Simpson, Who I Am. Described as ‘gripping, unputdownable and packed with twists and turns’, it was published by Aria on November 6th. I have an extract to share with you today.

Andi met Camilla at university. Instantly best friends, they shared everything together. Until their long-planned graduation celebration ends in tragedy…

Years later, Andi is living a seemingly perfect life on the rugged Cornish Coast with her loving husband, happy children and dream home. Yet Andi is haunted by a secret she thought only she knew.

Someone out there is bringing Andi’s deepest fears to life. And she knows there’s no escaping the past that has come back to haunt her…

You trusted me with your secrets, you told me everything, you thought I was your best friend… but you have no idea WHO I AM.

Edinburgh, December 1999


One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, steps to my proposed life. I pause, poised at the top, absorbing the moment. Breathing deeply through my nose, drowning in pure grandeur.

Finally, I have arrived. Do you see me now? Do you?

Six ridged Corinthian columns stand to attention beside me to mark the occasion. Listen to me, will you. These columns are swathed in Christmas foliage, supporting the ancient Greek style roof. So this is how they live, not bad, not bad at all. And no longer do I peer in through the window from outside, in the cold, I’m as good as inside, where I belong. Such stunning decadence, I hear myself think – impressed I am, a mere footstep separating us. Gathering my poise, clutching it tight, I sashay through the reflective entrance. Appreciating the expression of upmost respect from the suited and booted doormen. I feel so good, no not good, more – worthy, so right, so me.

Smarting feet in frivolously high sandals, guide each wincing tread. So imperative to gain the extra inches to grace my dress, a bargain from TK Maxx, last year’s – yes, but stinking of affluence. Filthy dirty expense, only what I should have had, if I hadn’t been born to two losers. I mean, other than my bank balance, what do these people hold over me? Nothing I can’t learn. Pinning back my shoulders, I shimmer through a reception dressed in golds, reds and bronzes – towards the hum of people. A slight flutter in my belly. An adrenaline high, mind. Control. Focus. Belong.

These people don’t hang out like they do down at The Malt Shovel, there’s no sticky floor to wince over, a dripping counter of spilled pints. Not here, only highly polished wood flooring, leading to the crowds decorating the bar. Halting in the doorway, I take another deep breath, savouring the moment. Devouring with every sense. My eyes darting between perimeters, hungrily feasting on unadulterated glitz. A circular bar graces the centre of the room and from it, rise enormous pillars, Graeco-Roman stilts to the summit, entwined in lavish wreaths and twinkling lights. Exactly as their website promised, but better. The ceiling is a glass dome, where a mass of crystal droplets hang loose with no shame. I’ve been here before in my dreams, so many times, I’ve tasted this air of expensive perfumes and pungent cocktails before.

So this is Christmas.

So removed from the dark versions I’ve endured year on year, Mam and Dad passing out in front of the obligatory soaps, following something resembling lunch. Not that this was unusual, they passed out most days, reeking of alcohol. But Christmas was special, the drinking began much earlier in the morning. The meal, even worse than usual, more dry and unpalatable, the hum of a microwave, plastic dressed roast dinner. Ping, it’s Christmas! When I was younger, there were gifts too, colouring pads with used crayons, second hand books, drawn on, with crucial pages ripped out. Pages stuck together with God knows what. Snot probably or worse. All stolen from our local doctor’s reception, I’m sure of it. Bubble bath more analogous with washing up liquid. I hadn’t used to mind then. Without the context of how it could be any better, why would I? It was ignorantly normal.

We all survived pretty much the same on our street. Even the standard street brawls were not spared at Christmas. With the dead skin grey and nicotine yellow stained net curtain twitching, we couldn’t so much as pick our nose without someone having an opinion. Dad used to say, it was their lifeblood, to gossip, to bicker, to mock and accuse. But then, Mam was as bad, in fact she usually started it. Now look at me. I’ve worked damn hard to get to this, watched my step, filtered my tongue, swallowed a dictionary, consumed a thesaurus. Learned so much. I can be who I want to be, no one need ever believe any different. No one knows me here; I am who I choose to be. Who should I be?

I unfreeze as I spot them over the opposite side of the room, hugging a circular table between them and there she is, Andi, on cue, waving, beckoning me to their table. What a perfect coincidence. I look away. I’ve picked well, it was worth my while eavesdropping on her phone call yesterday in the student union. Look at her, positively oozing class. So tangible I can touch it from here, sniff her out a mile off. She also happens to be lovely, how lucky am I? And it would seem she likes me and why not, I’m a nice person. Perhaps she feels sorry for me, but that doesn’t matter, I would too, if I was her, or would I? Yesterday, finally, I managed to bag some time with her, followed her as she made her way through the campus to the student union café. I could tell it’s in her nature, being kind. Nice. The word Samaritan scribed across her forehead.

I’d scuffled in behind her all flustered, running hands through my hair and with pink cheeks from my harried rubbing. ‘Hi,’ I said, ‘sorry, this is a bit of an odd one, but could you possibly call my mobile for me, if I give you my number, I mean?’ She opened her mouth to reply, I dropped the handle of my heavy suitcase, lumped my laden rucksack off my shoulder, sighing. ‘Thing is, I’m hoping and praying it’s in one of my bags, that I haven’t left it behind on the blinking bus.’ She looked perplexed but not in a bad way, the gap between her lips wondering. I glanced over at the other students, embarrassed. ‘I don’t fancy emptying my dirty laundry in here, if you see what I mean.’ I stretched my lips to indicate my dilemma. ‘So, as long as I hear it ring, it’s good, I know it’s there somewhere, then I needn’t empty out my stuff looking for it.’ I grin at her, ‘Is that okay? Do you mind?’

She threw me a warm smile. ‘Got you,’ she said. ‘Sure, no problem at all, what’s your number?’

That was it, as easy as that. I had her number. Of course, I texted her to thank her later in the evening, I didn’t want to appear rude. Then, I explained my situation, why I probably seemed – a tad troubled. What with my landlord letting me down, then the fact that I may be forced to drop out of my course, what with no accommodation. I was so upset and befuddled, I mislaid my mobile, et cetera. To be fair, it wasn’t far from the truth. I am kind of homeless and was kicked out from my last digs. Couldn’t keep up with my share of the rent, so they insisted on finding an alternative lodger. The university couldn’t help either, or wouldn’t, something about my track record not helping my case. But the fact is, I’ve spent my allowance reserved for rental, which means I’m heading back to the dump, to Mam and Dad’s, it’s not a home. I wasn’t frivolous with the rent money either, the new wardrobe, the matching accessories, the odd initiating drink, were all essential for my new life. I tend to view this recent expenditure more as investment. Either way, I’m homeless, but then – I always have been.

My eyes roam back towards the table where Andi is now standing, waving more vigorously in case I didn’t notice her the first time, which of course, I didn’t. It’s that thing – when you see someone out of context, you don’t recognise people, do you. The girls she’s sitting with, follow her line of eye to me, they need to like me too, they could make or break my plans. I sense her friend’s opinions are important to her. People like Andi, need to be liked. We both do, we all do, don’t we? Just for different reasons, different gains. Like my clothes, people for me are investments, a passport to my future. Here we go, shaking off my self-reliant cloak, I give a little wave then begin to meander through the crowds surrounding the arched bar. Adding a flinch or two, as oblivious bar huggers bump in to me.

Look at you, Camilla Stewart, you’re going to be just fine.

With thanks to Vicky Joss for organising the blog tour. Take a look at the other great bloggers who have been participating:

**BLOG TOUR** The Cold Cold Sea by Linda Huber #GUESTPOST

I am really pleased to be the latest stop on the blog tour for the new book from Linda Huber: The Cold Cold Sea, and am thrilled to be able to share a guest post written by Linda. I am always interested in how authors choose the settings for their books and Linda has shared how she chooses her locations and how important it is to get the right one.

Choosing the Right Location

Setting is important. The entire atmosphere of a book can change, depending on whether it’s set in a city, a village, deep in the country or by the sea – Wuthering Heights wouldn’t have been half as dramatic set in London, for instance.  So it’s something I give a lot of thought to before I start a novel.

The Cold Cold Sea, unsurprisingly, needed a beach location, more than that, it needed a hot beach location (not many of those around in the UK!) for Maggie to doze off in and not notice that three-year-old Olivia isn’t running across the deserted sands to her daddy like she’s supposed to… And I needed cliffs, and crashing waves, and a tide that ebbed and flowed, because all these fitted so well with Maggie’s despair in the days and weeks following her little girl’s disappearance. Did Olivia go into the sea, the beautiful sea that stretched and sparkled into infinity – or did something else happen?
I set this book in Cornwall, because I’d spent several holidays there and could ‘feel the wind in my hair’ as I was writing. I think that’s important too; it’s harder to write authentically about a real place if you’ve never been there.

I think the book location I had most fun writing about was Ward Zero’s. Sarah and family lived in a fictional town near Manchester, comparable to the Stockport area where an old school friend of mine lives – but much of the action took place in the local hospital. I was a physiotherapist in a previous life, and worked in a big general hospital in Glasgow before coming to Switzerland, so these parts of the book were easy – and I really enjoyed transporting ‘my’ hospital down to England and having Sarah & co wander around the various departments.

Death Wish is another with a slightly medical theme – assisted suicide. This time, I could combine locations I was very familiar with. Little Joya and her family live in Glasgow, in Langside, where I usually stay when I visit the city. And assisted suicide, which Grandma Vee wants more than anything, isn’t possible in the UK but is here in Switzerland, so the family fly over to find out more. I watched the BBC documentary Simon’s Choice too, and this helped enormously, for of course I’ve never been inside an assisted death facility. People often call them clinics, but they’re not.

Different settings can bring some contrast into your plot. One part of The Attic Room takes place in a gloomy, neglected old house in Bedford, the other on the lovely Isle of Arran in Scotland, where I was lucky enough to spend all my teenage summers. To Nina, the situation in Bedford was dangerous; she wanted nothing more than to return to her home on the island, where she was safe and loved. The contrast of old house vs. beautiful island helped me show this.

The location can bring fun to a book too – my Lakeside Hotel novellas as Melinda Huber are set right here in Switzerland, and of course the characters do all the touristy things, like visiting the Rhine Falls, and taking the ferry across the lake to Germany and the cable car up our local mountain, the Säntis. Writing these little books was almost like having a Swiss holiday – I loved it!

About the Author

Linda’s writing career began in the nineties when she had over fifty short stories published in women’s magazines. Several years later, she turned to psychological suspense fiction, and her seventh novel, Death Wish, was published by Bloodhound Books in August 2017.

She grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, but went to work in Switzerland for a year aged twenty-two, and has lived there ever since. Her day jobs have included working as a physiotherapist in hospitals and schools for handicapped children, and teaching English in a medieval castle. Currently, she teaches one day a week and writes psychological suspense novels and feel-good novellas with (most of) the rest of her time.#

About the Book

They stared at each other, and Maggie felt the tightness in her middle expand as it shifted, burning its way up… Painful sobs rose in her throat as Colin, his face expressionless now, reached for his mobile and tapped 999.

When three-year-old Olivia disappears from the beach, a happy family holiday comes to an abrupt end. Maggie is plunged into the darkest nightmare imaginable – what happened to her little girl?

Further along the coast, another mother is having problems too. Jennifer’s daughter Hailey is starting school, and it should be such a happy time, but the child is increasingly moody and silent. Family life has never seemed so awkward, and Jennifer struggles to maintain control.

The tide ebbs and flows, and summer dies, but there is no comfort for Maggie, alone now at the cottage, or for Jennifer, still swamped by doubts.


Amazon Author Page:




With thanks to Linda Huber for the excellent guest post and to Kelly at Love Books Group for organising it. Don’t forget to take a look at the rest of the tour!


Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

514-fU+PfcLLibby Hall, the school teacher who saved a child from a burning building, should be revelling in her new-found hero status. Instead it has brought back memories of what took place nine years ago – the last time she saw her friend, Karen, alive. So when she has the opportunity to put it all behind her and undergo a holiday house swap with a couple in picturesque Cornwall, it seems like the ideal way to solve the problem. All is not what it seems, however, and soon Libby feels that she is being watched and she begins to mistrust even the person closest to her – her husband, Jamie. Just what is happening to her and is it linked to the terrifying events of nine years ago?

From the start, I was suspicious about the circumstances behind the house swap. It was plain to see that the couple had been targeted but we do not find out why or by whom until much later in the book. Although Libby and Jamie are spending time in a spacious house in the vast Cornish countryside, the author has created a setting which is extremely claustrophobic and unsettling as we learn to anticipate that something untoward is about to happen. There were several times when I was urging Libby to trust her instincts and get away from a potentially dangerous situation and I could understand the reasons behind her falling suspicious of her husband as he tried to convince her that all was well.

In books of this genre, you become accustomed to there being a twist involved and, indeed, there was one in Last Seen Alive. I was convinced that I had the plot all worked out, only to find that I could not be more wrong! There was a certain point in the book where I had to completely reevaluate everything I thought I knew, making me think carefully about everything that I had already read. Just when I thought I finally had it all worked out, another curveball was thrown, making me gasp once again!

I thought that the previous book from the author, Local Girl Missing, was good but Last Seen Alive even manages to eclipse it! A gripping, claustrophobic delight of a book that I cannot recommend highly enough.

With thanks to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and NetGalley for my ARC.

The Fire Child by S. K. Tremayne

Rachel seems to have the perfect life: a wealthy, handsome husband, an impressive home and a beautiful step-son. Behind closed doors, however, things are starting to take a turn for the strange. Young Jamie Kerthern’s insistence that he sees his dead mother coupled with his seeming ability to foretell the future, is starting to play havoc with Rachel’s mind. Why is David, her husband, so dismissive about what is happening and is there anything more to the supposed accident that killed Nina, his first wife? More pressing, though, is Jamie’s prediction that Rachel will be dead by Christmas…

By setting the story around the mines of Cornwall, the author has created an atmospheric psychological thriller that really does have you wondering what will happen next. Although it starts slowly, it soon gathers pace and, at times, tears along at breakneck speed as you desperately try to discover which direction the book is going in. This uncertainty is one of the strengths of The Fire Child as the unpredictability makes it a more enjoyable and exciting read.

It is hard to discuss the characters without giving away too much of the plot other than to say that we don’t really get to see their true personalities until towards the end of the book. This, again, helped to create a tense conclusion and one that I did not predict. Often in books of this genre, you are left trying to figure out some of the events; this was not the case in The Fire Child where all stories reached a satisfying outcome.

A superb read!

With thanks to Net Galley and Harper Collins UK for a copy of The Fire Child.


The Disappearance by Annabel Kantaria

To the outside world, Audrey and Ralph Templeton seemed to have the perfect marriage: two young children, a beautiful home in India and a great deal of wealth. Looks can be deceiving, however, and, behind closed doors, things were very different.

Fast forward several decades and, on her 70th birthday, Audrey Templeton disappears… just after telling her children, John and Lexi, that they are due to inherit a fortune on her death. What makes this disappeance even more complex is that it takes place on a cruise ship, sailing around the Greek islands. Has Audrey jumped overboard or has something even more sinister happened?

After reading the synopsis of this book, I envisaged it being a straightforward ‘whodunnit’. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Although I did figure out what had happened to Audrey, this did not detract from the brilliance of this story in any way. The author does a good job in introducing significant events throughout the book which helps you to gain an understanding of Audrey’s life and helps to explain why she made the decisions she did.

It is hard to say much more without giving away any of the plot. Suffice to say, I was very pleased with the ending as it tied up several loose ends. I do think, however, there is a sequel there if the author chooses!

Highly recommended!

This book was received by Net Galley, Harlequin (UK) Limited and
Mira UK in return for an honest review.

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