A Lover of Books

Blog Tour – ‘The Snow Killer’ by Ross Greenwood ~ @BoldwoodBooks @greenwoodross

Ross Greenwood is back with a brand new series and I for one am absolutely thrilled.  This author is sure going places and it is all very exciting.

‘The Snow Killer’, the first book in the DI Barton series, was published in paperback and as an eBook by Boldwood Books on the 12th November 2019.  For fans of audio it is available in both Audiobook and Audio CD formats.

I have an extract from ‘The Snow Killer’ for you all.  First though here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

‘Fear the north wind. Because no one will hear you scream…’

A family is gunned down in the snow but one of the children survives. Three years on, that child takes revenge and the Snow Killer is born. But then, nothing – no further crimes are committed, and the case goes cold.

Fifty years later, has the urge to kill been reawakened? As murder follows murder, the detective team tasked with solving the crimes struggle with the lack of leads. It’s a race against time and the weather – each time it snows another person dies.

As grizzled and exhausted DI Barton and his team scrabble around to put the pieces of the puzzle together, none of them stop long enough to realise the killer is hiding in plain sight. Meanwhile, the killings continue…

The first in a new series, Ross Greenwood has written a cracking, crackling crime story with a twist in its tale which will surprise even the most hardened thriller readers. Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham and Stuart MacBride.

 

Extract

WINTER

50 YEARS AGO

Chapter 1

 

I must have been ten years old when I first tidied up his drug paraphernalia. I didn’t want my sister crawling over it. We called her Special – a take on Michelle – because she was an enigma. Special was a term of endearment for us, funny how nowadays it could be considered an insult. She never spoke a single word and seemed more of a peaceful spirit than a physical entity. Give her a crayon or pencil and a piece of paper, though, and her smile filled the room.

I monitored my father’s habit through his mood swings or by how much time he spent in bed. The foil and needles increased rapidly just before we escaped London a few years back. I cried because both my parents left evidence of their addiction.

In many ways, my mother was as simple as Special. Swayed by my dominant father, she did everything he said, even though she had more common sense. Joining him in his heroin habit was inevitable.

Until the night we left, we took holidays and ate out in restaurants. I didn’t know where the money came from because I had no idea what my father did.

The evening we fled London, we packed our suitcases at ten at night and caught the last train to Peterborough, arriving at two in the morning. I recall beaming at my parents, especially when we checked into a huge hotel on the first night. My mum’s brother, Ronnie, lived nearby. When we eventually found him, he helped us move into a cottage in rural Lincolnshire, which was cheap for obvious reasons. The single storey building had five rooms and no internal doors. You could hear everything from any room – even the toilet.

Six months after we settled in our new home, I lay in the damp bed with my sister’s warm breath on my neck and heard my father casually say he’d shot the wrong man. The fact my mother wasn’t surprised shocked me more.

Life carried on. My parents continued to avoid reality. We ate a lot of sandwiches. Lincolnshire is only two hours north of London but it felt like the edge of the world after the hustle and bustle of the capital city. I walked the three miles to school. Special stayed at home where she painted and coloured. My mum sold Special’s pictures. She drew people and animals in a childish way, but they captivated people as the eyes in the pictures haunted the viewer.

One freezing night, my sister and I cuddled in bed and listened to another argument raging in the lounge. We had our own beds but only ever slept apart in the hot summer months. At six years old, she didn’t take up much room.

‘You did what?’ my mother shouted.

‘I saw an opportunity,’ my father replied.

‘What were you thinking?’

‘We’re broke. We needed the money.’

‘What you’ve done is put our family in danger. They’ll find us.’

‘They won’t think I took it.’

I might have been only fifteen years old, but I had eyes and ears. My parents constantly talked about money and drugs. By then, that was all they were interested in. That said, I don’t recall being unhappy, despite their problems. Normal life just wasn’t for them.

My mother’s voice became a loud, worried whisper. ‘What if they come for the money? The children are here.’

‘They won’t hurt them,’ my father said.

A hand slammed on the kitchen table. ‘We need to leave.’

‘It’s three in the morning and snowing. No one will look now. Besides, where would we go?’

‘We’re rich! We can stay where we like.’

Crazily, they laughed. I suppose that’s why they loved each other. They were both the same kind of mad.

That was the sixties and a different time. Not everyone spent their lives within earshot of a busy road. In fact, few people owned their own car. If you’ve ever lived deep in the countryside, you’ll know how quiet the long nights are. So it makes sense that I could hear the approaching vehicle for miles before it arrived. The put-put-put we gradually heard in unison that night sounded too regular for it to be my uncle’s ancient van. And anyway, good news doesn’t arrive in the middle of the night.

 

‘The Snow Killer’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Snow-Killer-start-explosive-Barton-ebook/dp/B07XLFWZ7D/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1574020017&sr=8-1-spons

 

About Ross Greenwood

Ross Greenwood, an author from Peterborough, has written six crime thrillers. He uses his experience of travelling and working all over the world to create layered believable characters that will capture your imagination. In 2011, Ross decided to take on a new challenge and became a prison officer. He writes murderers, rapists and thieves brilliantly because he worked with them every day for four years.

 

Links

Author Website: www.rossgreenwoodauthor.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/greenwoodross

Amazon Author Page: Author.to/RossGreenwood

BookBub: www.bookbub.com/authors/ross-greenwood

Goodreads: bit.ly/RossGreenwood-GR

 

Blog Tour – ‘A Deathly Silence’ by Jane Isaac ~ @Legend_Press @JaneIsaacAuthor

I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for ‘A Deathly Silence’ by Jane Isaac.  The third book in the DCI Helen Lavery series, it was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 15th October 2019 by Legend Press.

I would like to thank both the publisher and the author for my review copy of ‘A Deathly Silence’.  You will find out in a minute exactly what I thought about this book.  First though here’s the all important book blurb.

 

 

Book Blurb

When the mutilated body of a police officer is found in a derelict factory, the Hamptonshire police force is shocked to the core.

DCI Helen Lavery returns from injury leave and is immediately plunged into an investigation like no other. Is this a random attack or is someone targeting the force? Organised crime groups or a lone killer?

As the net draws in, Helen finds the truth lies closer than she could have imagined, and trusts no one.

But Helen is facing a twisted killer who will stop at nothing to ensure their secrets remain hidden. And time is running out…

A gripping thriller perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, S.J. Watson, B A Paris and Sophie Hannah

 

My Review

This is the first book I have read in the DCI Helen Lavery series and oh my goodness, was it a cracker or what. I absolutely loved Jane Isaac’s writing style. The words practically leapt off the pages and I was totally engrossed. I really didn’t want to have to put the book down.

I thought ‘A Deathly Silence’ worked extremely well as a standalone. There were mentions of a previous investigation throughout which had me intrigued. I hope one day soon to be able to read the first two books in the series.

I liked DCI Helen Lavery right from the start. She was very professional and appeared to have a good working relationship with her colleagues, which of course is always very important when spending a number of hours with them. The murder of one of their own shocked them to the core. Who could do such a thing? The time bomb was ticking, and they needed to find the killer fast before he or she struck again.

This really was an excellent police procedural. It always fascinates me to see how the pieces of the puzzle fit together when trying to solve a crime. I imagine it’s a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. Just one small clue can lead to something big.

It was obvious from reading this book that the author has done her research. So much time and effort appears to have been put into this work of art. There wasn’t one dull moment.

If you like crime fiction and police procedurals, then I highly recommend that you read ‘A Deathly Silence’. I guarantee that you will be hooked.

Jane Isaac is now officially on my list of favourite authors and I hope there will be many more books to come from her.

 

‘A Deathly Silence’ is available from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deathly-Silence-DCI-Helen-Lavery/dp/1789550718/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1573673274&sr=8-1

 

About Jane Isaac

Jane Isaac is married to a serving detective and they live in rural Northamptonshire, UK with their daughter, and dog, Bollo. Jane’s debut novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, introduces DCI Helen Lavery and was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’

The Truth Will Out, the second in the DCI Helen Lavery series, was nominated as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by E-thriller.com and winner of ‘Noveltunity book club selection – May 2014’.

Jane’s seventh novel, Presumed Guilty, is the second in the highly acclaimed DC Beth Chamberlain (Family Liaison Officer) series.

The third DC Beth Chamberlain novel is scheduled for release in 2019, along with a new DCI Helen Lavery novel.

 

Links

Website – https://janeisaac.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JaneIsaacAuthor

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

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/janeisaac

Book Review – ‘Merde and Mandarins’ by Pete Adams ~ @damppebbles @nextchapterpb @Peteadams8

Earlier in the week I took part in the blog tour for ‘Merde and Mandarins’ with a book spotlight post.  Here is the link to it:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2019/10/28/blog-tour-merde-and-mandarins-by-pete-adams/

I now have my review of this book and would like to thank both Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours and the author for my proof copy of this book.  For ease of reference here is the book blurb again.

 

Book Blurb

A Defence Secretary shooting. The collapse of the Home Office Secretary. London’s high-ranking civil servants are being targeted, and DCI Jack Austin is drawn out of retirement.

When his wife is kidnapped, inept savant DCI Austin leads the rescue mission while trying to solve the recent mystery, and discover the motives of the master conspirator.

Racing towards the chaotic conclusion, can he find solace in a welcome retirement, and uncover the supreme Machiavellian plot?

 

My Review

I very much enjoyed ‘Merde and Mandarins’. The writing is of consistently high quality which is what I have come to expect from the author. I found this to be an extremely gripping read and I was totally on tenterhooks at times as to what was going to happen to a couple of the characters. There were also quite a few twists and turns throughout.

The storyline as a whole is rather complicated and you really do need to take the time to digest it all properly. I never get fed up of the humour and believe me there is a lot of it which might not be to everyone’s taste. Underneath the slapstick comedy though there are extremely serious matters afoot of which Jack Austin continues to play a big part.

I must mention Amlodd and Daphne who really appealed to me. I found both of them quite interesting and my heart literally went out to them. Daphne was a beautiful woman both inside and out. I think it would be great if they could be given a story of their own, i.e. a standalone novel.

I have always liked it when animals are included in stories as I think they play a big part in everyday life. Martin is such a lovely dog and as proved in ‘Merde and Mandarins’ is worth his weight in gold. It’s actually really uncanny how much like Jack he is. I guess that comes from spending so much time with him. He seems to have developed his mannerisms and everything and is just as hilarious.

‘Merde and Mandarins’ and in fact the whole series is a winner in my eyes along with some winning covers. Pete Adams is a pure genius. It would be so nice if this series could be televised.

Having now read all five books in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, I still say that they should be read in order and not just as standalone novels in order to get the full benefit of the ongoing storyline. If you love crime and don’t mind a bit of mad humour, then I recommend you read this whole series from start to finish.

I am totally over the moon that there is to be a new series featuring Jack and Mandy and I cannot wait to read The DaDa Detective Agency.

Thank you for giving me the most wonderful experience.

 

‘Merde and Mandarins’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Merde-Mandarins-Kind-Hearts-Martinets/dp/1686656793/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1571128530&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Merde-Mandarins-Kind-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07S9BJ6L4/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=merde+and+mandarins&qid=1571128910&sr=8-1

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Merde-Mandarins-Pete-Adams/9781686656798?ref=grid-view&qid=1566372440893&sr=1-21

Blog Tour – ‘Merde and Mandarins’ by Pete Adams ~ #damppebblesblogtours @damppebbles @nextchapterpb @Peteadams8

It’s my turn on the blog tour for ‘Merde and Mandarins’ by Pete Adams, the fifth book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series.  It was published as an eBook on the 22nd August 2019 by Next Chapter Publishing and is also available in paperback.  I would like to thank Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting me participate in this tour.

I unfortunately wasn’t able to review ‘Merde and Mandarins’ in time for the blog tour due to general busyness so instead I am doing a spotlight post.  Never fear though as my review will be up in the next few days.

 

Book Blurb

A Defence Secretary shooting. The collapse of the Home Office Secretary. London’s high-ranking civil servants are being targeted, and DCI Jack Austin is drawn out of retirement.

When his wife is kidnapped, inept savant DCI Austin leads the rescue mission while trying to solve the recent mystery, and discover the motives of the master conspirator.

Racing towards the chaotic conclusion, can he find solace in a welcome retirement, and uncover the supreme Machiavellian plot?

 

About Pete Adams

Pete Adams is an architect with a practice in Portsmouth, UK, and from there he has, over forty years, designed and built buildings across England and Wales. Pete took up writing after listening to a radio interview of the writer Michael Connolly whilst driving home from Leeds. A passionate reader, the notion of writing his own novel was compelling, but he had always been told you must have a mind map for the book; Jeez, he could never get that.

Et Voila, Connolly responding to a question, said he never can plan a book, and starts with an idea for chapter one and looks forward to seeing where it would lead. Job done, and that evening Pete started writing and the series, Kind Hearts and Martinets, was on the starting blocks. That was some eight years ago, and hardly a day has passed where Pete has not worked on his writing, and currently, is halfway through his tenth book, has a growing number of short stories, one, critically acclaimed and published by Bloodhound, and has written and illustrated a series of historical nonsense stories called, Whopping Tales.

Pete describes himself as an inveterate daydreamer, and escapes into those dreams by writing crime thrillers with a thoughtful dash of social commentary. He has a writing style shaped by his formative years on an estate that re-housed London families after WWII, and his books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; his most cherished review, “made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think”.

Pete lives in Southsea with his partner, and Charlie the star-struck Border terrier, the children having flown the coop, and has 3 beautiful granddaughters who will play with him so long as he promises not to be silly.

 

Links

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Peteadams8
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pete.adams.9256

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Merde-Mandarins-Kind-Hearts-Martinets/dp/1686656793/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1571128530&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Merde-Mandarins-Kind-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07S9BJ6L4/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=merde+and+mandarins&qid=1571128910&sr=8-1

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Merde-Mandarins-Pete-Adams/9781686656798?ref=grid-view&qid=1566372440893&sr=1-21

 

My 8th Blog Anniversary

Today I am celebrating my 8th Blog Anniversary.  Another blogging year gone already.  Unbelievable!

Eight years on and I am still enjoying blogging, still learning and still discovering new authors.  What can be better than that!  I really can’t believe how far my hobby has taken me and I look forward to reading many more books in the coming year.

I would like to thank everyone for all their support and interest in my blog.  It means a lot to me and I couldn’t do this without you all.  The blogging community really are amazing.

 

Competition

I couldn’t celebrate my blog anniversary without a competition now could I!  Here’s what you could win.

1st Prize – A book or books up to the value of £20.00 from Amazon.

2nd Prize – A book or books up to the value of £15.00 from Amazon.

3rd Prize – A book or books up to the value of £10.00 from Amazon.

4th Prize – A diary for next year.

5th Prize – A mystery prize.

To enter my competition just leave a comment.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only (due to postage costs).

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 13th November 2019.

The winners will be notified within 7 days of the closing date.

 

Good luck! 🙂

Blog Tour – ‘Rewrite the Stars’ by Emma Heatherington ~ @fictionpubteam @emmalou13

I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour.  ‘Rewrite the Stars’ is Emma Heatherington’s new book and it was published in paperback on the 17th October 2019 by HarperCollins.  It is also available as an eBook and in audiobook.

I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate in this tour and for my review copy along with the other treats.  You will find out in a minute what I thought about ‘Rewrite the Stars’.  First though here is the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

From the moment they meet one December day there’s something between Charlotte Taylor and her brother’s best friend, Tom Farley. But Tom’s already taken and Charlie has to let him go…

It’s another five years before their paths cross again only a secret from the past forces Charlie to make a choice. She promises herself she’ll never look back…

The years pass and Charlie moves on with her life but she can never forget Tom. He’s always there whispering ‘What if?’.

Can Charlie leave the life she has built for one last chance with Tom?  Or is the one that got away not really the one at all…?

 

My Review

I can’t tell you just how much I loved ‘Rewrite the Stars’. It was a book I found extremely hard to put down, the sort where you are just tempted to stay on the sofa all day and forget about real life. If only I could! I thought the writing was absolutely exquisite. I really liked the author’s note at the beginning of the book, and I got the feeling from that that I would enjoy the story.

You would be forgiven for looking at the gorgeous cover and thinking that this is nothing more than a love story. In fact, ‘Rewrite the Stars’ is so much more than that. It has a lot of meaning to it and is very thought provoking. There’s definitely a message or two in there.

There were some truly unforgettable characters in this story who will stay with me for quite a long while. I absolutely loved Charlotte and was eager to see what path she decided to take. I found myself routing for her all the way and at one point I really wanted to cheer her on. I thought what she did was great, and I can’t say I blame her for doing it either. I also really liked Charlie’s family and the way they were all there for each other, a proper support network. Jack was lovely too and I think he brought out the best in Charlie. He was very encouraging.

I really liked how music played a big part throughout the story. I can’t play any musical instruments or anything like that, but music itself is very important to me and I just couldn’t imagine a life without it.

‘Rewrite the Stars’ is a must read. It looks at a number of issues including mental health, sexuality, family and love. I am look forward to more from this author.

 

‘Rewrite the Stars’ can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rewrite-Stars-Emma-Heatherington/dp/0008355630/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1571765883&sr=8-1

 

About Emma Heatherington

Emma Heatherington is a bestselling author from Donaghmore, County Tyrone.

Her novels include the Amazon UK Top 10 bestseller and Amazon US hit, The Legacy of Lucy Harte, and A Part of Me and You, which reached the USA Kindle Top 100 and the UK Top 40.

Her latest novel, A Miracle on Hope Street is a heartwarming Christmas themed story of love, kindness and friendship.

As well as novels, Emma has written scripts for over 70 educational short films and plays and was ghostwriter for country legend Philomena Begley on her autobiography, My Life My Music My Memories (The O’Brien Press, 2017) and Nathan Carter’s life story, Born For The Road (Penguin Ireland) which was shortlisted for the An Póst Irish Book Awards 2018.

She also regularly contributes to the Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life newspapers and has appeared on chat shows on RTE, TV3 and UTV.

Emma is a mum of five, aged from 23 to 4 years old and her partner is Irish artist and singer/songwriter Jim McKee.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/emmalou13

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

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1245032.Emma_Heatherington

Blog Tour – ‘Effin’ Birds’ by Aaron Reynolds ~ #RandomThingsTours @annecater @aaronreynolds @EffinBirds @unbounders

It is a real pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour.  I first heard about this book when Anne Cater of Random Things Tours was organising the tour and being that I love birds I naturally jumped at the chance to participate.  ‘Effin’ Birds’ is being published in hardback and as an eBook on the 17th October 2019 by Unbound.  I would like to say thank you to both Anne and the publisher for my review copy and I can tell you now that it is an absolute beauty.

I really cannot wait to tell you what I thought about ‘Effin’ Birds’.  First though the important bit.

 

 

Book Blurb

With Effin Birds, the most eagerly anticipated new volume in the noble avocation of bird identification, you can venture into nature with confidence. This farcical field guide will help you identify over 200 birds, but more importantly, for the first time in history, it will also help you understand what these birds are thinking:

  • The vainglorious grebe is acutely aware of its own magnificence.
  • The hipster pelican thinks the world is a sh*tbarge.
  • The overbearing heron wishes you better luck next time, f*cknuts.
  • The counsellor swallow wants you to maybe try not being a d*ckhead.

Alongside beautiful, scientifically accurate illustrations and a whole lot of swearing is incisive commentary on modern life and the world we, as humans, must navigate. Or maybe it s just some pictures of effin birds, okay?

 

My Review

I was really looking forward to reading ‘Effin’ Birds’. I am totally fascinated by birds and have always wondered what exactly they are saying when they talk. I love all the different sounds and the way they communicate with each other. I actually used to wish that I could take a course in bird language so that I could understand their language and maybe even communicate with them. It would make my trips to the park so much more worthwhile. I could talk to the ducks and the herons.

I found this to be a very amusing and light-hearted read. I really liked the cover and I thought the pictures of the birds were lovely. I especially loved the pages that were in colour. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. What a great idea for a book.

This book is split into two parts with descriptions of the birds including their habitat and identifying characteristics. To me it was as if different people were being described and a lot of it actually rang true. I never even realised that birds can be found literally anywhere including in supermarkets or in offices and now I will be keeping an eye out for them. Perhaps I should carry this guide around with me so that I can identify the birds quickly.

It seems that virtually every bird when they are talking are basically saying to go away in one way or another, only their language is much more colourful. Naughty birds! Where did they learn those words I wonder? Perhaps it was when they started going to school or hanging around with their mates. This guide actually has got some very good tips because I’m sure we all feel like the birds do at times.

I read this book from cover to cover, but it is the sort that can be dipped into at any time and is a great stress reliever.

‘Effin’ Birds’ may not be for you if you don’t like swear words. However, if that doesn’t bother you then I can guarantee that you will enjoy it.

 

‘Effin’ Birds’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1783526955/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/effin%20birds/aaron-reynolds/9781783526956

 

About Aaron Reynolds

Aaron Reynolds is the writer of @EffinBirds and @swear_trek and the curator of @BatLabels.  He is also a software instructor, which is where most of his elfin’ inspiration comes from.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/aaronreynolds and https://twitter.com/effinbirds

Unbound – https://unbound.com/

 

Blog Tour – ‘Ghost and Ragman Roll’ by Pete Adams ~ #damppebblesblogtours @damppebbles @nextchapterpb @Peteadams8

I am beyond thrilled to be kicking off this blog tour.  ‘Ghost and Ragman Roll’, the fourth book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, was published as an eBook on the 10th August 2019 by Next Chapter Publishing and is also available in paperback.  I would like to thank Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting me to participate and both Emma and the author for my review copy.

You will find out in a minute what I thought about ‘Ghost and Ragman Roll’.  In the meantime here is the book blurb.

 

 

Book Blurb

His French honeymoon continually interrupted by a series of misdeeds, DCI Jack Austin returns to Portsmouth to find the missing link.

When an ambitious new detective infringes on his territory – and his ego – Austin resorts to illogically effective tactics to protect those that matter most.

With a corpulent gangster gone missing and a banker murdered in Paris, can Austin reveal the perpetrator and bring him to justice?

 

My Review

Wow! Was that a great read or what!! I have totally loved this series and it has received all the stars from me, but I have to say ‘Ghost and Ragman Roll’ is my absolute favourite book so far. I also love the cover. It is just fantastic; so atmospheric and so very chilling. Well done to the designer.

‘Ghost and Ragman Roll’ along with the rest of the series has been cleverly plotted. Although this is the fourth book, the story still remains fresh and the writing if anything gets stronger.

I loved how the book started and was delighted for Jack and Amanda. It’s so nice to see how much they love each other. There were twists and turns aplenty and some real shockers as well throughout.

I love how Jack often speaks his thoughts out loud and how this has rubbed off on to other people. It’s a bit of a worry really. Imagine if something really bad came out in front of the wrong person.

I thought Seb who has Asperger’s on the autism scale was very well portrayed by the author. He is highly intelligent and likes routine and things have to be done in a certain way. Lists feature very heavily too.

I enjoyed meeting Detective Inspector Delores Lovington and thought she was a real laugh.

I literally could read this series forever and I so wish there were hundreds more books to come. I really do look forward to my regular doses of Jack Austin.

The Kind Hearts and Martinets series is outstanding and is well worth investing in. I would like to think that people will still be reading Pete Adams books in years to come, even when we are no longer of this world.

 

About Pete Adams

Pete Adams is an architect with a practice in Portsmouth, UK, and from there he has, over forty years, designed and built buildings across England and Wales. Pete took up writing after listening to a radio interview of the writer Michael Connolly whilst driving home from Leeds. A passionate reader, the notion of writing his own novel was compelling, but he had always been told you must have a mind map for the book; Jeez, he could never get that.

Et Voila, Connolly responding to a question, said he never can plan a book, and starts with an idea for chapter one and looks forward to seeing where it would lead. Job done, and that evening Pete started writing and the series, Kind Hearts and Martinets, was on the starting blocks. That was some eight years ago, and hardly a day has passed where Pete has not worked on his writing, and currently, is halfway through his tenth book, has a growing number of short stories, one, critically acclaimed and published by Bloodhound, and has written and illustrated a series of historical nonsense stories called, Whopping Tales.

Pete describes himself as an inveterate daydreamer, and escapes into those dreams by writing crime thrillers with a thoughtful dash of social commentary. He has a writing style shaped by his formative years on an estate that re-housed London families after WWII, and his books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; his most cherished review, “made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think”.

Pete lives in Southsea with his partner, and Charlie the star-struck Border terrier, the children having flown the coop, and has 3 beautiful granddaughters who will play with him so long as he promises not to be silly.

 

Links

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Peteadams8
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pete.adams.9256

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghost-Ragman-Roll-Spectre-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RSYDC32/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1570027489&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Ragman-Roll-Spectre-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RSYDC32/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=ghost+and+ragman+roll&qid=1570027733&s=gateway&sr=8-1

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Seagull’s Laughter’ by Holly Bidgood ~ #LoveBooksTours @WildPressed @HollyBidgood

It is a real pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour today.  A couple of months back I helped with the cover reveal and I really liked the sound of this book and somehow just knew that I had to read it.  ‘The Seagull’s Laughter’ is being published in paperback on the 7th November 2019 by Wild Pressed Books.  I would like to thank Kelly Lacey of Love Books Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour and both the publisher and Kelly for my review copy.

I will tell you in a minute what I thought about ‘The Seagull’s Laughter’.  First though here is the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Born in 1973 to a Greenlandic mother and an English-Explorer father, Malik has always been something of a misfit. He has one black eye and one blue. As a child his mother’s people refused to touch him and now his own baby daughter’s family feel the same way.

On his own now, Malik’s only companion is a guiding spirit no-one else can see, but one day a white man with a nose like a beak and a shadow like a seagull appears on his doorstep and invites him to England.

Martha has had enough of living with domestic abuse. She compares bruises with her friend Neil, who regularly suffers homophobic attacks. With Martha’s baby, they go on the run to Shetland, where Martha has happy childhood memories of summers spent with her aunt.

On their way up north in a camper van, they come across a dejected Malik, alone again after a brief reconciliation with his father’s family.

They arrive safely together in the Shetland Isles, but Malik still needs answers to the identity of the beak-nosed man who casts a shadow over his life, and must now embark on a further journey of his own.

 

The Seagull’s Laughter is an immersive read, intertwined with nature and the magic of Greenlandic folk tales.

 

My Review

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Seagull’s Laughter’. The author has written such a wonderful story and I thought it was simply sublime. The descriptions throughout including of Greenland were magical. I really liked how the story was set out and thought that it worked very well indeed.

Split into parts, this story is told by Malik, Rasmus and Martha. I was mesmerised by it, especially Malik’s tale and I found myself following him throughout his journey from Greenland to England. He had so many different experiences and these shaped him to grow as a person. Everything that happened to him was for a reason.

There were a number of interesting characters throughout the story. As well as Malik, I liked Martha and her Auntie Jeanie a lot as well. I was also very interested in Malik’s helping spirit who was there to guide him.

I took an instant dislike to Birdie although if it hadn’t been for him Malik might not have made a better life for himself.

I was totally hypnotised by the story and didn’t want to stop turning the pages. I loved the folk tales and felt as if I was there listening to them. I had a good idea about what would happen in the end and I was so happy when it did.

‘The Seagull’s Laughter’ is an enchanting and beautifully told story which you will not want to put down.

 

‘The Seagull’s Laughter’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seagulls-Laughter-Holly-Bidgood/dp/1916489656/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+seagull%27s+laughter+by+holly+bidgood&qid=1570259664&sr=8-1

 

About Holly Bidgood

Holly grew up in Derbyshire but has always been drawn to the sea. She has written from a young age. Her love affair with island landscapes was kick-started on a brief visit to the Faroe Islands at the age of eighteen, en route to Iceland. She was immediately captivated by the landscape, weather, and way of life and it was here that she conceived the idea for her first novel, The Eagle and The Oystercatcher.

Holly studied Icelandic, Norwegian and Old Norse at University College London. She also studied as an exchange student at The University of Iceland (Háskóli Íslands) and spent a memorable summer working in a museum in South Greenland.

She decided to start a family young, and now has three small children. Holly helps run Life & Loom, a social and therapeutic weaving studio in Hull.  She likes to escape from the busyness of her life by working on her novels and knitting Icelandic wool jumpers.

The Seagull’s Laughter will be published in November 2019.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/HollyBidgood

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

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15720934.Holly_Bidgood

Publisher

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Wildpressed

Book Review – ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ by Pete Adams ~ @damppebbles @nextchapterpb @Peteadams8

On Monday I took part in the blog tour for ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ by Pete Adams and did a spotlight post.  You can see it here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2019/09/30/blog-tour-a-barrow-boys-cadenza-by-pete-adams/

I now have my review of this book for you all.  It was originally planned for Wednesday but that wasn’t to be.  I would like to thank both Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours and the author for my review copy.  Before you find out what I thought about ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ here is the book blurb again.

 

Book Blurb

Surviving a terrorist explosion, a tutu incident, and a night of celebratory drinking, hungover hero DCI Jack Austin proposes an ill-advised alliance with a newly-turned criminal informant.

After a string of high-profile murders is committed, Austin goes deep undercover – and uncovers a villainous scheme that threatens the Star Chamber.

His world turned upside down, Austin needs to rely on courage, skill and improbable luck. But can he bring the perpetrators of the far-reaching scheme to justice?

 

My Review

Having read the first two books in the series I was really looking forward to getting stuck into ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’. I love the author’s style of writing; the words just jump off the pages. I also find that I never quite know what to expect next.

I felt as if I was meeting up with old friends again. I really couldn’t wait to catch up with Jack and Amanda as things seemed to be hotting up for them. OMG! Jack is just totally hilarious. The things he comes out with and seems to get away with.

There was just so much packed into ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ and things seemed to happen at full speed. I really feared for Jack when he went and did what he felt he had to do. It showed how dedicated he was though in both his work and his beliefs. I would describe Jack as a cat with nine lives, although he would probably say he is more like a dog. So much has happened to him in such a short space of time and he is still living to tell the tale.

Some very interesting revelations came to light in this book, one of which I think the author was hinting at all along. I have so many questions though and can’t wait to see how things progress for Jack, Amanda and their families.

Pete Adams has done a good job of introducing a number of the characters and has mentioned various parts of the storyline from the previous books for the benefit of new readers. However, I would still advise to read the series from the start to get the full picture.

I really do not want this series to end and am just so glad that there are two more books to read. After that I don’t know what I’ll do.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RLTXLFY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1568113734&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RLTXLFY/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+barrow+boys+cadenza&qid=1568113857&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-Pete-Adams/9781077738805?ref=grid-view&qid=1568113887010&sr=1-1

 

Blog Tour – ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ by Pete Adams ~ #damppebblesblogtours @damppebbles @nextchapterpb @Peteadams8

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ with a spotlight post.  The third book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, it was published as an eBook on the 28th July 2019 by Next Chapter Publishing and is also available in paperback.  I would like to thank Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour.

I am totally loving this series so far and you will be able to find out on Wednesday exactly what I thought about ‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ so do keep a look out.

 

Book Blurb

Surviving a terrorist explosion, a tutu incident, and a night of celebratory drinking, hungover hero DCI Jack Austin proposes an ill-advised alliance with a newly-turned criminal informant.

After a string of high-profile murders is committed, Austin goes deep undercover – and uncovers a villainous scheme that threatens the Star Chamber.

His world turned upside down, Austin needs to rely on courage, skill and improbable luck. But can he bring the perpetrators of the far-reaching scheme to justice?

 

About Pete Adams

Pete Adams is an architect with a practice in Portsmouth, UK, and from there he has, over forty years, designed and built buildings across England and Wales. Pete took up writing after listening to a radio interview of the writer Michael Connolly whilst driving home from Leeds. A passionate reader, the notion of writing his own novel was compelling, but he had always been told you must have a mind map for the book; Jeez, he could never get that.

Et Voila, Connolly responding to a question, said he never can plan a book, and starts with an idea for chapter one and looks forward to seeing where it would lead. Job done, and that evening Pete started writing and the series, Kind Hearts and Martinets, was on the starting blocks. That was some eight years ago, and hardly a day has passed where Pete has not worked on his writing, and currently, is halfway through his tenth book, has a growing number of short stories, one, critically acclaimed and published by Bloodhound, and has written and illustrated a series of historical nonsense stories called, Whopping Tales.

Pete describes himself as an inveterate daydreamer, and escapes into those dreams by writing crime thrillers with a thoughtful dash of social commentary. He has a writing style shaped by his formative years on an estate that re-housed London families after WWII, and his books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; his most cherished review, “made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think”.

Pete lives in Southsea with his partner, and Charlie the star-struck Border terrier, the children having flown the coop, and has 3 beautiful granddaughters who will play with him so long as he promises not to be silly.

 

Links

Social Media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Peteadams8
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pete.adams.9256

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RLTXLFY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1568113734&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RLTXLFY/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+barrow+boys+cadenza&qid=1568113857&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-Pete-Adams/9781077738805?ref=grid-view&qid=1568113887010&sr=1-1

 

 

Guest Post by Fi Phillips ~ @FisWritingHaven @Burning_Chair

It is a real pleasure to welcome Fi Phillips as a guest on my blog today.  Her debut novel, ‘Haven Wakes’, the first book in The Haven Chronicles series, is being published as an eBook and in paperback on the 1st October 2019 by Burning Chair Publishing.

Fi has written a post about how her book came to be.  Before you read it though lets find out what ‘Haven Wakes’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

The year is 2110.

Everyone has their own robot, and magical worlds are just behind the next door…

Steve Haven always thought he was just another ordinary twelve-year-old boy. Well, as ordinary as you can be when you’re the nephew of Rex Haven, founder of the Haven Robotics Corporation.

But when Rex dies in mysterious circumstances and Steve is given a strange artefact known only as the Reactor, he finds out that the world he thought he knew is a lot stranger and more threatening than he ever imagined.

On the run from a group of dangerous villains, Steve finds himself plunged into a hidden and curious magical world. With his parents missing and no one in the normal world he can trust, Steve must join with his new-found magical friends to discover the truth about the Reactor and his uncle’s death.

 

Guest Post

Haven Wakes – how it came to be and inspiration

Inspiration is a weird beastie. It can creep up on you in such a way that you can’t actually remember when it joined you on your journey, or it can jump out of the bushes with a bark of ‘Eureka!’.

When I think back to what inspired me to write Haven Wakes, both kinds of inspirational beasties have played a large part in the novel’s journey.

Setting

The seed that grew into Haven Wakes started out as a full-on, Tolkien-esque, fantasy novel with wizards and evil rulers and living clouds. I can honestly say that I didn’t think about the age of my readers when I began to write my story. I wrote it for myself, and in the form that seemed the best suited to writing about magic.

I finished the novel, polished it, sent it off for critique, polished it some more and came to a conclusion. It didn’t work, no matter how much I polished or re-jigged chapters or re-wrote characters.

At that time, I had moved on from reading similar full-on fantasy novels to ones that not only took place in magical, fantasy kingdoms but kept a firm foothold in the here and now as well, by writers like Terry Brooks and Stephen Donaldson.

And yes, that inspirational beastie did jump out of the bushes at that point and say, “Gadzooks!” or something similar in beastie language. The reason my novel didn’t work was because it wasn’t sufficiently grounded in reality. It needed grit and real family relationships. The danger needed to be recognisable, as did the villains.

I worked out a plan for moving the novel into a modern setting, but that seemed too normal and close to home. So in the end, I set Haven Wakes in a future version of our own world.

Characters

Even though I decided to re-write my novel in a futuristic setting, two characters from the original version continued to shape Haven Wakes.

Hartley was a character who worked in whatever situation I threw him into. Whether a travelling salesmen in a medieval fantasy setting or a shopkeeper in the here and now, Hartley always found a way to adapt to his surroundings.

The darkling, by contrast, needed to change but her heart – disciplined, fierce, loyal – remained the same.

I can’t say that any of the characters in the novel are based on people I know in my day-to-day life, but the magical community in Haven Wakes has a definite link to the kind of folk I grew up around, with their eccentricities, enjoyment of life and colourful ways.

What is futuristic?

The inspiration for the future-technological world Haven Wakes is set in came from all kinds of places.

I looked at our current technology and challenges such as climate change, and then considered where we might be in a hundred or more years’ time.

I scoured the news for stories on developing technology, such as advances in robotics and fabrics that can be programmed to change colour.
Favourite films tweaked my imagination too:

· Bladerunner
· Minority Report
· Wall-e

and many more too.

I wanted my future world to be grounded in the reality and science of now before I added the magic.

Magic or superpowers?

I didn’t want to copy other fictional takes on what a witch/wizard is and does, so I started to develop my own representation of magic. What I came out with in the end is a mixture of magic and superpowers. Think Dr Strange with less money to spend on clothes.

Inspiration for this? I’ve always loved the witchcraft books of Titania Hardie, but I also read up on folklore and mythology, and a childhood love of mine – fairytales.

One film helped too – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice starring Nicolas Cage with its linking of magic with science.

A book is born

With Haven Wakes written and due to be published on 1st October, the inspiration isn’t over. My novel is inspiration itself for the next book in the series, currently titled Haven Journeys.

Who knows what new inspiration I’ll find?

 

About Fi Phillips

For many years Fi Phillips worked in an office environment until the arrival of her two children robbed her of her short term memory and sent her hurtling down a new, bumpy, creative path. She finds that getting the words down on paper is the best way to keep the creative muse out of her shower. Writing about magical possibilities is her passion.

Fi lives in the wilds of North Wales with her family, earning a living as a copywriter, playwright and fantasy novelist.

Her debut novel, Haven Wakes, will be published by Burning Chair Publishing on 1st October 2019, the first book in the Haven Chronicles series.

 

Links

‘Haven Wakes’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07WJ4YFNX?tag=burningchair-21

 

Website – http://fiphillipswriter.com/

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/FisWritingHaven

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

 

Book Review – ‘Irony in the Soul’ by Pete Adams ~ @damppebbles @nextchapterpb @Peteadams8

Earlier in the week I took part in the blog tour for ‘Irony in the Soul’ by Pete Adams with a spotlight post.  You can see that post here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2019/09/16/blog-tour-irony-in-the-soul-by-pete-adams/

I now have my review of this book and would like to thank both Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours and the author for my review copy.  For ease of reference here is the book blurb again.

 

Book Blurb

Recuperating from his past mission, disturbed but driven D.I. Jack Austin returns to work amid a personality clash with a retired colonel – who happens to be his new Chief Constable.

When the Constable is kidnapped – and returned in pieces – DI Austin’s hapless hunt for the culprit begins. He investigates a string of cryptic murders including a beheaded minister, a drowned woman in a Hijab, and a band of terrorists with explosives.

Meanwhile, Austin battles a grievous inner conflict. Will he thwart the perpetrator, or become a conspirator himself?

 

My Review

The first book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, ‘Cause and Effect’, left me wondering what was going to happen next. I really couldn’t wait to read ‘Irony in the Soul’. Pete Adams has definitely penned a winner, no doubt about that.

There was more of the same in this book and much more besides. I found myself looking forward to catching up with DCI Jack Austin again. The author is so descriptive, and I could actually picture Jack in his deckchair as well as in other positions.

Amongst the seriousness there was lots of hilarity which I guess was needed, especially when investigating the latest murders. Thank goodness for Jack Austin I say. He had so much of an effect on people that his humour started to rub off on others. The storyline itself and the cases the police found themselves involved in were actually quite complicated.

In ‘Cause and Effect’, DCI Jack Austin started dating Detective Superintendent Amanda Bruce and it was really lovely to see how their relationship developed in this book. Their love for each other made them behave like teenagers again but it was all good.

There is definitely a lot more to Jack Austin than meets the eye. People could easily think that he is just a joker, but he is actually a very deep person with a lot going on in his mind.

I enjoyed meeting the other characters again too, especially Amanda, Jo-Jums, Nobby, Frankie and Connie. I do like how the author has included gay characters in this series and how open they are with each other.

‘Irony in the Soul’ isn’t a book that can be read as a standalone. You really do need to read the series from the start to get the full benefit of it as the storyline is ongoing.

Pete Adams has a brilliant mind and an extremely vivid imagination. He has created such a wonderful and unique series. I would say there is no other writer like him out there. I hope to read much more by this author. I am just so thankful that there are three more books in this series.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Irony-Soul-Nobody-Listens-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RKSZFDW/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=irony+in+the+soul+pete+adams&qid=1567504752&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Irony-Soul-Nobody-Listens-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RKSZFDW/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=irony+in+the+soul+pete+adams&qid=1567505144&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Irony-Soul-Pete-Adams/9781076813374?ref=grid-view&qid=1567505170007&sr=1-1

Google Books: https://bit.ly/2kiaZcp

 

Blog Tour – ‘Plenty Under the Counter’ by Kathleen Hewitt ~#RandomThingsTours @annecater @I_W_M @angelamarymar

I am beyond thrilled to be kicking off this blog tour together with Short Book and Scribes.  ‘Plenty Under the Counter’ was originally published in 1943 and has now been published in paperback by the Imperial War Museum along with three other wartime classics to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War.

I would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour.  Thanks also to Anne and the publisher for my review copy.

You will find out my thoughts on ‘Plenty Under the Counter’ in a minute.

 

 

Book Blurb

London, 1942. Flight-Lieutenant David Heron, home on convalescent leave, awakes to the news that a murder victim has been discovered in the garden of his boarding house. With a week until his service resumes, David sets out to solve the murder. Drawn into a world of mystery and double-dealing, he soon realises that there is more to the inhabitants of the boarding house than meets the eye, and that wartime London is a place where opportunism and the black market are able to thrive. Can he solve the mystery before his return to the skies?

Inspired by Kathleen Hewitt s own experience of wartime London, this new edition of a 1943 classic includes a contextual introduction from IWM which sheds light on the fascinating true events that so influenced its author.

‘With a dead body on the first page and a debonair RAF pilot as the sleuth, this stylish whodunit takes you straight back to Blitzed London and murder most foul. Several plausible suspects, a femme fatale, witty dialogue, memorable scenes and unexpected twists it boasts everything a great whodunit should have, and more.’ ANDREW ROBERTS, author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny

 

My Review

I really enjoyed reading ‘Plenty Under the Counter’. I thought the introduction to this story was just wonderful. I also loved the cover and spent quite a while looking at it. I think that this book being republished along with three other wartime classics by the Imperial War Museum is such a good idea.

I found it very interesting reading a story that was originally published in 1943. I love fiction that is set during or after the war, but to read a book that was actually written all those years ago was actually pretty amazing, especially as the author herself experienced life in London during the Second World War. I really liked the style of writing and the way the words just flowed.

The story opened with Flight-Lieutenant David Heron waking up to the news that a murder had taken place in the back garden of where he was staying. From then on, his interest was piqued, and he was determined to help solve the crime before his service resumed.

There was much more to things than just the murder and I felt that I got quite a lot out of this story. The black market played a big part as well.

There were quite a number of interesting characters in the story. My favourites were David and his girlfriend, Tess. I found it hard to like many of the others though.

This was a classic whodunnit and it had me trying to work out who the murderer was. It was nice seeing all the pieces of the puzzle coming together and as David’s investigations progressed, I started to suspect at least a couple of people. I wasn’t overly surprised at who the killer turned out to be I have to say.

If you like classic crime, then I recommend you read ‘Plenty Under the Counter’. You will find yourself hooked.
 

‘Plenty Under the Counter’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://amzn.to/2lOgzUn

 

~~~~~

I hope my review has left you wanting to read ‘Plenty Under the Counter’.  Below is some information about all four titles.

 

The Four titles are:

From the City, From the Plough by Alexander Baron – A vivid and moving account of preparations for DDay and the advance into Normandy. Published in the 75th anniversary year of the D-Day landings, this is based on the author’s first-hand experience of D-Day and has been described by Antony Beevor as ‘undoubtedly one of the very greatest British novels of the Second World War.’

Alexander Baron was a widely acclaimed author and screenwriter and his London novels have a wide following. This was his first novel.

 

Trial by Battle by David Piper – A quietly shattering and searingly authentic depiction of the claustrophobia of jungle warfare in Malaya described by William Boyd as ‘A tremendous rediscovery of a brilliant novel. Extremely well-written, its effects are both sophisticated and visceral. Remarkable’, and VS Naipaul as ‘one of the most absorbing and painful books about jungle warfare that I have read’ and by Frank Kermode as ‘probably the best English novel to come out of the Second World War.’

David Piper was best known as director of the National Portrait Gallery, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The novel is based on his time serving with the Indian Army in Malaya where he was captured by the Japanese and spent three years as a POW. His son, Tom Piper, was the designer of the hugely successful Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London to commemorate the First World War Centenary.

 

Eight Hours from England by Anthony Quayle – A candid account of SOE operations in occupied Europe described by Andrew Roberts as ‘As well as being one of our greatest actors, Anthony Quayle was an intrepid war hero and his autobiographical novel is one of the greatest adventure stories of the Second World War. Beautifully written and full of pathos and authenticity, it brings alive the terrible moral decisions that have to be taken by soldiers under unimaginable pressures in wartime.’

Anthony Quayle was a renowned Shakespearean actor, director and film star and during the Second World War was a Special Operations Executive behind enemy lines in Albania.

 

Plenty Under the Counter by Kathleen Hewitt – a murder mystery about opportunism and the black market set against the backdrop of London during the Blitz. ‘With a dead body on the first page and a debonair RAF pilot as the sleuth, this stylish whodunit takes you straight back to Blitzed London and murder most foul. Several plausible suspects, a femme fatale, witty dialogue, memorable scenes and unexpected twists – it boasts everything a great whodunit should have, and more.’ Andrew Roberts.

Kathleen Hewitt was a British author and playwright who wrote more than 20 novels in her lifetime. She was part of an artistic set in 1930’s London which included Olga Lehman and the poet Roy Campbell.

 

 

IWM

IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.

Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.

IWM’s five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, IWM’s flagship branch that recently transformed with new, permanent and free First World War Galleries alongside new displays across the iconic Atrium to mark the Centenary of the First World War; IWM North, housed in an iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation museum and Britain’s best preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast.

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘Irony in the Soul’ by Pete Adams ~ #damppebblesblogtours @damppebbles @nextchapterpb @Peteadams8

It’s my turn on the blog tour for ‘Irony in the Soul’ by Pete Adams, the second book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series.  It was published as an eBook on the 14th July 2019 by Next Chapter Publishing and is also available in paperback.  I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Cause and Effect’ and would like to thank Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour as well.

Read on to find out what the book is about.  There are purchase links at the end of the post.

 

 

Book Blurb

Recuperating from his past mission, disturbed but driven D.I. Jack Austin returns to work amid a personality clash with a retired colonel – who happens to be his new Chief Constable.

When the Constable is kidnapped – and returned in pieces – DI Austin’s hapless hunt for the culprit begins. He investigates a string of cryptic murders including a beheaded minister, a drowned woman in a Hijab, and a band of terrorists with explosives.

Meanwhile, Austin battles a grievous inner conflict. Will he thwart the perpetrator, or become a conspirator himself?

 

About Pete Adams

Pete Adams is an architect with a practice in Portsmouth, UK, and from there he has, over forty years, designed and built buildings across England and Wales. Pete took up writing after listening to a radio interview of the writer Michael Connolly whilst driving home from Leeds. A passionate reader, the notion of writing his own novel was compelling, but he had always been told you must have a mind map for the book; Jeez, he could never get that.

Et Voila, Connolly responding to a question, said he never can plan a book, and starts with an idea for chapter one and looks forward to seeing where it would lead. Job done, and that evening Pete started writing and the series, Kind Hearts and Martinets, was on the starting blocks. That was some eight years ago, and hardly a day has passed where Pete has not worked on his writing, and currently, is halfway through his tenth book, has a growing number of short stories, one, critically acclaimed and published by Bloodhound, and has written and illustrated a series of historical nonsense stories called, Whopping Tales.

Pete describes himself as an inveterate daydreamer, and escapes into those dreams by writing crime thrillers with a thoughtful dash of social commentary. He has a writing style shaped by his formative years on an estate that re-housed London families after WWII, and his books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; his most cherished review, “made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think”.

Pete lives in Southsea with his partner, and Charlie the star-struck Border terrier, the children having flown the coop, and has 3 beautiful granddaughters who will play with him so long as he promises not to be silly.

 

Links

Social Media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Peteadams8
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pete.adams.9256

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Irony-Soul-Nobody-Listens-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RKSZFDW/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=irony+in+the+soul+pete+adams&qid=1567504752&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Irony-Soul-Nobody-Listens-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RKSZFDW/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=irony+in+the+soul+pete+adams&qid=1567505144&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Irony-Soul-Pete-Adams/9781076813374?ref=grid-view&qid=1567505170007&sr=1-1

Google Books: https://bit.ly/2kiaZcp

 

Blog Tour – ‘Stalker’ by Gemma Rogers ~ @BoldwoodBooks @GemmaRogers79

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for ‘Stalker’ by Gemma Rogers.  This book was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 10th September 2019 by Boldwood Books and is also available as an audiobook and Audio CD.  I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate in this tour.

I have an extract from ‘Stalker’ for you all.  First though lets find out what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

‘My body reacted before I was even sure, the memory of him on my skin still fresh. I knew where he lived, where he hunted, and it wouldn’t be long before I knew his name.’

Eve Harding’s world implodes one Sunday morning when she is violently assaulted and raped walking to a South London train station.

As her attacker evades the Police and is left to roam the streets to stalk his next victim, Eve is forced to seek out her assailant before he strikes again.

With vengeance in mind, Eve is determined to find him in time and deliver justice on her own terms.

In a game of cat and mouse, who is stalking who?

A gritty crime thriller, asking how far would you go to seek justice. Perfect for fans of Caroline Kepnes’ You, Kimberley Chambers, Emma Tallon and Jessie Keane.

 

Extract

Chapter One

Saturday 27 January 2018

 

I’ve never been in trouble before. Not the sort of trouble that brought me here. Freshly painted, stark white walls surround me; their toxic scent lingers in the air. A fluorescent glow from strip lights so dazzling they must be there to desensitise the occupants. Everything is white or chrome, like I’m on the set of a futuristic movie. I swing my legs, which dangle over the edge of the bed, not quite reaching the floor. I do this for a minute to keep warm. Despite the blanket around my shoulders, I can’t help but shiver. It’s late and they didn’t bring my jacket. I guess it’s been taken away as evidence.

The woman in front of me is standing too close, hot breath on my arm. It makes me squirm and I fight the urge to yank my hand away from her grip. She’s holding it like I’m a china doll, fragile and easily broken. I dislike the invasion of my personal space. It’s something I’ve learnt to tolerate over the years. I was never a big fan of being touched, shrinking away if someone brushed past me or stood too close on public transport. I’m not a hugger either – no one was in the house where I grew up. After tonight, I can’t imagine I’ll let anyone touch me again.

Her name is Doctor Joyce Hargreaves, she told me as we entered the victim examination room. Her job, she said, was to collect evidence from me, which is why she was wearing a paper suit, so there wouldn’t be any cross-contamination. She hasn’t picked up on my anxiety, the tremor in my fingers; she’s too busy. Brows furrowed, eyes focused as she peels the plastic bag away from my bloodied hand to collect scrapings from my skin and beneath my fingernails. The tool she uses makes me nervous.

‘Is that a scalpel?’ my voice barely a whisper.

‘No, it’s a scraper. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt. This is just so I can make sure we collect any skin cells that may be buried underneath the tips of your nails. I’m afraid I’ll have to give them a trim in a minute too.’ She wields the scraper with care and it’s true, it doesn’t hurt. Physically I’m okay, except my throat is on fire and the ringing in my ears is deafening, timed perfectly with the throbbing of my face. I have a feeling I might feel worse once the adrenaline leaves my system.

When she finishes with my hands, she pulls the fallen blanket back over my shoulders and offers a kind smile as she pushes her glasses up her nose. I can see strands of greying hair trying to escape by her ear, exposed beneath the coverall hat. She wears no jewellery and her face is free of make-up. Was she on duty or has she been called out of her bed to attend to me? Would we recognise each other in different circumstances? Probably not, I must be one of many people that pass through this room every day.

Joyce delicately inserts each of the specimens into small tubes before labelling them to be sent for analysis. I don’t know why? I’ve told them what happened. Soon she’ll want to examine me thoroughly. Internally. Until there are no more swabs left to be taken.

She glances at me, knowing what is coming, what she must ask me to do. Her eyes are full of pity. I must look a mess. Dried blood on my face and chest is beginning to flake away, like charred skin falling into my lap. My cheek is puffy and the vision poor on my left side. I wish I could stop shivering. They said it’s shock and provided me with a mug of hot, sweet tea after the ambulance checked me over. They wanted to make sure the blood I am doused in isn’t mine. It isn’t.

 

‘Stalker’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2lRuWaw

 

About Gemma Rogers

Gemma Rogers was inspired to write gritty thrillers by a traumatic event in her own life nearly twenty years ago. Stalker is her debut novel which Boldwood will publish in September 2019 and marks the beginning of a new writing career. Gemma lives in West Sussex with her husband, two daughters and bulldog Buster.

 

Links

Own website: www.gemmarogersauthor.co.uk

Profile on our website: https://www.boldwoodbooks.com/contributor/gemma-rogers/

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

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/GemmaRogers79

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Orphan Daughter’ by Sheila Riley ~ @BoldwoodBooks @1sheilariley

It is a real pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘The Orphan Daughter’, the first book in the Reckoner’s Row series, was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 5th September 2019 by Boldwood Books and is also available as an audiobook and audio CD.  I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate in this tour.

I have an extract from ‘The Orphan Daughter’ for you all.  First though here is what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Winter, Liverpool 1947.

Evie Kilgaren is a fighter. Abandoned by her mother and with her father long gone, she is left to raise her siblings in dockside Liverpool, as they battle against the coldest winter on record. But she is determined to make a life for herself and create a happy home for what’s left of her family.

Desperate for work, Evie takes a job at the Tram Tavern under the kindly watch of pub landlady, and pillar of the community, Connie Sharp. But Connie has problems of her own when her quiet life of spinsterhood is upturned with the arrival of a mysterious undercover detective from out of town.

When melting ice reveals a body in the canal, things take a turn for the worst for the residents of Reckoner’s Row. Who could be responsible for such a brutal attack? And can Evie keep her family safe before they strike again?

A gritty, historical family drama full of laughter and tears from the author of Annie Groves’ bestsellers including Child of the Mersey and Christmas on the Mersey. Perfect for fans of Lyn Andrews, Katie Flynn and Nadine Dorries.

 

Extract

CHAPTER 1

SUMMER 1946

Nineteen-year-old Evie Kilgaren gathered her mane of honey-coloured hair into a loop of knicker elastic before taking a vase of heavy-scented lilies and freesias into the kitchen. The flowers were barely faded when she rescued them from the churchyard bin that morning.

Placing them in the centre of the table, she hoped their heady scent would mask the smell of damp that riddled every dwelling in the row of terraced houses opposite the canal and add a bit of joy to the place.

‘Who’s dead?’ her mother, Rene, asked. Her scornful retort was proof she had already been at the gin and Evie’s heart sank. She had wanted today to be special. Surely her dead father’s birthday warranted a few flowers. Even if they were knockoffs from the church – at least she had made an effort, which was more than her mother had.

‘I got them for Dad’s…’ Evie was silenced by the warning flash in her mother’s dark eyes. A warning she had seen many times before. Rene gave a hefty sniff, her eyes squinting to focus, her brow wrinkled, and her olive skin flushed. Evie knew that when her mother had drunk enough ‘mother’s ruin’, she could be the life and soul of any party or, by contrast, one over could make her contrary and argumentative.

‘I thought they’d look nice on the table,’ Evie answered lightly, quickly changing her answer to try and keep the peace. She should have known better than to mention her father in front of Leo Darnel, who’d moved in as their lodger six months ago and taken no time at all getting his feet under her mother’s eiderdown. ‘I found a vase in…’ Her voice trailed off. Her mother wasn’t listening. As usual, she’d disappeared into the parlour to darken her finely shaped eyebrows with soot from the unlit grate – make-up was still on ration – dolling herself up for her shift behind the bar of the Tram Tavern. The tavern was barely a stone’s throw away on the other side of the narrow alleyway running alongside their house, so why her mother felt the need to dress to the nines was anybody’s guess.

Out of the corner of her eye, Evie noticed a sudden movement from their lodger, who was standing near the range, which she had black-leaded that morning. Leo Darnel didn’t like her and that was fine, because she didn’t like him either.

He was a jumped-up spiv who tried to pass himself off as a respectable businessman. Respectable? He didn’t know the meaning of the word, she thought, her eyes taking in the polished leather Chesterfield suite that cluttered the room and seemed out of place in a small backstreet terraced house.

‘None of your utility stuff,’ he’d said, pushing out his blubbery chest like a strutting pigeon. All the time he had a wonky eye on the bedroom door. He would do anything to keep her mother sweet and made it obvious every chance he got to show Evie she was in the way.

He’d been very quiet for the last few minutes, Evie realised. That wasn’t like Darnel . He was up to something, she could tell. He hadn’t interrupted with a sarcastic comment as he usually did when she and her mother were having a tit-for-tat. His self-satisfied smirk stretched mean across thin lips as he hunched inside a crisp white shirt and peered at her.

His beady eyes looked her up and down as he chewed a spent matchstick at the corner of his mouth before turning back to the grate. His piggy eyes were engrossed in the rising flames of something he had thrown onto the fire. Her attention darted to the blaze casting dancing flares of light across the room.

‘No!’ Evie heard the gasp of horror and disbelief coming from her own lips. How could he be so callous? How could he? As he stepped back with arms outstretched like he was showing off a new sofa, Evie could see exactly what he had done.

‘You burned them!’ Evie cried, hurrying over to the range, pushing Darnel out of her way and grabbing the brass fire tongs from the companion set on the hearth, desperate to save at least some of the valuable night-school work.

Two years of concentrated learning to prove she was just as good as all the rest – reduced to ashes in moments. Thrusting the tongs into the flames again and again was hopeless Her valuable notes disintegrated.

‘Mam, look! Look what he’s done!’ Her blue eyes blazed as hotly as the flames licking up the chimney.

‘You are not the only one who can crawl out of the gutter? Mr High-and-mighty!’ Evie was breathless when her burst of anger erupted, watching the flames envelope her books, turning the curling pages to ash. She balled her work-worn hands, roughly red through cleaning up after other people and pummelled his chest. Why? She caught his mocking eyes turn to flint before being dealt a quick backhander that made her head spin.

Her nostrils, which only moments before had been filled with the sweet fragrance of summer freesias and Mansion polish, were now congested with blood as traitorous tears rolled down her cheek. Evie dashed them away with the pad of her hand, ashamed and angry because he was privy to her vulnerability. Her pale blue eyes dashed from the range to her mother, who was now standing in the doorway shaking painted nails.

 

‘The Orphan Daughter’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Orphan-Daughter-Sheila-Riley/dp/1838893202/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

About Sheila Riley

Sheila Riley wrote four #1 bestselling novels under the pseudonym Annie Groves and is now writing a new saga trilogy under her own name. She has set it around the River Mersey and its docklands near to where she spent her early years.  She still lives in Liverpool.

 

Links

Sheila’s Own website: http://my-writing-ladder.blogspot.com/

Sheila’s Profile on our website – https://www.boldwoodbooks.com/contributor/sheila-riley/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/1sheilariley

 

Blog Tour – ‘Cause and Effect’ by Pete Adams ~ #damppebblesblogtours @damppebbles @nextchapterpb @Peteadams8

I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today.  Pete Adams has been a guest on my blog a number of times now but I have never got around to reading his books, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  ‘Cause and Effect’, the first book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, was published as an eBook on the 28th June 2019 by Next Chapter Publishing and is also available in paperback.  I would like to thank Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour and both the author and Emma for my review copy.

I will tell you my thoughts on ‘Cause and Effect in a minute after you have read the book blurb.

 

 

Book Blurb

A self-labelled enigma, Detective Inspector Jack Austin is at once miserable and amusing, melancholy and motivated. Running the Community Police Unit from his deck chair, D.I. Austin is known for his ability to solve crimes out of the blue.

Trying to work cases while struggling with his mental issues, Austin deals with a variety of major crimes, including bicycle theft. But when the case of an executed police officer lands on his desk, he accidentally uncovers a malevolent scheme.

Can he discover who is behind it all – and keep what’s left of his sanity?

 

My Review

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Cause and Effect’. The storyline was just fantastic, and I really did like the style of writing. Humorous from the very start this book had me laughing quite a lot and kept me amused. Before I go on though, I just want to mention the cover which I think is really well designed and fits in well with the story.

The prologue had me extremely intrigued as it suggested there were several different things happening in the story. A great way to tantalise the reader. I spent quite a while trying to work out where exactly they fitted in. I did actually think that this was more of a comedy but then found that really wasn’t the case at all.

It took me quite a while to get used to Detective Inspector Jack Austin and his ways. He was just so funny but at times I found him that little bit too annoying and wondered how his team could put up with him for so long. However, he soon grew on me and as I found out more about him my heart just melted. He hadn’t exactly had it easy. Jack wasn’t embarrassed to show his emotional side even in public and was actually a really lovely man. I loved the nicknames he gave to virtually everyone.

I was shocked at what D.I. Jack Austin and the team uncovered. Some of the crimes were just unspeakable. I thought the police procedurals were great, and it was good that the team got on with each other. They were quick thinking and fast on their toes.

I liked that there was a bit of romance in the story as well which spiced things up.

Now that I have read the first book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, I can’t wait to get stuck into the rest. If you are a fan of crime thrillers and police procedurals, ‘Cause and Effect’ could well be for you.

 

About Pete Adams

Pete Adams is an architect with a practice in Portsmouth, UK, and from there he has, over forty years, designed and built buildings across England and Wales. Pete took up writing after listening to a radio interview of the writer Michael Connolly whilst driving home from Leeds. A passionate reader, the notion of writing his own novel was compelling, but he had always been told you must have a mind map for the book; Jeez, he could never get that.

Et Voila, Connolly responding to a question, said he never can plan a book, and starts with an idea for chapter one and looks forward to seeing where it would lead. Job done, and that evening Pete started writing and the series, Kind Hearts and Martinets, was on the starting blocks. That was some eight years ago, and hardly a day has passed where Pete has not worked on his writing, and currently, is halfway through his tenth book, has a growing number of short stories, one, critically acclaimed and published by Bloodhound, and has written and illustrated a series of historical nonsense stories called, Whopping Tales.

Pete describes himself as an inveterate daydreamer, and escapes into those dreams by writing crime thrillers with a thoughtful dash of social commentary. He has a writing style shaped by his formative years on an estate that re-housed London families after WWII, and his books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; his most cherished review, “made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think”.

Pete lives in Southsea with his partner, and Charlie the star-struck Border terrier, the children having flown the coop, and has 3 beautiful granddaughters who will play with him so long as he promises not to be silly.

 

Links

Social Media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Peteadams8
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pete.adams.9256

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1074457587/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07R7KDZHL/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0
Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Cause-Effect-Pete-Adams/9781074457587
Google Books: https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Cause_And_Effect.html?id=FZSvxgEACAAJ&redir_esc=y

Blog Blitz – ‘Hidden’ by Lisa Sell @Bloodhoundbook @LisaLisax31

‘Hidden’ by Lisa Sell was published as an eBook on the 27th August 2019 by Bloodhound Books and is also available in paperback.  I am delighted to be closing this blog blitz along with two fellow book bloggers.  I would like to thank Heather Fitt for inviting me to participate.

I have an extract for you all.  First though here’s what the book is all about.

 

 

Book Blurb

Jen Taylor has a secret.

In 1987 the body of fourteen-year-old Kelly was found on a railway track and Jen believes she was responsible for her death.

Now an adult, Jen is approached by Kelly’s mother, who asks her to help investigate her daughter’s murder.

But Jen is hiding more than anyone knows.

As the investigation is reopened by Jen, along with her former friend Claire, secrets from the past come to light and when another murder takes place, the case takes a sinister turn.

Did Jen really kill Kelly and can she ever right the wrongs of the past?

 

Extract

Chapter 4

14th September 1987

Not wanting to be around Kelly wasn’t about losing credibility. Jen didn’t care if others mocked her and she already knew the consequences of judgement. Troddington looked down upon the council estate that blighted the town’s reputation. She ignored the sneers when people discovered where she lived. They didn’t see the estate’s camaraderie and its ethos of belonging. For Jen, it housed some of the best individuals a girl could know. She had Claire Woods, also from Renoir Road, for female companionship. More than this, there was Johnny Rose, from Turner Road.

Going to school with Kelly would end walking with Johnny. He was her best friend and a crush she’d harboured for years, never to be declared. Their lives became entwined when their families moved to the estate, six years earlier.

Johnny wouldn’t object to Kelly’s company. For a member of the Rose family, criticism was a regular occurrence. The problem was he left earlier than Doreen stated Kelly must leave. Like Jen, Johnny parented within his household. Early every weekday he took his brother, Benny, to the childminder, even though their mum didn’t work. Johnny’s brothers, Anthony and Ian, were too lazy and selfish to help. Johnny didn’t mind spending time with Benny. He adored the child.

The arrangement for Jen to accompany Kelly was confusing. Patricia and Doreen didn’t move in the same social circles. Patricia often made snide comments about ‘that disgusting Pratt family’. She detested the estate and regularly phoned the council, demanding a new home. The Pratts were one of her many reasons for leaving. They were one of the poorest families on the Rembrandt Estate. Doreen and Kelly wore jumble sales’ offerings because of Graham’s tight hold upon his wallet. His girls made do so he could make happy in the pub.

The Pratts’ frugal world was far removed from Patricia’s. She focused on social climbing in a mission to swap the crassness of a council estate for a cul-de-sac idyll. In the interim, she maintained the appearance of helping those less fortunate and seeking their adoration. Jen walking to school with Kelly became part of her manifesto.

The rebellious sound of her shoes scuffing against the kerb invigorated Jen. Patricia wouldn’t abide an expensive pair of Clarks shoes being ruined. Wearing them was a trade-off for Jen’s choice of uniform trousers. For once, her dad mediated.

Jen decided to make the best of a bad situation. Kelly couldn’t help what she’d been born into, any more than Jen. Maybe Kelly also lay in bed at night, planning a future that involved leaving her parents behind. Jen was certain Kelly’s dreams didn’t include being Johnny’s wife. Her tummy somersaulted at the deliciousness of the idea. Thoughts of marrying Johnny at Gretna Green and riding off into the sunset on a Lambretta, consumed her. The daydream shattered as she crashed into a pillar of knitwear and costume jewellery.

Sally Ponting made a show of using a wall for balance. ‘Watch where you’re going, Jennifer.’

Sally brushed away the invisible taint from her 1950s style twinset. She had one for every occasion, in every imaginable colour. The sleeve lengths changed with the seasons. A coiffured helmet head of hairspray topped each outfit.

‘Sorry, Mrs Ponting.’ Jen played nice. It would make life easier after Sally reported the incident to Patricia. In her mind, Jen apologised to “Picky Ponting”, an estate nickname. In reality, being rude to one of Patricia’s catty crew wasn’t wise.

Sally looked towards the Pratts’ house. ‘I see Patricia has arranged for you to walk with Kelly. I assume that’s where you’re going?’

‘Yes.’ Jen always lost her words around Patricia’s cronies.

‘Kelly’s often bullied. I’m so glad your mother sorted this out. She’s such a wonderful giving woman.’

Jen gave a saccharine smile. Sally wouldn’t sing Patricia’s praises if she’d overheard her bitching the previous day about how Sally belonged with the other rough elements on Pollock Road.

Fluffing her hair, Sally moved along. Jen headed for the Pratts’ house. Although only around a corner, the leap from Renoir Road to Pollock Road was pronounced. Jen noted pristine pavements morphing into an obstacle course of neglect. Kicking a crumpled can of shandy channelled her anger at Patricia, who wouldn’t be seen dead there.

A realisation hit Jen. This was how she could turn it around and be a winner. She wasn’t a snob, like Patricia, and never would be.

She knocked on the Pratts’ door, deciding to walk to school with Kelly, willingly. They might even become friends. Stranger things had happened.

 

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

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hidden-absolutely-gripping-crime-mystery-ebook/dp/B07WSMH7Y7/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1567055829&sr=8-1

 

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a thriller, crime, and mystery writer who also scribbles short stories. Throughout her writing career she’s blogged about the twists and turns on her site: www.lisasell.co.uk

To combat writer’s bum and keep mentally fit, Lisa is a runner. The consequence is she’s now a running bore but is proud of her achievements.

When she’s reading, Lisa practically hoovers up books. The to-be-read pile has become a tower, threatening to topple on her when she’s sleeping.

Music rocks Lisa’s world too, particularly a good eighties tune. If lost, you’ll find Lisa in a DeLorean, headed for her favourite decade.

Lisa’s cats, Feegle and Wullie, try to help her write but often fail. The furry pests demand attention and desk space. Lisa is currently applying for cat wrangling to be recognised as an Olympic sport.

Lisa is a happy pup to be part of the Bloodhound Books team. Just don’t tell the cats.

If you’d like to visit Lisa’s website/blog, click here: http://www.lisasell.co.uk or find out more by following her on social media:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lisasellwriter

Twitter: @LisaLisax31

Instagram: www.instagram.com/lisasellwriter/

 

Blog Tour – ‘Home Truths’ by Susan Lewis ~ @fictionpubteam @susanlewisbooks

I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Home Truths’ was published in hardback, as an eBook and audiobook on the 22nd August 2019 by HarperCollins.  It will also be out in paperback on the 9th January 2020.

I would like to thank the publisher for my review copy of this book which I received via NetGalley.  You will find out what I thought about ‘Home Truths’ in a minute after the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Angie Watts used to have everything. A new home. A beloved husband. Three adored children.

But Angie’s happy life is shattered when her son Liam falls in with the wrong crowd. And after her son’s bad choices lead to the murder of her husband, it’s up to Angie to hold what’s left of her family together.

Her son is missing. Her daughter is looking for help in dangerous places. And Angie is fighting just to keep a roof over their heads.

But Angie is a mother. And a mother does anything to protect her children – even when the world is falling apart…

If home is where the heart is, what happens when it breaks?

 

My Review

‘Home Truths’ is the first book I have read by this author and I have to say I am seriously impressed. Susan Lewis has written a truly wonderful and genuine story which I think will touch the hearts of many readers. I found myself getting heavily involved in it and the characters and I felt really quite sad when I finished the book.

Out of all the characters I thought Angie was just the loveliest person going. She certainly didn’t deserve to go through what she did. There she was working as hard as she could to bring more money in and doing the best for her children and things just seemed to get worse and worse for her. My heart literally broke for Angie and all the time I found myself wishing that something good would happen.

Despite what Angie was going through she never stopped trying to help people who were also badly or worse off. I had nothing but admiration for her. I also loved her family. Hard times brought them even closer together and it was nice to see them all bonding.

There were a number of unsavoury characters throughout the story too, the type who preyed on the innocent and vulnerable. Not people I would ever want to meet.

‘Home Truths’ is a beautifully written story which I highly recommend. It deals with a number of issues including debt, gangs, drugs, love and loss. There are some very important messages throughout.

I am looking forward to more from Susan Lewis.

 

‘Home Truths’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Susan-Lewis-Untitled-Book-2/dp/0008286787/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1566928587&sr=1-1-spons

 

About Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis is the bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Following periods of living in Los Angeles and the South of France, she currently lives in Gloucestershire with her husband James, stepsons Michael and Luke, and mischievous dogs Coco and Lulu.

 

Links

Website – http://www.susanlewis.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/susanlewisbooks

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

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7142.Susan_Lewis

 

Blog Tour – ‘Here To Stay’ by Mark Edwards ~ @midaspr @AmazonPub @mredwards

‘Here To Stay’ is Mark Edwards brand new book and it is being published in hardback, paperback and as an eBook on the 1st September 2019 by Thomas & Mercer.  I am really excited to be kicking off this blog tour today along with Damppebbles.  I would like to thank Midas PR for inviting me to participate in this tour and for my review copy.

I can’t wait to tell you exactly what I thought about ‘Here To Stay’.  First though here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

“Mark Edwards always delivers! Taut, gripping, scary and original – a fabulous read!”—Robert Bryndza, #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author

A beautiful home. A loving wife. And in-laws to die for.

Gemma Robinson comes into Elliot’s life like a whirlwind, and they marry and settle into his home. When she asks him if her parents can come to stay for a couple of weeks, he is keen to oblige – he just doesn’t quite know what he’s signing up for.

The Robinsons arrive with Gemma’s sister, Chloe, a mysterious young woman who refuses to speak or leave her room. Elliot starts to suspect that the Robinsons are hiding a dark secret. And then there are the scars on his wife’s body that she won’t talk about . . .

As Elliot’s in-laws become more comfortable in his home, encroaching on all aspects of his life, it becomes clear that they have no intention of moving out. To protect Gemma, and their marriage, Elliot delves into the Robinsons’ past. But is he prepared for the truth?

From the two million copy bestselling author comes a tale about the chilling consequences of welcoming strangers into your home.

 

My Review

WOW! I am actually lost for words. Where do I start? That was one amazeballs read and I am still on a high. I was totally hooked and really didn’t want to have to put the book down at all.

Mark Edwards sure knows how to tell a good tale. I loved his style of writing and how he kept me guessing. As events started to unfurl, I found myself sitting there in total shock and at the same time dying to know what was going to happen next. I kept turning the pages eagerly. I loved the shorter chapters and the intrigue and excitement which came with them.

Elliot’s life changed in the blink of an eye. It went from just him and his adorable cat to suddenly finding himself in love and getting married. All seemed perfect. His life was almost complete. But then his in-laws came to stay and that’s when things seemed to take a turn for the worse. That’s when each day literally became a living nightmare with no way out.

I absolutely despised Jeff and Lizzy. They had no respect for Gemma and Elliott at all and the fact that they were still newlyweds who would naturally want their own privacy. All they appeared to care about was themselves. Talk about outstaying their welcome. They came out with such cruel things and it was obvious they were doing things deliberately.

I didn’t really warm to Chloe either but at the same time I did feel sorry for her. I thought maybe she was being bullied by her parents and that that was why she appeared to be a bit strange. But as I discovered that really wasn’t the case.

‘Here To Stay’ will shock you to the core. If you are a fan of psychological thrillers, then I really recommend you read it. This story will probably be etched on my mind forever.

I know one thing; I am definitely going to have to read all of Mark Edwards’ previous books.

 

‘Here To Stay’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Here-Stay-Mark-Edwards/dp/1542006619/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

About Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers in which scary things happen to ordinary people.

Mark has sold over 2 million books since his first solo novel, The Magpies, was published in 2013 and has topped the bestseller lists eight times. His other novels are Because She Loves Me, Follow You Home, What You Wish For, The Devil’s Work, The Lucky Ones, The Retreat and In Her Shadow. He has also published A Murder of Magpies (a short sequel to The Magpies) and six books co-authored with Louise Voss.

Mark lives in the West Midlands, England, with his wife, their children, two cats and a golden retriever.

 

Links

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/mredwards

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

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5267328.Mark_Edwards

 

Blog Tour – ‘Old Bones’ by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles ~ #CynthiaHarrodEagles @blackthornbks

It is a real pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour.  ‘Old Bones’, the nineteenth book in the Bill Slider Mysteries series was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 1st August 2019 by Black Thorn Books.  I would like to thank Holly Domney for inviting me to participate and for my review copy.

I will tell you all what I thought about this book in a minute.  First though, the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

‘You can’t upset anyone looking into old bones.’

DCI Bill Slider’s out of favour in the force – for accusing a senior Met officer of covering up an underage sex ring. As a punishment, he’s given a cold case to keep him busy: some old bones to rake through, found buried in a back garden, from a murder that happened two decades ago, and with most of the principal players already dead.

Surely Bill Slider can’t unearth anything new or shocking with these tired old bones?

 

My Review

I had never actually heard of Cynthia Harrod-Eagles until I received this book to review so it is nice for me to have discovered another author. I would say that ‘Old Bones’ can definitely be read as a standalone without spoiling any pleasure.

I have to say I found it quite hard to get into the story at first but after a while I found myself really starting to enjoy it. I liked the style of writing and I thought the chapter titles were great. In fact, some of them were quite witty. It’s obvious that the author has done her research for this book. I bet that was interesting.

I really enjoyed meeting DCI Bill Slider and his team and thought that they worked very well together. There was the usual banter of course and I loved the humour. I was extremely interested in seeing what trying to solve a case from twenty-five years ago actually entailed. I personally thought that it would be an impossible task but with some clever sleuthing and the use of technology they were able to make quite a lot of progress and at the same time prove me wrong. Their investigations certainly led to some shockers.

Out of all the characters my favourites were Slider, Atherton and Connolly. I liked that the author also included a bit about their personal lives. That’s always very important, I think.

‘Old Bones’ is a classic whodunit which will have you trying to fit all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together. If you are a fan of crime fiction and police procedurals, then I really do recommend reading this book.

Would I read the rest of the series? Yes, at some point I am sure I will, that is if I can ever reduce my reading list.

 

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

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Old-Bones-Cynthia-Harrod-Eagles/dp/1786894904/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1563867502&sr=1-1

 

About Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is the author of over 90 books, including the internationally acclaimed Bill Slider mysteries and her Morland Dynasty series, which has sold over 100,000 copies.

Visit her website at http://cynthiaharrodeagles.com

 

Book Launch for ‘A Room at the Manor’ – Guest Post by Julie Shackman ~ @AllenAndUnwinUK @G13Julie

Congratulations to Julie Shackman whose book. ‘A Room at the Manor’ is out today in the UK in paperback, published by Allen & Unwin.  It is also available as an eBook and audiobook.  Julie has become quite a regular on my blog and it is always a pleasure to have her visit.

Julie has written a post about where she writes and how it inspired the tea room in her book.  Before you read it though here’s what ‘A Room at the Manor’ is about.

 

 

Book Blurb

For all the readers who love Cathy Kelly and Maeve Binchy.

When her Maltese love affair turns sour, Lara McDonald returns to her quiet Scottish hometown of Fairview heart broken, yet determined – instead of looking for another PR position, she decides to follow her dream of baking. She impulsively takes the first job offered and finds herself working for local dragon Kitty Walker in her tea room True Brew.

Lara’s life is full of surprises, however, not the least being an unlikely friendship forged with one of Kitty’s elderly customers, the Laird Hugo Carmichael. The Carmichael family has lived at the beautiful Glenlovatt Manor for almost 300 years and, although in need of renovation, Hugo, his son and grandson currently make it their home.

There’s something about Lara that Hugo likes, and when Hugo suddenly passes away, Lara is stunned to discover she is mentioned in his will. But not everyone is happy with the old Laird’s faith in Lara.

A story of love, family, hope and trust, A Room at the Manor will delight every reader keen to find their place.

 

Guest Post

Tea & Thistles – My Inspiration for A Room at the Manor

I write every day in a gorgeous little tea shop and it was this place, that inspired me for “Thistles,” the fictional tea room in A Room at the Manor.

I can’t write at home. I’ve tried. But there are just too many distractions, ranging from social media (Twitter especially) to things around the house.

So during week days, I get all my writing things together and take myself off to this local tea shop.

It was while I was sitting in there, around eighteen months ago, admiring the glistening slices of cakes; sparkly topped cup cakes and fruit studded scones, that an idea came to me, to create my own tea room.

It was from there, that the idea for “Thistles,” was born, together with my heroine, Lara McDonald and moody, aristocratic sculptor, Vaughan Carmichael.

I think that wherever you write, has to inspire you and my local tea shop is no exception. From its tempting baking to calm, pretty atmosphere; gingham quilted cushions and polished tables, it a perfect place to people watch and be creative – and it was whilst sitting there, that I was able to pull together my own array of characters and decide on their future.

Its floor to ceiling windows look out onto cobbled side streets, leafy trees and an eclectic mix of local shops and there is usually a wide range of music playing in the background.

For me, my favourite little tea shop is a source of calm, inspiration and reflection, which I have attempted to reflect in “Thistles.”

I hope you enjoy reading about Lara and Vaughan’s story, every bit as much as I enjoyed writing about them.

And remember – happiness is a slice of cake in each hand!

Julie X

A Room at the Manor is out in the UK on kindle and in paperback from Atlantic Books.  It can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Room-at-Manor-Julie-Shackman/dp/1760632864/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1564598088&sr=8-2

 

About Julie Shackman

Julie Shackman trained as a journalist and studied Media & Communication before turning her hand to women’s fiction. When not reading and writing romance, she writes verses and captions for greeting card companies.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/G13Julie

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/julie.shackman

Blog – http://julieshackman.wordpress.com/

Cover Reveal – ‘The Seagull’s Laughter’ by Holly Bidgood ~ #LoveBooksTours @WildPressed @HollyBidgood

I am very excited to be taking part in the cover reveal for ‘The Seagull’s Laughter’ by Holly Bidgood along with a number of other book bloggers.  This book is being published in November of this year by Wild Pressed Books and boy does it sound good.

I would like to thank Kelly Lacey of Love Books Group for inviting me to get involved in this reveal.

Are you ready to see the cover?  I personally love it and hope you do too.

Feast your eyes on this…….

 


Book Blurb

Born in 1973 to a Greenlandic mother and an English-Explorer father, Malik has always been something of a misfit. He has one black eye and one blue. As a child his mother’s people refused to touch him and now his own baby daughter’s family feel the same way.

On his own now, Malik’s only companion is a guiding spirit no-one else can see, but one day a white man with a nose like a beak and a shadow like a seagull appears on his doorstep and invites him to England.

Martha has had enough of living with domestic abuse. She compares bruises with her friend Neil, who regularly suffers homophobic attacks. With Martha’s baby, they go on the run to Shetland, where Martha has happy childhood memories of summers spent with her aunt.

On their way up north in a camper van, they come across a dejected Malik, alone again after a brief reconciliation with his father’s family.

They arrive safely together in the Shetland Isles, but Malik still needs answers to the identity of the beak-nosed man who casts a shadow over his life, and must now embark on a further journey of his own.

 

The Seagull’s Laughter is an immersive read, intertwined with nature and the magic of Greenlandic folk tales.

 

About Holly Bidgood


Holly grew up in Derbyshire but has always been drawn to the sea. She has written from a young age. Her love affair with island landscapes was kick-started on a brief visit to the Faroe Islands at the age of eighteen, en route to Iceland. She was immediately captivated by the landscape, weather, and way of life and it was here that she conceived the idea for her first novel, The Eagle and The Oystercatcher.

Holly studied Icelandic, Norwegian and Old Norse at University College London. She also studied as an exchange student at The University of Iceland (Háskóli Íslands) and spent a memorable summer working in a museum in South Greenland.

She decided to start a family young, and now has three small children. Holly helps run Life & Loom, a social and therapeutic weaving studio in Hull.  She likes to escape from the busyness of her life by working on her novels and knitting Icelandic wool jumpers.

The Seagull’s Laughter will be published in November 2019.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/HollyBidgood

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

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15720934.Holly_Bidgood

Publisher

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Wildpressed

 

Blog Tour – ‘A Sinner’s Prayer’ by M.P. Wright ~ @bwpublishing @EllingtonWright

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘A Sinner’s Prayer’, the fourth and last book in the Detective JT Ellington series was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 18th July 2019 by Black & White Publishing.  It is also available in audiobook.  I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate in the tour and for my review copy.

Before I tell you what I thought about ‘A Sinner’s Prayer’, here is the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Saying farewell to the dark side doesn’t mean the dark side wants rid of you. And I was about to be reminded of that fact.

1970, St Pauls, Bristol. A new decade, and JT Ellington is determined it will be a quiet one. He’s stepped away from the private-eye game to scratch a living, respectable at last, as a school caretaker.

Still his nights are full of torment – guilt and ghosts that no prayers will banish – but it’s not until the past comes calling in the unwelcome form of Superintendent Fletcher that JT’s resolve is truly tested.

Fletcher has a job for JT – and the hard-nosed cop can’t be refused. A young man, Nikhil Suresh, has disappeared hours before his wedding; rumours abound and his family is distraught. JT is to investigate.

With what feels like blood money in his pocket, JT is plunged deep into a demi-monde of vice, violence and forbidden passion. An extraordinary, malevolent enemy is intent on destroying him. Now – seeking survival and redemption – JT must play as dirty and dangerous as those who want him dead.

 

My Review

Oh Wow! Was that a fantastic read or what. You won’t believe this, but I haven’t read any of this series and am now wishing I had done. ‘A Sinner’s Prayer’ was absolutely amazing. I was totally hooked and when I wasn’t reading the book I was literally counting down the hours until I could pick it up again. It’s a shame when real life gets in the way isn’t it!

M.P. Wright certainly knows how to weave a good tale and keep his audience captivated. He mentioned JT Ellington’s past which painted a picture for me. That said I found there was loads more I wanted to know. The dialect throughout the book was fascinating. I could almost hear JT and other characters talking.

They say you never know what is around the corner and this was certainly very true in JT’s case. All he wanted was to be able to live a respectable life and for a while things seemed to be working out for him. He preferred doing an honest day’s work. But it turned out he couldn’t hide from the past and soon it was knocking at his door. JT was to find that things were about to become very complicated indeed with possibly no escape.

‘A Sinner’s Prayer’ is a must read for lovers of historical and crime fiction. You will find that you don’t want to put it down even for a second.

This book can definitely be read as a standalone novel but like me you will probably find yourself wanting to read the whole series from the beginning. This is something I will be doing for sure at some point. I am so glad that I have at last read one of M.P. Wright’s books. I hope there is a lot more from him.

 

‘A Sinner’s Prayer’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sinners-Prayer-Detective-JT-Ellington/dp/1785302299/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

About M.P. Wright

Mark Wright was born in Leicestershire in 1965. He was employed in various roles within the music industry before working as a private investigator. He retrained in 1989 and spent the next twenty years in the mental health and probation services in the UK, specialising in risk assessment. A self-confessed aficionado of film, music and real ale, and father of two beautiful daughters, Mark lives with his partner and their two Rottweiler dogs, Tiff and Dylan.

 

Social Media Links

Author

Twitter – https://twitter.com/EllingtonWright

Publisher

Twitter – https://twitter.com/bwpublishing

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

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

 

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