A Lover of Books

Cover Reveal – ‘The Seagull’s Laughter’ by Holly Bidgood ~ #LoveBooksTours @WildPressed @HollyBidgood

I am very excited to be taking part in the cover reveal for ‘The Seagull’s Laughter’ by Holly Bidgood along with a number of other book bloggers.  This book is being published in November of this year by Wild Pressed Books and boy does it sound good.

I would like to thank Kelly Lacey of Love Books Group for inviting me to get involved in this reveal.

Are you ready to see the cover?  I personally love it and hope you do too.

Feast your eyes on this…….

 


Book Blurb

Born in 1973 to a Greenlandic mother and an English-Explorer father, Malik has always been something of a misfit. He has one black eye and one blue. As a child his mother’s people refused to touch him and now his own baby daughter’s family feel the same way.

On his own now, Malik’s only companion is a guiding spirit no-one else can see, but one day a white man with a nose like a beak and a shadow like a seagull appears on his doorstep and invites him to England.

Martha has had enough of living with domestic abuse. She compares bruises with her friend Neil, who regularly suffers homophobic attacks. With Martha’s baby, they go on the run to Shetland, where Martha has happy childhood memories of summers spent with her aunt.

On their way up north in a camper van, they come across a dejected Malik, alone again after a brief reconciliation with his father’s family.

They arrive safely together in the Shetland Isles, but Malik still needs answers to the identity of the beak-nosed man who casts a shadow over his life, and must now embark on a further journey of his own.

 

The Seagull’s Laughter is an immersive read, intertwined with nature and the magic of Greenlandic folk tales.

 

About Holly Bidgood


Holly grew up in Derbyshire but has always been drawn to the sea. She has written from a young age. Her love affair with island landscapes was kick-started on a brief visit to the Faroe Islands at the age of eighteen, en route to Iceland. She was immediately captivated by the landscape, weather, and way of life and it was here that she conceived the idea for her first novel, The Eagle and The Oystercatcher.

Holly studied Icelandic, Norwegian and Old Norse at University College London. She also studied as an exchange student at The University of Iceland (Háskóli Íslands) and spent a memorable summer working in a museum in South Greenland.

She decided to start a family young, and now has three small children. Holly helps run Life & Loom, a social and therapeutic weaving studio in Hull.  She likes to escape from the busyness of her life by working on her novels and knitting Icelandic wool jumpers.

The Seagull’s Laughter will be published in November 2019.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/HollyBidgood

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

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15720934.Holly_Bidgood

Publisher

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Wildpressed

 

Blog Tour – ‘A Sinner’s Prayer’ by M.P. Wright ~ @bwpublishing @EllingtonWright

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘A Sinner’s Prayer’, the fourth and last book in the Detective JT Ellington series was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 18th July 2019 by Black & White Publishing.  It is also available in audiobook.  I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate in the tour and for my review copy.

Before I tell you what I thought about ‘A Sinner’s Prayer’, here is the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Saying farewell to the dark side doesn’t mean the dark side wants rid of you. And I was about to be reminded of that fact.

1970, St Pauls, Bristol. A new decade, and JT Ellington is determined it will be a quiet one. He’s stepped away from the private-eye game to scratch a living, respectable at last, as a school caretaker.

Still his nights are full of torment – guilt and ghosts that no prayers will banish – but it’s not until the past comes calling in the unwelcome form of Superintendent Fletcher that JT’s resolve is truly tested.

Fletcher has a job for JT – and the hard-nosed cop can’t be refused. A young man, Nikhil Suresh, has disappeared hours before his wedding; rumours abound and his family is distraught. JT is to investigate.

With what feels like blood money in his pocket, JT is plunged deep into a demi-monde of vice, violence and forbidden passion. An extraordinary, malevolent enemy is intent on destroying him. Now – seeking survival and redemption – JT must play as dirty and dangerous as those who want him dead.

 

My Review

Oh Wow! Was that a fantastic read or what. You won’t believe this, but I haven’t read any of this series and am now wishing I had done. ‘A Sinner’s Prayer’ was absolutely amazing. I was totally hooked and when I wasn’t reading the book I was literally counting down the hours until I could pick it up again. It’s a shame when real life gets in the way isn’t it!

M.P. Wright certainly knows how to weave a good tale and keep his audience captivated. He mentioned JT Ellington’s past which painted a picture for me. That said I found there was loads more I wanted to know. The dialect throughout the book was fascinating. I could almost hear JT and other characters talking.

They say you never know what is around the corner and this was certainly very true in JT’s case. All he wanted was to be able to live a respectable life and for a while things seemed to be working out for him. He preferred doing an honest day’s work. But it turned out he couldn’t hide from the past and soon it was knocking at his door. JT was to find that things were about to become very complicated indeed with possibly no escape.

‘A Sinner’s Prayer’ is a must read for lovers of historical and crime fiction. You will find that you don’t want to put it down even for a second.

This book can definitely be read as a standalone novel but like me you will probably find yourself wanting to read the whole series from the beginning. This is something I will be doing for sure at some point. I am so glad that I have at last read one of M.P. Wright’s books. I hope there is a lot more from him.

 

‘A Sinner’s Prayer’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sinners-Prayer-Detective-JT-Ellington/dp/1785302299/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

About M.P. Wright

Mark Wright was born in Leicestershire in 1965. He was employed in various roles within the music industry before working as a private investigator. He retrained in 1989 and spent the next twenty years in the mental health and probation services in the UK, specialising in risk assessment. A self-confessed aficionado of film, music and real ale, and father of two beautiful daughters, Mark lives with his partner and their two Rottweiler dogs, Tiff and Dylan.

 

Social Media Links

Author

Twitter – https://twitter.com/EllingtonWright

Publisher

Twitter – https://twitter.com/bwpublishing

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Book Blurb

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

My Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

About Malcolm D. Welshman

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

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

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

 

Links

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

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

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

 

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

Twitter – twitter.com/malcolmwelshman

Facebook – Facebook.com/malcolmwelshman.7

 

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

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

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

 

Book Blurb

COME AND SPEND SUMMER BY THE SEA!

WANTED! A caretaker for Roundhouse Row holiday cottages.

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

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

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

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

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

 

My Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Apple iBook: buy
Amazon UK: buy
Kobo: buy

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

 

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

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

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

 

Book Blurb

COME AND SPEND SUMMER BY THE SEA!

WANTED! A caretaker for Roundhouse Row holiday cottages.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Guest Post

Dealing with the exes

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

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

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

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

Sadly, Aaron didn’t.

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

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

 

About Sue Moorcroft


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

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

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

 

Links

Twitter: @SueMoorcroft

Facebook: SueMoorcroftAuthor/

Instagram: @SueMoorcroftAuthor

 

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

Apple iBook: buy
Amazon UK: buy
Kobo: buy

 

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

 

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

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

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

 


Book Blurb

Four months. Four weddings. One happy ending…?

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

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

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

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

 

My Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/annierauthor

Guest Post by Reedsy ~ @ReedsyHQ

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

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

 

The 4 Fundamentals of Worldbuilding

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

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

 

1. Time Frame and History

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

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

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

 

2. Geography

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

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

 

3. Culture

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

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

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

 

4. Magic and Technology

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ReedsyHQ

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

 

Book Blurb

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

About Mary Jayne Baker


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

 

Links

Twitter: @MaryJayneBaker
Facebook: @MaryJayneWrites

Follow Aria

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

 

Blog Tour – ‘Sign of the Cross’ by Glenn Cooper ~ @blackthornbks @GlennCooper

It is the start of a brand new week and I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for ‘Sign of the Cross’ which was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 4th July 2019 by Black Thorn Books.  It is also available as an audio book.  I would like to thank Holly Domney for inviting me to participate in this tour and for my review copy.

I will tell you all in a minute my thoughts on ‘Sign of the Cross’.  First though here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Abruzzo, Italy: a young priest suffers the stigmata of the crucifixion.

The Vatican, Rome: the Pope calls on Harvard professor Cal Donovan to investigate the truth of the priest’s claim.

Berlin, Germany: a neo-Nazi organisation believes the priest is the key to an earth-shattering secret. A secret that can be used as a deadly weapon.

When the priest is abducted, a perilous race against the clock begins. Only Cal can track down the ruthless organisation and stop it, before an apocalyptic catastrophe is unleashed.

 

My Review

I liked the sound of ‘Sign of the Cross’ and was looking forward to reading it. The first couple of chapters really drew me in and I felt as if I was being taken on a journey around the world.

This was an intriguing and interesting read. I can’t even begin to imagine how much research the author did for this book, but it must have been a lot. There was just so much detail, some of which I have to admit was lost on me. I personally found this book to be quite heavy going at times. I am so glad that I persevered with it though as it proved to be really good.

The history of the Holy relics was quite fascinating. There were some interesting theories too which got me thinking. I actually felt as if was learning something whilst reading this book.

Things got really frantic when the priest was kidnapped. It literally was a race against time to save him before it was too late.

Out of all the characters I really liked Cal Donovan. I found Irene a bit prickly at first. I guess she had good reason to be that way though and I did eventually warm to her. It’s interesting how Giovanni seemed to choose both her and Cal to communicate with, though I’m not sure that he even knew what was happening.

If you are into historical fiction and religious conspiracy thrillers then you really should give ‘Sign of the Cross’ a go. I would say it is definitely a story that requires a lot of concentration though. I hope to meet Cal Donovan again in future books.

 

‘Sign of the Cross’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sign-Cross-Glenn-Cooper/dp/1786894874/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1560767414&sr=8-1

 

About Glenn Cooper

Glenn Cooper chairs a media company, Lascaux Media, which produced three independent feature-length films. His debut novel, The Library of the Dead, became an international bestseller and was translated into thirty languages. All his seven published books have become top-ten international best-sellers.

 

Links

Website – www.glenncooperbooks.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/GlennCooper

 

Blog Tour – ‘Murder on the Rocks’ by J.S. Strange ~ #damppebblesblogtours @damppebbles @PantherPubs @JackSamStrange

‘Murder on the Rocks’, the first book in the Jordan Jenner Mysteries series, was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 1st March 2019 by Panther Publishing.  This book has already had a successful blog tour this year.  To coincide with Pride Month it was only deserving that it had a second tour.

I would like to thank Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting me to participate in this blog tour.  Thanks also to the publisher for my review copy.

I will tell you in a minute what I thought about ‘Murder on the Rocks’.  First though here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

When PI Jordan Jenner returns to work following the death of his mother, his first case involves a murdered writer…

James Fairview has been killed. As a member of a prestigious writing group hosted by bestselling author Joseph Gordon in the heart of Cardiff, Jordan not only has to cope with solving the mystery, but also deal with press attention.

As Jordan investigates, he discovers his mother’s death may not have been so simple. And when another writer is murdered, Jordan realises the killer could strike again…

A murdered writer, a mysterious death, and a group with jealousy at its heart, this is Jenner’s toughest case yet.

A cosy murder mystery with a gay male detective, Murder on the Rocks is the first in the Jordan Jenner Mysteries series. If you’re a fan of classic whodunits you will love this!

A perfect read for those looking for Welsh crime fiction.

 

My Review

The first thing I want to mention is the cover of this book which I absolutely love. I have found myself studying it several times now. To me those houses look amazing. How I would love to walk down that street admiring them all. I also really like the title which is very apt indeed.

I enjoyed this book thoroughly. I liked the style of writing and how the reader is thrown straight into the scene of the crime. Always the sign of a good book. I loved the short chapters too. They are always handy when you only have time for a quick read, plus it’s a good excuse to read just one more chapter followed by another and another.

I liked Jordan Jenner from the very start. He was truly dedicated to his job and just couldn’t rest until he solved the case, especially when he found that his recently deceased mother was somehow connected. I mean what a coincidence that was! I do think it is important having gay characters in books and I like how the author has given his readers an insight into Jordan’s personal life as well. I really hope that Jordan can one day find true happiness. He is just so lovely.

I also really liked DCI Vanessa Carter who got Jordan on the case. She was naturally concerned about him after not long having come back to work from compassionate leave. In a way though it did him good as he had something else to focus on.

There were so many twists and turns throughout the story. It seemed several people had a motive for murdering the first victim, but it was Jordan’s clever sleuthing together with the help of the police that helped to solve the crime. I did have my suspicions of who the killer was, but didn’t quite have it all worked out.

‘Murder on the Rocks’ was an exciting read and I found myself hooked. This is a very promising start to a new series. I am so happy that there will be more of Jordan Jenner to come and cannot wait for the next book.

If you like cosy crime then I highly recommend ‘Murder on the Rocks’.

 

About J.S. Strange

J.S. Strange is an author from Wales, United Kingdom. He writes crime, mystery and horror. His first novels, published in 2016 and 2017, were set in an apocalyptic London. Murder on the Rocks, is the first in a cosy crime mystery series, featuring a leading gay male detective.

Murder on the Rocks was written by Strange for many reasons. One of those reasons was a lack of representation within the crime genre, particularly with detectives and sleuths. Strange created Jordan Jenner, a private investigator, who lives and works in Cardiff. Murder on the Rocks was written with the intention of shining light on Cardiff, and bringing Cardiff, and furthermore, Wales, into the crime genre.

Strange’s previous works, such as ‘Winter Smith: London Burning’, also explored LGBT themes, and featured socialite Winter Smith escaping a zombie apocalypse. ‘London’s Burning’ became an Amazon best-seller in LGBT fiction.

When Strange doesn’t write, he works in television. He also presents a radio show all about the paranormal. He has an enthusiasm for Britney Spears and cats.

Jack can be reached on Twitter: @JackSamStrange

 

Links

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackSamStrange @JackSamStrange

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

Website: https://jacksamstrange.com/?fbclid=IwAR1DGDgRPWre63XkLzW8kkcnBy2BBZ2g9TFTNU71K8vnJUDDapY_6igh4nA

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

Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2EX1cPS

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Murder-Rocks-Mystery-Jordan-Mysteries/dp/1527235521/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Rocks-Mystery-Jordan-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07L2FRDB8/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=murder+on+the+rocks&qid=1557827818&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/murder-on-the-rocks/j-s-strange/9781527235526

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Family’ by P. R. Black ~ @Aria_Fiction @PatBlack9

‘The Family’ by P. R. Black was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 2nd May 2019 by Aria Fiction.  I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour and have got a guest post from the author for you.  First though, here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

The best way to catch a killer? Offer yourself as bait.

Becky Morgan’s family were the victims of the ‘crimes of the decade’.

The lone survivor of a ritualistic killing, Becky’s been forever haunted by the memories of that night.

Twenty years later, with the killer never found, Becky is ready to hunt them down and exact revenge. But the path to find the murderer is a slippery slope and she finds herself opening up some old wounds that should have been left sealed.

Will Becky avenge her family or join them?

 

Guest Post

Rooting For The Bad Guy

By Pat Black

The villain in The Family is not only a vicious killer, but a cruel manipulator. I think these two qualities – if we can call them that – go hand-in-hand.

Although the person behind the mask isn’t based on any real-life murderers, it stands to reason that someone who takes pleasure in ending lives would also enjoy causing chaos in a more general sense.

That craven, furtive glee in pulling the strings from behind a curtain… It’s a bit like being an author.

So let’s take a look at some other famous manipulators in the history of fiction. Be warned – this is a treacherous journey. There may be blood…

1. Lecter

Hannibal Lecter is a gourmand first of all, and then a cannibal. But even if we leave aside all the murders, he is still a nasty piece of work.

Deprived of the opportunity to turn people into flans, the imprisoned Lecter is reduced to getting his jollies by pressing people’s buttons from behind his cell door. Remind you of any unpleasant people you’ve encountered on the internet? That’s right, all of them.

Lecter first appeared in Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon, where he plays the man who caught him for a complete fool after the FBI agent seeks some advice on how to catch another killer, known as the Tooth Fairy.

Its sequel, The Silence Of The Lambs, focuses on the search for another murderer known as Buffalo Bill. But it’s also about how Lecter manipulates events in order to engineer his escape from custody. He succeeds – but not before his eye is caught by Clarice Starling.

Lecter notes the FBI trainee’s qualities and relishes the contact between them. There’s a creepy hint that the killer’s admiration for Starling may be more than just cerebral. This subtle, memorably queasy idea was spoiled by Hannibal’s bonkers finale. That second sequel to Red Dragon was brilliant, but is perhaps best appreciated if you take it as the comedy Thomas Harris surely intended it to be.

Like Lecter and Starling, my heroine, Becky Morgan, has a dialogue with the villain in The Family. Except, my killer is all the more dangerous, being already on the loose when Becky makes contact for the first time since the day her family was slaughtered…

2. Danvers

I’d struggle to name anyone in all of literature so memorably wicked as Mrs Danvers. She never spills a drop of blood, but has an ocean of poison within her.

The housekeeper at Manderley in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is ostensibly a servant of the new Mrs de Winter – but she’s in charge, all right.

She has a weird, unknowable obsession with “my lady”: Rebecca de Winter, the previous mistress of the house, who died in murky circumstances. Rebecca’s narrator is an ingénue whose naivety is embarrassing to other ingénues. She simply can’t match up to her wild, bewitching predecessor. And Mrs Danvers won’t let her forget it.

The grim housekeeper’s manipulation of our heroine verges on diabolical. Her prodding and goading is beyond Iago, beyond anyone. This is most apparent when Danvers makes a phone call to Rebecca’s former chamber, preserved like the Tomb of Tutankhamun, asking for “Mrs de Winter”. This causes both narrator and reader to make the same cringe-worthy mistake when the current lady of the house is caught unawares.

Then there’s the choice of costume for the grand ball… you almost want to cover your eyes. As you sit there, reading a book.

Worst of all is Mrs Danvers’ gently mesmeric entreaty to Mrs de Winter to just step out of one of Manderley’s high windows as the fog rolls in off the sea… She makes it sound like the most reasonable idea in the world.

She is unforgettable. And I could not get enough of her. Any author who can imbue their villain with even a fraction of Mrs Danvers’ malice will have done very well indeed.

3. Monte Cristo

“But he’s the hero, isn’t he? The wronged avenger. The Count of Monte Cristo is no villain!”

Except… he is. In considering Alexandre Dumas’ work, we probably think of the Musketeers first. They are four very different characters, but all very noble. Their swords might be keen, but they have justice and virtue on their side. Thanks to some memorable movie adaptations, some might think of The Count of Monte Cristo in the same light – an adventure novel, with loads of swashbuckling and romance.

The book has some exciting scenes and intrigue, but it has a very dark heart. And there are none darker than that of the mysterious man in the title.

Its plot can be summed up by some philosophical questions: When pursuing revenge, is it the same as justice? In moral terms, does the price paid measure up to the satisfaction gained?

Sure, the young, guileless Edmond Dantes is a wronged man. His future is stolen from him after a conspiracy by men who rival him in matters of commerce, politics and the heart – their motivations being greed, expediency and jealousy.

And then there’s the tailor… he’s just a bit of an idiot. There’s an old saying about confusing malice with stupidity.

But the guy who swims out of a body bag from the Chateau d’If is very different to the 20-year-old who was first locked up there, many years before. And the man who appears in Paris later, rich as Croesus, may in fact be Edmond Dantes’ polar opposite.

The Count of Monte Cristo appears as a guardian angel at first, saving the lives of his enemies’ loved ones, and even stepping in to save them from ruin with his inexhaustible wealth. But this is only done in order to weasel his way into their trust, and even their affections. It’s all part of a long, clever game.

Monte Cristo has a plan, and he will not be swayed from it, no matter who gets trampled on or what he destroys in the process. That includes the heart of the one he truly loves.

The man’s grievance is understandable. But after a while we ask the same questions as his loyal manservant: “You’ve suffered – but now you have everything you could ever want out of life… Why are you still doing this? Is it honourable?”

The truth is: Monte Cristo has become the villain. Instead of dragging injustice into the light, he operates in the shadows, and engineers awful fates. He is devious and dishonest; he is malevolent; his plan ensnares the innocent as much as the guilty.

Is he evil? Many people think so when he makes his first appearance in high society. His saturnine good looks get the fans flapping double-time when he makes his bow at the opera. A somewhat diabolical appearance and the fact that he only ever appears after dark, and never seems to eat or drink, sees him compared to Byron – and by extension, to a vampire.

We are left in no doubt that our hero is a deeply flawed, morally ambiguous figure. And his wrongs cannot be righted by something as crude as a sword thrust. To paraphrase Bane in The Dark Knight Rises: the conspirators’ punishment must be more severe. The kind delivered with a smirk, not a snarl.

Becky Morgan is an avenging angel in The Family, and her quest to catch the person who committed that terrible crime is a long time in the planning. But in seeking revenge, what price is she prepared to pay?

 

About P. R. Black

Author and journalist PR Black lives in Yorkshire, although he was born and brought up in Glasgow. When he’s not driving his wife and two children to distraction with all the typing, he enjoys hillwalking, fresh air and the natural world, and can often be found asking the way to the nearest pub in the Lake District. His short stories have been published in several books including the Daily Telegraph’s Ghost Stories and the Northern Crime One anthology. His Glasgow detective, Inspector Lomond, is appearing in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. He took the runner-up spot in the 2014 Bloody Scotland crime-writing competition with “Ghostie Men”. His work has also been performed on stage in London by Liars’ League. He has also been shortlisted for the Red Cross International Prize, the William Hazlitt essay prize and the Bridport Prize.

 

Links

Follow P.R. Black:

Twitter: @PatBlack9

Buy links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HGgIn4
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2MG8XfV
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2SgG7rA
iBooks: https://apple.co/2VR9Aa4

Follow Aria:

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

 

Don’t forget to catch up with all the previous posts.

 

Blog Tour – ‘White Gold’ by David Barker ~ #LoveBooksTours @urbanebooks @BlueGold201

I am delighted to be taking part in this tour today.  ‘White Gold’, the final book in the Gaia Trilogy, was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 9th May 2019 by Urbane Publications.  I would like to thank Kelly Lacey of Love Books Group for inviting me to participate in this tour.

David Barker has written a guest post for my blog.  First though, here’s what the book is about.

 

 

Book Blurb

VENGEANCE ALWAYS HAS A PRICE

Sim Atkins, Overseas Division agent, returns to Earth, having saved the Moon base from a deadly terrorist plot (see Rose Gold). All Sim can think about is finding the criminals responsible.

But his fury and lust for revenge are put on hold when a nuclear warhead is stolen by Terra Former leader Matthias Larsson. Can Sim and his colleagues track down the terrorist cell and disarm the device in time?

White Gold is the gripping finale in the compellingly original Gaia Trilogy, page-turning thrillers that provoke as well as excite.

 

Guest Post

God of fire

You probably know that volcanoes are not named after Spock’s home planet but after Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, right?

And most Europeans will remember the eruption of Eyjafjallajӧkull in April 2010, not only for the huge disruption it caused to flights across the continent but also because of its challenging pronunciation (EYE-a-fyat-la-jo-kutl). If you’re Icelandic, you might recall first and foremost the huge flooding caused by the melting ice sheet. What many won’t know is that this eruption was classified as a 4 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI). The index is very similar to the Richter Scale for Earthquakes: a one-point increase represents a tenfold rise in the power and violence of the event.

Readers will also probably know about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79, which resulted in the burial and destruction of several Roman cities, including Pompeii. That was a 5 on the VEI, as was the eruption of St Helens in 1980.

Moving up to a 6 on the index, in other words one hundred times more powerful than Eyjafjallajӧkull, and the most famous example is Krakatoa in 1883. It was the loudest sound ever recorded, heard 5000km away and the pressure wave rounded the world three and a half times. The explosion and subsequent tsunamis killed an estimated 36,000 people.

Not many people can name an example of an eruption recorded as a 7 on the index. The most recent example was Tambora, Indonesia in 1815. It killed 92,000 people and its ash cloud was so pervasive and enduring that Northern Europe and America suffered a year without summer in 1816.

The reason all of this is relevant to my latest release, White Gold? Because there’s another volcano that is not at all famous, but whose eruption a thousand years ago was as powerful as Tambora. And if it was ready to go again, well that would be interesting, wouldn’t it?

Which volcano am I talking about? How can Sim, Freda and the rest of the gang prevent such a huge catastrophe? You’ll just have to grab a copy of White Gold, available from May 9th at all good bookstores, to find out…

 

About David Barker

David was born in Cheshire but now lives in Berkshire. 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 attended the Faber Academy course and he still meets up with his inspirational fellow students.

 

Links

‘White Gold’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2WCPQai

Website – http://davidbarkerauthor.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/bluegold201

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Abandoned Daughter’ by Mary Wood ~ @panmacmillan @Authormary

It is a real pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for ‘The Abandoned Daughter’, which was published yesterday the 16th May 2019 in paperback and as an eBook by Pan Books. This is the second book in The Girls Who Went to War trilogy. I would like to thank Mary Wood for inviting me to participate in this tour and the publisher for sending me my review copy.

I will tell you soon what I thought about this book. First though, here’s the blurb.

 

 

Book Blurb

Voluntary nurse Ella is haunted by the soldiers’ cries she hears on the battlefields of Dieppe. But that’s not the only thing that haunts her. When her dear friend Jim breaks her trust, Ella is left bruised and heartbroken. Over the years, her friendships have been pulled apart at the seams by the effects of war. Now, more than ever, she feels so alone.

At a military hospital in France, Ella befriends Connie and Paddy. Slowly she begins to heal, and finds comfort in the arms of a French officer called Paulo – could he be her salvation?

With the end of the war on the horizon, surely things have to get better? Ella grew up not knowing her real family but a clue leads her in their direction. What did happen to Ella’s parents, and why is she so desperate to find out?

 

My Review

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Abandoned Daughter’. I haven’t read the first book in the series yet unfortunately. This book can be read as a standalone, though personally I would say start at the beginning as there is so much you will find you want to know, as I have found out.

Mary Wood is such a talented author. She has penned another great story and she doesn’t hold back at all. ‘The Abandoned Daughter’ was everything I expected it to be and much more besides. I found it so hard to put down. It made for addictive and gritty reading and at times I was shocked.

Split into six parts, the author has done a great job of portraying what happened during the First World War and the aftermath. Those poor soldiers and their families. It’s devastating to think that so many were homeless and had no choice but to live on the streets and beg.

There were a mixture of characters, some really lovely and some downright unsavoury. My heart literally broke for Ella. She was such a lovely person, an angel. She really didn’t deserve all that what was thrown at her. Just as things seemed to be improving something else would happen. I enjoyed meeting Ella’s friends. I really liked Rowena. She came along at the right time I would say. She was a real lifesaver who was there for Ella and did all she could to help her in her time of need.

I am falling more and more in love with Mary Wood’s books and I feel like I could read them forever. I am really looking forward to the third book in this series and hopefully I will get to read ‘The Forgotten Daughter’ as well soon.

~~~~~

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

https://amzn.to/2YCyfQX

 

About Mary Wood

Born the thirteenth child of fifteen to a middle-class mother and an East End barrow boy, Mary Wood’s family were poor, but rich in love. Over time, she developed a natural empathy with the less fortunate and is fascinated by social history. Mary raised four children and has numerous grandchildren, step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren. An avid reader, she first put pen to paper in 1989, and is now a full-time novelist.

 

Links

Website – https://www.authormarywood.com/

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Authormary

Blog Tour – ‘The Catherine Howard Conspiracy’ by Alexandra Walsh ~ @SapereBooks @purplemermaid25

‘The Catherine Howard Conspiracy’ is the first book in The Marquess House Trilogy.  It was published as an eBook on the 28th March 2019 by Sapere Books and is also available in paperback.  I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour together with a number of other book bloggers and would like to thank Caoimhe O’Brien for inviting me to participate.

I have an extract from the book for all of you.  First though, here’s what its about.

 

 

Book Blurb

A timeshift thriller that will have you completely gripped! Perfect for fans of Dan Brown, Philippa Gregory, Kate Mosse and Tom Harper.

What secrets were covered up at the court of Henry VIII …?

 

Whitehall Palace, England, 1539

When Catherine Howard arrives at the court of King Henry VIII to be a maid of honour in the household of the new queen, Anne of Cleves, she has no idea of the fate that awaits her.

Catching the king’s fancy, she finds herself caught up in her uncle’s ambition to get a Howard heir to the throne.

Terrified by the ageing king after the fate that befell her cousin, Anne Boleyn, Catherine begins to fear for her life…

Pembrokeshire, Wales, 2018

Dr Perdita Rivers receives news of the death of her estranged grandmother, renowned Tudor historian Mary Fitzroy.

Mary inexplicably cut all contact with Perdita and her twin sister, Piper, but she has left them Marquess House, her vast estate in Pembrokeshire.

Perdita sets out to unravel their grandmother’s motives for abandoning them, and is drawn into the mystery of an ancient document in the archives of Marquess House, a collection of letters and diaries claiming the records of Catherine Howard’s execution were falsified…

What truths are hiding in Marquess House? What really happened to Catherine Howard?

And how was Perdita’s grandmother connected to it all?

 

THE CATHERINE HOWARD CONSPIRACY is the first book in the Marquess House trilogy, a dual timeline conspiracy thriller with an ingenious twist on a well-known period of Tudor history.

 

Extract

“She’s not in the least bit ugly,” whispered Catherine to Isabel as they watched the Lady Anne of Cleves disembark from her coach. She looked a little tired, but after weeks on the road, and the terrible delays caused by harsh weather, this was unsurprising. Unconsciously, Catherine’s fingers went to the beautiful silver locket hanging around her neck. Isabel and Edward had given it to her for Christmas. A delicate pattern was engraved on the front and it was set with a perfect diamond at its centre. It was the first piece of jewellery Catherine had ever owned and she was delighted with it.

“Of course, she isn’t,” replied Isabel. “The king can often be unkind.”

“Careful, Issy,” hissed a low voice. “Bess Seymour’s over there. She hears everything.”

Catherine and Isabel glanced around. Sure enough, Lady Elizabeth Seymour, younger sister of the former queen, Jane Seymour, and aunt to the heir to the throne, had moved within earshot of the Howard women. She nodded her greeting and turned her attention back to the events playing out before her.

“Lady Cromwell looks as though there’s a bad smell under her nose,” whispered Lady Rochford, the person who had first hissed the warning to Catherine and Isabel.

“Wouldn’t you look like that if you were married to the grandson of a brewer?” replied Isabel tartly. The two women laughed derisively.

“I thought you said she was Lady Seymour,” whispered Catherine, confused. It was one of the things she had noticed at court; people with titles seemed to have so many different variations on their names that she lost track of who was who, let alone who was married to whom or who was secretly meeting in the dark of the grounds at night.

“She married Gregory Cromwell not long ago,” whispered Isabel.

“And who’s he?” asked Catherine, wanting to join in the joke but finding it hard to believe the aunt to Prince Edward, the future king, had married such a lowly man.

Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford, took Catherine’s hand and nodded towards the group of men greeting the queen.

“See the tall one, quite young, good looking?” Catherine nodded; it was the man who had winked at her in the corridor on her first day at court. “That’s Gregory Cromwell, son of Sir Thomas Cromwell.”

“The Lord Privy Seal?” gasped Catherine.

Jane Boleyn nodded.

“Yes, the son of the man who was instrumental in having my beloved husband George beheaded, and our dear cousin accused of so many barbarous things before she, too, had her head chopped off by her insane husband.” Jane’s voice was low and bitter.

“Careful, Jane,” warned Isabel. “The Seymours and the Cromwells are a formidable power.”

Catherine stared at Lady Cromwell in wide-eyed wonder. The politics of court seemed so complex and here was a living embodiment of one of the worst times in the king’s reign. It had been the moment the people around him had realised Henry was no longer the romantic, chivalric prince who had inherited the throne from his father, but that he was slowly becoming a terrifying tyrant.

“What do you think of her dress?” asked Margaret Douglas, changing the subject.

“It’s — er — unusual,” said Jane, trying to be polite.

“The fabric is gorgeous,” sighed Catherine, “I’m sure we can help her with English styles, she’s obviously not aware of our fashions.”

“You’re a sweet thing, Kitten,” said Margaret, smiling at Catherine, who blushed. She turned back to look at the queen, wondering what it would be like to wear a dress made from sumptuous cloth of gold. Would it be heavy? After all, the cloth was made from real metal strands woven with silk. She tried to imagine how it would feel, then mentally shook herself. She was delighted to be wearing velvet and satin. What right did she have to yearn after cloth of gold? Her new wardrobe, supplied by her uncle, Thomas Howard, duke of Norfolk, and her sister and her husband, still thrilled her. Never before had she had so much choice and never had her clothes been so exquisitely made.

“Yes, Kitty, you’re right,” agreed Carey. “The fabric is beautiful but the style is extremely unflattering. We must try to persuade her into something more elegant.”

“I suppose it must be what they wear in Cleves,” said Jane.

“Yes, but she’s in England now,” said Margaret. “And looking like that, she’s never going to win the king round, especially after their disastrous first meeting.”

“What happened?” asked Jane. “No one seems to know, or if they do, no one’s talking.”

“The duchess of Suffolk told me,” said Margaret. She dropped her voice to a whisper and the Howard girls stepped closer to listen while still half-watching the gleaming parade and displays of welcome for the Lady Anne.

“You know how obsessed the king is with the idea of chivalry and King Arthur?” she began, the others nodded. “Well, he was so in love with the Lady Anne’s portrait, he decided he’d surprise her disguised as a servant, convinced true love would intercede and she would recognise him, so their first meeting would be one of love, honour and mystery.”

“What happened?” gasped Catherine.

“He stormed in dressed as a servant, carrying a gift for the queen,” continued Margaret. “Then, before she’d really grasped what was going on, he grabbed her and kissed her. She was horrified. She pushed him away and began shouting at him in German, ordering he be removed. He was furious. He stalked out of the room and returned in full royal purple, festooned with jewels. She was devastated and threw herself on her knees, but the damage was done. That’s why he’s being so rude about her — no one had told her we’re all supposed to pretend he’s still the handsome young prince who inherited the throne nearly thirty-one years ago.”

“Margaret, be careful, that’s treason,” whispered Isabel, conscious of the fact Elizabeth Seymour had edged even closer.

Margaret glanced over and smiled winningly at Lady Cromwell.

“Nosy old hag,” she murmured under her breath to the others. Catherine stifled a giggle.

“But what about the queen?” asked Catherine, who felt desperately sorry for the poor young woman.

“She doesn’t speak English, so she didn’t really understand what was going on,” whispered Margaret. “Although, today I heard one of the rumours about their meeting confirmed.”

“What?” asked Carey.

“Apparently, the king’s doing everything he can to wriggle out of the marriage.”

“No!” Catherine exclaimed, appalled. She had hoped this suggestion had merely been spiteful court gossip.

“He summoned Thomas Cromwell this morning, told him he had to make this good; find a way out for the king. Lady Cromwell might well be looking smug at the moment, but if her father-in-law can’t find a loophole in the paperwork, Uncle Henry is going to be very, very cross indeed.”

Catherine watched Anne as Henry, dressed in matching finery, led her from the elaborate throne where she had presided over the ceremonies. Her long, dark hair was covered in a blonde wig but underneath it was a sweet, oval face with dark eyes and delicate, pink-tinged skin. She wasn’t ugly, thought Catherine. She was pretty in a similar way to Jane Seymour, but her colouring was different. Although she was smiling, Catherine thought the new queen looked wary and guarded. She may not speak the language, but she was an educated woman and Catherine was sure she must have picked up on the undercurrents. Perhaps she, like the king, was merely playing along and hoping that someone would rescue her before it was too late.

Isabel exchanged a glance with Katherine Willoughby, the duchess of Suffolk, who was standing to one side, ready to lead the procession, then prodded Jane and Catherine in front of her.

“Come along, girls. It’s time for us to join the queen and be officially introduced,” she said and began organising them. Margaret Douglas, the king’s niece, led the way with Katherine Willoughby, the duchess of Suffolk. Catherine Howard moved back to stand with Lady Carey, while Jane and Isabel followed Margaret.

“We are but lowly maids,” sighed Carey as they waited for the great ladies of the new queen’s household to go ahead of them.

Catherine nodded, but in the midst of all the political crosscurrents, she was happy to be a lowly maid, invisible, insignificant and unimportant.

~~~~~

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  ‘The Catherine Howard Conspiracy’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Catherine-Howard-Conspiracy-gripping-conspiracy-ebook/dp/B07ML4LN96/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1557772309&sr=1-1-fkmrnull-spons

 

About Alexandra Walsh

From tales spun for her teddies when she was a child (usually about mermaids) to film scripts, plays and novels, Alexandra Walsh has always been a storyteller. Words are her world. For over 25 years, she has been a journalist writing for a wide range of publications including national newspapers and glossy magazines. She spent some years working in the British film industry, as well as in television and radio: researching, advising, occasionally presenting and always writing.

Books dominate Alexandra’s life. She reads endlessly and tends to become a bit panicky if her next three books are not lined up and waiting. Characters, places, imagery all stay with her and even now she finds it difficult to pass an old wardrobe without checking it for a door to Narnia. As for her magical letter when she was 11, she can only assume her cat caught the owl!

Alexandra’s other passion is history, particularly the untold tales of women. Whether they were queens or paupers, their voices resonate with their stories, not only about their own lives but about ours, too. The women of the Tudor court have inspired her novels. Researching and writing The Marquess House Trilogy (Book One: The Catherine Howard Conspiracy) has brought together her love of history, mysteries and story telling.

 

Links

Website: http://www.alexandrawalsh.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/purplemermaid25

Blog Tour – ‘No More Lies’ by Robert Crouch ~ #BitsaboutBooksBlogTour @CarolineBookBit @robertcrouchuk

I am thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour for ‘No More Lies’ along with Donna’s Book Blog.  This is the fourth book in the Kent Fisher series and it is out today in paperback and as an eBook.  I would like to thank Caroline at Bits about Books for inviting me to participate in this tour.  Thanks must go also to both Robert Crouch and Caroline for my review copy.

I will tell you soon what I thought about ‘No More Lies’  First though, the blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Kent Fisher gets more than he bargained for when Detective Inspector Ashley Goodman enlists his help with a ten year old murder. She’s on a mission and needs a big case to put her career back on track.

And they don’t come much bigger than Miles Birchill, Downland’s wealthiest and most divisive resident.

Not for the first time, Kent has doubts about the case, forcing him to make choices. But who do you trust when everyone has something to hide?

Caught in the middle, he has no alternative but to solve the murder, unaware that his every move is being watched.

The Kent Fisher novels offer a fresh and contemporary reworking of the classic whodunit and murder mysteries of authors like Agatha Christie.

 

My Review

I have enjoyed this series from the very start. It really does feel like I have waited ages, at least ten years, for ‘No More Lies’ to be published. I absolutely love Robert Crouch’s style of writing. He has mentioned previous murder cases Kent has solved and details about his personal life in this book so that it can be read as a standalone. Personally though I would say to read the series from the very start if you can, simply because it’s so good.

Kent Fisher really does tick all my boxes. He still has his animal sanctuary and would concentrate on it full-time if he could. That makes him a very caring and loving man, looking after animals. I love his sense of humour and I also think he makes a great sleuth. Nothing gets past him, oh no!

I found this case intriguing and was trying to fit all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together. A murder from ten years ago wasn’t going to be easy to solve. That didn’t stop Kent though. He was put under so much pressure by DI Ashley Goodman and time was ticking fast.

I wasn’t keen on DI Goodman at all. There was just something about her. I didn’t like how she treated Kent. It felt like she was using him for her own selfish reasons in order to further her career. Admittedly she did have good reason to suspect who she did though. I really liked Freya and was so happy for Kent.

I loved the cliffhanger at the end of the story and I am so very excited that there is a fifth book coming out. I hope I don’t have to wait another ten years though! Well, okay, I know it’s not quite that long. Somehow I don’t think I could ever tire of this series.

Robert Crouch has done it again.

~~~~~

‘No More Lies’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

http://getbook.at/NoMoreLies

 

About Robert Crouch

Inspired by Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo, Robert Crouch wanted to write entertaining crime fiction the whole family could enjoy.

At their heart is Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. Passionate about the environment, justice and fair play, he’s soon embroiled in murder.

Drawing on his experiences as an environmental health officer, Robert has created a new kind of detective who brings a unique and fresh twist to the traditional murder mystery. With complex plots, topical issues and a liberal dash of irreverent humour, the Kent Fisher mysteries offer an alternative to the standard police procedural.

Robert now writes full time and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and their West Highland White Terrier, Harvey, who appears in the novels as Kent’s sidekick, Columbo.

To discover more, visit http://robertcrouch.co.uk.

 

Social Media Links

Website – http://robertcrouch.co.uk/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/@robertcrouchuk
Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/robertcrouchauthor/
Amazon Author Page – author.to/RobertCrouch
GoodReads – www.goodreads.com/author/show/16222367.Robert_Crouch

Blog Tour – ‘Gone in the Night’ by Mary-Jane Riley ~ #damppebblesblogtours @damppebbles @mrsmjriley @KillerReads

‘Gone in the Night’ is the fourth book in the Alex Devlin series.  It was published as an eBook on the 3rd May 2019 by Killer Reads and will be out in paperback on the 11th July 2019.  I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour and would like to thank Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting me to participate and the publisher and author for my review copy.

I will tell you what I thought about ‘Gone in the Night’ in a minute.  First though, here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Some secrets are deadly…

When the victim of a car crash begs journalist Alex Devlin for help before disappearing without trace, Alex finds herself caught up in a mystery that won’t let her go.

Determined to find the missing man, she is soon investigating a conspiracy that threatens some of the most vulnerable members of society.

But will Alex be prepared to put her own life on the line to help those who can’t help themselves?

 

My Review

This is the first book in the Alex Devlin series that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It can definitely be read as a standalone without spoiling your pleasure as you do get some of the background story about Alex and her family. I loved the author’s style of writing. As I got further into the story I found myself totally hooked and I just couldn’t stop turning the pages. I thought the really short chapters in between the longer ones were a good idea too.

Alex Devlin is on her way home after a night out when she discovers a victim of a car crash who is badly injured. He begs her for her help and when he gives her a scrap of paper with a number written on it her curiosity is naturally piqued. The next day she gets in touch with Cora, who turns out to be the victim’s sister. Before Alex knows what is happening she finds herself getting involved in something rather sinister and feels that she has to help, no matter what the risks involved.

I found myself warming to Alex straight away. She was a strong and courageous woman who wasn’t about to give up on what she had discovered. Something bad was going on and she was going to do whatever she could to help Cora and the homeless, even if it meant putting herself in danger.

It was hard to know exactly who to trust although I did have a hunch who was crooked. Even so, I was just as shocked as Alex. It seemed you couldn’t turn to anyone. Some of the characters quite frankly gave me the heebie-jeebies, especially Boney. I really wouldn’t like to bang into him for real. I think I would have nightmares for life.

If you like crime fiction then I recommend reading ‘Gone in the Night’. I really hope to get the chance to read the first three books in the series at some point. Here’s to many more Alex Delvin books.

 

About Mary-Jane Riley

Mary-Jane wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter. She was eight. It was about a gang of children who had adventures on mysterious islands, but she soon realised Enid Blyton had cornered that particular market. So she wrote about the Wild West instead. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. Mary-Jane has three grown-up children and lives in Suffolk with her husband and two golden retrievers.

GONE IN THE NIGHT is the fourth book in the crime thriller series set in East Anglia and featuring investigative journalist, Alex Devlin.

 

Links

Social Media

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/mrsmjriley @mrsmjriley

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/maryjanerileyauthor/ @maryjanerileyauthor

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gone-Night-exciting-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B07KX8RXN2/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=gone+in+the+night&qid=1556096683&s=gateway&sr=8-3

Waterstones:  https://www.waterstones.com/book/gone-in-the-night/mary-jane-riley/9780008340261

Book Depository:  https://www.bookdepository.com/Gone-in-the-Night-Mary-Jane-Riley/9780008340261

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/gone-in-the-night-alex-devlin

Hive:  https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Mary-Jane-Riley/Gone-in-the-Night/23451944

Google Books:  https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Gone_in_the_Night_Alex_Devlin.html?id=VwN8DwAAQBAJ&redir_esc=y

 

Book Review – ‘The Last Night Out’ by Catherine O’Connell ~ @blackthornbks @OConnellauthor

Yesterday was a very special day indeed.  Black Thorn, a brand new imprint publishing exciting crime fiction officially launched.  I can tell you readers now you are in for some real treats.  So congratulations to Black Thorn and lets hope they have a long and fruitful number of years ahead of them.

I was given the opportunity to review one of their brand new titles, ‘The Last Night Out’ by Catherine O’Connell, which has been published in paperback and as an eBook.  It is also available in hardback and audiobook.

 

Book Blurb

Six friends. Three secrets. One murder.

Maggie is destined to marry the perfect man in two weeks. Desperate for a last wild night on the town before the big day, she gathers six friends for a night to remember.

Only things go wrong, horribly wrong.

Angie’s body is found in the park the following morning and the night to remember quickly becomes a nightmare they wish they could forget. Under police scrutiny, how far will Maggie and her friends go to keep their secrets – far enough to protect a killer?

‘Few pages are turned without revealing new, surprising twists . . . a clever, enjoyable read’ Times

‘O’Connell’s wry observations on the rich are hugely entertaining’ Chicago Sun Times

 

My Review

Wow! What a mind blowing story this was. I feel like I have just got out of a fast driving car. I absolutely loved this book and was totally hooked and when I wasn’t reading it I found myself longing to get back to it. I really liked the author’s style of writing and the way the story was clearly set out. The shorter chapters meant I could have a quick read when time was limited, although sticking to one chapter wasn’t always easy.

I found myself being taken on an exciting journey. There were so many twists and turns throughout the story. I had a few questions going through my mind and as I got further into the book more kept coming.

The story of what happened is told years later and narrated by the various characters as imagined by Maggie. There were some real shockers and it really was a case of how the other half live. But as we all know money doesn’t necessarily mean happiness. In fact, it can complicate life even more. I felt that Maggie was just getting herself into a bigger hole, one she would find it hard to get out of.

Out of all of Maggie’s friends I would say my favourite was Kelly. I was so very happy at how things worked out for her and would say she deserved it.

I loved the ending and the way the reader is left to make up their own mind about what really happened.

‘The Last Night Out’ looks at a number of issues including drugs and alcohol. It will literally get hold of you and not let you go until you have read the very last page. I recommend this book to all crime thriller lovers.

I look forward to much more from this author.

~~~~~

‘The Last Night Out’ can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Night-Out-Catherine-OConnell-ebook/dp/B07K36G36J/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=the+last+night+out+by+catherine+o%27connell&qid=1556822892&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

 

About Catherine O’Connell

Catherine O’Connell divides her time between Chicago and Aspen, and sits on the board of Aspen Words, a literary centre whose aim is to support writers and reach out to readers. She is also a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. Catherine has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, the Cox network and numerous radio shows including WGN Radio’s Sunday Papers with Rick Kogan.

Foreign rights for The Last Night Out have already been sold in France, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Portugal and Spain.

 

Links

Author

Website – https://thelastnightoutbook.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/OConnellAuthor

Publisher

Website – http://blackthornbooks.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/blackthornbks

 

Blog Tour – ‘Death at the Plague Museum’ by Lesley Kelly ~ @sandstonepress @lkauthor

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for ‘Death at the Plague Museum’ by Lesley Kelly.  This book, the third in the A Health of Strangers Thriller series, was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 18th April 2019 by Sandstone Press.  I would like to thank Ceris Jones for inviting me participate in the blog tour and for my review copy.

I will tell you my thoughts on ‘Death at the Plague Museum’ in just a moment.  First though here’s what it is about.

 

Book Blurb

The pandemic is spreading.

On Friday, three civil servants leading Virus policy hold a secret meeting at the Museum of Plagues and Pandemics. By Monday, two are dead and one is missing.

It’s up to Mona and Bernard of the Health Enforcement Team to find the missing official before panic hits the streets.

 

My Review

I actually haven’t read the first two books in the A Health of Strangers Thriller series, so I didn’t know how I would get on with ‘Death at the Plague Museum’. It did sound interesting though and naturally being the bookworm that I am I really wanted to give it a go. I need not have worried as my enjoyment wasn’t spoilt at all and I soon found myself becoming heavily involved in the story. I really liked the author’s style of writing and the storyline itself. It is very different to anything I have ever read.

Taking place over five days, I found this story to be extremely gripping and fast-paced. The virus had already cost the lives of hundreds and thousands of people in Scotland and it continued to spread. Scary hey! On top of that two important civil servants were dead and one was missing. The Health Enforcement Team were given the task of finding the missing official as quickly as they could. With no time to waste they did everything they could, even at the risk of putting themselves in danger.

I really enjoyed getting to know the Health Enforcement Team, particularly Mona and Bernard. I liked how the author didn’t just focus on their professional lives but also their personal lives. It made for some very interesting reading. I wasn’t very keen on Maitland, but I think he could actually grow on me eventually. Time will tell though.

Social media plays such a big part in our lives these days and I liked the fact that the author included it in her story. Full marks to her for this.

I am absolutely delighted to have been given the opportunity of being introduced to this series. ‘Death at the Plague Museum’ was a very enjoyable read and I am looking forward to much more from this author. For fans of this series you will be delighted to know that there is a fourth book coming out.

~~~~~

‘Death at the Plague Museum’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Plague-Museum-Health-Strangers-ebook/dp/B07KXB21S7/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1556371743&sr=1-3-fkmrnull

 

About Lesley Kelly

Lesley Kelly has worked in the public and voluntary sectors for the past twenty years, dabbling in poetry and stand-up comedy along the way. She has won several writing competitions, including the Scotsman’s Short Story award in 2008. Her debut novel, A Fine House in Trinity, was long-listed for the William Mclvanney award in 2016. She can be followed on Twitter (@lkauthor) where she tweets about writing, Edinburgh and whatever else takes her fancy.

Blog Tour – ‘Blackpool’s Daughter’ by Maggie Mason ~ @LittleBrownUK @Authormary

‘Blackpool’s Daughter’ was published on the 18th April 2019 in paperback by Sphere and is also available as an eBook and in hardback.  I was thrilled to be invited by the author to take part in this blog tour and would like to thank the publisher for my review copy of this book.

You will find out in a minute what I thought of this book.  First though, here’s the blurb.

 

 

Book Blurb

The perfect read for fans of Mary Wood, Kitty Neale, Val Wood and Nadine Dorries
***PREVIOUSLY CALLED BLACKPOOL EVACUEE***

Clara is forced to flee her home as the Nazis invade the beautiful island of Guernsey

Separated from her mother, far away from anything familiar, she is at the mercy of a cruel shopkeeper. Clara is worked like a dog, but the warmth of her Blackpool friendships will go far to save her.

Julia just wants to find her beloved daughter – but the trials of war will keep them far apart.

They will meet again – but the war will change everything for mother and daughter

 

My Review

As you probably know by now I love family sagas and historical fiction. I was really looking forward to reading ‘Blackpool’s Daughter’ and I can tell you that it was well worth the wait. I truly loved this story and was totally hooked all the way through. Maggie Mason is such a wonderful writer and tells it how it would have been in the 1940s. It is obvious that a lot of research and care and attention has gone into writing this book.

Set during the Second World War, this is the story of Julia and her young daughter Clara. The Nazis could invade Guernsey at anytime and Julia has no other option but to put her daughter’s safety before her own, even though that means they will be separated from each other. Clara is about to embark on a journey and doesn’t know where she will end up. When she finds out that she is being sent to Blackpool her spirits lift a little.

Clara’s life is far from easy and she has to do a lot of growing up quickly. Along the way she makes some good friends and they keep her going, even with things as unbearable as they are.

There were lots of characters in this story, many with their own tragic tale to tell. But whatever happened they kept going one way or the other. Then there were the unsavoury characters, i.e. the gangsters. The brutality Clara and others like her faced was appalling and at times there didn’t seem to be much hope for them, so it was nice to see that they could have a bit of fun together sometimes. Both Clara and Julia went through a lot and their lives changed so much over the years.

‘Blackpool’s Daughter’ is absolutely outstanding and is definitely one of my favourite books of the year. With unforgettable characters this is a story that will stay in my heart for ages. I hope Maggie Mason writes lots more books.

If like me you love family sagas then I recommend that you buy yourself a copy. You won’t be disappointed and will be wanting more.

~~~~~

‘Blackpool’s Daughter’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blackpool-Evacuee-Maggie-Mason/dp/0751573191/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1555612146&sr=1-1-fkmrnull

 

About Maggie Mason

Maggie Mason is a pseudonym of author Mary Wood. Mary began her career by self-publishing on kindle where many of her sagas reached number one in genre. She was spotted by Pan Macmillan and to date has written many books for them under her own name, with more to come. Mary continues to be proud to write for Pan Macmillan, but is now equally proud and thrilled to take up a second career with Sphere under the name of Maggie Mason. A Blackpool Lass is her first in a planned series of standalone books and trilogies set in her home town of Blackpool.

Mary retired from working for the National Probation Service in 2009, when she took up full time writing, something she’d always dreamed of doing. She follows in the footsteps of her great-grandmother, Dora Langlois, who was an acclaimed author, playwright and actress in the late nineteenth – early twentieth century.

It was her work with the Probation Service that gives Mary’s writing its grittiness, her need to tell it how it is, which takes her readers on an emotional journey to the heart of issues.

 

Links

Website – https://www.authormarywood.com/

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Authormary

 

Cover Reveal – ‘The Girl I Used to Know’ by Faith Hogan ~ @Aria_Fiction @GerHogan

I have something very special for all of you today.  Yes, that’s right!

The cover of Faith Hogan’s book, ‘The Girl I Used to Know’ has had a makeover and myself along with a number of fellow book bloggers are helping to reveal it.  I personally think that it’s gorgeous and hopefully you will agree.

Right are you all ready to see it?

Are you sure or do you want to wait for a bit longer?

It’s worth the wait.

Oh okay, I’ve kept you waiting for long enough.

Without further ado here is the cover…….

 

I love this cover.  I wish I could walk up those steps and go through that front door.  Here’s what ‘The Girl I Used to Know’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

Two women. Two very different lives. One unexpected friendship.

Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn’t be more different.

Amanda seems to have the perfect life. But the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.

While Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.

But if they can open up to one another, these two women may just learn that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.

Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond, Marian Keyes, Rowan Coleman and Veronica Henry.

 

‘The Girl I Used to Know’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2I0gt5U
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2G3VDAs
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2HYtAEB
iBooks: https://apple.co/2CYr25c

 

About Faith Hogan

Faith lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and two very fussy cats. She has an Hons Degree in English Literature and Psychology, has worked as a fashion model and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.

 

Links

Faith Hogan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GerHogan

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

 

Aria Fiction

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Aria_Fiction

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

Instagram: @ariafiction

Guest Post by Stuart James ~ @StuartJames73

It is a real pleasure to have Stuart James on my blog today.  His new book, ‘Turn The Other Way’ was self-published as an eBook and in paperback in February of this year and boy does it sound amazing or what.  I will most definitely be buying it, that’s for sure.

Stuart has written a guest post for my blog.

~~~~~

I have always loved scary stories, especially ones that shocked me, left me terrified, looking under my bed or in the wardrobe before going to sleep.

There was just a fantastic buzz whenever I watched or read something that took my breath away.

I remember going to my nan’s house in Ireland as a youngster with my mother and sister, on the West Coast, staying in a cottage, surrounded by miles of fields and my family sitting around the table in the kitchen at night telling ghost stories. Going out and exploring derelict farmhouses in the middle of nowhere. I remember clearly the field at the end of the road was supposed to be haunted by headless nuns.

My cousins often remind me of the great times we had, frightening each other and running for our lives whenever we’d see something that didn’t look right.

This is why I love nothing more than to tell a story.

 

I started writing two years ago, penning The House On Rectory Lane.

I got the idea from something that has often seemed scary to me. I know that a terrifying story has to be something that you’re frightened of doing, something that makes the hairs stand on the back of your neck, something that fills you with dread, yet also with excitement.

To me, the thought of going to a house in the middle of nowhere, upping and leaving a busy town and moving to the country is something that scares lots of people and me: the seclusion, the quiet, the darkness.

That’s what inspired me to write my first novel.

 

My second thriller is called Turn The Other Way.

I have multiple stories running, past and present.

A family who want answers from the surgeon responsible for their daughter’s death.

A young woman looking for her parents after they go missing from a party.

A couple driving home and hearing screams for help from the back of the van in front of them.

A serial killer on the loose in North London, dragging victims off the street.

 

I’m so grateful when people not only read my thrillers but also take the time to get in touch and leave a review. To me, that is the greatest feeling, hearing from people that have enjoyed my work. I know then that I’m doing something right.

I’m currently working on my new thriller, Apartment Six, which should be released later this year.

I’m 45, married and have two beautiful children. Currently, I’m a full-time plumber but would love nothing more than to make a living from my writing.

I hope I write stories and people continue to enjoy them for years to come.

That would be completely amazing and a dream come true.

 

Links

‘Turn The Other Way’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Turn-Other-Way-Stuart-James-ebook/dp/B07MQNYNN1/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1555436293&sr=1-1

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Turn-Other-Way-Stuart-James/dp/1796303976/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=stuart+james&qid=1555437998&s=books&sr=1-1

‘The House on Rectory Lane’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Rectory-Lane-Stuart-James-ebook/dp/B078585TG1/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/House-Rectory-Lane-Stuart-James-ebook/dp/B078585TG1/ref=sr_1_2

 

Website – http://www.stuartjamesthrillers.com

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/StuartJames73

Blog Tour – ‘The House on Rosebank Lane’ by Millie Gray ~ #MillieGray @bwpublishing

I am delighted to be kicking off this blog tour.  ‘The House on Rosebank Lane’ is Millie Gray’s tenth novel and it is out today in paperback and as an eBook, published by Black and White Publishing.  I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate in this tour and for my review copy.

You will find out in a minute what I thought about the ‘The House on Rosebank Lane’.  First though, here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Leith, 1953. Kirsten Mowat, eighteen years old and with a joyful spring in her step, couldn’t be more in love with her sea-faring sweetheart Duncan Armstrong. But, seven years later after a hasty wedding, a twist of lies and wrenching loss Duncan and Kirsten’s relationship has faded to tatters. When those closest to her turn their backs, Kirsten alone, with a young family to care for must gather all her spirit and strength if they are to survive. From much-loved Millie Gray, The House on Rosebank Lane is an Edinburgh story of families entwined, of sorrow and hopefulness . . . and of a young mother’s love for her children and a transforming quest for happiness.

 

My Review

It has been a while since I have read a book published by Black and White Publishing and what a treat ‘The House on Rosebank Lane’ was. I actually can’t believe that until now I had never picked up any of Millie Gray’s books. I love family sagas and I really liked that this book was based in Leith, Edinburgh. That’s what appealed to me when I first heard about it. I loved the author’s style of writing and the way the story was presented and found it very easy to follow.

Edinburgh will always be a very special place to me. Whilst reading this story I found myself wishing that I had been there in 1953 onwards. I think it would have been wonderful. I recognised quite a few of the streets mentioned and in the past have actually stayed in a hotel in York Place with my husband.

This story had so much packed into it despite not being very long and I felt I got a lot out of it. The one thing I wished would happen did so that really pleased me.

I loved Kirsten from the very start and I felt so sad for the situation she found herself in. She was a tough cookie though who with the help of friends and good advice coped with what life threw at her. I thought Dixie was so adorable and it was tragic what happened when he was doing so well.

‘The House on Rosebank Lane’ will have you hooked. You literally won’t be able to put the book down. I am looking forward to reading so much more by this author.

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‘The House on Rosebank Lane’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Rosebank-Lane-Millie-Gray/dp/178530223X/

 

About Millie Gray

Millie Gray is a writer and professional storyteller. Her humorous plays attract audiences from all over Scotland and she is much in demand to do workshops and talks about her work. Millie Gray was born and raised in Leith and lives in Edinburgh.

 

Links

Black and White Publishing

Twitter – https://twitter.com/bwpublishing

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

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

 

Interview with Linda MacDonald ~ @LindaMac1

I am thrilled to welcome Linda MacDonald back to my blog.  I really do like the sound of her books and I hope to read them at some stage.

Linda has kindly answered some questions for me about her writing.

 

Firstly, please can you tell me about the types of books you write.

I write Women’s fiction with characters facing real-life relationship issues. Each novel covers different themes, often with a psychological slant.

 

Where did you get the ideas for your books from?

Many ideas come from personal experience or through discussion with friends. For example, the ‘stalking’ theme in The Alone Alternative came about because of a series of threatening nuisance calls I received over a period of months. It transpired they were from the partner of a supermarket delivery driver. She found my phone number on his mobile from a late night call (which happened when a promised late delivery hadn’t turned up) and assumed I was having an affair with him. You couldn’t make it up!

 

Can you relate to any of your characters?

Marianne in Meeting Lydia was bullied as a child when she was one of very few girls in a boys’ prep school. The same thing happened to me and it continued to affect me in later life. Marianne also, like me, found a classmate via Friends Reunited (the only boy in the class who was never horrible to her) and this prompted the exchange of many emails. However, the adult Marianne has a life different from mine and although I share some of her anxieties, she often deals with situations differently from how I would.

 

What do you hope readers get from your books?

Primarily, I hope readers come away feeling that they’ve read something worthwhile and perhaps armed with strategies that will help them navigate some of the difficulties of relationships.

 

When did you first start writing?

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t write. But I began my first novel when I finished university and it took me seven years to complete. It was all long-hand drafting in those days – and then typing up on a portable typewriter. I completed a second ‘practice’ novel when I was in my thirties. However, the published ‘Lydia’ series only began in 2001, after the chance meeting on the internet gave me an idea of how to create a work of fiction inspired by my experiences of school bullying. It was a theme that had bubbled quietly in the background all of my adult life, but I didn’t have a plot until I met ‘Lydia’ again.

 

Have you got plans to write anymore books?

What began as a single book has now become a series of four – although each also stands independently. The teenagers in Meeting Lydia are now young adults and I’m currently writing snippets about the life of one of them – and considering whether to develop them into a novella. And there is also a secret from my second book – A Meeting of a Different Kind – that only 3 people know. If the truth is discovered, there will be potentially dire repercussions. This may form the basis of a full-length novel but is as yet in embryonic form.

 

All in all what has the publishing process been like?

A rollercoaster of highs and lows, hopes and dreams, toil, persistence, determination and some wonderful people who’ve helped me along the way, in particular those I’ve met via social media.

 

Who designed the wonderful covers?

Three out of four of my covers were designed by the amazing young artist Matthew Fall McKenzie.

 

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to write their first novel?

Be passionate about the subject matter and write because you want to write, not because you have expectations of sales and fortune. It is increasingly difficult to make money as a writer – so don’t give up the day job. Think ‘North Pole’: one step after another and you will eventually get there. Turn off the rubbish on TV and write a hundred words. Very often, once you do that, you will write a hundred more.

 

About Linda MacDonald

Linda MacDonald is the author of four independently published novels: Meeting Lydia and the stand-alone sequels, A Meeting of a Different Kind, The Alone Alternative and The Man in the Needlecord Jacket. They are all contemporary adult fiction, multi-themed, but with a focus on relationship issues.

After studying psychology at Goldsmiths’ London, Linda trained as a secondary science and biology teacher. She taught these subjects for several years before moving to a sixth-form college to teach psychology. In 2012, she gave up teaching to focus fully on writing.

Linda was born and brought up in Cockermouth, on the edge of the Lake District in Cumbria and now lives in Beckenham in south east London.

 

Links

Linda MacDonald’s books can be purchased from:-

Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2I7We6j

Amazon US – https://amzn.to/2IjHNLD

Troubador – https://www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/contemporary/meeting-lydia-5079/

 

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LindaMac1

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

Blog Tour – ‘After the Funeral’ by Gillian Poucher ~ @RedDoorBooks @GillianPoucher


I am absolutely thrilled to be kicking off this blog tour.  ‘After the Funeral’ is being published in paperback and as an eBook on the 11th April 2019 by RedDoor Publishing.  I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate and for my review copy.

You will find out in a minute what I thought about ‘After the Funeral’.  First though, the blurb.

 


Book Blurb

You don’t know me but I know you

When a stranger approaches Julia Butler at her mother’s funeral and hints at a disturbing family secret, her life is turned upside down.

Who is this woman and how does she know so much about Julia’s life?

Grief-stricken, Julia finds her well-ordered life unravelling and her relationships in turmoil. As the mystery around the stranger deepens, she must not only make peace with those around her, but with the ghosts from her past to find hope for the future.

After the Funeral is a gripping debut novel which explores the complex relationships between three generations of women with sensitivity and compassion.

 

My Review

Wow! Are you sure this is really a debut novel? I can’t believe it myself. I loved the cover of the book and thought it to be very haunting. This was such a dark and disturbing read and it had me gripped from the start. I liked the style of writing, the descriptions and the diary entries from the Second World War, which I thought were a good idea. They made for intriguing reading. I also really liked the storyline itself and where it was heading.

I met some very interesting characters along the way. Poor Julia. Not only had she just bid farewell to mother, she was also still getting over the break up of her relationship. So when a stranger turned up at her mother’s funeral and said she was related, Julia didn’t really know what to think. Linda seemed to have a lot of information about her which naturally caused unease.

I really didn’t know what to make of Linda and had my suspicions about her. It did seem strange that Julia’s mother hadn’t told her about Linda at all. There had to have been a good reason why she had omitted to mention her.

I worked out quite a few things even before they came to light, but that didn’t put me off at all. It was like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle. All the pieces eventually came together with some huge shockers along the way.

I really thought it was a shame that Julia’s mother didn’t live to tell the story herself. I guess that’s what the diaries were for though.

‘After the Funeral’ is a beautiful and tragic tale of love, loss and family. I look forward to more from this author.

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‘After the Funeral’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/After-Funeral-Gillian-Poucher/dp/1910453765/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1554533362&sr=8-3-fkmrnull

 

About Gillian Poucher

Gillian Poucher was born in Bolton, England. Reading and writing were passions from an early age.

After studying History at undergraduate level, Gillian worked as a Solicitor before training as a church minister. She was ordained into the United Reformed Church in 2006 and completed her PhD in Biblical Studies in 2013.

Gillian lives in Lincolnshire with her husband and daughter and far too many books! After The Funeral is her first novel and fulfils that childhood ambition.

 

Links

Website – https://www.gillianpoucherauthor.co.uk/

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/GillianPoucher

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

 

Guest Post by Jennifer Wineberg ~ @JenniferWinebe1

I would like to introduce you all to Jennifer Wineberg.  Her debut novel, ‘Ruskin’s Copper Shadow’ was published as an eBook in February of this year.

Jennifer has written a fascinating post all about her book which I hope you enjoy reading as much as I did.

~~~~~

Thank you Sonya for giving me this wonderful opportunity to share my first book with the readers on your blog.

If you are seeking answers to the quandaries of contemporary living, or worse still if you yearn to be dragged through a narrative that leaves you exhausted and fraught, this is not the book for you.  However, if you would prefer to tiptoe back to Victorian England, to discover betrayal and heartache lurking behind the silver and polishing, come with me.

Imagine the clock ticking in the Grand Dining Room of Wallington Hall a stately home in the wilds of Northumberland and the Mistress of the house is sitting in a chair staring at a painting.  A pretty girl sits demurely in the corner of the canvas and the sunlight dapples across her beautiful porcelain skin as her keen amber eyes stare out at her.  Pauline Trevelyan the Mistress of the Hall wishes she had never met her.  As the daughter of a shepherd on her estate she had chosen her to be a model for the artist, but it was when Pauline appointed her as a servant that the trouble began.

When this girl fell pregnant in 1865 Pauline was desperate to protect her close friend John Ruskin from scandal.  After all, he had just lost his father and a decade earlier had undergone the humiliation of being divorced by his wife for non-consummation of his marriage.  But he wasn’t alone.  Pauline knew all about non-consummation.  Her own arid marriage was brought into sharp relief by the lives of her Pre-Raphaelite artist friends and her Northumbrian poet Swinburne.  She was not about to let this relationship be undermined by the sudden arrival of my Great Grandmother especially as she suspected that Ruskin had developed a deep affection towards her mother Isabella.

Pauline Trevelyan knew she was a little bit in love with Ruskin and because of his reliance on her as an advisor throughout his divorce and his father’s death, she persuaded Ruskin to leave Isabella, leaving the path clear for Pauline to manipulate the birth records and destroy evidence of the relationship.

Pauline wasn’t the only person to be fascinated by the picture in her Grand Dining Hall.  Almost 150 years later I found myself gazing at it too.  I was struck by the similarity between the same girl that Pauline was fixated upon, and my late Aunt Mabel.  Convinced that this young lady was part of my family tree I spent time in Northumberland Museums, as well as accessing computer based genealogy platforms.

Seven years later, I had amassed enough information to allow me to make a close observation of the historical characters. This in turn, gave me the opportunity to provide a credible interpretation of events enhanced by the narrative characters I had created.

My main protagonists are Isabella Milburn – the girl in the picture – and John Ruskin the great writer and social reformer.  The tale is told through the eyes of a Northumbrian Canon who acts as a metaphor for Ruskin, with the same impetuous desire to right social wrongs.  He finds his own love in Rosalind who is just as feisty and headstrong as Isabella and who bears him a child in similar circumstances to Ruskin.  It is likely that Ruskin took the memories of my Great Great Grandmother with him to the grave, and as we celebrate the Bicentenary of Ruskin’s birth I would like to raise a glass with you, to the man and his lover, Isabella Milburn.

 

About the Author

Jennifer was born in Newcastle on Tyne and her ancestors are rooted in Northumberland.  She is a committed author who is currently writing her third book.  ‘Ruskin’s Copper Shadow,’ is her debut publication.

It was a long journey to the printed page through a career in teaching to managing an upmarket B&B, where the guests provided the inspiration for many of the characters.

Jennifer manages to combine writing with sailing around the Solent with her family in her old boat.  Her husband Stuart dances with apostrophes and full stops in an attempt to turn her books into readable formats.  She keeps fit by helping her daughter with her dog walking business and is secretary of the Village Hall Committee in Mottisfont, a little village north of Romsey.  She has a love hate relationship with the compiler of the Financial Times Crossword and supports Newcastle United Football Club.

 

Links

‘Ruskin’s Copper Shadow’ can be purchased from:-

http://Books2read.com/coppershadow

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JenniferWinebe1

 

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