A Lover of Books

Archive for the category “Blog Tours”

Blog Tour – ‘Cherry Slice’ by Jennifer Stone ~ @farragobooks @missjennystone

I am absolutely thrilled to be closing this blog tour.  I was actually down as taking part in it today and would like to thank the publisher for letting me stick to my original date.

‘Cherry Slice’ by Jennifer Stone is the first book in the Cherry PI Mystery series.  It is being published tomorrow the 2nd April 2020 in paperback and as an eBook by Farrago Books and will also be available as an Audiobook and Audio CD.

I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate in this tour and for my review copy of ‘Cherry Slice’.  You will find out what I thought about this book in a minute.  First though here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

In Cherry Hinton’s first case, she discovers that it takes a reality TV star to catch a reality TV murderer.

When Kenny Thorpe, a contestant on Expose TV’s Big Blubber, the hot new celebrity weight-loss show, is murdered on live television in front of three million viewers, the case seems pretty watertight. After all, everyone saw Martin do it, didn’t they?

Cherry Hinton knows there’s more to this than meets the eye. As an investigative reporter, she went undercover on dating show Caravan of Love…but after getting in too deep with one of the other contestants, she was caught knicker-less in front of the nation. Humiliated, fired and heartbroken, she has fled to Brentwood, where she opens a cake shop and tries to forget all about Expose.

Until Kenny Thorpe’s sister walks into her shop with a letter that turns Cherry’s world upside down. Is Martin innocent? How is infamous gangster Leon Solent involved? Is Expose to blame, and is there a killer still on the loose?

Cherry is the only one in a position to find out.

 

My Review

The first thing that caught my eye was the cover. Isn’t it just pure gorgeousness? I love the bright pink and as for that cake. Heaven! I could quite easily lust over it. Now, I’m not really a fan of reality TV, although I did watch two series of a certain show many years ago now. Why then did I want to read this book? Well, apart from the fact that I loved the cover and could spend literally hours staring at that delicious looking cake, I was intrigued when I saw that murder was involved.

What an entertaining and light-hearted read this was. I knew within the first couple of pages that I was going to enjoy this book. It is just what I needed with all that is going on at the moment and it actually helped me to take my mind off things. I loved the author’s style of writing and the humour throughout the story.

I absolutely adored Cherry Hinton. To me she was pure class. After losing her job as an investigative reporter Cherry decides to make a fresh start. She opens a bakery and creates the most wonderful and mouth-watering sounding cakes, her mind working overtime with new ideas. A woman with many talents, she soon finds herself involved in investigating a murder. Was the wrong person convicted and will she discover the truth?

I was most interested to see where Cherry’s investigation would take her and admired her skills and how she worked things out with a bit of assistance from others.

I didn’t really take to any of the contestants who took part in Big Blubber as such. The only person I remotely liked was Jodrell Banks.

If you are looking for something to take your mind off the current world situation and you like cosy crime, then I highly recommend ‘Cherry Slice’.  It is like a breath of fresh air reading this book. I am so excited that there will be a second book in this series and am very much looking forward to reading it.

This is the first title by Farrago Books that I have read, and I am seriously impressed. I will definitely be checking out more of their books.

‘Cherry Slice’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cherry-Slice-PI-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07R1PY7R7/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1585726831&sr=1-1

 

About Jennifer Stone

Jennifer Stone was born in Essex and spent her formative years living within its borders and enjoying the delights of the multiple night clubs and alcopop-swigging opportunities available. After a stint in North Wales acquiring a degree and a further spell in Leeds, training to be a teacher, she returned to the south of England to teach English in a variety of schools. She is currently head of English at a boarding school in Suffolk and has just completed her MA in Creative Writing (Crime) at UEA. She lives with her wife and their small son.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/missjennystone

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/220958.Jennifer_Stone

Blog Tour – ‘The Waxwork Corpse’ by Simon Michael ~ @SapereBooks @simonmichaeluk

I am absolutely thrilled to be kicking off this blog tour along with Steph’s Book Blog and Linda’s Book Bag.  ‘The Waxwork Corpse’ by Simon Michael is the fifth book in the Charles Holborne series.  It was published on the 23rd December last year in paperback and as an eBook by Sapere Books.

I would like to thank Caoimhe O’Brien of Sapere Books for inviting me to participate in this blog tour and for my review copy of ‘The Waxwork Corpse’.  I literally cannot wait to tell you what I thought about this book.  First though here’s the blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Charles Holborne is back – with his strangest case to date! Perfect for fans of John Grisham, Robert Bailey, Michael Connelly and Robert Dugoni.

A deadly crime has been dragged to the surface…

London, 1965

Charles Holborne, maverick barrister, will never fit in at the Bar; he is too working-class, too Jewish and too dangerous.

But that makes him the perfect outsider to prosecute a shocking murder case which has already made its way to the press. By chance, a body was found, dumped in a lake.

It had clearly been there for some time, but the conditions in the water have meant that it was nearly perfectly preserved.

The police have managed to match this ‘waxwork corpse’ to a missing woman and if her husband — a senior judge — was the one who killed her, the scandal threatens to rock the British justice to its foundations.

The waxwork corpse is not the only thing to be raised from the past. The investigation also dredges up a violent mistake made by Charles in his youth which, if revealed, could put his own life at stake…

THE WAXWORK CORPSE, based on a real Old Bailey case, is the fifth crime novel in an exciting historical series, the Charles Holborne Legal Thrillers — gritty, hard-boiled mysteries set in 1960s London.

 

My Review

What a superb read this was. I absolutely loved ‘The Waxwork Corpse’. I haven’t actually read the full series yet but that didn’t spoil things for me in the least and I would say this book can definitely be read as a standalone novel.

I found myself engrossed in the story from the very start. It was really quite easy to get into. By the time I read the prologue I was intrigued. I kept trying to work out where exactly it fitted in with the story. I really do like Simon Michael’s style of writing. He was very descriptive throughout and I was actually able to picture things. I loved reading about the Temple and Chambers and wished I could have been there exploring.

This is such an intelligent and thought-provoking legal thriller. I thought the case itself was really quite unusual and was surprised to find that it was actually based on a real one. I was totally gripped during the trial and I almost felt as if I was there sitting in Court with everyone else. I didn’t want to have to put down the book until the verdict was read.

I really like Charles Holborne as a character. He comes across as a really good barrister and I would say nothing much gets past him. He knew when things were amiss. I enjoyed reading about Charles and his family and it was nice to see how things developed there. I could actually see both sides. His father, Harry, is such a lovely man and I’m glad that Charles got to spend some quality time with him.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the Charles Holborne series, but I think the author has surpassed himself with this one and has come a very long way with his writing since then. I am overjoyed that there is going to be another book.

If you are a fan of legal thrillers, historical and crime fiction, I highly recommend that you read ‘The Waxwork Corpse’.

This book gets all the stars from me and is definitely one of my favourite books of the year so far.

 

‘The Waxwork Corpse’ can be purchased from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Waxwork-Corpse-thriller-chilling-Thrillers/dp/1913335836/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1583694598&sr=8-1

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Waxwork-Corpse-thriller-chilling-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B07ZTHJVG3/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+waxwork+corpse&qid=1583696157&sr=8-1

 

About Simon Michael

Simon Michael is the author of the best-selling London 1960s noir gangster series featuring his antihero barrister, Charles Holborne. Simon writes from personal experience: a barrister for 37 years, he worked in the Old Bailey and other criminal courts defending and prosecuting a wide selection of murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy. The 1960s was the Wild West of British justice, a time when the Krays, the Richardsons and other violent gangs fought for control of London’s organised crime, and the corrupt Metropolitan Police beat up suspects, twisted evidence and took a share of the criminal proceeds. Simon weaves into his thrillers real events of the time, the cases on which he worked and his unusual family history in the East End.

Simon was published here and in America in the 1980s and returned to writing when he retired from the law in 2016. The Charles Holborne series, The Brief, An Honest Man, The Lighterman, Corrupted and the latest, The Waxwork Corpse, have all garnered strong reviews for their authenticity and excitement.

 

Links

Website – http://www.simonmichael.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/simonmichaeluk

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/simonmichael.uk/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15798010.Simon_Michael

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Will to Succeed’ by Christine Raafat ~ @Bookollective @UnicornPubGroup

‘The Will to Succeed: Lady Anne Clifford’s Battle for her Rights’ is Christine Raafat’s debut novel.  It was published in paperback on the 1st February 2020 by Unicorn Publishing Group and is also available as an eBook.

I would like to thank Bookollective for inviting me to participate in this blog tour.  I love historical fiction and this book really did sound fascinating.

I will be reviewing ‘The Will to Succeed’ in the next few days.  One thing I will say about it though is that it is fabulous and definitely should be read.  In the meantime here is a bit about the book along with purchase links.

 

Book Blurb

When the 15-year-old Lady Anne Clifford s father died in 1605, she was his sole surviving child and expecting to inherit the Cliffords great northern estates.  But the Earl of Cumberland leaves a will which ignores an ancient law and bequeaths the lands to his brother, in the belief that a prophecy by his great-grandfather will eventually come true and return the estates to Anne. She and her mother vow to contest the will.

Anne spends the next three decades battling for what she believes is rightfully hers. She risks everything by opposing her beloved husband, her family and friends, the nobility, the law courts, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the King. She steadfastly (and treasonably) refuses to accept the King s decision, whatever the consequences, but is defeated and left with the prophecy as her only hope.

Widowed at thirty-four, she survives an anxious period alone with her two young daughters before surprising everyone with an ill-judged second marriage which gives her access to the highest in the land. But the Civil War destroys that power and confines the 52-year-old Anne to a grand palace in London for six years. Still convinced of her rights, will she ever attain “ye landes of mine inheritance”?

~~~~~

‘The Will to Succeed’ is available to purchase from:-

Unicorn Publishing Group – http://www.unicornpublishing.org/page/detail/The-Will-to-Succeed/?K=9781912690688

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Will-Succeed-Cliffords-Battle-Rights/dp/1912690683/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1582482866&sr=8-1-fkmr0

 

About the Author

 

Blog Tour – ‘Beast’ by Matt Wesolowski ~ @annecater @OrendaBooks @ConcreteKraken

‘Beast’, the fourth book in the Six Stories series, is being published in paperback on the 20th February 2020 by Orenda Books and is available as an eBook.

I would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour.  I have a competition for you all to enter.

 

Book Blurb

Continuing the unique, explosive Six Stories series, based around six podcasts comes a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention. Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…

In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.

Three young men, part of an alleged cult, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’. However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.

Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, and the tragic and chilling legend of the Ergarth Vampire…

 

About Matt Wesolowski

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- an US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and film rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller.

 

Links

‘Beast’ can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beast-Six-Stories-Matt-Wesolowski/dp/1913193136/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1581867556&sr=8-1

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ConcreteKraken

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5303620.Matt_Wesolowski

 

Competition

One lucky person has the chance to win a paperback copy of ‘Beast’.  To enter just share my post on social media and leave a comment on here.

 

Terms and Conditions

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 25th February 2020.

The winner will be chosen within 7 days of the closing date and their details passed on to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours.

This competition is open to UK residents only.

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Wheelwright Girl’ and ‘The Ambulance Girl’ by Tania Crosse ~ @Books_n_all @JoffeBooks @TaniaCrosse

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour.  I have been following Tania Crosse on social media for quite a while now and am always happy to share her posts.  I love the sound of her books, so when I heard that a couple of them were being republished and that there was going to be a blog tour I jumped at the chance to take part.  I would like to thank the author for making me aware of this blog tour and Jill Burkinshaw of Books ‘n’ All Promotions for inviting me to participate.

‘The Wheelwright Girl’ and ‘The Ambulance Girl’ were republished by Joffe Books on the 4th February 2020 and are available as eBooks.  Here is a little bit more about both books.

 

Book Blurb

A compelling wartime saga about a spirited young woman seeking happiness on her own terms.

Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Rosie Goodwin, Dilly Court, Freda Lightfoot and Catherine Cookson.

Originally published as Wheels of Grace.

 

Dartmoor, 1914. Grace Dannings is a farmer’s daughter. But that’s never stopped her wanting more.

She dreams of making her mark as a London Suffragette. Too bad she’s still stuck in Walkhampton, the sleepy village where she was born.

As a child, she could escape to the wheelwright’s mill. Spellbound, she’d watch labourers hammer white-hot iron and timber into wagon wheels.

Now she’s a woman and nothing about the village feels like home. The men are brutish, the women afraid of change. Her best friend is trapped in an abusive marriage, yet no one seems to care.

GRACE WON’T SETTLE FOR THAT.

Perhaps she could have married Martin, the mill owner’s son. But society says she’s not good enough. So Grace must find a new dream.

SHE WILL PROVE THEM WRONG. BUT CHANGE IS COMING . . .

When World War One breaks out, no one in the village escapes untouched. Grace wants to be part of the war effort.

When the wheelwright’s men leave for the front, Grace immediately volunteers to fill in. The move raises eyebrows in the village.

But Grace has her sights set on a fulfilling new vocation. And she’s not about to stop for anything — or anyone. But at what cost to her own happiness?

A poignant, sensitive and intensely moving account of one village’s war and the endurance of those who wait at home for news of their loved ones.

 

‘The Wheelwright Girl’ can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/WHEELWRIGHT-GIRL-compelling-wartime-self-discovery-ebook/dp/B084HM33L7/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+wheelwright+girl+by+tania+crosse&qid=1581755934&sr=8-1

 

Book Blurb

A compelling wartime saga of love, loss and self-discovery at the battlefield’s edge.

Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Rosie Goodwin, Dilly Court, Freda Lightfoot and Catherine Cookson.

Originally published as Teardrops in the Moon.

 

A YOUNG WOMAN WHO DOESN’T WANT TO BE TIED DOWN

Dartmoor, 1914. Twenty-four-year-old Marianne Warrington is in danger of being left on the shelf. That’s what her mother says and that’s precisely how she wants it.

She has her future mapped out and it doesn’t include marriage or babies. Instead, she vows to devote herself to rearing horses on her parents’ farm.

BUT HISTORY HAS OTHER PLANS

Then World War One breaks out and the Warringtons’ peaceful existence is shattered forever. Amid the chaos, Marianne seizes her chance to prove she’s more than just a spinster.

When her brother leaves for the battlefield, Marianne is determined to follow. She signs up to serve as an ambulance driver in war-torn France. There, she witnesses unimaginable horrors.

Yet there’s one face she can’t banish from her thoughts. It belongs to Major Albert Thorneycroft: a handsome and perplexing stranger who means more to Marianne than she’d care to admit.

WHAT IF FINDING HAPPINESS MEANS LOSING HERSELF?

As the war rages on, a battle ensues between Marianne’s head and heart, testing her resolve like never before.

 

TANIA CROSSE weaves blissfully human stories with impeccable research, giving her characters all the complexity and colour of real life. Tania has been shortlisted for Best Romantic Saga in the 60th annual RoNA Awards.

 

WHAT READERS SAY ABOUT TANIA CROSSE:

I know you spend many hours researching your subject and this truly shows by the way you bring your stories to life. I can never put the book down! I have always enjoyed your books – particularly the Devon ones as it gave us “up country folk” an insight into Devon life and its social history. Can’t wait for the next one now!!” H.

Highly recommend this read. Moments of tragedy are uplifted by a sense of empowering and inspiring strength from the main characters. The narrative is brilliantly authentic and every emotion that is expressed by the characters is mirrored in the reader’s heart.” Cindy

I now look forward to reading more from this brilliant author.” John H.

“Tania Crosse is an excellent story teller. She tells a story of how tragedy turns to happiness in the most unexpected way. ” S.J.

“This is the first book I’ve read by Tania Crosse, but it won’t be the last. I started this just before bedtime, feeling rather sleepy, and then just couldn’t stop reading. I loved everything about this heartwarming story and will look out for all future books by this author. Highly recommended.” Sarah M.

 

‘The Ambulance Girl’ can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/AMBULANCE-GIRL-compelling-wartime-self-discovery-ebook/dp/B084HM3MCH/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1581756719&refinements=p_27%3ATANIA+CROSSE&s=digital-text&sr=1-1&text=TANIA+CROSSE

~~~~~

Both books sound great and I am really looking forward to reading them.

 

 

About Tania Crosse

Historical novelist Tania Crosse was born in London and lived in Banbury Street, Battersea, where her two most recent titles are set. However, at a very young age the family moved to Surrey where Tania’s love of the countryside took root. She always enjoyed reading and has composed stories ever since she could hold a pen. After studying French Literature at university, she devoted twenty years to bringing up her family. But her passion for writing never left her, and side by side with her in-depth research into Victorian social history, she began to pen her novels in earnest as her family grew up.

When Tania discovered Morwellham Quay, the restored Victorian copper port and now living history museum in Devon, she fell in love with this magical place and felt a spiritual compulsion to create a story that would illustrate life there in times gone by. This led to the publication of her debut novel, ‘Morwellham’s Child’, and now Tania has fourteen published titles with which to thrill her readers.

Tania has now completed her series of novels illustrating the rich history of Tavistock and the surrounding area of Dartmoor from Victorian times to the 1950’s. She is now working on a series of Twentieth Century stories set in London and the south east. She draws very much on her own experiences of life to create her books. She hates being catagorised as a writer of historical romance. The history comes first, she insists, and the human tales develop from her research. The characters lead harsh, demanding lives and their stories are often cruel and harrowing.

Tania has been happily married for forty five years and claims she would never have achieved her success without her husband’s support. They have three grown up children, two grandchildren and three grand-dogs!

 

Links

Website – http://www.tania-crosse.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/TaniaCrosse

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

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1797249.Tania_Crosse

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Devil’s Bride’ by Emma S. Jackson ~ @ESJackson1 @darkstrokedark

‘The Devil’s Bride’ by Emma S. Jackson was published as an eBook on the 5th February 2020 by Darkstroke and is also available in paperback.  I really liked the sound of this book and was thrilled when the author invited me to participate in this blog tour.

Read on to find out more about ‘The Devil’s Bride’.

 

Book Blurb

England, 1670

No one goes near Edburton Manor – not since the night in 1668, when demons rose from the ground to drag Lord Bookham’s new bride to a fiery death. Or so the locals say.

That’s what makes it the perfect hideout for the gang of highwaymen Jamie Lorde runs with.

Ghost stories have never frightened her. The living are a far more dangerous prospect, particularly to a woman in disguise as a man. A woman who can see spirits in a time when witches are hanged and who is working hard to gain the trust of the most ruthless, vicious man she has ever known because she intends to ruin and kill him.

But when the gang discovers Matthew, Lord Bookham’s illegitimate brother, who has been trapped by a curse at the Manor ever since the doomed wedding, all Jamie’s carefully laid plans are sent spiralling out of control.

 

Sounds great doesn’t it?  ‘The Devil’s Bride’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

http://bit.ly/TheDevilsBride

 

About Emma S. Jackson

Emma Jackson is the best-selling author of A MISTLETOE MIRACLE, published by Orion Dash. A devoted bookworm and secret-story-scribbler since she was 6 years old, she joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association on their New Writers’ Scheme at the beginning of 2019, determined to focus on her writing. Her debut novel was published in November 2019. When she’s not running around after her two daughters and trying to complete her current work-in-progress, Emma loves to read, bake, catch up on binge-watching TV programmes with her partner and plan lots of craft projects that will inevitably end up unfinished. THE DEVIL’S BRIDE is her second novel, published by DarkStroke as Emma S Jackson. She hopes to continue working across sub-genres of romance, as she believes variety is the spice of life.

 

Links

Website – http://www.esjackson.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ESJackson1

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

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

Blog Tour – ‘The Year Without Summer’ by Guinevere Glasfurd ~ @annecater @TwoRoadsBooks @GuinGlasfurd

‘The Year Without Summer’ by Guinevere Glasfurd was published in hardback and as an eBook on the 6th February 2020 by Two Roads Books.  It is also available in Audiobook.  Today it is my turn on the blog tour for this book and I would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate.

I have an extract from ‘The Year Without Summer’ for you all to read.  First though here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

1815, Sumbawa Island, Indonesia
Mount Tambora explodes in a cataclysmic eruption, killing thousands. Sent to investigate, ship surgeon Henry Hogg can barely believe his eyes. Once a paradise, the island is now solid ash, the surrounding sea turned to stone. But worse is yet to come: as the ash cloud rises and covers the sun, the seasons will fail.

1816
In Switzerland, Mary Shelley finds dark inspiration. Confined inside by the unseasonable weather, thousands of famine refugees stream past her door. In Vermont, preacher Charles Whitlock begs his followers to keep faith as drought dries their wells and their livestock starve.

In Suffolk, the ambitious and lovesick painter John Constable struggles to reconcile the idyllic England he paints with the misery that surrounds him. In the Fens, farm labourer Sarah Hobbs has had enough of going hungry while the farmers flaunt their wealth. And Hope Peter, returned from the Napoleonic wars, finds his family home demolished and a fence gone up in its place. He flees to London, where he falls in with a group of revolutionaries who speak of a better life, whatever the cost. As desperation sets in, Britain becomes beset by riots – rebellion is in the air.

The Year Without Summer is the story of the books written, the art made; of the journeys taken, of the love longed for and the lives lost during that fateful year. Six separate lives, connected only by an event many thousands of miles away. Few had heard of Tambora – but none could escape its effects.

 

Extract

Henry

 

11 April our year of the Lord, 1815

Dearest Emmalina,

I write in haste as I have been called to the seas south of Makassar once more to investigate rumours of a disturbing nature. Very distinct reports, like cannons, were heard last week in Ternate, five hundred miles east of us and not easily reached. Pirates were suspected, but none found. Then, one night ago, more explosions, this time sufficient to shake our ship and the houses around the harbour, even though we were moored and Makassar peaceful. Yet more talk of pirates, who must be close at hand, if so.

I have had Susilo sharpen my short sword should I need it. I am as prepared as I might be in these parts. But I ask you please to pray for my return with my sword still safely sheathed beside me.

Pirates notwithstanding, I shall be happy to be at sea again. The air here is at its oppressive heaviest, some days it is as if mercury has been poured over us; I have never known it so stifling hot. Even the birds seem afflicted and have lost the will to sing. An eerie stillness hangs over the town and makes the most relaxed man uneasy. Perhaps one of their gods has taken a good breath in and is about to blow us off our feet.

You are a sweet sensible thing to stay in England.

So wish me a fair wind and a safe return, my darling. We sail when it is light.

Your ever loving husband,
Henry

Surgeon aboard the Benares

 

 

12 April our year of the Lord, 1815

Dearest Emmalina,

I am writing this by candlelight though it is not yet midday. A little after 8 a.m. this morning it was apparent we had sailed into what I can only describe as an extraordinary occurrence. To the west and south of us, the sky had assumed the most dismal prospect; the sunrise seemed smothered: a deep red glow that refused to brighten. By ten in the morning, I was certain night had been returned to us. I could scarcely make out the shore, and our ship was but one mile from it. I felt something brush against my skin, with the softness of snow. Snow? Imagine my confusion! What snow could survive this hostile clime? I touched my finger to it, incredulous, until I saw that it smudged. Ash. One question had been answered, but many more took its place. Within an hour, the sky, from horizon to the heavens, was filled with it. It fell in heavy showers with a soft patter, coating the deck then forming a thick layer. And now we have reached a truly awful and alarming state: a darkness as total as at new moon.

The ash is still falling as I write. We are working in shifts to sweep it away, such is its weight. And now the captain is calling me to help rig an awning, presumably to keep it off the deck. I do not know how we will rig anything when one cannot see one’s hand in front of one’s face. Darkness or not, I must go.

I shall write again later. Until then, I am
Your loving husband,
Henry

Surgeon aboard the Benares

 

 

13 April our year of the Lord, 1815

Dearest Emmalina,

I know not if this is night or day, though by the hours that have passed it must be morning once more. The captain’s awning was a dismal failure and we have all been put to the broom in an attempt to keep the ash from reaching perilous levels. We are now sweeping it overboard else it will add many tons in weight to the ship. Wherever one sweeps you can be certain that behind you the ash will have heaped up readily to depths of a foot or more. The further south we sail, the grittier it becomes. The air is foul with it; every breath is a half breath and all on board are wheezing. The queue of the poorly lengthens to my door.

Forgive me, I am unable to write more. Exhaustion has felled me and my hands are blistered.

Your loving husband,
Henry

Surgeon aboard the Benares

 

18 April our year of the Lord, 1815

Dearest, dearest Emmalina,

Forgive my silence, but I have been unwell, a consequence, I think, of ash having found its way into our drinking water. My blisters, I am relieved to say, are improved.

My darling, I wish I had never seen this day for I am struggling to find the words that can adequately express it. Daylight is returned but, oh, for the darkness we had five days ago in favour of what I can now see.

We have arrived off Bima on Sumbawa, which we believe almost certainly is the source of the ‘cannons’ that disturbed our peace in Makassar. This island, once a green gem, is now a hellish scene, to rival any produced by Breughel. The mountain Tomboro, sometimes called Tambora, is gone. Gone! But where? If I had not climbed it last year, when I was the guest of the Rajah here, I would scarce believe it were possible. I knew of the volcano beneath it, but had no reason to suspect an eruption. I am yet to find the Rajah among the few survivors we have met. I hope he lives. I will venture out tomorrow to find him.

But I am ahead of myself. Let me tell you first of our awful approach. We sighted Sumbawa yesterday. Then, still some distance off, the sea became sluggish, thickened with ash in a grey soup. I was below deck, assessing our water supply to determine what portion was spoiled, when I heard a cry go up from above.

I popped my head through the hatch, but it was impossible to make out what was being said. A sailor held out his arm, and pointed, then flapped up and down in a most peculiar manner. Already, he had a small crowd around him and they were similarly vexed. I heaved myself up through the hatch and elbowed my way through the commotion. I took the spyglass from one of them and looked.

That wasn’t water ahead, but stone: a sea, made entirely of stone! But stone that undulated gently.

Bump, bump, bump went several pieces as they knocked into the hull. The bosun, hearing it, took a net and scooped up a small amount. He turned what he had out on deck and we stared as though at strange, dead specimens from the deep. I poked at one with my foot then reached down to pick it up. Stone, now cinder, and pocked like a sponge. The stone had no weight – so that was why it floated. The bosun ventured it was pumice.

Pumice? Of course. I went to the port side and looked over. Pumice in every direction, the sea thick with it and as far as I could see. Although we had a good wind behind us, the ship had slowed and struggled to make way. It must have been many feet thick to slow us like that.

And that, my dearest, is how the sea becomes a mountain and the mountain becomes a sea. There are riddles everywhere, it seems . . .

 

‘The Year Without Summer’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Without-Summer-novel-author/dp/1473672295/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1581358936&sr=8-1

 

 

About Guinevere Glasfurd

Guinevere Glasfurd was born in Lancaster and lives near Cambridge with her husband and daughter. Her debut novel, The Words in My Hand, was shortlisted for the 2016 Costa First Novel Award and Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and was longlisted in France for the Prix du Roman FNAC.  Her writing has also appeared in the Scotsman, Mslexia and The National Galleries of Scotland.

 

Links

Website – http://www.guinevereglasfurd.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/GuinGlasfurd

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

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14055595.Guinevere_Glasfurd

 

Blog Tour – ‘A Wash of Black’ by Chris McDonald ~ @RedDogTweets @cmacwritescrime

‘A Wash of Black’ is Chris McDonald’s debut novel.  The first book in the DI Erika Piper series, it was published in paperback yesterday the 4th February 2020 by Red Dog Press and is also available as an eBook.

I would like to thank Red Dog Press for inviting me to participate in this blog tour.  I have been hearing so many great things about this book so it is a real pleasure to be taking part.

I have an extract from ‘A Wash of Black’ for you all.  There is also a giveaway at the bottom of the page which is being run by the publisher.  First though here’s the blurb.

 

Book Blurb

IT’S NOT LIFE THAT IMITATES ART. IT’S DEATH.

Anna Symons. Famous. Talented. Dead.

The body of a famous actress is found mutilated on an ice rink in Manchester, recreating a scene from a blockbuster film she starred in years ago.

DI Erika Piper, having only recently returned to work after suffering a near-fatal attack herself, finds she must once again prove her worth as the hunt for the media-dubbed ‘Blood Ice Killer’ intensifies.

But when another body is found and, this time, the killer issues a personal threat, Erika must do more than put aside her demons to crack the case, or suffer the deadly consequences.

If you like Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Cara Hunter, you will love this

 

Extract

PROLOGUE

HE WIPES HIS BROW and takes a moment to admire his handiwork – this is how it should have been done the first time around, he thinks to himself. It takes all the willpower in the world to step away from the body, the intoxicating aroma of the blood attempting to entice him back, but he knows that he must make sure it has been done properly.

He unfolds the page containing the words he has read countless times; words he could recite in his sleep, but he knows that now is not the time to become careless. He pores over the torn-out page from his favourite book, glancing up every now and then at the scene in front of him. When he is fully happy that nothing has been overlooked, he slips the page back into the plastic wallet and hides it away before making his way carefully off the ice and onto terra firma.

Before he slips out the side door and onto the deserted street, his eyes drink in the bloodbath he is leaving behind. In his head, this isn’t murder; it’s art.

 

1

THE FLASHING BLUE LIGHT disturbs the stillness of the morning, dancing over the nearby buildings. There are already three patrol cars and a fleet of vans belonging to the forensic team assembled in the car park. It must be bad, I think.

Exiting my own car, I pull my hood as far over my face as I can, to shelter from the howling wind and the unrelenting rain; not out of place on this dismal December morning.

Uniformed police officers scurry about, securing the crime scene with blue and white tape as a few early morning passers-by look on. I duck under and enter the erected blue tent, signing the log book. Looking up, I spot Liam at the door to the ice rink; he’s waiting for me, already dressed in a protective suit. I slip into my own suit and pull on a pair of gloves.

‘Morning, Erika,’ Liam calls, checking his watch, ‘Good of you to make it.’

Detective Liam Sutton has been my partner for two years now, three if you count my enforced year of absence. Liam and I gelled quickly and became a hell of a force.

He’s tall and lean with clear blue eyes. His hair is shaved tight to his scalp, through choice, not necessity, his dark stubble the same length. He has a penchant for fashion, his fitted shirts always accessorised with a well-chosen tie. If he could get away with a trilby, he’d try.

‘Nice to be back,’ I say. ‘What have we got?’

‘Let’s find John, I don’t want to spoil his fun, he’d never forgive me,’ Liam says, attempting a hug but seemingly thinking better of it mid-way through his approach. It turns into an oafish tap on the shoulder instead and I smile at his awkwardness.

We push the tent flaps aside and enter the lobby of the ice rink. It has a disused look about it, the remnants of popcorn machines and dusty hot dog ovens creating a forlorn scene, like we’ve stepped into a dystopian future.

Scene-of-crime officers are already studiously going about their job, prowling the area with cameras hanging around their necks.

Liam and I cross the foyer and push open the double doors into the ice rink, a frigid blast of ice biting at the small amount of skin foolish enough to be left exposed.

We walk towards the rink, perch on the barrier between solid floor and ice and survey the scene. A shudder courses through my body which has nothing to do with the cold. I’m used to seeing what the worst of humanity is capable of, but sometimes the sheer brutality of it all takes me by surprise. I realise my hand has subconsciously covered my stomach.

In the middle of the ice lie the remains of a woman. She may have been beautiful once, but no longer in death. Serrated blades hold her long limbs tight to the ice. Her head is angled, as if searching for an impossible escape. A gaping black-hole swirls where her neck once was.

On the other side of the rink, a broken door leading to the street is at the mercy of the wind. Police tape has been rolled across it at waist height, and a uniformed officer has been handed the short straw, tasked with keeping vigil just outside in the pouring rain.

John Kirrane is the forensic pathologist present at the scene; the best the city of Manchester has to offer. He is perhaps the thinnest man I have ever seen, as if his appetite is limited by the grisly nature of his job. Understandable really.

From under his hairnet, tight rings of short ginger hair curl around the legs of his glasses, securing them steadfastly in place. His spindly fingers hold a recorder to his lips and he speaks into it at regular intervals, when he spots something of note. He glances towards us and raises a hand in recognition.

‘Erika! Give me two minutes and I’ll be with you,’ he shouts, his voice echoing around us.

We watch him go about his work before clicking off his recording device and walking over the metal stepping plates towards us.

‘Erika, it’s fantastic to see you. You’re back for good now?’

‘Yep, and fit as a fiddle,’ I nod.

‘I’m so glad,’ he beams, ‘horrible business.’ He shakes his head, clears the emotion away. ‘Martin has done all he can on the ice,’ he says, looking over my shoulder at the head Scene of Crime officer.

He puts his hand in the air to attract Martin’s attention. ‘I’ll just talk through the body and then she’s all yours,’ he calls. Martin nods his head and stoops down, unzips his bag and readies his tools. He’s a short, squat man with the eyes of an eagle.

‘Shall we?’ asks John.

Liam and I step carefully onto the metal plates and advance towards the body.

The scene is a mess; so much blood. The crimson liquid has pooled underneath her body where the knives were plunged into her arms and legs. It has seeped slowly across the slick, icy surface from those same wounds.

Unusually, the blood from her jagged throat laceration has all spilled in the same direction. Most of it has crept a little way from her neck, while some has spurted quite a distance across the ice.

The dead woman is wearing blue skinny jeans, a yellow halter neck top and black stiletto boots. A thin gold chain sits mournfully on her chest. On her left hand, she wears an engagement ring with a cluster of diamonds.

‘Undoubtedly a homicide,’ John states. ‘Won’t know for certain on cause of death until I get her on the slab, but I’d hedge my bets on exsanguination, blood loss from the throat.’

I lean in for a closer look at the throat.

‘You’ll notice that the blood from the throat has sprayed in one direction,’ he continues. ‘Usually, you’d expect to see the blood spatter in an arc.’ He moves his hand in a slow semi-circular motion to compound his point.

‘Has something stopped her head from moving?’ Liam interrupts.

‘Someone,’ replies John. ‘If you look here,’ he motions to the left side of her face, ‘you’ll see a faint soleprint,’ replies John.

I close my eyes and picture the scene. The killer pins this poor girl down with the steel blades, stands over her. He lifts his boot and presses it onto the side of her face, pushing it down onto the ice. He cuts her throat and keeps his weight on her cheek, ensuring the blood doesn’t spray his way.

John’s voice stirs me from my thoughts. ‘Her tongue has been cut out too.’

‘Could be somewhere in here,’ I suggest, looking around the room at the foldable plastic seats facing towards the ice.

‘Or, the sick fucker who did this has taken it as some sort of trophy,’ says Liam.

I nod. ‘John, tell Martin about the tongue. He’ll get his team to sweep every inch of this place.’ John nods, makes a note.

‘Time of death?’ asks Liam.

‘Hard to tell, the temperature has slowed livor mortis but considering blood lividity I’d say roughly between seven and eight hours ago,’ replies John.

‘So, we’re looking around two this morning,’ I mutter, checking my watch.

‘It’s not the first time she’s died like that,’ says Liam, suddenly.

John and I look at each other, confused, then back to Liam.

‘What do you mean?’ I ask.

‘You really do not appreciate popular culture, do you? Don’t you recognise her?’

‘I thought her face looked familiar, but I can’t place it. What do you mean about dying the same way twice?’

‘It’s Anna Symons, the actor. She was in a film where she was killed just like this – knives through the arms and legs, throat cut. Her tongue wasn’t removed as far as I can remember, though she was naked in the film, so my attention could’ve been elsewhere.’

‘First of all; you are gross.’ He sticks his tongue out at me. ‘Secondly, why didn’t you lead with this information?’ I ask, incredulously.

‘Well, John was on a roll and I didn’t want to interrupt.’

‘Fair play,’ I say. ‘What was the name of the film?’

‘No idea. It came out a few years ago.’

‘Odd. So the killer has recreated a scene from a film, but made changes?’ I say. ‘And if the film came out years ago, why now?’

‘Beats me,’ Liam declares.

I take out my notebook. I need to find out the name of that film.

‘I’ll have more details on the body in a few days,’ says John. ‘They’ll be on your desk as soon as I’m done. Erika, it really is lovely to see you back. Take care of yourself.’ He gives me a warm smile, before turning and signalling to Martin that the body is ready to be moved.

We carefully make our way off the ice and Martin and his team assume control of the crime scene once more.

‘Who found the body?’ I ask Liam.

‘A Mr. Farrier, he’s the manager. He’s waiting in his office for us.’

We walk back through the foyer and up the stairs. A uniformed officer is waiting at the top of the stairs, to prevent anyone from leaving or entering. We walk past him and enter the manager’s room.

It’s a small room with a window overlooking the ice rink, though the blinds have been pulled as far across as they can. Behind a flimsy desk sits a man with a trimmed goatee and short, cropped hair.

‘Mr Farrier,’ I say, extending my hand.

‘Please, call me Tony,’ he says, getting up from his seat and giving my hand a limp shake. He’s as white as a sheet. He motions to two empty chairs in front of him and we take him up on his unspoken offer.

‘Tony, I’m Detective Inspector Erika Piper. This is my partner, Detective Sergeant Liam Sutton. Please can you run us through what happened?’

‘Well, I got to work at seven this morning as normal. The ice rink doesn’t open until later, but there is so much to do; stocktaking, making sure the ice skates are clean, paired and ready to go and what have you.’

He waves his hand as if he knows his information is boring.

‘I usually come up here first but I was drawn to the rink, thought I could hear a banging. When I went in, the light was on which was unusual ‘cos I always turn them on last. I saw the door smashing against the frame. Broken into, I thought.’

He wipes sweat from his brow with his forearm. Smacks his dry lips together and takes a sip of water. As he sets it down, the plastic bottle springs back into shape with a crack that makes him jump.

‘Sorry, I’m a bit on edge.’ He barks an embarrassed laugh. ‘Anyway, as I walked towards the door I glanced at the ice and saw… it. Her. I ran up to the office as fast as I could and called the police.’

‘Was anyone else here?’ I ask.

‘No, just me,’ he replies.

‘Wouldn’t an alarm go off, if the door was kicked in?’ Liam enquires.

He grimaces. ‘A few years ago, yeah. But the people who own the rink stopped paying for that service. They don’t give a shit about this place, not anymore. No security, CCTV up the duff. It used to be amazing; multi-screen cinema, soft play for the little ones. Now the only part left open is the rink. Reckon it’s on the way out too, along with my job,’ he adds, glumly.

‘Worked here long?’ Liam asks.

‘I’ve given twenty years of my life to this fine establishment. It was state of the art when it opened. I started straight out of school, not got the brains to do much else. Though, I worked my way up to manager so I suppose that’s something.’

‘Has anything like this happened before?’

‘God no,’ he says, ‘we’ve had a few break-ins over the years, but nothing like this.’

I change tack.

‘Where were you last night?’

‘I was at my brother’s house. He had a bit of a party. I was sensible though ‘cos I knew I had to get up early this morning. Hate working with a hangover.’

‘And people could verify this?’

‘Absolutely, I was there with my wife. Loads of friends there too.’

‘Thank you, Tony, you’ve been very helpful. Obviously, this place will have to stay closed for the time being. If there is any other information you think of, please let us know.’

He takes my proffered card and we leave his room, walking down the stairs to the foyer again.

‘What do you reckon?’ I ask Liam.

‘Can’t see why he’d lie,’ offers Liam, ‘I’ll look into his story and make sure he was where he says he was.’

He scribbles in a notebook before replacing it in his pocket. The doors of the rink open and Martin walks out, holding an evidence bag.

‘Found a page from a book on the far side of the room,’ he says, holding the bag aloft for me to see the contents. ‘It seems to be from a crime book, detailing this murder.’

‘Good work, Martin. I’d like a copy of the page on my desk as soon as you can.’

‘Right-o’ he says, already marching towards the door.

‘Any sign of the tongue?’ Liam calls after him. He stops where he is and turns to face us again, the look on his face suggests he thinks we are wasting his precious time.

‘Don’t you think I would’ve mentioned that?’ he asks, sarcasm dripping from every syllable. ‘No, I think the tongue has gone with whoever has done this.’

He turns around once more and leaves the building.

’I think we’re done here,’ I say to Liam. ‘The SOCO’s will let us know if anything else turns up.’

Liam nods in agreement. ‘Aren’t you glad you picked today to come back to work?’

‘Delighted,’ I mumble.

 

‘A Wash of Black’ is available from:-

Amazon – mybook.to/AWOB

Red Dog Press – www.reddpgpress.co.uk/shop – paperback and hardback editions

Also available in all Libraries and Bookstores – Independent or otherwise!

 

About Chris McDonald

Originally hailing from the north coast of Northern Ireland and now residing in South Manchester, Chris McDonald has always been a reader. At primary school, The Hardy Boys inspired his love of adventure, before his reading world was opened up by Chuck Palahniuk and the gritty world of crime.

He’s a fan of 5-a-side football, has an eclectic taste in music ranging from Damien Rice to Slayer and loves dogs.

 

Links

Twitter handles:

https://twitter.com/RedDogTweets

https://twitter.com/cmacwritescrime

Instagram handles:

@red_dog_press

@macreviewsbooks

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/reddogassociates

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Details: The prize is a signed Hardback edition of A Wash of Black, along with a Go Away I’m Reading Tote Bag and a Luxury Bookmark.

The giveaway runs from 28th Jan to 11th Feb, and we (Red Dog Press) will announce the randomly chosen winner on the evening of the 11th Feb (GMT)

Routes to entry are all on the giveaway link, but basically, sign up to Red Dog Press Reader’s Club (which also gets you discounts in our store, a free eBook, and latest news from us), following us on twitter. Entrants who tweet our promo tweet get two bonus entries.

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YjU5MzljNjFlYTUzNDc2MTg3MzU5ZGUxYTgwMDU2OjI=/?

 

Blog Tour – ‘Death Deserved’ by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger ~ @annecater @OrendaBooks @LierHorst @EngerThomas

‘Death Deserved’ is the first book in the Blix & Ramm series, written by two of the biggest names in Nordic Noir, Jørn Leir Horst and Thomas Enger.  It has been published in eBook by Orenda Books and is also available as an Audiobook.  The paperback will be released on the 20th February 2020.

I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today along with another book blogger and would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate.

I have a competition for you all to enter.  Exciting or what!

 

Book Blurb

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV.

Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missingpersons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing…

Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flair for the dramatic, and thirst for attention.

Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it…

 

About Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger

Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively. Jørn Lier Horst first rose to literary fame with his No. 1 internationally bestselling William Wisting series. A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense. Thomas Enger is the journalist-turned-author behind the internationally acclaimed and bestselling Henning Juul series. Enger’s trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer. Death Deserved is Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger’s first co-written thriller.

 

Links

‘Death Deserved’ can be purchased / pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://amzn.to/2vNPFAV

Twitter:

Jørn Lier Horst – https://twitter.com/LierHorst

Thomas Enger – https://twitter.com/EngerThomas

 

Competition

One lucky person has the chance to win a paperback copy of ‘Death Deserved’.  To enter just share my post on social media and leave a comment on here.

 

Terms and Conditions

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 18th February 2020.

The winner will be chosen within 7 days of the closing date and their details passed on to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours.

This competition is open to UK residents only.

Blog Tour – ‘Chasing Hares’ by Christina James ~ @saltpublishing @CAJamesWriter

‘Chasing Hares’ was published on the 15th November 2019 in paperback and as an eBook by Salt.  Today I am taking part in the blog tour with a book promotion post.  I would like to thank Emma Dowson for inviting me to participate.

 

Book Blurb

Gordon Bemrose, a shady local businessman who lives in a large house on an island in the River Welland, decides he can make easy money from the property by using it for Country House murder weekends. For the first, introductory, weekend he recruits ten people from very different backgrounds: Ava and Reggie Dack and Lizzie and Jackson Fox, two self-made couples from Essex; Sonia and Richard Renwick, respectively a successful beautician and her husband, who is a failed writer; Dora Westerman, a lady of indeterminate age and obviously very slender means; Amelia Baker, an English literature student; and Margarett and Colin Franklin, a mixed-race couple of modest origins whom all the others look down upon. Reluctantly assisting with the festivities are Patti Gardner, Gordon’s niece, who has been roped in to speak about the work of a SOCO, and Anton Greenweal, his nephew, who has achieved instant fame on a TV reality show and will be the lead actor in a short play to be performed during the weekend. The play is central to Gordon’s plans: he intends it to be based on a popular farce, but with a macabre twist as its finale.

Events take an unexpected turn when a real murder takes place; and DI Yates, investigating, discovers that each of the guests had an ulterior motive for participating in the crime weekend. Everyone on the island becomes a suspect, including Patti, his former girlfriend. Meanwhile, an epidemic of hare coursing is sweeping the county. This illegal and cruel ‘sport’ is pursued by cynical gamblers who bet high stakes on whose dog will catch the hare. On her way back to Spalding police station from a meeting in Bourne, DS Juliet Armstrong discovers a badly-wounded Saluki that has been abandoned by hare coursers and is determined to bring them to justice.

The eighth DI Yates novel is a modern take on the country house murder story; it also explores the crime of hare coursing, which is currently top of the agenda for police forces in Lincolnshire.

 

Sounds great doesn’t it?  ‘Chasing Hares’ can be purchased from:-

Salt – https://www.saltpublishing.com/products/chasing-hares-9781784631895

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chasing-Hares-Yates-Christina-James-ebook/dp/B07MJHGHFG/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1580241140&sr=8-1

 

About Christina James

Christina James is the author of a crime thriller series set in the Fenlands of South Lincolnshire. Her first crime novel, In the Family, finds Detective Inspector Yates investigating a cold case that leads deep into the secrets of a dysfunctional family. Almost Love, the second of the series, published in June 2013, concerns the mysterious disappearance of a veteran archaeologist. Sausage Hall, published in November 2014, deals with the exploitation of women in both Victorian England and the present day. Christina James is the pseudonym of an established non-fiction writer.

 

Links

Website – https://christinajamesblog.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/CAJamesWriter

Blog Tour – ‘The Home’ by Sarah Stovell ~ @annecater @OrendaBooks @sarahlovescrime

‘The Home’ by Sarah Stovell was published in paperback on the 23rd January 2020 by Orenda Books and is also available as an eBook and Audiobook.  It is a real pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour today along with a fellow book blogger.

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

You will find out what I thought about this book after the blurb.

 

Book Blurb

A dark and emotive thriller which shines a light on the troubling issue of children in care, The Home marks the return of Sarah Stovell, author of the 2017 international bestseller Exquisite.

When the body of pregnant, fifteen-year-old Hope Lacey is discovered in a churchyard on Christmas morning, the community is shocked, but unsurprised. For Hope lived in The Home, the residence of three young girls, whose violent and disturbing pasts have seen them cloistered away.

As a police investigation gets underway, the lives of Hope, Lara and Annie are examined, and the staff who work at the home are interviewed, leading to shocking and distressing revelations … and clear evidence that someone is seeking revenge.

A dark and devastating psychological thriller, The Home is also a heartbreaking and insightful portrayal of the underbelly of society, where children learn what they live … if they are allowed to live at all.

 

My Review

I really enjoyed reading ‘The Home’. I was hooked from the very start not wanting to put the book down for too long. I loved the short chapters and the way they drew me in. I was literally left with bated breath needing to know then and there what was going to happen next. Beautifully written, I found this story to be chilling, shocking and heart-breaking. I liked the author’s descriptions of the mountains, the tarn and the woodland. Very atmospheric but at the same time rather bleak sounding.

This story is split into five parts. It goes back and forth between the past and present right from when Hope is found dead to events leading up to her death. In between we learn about all three children’s childhoods and how they eventually ended up in the home. I really liked how the author keeps the reader waiting to find out exactly what happened to Hope.

Those poor young children. Each story was just as heartbreakingly tragic and didn’t make for very easy reading at all. No child should have to endure what Hope, Annie and Lara went through. Sadly, it’s a fact of life that these things happen. Sometimes it’s the parents and other times it’s various addictions like drugs and alcohol which as we all know can ruin lives.

Out of all the characters I really liked Helen, the manager of the children’s home. She came across as very caring. Apart from her and the children I didn’t really warm to any of the other characters.

‘The Home’ deals with a number of issues including relationships, mental health, alcohol, drugs, sex and death. If you like psychological thrillers, then I really recommend that you read this book.

I look forward to more from this author.

 

‘The Home’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Home-Sarah-Stovell/dp/1912374730/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1580152996&sr=8-1

 

About Sarah Stovell

Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, was called ‘the book of the summer’ by Sunday Times.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/sarahlovescrime

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1030004.Sarah_Stovell

 

Blog Tour – ‘Three Hours’ by Rosamund Lupton ~ @VikingBooksUK @RosamundLupton

I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Three Hours’ is Rosamund Lupton’s brand new book.  It was published in hardback on the 9th January 2020 by Viking and is also available as an eBook and Audiobook.  It will be released in paperback on the 1st October 2020.

I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate and for my review copy of ‘Three Hours’.  You will find out my thoughts on this book in a minute, after the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.

It is a morning’s lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.

It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.

It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.

In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. From the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.

 

My Review

Wow! All I can is what a book. This was an extremely tense, mesmerising and powerful read and is one I won’t forget for a very long time. I thought ‘Three Hours’ was beautifully written with the scene perfectly set. I loved how the chapters were arranged and the way they continued to add to the tension right to the very end.

I found it hard to put the book down, but at the same time I wanted to put it down purely because of the subject matter. It made for quite disturbing reading at times. There you are just getting on with your life not imagining that anything will happen and then in the blink of any eye all hell can break loose. Scary!

The students were absolutely amazing, as were the teachers. They were so courageous and tried to keep positive in their own way despite what was happening. They were literally staring death in the face. The character who really stood out for me was Hannah and the way she did her best to help the headmaster who was badly wounded.

I found Rafi and Basi’s story heart-breaking. They had already been through so much together. They deserved to live a proper life without fear.

I liked Detective Inspector Rose Polstein and admired the way she dealt with things together with the rest of the team. Their theories when trying to work out who the gunmen were and what they would do next were really interesting

The thought about what would happen to those young children just didn’t bear thinking about. It’s enough to make you shiver. Good thinking on the teacher’s part, that’s all I can say.

‘Three Hours’ is a very relevant and thought-provoking book. It will have you asking yourself a number of questions and it will make you realise how precious life is.

This is definitely a must-read.

 

‘Three Hours’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Three-Hours-Rosamund-Lupton/dp/0241374499/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1579543239&sr=8-1

 

About Rosamund Lupton

 

Rosamund Lupton’s new novel “Three Hours’ is out in hardback and ebook.

Her debut novel ‘Sister’, was a BBC Radio 4 “Book at Bedtime”, a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, winner of the Strand Magazine critics award and the Richard and Judy Bookclub Readers’ Choice Award. Her next two books ‘Afterwards’ and ‘The Quality of Silence’ were Sunday Times bestsellers. Her books have been published in over thirty languages.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosamundlupton

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

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3953740.Rosamund_Lupton

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Orphan Thief’ by Glynis Peters ~ @annecater @0neMoreChapter_ @_GlynisPeters_

‘The Orphan Thief’ by Glynis Peters is being published in paperback on the 23rd January 2020 by One More Chapter and is also available as an eBook and Audiobook.  It is a pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour today together with a number of fellow book bloggers.

I would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate.

Carry on reading to find out more about ‘The Orphan Thief’.

 

Book Blurb

From the international bestselling author of The Secret Orphan

When all seems lost…

As Hitler’s bombs rain down on a battered and beleaguered Britain, Ruby Shadwell is dealt the most devastating blow – her entire family lost during the Coventry Blitz.

Hope still survives…

Alone and with the city in chaos, Ruby is determined to survive this war and rebuild her life.  And a chance encounter with street urchin Tommy gives Ruby just the chance she needs…

And love will overcome.

Because Tommy brings with him Canadian Sergeant Jean-Paul Clayton.  Jean-Paul is drawn to Ruby and wants to help her, but Ruby cannot bear another loss.

Can love bloom amidst the ruins?  Or will the war take Ruby’s last chance at happiness too?

 

Doesn’t it sound great?  ‘The Orphan Thief’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Orphan-Thief-Glynis-Peters/dp/0008384908

 

About Glynis Peters

Glynis Peters, lives in Dovercourt, Essex, England.

She married her school sweetheart in 1979, and they have three children. They also have three grandchildren, with another due in the spring of 2019, the year of their ruby wedding Anniversary.

In 2014, Glynis was short-listed for the Festival of Romantic Fiction New Talent Award.

In 2018, HarperCollins/HarperImpulse published her novel, The Secret Orphan. The novel rose to several bestseller positions within a few months of release.

When Glynis is not writing she enjoys fishing with her husband, making greetings cards, cross stitch and the company of her granddaughters.

Her grandson lives in Canada, and it is for that reason she  introduced a Canadian pilot into The Secret Orphan.

 

Links

Website: http://www.glynispeterauthor.co.uk/

Twitter : @_GlynisPeters_

Author Page on Facebook

Instagram @glynispetersauthor

Blog Tour – ‘Payback’ by R.C. Bridgestock ~ @DomePress @RCBridgestock

I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Payback’ was published in paperback on the 9th January 2020 by The Dome Press and is also available as an eBook.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a review copy of the book.

I will tell you in a minute what I thought about ‘Payback’.

 

Book Blurb

Charley Mann left Yorkshire for the Met and a fast-track career – but now she’s back, she’s in charge and the area’s first young, female DI.

Her hometown, the Yorkshire countryside, and her old friends all seem unchanged but appearances can be deceptive.

When a brutal murder is discovered, Charley is forced to question everything, and the interest of her ex – reporter Danny Ray – doesn’t make it easier.

 

My Review

I have been hearing so much about R.C. Bridgestock’s books but have never read any of them. So, when I saw that there was a new series being published, I jumped at the chance of reading ‘Payback’. The verdict? I LOVED it. It was everything I expected and much more.

I really liked the writing style. I found ‘Payback’ to be a gripping and fast-paced read with quite a few shockers.

I enjoyed meeting DI Charley Mann and her team and getting to know them all. I actually felt as if I was there in the incident room with them at times watching them working and listening to the occasional banter. I thought the murder investigation was excellent and the police procedurals were really quite fascinating.

DI Charley Mann is officially my new favourite detective. She’s feisty and doesn’t take any nonsense whatsoever. I really admired the way she dealt with one of her officers. I felt like cheering her on and saying good for you! The other thing I liked about her was her open mindedness.

My other favourite character was Annie and then of course there was dear Winnie. She was just lovely.

Out of all the characters I really didn’t like the journalist, Danny Ray. Something about him just gave me the creeps. He was so pushy and didn’t like to take no for an answer.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and am looking forward to catching up with DI Charley Mann and her team again. I am excited to know what their next investigation will be.

If you are a fan of crime fiction and police procedurals, then I highly recommend that you read ‘Payback’. You won’t be disappointed. I will definitely be checking out R.C. Bridgestock’s earlier novels.

 

‘Payback’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Payback-Charley-Mann-Novel-Bridgestock/dp/1912534177/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1579201353&sr=8-1

 

About R.C. Bridgestock

R.C. Bridgestock is the name that husband and wife co-authors Robert (Bob) and Carol Bridgestock write under. Between them they have nearly 50 years of police experience, offering an authentic edge to their stories. The writing duo created the character DI Jack Dylan, the ninth book of which was published by The Dome Press in 2019, along with their backlist.

Bob was a highly commended career detective of 30 years, retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent. During his last three years, he took charge of 26 murders, 23 major incidents, over 50 suspicious deaths and numerous sexual assaults. He was also a trained hostage negotiator with suicide interventions, kidnap, terrorism and extortion. Bob was seconded to a protracted enquiry investigating alleged police corruption in another force. He worked on the Yorkshire Ripper and Sarah Harper murder, and received praise from Crown Court Judges and Chief Constables alike for outstanding work at all ranks, including winning the much-coveted Dennis Hoban Trophy.

As a police civilian supervisor, Carol also received a Chief Constable’s commendation for outstanding work.

The couple are the storyline consultants / police procedural on BAFTA-winning BBC1 police drama Happy Valley and series 3 of ITV’s Scott and Bailey, and are presently working with Scott Free Production scriptwriters on two commissioned TV drama series.

The couple pride themselves on being up-to-date on past and present day UK police procedures, and as a result, Bob is regularly sought by UK television, radio and national and local newspapers for comment on developing major crime incidents etc. They have also taken part in BBC Radio 4 (Steve) PUNT P.I.

Carol and Bob are also patrons and ambassadors for several charities.

 

Links

Website – http://www.rcbridgestock.com/

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/rcbridgestock

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

Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/rcbridgestockauthor

 

Blog Tour – ‘Mix Tape’ by Jane Sanderson ~ @annecater @TransworldBooks @SandersonJane

It is a real pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Mix Tape’ is being published in hardback and as an eBook on the 23rd January 2020 by Bantam Press and will also be available in audiobook.

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

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

 

Book Blurb

We all remember the soundtrack to our first love. 

Daniel was the first boy to make Alison a mix tape. But that was years ago and Ali hasn’t thought about him in a very long time. Even if she had, she might not have called him ‘the one that got away’; she’d been the one to run away, after all.

Then Dan’s name pops up on her phone, with a link to a song from their shared past. For two blissful minutes, Alison is no longer an adult in Adelaide with temperamental daughters; she is sixteen in Sheffield, dancing in her too-tight jeans. She cannot help but respond in kind. And so begins a new mix tape.

Ali and Dan exchange songs across oceans and time zones, across a lifetime of different experiences, until one of them breaks the rules and sends a message that will change everything…

Full of heartache and promises, joy and disappointment, Mix Tape asks the biggest question of them all: what if ‘what could have been’ is still to come?

Packed with music – some old, some new –  and featuring playlists of songs you’ll want to discover for yourself.

 

My Review

I first want to mention the cover which I really like. It’s so cleverly designed with the tape from the cassette tape forming a man and woman. It instantly made me think of a music video I sometimes see on television.

I found ‘Mix Tape’ to be a very enjoyable read and I thought it to be beautifully written. It was really quite hard to put this book down. I was lost within the pages and didn’t want to find my way back. Music played a huge part in this story and I would say that’s what made it work.

Set in the past and present, this story takes you from Sheffield where Ali and Dan lived as children to Edinburgh, Adelaide and London. I loved reading about Australia and the wildlife there, especially the cockatoos. They are such lovely birds.

There were some really interesting characters in this story. I absolutely adored Sheila and Dora and thought they were such fun. They are the sort of people I wouldn’t mind spending time with.

Ali’s story was heart-breaking. Things could have been so very different for her, but circumstances meant she had to decide what to do quickly even if it meant leaving the people she loved behind. As it goes, she didn’t really have any choice in the matter.

It’s amazing to think that years later the mix tape Dan made still meant something to Ali. I loved how music brought them together once again together with the amazing power of Social Media.

‘Mix Tape’ is a story about love, loss, joy, grief and heartache. I think a number of people will be able to relate to it in one way or the other. You are sure to be left feeling nostalgic.

I look forward to more from this author.

 

‘Mix Tape’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mix-Tape-Jane-Sanderson-ebook/dp/B07YBGMB2Y/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=mixtape+by+jane+sanderson&qid=1578847232&sr=8-1

The paperback version will be out on the 9th July 2020.

 

About Jane Sanderson

Jane Sanderson is a writer and journalist. She has worked as a producer for BBC Radio 4, first on the World at One, and then on Woman’s Hour. She lives with her husband and children in rural Herefordshire.

Jane has poured much her own story into this book; from the boyfriend who gifted her a mix tape introducing her to the likes of Van Morrison, to the carefully curated playlist (featured in the book) which includes songs that have helped to shape her life and pay homage to her own youth.

 

Links

Website – http://janesanderson.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/SandersonJane

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4909104.Jane_Sanderson

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘A Dark Matter’ by Doug Johnstone ~ @annecater @OrendaBooks @doug_johnstone

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘A Dark Matter’ by Doug Johnstone is the first book in the Skelfs series.  It is being published in paperback on the 23rd January 2020 by Orenda Books and is also available as an eBook.

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

I will tell you all in a minute what I thought about ‘A Dark Matter’.

 

 

Book Blurb

After an unexpected death, three generations of women take over the family funeral-home and PI businesses in the first book of a brilliant, page-turning and darkly funny new series.

The Skelfs are a well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators. When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another women, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined.

As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything… It’s a compelling and tense thriller and a darkly funny, warm portrait of a family in turmoil.

 

My Review

It has been a long while since I have read anything published by Orenda Books but this year I will be changing that for sure.

I totally loved ‘A Dark Matter’ and I am so very happy that this is the start of a new series otherwise I would probably be in mourning by now. This is the first book by Doug Johnstone I have read, and I am seriously impressed. What an ingenious storyline. The writing flowed easily, and I was able to follow the story without any problem. I also liked the way the chapters were set out.

I found this to be an extremely dark and intriguing read. The further I got into the book the more addicted I became. There were shocks and surprises aplenty throughout. There just seemed to be so much going on and it was really interesting to see how things unfolded. The author kept me guessing which was a good thing.

This story is narrated by the main characters Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah; three generations of a family. I thought this worked really well. They all came across as very strong women. Despite the grief they were understandably going through they took hold of the reins and kept both businesses going between them.

I really liked the main characters. My other favourite was Indy who was such a lovely and caring person.

You would think that reading about a funeral-home business and death would be morbid, but it actually wasn’t. It anything it was fascinating and thought-provoking if not a bit grisly at times.

I will definitely be reading more of Doug Johnstone’s books and am already really looking forward to the second book in the series. I can’t wait to find out how the Skelf family are getting on.

I highly recommend you read ‘A Dark Matter’.

‘A Dark Matter’ is available to pre-order/buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Matter-Skelfs-Doug-Johnstone-ebook/dp/B07X9X2J4X/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1578597834&sr=8-1

 

About Doug Johnstone

Doug Johnstone is the author of ten novels, most recently Breakers (2018), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions – including a funeral home – and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.

 

Links

Website – https://dougjohnstone.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/doug_johnstone

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/758942.Doug_Johnstone

 

Blog Tour – ‘46% Better Than Dave’ by Alastair Puddick ~ @LoveBooksGroup @HankShandy

I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘46% Better Than Dave’ is Alastair Puddick’s new book.  It was published as an eBook on the 15th October 2019 by Raven Crest Books and is also available in paperback.

I would like to thank Kelly Lacey of Love Books Group for inviting me to participate in this tour.  I have an extract from ‘46% Better Than Dave’ for you all which you can read after you have found out what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

A novel of jealousy, muddy shoes and giant barbecues.

Dave Brookman’s new next-door neighbour is ruining his life. Because in a bizarre coincidence, he’s also called Dave Brookman, he’s the same age and he even grew up in the same town. There is one big difference, though. This new Dave is vastly more successful in every way.

As Dave starts questioning everything about himself, suddenly his perfect life seems a lot less than perfect. And what starts as friendly rivalry soon turns into obsessive jealousy and crazy behaviour that could see Dave lose it all. Can he get a grip before it’s too late?

 

Extract

46% Better Than Dave by Alastair Puddick

SAMPLE 1

 

[Sample taken from Chapter 1]

“WHAT ARE YOU up to, you sneaky old bat?”

I was stood at my living room window, half concealed by the curtain, as I watched Doris from No. 34 handing out a tray of drinks to the removal men. They took them gratefully, then smiled and nodded politely as she seemed to witter on endlessly at them. I knew what she was doing, the nosy old cow. Probing them with questions. Trying to find out what she could about the people moving into the house next door to mine. I shook my head with disapproval and cursed myself for not having beaten her to it.

It was 10 minutes since I’d heard the truck arrive. I’d been in the garden, making the most of a fresh, sunny day, when the peace was broken by the loud, growling rumble of a diesel engine.

Instantly, I knew what it was. New neighbours.

It was a few weeks since the previous owners had moved out, and the rumour mill of the street had already been spinning into overdrive as to who might replace them. They must finally be moving in.

I put down my trowel, abandoned my half-planted rose bush and walked through the back door to investigate. My planting would have to wait, and the bottle of Peroni I had chilling in the fridge would have to continue chilling for a while.

“Catherine?” I called out into the quiet recesses of the house. “I think that’s a removal truck. Catherine?”

I walked through the kitchen, into the living room. “Catherine?”

Still no reply. Of course not. She’d said something about going to yoga with her annoying sister and I’d tuned out when she’d mentioned the name Karen.

“Jack? Holly?” I shouted up the stairs. Again, no reply.

I walked into the living room, picking up dirty football socks from the sofa. Bloody kids. The cat looked up at me from the armchair, squinting and meowing in annoyance at being disturbed. I know cats can’t actually express anything more than a simple meow, but I’m sure she was telling me to fuck off.

The cat and I have a fairly simple relationship. I tolerate her and she hates me. We’ve never got along since we got her, and the first thing she did upon arriving in her new house was to take a shit in my shoe. I knew I couldn’t really blame her. She was only a kitten. But there was something in her eye that suggested she knew exactly what she was doing.

Since then, she’s taken every opportunity to undermine and upset me: sitting on top of the bookcase and swiping at my head when I walk past; leaping out from behind chairs and digging her claws into my bare feet; nipping the backs of my ankles; scratching chair legs and bannisters while looking me directly in the eye; and repeatedly shitting in my shoes. Nobody else’s; just mine.

I swore back at the cat, kicking the armchair to make her jump. Then I moved to the large bay window, pulling the curtain to hide myself, and peered out at the enormous removal truck parked outside the house. The rumbling, coughing engine halted. Tiny electric shocks of curiosity tingled across my scalp.

Who were the new people moving in next door? The people who, like it or not, were about to become an inextricable part of my life. Would they be kind, generous people who quickly turn into life-long friends? Or irritating loudmouths who ruin my sleep and bring out my feuding tendencies? Or, like too many streets, in too many towns, neighbours that completely fail to communicate, save for the odd uncomfortable smile or nod across the lawn.

What would they be like? A sudden rush of fear prickled my skin.

Oh God, I thought, please let them be all right. No noisy louts. Or drum kits. Or late-night partiers. Or 7 a.m. bloody lawnmowers. And please don’t give me another Nigel.

 

Doesn’t the extract just make you want to read on?  ‘46% Better Than Dave’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://amzn.to/2ozTsi2

 

About Alastair Puddick

Alastair Puddick is a writer and editor who has spent the past 20 years writing for a variety of magazines and websites. His work has spanned many different paths, from jetting off to exciting cities across the world to writing about dating advice, data centres, facilities management and the exciting world of flooring. He also once wrote an agony advice column posing as Elvis Presley’s ghost.

Alastair still works as a copywriter and lives in Sussex with his wife, Laura, and cat, George. He has written three novels: The Unexpected Vacation of George Thring, Killing Dylan and his newest book, 46% Better Than Dave.

 

Links

Website – https://alastairpuddick.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/HankShandy

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

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Weekender’ by Fay Keenan ~ @BoldwoodBooks @faykeenan

Big congratulations to Fay Keenan whose new book, ‘The Weekender’ is out today in paperback, eBook and as an audiobook, published by Boldwood Books.  This is the first book in the Willowbury series.

I am absolutely delighted to be helping to kick off the blog tour with an extract from ‘The Weekender’ for you all.  First though here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

When Charlie Thorpe met Holly Renton, they were not a match made in heaven…

Holly lives and works in the beautiful town of Willowbury in Somerset. An incorrigible optimist, she is determined to change the world for the better.

Charlie Thorpe on the other hand, is the ultimate pragmatist. As Willowbury’s new member of parliament, he has to be. While he’s determined to prove himself to the town, as far as Holly’s concerned, he’s just another politician on the make.

But when their paths cross again, it’s clear they’ve got more in common than they think. Can Holly and Charlie overcome their differences and work together, or are they destined to be forever on opposite sides? And why does Holly have a funny feeling she has met Charlie before…

Let Fay Keenan whisk you away to a world of glorious country views, unforgettable characters and once-in-a-lifetime love. Perfect for all fans of Fern Britton, Veronica Henry and Erica James.

 

Extract

1

‘White sage is all very well,’ Holly Renton reflected, ‘but the ashes are a bugger to get out of the carpet.’ Earlier that morning, before the shop had opened, Holly had carried out a ritual called smudging, which was meant to purify the energy in a building, promote positivity and remove negative energies. Picking up the dustpan and brush, she emptied the pungent remains of the dried herb bundle she’d ignited and then wafted around the windows and doors of the shop into the bin.

‘I know you recommend this all the time for other people’s houses, but why are you so bloody obsessed with doing it in the shop?’ Rachel, Holly’s sister, glanced down at where Holly was still brushing the rug under the mullioned front window of ComIncense, the shop specialising in herbal remedies and well-being aids that Holly ran in the sleepy but nonetheless New Age small town of Willowbury and smiled. Just beyond the shop’s counter, the door that led to Holly’s small back yard was open and Harry, Rachel’s three-year-old son and Holly’s nephew, was playing happily with a set of wooden animal-shaped blocks in their own lorry, which had come from a box of assorted toys that Holly kept specifically for the younger customers. Holly didn’t believe, unlike some of her business-owning neighbours, that children should be banned from places like hers, and since the early-spring weather was warm and pleasant, Harry had trundled out into the sunlight to play.

‘You’ve got to refresh places from time to time,’ Holly replied. ‘Especially when there’s been a lot of negative energy about, and since all of the scandal with Hugo Fitzgerald, I really felt like this place needed a spiritual cleanse!’

‘You can say that again,’ Rachel reached under the wooden apothecary’s dresser that displayed countless jars and pots of dried herbs and flowers, all purporting to be of some spiritual or physical benefit, to retrieve one of the toy llamas that Harry had thrown under it. ‘What a way to go…’

‘Oh, I don’t know,’ Holly replied, still sweeping. ‘At least, having had a massive coronary, he wouldn’t have known much about it.’

‘But what a waste of a good plate of scones and jam!’ Rachel grinned. ‘Mum told me that his constituency agent found him face down in them at his desk.’

‘I wouldn’t have fancied digging him out of them,’ Holly said. ‘But from the size of him, the heart attack was an accident waiting to happen. And gossip has it, he had his finger in a lot of pies, not just the odd plate of scones.’

‘Oh, you know how the rumour mill goes into overdrive when something like this happens.’ Rachel, who had more of a tendency to see the good in people than her sister did, dismissed Holly’s comments with a wave of her hand. ‘I mean, I’m not saying he wasn’t a prat, but nothing was ever proven about his financial misdemeanours. Although, I have to admit, since he couldn’t have given a stuff about Harry’s condition, and getting access to these new drugs, I’m hoping the new guy will be more receptive to the cause.’

‘It’s still bloody unfair that he gets to swan in here and take the seat after only the quietest by-election,’ Holly grumbled as she replaced the dustpan and brush on the shelf behind the counter. ‘I mean, the guy’s only a year older than me and he’s been parachuted into one of the safest seats in the country. Even if we have a change of government, he’s unlikely ever to lose his seat. What if he’s just as crap as Fitzgerald and couldn’t care less about us here in his constituency? We’re stuck with him until he chooses to retire.’

‘Give him a chance,’ Rachel said reasonably. ‘He might be good for this place.’

‘Have you made an appointment to see him yet?’ Holly asked, glancing down to where Harry was now building a tower of exotic wooden animals that was getting more and more precarious the higher it got.

From the outside, Harry looked like any other energetic three-year-old, but on the inside, it was a different story. Weeks after he’d been born, Rachel had been launched into a perpetually revolving carousel of physiotherapy, medications and experimental trials in an attempt to alleviate the chronic condition, cystic fibrosis, that would, in all likelihood, limit Harry’s life. The latest medication, which might make a huge difference to Harry’s life expectancy, was currently being held up because the government was still negotiating with the pharmaceutical company involved over a reasonable price to supply it to the National Health Service. How it was possible to put a cost on a life such as Harry’s was a source of increasing frustration and heartbreak for Rachel and the family.

‘Not yet,’ Rachel sighed. ‘If Hugo Fitzgerald couldn’t be arsed to do anything other than toe the party line, then why should this new guy be any better? Especially if he is a total rookie. I doubt he’ll stick his neck out for Harry.’

Noticing Rachel was, unusually for her, close to tears, Holly hurried around from behind the counter and gave her sister a hug. ‘Don’t let it get you down,’ she murmured. ‘I’ll always be right there with you, campaigning to get this little munchkin the treatment he deserves.’

‘I know,’ Rachel replied, giving Holly a shaky smile. ‘I’m fine, really. It’s just when he has a bad day, it reminds me of the challenges he’s facing, which will only get worse as he gets older. And knowing that the new medications could potentially make those challenges so much easier to face…’

‘We’ll get there,’ Holly said. ‘I’ll be with you every step of the way, like I always have been. And I still think it’s worth a punt with this new guy, you never know.’

‘I’ll try and get in to see him over the summer,’ Rachel replied, breaking the embrace from her sister and grabbing the last of the wooden animals to add to Harry’s tower of jungle wildlife. ‘Can I make a drink?’

‘Of course,’ Holly said. ‘I’ve got some organic fair-trade matcha tea in the kitchen.’

‘Is that the super-energising stuff?’ Rachel asked. ‘After being up with Harry last night, I could certainly do with a lift.’

‘Honestly, it’ll keep you going until midnight!’ Holly said. ‘Go on… you know you want to.’

‘All right,’ Rachel replied. ‘But if I end up buzzing around Willowbury like a wasp for the rest of the day, I’m blaming you.’

‘Fair enough. And make me a cup, too,’ Holly called as Rachel disappeared up the stairs to Holly’s flat above the shop. Popping the dustpan and brush behind the counter again, she continued the conversation, since Rachel had left the door to the flat open. ‘Perhaps I should give this new guy the benefit of the doubt,’ she said, adjusting the labels on the jars of dried herbs and plants on the dresser so they all pointed uniformly outwards. ‘After all, new blood could be a good thing.’

‘Perhaps we should be fair and reserve judgement until he’s been in the job a few months,’ Rachel said over the bubble of the kettle. ‘You never know, he could be just the tonic this place needs, politically.’

‘You always try to look on the bright side, don’t you?’

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

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07X3ZCF57/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

 

 

About Fay Keenan

Fay Keenan was born in Surrey and raised in Hampshire, before finally settling in the West Country. When Fay is not chasing her children around or writing, she teaches English at a local secondary school. She lives with her husband, two daughters, a cat, two chickens and a Weimaraner called Bertie in a village in Somerset, a county which provides her with endless inspiration for her novels.

Fay’s new novel ‘The Weekender’, published by Boldwood Books, is released on 28th November and was inspired by an old photograph, a lifelong love of politics, the iconic town of Glastonbury and the campaign for cystic fibrosis drugs. When Holly meets Charlie, sparks will fly! Available in paperback, ebook and audio, this novel was a real passion project.

Fay’s bestselling ‘Little Somerby’ trilogy explores the lives and loves of the residents of an idyllic Somerset village. Sprinkled with a liberal dose of cider and sauce, these novels are perfect for curling up with! Published by Aria Fiction, they are available in paperback, audio and ebook.

 

Links

Website – http://www.faykeenan.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/faykeenan

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

Instagram – https://instagram.com/faykeenan

 

Blog Tour – ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ by Heleen Kist ~ @RedDogTweets @hkist

I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’, Heleen Kist’s new book, was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 19th November 2019 by Red Dog Press.  I would like to thank the publisher for my review copy of this book.

You will find out what I thought about ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ in a minute.  First though here’s the book blurb.

 

 

Book Blurb

THERE’S A FINE LINE BETWEEN INNOCENCE AND GUILT. AN EVEN FINER LINE BETWEEN JUSTICE AND REVENGE.

Data scientist Laura prefers the company of her books to the real world – let alone that cesspit online. But when her best friend Emily becomes the victim of horrific cyberbullying, she makes it her all-engulfing mission to track down the worst culprits.

Petite corporate financier Suki is about to outshine the stupid boys at her firm: she’s leading the acquisition of Edinburgh’s most exciting start-up. If only she could get its brilliant, but distracted, co-founder Laura to engage.

Event planner Claire is left to salvage the start-up’s annual conference after her colleague Emily fails to return to work. She’s determined to get a promotion out of it, but her boss isn’t playing ball.

As the women’s paths intertwine, the insidious discrimination they each face comes to light. Emboldened by Emily’s tragic experience, they join forces to plot the downfall of all those who’ve wronged them.

But with emotions running high, will the punishments fit the crimes?

 

My Review

Gosh! How do I even begin to review this book? It’s virtually impossible. I am just blown away.

This was such an amazing read. I really liked the author’s style of writing and the way the story began was just great. The chapters were clearly set out showing which character was the narrator. I found ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ to be extremely gripping. There were just so many shocks and surprises, so many twists and turns. I also liked the dark humour throughout.

As the storyline developed, I found myself reading on with bated breath. I was totally intrigued and was dying to know what would happen next. I had all sorts of scenarios running through my head. Luckily, I was patient and didn’t skip to the end.

I have to say I found it very hard to warm to any of the characters. Out of all of them I really only took to Laura and Suki. I could somehow imagine spending hours with Laura talking about books and hopefully getting the chance to admire her collection. I think both her and Suki would be great fun.

I really think a number of women will recognise themselves in this book. In a world where women should be treated equally, i.e. the same as men this unfortunately doesn’t always happen. I really didn’t blame Laura, Suki and Claire for wanting to plot their revenge. They were all one way or the other discriminated against and it just wasn’t fair.

Social media and cyberbullying played quite a big part in this story. It is actually quite scary what can happen online, and I thought the author did a good job of portraying this.

If you like thrillers set in the financial world then ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ could be for you. I definitely recommend you give this book a go.

 

‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ is available from:-

Amazon UK – http://mybook.to/StayMad

Hive – https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Heleen-Kist/Stay-Mad-Sweetheart/24474068 – You can buy this book from Hive and have it delivered to your local indie bookstore

Publisher’s Website – https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/product-page/stay-mad-sweetheart

 

About Heleen Kist

Throughout her life, Heleen Kist has been fondled, patronised and ordered to smile by random men. So she wrote ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’, a feminist tale of revenge, out November 19th 2019.Whilst her professional knowledge of technology start-ups fed the novel’s setting, its theme of insidious harassment and discrimination required no research: it is familiar to all women.

Heleen was chosen as an up and coming new author at Bloody Scotland 2018. Her first novel, ‘In Servitude’ won the silver medal for Best European Fiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the USA and was shortlisted for The Selfies awarded at London Book Fair.

A Dutch strategy consultant living in Glasgow and married to a Scotsman, she’s raising their son to be a good man and their daughter to kick ass.

 

Links

Twitter:

Red Dog Press – https://twitter.com/RedDogTweets

Heleen Kist – https://twitter.com/hkist

Facebook:

Red Dog Press –  https://www.facebook.com/reddogassociates

Heleen Kist –  https://www.facebook.com/heleenkistauthor

Instagram:

@Red_Dog_Press

 

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

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

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

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

 

Book Blurb

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

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

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

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

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

 

Extract

WINTER

50 YEARS AGO

Chapter 1

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘You did what?’ my mother shouted.

‘I saw an opportunity,’ my father replied.

‘What were you thinking?’

‘We’re broke. We needed the money.’

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

‘They won’t think I took it.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

About Ross Greenwood

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

 

Links

Author Website: www.rossgreenwoodauthor.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/greenwoodross

Amazon Author Page: Author.to/RossGreenwood

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

Goodreads: bit.ly/RossGreenwood-GR

 

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

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

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

 

 

Book Blurb

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

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

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

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

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

 

My Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

About Jane Isaac

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

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

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

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

 

Links

Website – https://janeisaac.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JaneIsaacAuthor

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

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

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

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

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

 

Book Blurb

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

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

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

 

About Pete Adams

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

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

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

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

 

Links

Social Media:

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

 

Purchase Links:

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Book Blurb

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

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

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

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

 

My Review

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

About Emma Heatherington

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/emmalou13

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Book Blurb

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

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

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

 

My Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

About Aaron Reynolds

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

 

Links

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

Unbound – https://unbound.com/

 

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

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

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

 

 

Book Blurb

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

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

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

 

My Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

About Pete Adams

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

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

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

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

 

Links

Social Media:

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

 

Purchase Links

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

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

 

 

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