Saturday 18 June 2016

Guest review & author interview - The Girl From The Sea - Shalini Boland

I'm delighted to have my friend Sarah back as a guest reviewer on my blog today. Not only has she written a review she also has an interview with the author to share with us.

Welcome back to my blog Sarah 😉

Well I’m honoured to have been asked back for another guest blog by The Haphazardous Hippo.
Today I have a brand new book that came out on the 9th of June called The Girl From The Sea by Shalini Boland. 

As an additional extra I’ve even managed to get an interview with the author to add at the bottom of my book review.
So what can I tell you about The Girl from the Sea?

Apart from the captivating book cover, I was intrigued by the general book blurb…..

“Washed up on the beach, she can't remember who she is. She can't even remember her name. Turns out, she has a perfect life - friends and family eager to fill in the blanks. But why are they lying to her? What don't they want her to remember?

When you don't even know who you are, how do you know who to trust?

As with most pre-ordered books dumped onto my kindle at midnight of publication day I just couldn't resist dipping in for a taster chapter (or two). An hour later I had to force myself to put it down for some sleep (being a school night I had two children to get up the following morning). As soon as the school run had been done the following morning I was on the couch back to continue reading it.

The story begins with a woman washed up on a beach with all the description you need to put you there with her smelling the sea air and tasting the remnants of salt water. What continues is a compelling story full of mysteries and suspense to keep you turning the pages until they run out (I finished this the same day I started it).

The woman is taken to hospital and told she is suffering from retrograde amnesia, from there she must piece together her life with the help of friends and family drip feeding her information of her life that she can't recall. But is she getting the full information? What aren’t her friends and family telling her? Who can she trust?

This book certainly left me thinking about what it would be like to suddenly wake up with no memories of your life and how it would feel to have to trust people who say they know you but that you feel no connection to. How it would feel to look in the mirror and not know your own face. With all that going on we then add the mystery of how this woman ended up washed up on a beach. The twists and turns, creepy fragmented memories returning and various character developments will have you itching for more.

I couldn’t possibly tell you any more without adding in spoilers so I will just urge you to go and spend the best £1.99 ever and read it for yourself.

But before you go here is an insight into the lovely lady that wrote the book….

I see from your various biography posts online that you are a wife and mother of two (like myself) so my first thought has to be how do you find the time to write? Do you schedule slots diary fashion or just grab time as and when? What's the writing / home-life balance like?

I used to write in the evenings, but now both boys are at school it's a lot easier to plan my day. I do the school run, come home and catch up on admin and housework. Then, by 10 am, I'll be writing. I'll try to write 2,000 - 3,000 words each day. If I don't hit my target in the morning, I'll catch up in the evening. I have to be disciplined, or the book won't get written. I also run a book promo company, so I have to fit that it, too! I spend most of the weekend with my family, with the odd dash upstairs to make notes if inspiration strikes.

You come from a music industry background, do you still write songs or has fiction taken over?

My singing and song writing days are gone. After kids, I found it too hard to keep going up to London. Writing fiction is the perfect balance - I get to be creative, but I also get to stay at home with my kids. My youngest son is music-obsessed, though, so he's constantly singing, rapping, dancing etc.

You already have a variety of YA novels with the Post Apocalyptic Outside Series and the Vampire Marchwood Series, why the change to adult Psychological Thrillers and which have you enjoyed writing most?

I've been writing YA for years, and I still love it. But I always wanted to try my hand at adult fiction. It gives you a little more freedom to push the boundaries and write exactly as you want without considering age restrictions. Not that my writing is particularly X-rated! I had the inspiration for The Girl from the Sea, and knew I had to write it as an adult thriller - it wouldn't work as YA.

My YA fiction is epic, adventurous and romantic. My adult fiction is more taut and realistic, but all my books, no matter the genre, tend to be dark, with ominous overtones. I guess I'm just creepy like that. Oh, and everything I write has twists. I do love a good jaw-dropping twist.

With the new novel The Girl from the Sea where did the plot idea come from? It's based in your neighbourhood did that help?

My eldest son took up rowing in Christchurch a couple of years ago. It's so pretty down there by the river. The town is this picture-perfect place. I spend a lot of time walking along the quay while he has his coaching sessions, and one day I thought, what a perfect place to set a novel. The title and the plot came to me in a flash, complete with the image of the cover.

I know you are working on the next novel another psychological thriller The Best Friend, can you tell us anymore?

It's all plotted out and I'm writing it at the moment. My plan is to get the first draft finished before the kids break up for the summer - but time seems to be whizzing past too quickly! It's set in my home county of Dorset again and has a similar vibe to The Girl from the Sea, with more chills and twists. Here’s the blurb...

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Wrong.

Louisa Sullivan has a seemingly idyllic life, with a great job, a gorgeous husband and a young son at private school. But when she becomes envious of her new best friend’s wealthier lifestyle, events take a chilling turn . . .

If you could send a message to your readers what would it be?

The words ‘thank you’ seems inadequate, but, it’s what I would want to say. To those who write encouraging emails or message me on social media, thank you. To readers who write positive reviews, you have to know that after I read them, I dance around the room like a lunatic. To those who write negative reviews, your feedback challenges me to try and improve my writing (after the initial sobbing and gnashing of teeth, of course). To those who forward on my books to friends, relatives, and neighbours, your recommendation means so much. To readers who follow my blog, friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, I'm hugely grateful for our connection. To every single person who’s ever read my books, thank you!

Thank you again for allowing me the chance to ask questions, can't wait for next book 

Thanks, Sarah. It's been wonderful chatting to you today!

I have this on my own TBR mountain and I can't wait to read it now! I'd just like to say a big thank you to my guest reviewer Sarah Mackins and author Shalini Boland for stopping by my blog, it's been a pleasure to have you lovely ladies join me today.


  1. Thanks for having me again xx

    1. It's lovely to have you here again Sarah, I'm sure you'll be back again soon :) x x

  2. Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Neats. And thanks for the wonderful review, Sarah. I'm thrilled you enjoyed The Girl from the Sea. It's been great to meet you lovely ladies!

    1. You're very welcome Shalini ;)Thank you for taking the time to chat to Sarah and have a great weekend x