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Archive for the category “Blog Tours”

Blog Tour – ‘Skin Deep’ by Laura Wilkinson

‘Skin Deep’, Laura Wilkinson’s fourth novel, was published on the 15th June 2017 by Accent Press. Having previously read and enjoyed Laura’s work I was thrilled to be invited to take part in the blog tour for this book. Read on for my review.

You would think that it’s what’s inside that counts wouldn’t you? But unfortunately that’s not always the case. Diana, a former child model is studying art. She has always been admired for her beauty but her good looks are of no use to her. Diana wants her artwork to shine instead. Insecure and desperate for some inspiration, she needs something to help her focus.

Four year old Cal is facially disfigured and lives a life where he is mostly hidden from the world. His parents want to protect him from the cruel things people say. A chance encounter with Diana changes everything as he becomes her muse. As Diana’s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes and both struggle to be accepted for what lies within.

In a society where what’s on the outside counts for more is it possible to find acceptance?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Skin Deep’ and found it extremely hard to put down. This is one of those thought provoking stories that plays on your mind even when you’re not reading it. I have once again been left really surprised by this author’s talent and the way she can turn her hand to a totally different subject. ‘Skin Deep’ is in two parts, the first one set in Manchester and the second in London. Laura Wilkinson paints a really good picture of what Manchester was like in the 1980s with very colourful descriptions.

The story is narrated by Diana and Cal and it’s through them that the reader gets to meet a number of characters, most of them flawed in one way or another. There were a couple that I really didn’t warm to. I liked Diana and admired her for what she was trying to achieve. She wanted to do the best she could for Cal and to be able to give him a better chance at life. Cal was useful for her too and if it hadn’t been for him Diana might never have got where she did. I felt really sorry for Cal. I think Diana went a bit too far in the end and became rather obsessed with things, though that was partly because she wanted to be successful. What could happen next is left to the reader’s imagination. Things could go one of two ways.

‘Skin Deep’ is a beautifully written book. It deals with a number of difficult issues including drugs, depression and living with facial disfigurement. It really is a must read.

I am really looking forward to Laura Wilkinson’s next book.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

About Laura Wilkinson

Liverpool born, Laura is a taff at heart. She has published six novels for adults (two under a pseudonym) and numerous short stories, some of which have made the short lists of international competitions. Public Battles, Private Wars, was a Welsh Books Council Book of the month; Redemption Song was a Kindle top twenty. The Family Line is a family drama set in the near future, looking at identity and parenting. Her latest is Skin Deep. Alongside writing, Laura works as an editor & mentor for literary consultancies and runs workshops on aspects of craft. She’s spoken at festivals and events nationwide, including the Frome Festival, Gladfest, University of Kingston, The Women’s Library and Museum in Docklands. She lives in Brighton with her husband and sons.

 

Purchase Links

‘Skin Deep’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2rQL8qg

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/skin-deep/laura-wilkinson/9781783758678

WHSmith: https://www.whsmith.co.uk/search/go?af=cat1%3Abooks&w=Skin+Deep+by+Laura+Wilkinson

Website/Social Media Links

Website – www.laura-wilkinson.co.uk

Twitter – @ScorpioScribble

Facebook – Laura Wilkinson Author

Instagram – laura_wilkinsonwriter

Pinterest – laura1765

Goodreads – Laura_ Wilkinson

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Lighterman’ by Simon Michael

‘The Lighterman’ was published in paperback on the 8th June 2017 by Urbane Publications and is out as an eBook as well.  I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour.  Having loved ‘the Brief’ I just know that this is bound to be a winning series.  I have an extract for all of you to read and a competition at the end, but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

The Lighterman is the third book in the bestselling series of legal thrillers starring barrister Charles Holborne.

Simon Michael’s follow up to the bestselling The Brief and An Honest Man, continues the adventures of criminal barrister Charles Holborne. The Lighterman provides more of Charles’ personal history, dating back to the war years when he worked on the River Thames with his cousin Izzy.

When Izzy is accused of murder Charles must dig up the secrets of the past to defend him. But brutal gangland leader Ronnie Kray will stop at nothing to get his revenge on Charles for the events of An Honest Man. Can Charles save his cousin…and his own life?

Simon Michael brings the past vividly back to life across a beautifully rendered 60s landscape, and delivers a gripping piece of thriller fiction that will excite any fan of the genre.

 

Extract

Prologue
September 1940

Luftwaffe Hauptmann Heinz Schumann releases his bombs at 03:45 hours. His Dornier 215 is in the middle wave of the attack and although several of the escorting Messerschmitt 109s have been shot down, the approach has been easy. The cloud cover as they crossed the Channel had melted away, and the bomber squadron had simply followed the meandering line of the Thames, deviating slightly every now and then to avoid the puffs of smoke from the anti- aircraft fire and then returning to its course. Ahead of Schumann clusters of incendiaries continue to rain onto the city, dropped by the leading bombers in his formation. As each new cluster falls there is a dazzling flash followed by a flame soaring up from a white centre, turning the underside of the barrage balloons silvery yellow and throwing up great boiling eruptions of smoke. And as each burst of black smoke clears in the breeze, the great river reappears, a black snake in a brightly-illuminated landscape of uncontrolled fire.

As he releases his payload, Schumann is able to look down and obtain a perfect view of the U-shaped bend in the river known by the Britishers as The Isle of Dogs. He watches the bombs drop, becoming tiny black dots before they are swallowed up by the great orange and yellow tongues of flame which leap hundreds of feet into the night air, as if making futile attempts to lick the belly of his Dornier. The Port of London is burning to the ground, and to Schumann’s eye it is both terrible and beautiful.

It takes the 1000 kg bombs 42 seconds to hit the ground. This is what happens on the ground during that period of 42 seconds:

Hallsville Junior School, Agate Street, Canning Town is heaving with over 600 East Enders – men, women and children – awaiting evacuation. Almost all of them are homeless, their houses and schools having been destroyed in the first few days of the Blitz. Some have gathered together a few treasured possessions; some have a cardboard suitcase or two; some, recently dug out from collapsed buildings, have nothing but the nightclothes they stand in, their modesty covered by borrowed blankets, soot and building dust. Almost all have lost family members and the majority carries injuries; the walking wounded of working class London.

New dazed families continued to arrive at the already overcrowded building but, despite all, spirits have been reasonable for much of the day. Then, as the hours pass and the promised transports fail to materialise, muttering turns to anger and anger to shouting at the hopelessly overrun authorities. They are sitting ducks, they protest, with no air raid shelter to protect them and another bombing raid inevitable. By early afternoon a blind eye is being turned to the dozens of East End servicemen who desert from nearby postings to slip into the school and spirit their families away.

The unrest turns to barely-contained panic when the air raid starts. Children shriek with terror and cling to their mothers’ legs as the bombs scream down, shaking the ground with each impact, and the drone of the oncoming Luftwaffe planes goes on, and on, and on, wave after wave, dulling the senses, making it impossible to think beyond the thundering engines and the rising hysteria.

40 seconds.

Harry Horowitz, tailor and furrier, lately of British Street, Mile End, and his wife Millie Horowitz, milliner, huddle at the very end of a corridor at the back of the school with their boys, Charles aged 14 and David, 12. Despite the noise of the German planes, the bombs raining down all around them which shake the entire building, and the thick dust-laden air which catches in her throat, Millie’s lifelong debilitating anxiety is focused mostly on David. Her younger son had been running a fever when dragged out of their damaged home two nights earlier, and he now lies in her arms, sweating and shivering uncontrollably. Crouched next to them on the floor of the narrow corridor are four other families, one being that of Millie’s best friend, Sarah, who along with her husband and three girls had arrived earlier that afternoon to claim the last remaining floor space just inside the door leading out to the playground.

30 seconds.

Another bomb – one in fact released by the plane preceding that of Luftwaffe Hauptmann Heinz Schumann – screams down towards Agate Street and for a few seconds every adult in the school building holds their breath and falls silent. It lands with an almighty impact and the entire building shakes violently, but it misses the school, destroying instead the row of buildings on the opposite side of the road. Pieces of masonry and shrapnel ping off the cobbles of Agate Street and several heavy pieces of debris crash into the school roof at the front of the building.

‘That’s it,’ announces Harry. ‘We’re leaving.’

Harry Horovitz is a short, dapper man, always perfectly turned out in a three-piece suit, a watch chain across his slim torso. He works long hard hours in his little East End factory which produces high-quality fur coats, stoles and hats for the carriage trade. When he returns to the family home, invariably late and tired, he speaks little, preferring to sit in his armchair by the coal fire in waistcoat and shirt- sleeves and read the newspaper from start to finish in silence. Everyone knows that Millie, sharp-featured and sharp-tongued, wears the trousers in the Horovitz household. However, few realise that on the rare occasion when Harry put his foot down, Millie always complies without a word. She stands and lifts David to his feet, turning to her friend.

‘You coming, Sal?’

Sarah looks up at her husband, who nods his assent.

The nine East End Jews grab their pathetic suitcases and shoulder their way through their terrified neighbours and friends, shouting their apologies over the drone of the aircraft and the explosions all around them, and emerge through the door into the playground.

15 seconds.

‘Run!’ shouts Harry, as he leads them across the playground.

10 seconds.

Charles hesitates, looking back down the corridor as the rest of his family hurry outside into the orange tinted, dust-filled, cacophony of the air raid. Further down the corridor, into the bowels of the school and just outside its combined gymnasium and hall, is another East End family. The Hoffmanns live only 30 yards from the Horowitz household and their house had, like that of the Horowitz family, been almost completely destroyed in the raid two nights before. The two families often queue together with the same ration books; eat the same sparse food; speak essentially the same language in their respective homes, and have much in common besides. But they never speak beyond an occasional nodded greeting. The Hoffmanns, although refugees from Hitler like many in the surrounding streets, are not Jewish, and Millie and Harry Horowitz’s social circle simply does not include non-Jews. Their lives simply revolve around their home, their business and their synagogue. The Hoffmanns are, simply, “goyim” – of “The Nations” – and accordingly outside the circle. But the Hoffmanns have a daughter, a slim, fair and blue-eyed girl of fourteen, named Adalie. Unknown to either set of parents, while walking back from school every evening Charles Horowitz and Adalie Hoffmann have become friends. They have shared their thoughts on their teachers, their homework and on Hitler. And at Adalie’s instigation, they have shared several sweet, chaste, kisses.

So Charles lingers for a second or two, trying to catch a last glimpse of Adalie, and as a result very nearly loses his life. The rest of his family have stumbled across the rubble- strewn playground and are disappearing through the rear gates of the school. Outside on the street the air glows, backlit by orange flames on all sides; the fires of hell.

The shriek of Luftwaffe Hauptmann Heinz Schumann’s bomb fills the air as Charles, having given up his quest, races across the playground after the shadowy figure of his mother, the last of the party to disappear through the school gates ahead of him. Charles reaches the gate and takes two steps up Agate Street.

Impact.

The 1000 kg bomb scores a direct hit on the school. Charles is blown off his feet and finds himself sailing eight feet into the air, the explosive pressure drop making him feel as if his eyeballs are being sucked out of their sockets. He lands in an adjoining garden, destroying the rhododendron bush which breaks his fall, and suffers a bruised back and a cut to his scalp from a piece of flying masonry from the school wall. Everyone else in the family is unscathed. Although winded, Charles manages to roll back onto his feet in a single movement and continue running.
Harry Horowitz, soft-spoken East End tailor, has saved the lives of his family.

Later that day the government places a “D Notice” on the event, preventing accurate reports of the number of casualties to avert a collapse of morale in London. Officially 73 people died. Locals know that of the 600 or so men, women and children in the building, over 450 were killed instantly, many more in the hours thereafter, and almost all of the survivors suffered injuries. The Hoffmann family were blown to unrecognisably small pieces.

Four days later the Horowitz family unfolds stiff limbs and climbs down the steep steps of a bus in the centre of Carmarthen, and are introduced to the farmers who are to take them in. Four weeks of regular enforced chapel attendance later, Charles runs away and jumps on a Great Western milk train to London where he spends the next, and best, years of his life, running wild on the rubble-strewn streets of London and the one artery the Luftwaffe never managed to close: the River

 

Competition

Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications is very kindly giving away a paperback copy of ‘The Lighterman’ for each stop on the blog tour.  To enter just leave a comment telling me what you thought of the extract.  Has it left you wanting to read more?  Are you totally intrigued?

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. tonight, 13th June 2017.

The winner will be randomly selected and notified by the end of this week and their details will be passed on to Matthew Smith who will send out the prize.

 

‘The Lighterman’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-lighterman/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lighterman-Book-Charles-Holborne-x/dp/191158300X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1497331771&sr=1-1&keywords=the+lighterman

Blog Tour – ‘Promised Lies’ by Marguerite Ashton

It’s my turn on this blog tour celebrating ‘Promised Lies’ by Marguerite Ashton which is being published as an eBook on the 8th June 2017.   I have an extract for you all, but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Detective Lily Blanchette has a lot on her plate. Her sister, Celine, was murdered, her parents are on the verge of divorce, and after a whirlwind romance, she married a man she barely knows.

When the bodies of two young women are found, it is clear that the killer is the same person who murdered her sister, Lily sets out to find out who that is.

As the investigation comes to life, Lily realises that all is not as it seems in her life, who can she actually trust and who is she?

 

Extract

Chapter 1

October 21, 9:21 p.m.

Tanya O’Neal’s bare feet padded the cold moist earth as she struggled to find a way out of the hole located in her captor’s shed. His real name she didn’t know; just his online profile: CtryGeek23. It had been two days since she’d decided to flee the demeaning abuse from her uncle to be with the man she thought was sweet, kind and wanted to be with her. I’m sorry, Mom.

Now she was going to be the next to die. Did she have a chance in hell of getting out? Why would he kill her friend and keep her alive? She just wanted out before he came back again. Pain vibrated through her body as she dug at the dirt wall, trying to climb out only to keep falling back in.

She stepped away from the wall and wiped her hands on the poodle skirt and oversize sweater CtryGeek23 had given her. Even with the heat from the wood stove, Tanya fought to stay warm. She looked down at the dark stain on the sleeve and wondered if another person had worn the sweater. Like another victim?

Still groggy from being drugged, Tanya rubbed her swollen eyes and lifted her head to try to look out of the dimly lit hole. Not able to see much, she stepped back, stumbling over the lifeless body of her friend. Sam.

Within seconds she was back on her feet, scanning the shed. Dim evening light shined through two windows above, catching the black seat attached to a red tractor in its path. A cluttered workbench sat on the other side of the tractor.

Heavy footsteps moved around outside, coming closer.

Tanya’s breath caught in her throat.

The door to the shed flew open and in walked the older man who’d made her dress up in clothes from the fifties and listen to stories while he worked around in the shed. “Remember my little story I told you about?”

“Yes,” Tanya said in a low whisper.

CtryGeek23 lowered a ladder into the hole and adjusted it to a longer length. “You can come out now,” he said positioning the ladder.

Tanya hesitated. His face resembled stone. It was like looking at a shaped mask, but hidden underneath was the same expression of anger he’d worn as he stabbed her friend over and over.

Her hands trembled as she reached for the ladder, placed her feet on the cold rungs and ascended. If he was going to get rid of her wouldn’t he come down into the hole and do to her what he did to Sam? Maybe he was going to let her go because she’d listened to his story, unlike her friend, who’d refused.

As she reached the top of the ladder, he turned around, retrieved some rags from the workbench and tossed them onto the drop cloth lying near the door. CtryGeek23 faced her and ran his fingers along her cheek. “So pretty. So innocent. You remind me of the woman in my story. The skirt looks good on you don’t you think? Go ahead, twirl around for me.”

Hot tears streaked Tanya’s face as she did what he wanted. When she was done, she stared up at CtryGeek23, trying to look past him at the shed door. She wanted to swoop around him and try to claim her freedom. But she’d seen his quick movements when he went after Sam when she tried to escape. And look what happened to her.

“I’m going to ask you a question.”

“A question?”

“Let’s pretend you’re my girlfriend.” He grabbed her hand and pulled Tanya toward him. “Would you promise to marry me knowing what you do now?”

Marry you? Was he talking about the story he told me? What am I supposed to say? Yes.

Farm machinery sounded in the distance.

“Yes,” Tanya said, trying to pull out of his grasp.

CtryGeek23’s grip tightened.

Tanya’s knees buckled.

Quick breaths escaped from his mouth, filling the space between them with a spicy aroma. “Your eyes tell me something different.”

Without warning, CtryGeek23 hoisted a knife speckled with blood and sliced open Tanya’s sweater.

Shocked, she threw up her hands as he raised the knife again, blocking the strike.

CtryGeek23 cursed, threw Tanya down on the drop cloth. She screamed as she scrambled towards the door.

Running footsteps passed her by as CtryGeek23 lunged for the door, flipped the hasp over and snapped the padlock shut.

 

11:39 p.m.

The pounding in Detective Collin Blanchette’s ears elevated as he closed the folder on the cold case file and looked at the photo of his daughter, Celine, attached to the unsolved case from six months ago.

It had been three weeks since he’d decided to take another crack at it, hoping he’d find another case that resembled his daughter’s murder. Some of the best guys he knew had worked the case, but the leads had dried up. It was as if the cold-hearted bastard had taken extra care to cover his tracks so that he wouldn’t be found.

Usually, a perp will leave something behind, no matter how small but not this one. Now it was time to find him.

Collin’s desk phone rang and he picked it up on the first ring. “Homicide.”

“Do you have anything on that drug dealer that was killed over on Riley Street?”

A late-night call from the assistant district attorney meant she was sniffing around trying to see if the police were doing their job. “I know you’re busy huddled at your desk waiting for the next defendant, but Riley Street isn’t my only case.”

“Do you have anything or not?”

“No one in the neighborhood is talking.”

“I don’t believe that. Everybody talks to you. Or maybe there’s a six-month-old case pulling at your heart strings that’s keeping you from doing your job.”

“Guess I’ve lost my touch, because the tweekers aren’t desperate enough to pass up their fix for a place to sleep,” Collin said.

“What about your informants? I know you have at least two and they aren’t registered to you.”

Silence lingered on the phone. Although Ibee was right about having informants on the side, he had his reasons and she knew it.

“Dammit, I’m due for a comp after what you did to bust up the Surace case a while back. That case was my shot to make me look good to the voters.”

“That Surace case was a long time ago and what you were doing was wrong.” Collin cupped his hand over the receiver and lowered his voice. “Don’t forget, I’ve got enough stuff on you to make that guy you were going to send to prison for a murder he didn’t commit look like a saint.” He slammed the phone down.

“Whoa, buddy,” Kevin said, knocking on Collin’s office door. “Who pissed you off this time?” He stepped in and closed the door.

Collin looked up and forced a smile for his old partner and sergeant. Kevin Owen sported a military-style haircut laced with silver streaks, broad shoulders, and a little paunch that protruded slightly over his belt. “The one person that can fill my tolerance filter in less than ten seconds just by opening her mouth.”

Sarge pulled up a chair and took a seat across from Collin. He leaned back and stared at his friend. “I think there are only two people who can handle our A.D.A. Your daughter and her partner.” A flicker of concern danced in his eyes.

Collin nodded and pondered the real reason why Kevin was here on his day off. It reminded him of the times they used to ride together. Tomorrow they were getting together for coffee so they could plan one more day to play golf before the weather started getting cold. Why couldn’t it wait until then? “What’s wrong, Kev?”

Heavy rain pelted the window overlooking the parking lot.

“One of the guys saw your wife having lunch with You Know Who.”

“Does this person have proof?” Collin asked.

“Several people have proof. The officer was celebrating his birthday at McGinley’s with his family where they took pics and shared them online. I just wanted to tell you before someone else did. And after everything you’ve been through with her…”

Collin stood, yanked his coat of his chair and stormed out of the office. “Damn you, Deena.”

 

Giveaway

Like the sound of this book?  You’re in luck then as there is a giveaway being run throughout this blog tour.  Yes, two lucky people will win 1 of 2 x signed eBook copies of ‘Promised Lies’.  To enter, click on this link Rafflecopter Giveaway

 

About Marguerite Ashton

When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime writers who need help with their book research.

She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic, plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado recipe.

A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in Colorado, but is now happily living in Wisconsin and playing as much golf as possible. She can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Buying Links

Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Promised-Lies-Detective-Blanchette-Mystery-ebook/dp/B06XPGYQW4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494873943&sr=8-1&keywords=marguerite+ashton

Amazon.com:-

https://www.amazon.com/Promised-Lies-Detective-Blanchette-Mystery-ebook/dp/B06XPGYQW4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494873943&sr=8-1&keywords=marguerite+ashton

 

Blog Tour – ‘One to Watch’ by Rachel Amphlett

‘One to Watch’, the third book in the Detective Kay Hunter series is out tomorrow the 6th June 2017, published by Saxon Publishing. I am absolutely thrilled to be participating in this blog tour. Read on for my review.

A teenage girl with virtually her whole life in front of her is murdered at a private party in the Kentish countryside, leaving Detective Kay Hunter and her colleagues shocked. The investigation into the murder uncovers a tangled web of dark secrets pointing to a history of greed and corruption within the tight-knit community.

As the list of suspects grows Kay must try and figure out who was responsible for killing the teenager, at the same time as trying to sort out her own issues after making a rather shocking discovery.

I loved the first two books in this series and was over the moon to discover that I wouldn’t have to wait long for the third. I could read Rachel Amphlett’s books all day. I found ‘One to Watch’ to be an extremely gripping read with lots of twists and turns. I was totally intrigued by this storyline and would never have guessed in a million years who the killer was.

As always it was lovely to meet some of the characters from the previous two books. It’s nice seeing how well they work together as a team. There were so many avenues to explore especially in this case. I really don’t like DCI Larch though. There is something about him and I can’t put my finger on it. He seems to have it in for Kay which is a pity as she is a really good detective. I keep hoping that he comes to his senses but I’d be surprised if that happens.

For some reason I thought that there would only be three books in the series, but in fact there is a fourth one coming out. I am dying to find out who is behind the personal vendetta against Kay and am hoping this comes to light very soon.

I’d like to thank Rachel Amphlett for another brilliant read and Emma Mitchell for doing an excellent job of organising this blog tour.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

Links

‘One to Watch’ is now available to pre-order from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Watch-Detective-Hunter-novel-x/dp/0994547900/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1496639065&sr=1-1&keywords=one+to+watch+by+rachel+amphlett

You can connect with Rachel by signing up to her mailing list via her website (http://www.rachelamphlett.com), or via Facebook (http://on.fb.me/TN7rpu) and Twitter: @RachelAmphlett

 

Blog Tour – ‘Sugar, Sugar’ by Lainy Malkani

‘Sugar, Sugar’ was published in paperback on the 25th May 2017 by HopeRoad Publishing, an independent publisher whose aim it is to support neglected voices by focusing on writings and writers from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.  I was delighted when HopeRoad contacted me via my blog asking if I was interested in taking part in this blog tour.

Lainy Malkani has written a guest post for my blog about books that inspired ‘Sugar, Sugar’.  First though, here’s what Lainy’s book is all about.

 

Book Blurb

A fascinating web of honey-coloured threads linking Indian migrant workers, who first left the SubContinent more than a hundred and fifty years ago, and their descendants now living in contemporary Britain

Sugar, Sugar is a contemporary collection of short stories which reveals a rich and culturally diverse history behind India’s migrant workers and one of the most abundant and controversial commodities in the world.

Inspired by historical documents between 1838 and 1917, and the living memories of the descendants of indentured workers, Sugar, Sugar, spans five continents, travelling through time uncovering inspiring tales of courage and resilience.

With sugar at its heart, this collection unveils lives rarely exposed in modern British literature and adds a new dimension to the history of sugar, post emancipation, whilst sharing a previously untold strand in the story of the making of contemporary Britain.

 

Guest Post

Books that inspired this book 

When I decided to write Sugar, Sugar I submerged myself in the short story genre trying to find my voice as a writer. I particularly enjoyed and felt connected to the stories in ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Her stories are steeped in African culture and also contain universal themes which make them accessible to all readers.  I read, ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez so many times I have lost count and the same goes for Satyajit Ray’s ‘Twenty Stories’, which I love for its haunting atmosphere. Clare Wigfall’s ‘Night after Night’ found in her debut collection of stories, ‘The Loudest Sound and Nothing’ was a master class in getting to the heart of a story in the first line and I read Anton Chekhov’s Selected Stories every night before I went to bed, just so I could wake up feeling inspired.

 

About Lainy Malkani

Lainy Malkani is a London born writer, broadcast journalist and presenter with Indo-Caribbean roots. In 2013 she set up the Social History Hub to bring the stories of ‘unsung heroes’ in society to life. Her critically acclaimed two-part radio documentary for BBC Radio 4, ‘Sugar, Saris and Green Bananas’, inspired her to create this collection of short stories. She has written for the British Library, the Commonwealth and the BBC. She is married with two children and lives in North West London. Her cross-cultural roots; from Britain, India and Guyana, in the Caribbean, has been a great source of her work, both as a writer and journalist.

 

Links

‘Sugar, Sugar’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sugar-Bitter-Indian-Migrant-Workers/dp/1908446609/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1496069257&sr=1-1&keywords=sugar+sugar

HopeRoad Publishing – http://www.hoperoadpublishing.com/

 

Blog Tour – ‘Deadly Alibi’ by Leigh Russell

The wonderful Leigh Russell is back.  ‘Deadly Alibi’, the ninth book in the DI Geraldine Steel series was published in paperback by No Exit Press yesterday the 25th May 2017.  I am delighted to be participating in this blog tour and have I got a treat for you.  First though, here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

A hand gripped her upper arm so suddenly it made her yelp. Biting her lower lip, she spun round, lashing out in terror. As she yanked her arm out of his grasp, her elbow hit the side of his chest. Struggling to cling on to her, he lost his footing. She staggered back and reached out, leaning one hand on the cold wall of the tunnel. Before she had recovered her balance he fell, arms flailing, eyes glaring wildly as he disappeared over the edge of the platform onto the rails below. . .

Two victims and a suspect whose alibi appears open to doubt: Geraldine Steel is plunged into a double murder investigation which jeopardises not only her career, but her life.

When her previously unknown twin Helena turns up, her problems threaten to make Geraldine’s life turn toxic in more ways than one.

 

Competition

Hopefully the blurb has left you dying to read more.  If so, you’re in luck as I am running a competition in which you can win 1 of 3 x paperback copies of ‘Deadly Alibi’.

To enter just leave a comment telling me why you want to read this book.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 4th June 2017.

The winners will be notified within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to No Exit Press who will send out the prizes.

 

About Leigh Russell

Leigh Russell is a CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award nominee, a CWA Dagger in the Library longlisted author and People’s Book Prize finalist. She is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, and Murder Ring. Cold Sacrifice was the first in a spin off series featuring Ian Peterson and followed by Race to Death and Blood Axe. Leigh studied at the University of Kent gaining an MA in English and American literature.

 

‘Deadly Alibi’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deadly-Alibi-gripping-thriller-Geraldine-ebook/dp/B01M5AMWY3/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1495739398&sr=1-1&keywords=deadly+alibi

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Lies Within’ by Jane Isaac

‘The Lies Within’ was published as an eBook and in paperback by Legend Press on the 2nd May. It is the third book in the DI Will Jackman series. I was delighted when I was asked if I wanted to take part in this blog tour and was very kindly sent a copy of ‘The Lies Within’ to review.

The body of Grace Daniels daughter is found in a Leicestershire country lane. Someone murdered her, but why? Jo was a young woman with most of her life still ahead of her. Grace and her family are falling apart and the investigation doesn’t seem to be leading anywhere. Then Faye, an old friend of Grace’s turns up and is of great comfort to her.

DI Will Jackman finds himself getting involved in the case as it seems it might be connected to others that he is reviewing. When another person is found dead all evidence points to Grace. But Jackman believes there is more to it and that Grace isn’t the killer. What happens next? That’s for you to find out.

Until now I had never read any of Jane Isaac’s books. I have heard so many good things about them though. So, when the opportunity arose to review ‘The Lies Within’ I just couldn’t refuse. Although this is the third book in the series it can be read as a standalone.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Lies Within’. What a fantastic read! It was totally gripping and very hard indeed to put down. I really like Jane Isaac’s style of writing. It was obvious just how much hard work and research went into this book with regards to police procedurals and court cases. The mostly short chapters left me eager to know more.

I had a couple of hunches and I was proved right, but there was still a shock or two in store. I enjoyed getting to know all the characters. There was something about Faye that I really didn’t like. I didn’t warm to her at all and felt that she had an ulterior motive.

‘The Lies Within’ is a must read for fans of crime fiction. You won’t be disappointed. I will certainly be reading all the books Jane Isaac has written and her future novels too.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

About Jane Isaac

Jane Isaac lives with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo, in rural Northamptonshire.

Her first novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, was published in the US in 2012 and was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013’. Jane is also the author of The Truth Will Out, Before It’s Too Late and Beneath the Ashes, published in the UK by Legend Press. The Truth Will Out, was selected ‘Crime Thriller of the Month by EThriller.com and ‘Noveltunity Book Club Winning Selection’.

Jane’s new novel The Lies Within – the third in the DI Will Jackman series – was published by Legend Press on 2nd May 2017.

Follow Jane on Twitter @JaneIsaacAuthor

 

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

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lies-Within-Shocking-Page-Turning-Thriller/dp/1785079271/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1495479207&sr=1-1

 

Blog Tour – ‘Blue Gold’ by David Barker

Congratulations to David Barker whose debut novel, ‘Blue Gold’ was published yesterday the 11th May by Urbane Publications.  For a taster of David’s book click on the link below:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/03/09/extract-from-blue-gold-by-david-barker/

It’s my turn on the blog tour celebrating the publication of ‘Blue Gold’ and I am delighted to be hosting a guest post written by David Barker.

 

Water, water, everywhere…

And not a drop to drink, as the Ancient Mariner once said. Hopefully by now you know that Blue Gold is a thriller set in the near future during a world war for water. Articles about water shortages are becoming more common. I’ve been thinking about this for the past seven years or so as I tried to craft a setting for my novel. So, what’s the problem and why is it getting worse?

Many of you may know that only 2.5% of the world’s water is drinkable, the rest being seawater. And two-thirds of the freshwater is locked up in polar icecaps or glaciers. That in itself is scary but not a problem; our ecosystem has always been like that.

The problem is a combination of three factors: demographics, economics and climate change. The demographics part is quite easy to follow. Over the next twenty years the global population is expected to rise by 20%, that’s 1½ billion people who need food and water. Unfortunately, most of those extra people are likely to be born in regions of the world already stressed by water shortages: Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Many of the countries with the biggest populations are showing economic success, raising families out of poverty towards better incomes. That, of course, is fantastic news – and an oft forgotten aspect of the global inequality debate – but richer families tend to consume more water. Their diets shift away from vegetarian to meat-based. Cattle require ten times as much water as crops do to grow. And when a family can afford its own apartment, with their own bathroom, they use more water.

So, it’s obvious that demographics and economics will boost the demand for water significantly over the next 20-30 years. The effects of climate change are more subtle. A hotter atmosphere doesn’t change the amount of water in the ecosystem. But extreme weather events – droughts and floods – are becoming more common. California just went through its worst drought in over a thousand years. Floods, oddly, are unhelpful for water supplies too because rivers and drains can’t cope with the deluge; the excess water is often contaminated and can’t be stored. The effective supply of rainwater is declining with weather extremes.

What can we do about this problem? In the first instance, we simply tap into the underground stores of water known as aquifers. But these take millennium to refill, and the rate of depletion in most suggests a looming problem.

People often assume that desalination – removing salt from seawater – can solve the problem, but even with technological improvements it’s still expensive. It leaves behind a concentration of salt that can be devastating for the local environment. Water is very heavy. If the city you are trying to supply is miles from the sea, or as in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, 7000 feet up an escarpment, you can forget about desalination as a practical source of freshwater. And desalination uses a lot of energy. It will be hard enough for us to meet the Paris Agreement on carbon emissions without the extra burden of powering desalination plants and transporting water inland.

The real solution lies in using our freshwater more carefully. Educating households and businesses on the importance of looking after this precious commodity. Reducing pollution in our rivers. Building homes that catch rainwater and use that to flush our toilets. Modernising our sewage systems. Inevitably, all of this will require a helping hand from Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’. The price of water will have to rise significantly to persuade people to take the issue seriously and to reward the innovators.

What will happen in the poorest parts of the world then? It was probably no coincidence that the Arab Spring of 2010-12 occurred during a period of rapid increases in the price of flour and bread. People like to grumble when luxury items become more expensive. People riot when basic, essential items becomes unaffordable. I hope it doesn’t come to that. It’s one prediction I’ll gladly get wrong.

 

Find out more about Blue Gold and me on my website:

www.davidbarkerauthor.co.uk

 

About David Barker

David was born in Cheshire but now lives in Berkshire. He is married to an author of children’s picture books, with a daughter who loves stories. His working life has been spent in the City, first for the Bank of England and now as Chief Economist for an international fund. So his job entails trying to predict the future all the time.

David’s writing ambitions received a major boost after he attended the Faber Academy six-month course in 2014 and he still meets up with his inspirational fellow students. He loves reading, especially adventure stories, sci-fi and military history. Outside of family life, his other interests include tennis, golf and surfing.

 

‘Blue Gold’ can be purchased from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/blue-gold/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blue-Gold-David-Barker-x/dp/1911331655/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488657122&sr=1-1&keywords=blue+gold+by+david+barker

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Note’ by Andrew Barrett

Having thoroughly enjoyed Andrew Barrett’s last book, ‘Ledston Luck’, I was thrilled when I found out that he was publishing a short story and jumped at the chance of taking part in the blog tour. ‘The Note’ was released as an eBook on the 5th May.

Eddie Collins is at a murder scene. It’s raining, it’s late and he’s feeling uncomfortable. He feels like he is being watched but when he turns around no one is there.

Back at the office Eddie finds a death threat on his desk amongst his paperwork. Scary! He can’t think who could have sent it to him but he’s about to find out.

I don’t often read short stories but I so needed to know what Eddie Collins was getting up to. I really like the way Andrew Barrett writes and this book definitely did not disappoint. It was an exciting and gripping read and for a short story there was a lot to it. In ‘The Note’ you get to learn a little bit more about Eddie Collins and what he went through in the past. So descriptive is this story I could actually feel the atmosphere in Eddie Collin’s house. This is spine tingling stuff.

Eddie Collins as a character is great. He doesn’t take any nonsense from work colleagues and he stands his ground. I’m sure a lot of us wish we could be like that.  Perhaps Eddie could give us some lessons.

I really hope that Andrew Barrett writes more short stories as I think Eddie Collins has a lot more to reveal.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

Links

‘The Note’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Note-Eddie-Collins-short-story-ebook/dp/B071RTLBZK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494267964&sr=1-1&keywords=the+note+by+andrew+barrett

Website – http://www.andrew-barrett.co.uk

Facebook – AndrewBarrett.author

Twitter – @AndrewBarrettUK

 

Blog Tour – ‘Trust Me’ by Gemma Metcalfe


I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in this blog tour celebrating Gemma Metcalfe’s debut novel. ‘Trust Me’ was published as an eBook on the 10th March 2017 by HQ Digital. I got my review copy from NetGalley.

Lana is stuck in a dead-end job working for a callcentre in Tenerife, making the sort of phone calls most people find annoying. Her boss is breathing down her neck as she hasn’t been able to sell even one holiday yet. Time is running out for her. If she doesn’t make a sale she’ll be out of a job. Dialling yet another number Lana hopes that this will be the one. Never in a million years did she expect the response she got.

Hundreds of miles away in Manchester, Liam has decided that life just isn’t worth living anymore. As he contemplates the best way to commit suicide the phone rings. At first he doesn’t intend to answer but then he decides that at least one person should know the truth before he dies, even if it is a complete stranger.

As the clock ticks, Lana and Liam find themselves sharing their deepest secrets. Will Lana be able to help Liam and stop him from committing suicide?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Trust Me’. I have to say there wasn’t much in the way of happiness in this story and I thought it to be a bit too depressing at first, but I soon found myself totally hooked and wanting to learn more about both Lana and Liam. I thought the plot based loosely on Gemma Metcalfe’s experience as a callcentre operative worked really well. Spread out over an afternoon, this story is about two complete strangers opening up to each other.

I really admired Lana and how she risked her job to try her best to help a stranger in his hour of need. At the same time though Liam was also of some comfort to Lana as she felt able to reveal her past to him. I was just itching to know why Lana had no choice but to up and leave with her daughter and to run away to a different country. Surely things couldn’t have been that bad? But as I read on things became very clear indeed and I was left shocked at what happened to Lana. Equally shocking was Liam’s story and what he had been through. I felt so very bad at the way he had been treated. I couldn’t help but hope that there would be a happy ending for them both. I think that what happens next though is left to the reader’s imagination.

‘Trust Me’ is a gripping read which will leave you absolutely aghast.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

Giveaway

There is a giveaway being run throughout this blog tour.  It is open to UK residents only.  For you chance to win a Boots voucher, a hardcopy of Trust Me and some surprise Boots goodies click on this link Rafflecopter Giveaway.

 

About Gemma Metcalfe


Gemma Metcalfe is a Manchester born author who now lives in sunny Tenerife with her husband Danny and two crazy rescue dogs Dora and Diego. By day, Gemma can be found working as a Primary school teacher, but as the sun sets, she ditches the glitter and glue and becomes a writer of psychological thrillers. An established drama queen, she admits to having a rather warped imagination, and loves writing original plots with shocking twists. The plot for her debut novel ´Trust Me,´ is loosely based on her experiences as a call centre operative, where she was never quite sure who would answer the phone…

 

Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01M4KBUBM/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33853393-trust-me?ac=1&from_search=true

Twitter: @gemmakmetcalfe

 

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