Archive for the ‘giveaways’ Category

Summer at the Lake: Guest Post + Giveaway

Summer at the Lake blog tour

Hello everyone! I have a special guest for you today. To celebrate the publication of Erica James’s 18th novel, Summer at the Lake, the publisher has organised a blog tour. As part of the tour Erica stopped by Books, Biscuits and Tea this morning to talk about what she loves about summer –  so kick off your shoes, make yourself comfortable and give a warm welcome to our lovely guest.

Over to you, Erica.

I’ve always considered myself lucky to live in a country that has such clearly defined seasons. I don’t think I could live somewhere that doesn’t have that sense of change and renewal that the arrival of each new season brings. I enjoy them all but summer has that special something and, of course, we British are so good at grabbing it with both hands and making the most of it while we can, for we know from experience just how fleeting it can be. So here are some of my favourite things about summer.

Rise and shine… The longer days always seem to re-energize me, physically and mentally. Waking up at six in the morning in the summer doesn’t feel half as bad as it does in winter. What better alarm clock than the gossipy chirping of sparrows and blackbirds and the gentle cooing of doves through the open window? It’s a sound that’s guaranteed to get the day off to a good start.

As fragrant as a rose… As a gardener I love to see all the new growth in the garden once the warmer weather arrives. Is there anything more uplifting than the sweet smell of roses and the calming scent of lavender, or even the milky smell of freshly cut grass?


WIN 5 Copies of The Broken by Tamar Cohen

Great news, fellow crime fiction fans. Courtesy of Transworld, I have a brand new giveaway for you. To celebrate the publication of Tamar Cohen’s brand new novel, The Broken, I’m giving away 5 copies of the book to 5 lucky winners.

About the book

The Broken by Tamar Cohen


Best friends tell you everything; about their kitchen renovation; about their little girl’s schooling. How one of them is leaving the other for a younger model.

Best friends don’t tell lies. They don’t take up residence on your couch for weeks. They don’t call lawyers. They don’t make you choose sides.

Best friends don’t keep secrets about their past. They don’t put you in danger.

Best friends don’t always stay best friends.

To enter, simply fill in the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway runs until 31 May, 2014 and is open internationally. The winners will be contacted by email and have 72 hours to claim their prize. Good luck! :)


The Army of the Lost: Excerpt & Giveaway

Good morning everyone! As part of the official blog tour, I have an excerpt for you from Lily Herne’s new novel, The Army of the Lost. Make sure to read right to the end to find out how you can win the entire series. :) Enjoy!


 ‘Where are you taking me?’

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve asked the driver this question. I’m not expecting an answer, which is just as well, as I don’t get one. He stares straight ahead, barely seems to be breathing. He’s as bald as an egg, his scalp pitted with old lesions. His right ear is nothing but a hole framed by shiny scar tissue.

He swings the golf cart into another tunnel that stinks of human waste and mould. This one is as dark as the last, and as we hum along, the headlights bob over faded graffiti sprayed on the brick walls. I catch the words: ‘i luv u zombimama’ and ‘danger gevaar oh shit’. Most of the tunnels are ancient, their curved brick walls stained and mossy; others look as if they’ve been recently constructed, their sides bolstered with wooden and metal struts. Every so often, One Ear’s forced to manoeuvre the cart around small rockfalls and piles of crumbled brick. Part of me hopes the ceiling will fall in on us; at least then I won’t have to face whatever they’ve got planned for me.

A blip of condensation drops onto my scalp and dribbles down my cheek. There’s no way I can wipe it off: I’m trussed up like a goat, my wrists bound behind my back with cable ties that bite into my skin, my ankles similarly shackled. I’ve barely slept since the crash, and it would be so easy just to give up, let them do whatever they’ve got planned for me without putting up any resistance. The tendrils lurking in my veins have done their job and the wound in my thigh is healing, but the rest of me throbs as if I’m one big bruise – a dull pain that’s radiating from deep within my chest. Besides, even if I did have the energy to lash out at One Ear, there’s a pistol holstered at his hip. I may heal unnaturally fast and Hester may have taught me to handle myself in a fight, but I’m not a superhero. I’m not bulletproof.


Author Interview: Anna Hope – Plus a Giveaway!

Wake by Anna Hope

Hello everyone! I have a very special guest for you this morning! As part of Transworld’s official Wake blog tour, I had the chance to interview debut author Anna Hope and ask her about her first novel, which was published by Doubleday earlier this month. And –  to celebrate Anna’s astonishing novel and to make this grey morning a little bit brighter – I also have three copies to give away, so make sure to read on to find out how. Now, come take a seat, help yourselves to tea and biscuits and please give a warm welcome to our guest, Anna.

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

A: I was born in Manchester, studied English at University, then went to RADA for three years. I’ve been an actress ever since. But along with acting came a lot of unemployment, and writing was a way of keeping me sane while waiting for the jobs to come. Eventually I took a Master’s in Creative Writing at Birkbeck College and decided to take the writing more seriously.

V: Your début, Wake, revolves around three women dealing with the aftershocks of WWI and its impact on the men in their lives. What inspired you to write a novel about the post-war era?

A: I knew that I wanted to write about WW1 from the perspective of the female experience; so many of the known tropes of the war are male – the trenches, the barbed wire, the mud. I wanted to look at what the fallout of the war was for the women who lived through it. I was fascinated by the graveyards in France, by the decision not to bring any of those bodies home. How must it have been if your loved one was in a graveyard miles from home? Or if they didn’t even have a grave, but were just one name amongst thousands on a memorial? When I came across the story of the Unknown Warrior I was fascinated. Using the five days from its disinterment in France to burial in London seemed a great opportunity to explore my themes within a tight time frame.

V: How much research went into writing Wake?

A: I read for about a year before writing, and then carried on reading for the two years it took me to write. I became a WW1 geek in the process! I found all sorts of books useful, but it was great to read women’s fiction of the time – most of it now out of print.


Chloe Hooper’s Top Five Mysteries – Plus a Giveaway!

The Engagement by Chloe Hooper
Hi guys! I have a special guest for you today – Chloe Hooper, author of The Engagement has stopped by Books, Biscuits, and Tea to share her top five favourite mysteries with you. What’s more, I have 3 brand new copies of Chloe’s book to give away courtesy of Random House. But first, please give a warm welcome to our guest. :) Over to you, Chloe.

1. Firstly forgive me for stretching the genre a bit with this list, but in Jane Eyre ol’ Charlotte Brontë does pit our independent-minded heroine against Thornfield Hall, the quintessential Gothic manse full of festering dark secrets and ghosts, past and present. It doesn’t disappoint on rereading.

2. For famous openings who can go past Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca? “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again…. I came upon it suddenly; the approach masked by the unnatural growth of a vast shrub that spread in all directions… There was Manderley, our Manderley, secretive and silent as it had always been, the gray stone shining in the moonlight of my dream.” This classic novel is fantastically readable, and Hitchcock’s film version (for those who can’t quite take some of the sillier parts of du Maurier’s book) is fantastically watchable.

3. The Journalist and the Murderer is Janet Malcolm’s non-fiction account of the clash between American journalist Joe McGinniss and Jeffrey MacDonald, who was convicted of killing his pregnant wife and children. This is a brilliant study of the ethics of journalism, and it works on the reader like a philosophical page-turner.

4. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. Basically if you haven’t read this, you must.

5. I recently finished Hilary Mantel’s early novel Eight Months on Ghazzah Street. It doesn’t have the power or range of her Cromwellian sagas, but as you read there’s a sense of burgeoning dread that’s incredibly effective. (more…)

Win a copy of Like This, For Ever by Sharon Bolton

Like This, For Ever blog tourRegular readers of the blog might remember my (rather lengthy and over-enthusiastic) reviews of Sharon Bolton’s books – Now You See Me, If Snow Hadn’t Fallen, Dead Scared and Like This, For Ever – and the fact that Sharon has been one of my favourite crime writers ever since I read the first book in the Lacey Flint series.

To celebrate the paperback publication of Sharon’s latest novel, Like This, For Ever, I have 3 shiny new copies to give away to 3 lucky readers courtesy of the lovely people at Transworld Books. To enter simply fill in the giveaway form below. As easy as that.

The giveaway is open internationally and the three winners will be selected at random on 19 November. All winners will be notified via email. Good luck, guys! And don’t forget to follow the Like This, For Ever blog tour this week – click on the poster for more details.



Crime: A Manifesto

Fiona Griffiths series

As part of my Crime Fiction Month feature, crime fiction writer Harry Bingham stopped by Books, Biscuits, and Tea to discuss what makes a good crime novel. And not only do we have a brilliant and thought-provoking discussion in store for you but – wait for it – courtesy of Orion Books, we have 10 copies of Harry’s first book, Talking to the Dead to give away. Sounds good? Then make sure to read on, join in the discussion and you may be one of our lucky winners. :)

What makes a perfect crime novel? Or rather, since the market moves on and we don’t want to re-write the great stories of the past, I should ask what makes a perfect crime novel of today?

I don’t pretend to have a universal answer – every reader (and, if it comes to that, every literary agent or publisher) will have their own. But here’s mine.


We have to start with character. It’s impossible to name a really stand-out piece of detective fiction that doesn’t have an utterly compelling central character. Sherlock Holmes is, of course, the paradigm example, but you could throw in Poirot, or or Peter Wimsey, or Philip Marlowe, or Lisbeth Salander, or any number of others.

The classic detective is, of course, something of an outsider. A brilliant analyst of society without ever quite being part of it. Perhaps it’s corny, but I like that model. My own Fiona Griffiths is in recovery from a major (and strange) psychotic collapse. She’d love to belong to ‘Planet Normal’, but getting there, and staying there, is more of a challenge for her than solving crimes, no matter how dangerous or complex. There’s a way in which the Sherlock Holmes stories are nothing but a vehicle for the character. The same, I guess, is true of any tale that has Fiona Giffiths trampling through it.

And for that matter, I want detectives who have real lives. Romances, mysteries, problems, families, challenges. One of the beauties of the crime story is that there are so many series novels. They give writers an extraordinary chance to map someone over huge amounts of time, to devote a million words or more to a single life. Writers need to grab that opportunity and do something wonderful with it.


Love Sherlock Holmes though I do, his stories were often preposterous. The Red-Headed League, for heaven’s sake! Or the number of times that poisons, or serpents or secret societies, bred abroad, wreaked havoc amongst those Victorian/Edwardian domesticities. And in the world post-Chandler, I think that doesn’t work any more. For me, the society has to be broadly recognisable as our own. We need crimes that feel plausible, villains that feel realistic.

For that reason, I don’t really like those modern serial killer stories with strangely coded forms of murder, or any sort of sadism that just seems designed to generate nasty crimes for a detective to solve. That’s not to say we can’t flirt with the outrageous. Fiona Griffiths is not, by any means, a standard issue police officer, but for me at least, that’s one real departure from reality. It’s the one concession I demand from my reader.