A Lover of Books

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

 

Book Review – ‘An Armful of Animals’ by Malcolm D. Welshman ~ @malcolmwelshman

‘An Armful of Animals’ is Malcolm D. Welshman’s memoir.  He self-published it last year and it is available in paperback and as an eBook.  I was sent this book a while ago to review and would like to thank Malcolm for my copy.

I will tell you all in a minute what my thoughts on this book are.  First though, here’s what its about.

 

Book Blurb

Malcolm D. Welshman has had a lifetime filled with exciting encounters with animals. As a lad in Nigeria, he is attacked by soldier ants and terrified by a snake in his treehouse. His treasured companion, Poucher, an African bush dog, prevents him and his mother from being savaged by baboons.

Once qualified as a vet Malcolm has to attempt life-saving surgery on his beloved parrot. On a road trip across the Sahara, there is a tussle with a lame camel and the operation on an Ostrich gored by an antelope.

Settling back in West Sussex in England, he tackles a cow that’s got stuck in a tree, wily cats and battles with cunning badgers and baby bats.
He shares all these fascinating experiences in this gently humorous memoir that will guarantee to tug at the heart strings while bringing a smile to your face. Anyone who loves animals will be enchanted and enthralled.

‘A witty take on a young vet’s life that pet lovers will find endearing.’ – Bel Mooney, Daily Mail.

‘A joyful read full of animals and fun.’ – Celia Haddon, author and former Daily Telegraph columnist.

‘Bursting with exotic creatures and eccentric characters, this touching memoir makes for a spellbinding read where the author’s love of animals shines through.’ – Jenny Itzcovitz, editor of Sixtyplusurfers.co.uk.

 

My Review

Having previously reviewed one of Malcolm D. Welshman’s books, I was really looking forward to reading ‘An Armful of Animals’. I must admit I don’t usually read memoirs but as this was a book about animals, I thought I would give it a go and I’m so glad I did.

I found ‘An Armful of Animals’ an absolute joy to read. The author has done a wonderful job of putting this book together. There was just so much packed into each chapter. I loved the style of writing and the humour throughout, though there were some sad moments too of course. It felt as if the author was sitting there in front of me telling me about his life.

I got to meet a large variety of birds and animals including a few pets from Malcolm’s childhood which was nice. It was very interesting to learn what made him decide to become a vet.

It’s very hard to pick my favourites out of the chapters as they were all good, so I won’t. One that really amused me though was about the cows and sheep. That made me chuckle a bit. The way the author described the owners was absolutely hilarious. They should have had name tags on! I also loved the chapter about Polly the African Grey Parrot. She sounded like a right little cracker. One thing though, the author can keep the snakes as I wouldn’t want them anywhere near me.

‘An Armful of Animals’ is a treasure chest of tales from Malcolm’s childhood onwards. If you are a pet or animal lover, then I urge you to read this book. You certainly won’t be disappointed.

I hope to read more about this author’s life sometime in the future. I am sure there are many more stories he could tell.

 

About Malcolm D. Welshman

Malcolm Welshman is a retired vet and author. He was the My Weekly vet for 15 years and has written many features for magazines such as She, The Lady, The People’s Friend, Cat World, Yours, and newspapers such as The Sunday Times and the Daily Mail. He is the author of three pet novels, the first of which, Pets in a Pickle, reached number two on Kindle’s bestseller list. His third novel, Pets Aplenty, was a finalist for The People’s Book Prize 2015. His latest book, An Armful of Animals – published September 2018 – is a memoir of encounters with creatures as diverse as a cow stuck in a tree and a red-footed booby. Jim Wight, James Herriot’s son, says of it, ‘A most enjoyable insight into a fascinating life.’ While author and columnist on The Daily Mail, Bel Mooney, states, ‘A witty take on a young vet’s life that pet owners will find endearing.’

A fourth pet novel, Pets are a Pleasure, is due to be published this autumn.

Malcolm is also an international speaker on cruise ships, having completed 47 such engagements over the past eight years. He is a bi-monthly contributor to a local community radio, Keep 106 in Dorset.

 

Links

‘An Armful of Animals’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B07H1HM7ZB

Amazon US – http://amazon.com/dp/B07H1HM7ZB

 

Website – http://www.malcolmwelshman.co.uk

Twitter – twitter.com/malcolmwelshman

Facebook – Facebook.com/malcolmwelshman.7

 

Book Review – ‘A Summer to Remember’ by Sue Moorcroft ~ @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK

Following on from my post this morning promoting ‘A Summer to Remember’ by Sue Moorcroft, I am back reviewing this book.  I would like to thank Sue and Avon Books for sending me a review copy.

Before I tell you all what I thought about ‘A Summer to Remember’, here’s the book blurb again.

 

Book Blurb

COME AND SPEND SUMMER BY THE SEA!

WANTED! A caretaker for Roundhouse Row holiday cottages.

WHERE? Nelson’s Bar is the perfect little village. Nestled away on the Norfolk coast we can offer you no signal, no Wi-Fi and – most importantly – no problems!

WHO? The ideal candidate will be looking for an escape from their cheating scumbag ex-fiancé, a diversion from their entitled cousin, and a break from their traitorous friends.

WHAT YOU’LL GET! Accommodation in a chocolate-box cottage, plus a summer filled with blue skies and beachside walks. Oh, and a reunion with the man of your dreams.

PLEASE NOTE: We take no responsibility for any of the above scumbags, passengers and/or traitors walking back into your life…

GET IN TOUCH NOW TO MAKE THIS A SUMMER TO REMEMBER!

 

My Review

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘A Summer to Remember’. No, actually I loved it. It was everything I expected it to be and so much more besides. From the very first page I knew this book was for me. Sue Moorcroft’s descriptions of Nelson’s Bar and the surrounding areas were simply breath-taking, and I could picture the village in colour in my head. It sounded like the ideal place to escape to away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and technology.

There were some truly wonderful characters in this story including Dilys and Ernie. They literally couldn’t live with each other but at the same time they couldn’t live without each other. It was quite sweet in a way.

Clancy was such a warm and lovely person and I found myself liking her instantly. Circumstances left her with no other option but to start afresh somewhere else which didn’t seem at all fair at first, especially when what happened was hardly her fault. Nevertheless, she got on with life as best as she could. I really liked Clancy’s spirt and how she was always there for others.

And of course, how could I forget Nelson the dog. He was just so adorable. I think it’s so nice when there’s a pet included in the story. That’s very important as they are characters in their own right.

Relationships and break-ups played a key part in this story. It took a lot to confront the truth and realise that sometimes things just weren’t meant to be. Hearts broke and life didn’t feel worth living but at some point, something or someone better was bound to come along as Clancy was about to discover.

I really recommend reading ‘A Summer to Remember’. I guarantee that it’s a story you won’t forget in a hurry.

Sue Moorcroft is now on my list of favourite authors. She is an amazing writer and her books are magical.

 

‘A Summer to Remember’ is available to buy from:- 

Apple iBook: buy
Amazon UK: buy
Kobo: buy

Don’t forget that the eBook is currently 99p.

 

Book Promotion: Guest Post – ‘A Summer to Remember’ by Sue Moorcroft ~ @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK

If you are a fan of Sue Moorcroft’s books then I have some brilliant news for you.  Her latest novel, ‘A Summer to Remember’ is currently on promotion at only 99p for the eBook.  How good is that!  I can tell you now that you are in for a real treat.

Sue Moorcroft has written a guest post for my blog.  First though, here’s what ‘A Summer to Remember’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

COME AND SPEND SUMMER BY THE SEA!

WANTED! A caretaker for Roundhouse Row holiday cottages.

WHERE? Nelson’s Bar is the perfect little village. Nestled away on the Norfolk coast we can offer you no signal, no Wi-Fi and – most importantly – no problems!

WHO? The ideal candidate will be looking for an escape from their cheating scumbag ex-fiancé, a diversion from their entitled cousin, and a break from their traitorous friends.

WHAT YOU’LL GET! Accommodation in a chocolate-box cottage, plus a summer filled with blue skies and beachside walks. Oh, and a reunion with the man of your dreams.

PLEASE NOTE: We take no responsibility for any of the above scumbags, passengers and/or traitors walking back into your life…

GET IN TOUCH NOW TO MAKE THIS A SUMMER TO REMEMBER!

 

Guest Post

Dealing with the exes

In A Summer to Remember the ex-fiancé of Clancy and the ex-girlfriend of Aaron played pivotal roles.

Will, Clancy’s ex, was comparatively easy. He was ex at the beginning of the book because he’d been caught with another woman. The other woman, Renée, had come storming back at him from his past: the love of his life, now single and returning the love he felt for her, marrying Clancy could only be wrong. Nevertheless, readers weren’t meant to feel much sympathy for him when he was intimate with Renée before ending his engagement to Clancy. It was made hard for Clancy to remain in the business in which they were both partners. She was the innocent victim, but Will didn’t leave the biz and their home to make it easy on her. In fact, Will’s behaviour is increasingly self-serving throughout the book until, some might consider, he gets a bit of a comeuppance.

In writing terms, it was beyond easy to encourage the readers not to sympathise with Will.

Genevieve, Aaron’s girlfriend at the beginning of the book, I found trickier to handle. Essentially, she did nothing ‘wrong’ – at least, she didn’t cheat or lie. Genevieve, as so often in real life, made a mistake. Instead of continuing to be the independent woman Aaron had been enjoying being with for the past year, she tried to move their relationship on and move in with him. I think Aaron would have handled this better if she hadn’t hung this change on the fact that she had to move out of her cottage for building work. The more he told her it was the wrong reason for moving in with someone the more she seemed to realise that actually, she wanted to commit.

Sadly, Aaron didn’t.

It made him realise that not only was Genevieve not ‘the one’ but that his preoccupation with Clancy, with whom he’d shared one hot kiss, one blazing row and then six years of stilted emails, was altogether too much on his mind.

The problem, I found, was in making Genevieve nice enough for Aaron to have been with her for a year but not so nice that he’d remain with her when she gave him an ultimatum. At the same time, I didn’t want to make my hero look bad … I fought the Genevieve character throughout the book and finally got her where I wanted her. She played a pivotal part in the ending of the book and yet, I hope, the readers don’t hate her because it’s easy to see where she went wrong – she loved someone more than he loved her.

 

About Sue Moorcroft


Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times and international bestselling author and has reached the coveted #1 spot on Amazon Kindle. She’s won the Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary, and has been nominated for several other awards, including the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards.

Her short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared all over the world.

Part of an army family, Sue was born in Germany and lived much of her childhood in Malta and Cyprus before setting in the UK.

 

Links

Twitter: @SueMoorcroft

Facebook: SueMoorcroftAuthor/

Instagram: @SueMoorcroftAuthor

 

The A Summer to Remember UK ebook is currently on 99P PROMO!

Apple iBook: buy
Amazon UK: buy
Kobo: buy

 

Look out for my review of ‘A Summer to Remember’ this evening.

 

Blog Tour – ‘Four Weddings and a Festival’ by Annie Robertson ~ @orionbooks @annierauthor

‘Four Weddings and a Festival’ was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 11th July 2019 by Orion.  It is also available as an audio book.  I am beyond thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour and would like to thank Kate Moreton for inviting me to participate and for my review copy which I got via NetGalley.

I am bursting to tell you what I thought about ‘Four Weddings and a Festival’.  First though, here’s the blurb.

 


Book Blurb

Four months. Four weddings. One happy ending…?

Lifelong friends and rom-com fans Bea, Lizzie, Hannah and Kat have curled up with Bridget Jones, sobbed at Love, Actually and memorised the script to Notting Hill. They always joked about getting married in one summer – their own Four Weddings – and it seems like this might just be the year . . .

That is, until Bea turns down her boyfriend’s proposal. Is her own Hugh Grant waiting for her amid the champagne and confetti? Can real-life romance ever live up to a Richard Curtis movie?

As the wedding – and festival – season gets into its swing, can all four friends find their happy ever after…?

Raise a glass of champagne and get ready for this summer’s most charming romantic comedy! Perfect for fans of Sophie Ranalds, Mandy Baggot and Sue Roberts

 

My Review

I absolutely loved this book. It was such a lighthearted and enjoyable read. I really liked the author’s style of writing and the storyline. I must also comment on the cover. Its just so beautiful and summery and really catches the eye. Love it.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Bea, Lizzie, Hannah and Kat and I felt as if I had known them all forever. I adored Aunt Jane. She was just so much fun, the kind of aunt I think we would all like to have in our lives.

I like that the author has included gay characters in her story. She has also touched on some very important issues.

I have to confess that I have never actually watched ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’. Yes, I know. Unbelievable isn’t it! I must be in the minority. Now that I have read this book though I am determined to watch it, even though I must be a zillion years late to the game.

I highly recommend reading ‘Four Weddings and a Festival’. It’s the sort of book which really helps you to escape from everyday life and it is guaranteed to leave a smile on your face.

I am looking forward to reading more of Annie Robertson’s books.

 

‘Four Weddings and a Festival’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Four-Weddings-Festival-Annie-Robertson/dp/1409189996/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1562868586&sr=8-1

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/annierauthor

Guest Post by Reedsy ~ @ReedsyHQ

A couple of months ago I was contacted by someone from Reedsy with regards to writing a guest post for my blog.  They sounded very interesting and so I agreed.  Here is some information about Reedsy and what they do.

Founded in 2014, Reedsy is a platform and marketplace that connects authors and publishers with the world’s best editors, designers, and marketers.  Reedsy also provides tools to help authors write and format their books, as well as free courses and webinars to help them learn more about writing and publishing.  As of 2019, over 4,000 books have been self-published using Reedsy’s services.

 

The 4 Fundamentals of Worldbuilding

Maybe it’s a yellow brick road where lions, tigers, and bears roam. Perhaps it’s an ancient pseudo-Medieval European setting under threat from a dark lord. Whatever the case, this is one of the best parts of being an author: the ability to create worlds far different from our own.

But the excitement of “secondary worldbuilding” — in other words, creating a world that’s different from the “real world” — can quickly become overwhelming. This post will try to help authors conquer the wonderful task of worldbuilding by outlining four fundamental concepts to help you get it right.

 

1. Time Frame and History

When you think of classic fantasy novels, you often think of settings in books like Lord of the Rings or A Game of Thrones — medieval and European. Despite existing for seemingly thousands of years, these worlds don’t seem to have progressed much in the way of technology and almost seem frozen in time. Compare this to popular science fiction novels, which take place in worlds that feel far in the future because of their technologically advanced societies. (Of course, the danger herein is that some older sci-fi novels now feel comically dated for how the way they imagine the 21st century.)

These are important elements to consider. Whether your world has a historical, modern, or futuristic feel, you should still develop a sense of how the world has developed. Has it always been innately advanced? Is it rural because it’s a newer society? Perhaps advancement has been stunted because of ongoing wars or frequent power shifts?

As well as developing a sense of where your world is currently, establish what has led it to the present point.

 

2. Geography

This is maybe one of the most intimidating parts of worldbuilding. But don’t worry, you don’t need to have majored in topography during university to tackle your story-world’s geography. The geographical aspects of your world will likely continue to evolve through the novel-writing process. Still, it’s good to have a basic sense of the physical world you’re creating. Start by considering…

  • Layout: how big is this world? What are the more populous regions? What areas, if any, remain unexplored? Is it divided into countries? Or perhaps there aren’t any established borders?
  • Climate: what is the weather like? Are there four seasons? Do those seasons resemble those of the real world? How do the various climates affect the various parts of the world?
  • Landscapes: think mountains, plains, valleys, deserts, forests, hills, canyons, and so on.
  • Water: think oceans, lakes, rivers, springs, seas, and so on. Naturally this will affect the dispersion of the population, as people need to live near water resources.

 

3. Culture

You don’t need to create an entirely new culture from scratch — there are so many current and historical cultures for you to pull from. If you do, of course, ensure you do your research and represent aspects of that culture as accurately and sensitively as possible. (If you ever have any doubts, working with sensitivity readers is always an option).

Here are a few aspects of culture to get your imagination going:

  • Language: as UK editor of The Martian, Michael Rowley, puts it, “The spoken word is a reflection of the cultures that spawned them, and the evolution of the language will often indicate some societal change.” You certainly don’t need to create an entirely new language as with Tolkien, but you should consider the different dialects that might exist in your world. Considering language will always play a large part in determining the names of characters and places within your world.
  • Power Dynamics: what kind of government exists in this world? Who currently has the power? How long have they held power? Is there a monarchy? Who oversees law-making and law enforcement? How do gender, sexuality, or race contribute to power dynamics?
  • Religion: does religion exist? Are there many different kinds of religions? What about gods? How does this affect society?
  • Arts/Entertainment: how do people in this culture express themselves? Are arts celebrated or restricted? Are there popular sports or other forms of entertainment?

 

4. Magic and Technology

While magic and technology are both very different concepts, they will both be a major influencer in your world — and chances are if you’re creating a secondary world, it’s so that you can also create your own set of rules regarding magic and technology, free from the constraints of the real world.

If your world contains magic, here are a few factors to consider:

  • Is everyone magic?
  • Are people born magic or do they learn it?
  • Does everyone possess the same kinds of magic?
  • What do magical powers look like — how are they manifested?
  • Where did magic come from?
  • Are there rules on the types of magic people can perform?
  • How are magical laws enforced?
  • Is there “good” and “bad” magic?
  • Is magic accepted everywhere? Is it banned in certain places?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself about the technology in your world:

  • Would this world be considered technologically advanced?
  • How is technology used for communication? Travel? Health? Entertainment? Education? War?
  • How is technology used by the government or controlling powers?
  • What role does technology play in people’s everyday lives?
  • Is technological access equally dispersed throughout the world, or do some people have more/less access than others?
  • What positive and/or negative contributions has technology offered in your world?
  • How dependant are people on technology?

Like developing a character, worldbuilding can start to feel like a never-ending process. And in a sense, that’s true: both process will also continue as you write (and rewrite) your story. For that reason, it’s important to consider what aspects of your world are crucial to the story at hand: while you might be able to easily picture every square inch of your world, only include the details that will enhance a reader’s understanding of, and connection to, the characters and story.

 

Emmanuel Nataf is a founder at Reedsy, a marketplace and set of tools that allows authors and publishers to find top editorial, design and marketing talent. Over 3,000 books have been published using Reedsy’s services.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ReedsyHQ

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

 

Cover Reveal – ‘A Question of Us’ by Mary Jayne Baker ~ @Aria_Fiction @MaryJayneBaker

Today is a very exciting day indeed.  You see Mary Jayne Baker has a brand new book coming out.

Yes, you read right!  It’s called ‘A Question of Us’ and it is being published as an eBook on the 5th September 2019 by Aria Fiction.

Together with a number of fellow book bloggers I am helping to reveal the cover of this book.  I can tell you now that you are definitely in for a treat.

So, are you ready to see the cover?  Was that a no??

Only teasing!!  Feast your eyes on this………….

 


Isn’t this cover lovely?  I like that the title of the cover is in purple, my favourite colour.  Now, you’ll be wanting to know what the book is about won’t you.  Here is the blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Two best friends. Eight pub quizzes. One shot at love…

There are some people who seem like they have all the answers in life. Clarrie Midwinter isn’t one of them.

At the age of 26, tomboy Clarrie is still struggling to become a ‘proper’ grown-up. She’s eternally strapped for cash, she hasn’t had a date in nearly a year and her attempts to quit smoking tend to take a nosedive after the second pint. Most annoyingly of all, her ladykiller best friend Simon just won’t stop asking her out. The only thing keeping her sane is her pub quiz team, the Mighty Morphin Flower Arrangers.

But when Simon bets her a date their team will win the quiz league, Clarrie is forced to confront what she really wants out of life – and love. Is it finally time for her to grow up?

Gloriously irreverent, badly behaved romantic comedy from the author of Meet Me at the Lighthouse.

 

‘A Question of Us’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XleC3A
iBooks: https://apple.co/2RQnN62
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2RSU2Bv
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2ROC4QC

 

About Mary Jayne Baker


Mary Jayne Baker is a romance author from Yorkshire, UK. She is represented by Laura Longrigg at MBA Literary Agents. Mary Jayne Baker grew up in rural West Yorkshire, right in the heart of Brontë country… and she’s still there. After graduating from Durham University with a degree in English Literature, she dallied with living in cities including London, Nottingham and Cambridge, but eventually came back with her own romantic hero in tow to her beloved Dales, where she first started telling stories about heroines with flaws and the men who love them. Mary Jayne Baker is a pen name for an international woman of mystery…

 

Links

Twitter: @MaryJayneBaker
Facebook: @MaryJayneWrites

Follow Aria

Website: www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

 

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