A Lover of Books

Archive for the month “September, 2019”

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

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