Blog Tour, Debut, Fiction

Vox by Christina Dalcher

100 words. That’s all you have per day. You are being watched, your every action and movement monitored and if you step out of line the consequences are unthinkable. This is America, once the land of the free but now the land of the ‘Pure’. The unimaginable has happened. For women the freedom of speech has been eradicated.

Amazing, thought provoking and absolutely terrifying, Vox is so relevant it’s frightening. It’s a stark message to never stop trying to be heard. Never let anyone take away your voice.

Absolutely brilliant, Vox is the novel that everybody will be talking about. (100 words)

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Bookish Post

Love it when great books come through my letterbox…

Am very excited to have received these two great titles from Walker Books. Can’t wait to read them. Reviews to follow soon…

Who Killed Christopher Goodman? by Allan Wolf

Everybody likes Chris Goodman.

Yes, he’s a little weird. He wears those crazy bell-bottom trousers, he really likes the word ennui and he shakes your hand when he meets you. But he’s the kind of guy who’s always up for a good time, happy to help out.

Everybody likes Chris Goodman, which is why it’s so shocking when he’s murdered.


Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow by Siobhan Curham

Stevie is passionate about music. It’s what keeps her going when things are particularly difficult at home.

Hafiz loves football. But he’s hardly played since he set out on the long journey from Syria.

Together the two forge a unique friendship that will help save them both.


Killer Joe – The Trafalgar Studios

I first came across an advert for Killer Joe on Facebook.  It was Orlando Bloom who caught my eye. I’ve seen his work on screen many times but I was intrigued to see what presence he brought to the stage and the story sounded interesting if a little dark. So I bought tickets. Fast forward a few months and I find myself wondering through London on a warm, summers evening, a rare night out alone with my husband.

We arrived at The Trafalgar Studios in plenty of time and so decided to have a drink and a pretzel (delicious) in the bar before the performance. It was our first time at this particular theatre and I loved it. Small and nicely put together. The play was in Studio 1. You emerge from the walkway up some steps that bring you out into the auditorium and straight onto the stage. It creates quite an entrance. Immediately the scene is before you and Sophie Cookson was already on stage in character as the innocent, yet damaged Dottie.

From the moment I emerged onto the stage and turned towards the audience to find my seat I was completely gripped.   The stage simply blends into the seating so you can actually feel the dirt and grass beneath your feet as you find your way to your seat.  The whole production was a complete assault on the senses. We had excellent seats (but to be honest I don’t think there was a bad seat in the house – it’s a very impressive little theatre) and the intimate nature of the studio meant that we were so close to the stage we could literally smell the food on the table and the cigarette smoke as it curled it’s way up into the darkness above us. We felt right there amongst the action.  It was utterly thrilling.

One of the things I love about live theatre is the atmosphere. Although so many effects can be achieved on screen today you still can’t quite capture the feeling of it happening right before you. Killer Joe takes a closer look at the dark side of life. The underlying theme is abject poverty and abuse and characters who live a half life existing from one day to the next in despair and loathing. The only thing drowning out that despair is the loudness of the TV, the next can of beer or pill. Their lives are poisoned to the very core and the antidote to that poison, they believe, is murder. It is then they invite Joe Cooper or ‘Killer Joe’ into their lives and begin a journey with unseen consequences that will bring the play to a shocking climax.

Each member of the cast was superb. Orlando Bloom was chilling as Killer Joe and commanded the audience with his very presence. He emits a great energy and I think he enjoyed stepping into these darker shoes. He has always come across as fearless to me and I think this is something that lends itself to the role very well. The darkness of the character captured in the arrogance of his stare as his eyes sweep around the trailer and out into the audience adding to that sense of being drawn into the play and making you feel he is staring right at you.

Sophie Cookson was a joy to watch. Her Dottie was incredible, the damage to the girl growing more evident as the play moved on. Her ‘loving’ brother Chris was played by Adam Gillen and his performance of despair, fear and destruction was fantastic. Their father Ansel, was played by Steffan Rhodri, an actor I am familiar with for his hilarious role as Dave Coaches in the tv series, Gavin and Stacey. There wasn’t a hint of Dave in this performance and he switched to the role of the wasted, hard done man living in a trailer brilliantly. A man who was beaten by life and yet still trying to hold on to some degree of respect within his own household. Neve McIntosh played his wife and step-mother to both Dottie and Chris. I’ve come across Neve before on television in an episode of Death in Paradise and unknowingly in Doctor Who and her presence on stage was wonderfully engaging.  Her character shocking from the very moment she walks on stage.   All in all a brilliant cast and even now a few days later I am thinking of that play.

It is brutal and it’s shocking but absolutely brilliant.  The final scenes come together superbly and left me on the edge of my seat and absolutely blown away.  Killer Joe is due to finish on the 18th of August but if there are still tickets available then I urge you to grab some and go along.

I purchased my tickets via ATG Tickets.

Killer Joe will be playing at Trafalgar Studios until the 18th of August 2018.


Blog Tour, Someone Else’s Shoes, Time to talk, Young Adult Fiction

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow Blog Tour – seeing things from another perspective

This is a blog tour with a difference and I’m delighted to be kicking it off today on Tales Before Bedtime. The tour has been inspired by the novel, Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow by Siobhan Curham which is published today by Walker Books. As Siobhan’s book is about empathy and seeing things from others perspective I’m delighted to have the opportunity to step into someone else’s shoes and post a piece by a fellow blogger and book lover.

Our lives are often touched by people who leave a mark: perhaps a light in dark times or kindness, love and laughter. Perhaps they’ve reminded us of who we are or who we’d like to be, or simply they’ve become part of memories that stay with us long after we’ve known them. Quite often we never get the chance to let them know what they mean to us and Amy has expressed this perfectly in her piece. We should never presume that others know how we feel about them. Some things just shouldn’t be left unsaid.


So now over to Amy.

Open Letter: To those, I still love but have lost

To those, I still love but have lost,

I have wanted to write this for the longest time, but this was finally the right time. For this blog tour but also because I finished university recently. University was a place where I met so many new people, but my life seems very up in the air.

You might be wondering who this is about, and the truth is: this is for everyone. Anyone who has made an impact on my life. My friends. My family. Those who are no longer in my life anymore. Although this is my side of the story, I respect your OK too. After all friendship is a two-way relationship.

Life has a way of making us lose touch with people. People you think will be in the longest time in life. You make plans. Going to university. Even bridesmaid at a wedding. Then BAM. Life gets in the way. You move. Someone else moves. You lose contact. Your life becomes liking each other’s posts on Instagram or Facebook. You become someone’s old friend rather than someone’s friend. It’s weird.

So, this is for you. You may never see this, but I know that you mean something to me. We may have lost touch, but I still love you. Like you. Remember you. I remember the times when I laughed so hard that I cried. The films that we saw together. Our days at school. The lessons and the inside jokes that only worked at that times that we would laugh at and everyone would think we were crazy. The lunchtimes. The breaks. The throwaway conversations about our day. The nights that we stayed up too late and the sleepovers that we had.

I remember it all. And I hope you do too. But I don’t mind if I am just a distance memory. We needed each other at that time. We moved on and that’s OK. A piece of me would like to talk to you. See you again. See where you are now. But I don’t mind if I don’t. I hope you are well. That your life is great. Because you deserve it. You really do.

So that’s you. If you wonder about me. I’m good. I’m really good. I’m doing what I love, and I am working towards where I want to be. I hope that this is enough. I really do. But if that’s not. Do what I am scared to do. Because I’m here. I’m here.

The weird thing is that I don’t know how to end this, so I’ll leave it here. If you read this and think it sounds like you. Then it probably is. Know that I remember you. That I love you.


Thank you Amy for sharing such a personal message with us. It was lovely to read.

Do make a visit to Amy’s blog here where she shares her love of books and writing.

And readers do share your thoughts on this post by leaving a comment. Do you have anything you wish you hadn’t left unsaid?


Want to know a little more about Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow by Siobhan Curham? Here’s the synopsis.

img_0022Fourteen-year-old Stevie lives in Lewes with her beloved vinyl collection, her mum … and her mum’s depression. When Stevie’s mum’s disability benefits are cut, Stevie and her mother are plunged into a life of poverty. But irrepressible Stevie is determined not to be beaten and she takes inspiration from the lyrics of her father’s 1980s record collection and dreams of a life as a musician. Then she meets Hafiz, a talented footballer and a Syrian refugee. Hafiz’s parents gave their life savings to buy Hafiz a safe passage to Europe; his journey has been anything but easy. Then he meets Stevie…

As Stevie and Hafiz’s friendship grows, they encourage each other to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.

 An uplifting story of friendship, unity and hope that highlights the important and topical issues surrounding young carers and young refugees.

Find out more about this title from Walker Books by visiting their website here.

Thank so much to Kirsten and John at Walker books for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.

Author Spotlight, Liz Robinson Reviews

Dinah Jeffries – a Liz Robinson Author of the Month

Dinah is one of my favourite authors, she not only has the beautiful ability to paint pictures in my mind, she also conjures taste, evokes smells, and I feel, I really feel the emotions of her characters.  Historical (tick), relationship (tick), family drama (tick), provocative, rich, expressive, captivating, exotic, vibrant (tick, tick, tick). Her books have been in the Sunday Times top ten, and two have been Richard and Judy book club picks.
Dinah Jefferies
Liz – Who was your favourite character from a book when you were a child and what was it about them that you loved? 
Dinah – I loved Jo from Little Women because she was such a strong and driven character. I was fascinated by her longing and determination to be a published writer and my heart broke when her sister burnt her manuscript. She might have forgiven her sister, (horrid, horrid girl, whose name escapes me!) but I didn’t.
Liz – Have you always written? What made you decide to try your hand at writing a book and how long was it before you were published?
Dinah – My first novel took about a year to write and remains unpublished – always will do so. Writing it was a fantastic learning experience, but I’d never want to see it in print. Everything I learnt as I wrote that first book influenced me as I took on the challenge of writing The Separation, which was bought by Viking at Penguin in 2012, and published in 2014. Years before I began to write novels I tried my hand at a children’s book and, throughout my life, I have scribbled my thoughts as a way of coping with life. It never occurred to me to write a novel until I had time on my hands and worries that I could do nothing about. I had no idea if it was something I could do or not. Luckily it turned out well. Writing fiction began as a means of escape but now my only regret is that I left it so late.
Liz – Do you read non-fiction, if so, is it for pleasure, for research, or a little of both?
Dinah – It’s mainly research, although I recently read a wonderful memoir written by a woman with early onset dementia. Both my parents had age related dementia and I so wish I’d been able to read this book while they were still alive. So worth a read and a huge bestseller it’s called Somebody I used to know by Wendy Mitchell. Everyone should read it.
Liz –  I find myself transported to the world you write about, particularly when it comes to the senses, do you write from memory, imagination, or when you are there?
Dinah – It’s a combination of all those things plus anything that might have inspired me during the research period. Sometimes a detailed memoir helps to create the feel of country in my mind, sometimes a film, sometimes dry old anecdotes that I’ve found hidden away in an obscure corner of the internet or in a dusty old book. All of it helps but nothing beats going to the country to pick up atmosphere and sensory detail, although when I’m there I often need to search to find the vestiges of the past that I’m really after.
LizWhat has been the nicest surprise you’ve had since you started writing?
Dinah – I have been lucky that there have been so many. Firstly, The Tea Planter’s Wife being chosen as a Richard&Judy book club pick was just out of this world thrilling. And then when it went on to become a Sunday Times Number one and staying in the top ten for months… Wow! It was totally unexpected and so amazing I really had to pinch myself daily. Since then I’ve had two more top tens and a second Richard&Judy pick this year with The Sapphire Widow. All of this has truly surprised and delighted me, along with how lovely the people I work with at Penguin are, plus the fantastic readers, authors, and bloggers I’ve met along the way. It’s all been a wonderful surprise. 
LizWhat is your favourite research trip memory?
Dinah – Leaving Tea Trails. We had been staying in a fabulous colonial bungalow beside a huge lake in the hilly tea country of Sri Lanka, where I set Tea Planter. We had to depart for our journey home with our luggage piled high in one canoe, and us squeezed rather nervously into another, because the road had been completely washed away by the monsoon. I had visions of the cases landing in the water or, if not that, one of us – but, despite being a bit wet, we reached the other side without mishap.
Liz – Can you tell us anything about your next book?
Dinah – I am loving writing this one. It’s about a crime that happened in the past in Burma but that must be solved in the present. It revolves around the tricky relationship between a mother and her daughter and, as a dual narrative novel, it’s set in Gloucestershire as well as Burma. Publication is scheduled for July 2019 although that may change. For example, this year The Sapphire Widow had been scheduled for late July but because of the Richard& Judy window it had to be brought forward to early April in a mad but very exciting rush. They didn’t even have time to make the book proofs and everyone had to be sent finished copies instead.
Thank you so much Dinah, I can’t wait to get my hands on your new book!
Dinah’s latest novel The Sapphire Widow is available now in Paperback, Kindle and Audio Book.
You can follow Dinah on Twitter: @DinahJefferies
Or visit her website: