A Lover of Books

Archive for the month “August, 2019”

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/

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