No Time For Goodbye Readalong: Week 1

No Time for Goodbye readalong

Hello and welcome to the very first discussion of the No Time for Goodbye Readalong! I hope you’re all sitting comfortably (with a mug of tea and some snacks nearby) and are ready for today’s book chat. If you’ve just found us and not sure what this event is all about, you’ll find all the information you need on the No Time for Goodbye sign-up page.

Some of you who’ve been reading the blog for a few years might remember that I already read and reviewed NTFG on the blog a while ago. Quite a long time ago, actually. I still remember some details and what the book is about but – luckily for me – I can’t remember how it ends. I was trying to rack my brains when I picked it up to read the first few chapters yesterday, but my memories are quite hazy and I can’t for the life of me remember what happened to Cynthia’s family. So not only is this readalong a great way to prepare for the sequel but it’s almost like reading the book for the first time!

Anyway, this is what happened so far.

The book starts with a flashback scene in 1983, when fourteen-year old Cynthia wakes up one morning to find her house eerily quiet and her family gone. She’s had a row with her parents the night before so she assumes this is how they’re punishing her – and even though she finds it odd that both her parents and her brother disappeared without even leaving a note, she heads off to school, hoping she’s simply overreacting. But when it becomes clear that no one has seen her family since the day before, she panics.

Fast-forward 25 years and Cynthia, feeling apprehensive and terrified, is back at her childhood home for the first time, filming a documentary for a local news show about unsolved crimes. We learn that her family never came back after that day in 1983 – and it has haunted her ever since. Despite the speculations and many different theories (including ones which say it’s odd that Cynthia was the only one their kidnapper or killer left behind, so she must have been the one to kill them all), no one knows what might have happened. The police were baffled and closed the case after about a year, leaving Cynthia with no answers. We see how it has affected her life and her family’s life as well, and how, even after 25 years, she’s hoping they will come back.

We also meet Tess (probably one of my favourite characters from the book), a lady in her sixties and Cynthia’s aunt, who took her in after her family’s disappearance. And this is where the story gets tricky. Since she doesn’t have any children of her own, Tess has always lived alone. She didn’t have a well-paid job but she always managed as she only had herself to support. But with Cynthia and her education to cover, things should have been difficult. And that’s when the letters started to appear. As Tess reveals, someone left her a blank envelope with thousands of dollars in it every month until Cynthia graduated from university, along with an anonymous note which laid down the rules: she wasn’t to tell anyone about where the money came from, not even Cynthia, and wasn’t to try and find out where it came from. Ever.

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No Time For Goodbye Readalong: Introduction

No Time for Goodbye readalong

Hi guys! I already hinted at a mysterious and oh-so-exciting crime related event on Twitter but now I can finally reveal the big secret I’ve been meaning to tell you. To celebrate Linwood Barclay’s newest novel, No Safe House, hitting the shelves in late September, I teamed up with Orion Books to host an exclusive readalong of No Time for Goodbye, the first book in the series.

The event starts next Wednesday when we will be discussing the first 10 chapters of the book here on the blog – and I’d love you all to join in. Whether you’re new to crime fiction or you live and breathe this genre, whether you have a blog or not, it doesn’t matter – everyone is welcome to join in. The more the merrier!

readalong schedule

16 July: Introduction and sign-ups
23 July: Discussion of chapters 1-10
30 July: Discussion of chapters 11-20
6 August: Discussion of chapters 21-30
13 August: Discussion of chapters 31-40
20 August: Discussion of chapters 41-50, wrap-up, competition

To join the discussion, simply come back to Books, Biscuits and Tea every Wednesday when I’ll be posting a brief summary of the given chapters and talk about the plot in more detail. If you have a blog, feel free to join in and post your thoughts on your own blog as well – I’ll provide a linky each week where you can all link up your posts. :) If you don’t have a blog, fret not – simply come on Twitter and discuss the book by using the #NTFG hashtag.

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A Q&A with Crime Writer Dan Smith


Dan Smith blog tour

I’m delighted to welcome today’s guest, crime writer Dan Smith, to Books, Biscuits and Tea. To celebrate the publication of his latest novel, The Darkest Heart, Dan stopped by the blog for a chat. I hope you enjoy the interview! :)

Hi Dan, welcome to Books, Biscuits and Tea! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Thank you very much; it’s a pleasure to be here! A little bit about myself? Hmm, well, I want to say that I’m an international man of mystery. Or maybe a shadowy cartel hitman. Or a rugged adventurer. But I’m none of those things. I am in fact a story-loving, film-watching, game-playing, sky-diving, book-writing author. Without the sky-diving. I really must take up some interesting and dangerous hobbies.

You lived in many different places – Sierra Leone, Sumatra and Brazil, to mention a few – why did you decide to settle down in England? Has your experience in these foreign countries influenced your writing?

The reason for all the travelling was that my dad worked for a rubber company and we spent a lot of time living on rubber plantations. I don’t think there was ever any belief that we’d live abroad forever – we always had a home in England, and my brother and I came to boarding school here. Also, I love it here. There’s a lot to moan about and a lot that needs changing but I consider myself lucky to live in such a great country. There’s no doubt, though, that my experiences have influenced and will continue to influence my writing. I love stories that take me somewhere else and hope to do the same for my readers. It’s an amazing world out there, and there are all kinds of exciting places just begging to be used!

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve met a few authors who tell me they always knew they wanted to be writers. Not me. Growing up, I never really knew what I wanted to be – apart from wanting to be Han Solo when I was 7 or 8 years old – but stories were always important to me. I looked for stories wherever I could find them and even made up stories of my own, so it was probably inevitable that I’d start to write them down. I still have some of the short stories I wrote as a teenager, and while they’re pretty awful, they were the beginning for me. That’s when I seriously started to think I might want to be a writer. The only problem was that I had no idea how to go about it.

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Showcase Sunday #83

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

Hello everyone! How are you? I hope you all had a nice week. Are you looking forward to YALC? And more importantly, who’s coming? Let me know if you are so that I can say hello if I see you. :) Next week is going to be insanely busy here as I’m FINALLY moving to my new flat on Saturday (technically, my flatmate’s taking all our stuff to the new place while I’m having fun at YALC but… you know :D ). I have to pack all our stuff during the week and go furniture shopping, on top of work and – of course- YALC so it’s gonna be an interesting and exhausting week, that’s for sure. I’m really looking forward to it, though!


An Evil Mind by Chris Carter

An Evil Mind by Chris Carter

I only got one book this week but it’s possibly my most expected novel of the year, one I’ve been waiting for since this time last year. I absolutely love Chris Carter’s work (and he is such a genuinely lovely guy too) so I can’t WAIT to pick this up. If you like thrillers and are looking for a new book to read, check out the Robert Hunter series – I really can’t recommend it enough. Many thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for the review copy!

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Melissa Hill – A Gift to Remember | Chapter Excerpt

Melissa Hill blog tour

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the official blog tour for Melissa Hill’s new novel, A Gift to Remember. To celebrate Melissa’s new release, I have a special excerpt for you – I hope you enjoy it!

About the book

Darcy Archer works in a small bookstore in Manhattan. A daydream believer, she refuses to settle for anything less than being swept off her feet by the perfect man… literally. One day, when cycling to work, Darcy accidentally crashes into a sharply dressed gentleman walking his dog. He is knocked out cold, rushed to hospital and the poor pup gets left behind. Wracked with guilt, Darcy takes the dog and makes plans to reunite him with owner, Aidan. As she discovers the mysterious stranger’s world of books, travel, adventure and all the wonderful things she’s ever dreamt about, Darcy builds a picture of this man and wonders if he could be THE ONE… But does fantasy match reality? What happens when Prince Charming wakes up? Will Aidan be the happy ever after she’s always imagined?

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Guest Post: Which Witches Should Be Making a Comeback?

Hi guys! Today I have another special guest for you. UKYA writer and author of Half Bad Sally Green stopped by the blog to share a fun post with you. I hope you enjoy it! :) Over to you, Sally.

I’m often told by journalists that witches are making a comeback in books. I’m not sure if they were ever really a dominant force (apart from Harry Potter of course), but I’m delighted if they are coming back. Perhaps they are also due to come back in film: Angelina Jolie currently plays Maleficent in Maleficent (the title of the film being that of the witch (hooray) rather than Sleeping Beauty (spit) as in the 1959 Disney version) and Meryl Streep is playing the witch in Into the Woods, due out later in 2014. This got me thinking who are the best witches in films and TV programmes, and which witches should be making a comeback? Here’s my look at some contemporary witches – and my thoughts on who I’d love to see again or otherwise. . .

Maleficent (the Disney version)


Maleficent from Walt Disney’s 1959 version of Sleeping Beauty is the archetypal Black Witch, she has it all from the clothes to the crow. Unfortunately she’s not a witch, she’s a fairy. A fairy! This perhaps explains why her spells seem to lack true horror. Maleficent performs an enchantment at Aurora’s christening which will mean death by spindle, but the enchantment is countered by another ‘good’ Fairy’s and so sleep rather than death is the result. All I can say is that I’m more impressed by Maleficent’s head gear than by her evil spells. Having said that I don’t expect I’ll be rushing to see Angelina play this part as I can’t see how Disney’s version can be improved on.

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Showcase Sunday #82

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

Hello everyone! How are you all? Did you have a nice week? Mine was pretty hectic as usual (but in a good way, mostly). I went to a preview screening of A Hundred-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared on Tuesday (I haven’t read the book but the film was hilarious. Slightly bonkers at times but very entertaining) and met some of you very briefly. I had a great time! Then, I went to the theatre to see The Silver Tassie on Wednesday (not as good as I expected) and on Saturday to see Wonderland, which was simply amazing. If you’re in London and have a few hours to spare, go and watch it, it’s brilliant. (You might need some tissues for the end)

My flatmate and I have also been house-hunting for the past few weeks (and I’ve been busy with my new job), hence my disappearance. The good news is, we managed to find a flat which is literally a two-minute walk away from my office, so we’re moving in in less than two weeks. *throws confetti* We still need to go and buy some furniture and start packing but at least I know I won’t have to do this again for a while.


Wool by Hugh Howey

This time last week I went to the new Foyles store with Faye and decided to pick up Wool by Hugh Howey. I’ve seen this series a lot last year but never actually got around to buying a copy and picking it up. Fingers crossed it’s as good as it sounds and it’s going to be another series I fall in love with.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I also picked up Wonder by R.J. Palacio before the theatre last night. It’s been on my wish list for over a year and (just like with Wool) I’ve heard great things about it. I managed to snatch up a copy for £2 in a charity shop and it’s pretty much brand new. Huzzah!

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