A Lover of Books

Guest Post by Sandra Danby ~ @SandraDanby

I am absolutely thrilled to be welcoming Sandra Danby back to my blog.  Her new book, ‘Connectedness’, the second in the Identity Detective series was published in paperback in April by Beulah Press and is also available as an eBook.

Sandra has written a guest post about how PD James influenced her work.

 

The influence of PD James

I’ve been a fan of PD James’ detective Adam Dalgliesh since I was a student and having gone back to the beginning to read Cover Her Face, I then bought each book as it was published. I don’t write crime fiction and never expected the Dalgliesh series to have such an influence on my own work but once I decided my identity detective Rose Haldane deserved her own series, I looked again at the structure used by PD James.

The key thing I learned was that each Dalgliesh novel tells the story of a murder and the people involved. Adam Dalgliesh gets involved once the murder is discovered but it is not his story, he is the conduit through which the story is told. This was an epiphany for me. Once I applied it to my own ideas for the ‘Identity Detective’ series, I could see it would work. Ignoring Gravity, the first, tells the story of journalist Rose Haldane, an adult who discovers she was adopted as a baby and was lied to all her life by her family, and her subsequent search for her true origins. Connectedness, my latest novel, is about Justine Tree, a birth mother now in her fifties who longs to find the baby daughter she gave away in the Eighties. Justine employs Rose as a kind of researcher to find her daughter. In the course of this book, Rose realizes she is good at this type of work, that she can become a detective of identities. I’m now writing Sweet Joy, third in the series, in which Rose is employed by an elderly lady to identify her parents who abandoned her in a house during The Blitz in London 1940.

Flash backwards to my writing group friends and the first time they read the complete manuscript of Connectedness. They were familiar with the story and characters, having read most of the chapters in isolation. But why, they asked, don’t you start with Rose? Because, I said, Connectedness is not about Rose; it’s about Justine. Worried I’d misjudged, I went back to a chapter-by-chapter analysis I did almost ten years ago of Original Sin, ninth in the Adam Dalgliesh series. He appears briefly in Chapter 4 when the body has been found – twenty five pages in – but his next viewpoint chapter is almost a third of the way through the book. Instead James patiently allows the story to unfold, told by the characters involved in the murder so the reader makes assumptions about what has happened and comes to know the characters involved. When Dalgliesh arrives on the scene however, he starts asking awkward questions so making the reader doubt his first impressions of people and events. And in this way, the mystery grows. I hope I’ve achieved a similar effect with Connectedness.

 

About ‘Connectedness’

TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALSO HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING

Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.

Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?

This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of East Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga, Spain.

A family mystery for fans of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore.

 

About the ‘Identity Detective’ series

Rose Haldane reunites the people lost through adoption. The stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. Each book in the ‘Identity Detective’ series considers the viewpoint of one person trapped in this horrible dilemma. In the first book of the series, Ignoring Gravity, it is Rose’s experience we follow as an adult discovering she was adopted as a baby. Connectedness is the story of a birth mother and her longing to see her baby again. Sweet Joy, the third novel, will tell the story of a baby abandoned during The Blitz.

 

About Sandra Danby

Sandra Danby is a proud Yorkshire woman, tennis nut and tea drinker. She believes a walk on the beach will cure most ills. Unlike Rose Haldane, the identity detective in her two novels, Ignoring Gravity and Connectedness, Sandra is not adopted.

 

Author Links

‘Connectedness’ at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2q6qy5Z

‘Ignoring Gravity’ at Amazon http://amzn.to/1oCrxHd

Author website: http://www.sandradanby.com/

Twitter: @SandraDanby

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sandradanbyauthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6563021.Sandra_Danby

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sandradan1/

 

Photos [all © Sandra Danby unless otherwise stated]:-

Author jpeg

CN cover jpeg

PD James – photo Murdo Macleod for The Guardian

PD James on Sandra’s bookshelf

Original Sin by PD James – Sandra’s own copy

 

Advertisements

Blog Tour – ‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part 1: New Beginnings’ by Emily Harvale ~ @rararesources @emilyharvale

‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part 1: New Beginnings’ was published as an eBook by Crescent Gate Publishing on the 10th May 2018.  I was invited by Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources to take part in this tour.  I would like to thank both the author and Rachel for my review copy of this book.

You will find out my thoughts in a minute, but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Mia Ward is amazed to be told she has inherited her great-aunt Matilda’s thatched cottage in the tiny seaside village of Little Pondale – especially as Mia didn’t know she had a great-aunt Matilda.

She’s even more astonished to discover she’ll only inherit the place if she actually lives there for one year. Mia’s a city girl at heart, not to mention she’s afraid of water, so the fact the cottage backs on to a sandy beach, is not, in her opinion, a bonus.

But Mia’s struggling to pay her rent since being fired for inappropriate behaviour at the office party, and her boyfriend’s also dumped her. When her best friend, Ella and Ella’s brother, Garrick offer to help her move and settle in, Mia decides to see this as a new beginning.

It may also be the start of an exciting adventure because now Mia wants to know just who, exactly, was great-aunt Matilda. And she’s determined to find out. But it soon becomes clear that someone is trying to make sure Mia doesn’t stay in Little Pondale….

 

My Review

I have mentioned it before but I am really not good at reading serials in parts, preferring instead to read the book in one go. However, ‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane’ appealed to me and I wanted to give it a go. My opinion now that I’ve finished the first part? I’m so very glad that I did. For me, this is actually the first book I have read by Emily Harvale.

This was such a light-hearted and delightful read. There were some really hilarious moments too. I loved the descriptions of the cottage Mia was going to live in. It sounded wonderful and I found myself wishing I could live there as well. It might have been a bit too quiet for me though, but who knows. They say every cloud has a silver lining. Well, that was certainly the case for Mia. Having lost her job she was struggling to pay her rent, so the opportunity to live in the cottage really did come at the right time. I can’t wait to find out if Mia manages to live there for a whole year.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the villagers of Little Pondale and I can’t wait to catch up with them again. I really liked Ella and her brother Garrick. Who knows, maybe their lives could change for the better too. I also can’t wait to find out more about Matilda.

I am really looking forward to the second part and I definitely plan to read more of Emily Harvale’s books. If you are looking for a nice relaxing read then I really recommend trying out this serial.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part 1: New Beginnings’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07CQQ1YJ5

 

About Emily Harvale

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happy endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.

 

Social Media Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/emilyharvalewriter

Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/emilyharvale

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/emilyharvale

 

~~~~~

‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part 2: Summer Secrets’ is out now.  Here is what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

Escape to the seaside village of Little Pondale with Part Two of this heart-warming and romantic, four-part serial.

Mia Ward was amazed to inherit her great-aunt Matilda’s thatched cottage in the tiny seaside village of Little Pondale – especially as Mia didn’t know she had a great-aunt Matilda. She was even more astonished to discover she’d only inherit the place if she lives there for a year.

Now Mia and her friends, Ella and Garrick are embracing village life. Garrick’s also embracing someone in The Frog and Lily, so Mia turns her attention to one or two of her sexy, single neighbours. But great-aunt Matilda remains an enigma and Mia’s still determined to discover who she was.

When Mia’s mum, Lori arrives, she’s eager to see what the summer has to offer. There’s the Kite Festival, the Fête, the Frog Hill Run, but what really appeals to Lori, much to Mia’s horror, is the Midsummer Night’s naked bathing in the pond at Frog’s Hollow.

As sweltering days surrender to sultry nights, love is definitely in the air. And when an incident means Mia has to face her greatest fear, help arrives from a surprising source. But one thing is clear… someone is trying to make sure Mia doesn’t stay in Little Pondale…

 

‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part 2: Summer Secrets’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

http://newbook.at/LilyPondSummer

 

Blog Blitz – ‘A Dead American In Paris’ by Seth Lynch ~ @damppebbles @fahrenheitpress @SethALynch

‘A Dead American In Paris’, the second book in the Salazar Mysteries series was published in paperback on the 9th April 2018 by Fahrenheit Press and is also available as an eBook.  I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in this blog blitz today along with two fellow book bloggers.  I would like to thank the lovely Emma Welton of damppebbles.com for inviting me to take part.  Thank you also to the publisher and Emma for my review copy.

You will find out in a bit what I thought about this book.  First though here’s what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

Paris. 1931.

Arty Homebrook lived and died in a world of sleaze which stretched from Chicago to Paris but never beyond the gutter.

He’d been sleeping with Madame Fulton, which is why Harry Fulton promised to kill him. So far as the Paris Police are concerned it’s an open and shut case. Harry’s father has other ideas and hires Salazar to investigate.

As Salazar gets to grips with the case he’s dragged reluctantly into an unpleasant underworld of infidelity, blackmail, backstreet abortions and murder.

Salazar is far too inquisitive to walk away and far too stubborn to know what’s for the best. So he wakes up each hungover morning, blinks into the sunlight, and presses on until it’s his life on the line. Then he presses on some more, just for the hell of it.

 

My Review

I haven’t actually read the first book in the Salazar Mysteries series, but this really didn’t spoil things for me, although I did wonder about one or two things. ‘A Dead American In Paris’ can definitely be read as a standalone novel. I really liked the way this story was set out and the author’s style of writing was great. The chapters aren’t numbered but they are very clearly marked so you know what the date is.

This story takes place in Paris over ten days and in that time a lot happens. Salazar has been hired by Fulton Senior whose son has been arrested, accused of murdering Homebrook. Whilst investigating Salazar gets far more than he bargained for. Although not squeamish some of what he came across was too much even for him. It’s no wonder he drank. The author has described in great detail the gruesome scenes giving the reader a good picture. Luckily they didn’t put me off.

As Salazar makes enquiries he discovers that Homebrook really wasn’t a very nice person. It’s no wonder that someone killed him and it seems that many people would have had a good reason to.

At times I did think to myself why can’t that be emailed over to Salazar instead of posted, only to remember that it was when there was no such thing as the internet or mobile phones. I was left a bit aghast by the ending but could see why Salazar did what he did.

‘A Dead American in Paris’ is fast-paced and gripping and I do recommend it to fans of crime fiction. Would I read more books by this author? Definitely.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

About Seth Lynch

Born and brought up in the West of England, Seth has also lived in Carcassonne, Zurich and the Isle of Man.

With two daughters, his writing time is the period spent in cafés as the girls do gym, dance and drama lessons.

 

Seth’s Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SethALynch

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seth-Lynch/e/B00E7SZ3FS/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sethlynchauthor/

 

Buy Seth Lynch’s book direct from Fahrenheit Press:

A Citizen of Nowhere (Salazar Book 1): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_a_citizen_of_nowhere.html

A Dead American in Paris (Salazar Book 2): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_a_dead_american_in_paris.html

The Paris Ripper (Chief Inspector Belmont Book 1): http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_the_paris_ripper.html

 

The Guernsey Novels Blog Tour

I am thrilled to be helping to kick off this blog tour, along with TripFiction, Chat About Books and Breaks.com.  I would like to thank The Globeflower Agency for inviting me to take part.  I have read and reviewed a couple of Anne Allen’s previous books and her latest one really was fabulous.

You are all in for a treat because not only do I have a guest post from Anne Allen herself, but there is also a fantastic competition being run throughout this tour.

 

Guest Post

Anne’s Idyllic Childhood Holidays Inspired Her Love of The Sea

Anne Allen was born and raised in landlocked Rugby. However, she recollects the magical summer holidays she spent with her Welsh grandparents in Rhosneigr, Anglesey.

“Thanks to the wonderful summer holidays I spent in Rhosneigr, I have developed a life-long passion for the sea,” Anne says.

“The sea is definitely in my blood and has shaped my life.”

Anne’s grandparents ran the main village shop in Rhosneigr, back then it was called Empire Stores. They sold grocery produce, fresh fish and shellfish, including lobster.

Whilst visiting her grandparents, Anne and her sister slept in a little attic room which they accessed via a step ladder. Their room had a window looking over the road and down to the beach.

“As we spent the majority of our year, in landlocked Rugby. Our summer holidays in Rhosneigr were magical and we had adventures like the characters out of Enid Blyton books.

“We would spend most of our days on the beautiful beach with our buckets and spades digging up the masses of golden sand.”

Anne’s father taught her how to fish for perch in the local lake, Llyn Maelog, on the edge of the village.

“We went in the early evening but we rarely caught anything. However, I enjoyed spending quality time with my father.”

Anne’s happy childhood memories of being beside the seaside in Anglesey, led her to spend a lifetime of trying to get close to the sea and eventually inspired her writing career. She continued living in landlocked Rugby until tragedy struck and changed her life forever.

“Whilst in my mid-thirties, my husband died and I was left to raise three young children on my own.

“During my grieving period, I craved to be beside the sea again.

“We initially moved to Devon. However, I then visited Guernsey and it’s golden sands reminded me of my childhood holidays in Rhosneigr.

“Craving a fresh start, I sold my house and moved to Guernsey!”

She initially tried to buy a small guest-house in St Peter Port to use as a residential health centre. However, the deal fell through shortly after they arrived on the island with her car laden with all their belongings.

“I was devastated, but looking back I can see it was just as well, for at the time interest rates were sky high and financially it would have been difficult.”

Initially, life on the island was not plain sailing, as a non-local she had to live ‘Open Market’ which was both restrictive and expensive. Anne set up her own psychotherapy practice on the island and began to build up a number of regular and loyal clients. With their support, she was eventually able to get a housing licence. Anne and her children created many happy memories on the island.

“One friend had a boat and we would go out for fun trips with our children, mooring up in one of the lovely south coast bays. The boys would jump into the sea and splash around while us girls lay decorously on deck to top up our tans.”

Anne never envisaged leaving Guernsey, however, life threw her some curve balls, and she eventually moved back to Devon. She had always craved creativity, yet, never found the time due to being a busy working mum of three children. When they flew the nest, she eagerly put pen to paper and drafted her first novel, Dangerous Waters. A few months later, she was encouraged to enter a true-life writing competition in Prima magazine and was surprised when she won. This helped to boost her confidence and encouraged her to publish her first novel.

The novel was awarded Silver (Adult Fiction) in TheWishingShelfAwards 2012. Since then she has published five more books in The Guernsey Novels series.

 

About Anne Allen

Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. She was born in Rugby, to an English mother and Welsh father. As a result she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea.

Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.

By profession Anne was a psychotherapist but has long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt. At the back of her mind the itch to write was always present but seemed too time-consuming for a single mum with a need to earn a living. Now retired from the ‘day job’, there’s more time to write and Anne has now published six books in The Guernsey Novels series. She will be publishing her seventh novel later in the year.

To find out more about Anne visit her website: you can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Competition

 

Win a two-night break

courtesy of The Guernsey Novels by Anne Allen

Would you like to visit gorgeous Guernsey? Well, here is your chance to win a two-night trip to this beautiful island, courtesy of Anne Allen, author of the riveting book series, The Guernsey Novels.

The Guernsey Novels

Anne Allen’s fascinating book series, The Guernsey Novels, comprises six standalone novels. All the stories in her novel series, take place predominantly on the island of Guernsey and are linked by characters popping up from one book to another.

They provide an ongoing story of a ‘village’ spread, so far, over 6 years. Each book is standalone with fresh new lead characters with their own links to the German Occupation during World War 2, having an impact on the present.

The Guernsey Novels are a mix of mystery, family drama, and love story and influenced by the author’s love of the island where she spent many happy years. Guernsey itself is always a main character in the books, offering a gorgeous backdrop to all the sorrows, joys and tragedies she describes.

The Guernsey Novels are available from all leading bookstores:

Book #1 Dangerous Waters

Book #2 Finding Mother

Book #3 Guernsey Retreat

Book #4 The Family Divided

Book #5 Echoes of Time

Book #6 The Betrayal

 

Enter the prize draw to win a two-night break at Hotel Ziggurat in Guernsey

Enter The Guernsey Novels Prize Draw https://js.gleam.io/e.js

Read more details about the prize draw, including the Terms and Conditions on Anne Allen’s Website

 

Blog Tour Organised by The Globeflower Agency Ltd

The Globeflower Agenc

 

Blog Blitz – ‘A Garden in Cornwall’ by Laura Briggs

Happy publication day to Laura Briggs whose new novella, ‘A Garden in Cornwall’, the twelfth and final novella in the A Wedding in Cornwall series is out today.

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog blitz which was organised by the lovely Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources.  I have a guest post for all of you.  First though, here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

With their lives exactly what they’ve always dreamed, Matt and Julianne await the arrival of the third member of their family — but their happiness is threatened when their landlady Mathilda announces her intention to sell their beloved Rosemoor Cottage for an impossible value. Devastated, Julianne struggles to accept the cold reality of her and Matt making their home elsewhere.

Matt’s life has taken a new turn as he finally puts aside his academic work to pursue his gardening hobby as a career: his first new job as a landscape designer involves neglected Penwill Hall’s ‘lost’ garden — one with a truly romantic Cornish past. But the task of restoring its legendary beauty from nearly seventy years ago proves difficult among the ruins lost in weeds and wilderness.

With notions of secret gardens and wartime stories echoing in her thoughts, Julianne is determined to help Matt and the estate’s new owner after the discovery of a hidden mural in the hall itself, depicting a breathtaking garden that may well be the lost one. Her efforts to uncover the past lead her to a curmudgeonly local gardener who just may hold the knowledge that would restore the ‘lost garden’ to its former glory. Will Julianne’s quest help her find a way to deal with losing the home she loves?

Hellos and farewells abound as Dinah returns to lend a helping hand at Cliffs House and Julianne relives her favourite memories of her and Matt’s beloved cottage in Book Twelve — the final instalment in the bestselling series A WEDDING IN CORNWALL.

‘A Garden in Cornwall’ is available to purchase from:-

Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2IUC9AY

Amazon US – http://smarturl.it/agardenincornwall

 

Guest Post

I would like to thank Sonya for inviting me to share about my writing with all her readers at A Lover of Books!

Two years ago when I penned the novella called A Wedding in Cornwall, I had no idea how readers would respond. After all, I’m an American author whose never set foot on Cornish land in her life and has mostly the internet and PBS airings of Poldark and Doc Martin to help them picture its beauty as a literary setting. But those breathtaking cliffs and images of water breaking on the rocky shore were just too good to resist. So in the end, my heroine, an American wedding planner named Julianne, took the leap ‘across the Pond’ to work at a beautiful Cornish manor house…and twelve novellas later, I’m happy to say it has been a fantastic experience.

Readers in the UK have overwhelmed me with their support for Julianne’s world. Overlooking the cultural inaccuracies (and I fear there are many, many of them), they have embraced its tiny fictional village and its characters, returning again and again for each new adventure. From a holiday ball to a baking competition, a royal wedding, and even a talent show, they have followed Julianne and her friends with a level of enthusiasm I never anticipated. Their reviews are a joy to read, especially those who know and love Cornwall and feel the series has a special meaning for them as a result. One reader even remarked that it inspired them to revisit that very county after many years—a truly lovely sentiment to hear as an author hoping to pay tribute to the place they’re writing about.

Now, as the story draws to a close with the bittersweet A Garden in Cornwall, I look forward to sharing new projects, including another Cornish-based romance series for 2019. A different heroine discovering Cornwall under very different circumstances than Julianne, but I very much hope that readers will enjoy these new characters and adventures.  I’ll be releasing details on Book One and the series as a whole throughout the year, including title and cover reveal, story synopsis, and special excerpts from the manuscript’s rough draft. I’m very excited for readers to meet these new characters (especially the dreamy hero!) over the next few months.

And I’m not forgetting those who enjoy the excitement of the wedding planning world. In fact, this summer will launch the first book in a new wedding-themed series I’m writing for the UK publisher Bookouture. I can’t wait for readers to meet its trio of plucky heroines as they navigate their own romantic troubles while making sure their client has a picture-perfect big day.

To be notified of all my new book releases, readers should be sure to follow my Amazon author page here: http://author.to/briggsauthorpage

 

Giveaway

Win an e-copy of A Garden In Cornwall (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Click on the link to enter http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c6949487/?

 

About Laura Briggs

Laura Briggs is the author of several lighthearted romance novels and novellas, including the bestselling Amazon UK series A Wedding in Cornwall. She has a fondness for vintage-style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, and trying new restaurants.

 

Social Media Links

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/authorlaurabriggs/   

Twitter:        https://twitter.com/PaperDollWrites

 

Lynne Milford’s (aka LM Milford’s) Monthly Guest Post – May 2018

It’s time for Lynne Milford’s monthly guest post.  I really look forward to receiving her posts and this month’s is really interesting.

 

What I do when I’m not writing

When Sonya offered me this opportunity I asked a friend what she, as a reader, would want to know about writers. She replied ‘what you do with your spare time?’. I laughed and said ‘Writing’. And it’s true, I do spend a lot of my free time writing. But once I’d thought about it, I do other things as well. So, here’s how I spend my time when I’m not writing (although whatever I’m doing I’m probably also still thinking about writing or feeling guilty for not writing).

Exercise

This is a tough one for writers because we spend a lot of time sitting in a chair. Add into that my day job – which involves sitting down at a computer – and I recently ended up in a whole lot of trouble. My favourite exercises are running and Pilates. The former helps me blow of a bit of steam, the latter helps my poor sore chair body. By strengthening and stretching out my muscles at Pilates I keep my body mobile and protect it from the aches and pains associated with spending time sitting down. Going running helps clear your head and (hopefully) balances the effect of snacking while buried in your writing.

Cooking/baking

I make no bones – I love food. I also find cooking and baking relaxing. In fact, I broke my recent writing blockage by making scones. There’s something creative and yet distracting about cooking that appeals to my brain. The only problem being that I have to eat what I’ve baked or cooked and that’s where the running also comes in!

Watching TV

I could lie to you and say this is in the name of research. I spend a lot of time watching crime drama or thrillers so I am learning about plot and structure. But really I find it to be good down time. Watching TV doesn’t need as much brain power as reading does and it’s a break away from my phone/tablet/laptop. Generally speaking my telly watching is quite targeted. Most of what I watch is recorded so I can watch when it’s convenient for me. This means if I do decide to write in the evenings I don’t miss out on anything.

Reading

I should really include this in writing activities but I find reading very relaxing. Yes up to a point this is research for writing – reading other people’s work helps you learn how to write – but with a really good book you find that you’re not analysing you’re just reading. My favourite book for that is Tell No One by Harlan Coven. What could be better than losing yourself in a different world and with different people.

Going on holiday

Ok this only happens a couple of times a year but a week or two away from home, preferably somewhere hot and sunny, is great for recharging the batteries. It’s a chance to exercise, read and chill out while letting someone else cook your dinner and bring you a beer. It gets me away from work, and mostly from writing as well. The first couple of days are usually affected by guilt for not writing, but after that I start to unwind and forget about anything but relaxing (and where I’m going to have dinner – see, obsessed with food!).

And of course into all these things – and the most important – is spending time with my boyfriend. I couldn’t manage without him and he doesn’t mind too much when writing takes over.

So that’s what my life revolves around on a regular basis. I don’t always manage to fit them all in, after all writing takes priority especially at weekends, but they’re my way of stepping away from the fictional world and into the real one.

 

A Deadly Rejection is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon. UK address is https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0768WP1SB

Catch up with me on Twitter @lmmilford or visit my website www.lmmilford.wordpress.com

 

Previous Guest Posts

First guest post (January 2018) – My writing journey

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/lynne-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

Second guest post (February 2018) – Where did A Deadly Rejection come from?

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

Third guest post (March 2018) – Creating the perfect cast for A Deadly Rejection

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-march-2018/

Fourth guest post (April 2018) – Why you should write a series

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-april-2018/

 

Blog Tour – ‘Songs of Innocence’ by Anne Coates

‘Songs of Innocence’, the third book in the Hannah Weybridge series, was published on the 24th May 2018 in paperback and as an eBook by Urbane Publications.  I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour and would like to thank Love Books Group for inviting me to participate.  I would also like to say thank you for my review copy.

I will tell you what I thought of this book in a minute, but first here’s what its about.

 

Book Blurb

A woman’s body is found in a lake. Is it a sad case of suicide or something more sinister? Hannah Weybridge, still reeling from her friend’s horrific murder and the attempts on her own life, doesn’t want to get involved, but reluctantly agrees to look into the matter for the family.

The past however still stalks her steps, and a hidden danger accompanies her every move.

The third in the bestselling Hannah Weybridge thriller series, Songs of Innocence provides Hannah with her toughest and deadliest – assignment yet…

 

My Review

Having really enjoyed the first two books in the series, I was looking forward to reading ‘Songs of Innocence’. I soon found myself hooked. I loved the author’s descriptions of Peckham Rye Park and I felt as if I was there with all the lovely birds. The mandarin ducks are indeed beautiful. Another thing I really like is how the characters from the previous books keep appearing. It is like visiting old friends again and again.

When the body of a young woman who has apparently committed suicide is discovered in a lake in Peckham Rye Park, things just don’t add up. The last thing Hannah needs or wants is to get herself involved in another investigation, but it doesn’t look like she has very much choice. She soon makes some shocking discoveries. At one point I really thought that was it for Hannah and I feared for her life. It would be absolutely awful if something happened to her.

I was left extremely intrigued at the end wondering about Tom Jordan and Hannah and if they have a future together. I want to know what’s going to happen now!

Out of all three books, ‘Songs of Innocence’ is by far my favourite. Anne Coates has really excelled herself. It is obvious that she does her research. I would definitely recommend that you start at the beginning to get the full benefit of this series, especially as one of the main storylines from ‘Death’s Silent Judgement’ continues in this one. I really hope there are going to be more books and that I don’t have to wait too long.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘Songs of Innocence’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-Innocence-Hannah-Weybridge-Coates/dp/191133154X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1527335332&sr=2

 

About Anne Coates

Reading and writing has been Anne Coates’ passion for as long as she can remember. Instilled and inspired by her mother and by the Deputy Head at her secondary school who encouraged her hunger for reading by granting her free access to the books not yet in the school library, and she feels still grateful for this, in her eyes, amazing privilege.

After her degree in English and French, Anne moved to London to stay. During her career she worked for publishers, as a journalist, writer, editor, and translator. The birth of her daughter, Olivia inspired her to write non-fiction books, such as ‘Your Only Child’ (Bloomsbury, 1996), books about applying to and surviving university (NeedtoKnow, 2013), but also short stories, tales with a twist, and stories exploring relationships, published in two collections by Endeavour Press (2015).

The sometimes strange places Anne visited as a journalist often made her think “What if…” And so, investigative journalist Hannah Weybridge was born… The Hannah Weybridge series currently consists of three books, all published by Urbane Publications: ‘Dancers in the Wind’ (2016), ‘Death’s Silent Judgement’ (2017), and ‘Songs of Innocence’ (2018).

Anne Coates lives in London with three demanding cats and enjoys reading, going to the theatre and cinema, wining and dining.

Where to find Anne Coates
Author Website: www.annecoatesauthor.com
FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AnneCoatesAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Anne_Coates1
Parenting Website – Twitter: https://twitter.com/ParentingWT

 

Book Review – ‘Death’s Silent Judgement’ by Anne Coates

I was invited to take part in the blog tour for Anne Coates’ new book, ‘Songs of Innocence’.  Realising that I still needed to read ‘Death’s Silent Judgement’, which was published last year by Urbane Publications, this prompted me to do so.  I know that in many cases some books in a series can be read as standalone novels, but I wasn’t sure if this was the case with this one.

You will find out in a bit what I thought of ‘Death’s Silent Judgement’.  First though, here’s what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

Death’s Silent Judgement is the thrilling sequel to Dancers in the Wind, and continues the gripping series starring London-based investigative journalist Hannah Weybridge.

Following the deadly events of Dancers in the Wind, freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is thrown into the heart of a horrific murder investigation when a friend, Liz Rayman, is found with her throat slashed at her dental practice.

With few clues to the apparently motiveless crime Hannah throws herself into discovering the reason for her friend’s brutal murder, and is determined to unmask the killer. But before long Hannah’s investigations place her in mortal danger, her hunt for the truth placing her in the path of a remorseless killer…

The series is very much in the best traditions of British women crime writers such as Lynda La Plante and Martina Cole.

 

My Review

I bought my copy of ‘Death’s Silent Judgement’ at Anne Coates’ book launch last year. I’m so very glad that I decided to read this book first. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I was kept on tenterhooks.

Set in January 1994 onwards, the story starts off in The Crypt of St John’s Church where Hannah’s friend Liz has been brutally murdered. Anne Coates actually held her book launch in The Crypt which made it easy for me to picture the scene. Hannah really is an amazing person. You would think after what happened to her she would want to lie low and not get involved in other murders, especially as she has a young daughter. But at the end of the day Liz was her friend and she wasn’t going to let things go so easily. Good for her I say.

I mentioned it in my review of ‘Dancers in the Wind’, but I really do like how this author writes about issues that are to this day are still happening around the world. It reminds you of the suffering caused to millions of people and it certainly makes me very grateful for the life I have. This story dealt with child trafficking and it didn’t make for very pretty reading at all.

‘Death’s Silent Judgement’ is an exciting and thought-provoking story. You will feel that you have actually learnt something from it.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘Death’s Silent Judgement’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deaths-Silent-Judgement-thrilling-Weybridge-ebook/dp/B06ZXXCR29/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1527327945&sr=1-1&keywords=death%27s+silent+judgement

 

If you want a taster of ‘Death’s Silent Judgement’ you can read an extract here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/extract-from-deaths-silent-judgement-by-anne-coates/

 

About Anne Coates

For most of her working life in publishing, Anne has had a foot in both camps as a writer and an editor, moving from book publishing to magazines and then freelancing in both. Having edited both fiction and narrative non-fiction, Anne has also had short stories published in a variety of magazines including Bella and Candis and is the author of seven non-fiction books. Telling stories is Anne’s first love and nearly all her short fiction as well as Dancers in The Wind and Death’s Silent Judgement began with a real event followed by a ‘what if …’; That is also the case with the two prize-winning 99Fiction.net stories: Codewords and Eternal Love. Songs of Innocence will publish summer 2018.

 

Links

Author Website: http://www.annecoatesauthor.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Anne_Coates1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnneCoatesAuthor/

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Old You’ by Louise Voss

‘The Old You’ was published in paperback on the 15th May 2018 by Orenda Books.  It is also available as an eBook.  I would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.  Thank you also for my review copy of this book.

You will find out exactly what I thought about ‘The Old You’ in a minute. First though, here’s what its about.

 

Book Blurb

Nail-bitingly modern domestic noir
A tense, Hitchcockian psychological thriller
Louise Voss returns with her darkest, most chilling, novel yet…

Lynn Naismith gave up the job she loved when she married Ed, the love of her life, but it was worth it for the happy years they enjoyed together. Now, ten years on, Ed has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and things start to happen; things more sinister than missing keys and lost words. As some memories are forgotten, others, long buried, begin to surface… and Lynn’s perfect world begins to crumble.

But is it Ed s mind playing tricks, or hers…?

 

My Review

I read and reviewed one of Louise Voss’s novels a while and knew what a good writer she was. I was delighted when I found out that Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books was going to publish her next book. That was like the best news ever.

Oh My God! ‘The Old You’ literally took me for a long ride and it was absolutely fantastic. I loved the style of writing and the way the story flashed back to Lynn’s past. I found myself lulled into a sense of security only for it to be cruelly shattered in the space of a few minutes. All that I believed to be true wasn’t. It seemed that I couldn’t trust the majority of the characters. Even at the end of the story I was fooled.

I didn’t really warm to any of the characters apart from Lynn. I felt bad for her and Ed. It seemed to me that his dementia was deteriorating quickly and I couldn’t even begin to imagine what was in store for them. But as I was about to find out, something just didn’t add up.

‘The Old You’ is a gripping story full of twists and turns. It will grab you by the neck and won’t let you go until the very end. This book should hopefully appeal to all fans of psychological thrillers.

I really can’t wait to read this author’s next book.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘The Old You’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Old-You-Louise-Voss-ebook/dp/B078GZQH56/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1526726826&sr=1-1

 

About Louise Voss

 

Louise Voss has been writing for the past eighteen years, with many twists and turns in her career. She started her publishing life with four novels for Transworld/Black Swan, the first of which, To Be Someone, was published in 2001 with its own CD soundtrack. This was followed by three more contemporary women’s fiction novels, Are You My Mother? Lifesaver, and Games People Play, until she switched to publishing thrillers with Mark Edwards.

She and Mark were the first British indie authors to reach No.1 on the Amazon charts with Catch Your Death, where they stayed for the month of June 2011, with their novel Killing Cupid also at No. 2. This led to a four-book deal with Harper Collins; then two books in the DI Lennon series, From the Cradle and The Blissfully Dead (Thomas & Mercer).

Her first solo thriller was The Venus Trap in 2015 and her second, a twisty tale of domestic noir, is out in May 2018: The Old You, published by @OrendaBooks.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LouiseVoss1

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/louisevossauthor/

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Street Orphans’ by Mary Wood

Having totally loved Mary Wood’s previous novel, I am over the moon to be taking part in this blog tour.  ‘The Street Orphans’ was published yesterday the 17th May 2018 in paperback and as an eBook by Pan Books.  I am so looking forward to reading this book.

I have something very special for all of you today.  Yes, you can exclusively read the first chapter of ‘The Street Orphans’.  First though, here’s what its about.

 

Book Blurb

The Street Orphans is an emotional story set in 1850s Lancashire, from Mary Wood, the author of In Their Mother’s Footsteps and Brighter Days Ahead.

Born with a club foot in a remote village in the Pennines, Ruth is feared and ridiculed by her superstitious neighbours who see her affliction as a sign of witchcraft. When her father is killed in an accident and her family evicted from their cottage, she hopes to leave her old life behind, to start afresh in the Blackburn cotton mills. But tragedy strikes once again, setting in motion a chain of events that will unravel her family’s lives.

Their fate is in the hands of the Earl of Harrogate, and his betrothed, Lady Katrina. But more sinister is the scheming Marcia, Lady Katrina’s jealous sister. Impossible dreams beset Ruth from the moment she meets the Earl. Dreams that lead her to hope that he will save her from the terrible fate that awaits those accused of witchcraft. Dreams that one day her destiny and the Earl’s will be entwined.

 

Extract

1

Ruth Dovecote

 

A Shattered Family

‘Eeh, Ruth, will you hurry yourself ? It’s nigh on nightfall and we’ve to find shelter.’

‘Ma, I can’t. You go on. I’ll rest awhile and catch up later. Leave a message at the inn when you find somewhere  to bed down, so that I know where to find you.’ Shouting her answer to her ma sapped more of her strength than Ruth could spare, as she battled against the strong, bitter January wind that whistled around the mountainous hills of Bowland.

Ruth’s one good leg wobbled. Thinking she was going to topple over, she leaned heavily on her crutch. Her underarm burned as the crutch rasped against her armpit. Despair threatened  to  engulf  her.  The  weight  of  her  club  foot seemed to become heavier with every mile they walked – and they had trundled many miles these last days.

Turned out of their tied cottage on a remote farm within days of their da taking his last breath, Ruth, her ma and her four siblings had now reached the narrow high-peak road of Lythe Fell on their way to Blackburn.

It had been an accident that had taken their da. A strong man, he’d been to market in the nearby small town of Pradley, which lay topside of Slaidburn, north of the Forest of Bowland. He’d stopped at an old well on the edge of the town to haul up a bucket of water for the old horse pulling his cart. The sides of the well had collapsed, taking him thirty feet into the ground. He’d been in freezing-cold water up to his neck for two days before the rescue workers brought him to the surface. With many bones broken and pneumonia setting in, he’d stood little chance.

Their da’s boss, a rich landowner, hadn’t considered the grief that her ma and Ruth and her siblings were suffering, or the plight the family would now be in. Within an hour of Da dying, the agent for the estate had served notice on them to quit their cottage and had ordered them to leave within twenty-four hours of the funeral. They had no money and had been left with just the clothes they stood up in, plus an old pram. The undertaker had taken everything they owned, in payment for their da’s burial.

Ma had a cousin in Blackburn who she thought might help them. When she’d last heard from him, two years since, he’d told her how the town was flourishing with the rise of the cotton-mill industry. This held the hope that Ma and the lads and Amy could get taken on at one of the mills. Ruth’s task would be to care for them all and look after Elsie. It all sounded good, if very different from the life they had led so far, and Ruth wasn’t without her worries as to how it would all work out. But she knew they would never be able to find the kind of work on the land that they were used to. Farm work paid little to the menfolk, and nothing for the labour of women and young ’uns, who were expected to work as part of the deal to gain a cottage with the job.

They had taken few rests as they walked during the day-light hours in the unforgiving weather conditions, and had had to keep to the highway, because of Ruth’s difficulties. The road was little more than a track, and it stretched their journey by many more miles than going over the top would have done. At night they had huddled together and bedded down amongst the bracken.

By nightfall this day they hoped to reach Clitheroe, as Ma thought it was within ten miles now. There, they planned to beg some shelter and food, as the last of the bread and preserves  that Ma had packed  for their trip had run out the night before. Hunger and cold slowed their progress – Ruth’s more than that of the others, as her affliction, already a hindrance to her, worsened with the effort of walking such a long distance.

Looking up, she saw that her ma was three hundred yards ahead of her. Behind her ma trailed her sister, Amy, her curly hair frizzed even more than usual by the way the wind had played with it. Amy hated it and thought Ruth lucky to have long, dark hair. Amy’s wouldn’t grow long; it became too tangled and Ma had to cut it. It reminded Ruth of a bowl of soapsuds all bubbled up, and though Amy wouldn’t have it, it set off her pretty face and huge dark eyes. At fifteen years of age, Amy was younger than Ruth by three years. No one would take her and Amy for sisters, if they didn’t know them to be. There was nothing about them that resembled the other.

Amy held the hand of four-year-old Elsie, a delicate child, who was slow to learn new skills. Seth, fourteen and a bit, and ten months younger than Amy, and George, just nine months younger than Seth, were up in front. Seth pushed the pram that had carried them all as bairns, and which was still needed for Elsie as she tired easily.

Two handsome lads, Seth and George looked very much alike and had the same appearance as Ruth, with their dark complexions, black hair and shining blue eyes. They were different in character, though. Seth had a gentle nature and preferred to reason problems out rather than argue his point. He tended to be shy and rarely put himself forward. George, though quick to lose his temper with people, had a wonder- ful way with animals; in contrast to his short fuse, he also had a good sense of humour and at times was so funny with his antics that he’d have you wetting yourself.

The  five  of  them  were  the  only  survivors  of  the  ten children Ma had birthed; one of these children, and two miscarriages, accounted for the gap in age between Ruth and her first three siblings. Twin boys and another two girls had died between George’s birth and Elsie’s. Ruth had helped at the delivery of all of them, from Amy down, and still felt the pain of their loss.

‘By, lass, I can’t go on without you. I—’ The howl of the wind took away Ma’s words as she stepped  off the grass verge to walk back towards Ruth.

Ruth opened her mouth to urge her ma to go on once more, but fear changed  what she was about to say. ‘Ma! Look out, Ma!’

The coach had come from nowhere. The horses reared. Ma cowered. Her body fell to the ground. The hooves of the startled animals  pounded down on her.  The screams of terrified children and the whinnying of the stallions filled the space around Ruth. Her own scream strangled in her throat. Horror held her as if she’d been turned to stone, but then desperation moved her body and urged her forward.

‘Ma . . . Naw, Ma!’

All around her went into slow motion, and it seemed she had to claw her way through invisible barriers as she tried to hasten. When at last she neared them, the horses swayed. Their hooves lost their grip on the muddied road and the carriage went onto its left wheel, before banging down onto its right. The violent motion catapulted the driver from his seat and over the cliff. His holler held the knowledge of his own imminent death. The carriage didn’t right itself, and the crashing and splintering of its wooden structure drowned out the sound of the desperate driver.

A face appeared at the window of what was left of the carriage: a lad, his hair curled tightly to his head, his eyes holding a look of terror. Mud splattered Ruth as one of the horses tried to keep its grip, but the animal lost the battle and slid over the edge, pulling the coach almost upside down. The face disappeared. The three horses remaining on sturdy ground reared against the weight of the one dangling below. Steam rushed from their nostrils. The whites of their eyes glared their own terror and compounded Ruth’s horror. Finding her voice, she shouted orders. ‘Amy, come and help me. Seth, George, get Ma away.’

Leaning her weight onto her crutch, Ruth stretched her body to enable her to reach the handle of the door.  It resisted her pulling it open. ‘Amy, climb up. See if anyone is alive.’

‘But, our ma? Eeh, Ruth, Ma’s—’

‘Leave Ma to the lads. They’ll take care of her. We must help those in the carriage afore it goes over the edge. Hurry, lass.’ Ruth’s heart didn’t encourage her to take these actions – it wanted her to go to her ma – but something in her knew it was already too late and, if she didn’t help the occupants of the carriage, it would be so for them, too.

‘Get up, Amy, lass, go on. That’s reet. Can you see if anyone’s alive?’

‘Aye,  there  is, Ruth.  A young  man,  but  I’m  not  sure about the lady. She looks dead. She – she’s bleeding from a cut on her head.’

‘Tell the lad to climb out. Tell him!’ Turning, Ruth saw Seth and George standing over the tangled, unmoving body of  their ma.  Her heart clamoured with despair at what she knew to be the truth, but she had to save the lad in the carriage.  She couldn’t  let him die. ‘Seth, George  – here, quick! Amy, come down and let me lean on you. Seth, take me crutch, and you and George climb up with it to the window. Get the young man to take hold of the crutch, then pull him out. Go on, me lads, let sommat good come out of today.’

It didn’t take long to get the young man out, but he’d not let them think they couldn’t save his mother.

‘Please try. Mama is breathing. She is alive!’

‘We can’t. I’m sorry – there’s nowt we can do, as she ain’t able to help us. She’s unconscious.  We wouldn’t manage. It’s impossible.’

‘Do it, or I’ll have you all up for murder, you scum! What were you doing on the highway anyway? You caused this. You should keep yourselves to the bridle paths.’

Ruth felt her anger rising, but common sense stopped her from giving full rein to her temper. What she’d thought of as a lad, because of how small he was, she could now see was a man of around twenty-five years of age. He was in shock and was reacting as all toffs would. Though she needed to take heed of what he said, as he could have them all sent down if he wished – hanged even.

But how could she get the woman out of the swaying cab, with the horses still pulling in all directions, and the whole lot likely to go over the edge of the cliff at any moment?

‘I’ll unleash the horses, Ruth. I knows how to do it. I learned that time when our da’s boss made me work with his stablehand for a while.’

‘But they’ll kick you to death, Seth.’

‘I’ll help.’ George chipping in with this comment offered Ruth some relief from her fear for Seth.  George  would be able to calm the animals. His confidence helped, as he instructed, ‘Come on, Seth, get between the back of the horses and the carriage. I’ll try to soothe them.’

Before the lads could act, the toff spoke. ‘Unleash the one hanging over the side first. It cannot be saved, and its weight is a danger.’

‘Aye, Sir, that is me plan.’ Seth touched the brim of his cap in a mock-salute.

‘“My Lord” – not “Sir”! You are addressing the Earl of Harrogate.’

Ruth clenched her fist. The ungrateful devil! And them with their ma lying dead, not ten feet away. He showed no compassion. Her glance over to her ma’s body showed her the pitiful scene of Amy sobbing and Elsie looking bewil- dered and afraid, her wide eyes staring at the raging horses. Their plight undid Ruth. Hatred for this man, and all he stood for, trembled through her and spat from her before she could stop it: ‘You’re nowt to us. Us “scum” don’t recognize the likes of you toffs. We should have left you to rot in hell!’

His hand sliced her face. His foot kicked her crutch away from her. The mud, though wet and squelchy, didn’t cushion her fall, but slapped hard against her,  knocking the breath from her.

‘You’ll  pay for that, cripple.  You’ll  pay  dearly.’  Rage puffed his face, making  him appear ugly and evil. As he turned from her, his hand went inside his jacket. Ruth’s fear intensified at the sight of the pistol that he now brandished towards her brothers, as they made as if to charge at him. The click of the gun as he cocked it, ready to fire, resounded around Ruth. The Earl’s voice shook with anger and fear.

‘Get back! Get those horses under control – now.’

Ruth knew the threat from the Earl was real. Though she hadn’t seen him load his pistol, he could have done so before starting his journey, as these toffs were always afraid of coming across robbers.  Terrified of what the impetuous George might do, and of the consequences for him, she drew in a painful breath. ‘Naw! George, leave it. Go with Seth, see to the horses.’

George did as she bade him, and within moments his uncanny knack with animals showed in the way they became calm.

Seth freed the dangling horse, but despite the shouted commands of the young man, he didn’t unleash the others; instead he listened to George, who was telling him to leave them, as he wanted to try and drive them forward, to pull the remains of the carriage gradually from the edge and out of danger. Ruth closed her eyes, praying that he would suc- ceed.

The scraping noise told her something was happening. When she dared to look, she saw with relief that George had accomplished what he’d set out to do. But her relief was short-lived, as the searing tragedy of her ma’s plight came to her. Dragging herself along the ground, Ruth reached the grass verge where her ma lay and looked into the unseeing, once-beautiful eyes. ‘Oh, Ma . . . Ma!’

Elsie’s wails penetrated Ruth’s grief. Reaching for her and Amy, she held them close, but the Earl’s voice brought her attention back to what was happening behind her.

‘You there, get over here and help my mother!’

Picking up her crutch, the Earl threw it towards her. Ruth crouched over her sisters, afraid the hurtling crutch would hit them, but it sailed right over them. Gathering her wits, she spoke as calmly as she could. ‘Amy, lass, pass me crutch to me and help me up. Don’t be afraid. We’ve to do as he bids. We’ll see to Ma later.’

‘Is – is she . . . ?’

‘Aye, lass. Ma’s gone.’ She said this as though she were talking about something else, as neither her ma’s death, nor the crying of her sisters, touched her in the way it should have done. It was as if she’d been taken out of her own body and put inside one that shielded her from all that could hurt her. But then it had to be so. Somehow she had to be strong for them all.

With Amy’s help, Ruth managed to get up and hobble over to where the Earl’s mother lay on a rug on the ground. It surprised Ruth to see that the lady wasn’t as old as she’d first assumed, and she realized that she must have been very young when she birthed the Earl.

‘Do something!’

Ruth stared down the barrel of the gun, saw the Earl’s finger on the trigger. Sweat dripped off his face.

‘Ruth!’

‘Stay back, George, lad, it’s all right.’

On  George’s  movement  towards  her,  the  Earl  turned swiftly and aimed his gun. ‘Do as she says, urchin.’

Ruth held her breath. George froze. The Earl turned, his gun once more pointing  at Ruth. ‘I’ve heard it said that cripples like you have powers. Well, use them now. The likes of you were hanged for being witches in the past, and still should be, in my opinion.’

‘I’m naw witch, M’Lord.’

‘Oh?  And  you’ll  be telling  me next  that  your  brother there is not a sorcerer, when only such a one could have calmed those horses. I would be within my rights to shoot you all, and have a mind to do so.’ The weak sun, which gave no warmth, reflected on the barrel of the Earl’s gun as he trained it on George. ‘And us within spitting distance of Pendle Hill, where they hanged a whole bunch of your kind a couple of centuries ago.’

His words filled Ruth with the fear of the time when people in Pradley  had whispered about her having evil powers, and that she should be sent away. It had been after one lad had been teasing  her.  Losing her temper, she’d turned on him, telling him no good would come to him. The lad had fallen ill just afterwards and, in his delirium, had screamed her name in terror. The atmosphere had darkened from that day, as many gave her a wide berth. Some even spat in her path. What this man had just said about Pendle Hill deepened her fear. Please, God, save us; save me brothers and our Amy and me little Elsie. Don’t let this devil of a man kill them.

‘Get on with it or they will all die.’

Ruth’s fear turned to terror, as she saw the gun was now pointed at Elsie. The child had no concept of the danger she was in, as she ran over to Seth. The movement spooked the Earl. A crack resounded through the valley, echoing off the hills.

Amy screamed. Ruth’s heart banged against her ribs. But then relief flooded through her as she saw that no one was hurt.

The Earl smiled as he reloaded his gun. ‘Just to show you that I mean what I say.’

Bending over as best she could, Ruth touched the lady’s forehead. She stirred.

‘See! It is as I said – you are a witch! You only had to touch her and—’

Pushing back her hair, which had come loose from the ribbon Ma had tied in it, Ruth looked up at him and saw him properly  for  the  first  time.  ‘Puny’ was  how  she’d label him. His bones jutted from hollow cheeks, his lips were feminine in their fullness, and she could see that his hair hung  in  false  curls  held  with  pins, some of which had escaped and now looked hideous. The depths of his black eyes held terror for her and, in that moment, she knew she was damned if his mother lived, and yet damned if she didn’t.

The thought came to her that this would be the fate of her sisters and brothers as well. With this, her anger – fuelled by fear for herself and her siblings – caused her to grab her crutch and swing it with all her might. Catching the back of the Earl’s knees, her blow floored him. Lunging  towards him on all fours, Ruth scrambled across him, holding his body down with her weight. Her eyes glimpsed his pistol, now loosened from his grip. Grabbing it, she mustered all her strength and smashed it across his head.

The gaping, bloodied gash on his forehead shocked her back to reality. Gasping for breath, she stared in horror as the Earl’s head rolled to one side, as if independent of his neck. His breath gasped from him in a rasping, gurgling sound. He didn’t draw it back in. Oh God! No. No . . . I’ve killed him!

‘Ruth! God, Ruth, lass, what have you don

‘I didn’t mean to kill him, Seth. I didn’t. I just wanted to knock him out, so we could get away.’

A moan caught their attention. The lady moved her head, but didn’t open her eyes.

‘What’re we going to do?’ Seth’s whisper held tears. His fear spurred Ruth into action. Pulling her crutch towards her and grabbing the piece of ribbon she’d lost from her hair – a precious memento now, as her ma had won it when the fair had visited – she put her hand out to Seth, who helped her up.

A flash of memory  came to her, as she held onto the ribbon – her ma’s words: ‘I’m choosing you over Amy or Elsie for the ribbon, lass, as it will help to keep you cool, to have your hair tied back. Never cut your hair, our lass. It is your crowning glory. Look at it: it reaches your waist. It suits your beautiful oval face and complements  your blue eyes. You need it to distract people from your affliction, and to let folk see as you’re a bonny lass, despite that foot of yours.’

Shaking the tear-jerking recollection from her, Ruth brought her attention back to their current situation. ‘Seth, you and George get the Earl’s body back into the coach. Hurry, afore his ma comes round proper. Put him in a pos- ition that he would likely be in if he’d been killed in the accident. Go on, me lads.’

Hobbling over to the lady, Ruth placed herself between her and the carriage, because although the lady had sunk back into deep unconsciousness once more, Ruth felt afraid that she might still open her eyes and see what they were doing.

‘Amy, lass, bring Elsie to me, and then get sommat to disturb the mud to hide the trail of the lads dragging the body. A stick or something will do.’

‘But, our Ruth, anyone’ll know as he were out of the carriage afore he died. He’ll be covered in mud, and there’s mud on his boots.’

Fear of the truth of what Amy said stopped Ruth in her tracks for a moment. When a solution came to her, she knew George wouldn’t be in favour of it, but their situation was desperate – hers above all, as now the noose would be her certain fate.

‘We have to attach the horses again and drive them over the cliff to take the—’

‘Naw!’

George’s  horrified  gasp  showed  Ruth  the  enormity  of what she’d proposed, and she knew she wouldn’t be able to achieve it.

‘We have to do sommat to cover up what really happened, George. We have to.’

‘I think I knaw what we could do, our Ruth.’

Ruth didn’t dismiss Amy. The lass had a clever brain. She could even read and write, and she’d only had the miller’s lad to teach her what he’d learned in school.

‘We could just push the seating area of the carriage over the edge, with the Earl inside. Then, when he’s found, the state of him will give no clue to him having left the carriage before he died. And it won’t be too heavy for us to shift, now that it is detached from where the trunks are stored. We could say as we’d managed to get the lady out, but then had to unleash the horses as they were in danger of shoving the rest over the cliff. But just as we did so, the lightest part of the carriage went over, with the unconscious man still in it.’

‘Yes, that could have happened. You’re reet, lass. By, Ma allus said as you were the brains of the family, our Amy. Reet, me lads, that’s what we’ll do – just as Amy says – and I can help, if I get me back against it.’

‘Naw, you shield the lady’s view, Ruth, just in case. And mind our Elsie an’ all. Me and the lads’ll manage. We’re strong.’

Ruth did as Amy suggested. She knew her own strength was limited and would more than likely be a hindrance. It wasn’t just her foot that was crippled, as the bottom of her spine also had a curve in it. Though it wasn’t much of one and it didn’t bend her over, unless she was tired, like now, the curvature did cause her pain almost beyond endurance at times. She held Elsie to her, and the crashing sound of the carriage against the rocks undid her. Her body trembled. The dry sockets of her eyes filled with tears as the full impact of their plight hit her. She looked in fear at the lady, but she hadn’t moved. The thought came to her: God, what now? What now?

There was no doubt in Ruth’s mind that they had to take the lady down to Clitheroe and get help for her, but what trouble would that bring down upon them? The fear this caused increased the shaking in her body.

 

~~~~~

Did you enjoy this extract?  If so, ‘The Street Orphans’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Street-Orphans-Mary-Wood-ebook/dp/B0796YKFT6/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1526581100&sr=1-1

 

About Mary Wood

Born in Maidstone, Kent, in 1945, the thirteenth child of fifteen children, Mary’s family settled in Leicestershire after the war ended.

Mary married young and now, after 54 years of happy marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, Mary and her husband live in Blackpool during the summer and Spain during the winter – a place that Mary calls, ‘her writing retreat’.

After many jobs from cleaning to catering, all chosen to fit in with bringing up her family, and boost the family money-pot, Mary ended her 9 – 5 working days as a Probation Service Officer, a job that showed her another side to life, and which influences her writing, bringing a realism and grittiness to her novels

Mary first put pen to paper, in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she finally found some success by self-publishing on kindle.

Being spotted by an editor at Pan Macmillan in 2013, finally saw Mary reach her publishing dream.

When not writing, Mary enjoys family time, reading, eating out, and gardening. One of her favourite pastimes is interacting with her readers.

 

Links

Website – https://www.authormarywood.com/

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/HistoricalNovels

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Authormary

 

Blog Tour – ‘No Remorse’ by Robert Crouch

‘No Remorse’ was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 7th May 2018.  I have followed this series from the beginning and having participated in the cover reveal for this book, I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour.  I would like to thank Caroline Vincent of Bits about Books for inviting me to take part and both Caroline and Robert Crouch for my review copy.

Before you find out what I thought about this book, here’s a reminder of what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

Old sins cast long shadows.

An old man dead. Dementia or murder? Threats won’t stop Kent Fisher from finding out.

At luxury retirement home, Nightingales, appearance matters more than the truth. But what is the truth? Was Anthony Trimble killed as he predicted? If so, who wanted him out of the way, and why?

Kent puzzles over the only clue Trimble left him. Are the numbers a mysterious code that could reveal his dark secret, or items on a takeaway menu?

Kent has to dig deep. Then people start dying.

Will Kent win the race to discover the truth, or become the next victim?

With shades of Agatha Christie and Sue Grafton, No Remorse brings a refreshing twist to the traditional murder mystery.

 

My Review

I have been thoroughly enjoying this series so far. I really think Robert Crouch has his work cut out in making sure his books remain fresh and interesting, a hard thing to achieve. Having now read ‘No Remorse’ I would say he’s doing a great job. I can just picture him writing many more books in the Kent Fisher Mystery series and in years to come having at least twenty books to his name. Here’s hoping anyway.

This was a really interesting and quite shocking case. A resident dies in the residential home he’s living in. Sure that happens, but there was something rather fishy about it all. I just knew Kent Fisher would work out what it was. I was intrigued by the message Mr Trimble left for him. I really wouldn’t have minded trying to decode it myself, but as I discovered that would have been impossible.

Even though Kent Fisher was receiving threats he didn’t give up on the case, instead ploughing on. That’s what makes him good at what he does. He obviously enjoys his job as an Environmental Health Officer even with the recent changes, but I can’t help thinking that it would be great if he went full-time as a private investigator. He would be ace at it. Who knows what may happen next.

I never tire reading about Kent’s animal sanctuary and I can’t wait to find out what happens with it in the future. I also really adore Columbo the dog.

This book can be read as a standalone novel as the reader is given an insight into what has happened so far, i.e. the two murder cases that Kent Fisher has solved, his animal sanctuary and his personal life. However, I would recommend reading the series from the start, simply because it’s so good.

‘No Remorse’ is an addictive read which you will find hard to put down.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

~~~~~

‘No Remorse’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2ECusbD

Amazon US – https://amzn.to/2HoVNRL

 

About Robert Crouch

Inspired by Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo, Robert Crouch wanted to write entertaining crime fiction the whole family could enjoy.

At their heart is Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. Passionate about the environment, justice and fair play, he’s soon embroiled in murder.

Drawing on his experiences as an environmental health officer, Robert has created a new kind of detective who brings a unique and fresh twist to the traditional murder mystery. With complex plots, topical issues and a liberal dash of irreverent humour, the Kent Fisher mysteries offer an alternative to the standard police procedural.

Robert now writes full time and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and their West Highland White Terrier, Harvey, who appears in the novels as Kent’s sidekick, Columbo.

To discover more, visit http://robertcrouch.co.uk.

 

Links

Previous books in the series:

#1 No Accident:
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2FWW3tC
Amazon US: http://bit.ly/AmUStoNARC

#2 No Bodies:
Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/AmUKtoNBRC
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2GtLY7Q

Twitter: @robertcrouchuk

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/robertcrouchauthor/

 

Blog Tour – ‘Rose Gold’ by David Barker

‘Rose Gold’ was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 10th May 2018 by Urbane Publications.  The second book in the Gaia Trilogy, it can be read as a standalone novel.  I would like to thank David Barker for inviting me to take part in his blog tour.  This book is getting such good reviews.

I have an exclusive extract from ‘Rose Gold’ for all of you, but first here’s what its about.

 

Book Blurb

Rose Gold is a thriller set in the near future, in the aftermath of a world war for water. Geopolitical tensions remain high and terrorism is a daily fact of life. But a mining base on the moon offers a rare example of international co-operation and a possible solution to the world’s energy problems. Yet not everyone on Earth is keen for this endeavour to succeed…

Rose Gold is the sequel to Blue Gold, but can be read as a stand-alone novel. It draws on influences as diverse as Arthur C Clarke’s A Fall of Moondust, the film Moon and Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries.

 

Extract

Click on the link to read Chapters 1, 2 and 3.

Extract from ‘Rose Gold’

~~~~

Like the sound of ‘Rose Gold’?  Well, it’s available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rose-Gold-thriller-thats-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B07CF4NS8Q/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1526224951&sr=1-3&keywords=david+barker

 

About David Barker

David was born in Cheshire but now lives in Berkshire. He is married to an author of children’s picture books, with a daughter who loves stories. His working life has been spent in the City, first for the Bank of England and now as Chief Economist for an international fund. So his job entails trying to predict the future all the time. David’s writing ambitions received a major boost after he attended the Faber Academy six-month course in 2014 and he still meets up with his inspirational fellow students. He loves reading, especially adventure stories, sci-fi and military history. Outside of family life, his other interests include tennis, golf and surfing. Rose Gold, sequel to Blue Gold, publishes spring 2018.

 

Links

Website – http://davidbarkerauthor.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/bluegold201

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Weekend Spa Break’ by Anne John-Ligali

‘The Weekend Spa Break’, the second part of the Friendship Online Series, was published as an eBook on the 30th April 2018 by Books and Authors UK.  Having enjoyed ‘The Big Event’, I was delighted when Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources invited me to take part in this blog tour.  I would like to thank both the author and Rachel for my review copy.

You will find out what I thought of this book soon, but first here’s what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

Friendships Online Series
Part Two

After finally meeting in person at the publishing party of the season, Constance and Estelle are determined not to let their friendship return to mere virtual champagne bottles and uploaded pictures of food.

It’s been a busy year, and Constance feels it’s time to reward herself with the spa break Estelle gave her for Christmas. Naturally, Constance wouldn’t dream of taking anyone other than Estelle, and this will provide the perfect opportunity to bond with her new chum.

As the excited pair spend some quality time together, they realise it’s not just writing books they have in common, but something that goes much deeper. After a few Jacuzzi sessions, facials, pedicures, and a massage by sexy Senior Therapist, Julio, everything seems to be peachy until an unexpected visitor turns Constance’s weekend of bliss … on its head.

 

A two-day spa break.

Sparkling water on tap.

And the perfect massage.

But who’s rubbing who up the wrong way?

 

My Review

I don’t normally like reading books in parts, preferring instead to devour the whole novel, but I was really looking forward to reading ‘The Weekend Spa Break’ and catching up with Constance and Estelle. I really do like the idea of this series and I think it’s working out well. I love the way Anne John-Ligali describes things. I felt that I got to know a lot more about the characters this time too which was great.

I loved reading about Glitzys Hotel and Health Spa. It all sounded so nice. If only I could wave a magic wand right now and hey presto find myself standing in the same hotel with all that delicious food. The author has done a good job of tantalising my taste buds. Like Constance though I would probably sneak something in.

I think the spa break really brought Constance and Estelle closer together. They got to know each other properly and discovered that they actually had a lot more in common than they thought, leading to a number of possibilities in the future. It really is amazing how virtual friendships can develop. Social media played a big part in the story too of course.

I am really looking forward to reading the third part of this series.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

~~~~~

Do you like the sound of this book?  You can purchase it from Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2GVSnZX

 

Competition

To mark the release of part two in the friendships series, I’m giving away a Sanctuary Spa gift set and a signed printed and binded copy of The Weekend Spa Break to one lucky winner.  At present, there are no physical copies of The Weekend Spa Break available, so this is a treat.

To enter you only have to do is visit my Twitter page https://twitter.com/AnneJohnLigali and retweet the pinned tweet showing this GIVEAWAY.

A winner will be chosen at random by Tweet Draw and announced on Saturday the 19th of May at 20:00hrs.

Competition is open worldwide.

Good luck!

 

About Anne John-Ligali

Anne John-Ligali is a writer and the founder of Books and Authors UK, a popular website featuring author interviews and book reviews. She loves all things books: reading, writing, going to book events, and meeting other book lovers. She has written a series of short stories and is currently writing her first novel.

Anne has always loved stories and read many books as a child, including the entire Sweet Valley High and Caitlyn series. Her interest in writing fiction came years later, when she began writing for pleasure in 2007.

Originally from Peterborough, Anne now lives in London. After moving to London, she studied graphic design at the University of Arts and has held a number IT administration jobs in the city. Anne continues writing and aspires to write more women’s fiction books, a non-fiction book and several children’s books.

 

Social Media Links

Author blog: http://annejohnligali.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/booksnauthorsuk/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnneJohnLigali

Author FB: https://www.facebook.com/annejohnligali/

 

Books and Authors UK: www.booksandauthors.co.uk

Books and Authors UK Twitter: https://twitter.com/BooksNAuthorsUK

Books and Authors UK Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Books-and-Authors-UK-674729805905507/

 

Trailer for ‘The Weekend Spa Break’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFdx5ZReGRU

Blog Blitz – ‘Don’t You Dare’ by A.J. Waines

‘Don’t You Dare’ was published as an eBook on the 8th May 2018 by Bloodhound Books and is also available in paperback.  Having read a couple of A.J. Waines previous books which were self-published, I was totally made up for her when I saw that she had signed a book deal with a publisher.  I would like to thank A.J. Waines for mentioning me to Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books for my review copy.  I wouldn’t have missed taking part in this blog blitz for the world.

I’ll tell you exactly what I thought of ‘Don’t You Dare’ in a minute, but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

What if your daughter becomes your enemy?

When barmaid, Rachel, discovers her soon-to-be-married daughter, Beth,​ pinned down by a stranger in the pub cellar, Rachel lashes out in panic and the intruder ends up dead. In desperation, Rachel convinces Beth they should cover up the crime and go ahead with the planned wedding in one month’s time.

Rachel, however, has her own reasons for not involving the police.

Hiding their dreadful secret is harder than they both imagined and as the big day approaches and the lies multiply, Beth becomes a liability. Rachel looks on in dismay at the hen party​ ​when, after too many drinks, Beth declares she’s about to make a special announcement. But before Beth can say a word, she disappears…

When two people share a chilling secret, can both hold their nerve?

This book explores the dark side of a mother-daughter relationship when pushed to the limit.

It will appeal to fans of authors like Ruth Ware, Clare Mackintosh and C.L. Taylor.

 

My Review

The first thing I want to say is that A.J. Waines books just keep getting better and better. I feel as if I have been on a ride whilst reading ‘Don’t You Dare’, and I really didn’t want to come off it. It was so gripping and exciting and I found myself totally hooked.

The story is narrated by Rachel and Beth. I could see exactly why Rachel reacted the way she did when she found her daughter with a man in the cellar who appeared to be raping her. It’s not like she meant to kill him. But from then on things got tricky and her attempts to protect both herself and Beth got rather out of hand. At times I thought that Rachel went over the top and I really wasn’t sure that I liked her. She was becoming a bit of a control freak and the things she did behind Beth’s back were just shocking, even if all she was doing was looking out for her.

There were so many questions going through my head whilst I was reading this book. What if this or that happens? Will Beth and Peter get married in the end? It really had me thinking.

‘Don’t You Dare’ is an absolute corker of a read. I recommend it to all fans of psychological thrillers. I can’t wait to read A.J. Waines next book.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘Don’t You Dare’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-You-Dare-heart-stopping-psychological-ebook/dp/B07CLKBQQ9/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1525888061&sr=1-1

 

About A.J. Waines

AJ Waines has sold over 450,000 books worldwide and topped the UK and Australian Kindle Charts in 2015 & 2016 with her number one bestseller, Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, she is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in UK, France, Germany, Norway, Hungary and USA (audiobooks).

Her fourth psychological thriller, No Longer Safe, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month, in thirteen countries. AJ Waines has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and has been ranked a Top 10 UK author on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). She lives in Hampshire, UK, with her husband.

Find AJ Waines’ books here, visit her website and blog, or join her on TwitterFacebook or get her Newsletter.

 

Social Media Links

Website           www.ajwaines.co.uk

Newsletter       http://eepurl.com/bamGuL

Blog:               www.awaines.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook:       www.facebook.com/AJWaines

Twitter:           www.twitter.com/AJWaines

Goodreads:     www.goodreads.com/AJWaines

Instagram:       www.instagram.com/ajwaines

Bookbub:        www.bookbub.com/authors/a-j-waines

 

Blog Blitz – ‘One Summer in Rome’ by Samantha Tonge

Huge congratulations to Samantha Tonge whose new book, ‘One Summer in Rome’ is out today as an eBook, published by HQ Digital.  I took part in the cover reveal back in January and today I am absolutely delighted to be one of a number of book bloggers taking part in this blog blitz, which was organised by Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources.  I would like to thank both Rachel and the publisher for my review copy.

You will find out in a little while what I thought of ‘One Summer in Rome’, but first here’s a reminder of what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

To Rome…with love?

Mary Smith is turning her very ordinary life upside-down! She’s bought herself a one-way ticket to Rome and is ready for a summer she’ll never forget.

Men might be off the cards for waitress Mary, but within hours of arriving at the utterly charming family-run La Dolce Vita pizzeria, she’s already fallen in love with the bustling capital!

Only Dante Rossi, the mysterious (and drop-dead gorgeous) chef seems displeased with her arrival. And in the heat of the kitchen, it doesn’t take long for long-buried secrets to surface and sparks to fly…

A deliciously heartwarming romance to have you dreaming of summer. Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Caroline Roberts.

 

My Review

Until now, I had never read any of Samantha Tonge’s books. So what is my verdict now that I have finished ‘One Summer in Rome’? Well, I could literally kick myself for not having done so. I absolutely loved this author’s style of writing and the descriptions of Rome, the restaurant and the piazza. It really is true when they say that you can travel all over the world without leaving your chair.

I warmed to Mary straightaway and thought that it was very brave of her to start a new life in Rome. It actually did her a lot of good. The Rossi family were just lovely and they welcomed Mary with open arms, although it did take Dante a little while to thaw out.  I wasn’t too sure about Rocco at first. All became apparent later on though.

Reading about the pizzas made my mouth water. How I would have loved to watch Dante creating them. In fact, he can come and make me a pizza anytime. I certainly wouldn’t turn him away.

‘One Summer in Rome’ is a wonderful story. It deals with a number of issues; things which can affect us all. What some of the characters had been through was heart-breaking. It’s not all doom and gloom though. This story will also warm your heart and make you smile on a number of occasions.

I really do hope to read some of Samantha Tonge’s previous books when I get the chance and I am already looking forward to her next one.

Thank you for the many hours of pleasure.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~

Has my review whet your appetite?  It is available to buy from Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2rrwXfT

 

About Samantha Tonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat who thinks it’s a dog. When not writing she spends her days cycling, willing cakes to rise and avoiding housework. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award in 2014. Game of Scones hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Best Romantic Ebook category at the 2015 Love Stories Awards.

 

Links

Website – http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaTongeAuthor

Blog Tour – ‘The Man on the Middle Floor’ by Elizabeth S. Moore

‘The Man on the Middle Floor’ was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 12th April 2018 by RedDoor Publishing.  I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.  I have a competition for all of you to enter, but first lets find out what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Lionel Shriver meets Mark Haddon in this break-out debut

Despite living in the same three-flat house in the suburbs of London, the residents are strangers to one another. The bottom floor is home to Tam, a recent ex-cop who spends his days drowning his sorrows in whisky. On the middle floor is Nick, a young man with Asperger’s who likes to stick to his schedules and routines. The top floor belongs to Karen, a doctor and researcher who has spent her life trying to understand the rising rates of autism. They have lived their lives separately, until now, when an unsolved murder and the man on the middle floor connect them all together. Told from three points of view, The Man on the Middle Floor is about disconnection in all its forms; sexual, physical, parental and emotional. It questions whether society is meeting the needs of the fast growing autistic section of society, or exacerbating it.

Thought-provoking and thrilling, The Man on the Middle Floor will leave readers talking.

~~~~~

‘The Man on the Middle Floor’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Man-Middle-Floor-Elizabeth-Moore/dp/1910453544/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

Competition

One very lucky winner has the chance to win a paperback copy of ‘The Man on the Middle Floor’.  To enter just leave a comment telling me why you want to read this book.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 10th May 2018.

The winner will be randomly chosen and notified within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to RedDoor Publishing who will send out the prize.

 

About Elizabeth S. Moore

Elizabeth S. Moore has worked as a journalist since she won the Decanter Young Wine Writer of the Year at seventeen. She has written columns and articles on restaurants, politics, South Africa and all things foodie. She comes from a family that has given her a lot of writing material and is currently finishing her second book, having written the first after completing the Faber Write a Novel course and being approached by fourteen agents after reading an excerpt of her novel to industry professionals. Elizabeth lives in London with her South African husband and has three daughters and a son as well as two lazy Labradors.

 

Links

Website – https://elizabethsmoore.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LizzyMoore19

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethMooreAuthor/

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Stealth’ by Hugh Fraser

It’s a brand new month and I have something very special for you today. Fans of Hugh Fraser will be thrilled to learn that he has a new book coming out. ‘Stealth’, the fourth in the Rina Walker series is being published in hardback on the 4th October 2018 by Urbane Publications.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be revealing the cover for ‘Stealth’. I personally love it and think it’s been very cleverly designed.

Well, are you all ready to see it? Is that a Yes??

Feast your eyes on this then…..

 

Book Blurb

Stealth’ is book 4 in the bestselling Rina Walker series, following ‘Harm’, ‘Threat’ and ‘Malice’.

When a working girl is brutally murdered in a Soho club, Rina Walker takes out the killer and attracts the attention of a sinister line-up of gangland enforcers with a great deal to prove.

Rina will need to call upon all her dark skills not simply to survive, but to protect those she loves.

Publishes October 4th 2018, £16.99 Hardback

 

About Hugh Fraser

Hugh Fraser is best known for playing Captain Hastings in Agatha Christie’s ‘Poirot’ and the Duke of Wellington in ‘Sharpe’. His films include Patriot Games, 101 Dalmatians, The Draughtsman’s Contract and Clint Eastwood’s Firefox. In the theatre he has appeared in Teeth’n’Smiles at the Royal Court and Wyndhams and in several roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has also narrated many of Agatha Christie’s novels as audio books. He has now written three books in the Rina Walker series – Harm, Threat and Malice. Stealth is due in autumn 2018.

 

Links

Hugh Fraser’s other books – https://urbanepublications.com/authors/hugh-fraser/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/realhughfraser/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/realhughfraser

Guest Post by Ninja Book Box

I am absolutely delighted to have Ninja Book Box on my blog today talking about their subscription boxes and how it all started.  There’s also a special offer for all of you at the bottom of the post.

 

How I Made it My Job to Read (and browse Etsy)

It’s 2016 and I am anxious. An introverted book blogger, book swap organiser and retail worker, about to hit ‘submit’ on my first Kickstarter project. Thinking through the project as I go along, my only experience of the industry I’m about to enter is from several years of blogging for fun…

Over the last year or so there’s been an explosion of subscription boxes based here in the UK. The attraction of a good subscription box is in the element of surprise and discovery and this is enhanced further when it’s a subscription box entirely dedicated to independently published books (for more on what I mean by independent publishers see here). During 2016 I got interested in finding out more about publishers outside the big 5 and decided that every book I bought either had to be purchased from an independent bookshop or published by an independent publisher, or both. At the time I was running an international book swap which led to me receiving parcels including some of the indie books I’d been adding to my wishlist. It made me think how great it would be if there was a book subscription box to help me do this on a regular basis, since indie books aren’t always easy to recognise or find in many bookshops. I started to explore the options but at the time couldn’t find any solely for independently published books or that weren’t specific to one genre. I’ve always used books to explore the world, learn new things and push the boundaries, so from the start I was looking for a multi-genre offering which did just that.

After lots of thought, and a couple of twitter polls to gauge the bookish community’s response to the concept (I highly recommend twitter polls to test the waters when you have ideas that seem mad), I decided to start working on a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to launch a quarterly book subscription box. Having run a creative business in the not too distant past, I’ve always been passionate about the importance of supporting independent designers and makers. Working for yourself, especially making things that require a lot of effort and skill, can be really hard and from the beginning I wanted to use the box as a place to showcase the beautiful work of small businesses.

Thanks to the support of the bookish community, our Kickstarter was fully funded in a couple of days and the reality of creating the boxes began! I’ve learned so much since starting Ninja Book Box but the most important is that building relationships and supporting others is absolutely vital. The bookish community I was already part of enabled our launch and the community we’ve built up since then has kept us going.

So far we’ve worked with a range of indie publishers to include both new and backlist books from a range of genres in our boxes, with the idea of bringing people things they wouldn’t otherwise hear about. We read through each quarter’s book a couple of times to pick out a theme, and pair it with gifts that we source or custom-order which build on elements of the book and theme to teach new skills or explore an experience associated with the world of the story. We work hard to make the boxes an oasis of calm and fun in the middle of a busy week, and have added a monthly indie book club with an option to subscribe to increase the number of great independently published books we’re bringing people.

Our May box, themed ‘Conspiracy by Candlelight’ is now available and we’re happy to offer readers of this blog 10% off a single purchase box and any of our other books and gifts. Just head to our shop and use code LoverofBooks at the checkout!

 

Links

Website – www.ninjabookbox.com

Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/ninjabookbox

Twitter and Instagram – @ninjabookbox

 

Lynne Milford’s (aka LM Milford’s) Monthly Guest Post – April 2018

Lynne Milford (aka LM Milford) won my Twitter competition last year to feature on my blog for twelve months.  Her debut novel, ‘A Deadly Rejection’ sounds really good and I am still enjoying learning all about it.  This month Lynne is talking about writing a series.

 

Why you should write a series

The definition of a series is probably quite fluid. It could be over a short period of time with a definite beginning and end – like Broadchurch – or over a longer term with the same characters but different plots – like Midsomer Murders. Whichever way you choose to do it, it takes some long-term planning.

When I was a very green writer, scribbling away desperately on my first novel, I envisaged vaguely that it could be a series. I had no firm plans about how to accomplish this (crazy, isn’t it?) apart from that I’d go about it slightly differently. Instead of the series being led by the main character, the link for the series would be that it all happened in Allensbury with a different main character for each book. The police officers would remain the same, because the series is set in the same town, but I wanted a different protagonist to keep things fresh. One of the police officers has his own novella, but in theory that sits outside the series.

However, when I had Book One structurally edited, it was suggested that the protagonists would make good series characters. This pulled me up short, because clearly it wasn’t something I’d considered before.

If I was going to turn the books into a series, there were a few questions I had to ask myself:

  • Are the main characters strong enough to carry a series? If not, then I needed to beef them up, or come up with some new ones.
  • Is it realistic that they could come across so many murders without people asking questions? I read somewhere that you shouldn’t have a journalist as a main character because their motivation, as reporting on the story, wouldn’t be strong enough. This is another piece of advice that I ignored and gave him a damn good reason to investigate.
  • Do you have enough legitimate plot ideas to turn into a series? You need to make sure every book is believable or you’ll lose the readers. I’d say you need to think up at least four ideas before you start working on a series, and have a skeleton plan for each of them to make sure they’re sustainable.

At first I decided that I’d stick with my original plan and change the protagonist for Book Two, but when A Deadly Rejection was published I got some positive feedback about Dan, the news reporter who leads the story. I decided that if people really like Dan then he needs to continue. His job means that he will constantly come up against crimes and have a legitimate reason to want to solve them. He’s also ably supported by Emma, the crime reporter, who can also become the protagonist if necessary. In fact, that will happen in the next book in the series – titled at present Book Three.

I already had Book Two written from start to finish, with Dan only playing a cameo role. It took a lot of thinking and replotting to get the book to a point where he would convincingly fit in as the lead character. I was concerned that it may look like he’d been shoehorned in, but early feedback from beta readers suggests that, in the main, the story works. There is still work to do on the book and it’ll soon go off to my professional editor for her feedback. I’m fairly confident that she’ll be happy with it, but I’m sure there’ll also be plenty of suggestions to make the book better.

At present I have plans for another two Allensbury novels – they’ll be badged as the Allensbury Mysteries once I have more than one, and there are also 2-3 novellas to come as part of the series. However, once I’ve finished those I’ll be considering whether to continue to come up with Allensbury-related ideas or whether to strike out and try something new. All I can promise is that there’ll be more murder and mayhem, and that it’ll be another series.

A Deadly Rejection is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon. UK address is https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0768WP1SB

Catch up with me on Twitter @lmmilford or visit my website www.lmmilford.wordpress.com

 

Previous Guest Posts

First guest post (January 2018) – My writing journey

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/lynne-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

Second guest post (February 2018) – Where did A Deadly Rejection come from?

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

Third guest post (March 2018) – Creating the perfect cast for A Deadly Rejection

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-march-2018/

Book Review – ‘Fearless’ by Jessie Keane

Today I am reviewing ‘Fearless’ by Jessie Keane which was published in hardback and as an eBook on the 22nd March 2018 by Macmillan.  I unfortunately had to pull out of the blog tour organised by Anne Cater of Random Things Tours.

You will find out in a minute what I thought about this book.  First though here’s what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

Josh Flynn is the king of the bare-knuckle gypsy fighters. His reputation is un-blemished; his fist a deadly weapon.

Claire Milo has always loved Josh, they were destined to be together from the day they met. Two gypsy lovers with their whole lives ahead of them. If only Josh would find a different way of earning a living instead of knocking the living daylights out of another man in the boxing ring. One day, she knew something really bad was going to happen. She could feel it . . .

Shauna Everett always wanted what she couldn’t have, and nobody, especially Claire Milo was going to stand in her way. She’s had her eye on Josh Flynn for years and she knew just how to get him. If it meant playing dirty, then so be it. What had she got to lose?

In a world ruled by violence, crime and backstreet brawls, only one woman will win in Jessie Keane’s Fearless, but how low is she prepared to go to achieve that goal?

 

My Review

This is the first novel by Jessie Keane that I have read. With nearly six hundred pages and split into three parts this is quite a long book. I like it when stories have a prologue and I was left feeling intrigued by this particular one. There were loads of chapters, all short, which mostly had me hooked. It was literally a case of just one more chapter followed by I’m sure I have time to read another one or two.

Set in both England and America from 1975 onwards this story follows Josh Flynn’s life and his undying love for Claire Milo who mysteriously disappeared, never to be heard from again. If only he had known the truth from the start then maybe things wouldn’t have happened the way they did.

There were a number of unsavoury characters in the story. For a start off I really couldn’t stand Shauna Everett. She was just pure evil. She made sure that she got exactly what she wanted whatever it took, with absolutely no thought for anyone else’s feelings. As for the Cleaver family, I wouldn’t want to meet them in a dark alley. They were just scary!!

Out of all the characters my favourite one was Claire Milo. She came across as really lovely. I felt so bad for her and what she was put through.

There is a lot of swearing and violence throughout the story which may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if that doesn’t bother you then I can promise that you are in for a good read.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘Fearless’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fearless-Jessie-Keane/dp/144725435X/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1524911030&sr=1-1

 

About Jessie Keane

Jessie Keane is a Sunday Times top ten bestselling author. She’s lived both ends of the social spectrum, and her fascination with London’s underworld led her to write Dirty Game, followed by bestsellers Black Widow, Scarlet Women, Jail Bird, The Make, Playing Dead, Nameless, Ruthless (the fifth book to feature Annie Carter), Lawless and Dangerous. Jessie’s books have sold more than 750,000 copies. She now lives in Hampshire.

 

Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JessieKeane

Twitter – https://twitter.com/realjessiekeane

 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: