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Archive for the tag “London”

Blog Tour – ‘An Abiding Fire’ by M. J. Logue ~ @SapereBooks @Hollie_Babbitt

I am absolutely thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour for ‘An Abiding Fire’ by M. J. Logue, the first Thomazine and Major Russell Thrillers book, published in paperback and as an eBook by Sapere Books.  I would like to thank Caoimhe O’Brien for inviting me to take part.

I have an extract for you to read, but first here’s what the book is about.

 

 

Book Blurb

How do you solve a murder when you are one of the suspects?

1664, London

Life should be good for Major Thankful Russell and his new bride, Thomazine. Russell, middle-aged and battle-scarred, isn’t everyone’s idea of the perfect husband for an eligible young woman but the moment Thomazine set eyes on her childhood hero, she knew they were destined for one another.

But Russell, a former Roundhead, now working for the King’s intelligence service, was never going to have a simple life in Restoration London.

Unable to shake suspicions of his Parliamentarian past, someone seems hell-bent on ruining his reputation — and his life.

Whispers about his sister’s violent murder follow him and accusations of treason abound.

When more deaths occur Russell finds himself under suspicion.

He is ready to escape from the capital, but Thomazine is determined to find the truth and clear the name of the man she loves.

But who is the real killer and why are they so keen to frame Russell? More importantly, will they succeed?

And has Thomazine’s quest put them all in mortal danger?

 

Extract

Prologue

Four Ashes, Buckinghamshire, England

November 1663

She looked up as he entered the room, her eyes narrowing to see him in the gloom of a few meagre tapers. A paltry display for such a family, and on such a bitter midwinter night. It gave him enough light to see her clearly, though, and he was astonished at the change in her: but then it had been ten years and they had not been kind years for Fly-Fornication Coventry.

She had always been for the King, during the late wars, and it must have gone hard with her to have had a brother who was not only a most notorious rebel and subversive, but who had narrowly escaped being executed for his political beliefs with a pack of fellow Dissenters and horse-thieves calling themselves the Levellers. And he had not had the grace to slide into obscurity after his grudging pardon, but instead had gone on to serve quite conspicuously in the Army of General Monck after the King was restored.

It must have been bitter as wormwood for her to know that he was still out there in the world, that those sins of which she had spoken, at such length, with such contempt, had gone unpunished and that he was still unrepentant.

Bitterness had withered her. Her hair was hidden by the same stiff starched cap, untouched by fashion or flattery, but her eyebrows were as dark and uncompromising as ever. She was not an unattractive woman for a widow in her late fifties. She was as tall and slender as her brother and her shoulders were straight. He found himself quite admiring her, actually. Not as a woman, but as a fierce thing of beauty, like a falcon or a well-made sword.

“Well,” she said. And that was all.

He bowed with as much ostentation as he could because he had been on the peripheries of court these four years and more and he had learned the weapons of vicious courtesy. “I am glad to see you well, Mistress Coventry. After so long absent.”

“As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly. Should I say I am as glad to see you? Well, I won’t.” She smiled, which was unexpected. “I do not lie, sir. I am not in the least glad to see you. Prinked out in your degenerate finery — ‘For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness.’ Do you seek to impress me, you nasty, womanish thing?”

“Good lord, no,” he said mildly, and she lowered her head and glowered at him.

“Less of your blasphemy. This is a godly house. What do you want?”

She had not invited him to sit or offered him hospitality and he was glad of that. She still made him nervous, for all he had not set eyes on her in ten years, though she had no power over him because for all her malice she was no more than a woman, and a thin, bloodless, bitter one at that.

“I wanted to assure myself of your continued good health,” he said and dropped his eyes to hide that particular lie.

“Did you. Well. I wonder why, since you never did before when you were drinking and whoring all over the county, keeping your low company?”

“They say hereabouts that you are grown … odd, mistress. That you grow overly zealous, even more than you were previous, and that none of your servants will stay longer than a few weeks with you, for your harshness. That you can be cruel and whimsical in your ways.” He took a deep breath and went on, “That you are often alone in this house at night, for such staff as can bear your intolerance will not stay under the same roof. Is that true?”

Her dark eyes, ringed about with tender blue shadows, lifted to his face. “True? What concern is it of yours?”

He was still on his feet. It was easy to go and stand over her and set his hands on her shoulders. Such slight, narrow shoulders, for all their straightness. Her bodice, close to, was shabby: a little shrunken at the seams, unevenly faded, as if it had been remade from another garment and covered by an old-fashioned linen collar that had a darn at the fold. A fine darn, but a darn, nonetheless. “There is not the money here to pay a servant’s hire, is there, mistress?” he said gently. “You have lost all, since the wars. Have you not?”

She almost rose from her seat, an unlovely blush mottling her cheeks and her neck. “How dare you, sir —”

And he put his hands about her slight throat and snapped her neck, as simply as that. Like snapping a coney’s when it was snared, and with as little emotion.

She was not expecting it and she did not struggle, after that initial convulsion; she only hung between his two hands with her dark eyes blank and staring at him and her mouth slightly ajar.

He was not as frightened as he thought he would be. She was dead and it had been easy. He did not feel anything, apart from a slight repulsion as a sliver of saliva drooled from her lolling mouth.

Such little bones. So frail. Not like her brother, not at all like her brother, in the end. For Thankful Russell was still alive and Fly was distinctly dead.

~~~~~

‘An Abiding Fire’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

http://getbook.at/AnAbidingFire

 

About M. J. Logue

M. J. Logue (as in cataLOGUE and epiLOGUE and not, ever, loge, which is apparently a kind of private box in a theatre) wrote her first short novel on a manual typewriter aged seven. It wasn’t very good, being about talking horses, but she made her parents sit through endless readings of it anyway.

Thirty-something years later she is still writing, although horses only come into it occasionally these days. Born and brought up in Lancashire, she moved to Cornwall at the turn of the century (and has always wanted to write that) and now lives in a granite cottage with her husband, and son, five cats, and various itinerant wildlife.

After periods of employment as a tarot reader, complaints call handler, executive PA, copywriter and civil servant, she decided to start writing historical fiction about the period of British history that fascinates her – the 17th century.

Her first series, covering the less than stellar career of a disreputable troop of Parliamentarian cavalry during the civil wars, was acclaimed by reviewers as “historical fiction written with elegance, wit and black humour” – but so many readers wanted to know whether fierce young lieutenant Thankful Russell ever did get his Happy Ever After, that the upcoming series of romantic thrillers for Sapere Books began.

Get in touch with MJ

She can be found on Twitter @Hollie_Babbitt, lurking on the web at asweetdisorder.com, and posting photos of cake, cats and extreme embroidery on Instagram as asweetdisorder.

Cover Reveal – ‘Doorways’ by Robert Enright

This is the brand new cover for ‘Doorways’ and I am absolutely LOVING it.

‘Doorways’ is being re-released on the 14th December 2017 by Robert Enright.  Here’s what it is about.

 

Book Blurb

There is more to the shadows than just darkness

The Otherside is located at the fringes of our world, hiding in plain sight and existing within our shadows. Shielded from humanity, the Otherside is watched over by the BTCO, a highly secret government agency, whose members all possess ‘The Knack’, a genetic anomaly that allows them to see this other world.

Franklyn ‘Bermuda’ Jones is the BTCO’s finest agent, the only human to have passed to the Otherside and returned. Gifted with the ability to physically interact with both worlds, Bermuda reluctantly stands between both worlds, pining for the life he had to leave behind and the daughter he can no longer see. Teamed with Argyle, an enigmatic Otherside warrior, Bermuda is assigned the case of a missing woman who has vanished under mysterious circumstances.

As Bermuda delves further into the disappearance, he uncovers a threat that could destroy the truce between two worlds…and finds himself in a race against time to safeguard humanity’s very existence.

Discover a new world in this fast-paced urban fantasy packed with thrills, action and the odd one liner.

~~~~~

If this is the sort of book you like then you really are in for a treat.  I had the pleasure of reviewing ‘Doorways’ last year and thought it was amazing.  You can read my review here https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/10/13/blog-tour-doorways-by-robert-enright/

For those of you who have already read this book you will be pleased to know that the sequel, ‘The Absent Man’ is being published next year.  It is already on my have to read list.

 

Links

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/REnright_Author

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

 

Blog Tour – ‘Skin Deep’ by Laura Wilkinson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

About Laura Wilkinson

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

 

Purchase Links

‘Skin Deep’ is available to buy from:-

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

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

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

Website/Social Media Links

Website – www.laura-wilkinson.co.uk

Twitter – @ScorpioScribble

Facebook – Laura Wilkinson Author

Instagram – laura_wilkinsonwriter

Pinterest – laura1765

Goodreads – Laura_ Wilkinson

 

Blog Tour – ‘Doorways’ by Robert Enright

blog-tour-poster

Well, the big day is here at last for Robert Enright.  His new book, ‘Doorways’, the first in the Bermuda Jones series is out today, published by Urbane Publications.  Last year I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert and then earlier this year I did a cover reveal on my blog as part of my Urbane event, complete with an exciting countdown.  So, when Robert asked me if I would like to take part in this blog tour, how could I possibly refuse!

Franklyn ‘Bermuda’ Jones was born with the ability to see the truth; a gift and also a curse.  Declared insane by psychiatrists, Bermuda was admitted to hospital for three months.  The only human to have passed to The Otherside and returned, he is now an agent for the BTCO, a highly secret government agency.  Bermuda is stuck between both worlds and pining for the life he has had to leave behind.  Everyday things which people take for granted mean the world to him.

Teamed with Argyle, an enigmatic Otherside warrior, Bermuda is assigned the case of a missing woman who seems to have disappeared into thin air.  As Bermuda is soon to discover there is more to things than meets the eye.  With Argyle’s help will he be able to solve the case before it’s too late?

I am not a fan of science fiction as such but I wanted to give ‘Doorways’ a go having heard so much about it.  You know what?  I’m so pleased that I did because this book is actually a mixture of genres, not just sci-fi.  I was totally hooked from the start and found it so very hard to put down.  I loved the writing style and found that the words bounced right off the pages.  I also really like how ‘Doorways’ is set in different parts of London including a place I love going to.

I found myself getting really involved in the story, so much so that I wanted to scream at the woman who went missing not to walk through the alleyway.  I felt sad for Bermuda and the fact that he couldn’t lead a normal life.  It must have been so hard having to cut himself off from loved ones.  I adored Argyle, his protector and saviour.  The things he did to distract the police; brilliant!

‘Doorways’ took me on an exciting and unstoppable journey.  I didn’t want it to come to an end and I am so looking forward to the second book in the series.  I only hope there are no Others lurking in the shadows watching my every move.  Oh wait, this is fiction isn’t it?  Isn’t it??

Thanks for a great read Robert.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

‘Doorways’ is available to buy from Urbane Publications:-

http://urbanepublications.com/books/doorways/

 

Guest Post by Simon Michael

Simon Michael

Simon Michael’s new book, ‘An Honest Man’ is out on the 7th July 2016.  I recently read and reviewed ‘The Brief’ which I absolutely loved.  To coincide with his new book being published, Simon has written a guest post for my blog.

 

TRIAL BY JURY

Photo A (wig)

The life of a criminal barrister is one of high stress, sweat-inducing responsibility, poor pay, unbeatable camaraderie and extremely funny stories.  I have often thought that the “life-and-death” issues in which barristers deal – like police officers, surgeons and firemen – make humour an essential coping tool.

I was a pupil barrister in the Chambers of Robert Flach QC, in the Middle Temple, of whom hilarious stories are legion – but this guest blog is not about him.  It is about two very green barristers, your writer and a man who was to become a close friend, whom I shall call Derek.  We were both about 23 years of age and pupils to an up-and-coming criminal barrister, hereinafter referred to as “Mr Smith”, who was at that time being led by an eminent QC in a high-profile criminal trial at the Old Bailey.

Mr Smith had left us to do some paperwork while he was in court that day and we were, as always, floundering around a mountainous pile of papers involving arcane and unfamiliar concepts, nattering away and finding every available excuse not to deepen our knowledge of the Law.

Then the telephone rang.  It was our senior clerk.  Mr Smith had left behind some important documents, and one of us needed to run the papers down to Court 2 at the Old Bailey immediately.  Enormous excitement – this would be the first time that we had actually been in the legendary Central Criminal Court.  Did we need to be robed?  Mr Smith didn’t say, replied the clerk, but better safe than sorry.

So we changed our Windsor collars for brand-new wing collars, pushing the brass and mother-of-pearl collar studs through the buttonholes closed with dried starch, tied our bands (those white things worn also by vicars) pulled on our gowns, and grabbed our wigs.  Then we looked for the papers on Mr Smith’s desk and found what amounted only to two short Statements, no more than ten pages.  So, only one of us was needed to make the delivery.

‘Toss for it,’ I offered.

‘Fair enough,’ agreed Derek.  I won.

‘Best-of-three?’ suggested Derek.  Like an idiot, I agreed.  He won the next two.

‘Best-of-five?’ I suggested.

‘No time,’ he said, looking at his watch, and off he scuttled, wig in one hand, statements in the other and black gown billowing behind him.  I followed; having changed into my fancy dress, there was no way I was going to miss the adventure.

It took us little more than five minutes to jog down Fleet Street, over Ludgate Circus and left into Old Bailey.  We paused outside the heavy swing doors of Court No 2 and Derek placed his wig on his red Irish hair.  Inside we could see the tall wooden dock in which sat our pupil master’s clients, the raked banks of jurors, the massed ranks of reporters and the packed gallery.  The back of the prosecution QC could be seen as he addressed the Recorder of London, who sat robed in black and purple, higher than everyone else in the court, under an enormous pediment bearing the crest and the words “Dieu et mon droit”.

‘How do I look?’ whispered Derek.

‘Fine,’ I replied.

‘Okay.  Here we go.’  He took a deep breath and reached for the door.

‘Don’t forget to bow,’ I reminded him.

He turned back to me, his face slightly pale.  ‘Right, thanks,’ and he pushed open the door.

The door made a loud squeak just as, unfortunately, there was complete silence in court.  The jurors turned at the noise, followed by the members of the press.  Derek’s progress down the centre aisle towards the barristers’ benches at the front of the court was followed by forty pairs of eyes.  The prosecution barrister began speaking again but realised that the attention of everyone in the court was on something going on behind him.  He turned, and every other barrister on the benches followed suit.  Within a few seconds Derek was the centre of attention of everyone in the court.

Blushing as red as the hair emerging from under his wig, Derek located Mr Smith in the second row amongst all the other identically-dressed barristers.  He walked along the front of the row and handed our pupil master the Additional Statements.  He then turned and, apparently remembering my last comment, bowed to the judge.  He bowed to the ranks of barristers.  He bowed towards the dock, causing the jurors to giggle.  Hearing the noise he then made a quarter turn, and bowed to the jury, causing the giggle to become a ripple of laughter.

He then backed back up the aisle – bowing once more to a surprised court usher holding a water jug – felt behind him for a door, opened it, and stepped backwards – into the exhibit cupboard, closing the door behind him.

Everyone in the court knew that poor Derek was now standing in complete darkness surrounded by boxes of exhibits, and they waited to see if he would emerge again.  Like the rumbling of distant thunder, the laughter grew until it became a crescendo of hilarity ringing around the court.  After about thirty seconds of what must have been complete torture to Derek, but during which he was utterly immobilised by embarrassment, the Recorder of London took pity on him.

‘For heaven’s sake, usher, let the poor fellow out,’ he directed.

The usher put the jug on a bench and walked up the aisle.  She opened the door to be greeted by a mortified pupil barrister standing in the dark.  Derek stepped into the court to an eruption of wild applause.  He cast about himself, saw me furiously beckoning from outside, and ran to the safety of the corridor.

I’m delighted to tell you that despite this setback, Derek enjoyed an extremely successful career at the Bar, but perhaps unsurprisingly he forsook practice at the Old Bailey, opting instead for the quieter life of a civil practitioner, toiling through mountains of papers, but safe from the ridicule of any jury.

_________________________________________________________________________________

[Simon Michael’s The Brief was reviewed by me here https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/the-brief-by-simon-michael/ and the sequel, An Honest Man, is to be published by Urbane Publications on 7 July 2016 but available for pre-order now.]

 

Honest Man cover

Amazon link: http://amzn.to/29ko0Iz

Criminal barrister Charles Holborne may have just escaped the hangman by proving he was framed for murder, but his life is now in ruins.  His wife is dead, his high-flying career has morphed into criminal notoriety, and bankruptcy threatens.  When the biggest brief of Charles’s career land unexpectedly on his desk, it looks as if he’s been thrown a lifeline.  But far from keeping him afloat, it drags him ever deeper into the shadowy underworld of 1960s London.  Now, not only is his practice at stake, but his very life.  Caught in the crossfire between corrupt police officers and warring gangs, can Charles protect himself without once again turning to crime?

Based on real Old Bailey cases and genuine court documents, An Honest Man is the second in the Charles Holborne series, set on the sleazy London streets of the 1960s.

 

About Simon Michael

Simon practised as a barrister for over 35 years, many of them spent prosecuting and defending murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy. He had several books published in the UK and the USA in the 1990s and his short story Split was shortlisted for the Cosmopolitan/Perrier Short Story Award.

In 2016 he retired from legal practice to devote himself to full- time writing. The Brief (September 2015) and An Honest Man (July 2016) are the first two books in the Charles Holborne series, set on the gangland streets of 1960s London, based upon his experiences. Simon is a founder member and co-chair of the Ampthill Literary Festival. He lives with his wife, youngest daughter and many unfulfilled ambitions in Bedfordshire.

 

Links

Website and blogs: www.simonmichael.uk

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/simonmichaeluk

Email: author@simonmichael.uk

Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/28ZFrwQ

 

‘The Brief’ by Simon Michael

The Brief

‘The Brief’ was published last year by Urbane Publications.  I was very kindly sent a copy of this book to review.

The story is set in 1960s London.  In a city of gangsters, prejudice and terrifying gang wars, Barrister Charles Holborne seems to spend the majority of his time dealing with the worst examples of violent criminality.  Having successfully won a number of high profile cases, Charles is building a reputation amongst Soho’s criminal classes as a man who gets the job done.  This unfortunately doesn’t endear him to his establishment colleagues.

However, Charles isn’t all he seems and is in fact battling personal demons and his past.  When his philandering wife Henrietta is found dead with her throat slashed, Charles suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of the law and in serious trouble.  Arrested for her murder, can he discover the truth and escape the hangman’s noose?

I started reading ‘The Brief’ late last Saturday night and from the very first page I was totally engrossed.  It was literally a case of having to read one more chapter, followed by another one and another one.  After two late nights and many more hours besides I have now finished this wonderful book and want to shout out how great it is.

I thought ‘The Brief’ to be an extremely addictive read.  Split into five parts it is fast-paced, gripping and very exciting.  I love crime fiction and was most interested in learning more about the legal side of things.  Simon Michael has himself had a career at the Bar and has drawn on his experiences to write this book which makes it all the more real.  I really liked that court documents were included in the story.  I read the Transcript of Evidence with great interest and at one point even felt as if I was in the court too.

There were certainly some very dodgy characters in the story and it was hard to know at times who to trust.  I really liked Charles and hoped that he would get off his murder charge.  He was stitched up good and proper and he soon knew what it was like to be on the other side.

‘The Brief’ will keep you up for hours.  It will play on your mind and you’ll be dying to know what happens next.

I am really looking forward to Simon Michael’s new book, ‘An Honest Man’, which is due out next month and I will be eagerly following his future work.  Simon is already a firm favourite of mine.  I hope he writes many more books.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

Cover Reveal – ‘The Secret Wife’ by Gill Paul

Book Cover

I am thrilled to be taking part in this cover reveal and what a beauty it is.  ‘The Secret Wife’ is being published on the 25th August 2016 as an eBook and in paperback by Avon.  Read on to find out more about this book.

 

Book Blurb

A Russian grand duchess and an English journalist. Linked by one of the world’s greatest mysteries . . .

1914

Russia is on the brink of collapse, and the Romanov family faces a terrifyingly uncertain future. Grand Duchess Tatiana has fallen in love with injured cavalry officer Dmitri, but events take a catastrophic turn, placing their romance – and their lives – in danger . . .

2016

Kitty Fisher escapes to her great-grandfather’s remote cabin in America, after a devastating revelation forces her to flee London. There, on the shores of Lake Akanabee, she discovers the spectacular jewelled pendant that will lead her to an extraordinary, long-buried family secret . . .

Haunting, moving and beautifully written, The Secret Wife effortlessly crosses centuries, as past merges with present in an unforgettable story of love, loss and resilience.

 

‘The Secret Wife’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Wife-Gill-Paul-ebook/dp/B01D4O804G/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1463326605&sr=1-3&keywords=the+secret+wife

 

‘One Hundred Christmas Proposals’ by Holly Martin

One_Hundred_Ch_Proposals

One Hundred Christmas Proposals is out now, here’s the blurb:

The eagerly anticipated follow-up to One Hundred Proposals.

If you thought Harry & Suzie’s life couldn’t get any more sweepingly romantic than Harry asking her to marry him at the end of One Hundred Proposals – think again!

It’s Christmas in a snow-kissed London, and the.PerfectProposal.com have vowed to carry out one hundred proposals in December. No easy task at the best of times – made even more complicated by Harry & Suzie trying to plan their first Christmas and a visit from the dreaded in-laws. But one hundred deliciously Christmassy proposals later they find themselves asking if everything is still perfect in their own relationship….

Welcome back to the divinely warm world of One Hundred Proposals – with a sprinkling of pure, joyful, festive magic.

Have yourself a very merry Christmas indeed with Holly Martin’s Christmas novella.

***

I love this story and I’m so excited about you guys reading it too.  I never thought I would write a sequel for any of my novels, but catching up with Harry and Suzie, two of my favourite characters, in London at Christmas was a story that was begging to be told.  What I love about this story is instead of Harry proposing to Suzie, we get to see some of the amazing proposals they organise for their clients and we learn a little about their clients lives too.  One of my favourite proposals in this story is the sightseeing flight over London with the proposal written in flowers on a boat on the Thames.

Now you can win a sightseeing flight over London too and experience some incredible views of our capital.

SFALD_2

SFALD_3

This experience gives you a unique perspective on the sights of London. After a short pre-flight briefing, you’ll board a Piper Seneca twin-engine plane for a fantastic half hour sightseeing trip.

Plane

After taking off in Essex you’ll follow the Thames west into the heart of the city, getting a unique view of the capital. You’ll see the O2 arena, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, the towers at Canary Wharf, The London Eye, The Shard and the Houses of Parliament. Then turn north to fly over Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace, before heading back east to land in Essex. You’ll get an amazing perspective on the geography of the city and the beauty of its landmarks, so whether you’re a tourist or a Londoner, you’ll see the capital in a whole new way. And if flying isn’t your thing, this would make the perfect Christmas present for someone in your family.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is copy one of the pre-prepared tweets below, tweet it and you’ll automatically be entered into the draw to win this prize bundle.  The more you tweet, the more times you’ll be entered.

The competition will run until midnight (UK time) on Sunday 14th December so plenty of time for tweeting.  Every time you tweet, you’ll be entered into the draw.

Good Luck

 

Tweets

One Hundred Christmas Proposals by @hollymartin00 is out now, a gorgeous, sparkly story to curl up with this winter http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

 

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Join Harry & Suzie as they celebrate Christmas in a snowkissed London,100 Christmas Proposals is 59p @hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

 

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Celebrate Christmas in a sparkly,snowkissed London, a beautiful love story to curl up with this winter @hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

 

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Christmas lights,overcooked turkey,plenty of cake,glistening snow. 100 Christmas Proposals is only 59p @hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

 

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What will Harry give Suzie this Christmas? 100 Christmas Proposals is only 59p, a sparkly,snowy sequel @hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

 

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Blog Tour – ‘Death of an Avid Reader’ by Frances Brody

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‘Death of an Avid Reader’ by Frances Brody is being published by Piatkus on the 2nd October 2014.  In celebration of her new novel I am one of a number of bloggers reviewing this book.

9780349400570The story is set in 1925.  Kate Shackleton is a private detective well known for her courageous sleuthing and top class work.  One day she receives a letter from Lady Coulton summoning her to London on a rather delicate matter, and so she makes her way there.  Lady Coulton confides in Kate about a secret from the past.  Many years ago she had a daughter born out of wedlock who she gave up to another family.  Now after all this time she wants to find her daughter and enlists Kate to assist her.

Kate begins her search for Lady Coulton’s daughter, but soon finds herself getting involved in other matters. A Capuchin monkey somehow gets inside her car and Kate ends up having no choice but to take him in temporarily until she can track down his owner.  Meanwhile there have been reports of strange goings on at Leeds Library.  When the body of the much respected Dr Horatio Potter is found in the basement, the quiet literary community is turned upside down.  But who would want Dr Potter dead and why?  This is what Kate wants to find out.

‘Death of an Avid Reader’ is the first Kate Shackleton Mystery I have read. Being an avid reader myself I just loved the title of this novel.  I can see exactly why it has been classed as cosy crime.  This is a well written story with good descriptions of the characters.

I really liked Kate Shackleton. Kate was truly dedicated to her work and was always on the go even when she was really tired or had been injured.  I also like how through Kate’s investigations you get to learn quite a bit about her past.

I found ‘Death of an Avid Reader’ to be an enjoyable and relaxing read.  There was much more to the story than I first thought.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

About Frances Brody

Yorkshire Post Newspapers

Frances Brody is the author of five mysteries featuring Kate Shackleton as well as many stories and plays for BBC Radio, scripts for television and four sagas, one of which won the HarperCollins Elizabeth Elgin Award. Her stage plays have been toured by several theatre companies and produced at Manchester Library Theatre, the Gate and Nottingham Playhouse, and Jehad was nominated for a Time Out Award.

‘The Tea Chest’ by Josephine Moon

The Tea Chest

‘The Tea Chest’ is Josephine Moon’s debut novel.  It was published by Allen & Unwin on the 3rd July 2014.  I was lucky enough to be sent a copy to review.  This was a fantastic opportunity for me as I love discovering new authors.

Kate Fullerton is a talented tea designer known for her creativity.  Now the co-owner of The Tea Chest, she finds herself flying all the way from Brisbane to London to save the business she loves from the woman who wants to shut it down.  Kate knows she could be risking her young family’s future.

Leila Morton has just lost her job and doesn’t know what to do, whilst Elizabeth Clancy gets a very nasty shock.  Both women need a fresh start.

When the three women’s paths unexpectedly cross, they throw themselves into realising Kate’s vision for the London branch of The Tea Chest.  However, it’s as if each time success is within their grasp something or other happens and increasing tensions damage their trust in each other.

With the looming possibility that The Tea Chest could fail, Kate, Leila and Elizabeth must decide what is important to each of them.  Are they willing to walk away or can they learn to believe in themselves?

The cover of ‘The Tea Chest’ really caught my eye with its beautiful design.  It makes you want to delve into the book straightaway.  I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end.  The descriptions of the shop were wonderful and the various tea blends were just amazing, almost orgasmic.  I also enjoyed reading about each character and learning about their lives.  Kate and Elizabeth were my favourites.

If I hadn’t of known that this was a debut novel I would never have guessed it.  Josephine Moon writes so confidently.  There are flashbacks throughout the story which I thought worked well.

A magical read, I live in hope of coming across a place just like The Tea Chest.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

‘Instructions for a Heatwave’ by Maggie O’Farrell

Instructions for a Heatwave

I was very kindly sent an advance review copy of ‘Instructions for a Heatwave’ by Georgina Moore from Headline Book Publishing.  This is the first book I’ve read by Maggie O’Farrell so it was yet another new and welcome experience for me.  ‘Instructions for a Heatwave’ was published by Tinder Press on 28th February 2013 in hardback and as an ebook.

They say strange weather brings out strange behaviour.  Well, in July 1976 this is exactly what happened.  The story starts off in Highbury, London.  Britain as a whole is in the middle of a heatwave and a severe drought warning is in force.  It hasn’t rained at all for months!  In the first chapter we learn about Robert Riordan and his wife, Gretta.  Robert goes out early in the morning as he usually does to buy a newspaper.  However, this time he fails to return home.

Once Gretta realises that her husband has gone missing she gets in touch with their three adult children.  Michael Francis whose marriage is in trouble and his two estranged sisters Monica and Aoife all come together to help search for their father.  But will they find him?  Does he even want to be found?

This was an enjoyable read, though I personally thought it was a little bit slow at times.  Maggie O’Farrell writes beautifully and has really portrayed her characters well to the point where you feel you know them for real.  When I first started reading this book I thought it would purely be about searching for Robert, but it’s not.  It’s about his family and their lives as well.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

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