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Copy provided by Ebury Publishing in return for an honest review

 

Description:

How far would you go to find THE ONE?

One simple mouth swab is all it takes.

One tiny DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love.

Now, five more people take the test. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…

A psychological thriller with a difference, this is a truly unique novel which is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

My Thoughts & Review:

Ashamedly, this is the first book that I have read by John Marrs, quite how I’ve managed to miss his books previously is beyond me, perhaps it’s because there are so many good books out there at the moment that as a reader I am spoiled for choice?  Yes, that’s why, we shall use that as my excuse, but thanks to a very interesting description and some recommendations from wonderful fellow bloggers in TBC I thought I would check this one out.

The idea that there is a genetically perfect match out there for each of us is an intriguing one, but I can’t help but feel it’s a little scary too.  How many people if faced with the chance would take the test?  And of those who took the test, who would open the results?  Would you still take the test if you were in a committed relationship?  What would you do if the person you are with turns out not to be your perfect match (genetically)?
The concept of this is explored so fully by Marrs in this novel, cleverly he writes from the perspective of more than one character allowing the reader to experience the quandary at hand.

At first I had my reservations when I saw that there were numerous different characters all narrating, each telling their story about how this genetic test plays a part in their life and how it’s far reaching repercussions impact on those around them.  But I quickly changed my mind as I was hypnotised by the enchanting charm of the writing.  The pace of this is relentless in the sense that you cannot stop reading, you don’t want to stop reading.  You want to know what each character will do about the situation they have found themselves in.  The revelations that are unveiled are wholeheartedly shocking in places, and each is bigger than the previous one.  The twists that are cleverly woven into this are the work of sheer genius – not once did I suspect what lay ahead and found myself staring at the book in awe but also slightly terrified at what I was reading.  I should add “terrified” was more in the sense of how intricately well the plot worked, how characters played out certain scenes etc.

There are so many things I would love to say about this book, but that would really be doing you a disservice.  This is definitely a book that deserves to be read and enjoyed, it’s evocative, it’s clever, it’s heart wrenchingly oppressive in places and takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride of human behaviour.

I shall be hunting out other books by this author, his style of writing was a joy to read and even when the subject was of a more sensitive nature he handled it carefully and respectfully.

You can buy a copy of The One here.

 

About the Author:

John Marrs is a freelance journalist based in London, England, who has spent the last 20 years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines.
He has written for publications including The Guardian’s Guide and Guardian Online; OK! Magazine; Total Film; Empire; Q; GT; The Independent; Star; Reveal; Company; Daily Star and News of the World’s Sunday Magazine.
His debut novel The Wronged Sons, was released in 2013 and in May 2015, he released his second book, Welcome To Wherever You Are.
In July 2016 came his third novel A Thousand Small Explosions.

For more information about John’s books follow him on Twitter @johnmarrs1

 

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Welcome along to another Friday, and another post to celebrate Indie Publishing!  Today I am delighted to share another wonderful book from Cranachan Publishing – this time the fantastic “The Beast on The Broch” by John K. Fulton and share a short interview with the author behind this Pictish tale.


Book Feature:

Published: 9 September 2016
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Description:

A lonely girl. A wild beast. An unforgettable friendship.

12-year-old Talorca is a Pictish girl living in North-east Scotland in 799 AD. When Gaelic-speaking Dalriadans attack her village, her world is turned upside down. Her only friend is the mythical Pictish Beast, who has been injured by the Dalriadans. Talorca decides to take a stand against the invaders and hatches a plan to drive them out.

But she can only do that with the help of the wild beast on the broch.

My Thoughts & Review:

I absolutely love a story that reaches into the depths of my imagination and kindles my love of folklore and mythology and “The Beast on The Broch” definitely does that.  Incorporating Pictish legend, Scottish history, and a mythological beastie this is a wonderfully rich tale about a young girl coming to terms with an evolving society and finding her place.

Talorca is a marvellous character, so headstrong and driven, and despite her young age she has a remarkably wise head on her shoulders at times.  Other times though, the veil of youth colouring her perception of adult subjects and concerns.  However her love of her people and their traditions cannot be questioned or faulted, so the arrival of Dalriadans in the village is a huge cause of concern and unhappiness for her.
The gradual development of Talorca is masterfully done, she transforms from a ‘wild’ ( I use that in the sense of running around the village in her youthful capers) to becoming wise, refined in her thinking and less hasty in her actions.

The combination of young Talorca scheming of ways to drive out the invading Dalriadans with The Old Woman of the village is superb!  Seeing both old and young coming together to plot and share stories reminds me of time spent with my grandmother – sharing stories, planning mischief and enjoying the company of a loved one.  That’s how I came to look upon the relationship between these characters, Talorca seeking something she felt she could not get from her mother.  Talorca’s mother Mael being described as preoccupied with other things but also trying to parent the spirited child alone following the death of Talorca’s father some years previously.

Through The Old Woman and Father Cormac the reader is swept up in tales of yesteryear and folklore, tales that are rich in detail and full of mystery.  I particularly liked the tale of the “The Wishing Tree”, a tale the author’s father told him when he was growing up.

The Beast, well that’s an odd entity….Pictish stones throughout Scotland have a wealth of beasties carved upon them, and the author has kindly added information about this at the back of the book for interested readers to find out more.  Being lucky enough to live down the coast from the Broch in this tale I have had the pleasure of seeing some Pictish stones and the carvings are magnificent and awe inspiring.  Some of the animals that are depicted make the imagination come alive.  The Beast is a wonderful character, I love the symbolic connection between girl and beast here, the care that this wild creature shows towards Talorca is fascinating.

At the heart of it all, this is a charming tale that has some important themes running through it.  This novel reminds us that acceptance is a two way street, change isn’t always a bad thing but you have to try and be open to it.  But most of all, it reminds us of the importance of owning up to what you have done.

Although “The Beast on The Broch” is marketed towards a younger audience, I would say this is a brilliant read for adults and children alike.  It’s packed with detail and information that brings NE Scotland alive in 799AD, the characters are interesting and engaging, and the story is one that you can happily become transfixed with and spend a happy few hours soaking in every page of this beautifully written novel.

Another eBook that I have to buy the tree book version of!

You can buy a copy of “The Beast on The Broch” via Amazon here or via Book Depository here.


Author Feature:

John K Fulton is the son of a lighthouse keeper, and grew up all around the coast of john-k-fulton-bio-photoScotland, including Tarbat Ness Lighthouse near Portmahomack, which became the inspiration for the setting of The Beast on the Broch. The often remote and lonely locations of his childhood instilled in him a life-long love of books and the sea. After going to school in Edinburgh, Portmahomack, Portree, and Montrose, he studied Classics at the University of St. Andrews, then went on to take a Masters in IT at the University of Dundee. This led to a career as a technical author, which is just like being a proper author, except it’s excruciatingly boring.

He now lives in Leicester with his partner Sandra. While Leicester is about as far from the sea as you can get in the UK, their home is stuffed with books, which is the next-best thing. In 2015 his first novel, The Wreck of the Argyll, a First World War spy thriller, won the Great War Dundee Children’s Book Prize. He regularly blogs and reviews books at www.johnkfulton.com

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

The feeling you get when you finish writing a first draft. There’s been a point in writing every book so far where it seemed like getting to the end was going to be impossible, so to come out of the other side of that is a great feeling. Of course, all the hard work of revision and editing is still ahead, which tempers the celebration somewhat.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?  

Having to deal with rejection. Rejection doesn’t end once you’ve been published, and no matter how hard you try to convince yourself that it shouldn’t get to you, the cumulative effect can be very disheartening.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

I was thinking about some of my favourite books (The Hill of the Red Fox, The Lord of the Rings, The Player of Games, Norwegian Wood, Aegypt, Lanark, Black Hearts in Battersea, Mortal Engines) but I really can’t say that I wish I’d written any of them – because then they’d be completely different and probably not as good. All of these books are so distinctive that they just couldn’t have been written by anyone else. I’ll just be content with having written my own books.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

Reading! I’m a great believer in the maxim that you can’t write well unless you read well. For me, that means reading a lot in my own genre (children’s fiction), but also reading other genres of fiction, particularly science fiction and fantasy. I don’t read nearly enough non-fiction, but when I do it’s usually targeted towards some writing project I’m working on.

I also watch a fair bit of telly, which can be equally instructive in terms of dialogue, plotting, characterisation, and pacing. Writing is writing, as far as I’m concerned. Sometimes I think the influence can be a little bit too strong, though – I’ve caught myself inserting scene breaks in my books where I think an advert break would be.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

As long as I’ve got my Scrivener writing software, I’m happy. I write on my iPad on my armchair with a wireless keyboard, or in the study on the PC; I write in silence, or with music (never music with lyrics, though – I prefer classical or film and TV scores when writing); I write on weekdays and weekends, work days and holidays; I write in the morning, or the afternoon, or the evening, depending on what time I can fit around my full-time job. My only real ritual, if you could call it that, is more of a trick – at the end of each session, I leave a sentence half-completed. This makes it easier for me to start writing the next day, as I already know what I’m going to write.

A huge thank you to John for taking part and letting us know more about himself, if you’d like to know more about John and his books you can check out his website www.johnkfulton.com or follow him on Twitter @johnkfulton

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If you are an independent publisher or author and would like to feature on “Celebrating Indie Publishing” Friday please get in touch – email and twitter links are on the “About Me & Review Policy” page

 

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Published: 17 February 2017

Copy provided by Bookouture as part of blog tour

 

Description:

Two sisters. One murder. And an unbreakable bond.

Growing up in squalor with their drug-addicted prostitute mother, sisters Georgie and Marnie Parker have had to endure the very darkest side of life. 

When their mother is sentenced for brutally murdering a client, Georgie and Marnie’s already precarious lives are blown apart and they now share a terrible secret. Sent to a children’s home, the sisters hope this might finally be their safe haven after years of neglect. But they soon discover they’re in real danger.

Desperate to find a place of safety, Georgie and Marnie run for their lives, but end up in the hands of Delray Anderton. A violent London gangster and notorious pimp, Delray has big plans for beautiful teenager Georgie, seeing her as a chance to make some serious money.

Fiercely protective of each other, Georgie and Marnie must escape the clutches of a man who will do anything to keep the sisters for himself. And, they must keep the promise they made to each other – no one can ever know the truth. 

My Thoughts & Review:

“The Promise” is a book that I might not have ordinarily picked up to read, Casey Kelleher isn’t an author I’ve read much from but she came highly recommended by some wonderful and trustworthy bloggers so I figured it was worth taking a chance.

This is a very gritty read, with topics that make for uncomfortable reading but they are handled with sensitivity and the writing is superb.  The pace of this was matched well to the plot, catching the attention of the reader quickly and remaining enthralling throughout.  I enjoyed that the plot kept me hooked in,  needing to read on to see what happened next, see how the characters developed.
The characters were incredibly well crafted, some so absolutely beyond redemption that the reader cannot help but be drawn to them, utterly fascinating specimens of the human race for their abhorrence.  The juxtaposition of Georgie and Marnie, witnessing and enduring some truly awful things and remaining strong in the face of adversity is magnificent writing.

I’d say it’s not a read for the faint hearted, this book certainly packs a punch.  It reminds me somewhat of Martina Cole’s books, there’s the same sort of gritty, gripping toughness about it, but also a vulnerability just under the surface waiting to grab the reader and pull on their heart strings.  I may well have to go back and read some of Kelleher’s previous books now, just to see what I’ve been missing out on!

You can buy a copy of “The Promise” here

 

My thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

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Welcome along to my stop on the blog tour for Sue Shepherd’s “Love Them and Leave Them”, I am delighted to share with you a lovely wee ‘publication day’ post with the woman of the hour.

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Description:

Love Them and Leave Them: Sometimes you have to leave the one you love … sometimes you’re the one who’s left behind. The new heart-warming and heart-breaking romantic comedy from the No.1 bestselling author of Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret?

On his way home, Ed makes a split-second decision that changes the lives of all those who love him.

Six years on, Ed’s daughter, Jessie, is stuck in a job with no prospects, her dreams never fulfilled. It will take more than her unreliable boyfriend, Chris, and temperamental best friend, Coco, to give her the confidence to get her life back on track.

But what if Ed had made another decision? It could all have been so different …

Six years on, Ed’s daughter, Jessica, has a successful career, loving boyfriend, Nick, and a keen eye on her dream home. But when new clients, a temperamental Coco, and her unreliable boyfriend, Chris, walk into her life, Jessica’s perfect world soon starts to unravel.

Love Them and Leave Them is a story of love, families, friendship and a world of possibilities. Whichever decision Ed makes, the same people are destined to come into his daughter’s life, sometimes in delightfully different ways. And before they can look forward to the future, they will all have to deal with the mistakes of the past.


Publication Day

So, your book is being published!

Woo hoo!!

How do you spend publication day eve and the actual day?

  • What do you do the night before?
  • The morning?
  • Who are you with?
  • Where do you go?
  • What do you spend the day doing?
  • Is publication day 1 the same as publication day 2? And so on?
  • Do you have any rituals?

These questions are not set in stone; answer the ones you like and add in anything you think has been missed!

My first book, ‘Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret?’ was published on 20th March 2015. I probably spent much of the day refreshing the Amazon page to see if anyone was buying it. At the time, I had no idea how successful it was going to be, and assumed it would be bought by my friends and family only. In the evening, my husband, sons and I went for a meal at a little pub called The Village Inn in Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight. We had a lovely table by the window. There were about 5 reviews for my book already available on Amazon due to ARCs being sent out. I drank Prosecco and read the reviews to my family. We were all very excited.

Fast forward to the 28th September 2016 when ‘Love Them and Leave Them’ was published, and I knew exactly where I wanted to go for the celebration. We booked the same table at The Village Inn and once again I read out the early reviews. I remember my husband ordering a bottle of fizz and telling the waitress that we were celebrating my SECOND publication. He was just so proud. The waitress seemed suitably impressed ☺

I know some authors hold huge parties or go to exotic locations for their publication days, but for me, the important thing was to be with the three people who’d made the books possible. If it wasn’t for my family putting up with my slovenly house-keeping and often tardy mealtimes, I would never have gotten those books written. My family have learnt when to leave me alone to write, bless ‘em.

You can buy a copy of “Love Them and Leave Them” via Amazon here


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for reviews, extracts of “Love Them and Leave Them” and some brilliant guest posts by Sue.

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Paperback Original &eBook Published: 23 February 2017

Description:  

My Thoughts & Review: 

The discovery of tiny bones in the hem of a wedding dress is strange enough, but to then ascertain that they are a baby’s bones is enough to turn a simple break-in into a full scale investigation for the Guards in Dublin.
Detective Cathy Connolly and her boss Inspector O‘Rourke have their work cut out for them tracking down answers to solve this grisly case.
Throw in the mysterious appearance of a fugitive killer from Las Vegas, who is intent on tying up loose ends in Dublin and the Guards have more than enough to deal with.   This is the first of instalment of the Garda Cathy Connolly series and it definitely doesn‘t hold back.  The writing it superb, the plot is interesting and gripping, characters are multidimensional and easy to relate to.  The various elements of the story are well written.  Masterfully weaving together the tales of Mary‘s past and present dementia like struggles, Zoe‘s world slowly falling to pieces around her and the personal life of Cathy Connolly mixing with her professional duties.  It would be easy to assume that something would get lost in the myriad of characters and details but as far as I was concerned, nothing did.  The detail in this book was incredible, even the intricacies of the art work created by Zoe was thoroughly detailed, so much so that I could almost imagine the canvases. 

The chemistry and camaraderie between Connolly and O’Rourke is a delight to read, they are a great pairing, and the hints to their shared history open up the opportunity for Sam Blake to go so many ways with this series, I cannot wait to see what she has for us with book two.   

Secrets and lies rarely follow a linear path, the ones in this book scaled the chart of complexity and just when you thought that the secret was as dark as it got, another layer is peeled away and for some characters the truth was too much to bear.  
With so many twists and turns, both expected and unexpected, this book is entirely engrossing.

I enjoyed this book so much that at just over half way in I was already recommending it to friends that I thought would appreciate it.  

You can buy a copy of Little Bones here.  
About the Author:
Sam Blake is a pseudonym for Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, the founder of The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and the hugely popular national writing resources website Writing.ie. She is Ireland’s leading literary scout who has assisted many award winning and bestselling authors to publication. Vanessa has been writing fiction since her husband set sail across the Atlantic for eight weeks and she had an idea for a book.

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Published: 9 February 2017
Reviewed: 2 January 2017

4 out of 5 stars

Copy provided by Bonnier Zaffre in return for an honest review

 

Description:

For me David Young has cemented his place on the bookshelf alongside my Cold War thrillers by John le Carré and Len Deighton.

You can buy a copy of Stasi Wolf here.

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Published: 1 February 2017

3.5 out of 5 stars

Copy provided by Legend Press as part of blog tour

 

Description:

Reeling from a brutal attack that leaves her best friend dead and her badly injured, Lisa Fulbrook flees to the countryside to recuperate. With only vague memories of the event, she isolates herself from her friends and family, content to spend her days wandering the hills with her dog, Riley.

However, Lisa is soon plagued, not only by vivid flashbacks, but questions, too: how did their assailant know them? Why were they attacked? And what really happened that night?

As she desperately tries to piece together the memories, Lisa realises that there’s another truth still hidden to her, a truth she can’t escape from. A truth that may have been right in front of her all along.

My Thoughts & Review:

Having seen “Dare to Remember” being described as thrilling, a page turner and shocking I was keen to read this book, and being a fan of psychological thrillers I was interested to see just how shocking and thrilling this would be.

Following a brutal attack that kills her best friend and leaves Lisa mentally and physically scarred she escapes to the countryside to recover and try to move on with her life.  Her memories of the night in question are vague and make little sense to Lisa, but with the help of a therapist she tries to remember what actually happened and find closure.  Not realising that delving into her memories will unleash questions and answers she cannot escape.

Lisa is an interesting character and one that I felt great sympathy towards, she struggles with survivor guilt and incredible grief following the horrendous events one night.  The way in which her PTSD is detailed is thoughtful and sensitively done.
Whilst the pace of the book is more sedate, this is still a page turner (sounds like an oxymoron….), the reader feels driven to find out how Lisa will heal, how she will rebuild herself but also to find out just what led up to ‘that night’ and what happened.

The writing is an insightful and this is well written debut novel from a promising author, the only slight downside for me was it felt less like a psychological thriller and more like drama – perhaps I’ve just read too many thrillers of late and expected the twists to be a little more sinister.  But overall a good and enjoyable read.

You can buy a copy of “Dare to Remember” here.


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour!

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