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Archive for August, 2017

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Published: 13 July 2017

 

Description:

There are some surprises that no-one should ever have to experience. Standing over the body of your beloved – and murdered – niece is one of them. For Detective Inspector Harry Virdee, a man perilously close to the edge, it feels like the beginning of the end.

His boss may be telling him he’s too close to work the case, but this isn’t something that Harry can just let lie. He needs to dive into the murky depths of the Bradford underworld and find the monster that lurks there who killed his flesh and blood.

But before he can, he must tell his brother, Ron, the terrible news. And there is no predicting how he will react. Impulsive, dangerous and alarmingly well connected, Ron will act first and think later. Harry may have a murderer to find but if he isn’t careful, he may also have a murder to prevent.

My Thoughts & Review:

To say I was excited to hear the follow up to “Streets of Darkness” was available would be a little bit of an understatement.  I devoured the first book of this series in one day, and quite honestly if it hadn’t been for housework and life getting in the way I would have managed this book in one day too.  A.A. Dhand has a style of writing that grabs the reader and doesn’t let go easily.

For fans of the first book, you will be pleased to know that we catch up with Harry Virdee and see that he is still the pained and tortured soul that he was before, but now he has a one year old son, Aaron with his adoring wife Saima.
The discovery of a murder victim starts off a nightmare for Harry that he will never forget, the victim is his beloved niece Tara who also happens to be the daughter of his brother Ronnie.  Being excluded from the investigation won’t stop him searching for answers and finding out who murdered his niece.

Perfectly baited chapters with realistic and gritty writing make this an addictive read.  The seedy underbelly of Bradford is so vividly depicted through Dhand’s writing, it screams danger and the uncertainty that lurks in the shadows is enough to make this a thrilling read.  I’ve so far managed to type and delete everything I’ve written about the plot because I would end up giving something away, there are some very topical issues dealt with in this book and some of the revelations are sordid to say the least.
The cultural details that are included in this are fascinating, and once again I find that I’ve learned something from Dhand’s books.  I had no idea about taweez and the power they hold for those they are created for and found the discussion between Harry and Saima really interesting.  The importance of family and the traditions followed were details that piqued my interest as well as adding an authenticity to the characters.

The exploration of Harry’s character made for wonderful reading, the turmoil in doing the right thing and how far he would go when his family are concerned are a constant struggle for him.  His blurring the lines of the law show his desperation for answers and justice, but what will be the ultimate price?  It’s fair to say that danger stalks Harry and those close to him, he tries to keep them safe but cannot be there all the time.
The expanded history of the rift in his family is well written, I absolutely loved seeing the reactions of his family when they had to deal with Detective Inspector Virdee as opposed to shunned Harry Virdee.  His father’s anger felt so raw and being able to “hear” in his words his hatred towards Harry’s marriage and life decisions make for riveting reading.  But juxtaposed perfectly is the touching moment shared between Saima and Harry’s mother, for a few brief moments there is genuine love and happiness.

A.A. Dhand is a master of his craft, he writes some of the most gripping plots with some of the most tantalisingly dangerous situations and keeps readers begging for more!

My thanks to Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin for the recommendation and to A.A. Dhand for sending me a copy of this book, I am forever in your debts.

You can buy a copy of “Girl Zero” via:

Amazon
Book Depository
Wordery

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Hello and welcome along to my stop on the blog tour for Jo Huey’s powerful autobiography “Transition”, it’s an honour to be part of this tour and to be able to share an extract with you from the book.

Description:

Cover(4)

An autobiography of Jo’s life from the trauma and unpredictability of living in an alcoholic home, through self-development transformation to the more content, happy and successful business woman she is today.

Jo shares her many insights into alcoholism and the effects on the family. An honest and brutal account of Jo’s experience with her father’s addiction to alcohol, she shares the highs and lows of life with an absent father and busy mother.

After life hit an all-time low in adulthood she decided to turn her life around and start a journey of self-discovery. Jo transformed herself through therapy, self-help books, groups, events and more which she shares in the book.

If you have experienced the challenges of living with someone’s drinking, then you’ll relate to Jo’s experience and feel the connection with her story.

If you are interested in an inspirational and motivational story, then you won’t be disappointed. Within the book, Jo shares several techniques you’ll be able to learn and use in your life if you really want the change you seek.

Jo Huey is an inspirational & motivational speaker, coach and author.

Jo gets up every morning wanting to help those with experiences like hers, those affected by someone’s drinking. She connects the dots to form a new picture using practical tools & techniques with the aim that they would genuinely feel better about themselves and live a calmer and chaos free life.

You can buy a copy via Amazon

About the Author:

Jo Huey_Portrait_pink

Jo is an inspirational speaker, coach and author. She is also an adult child of an alcoholic and shares her personal story of living with an alcoholic father for 16 years and how that has impacted her adult life.

Jo is brutally honest about her experience, explaining how she coped as a child in an alcoholic home and the self-development journey she took in her twenties to overcome the trauma.

If you’ve experienced the impact of living with a heavy drinker, someone’s addiction or mental health problem you’ll relate to Jo’s story. For those of you that haven’t experienced what an alcoholic home brings it will give you an insight into the damage it causes to the family.

Jo shares her story for two reasons, the first is to connect with those that have been affected so they know they aren’t alone and the second to educate and inform others about this very hidden problem.


Extract:

My dad was an interesting and, dare I say it, quirky character. He was a private person who struggled to connect with others; he did have some friends but not many but then that isn’t unusual for men.  He was a big fan of black and lived in tracksuit bottoms. At times, I think he stretched to grey and white but that was the extent of his wardrobe. He liked good quality things and enjoyed listening to music, specifically Foreigner and Elton John. He loved doing DIY and welding in the garage so we had a lot of items made from metal!

The best way to describe him was charismatic, passionate and creative he loved to keep busy just like Mum but also enjoyed relaxing in front of the T.V. Mum and Dad were happy together for a few years and he loved and doted on her. He would do anything she needed and he did make her laugh.

Pinpointing the time that Dad started his relationship with alcohol is a hard one and my mum can’t remember when or why it all began, but to be honest I don’t think there was a particular day or event, it just got progressively worse.

Unfortunately, the alcohol turned my dad into a Jekyll and Hyde character. If he wasn’t drinking he would be kind and considerate, helpful, playful and fun. He had a dry sense of humour and used to have us all in stitches. We’d have rare moments like this and I’d grab them with both hands because you never knew when the encounter of the ‘nice Dad’ was coming.

The drinking turned him into a different person, he would shout, and his facial expression would make me shiver in my body. The tone of his voice was enough to make me nervous and sick to the stomach, he was that scary. This was intimidating and meant I was always on hyper-alert – causing me to suffer from anxiety, although I didn’t realise it until later.

He was never a big physical presence in my life but I’ve only just recently become aware of this fact. Of course, I saw him, but I was at school in the day and he worked which isn’t unusual; but he never joined us for dinner, I went to bed and he rarely came to say goodnight so we didn’t see him until the weekend. He wouldn’t join us to watch TV or read us stories at night and rarely came out with us at the weekend.

There was a lot more to come as I grew up but the journey was just beginning for Mum, Daisy and I.

Transition Blog Tour Banner

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I am so excited to be part of the cover reveal for Angela Marson’s latest Detective Kim Stone thriller, the seventh of the series!  This is one series that just gets better and better with each new book and I can’t wait to to read this one!

 

Description:

They thought they were safe. They were wrong.
The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As three more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

A gripping new crime thriller from the Number One bestseller – you will be hooked until the final jaw-dropping twist.

Broken-Bones-Kindle

The book is available for pre order now on Amazon (links below) and will be published 3rd November 2017. I don’t know about you, but I’m very excited about this and will be counting down the days until publication day to read it!

Pre order links for Amazon:

UK: http://amzn.to/2wwkvci

US: http://amzn.to/2vDLPsP

 

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Hi and welcome along to my stop on the blog tour for “Unforgivable” by Mike Thomas.  This is the second book to feature Will Macready, the first in the series was “Ash and Bones” which I would thoroughly recommend reading (my review of this can be found here).  I’m absolutely delighted to be able to share a guest post today that has been written by Mike, and it’s very inkeeping with his sense of humour, and remember ladies and gents, there are other supermarkets out there if you would prefer their bags….

UnforgivableDescription:

Bombs detonate in a busy souk, causing massive devastation.
An explosion rips apart a mosque, killing and injuring those inside.
But this isn’t the Middle East – this is Cardiff . . .

In a city where tensions are already running high, DC Will MacReady and his colleagues begin the desperate hunt for the attacker. If they knew the ‘why’, then surely they can find the ‘who’? But that isn’t so easy, and time is fast running out . . .

MacReady is still trying to prove himself after the horrific events of the previous year, which left his sergeant injured and his job in jeopardy, so he feels sidelined when he’s asked to investigate a vicious knife attack on a young woman.

But all is not as it seems with his new case, and soon MacReady must put everything on the line in order to do what is right.

You can buy a copy of “Unforgivable” via:

Amazon
Wordery

 


 

How a Bit of Cheek Got My First Novel Published (or ‘Mugging a Publisher’)

Getting your foot in the door of the publishing world is incredibly hard, right?

You write your book, you edit and polish and fret, and when you’re absolutely certain it’s as good as it’s going to get, that it’s going to make an agent or editor sit up and immediately make calls to get you signed, you do it: covering letter (not too long, quickly selling yourself, your novel), synopsis (punchy, intriguing, it has to draw the agent or editor in), three sample chapters (probably the opening, and you’ve made them a thrilling read, right?). Off they go, into the post or via email.

And you wait. And wait. Then you wait a bit more.

During this time your brain does weird things to you. You forget that people can be very busy and won’t respond straight away. When you haven’t heard anything for five hours, you worry that the post office lost the parcel. You think your email got lost in the ether. After two days, you wonder if your letter was a bit rude, or if you’ve managed to upset your chosen agent because the font you’ve used reminds her of an ex-boyfriend’s love letters. After a week you’re convinced the entire publishing industry despises you and you’re the worst writer in the world.

After two months of wretchedness: A LETTER ARRIVES.

You pause, staring at it. Holding it in your hands. Wondering if you will open it… and open up a whole new world.

Of course, it’s a rejection. They usually are. So you spend a day or two feeling numb then pick yourself up and send off another package. Then you and your brain go through it all again. And again. Ad nauseam. You repeat this rigmarole until you’re happy when you receive an electricity bill through the letterbox, just as long as it’s not another ‘We really enjoyed it but it’s not for us I’m afraid’ missive.

I went through all this for years. With three novels. I have hundreds of rejection letters from agents and publishing houses. All of them very polite kicks in the testicles.

By December 2008 I’d had enough.

At this point I’d gone back to university, and was halfway through a Master’s degree. I’d written a novel as part of it: ‘Pocket Notebook’, the tale of a demented police officer whose life comes crashing down around his ears. At regular intervals during the course we would have the chance to listen to and ask questions of guest speakers from the writing world: authors, academics, industry insiders.

For that December it was the Publishing Director of one of the biggest, most respected imprints in the UK, if not the world, who was traveling west from London to talk to us. I won’t name him, for reasons which will become apparent, but he was incredibly interesting to listen to. We sat, rapt, for over an hour as he gave us a glimpse of another world, another life, one that most in the audience aspired to live.

Especially me.

I’ve told you I’d had enough of rejection by this stage. It can do funny things to you. Make you desperate, even. And so, before the speech by the Publishing Director I Won’t Name, I hatched a cunning plan: I gathered the manuscript of ‘Pocket Notebook’, stole a large brown envelope from a University office, and parcelled it all up with my contact details WRITTEN VERY CLEARLY on the front, back, and every side. I ‘casually’ mentioned to my fellow students and several members of the faculty how I wished I could get my book into this publishing chap’s hands. I placed the bulky envelope inside a Tesco carrier bag so that it would be easier to carry on the train back to London, should anybody have to carry it…

And then I sat through the speech and asked some questions and we all really enjoyed it and once it was over and we were having a cup of tea I sidled up to him with the Tesco bag held to my chest and then one of my fellow part-time students – who also just happened to work for another imprint in the same building as the Publishing Director – and several of the faculty formed a small semi-circle in front of him.

And then it happened.

One of them – I can’t recall who – ‘casually’ mentioned that I had written a novel. Then another mentioned that it was half-decent. The Publishing Director nodded and smiled and didn’t actually say ‘no’ so it was then that I seized the moment.

I thrust the carrier bag into his hands.

“This is it,” I squeaked, and gurned at him.

He was incredibly gracious. It was a terribly rude thing to do, but as I’ve said, desperation can make a man do unconscionable things. So Publishing Guy shakes my hand and I stop trembling and the day ended and I went home and that was that.

And, oddly, I forgot all about it. You have to remember that by this point I was a thick-skinned Rejection Veteran, so instead of dreading the worst I simply didn’t think about it. I just went back to work, and Christmas came and went, then New Year, and it’s always a busy time for the police so my mind was on other things, and at this point I had two kids under three years of age and was rather preoccupied.

I was in work, late January 2009 when my wife rang.

I took the call in a side office. Her voice was shaking; I thought something terrible had happened to her or the children.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

And she told me that the Publishing Director had emailed to say he’d read my novel and loved it and wanted to publish it and would I like to come to London to talk about it a little bit more?

I went numb. Thought I’d misheard her. Asked her to read the email again.

Nope, I’d heard right.

I ran around the police station immediately after ending the call. In full uniform, whooping and punching the air. My colleagues watched, shaking their heads.

Why won’t I name this incredibly gracious, gentlemanly Publishing Director? It’s because another imprint came in for the novel soon afterwards… and I went with them instead. So despite what I’d done, and how kind he’d been, and how enthusiastic he was about ‘Pocket Notebook’, I chose somebody else. I used to beat myself up about it, but I’ve learned that, as with any other industry, publishing is a business. You’ve got to do what’s best for you and yours.

Anyway, the next few months were a blur of trips to London and writing articles for magazines and having photographs taken for The Guardian, while publishing people forced books and booze on me wherever I went.

It was a dream come true. And I’m still here. And, I really hope, will be for a while.

So in short: never give up. Keep at it, because you will get there. And sometimes, just sometimes, when the world keeps kicking you in the nuts and you think nobody wants your novel and you’re a terrible writer and you might as well give up… stop, and grab a Tesco carrier bag, and force your work onto people because you never, ever know where it will take you.


A huge thanks to Mike for joining me today and for sharing that with us, I know that it’s given me a fair chuckle!

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Description:

This unique colouring book explores the beauty of Life Under The Lens. This book is both a field guide to the microscopic world and a therapeutic colouring book which aims to illuminate some of the findings of modern science and technology. It consists of 50 intricate pen and ink illustrations accompanied by written descriptions of the each organism. Colouring artists and students are invited to colour the filamentous strands of photosynthetic cyanobacteria, overlapping plates of marine coccolithophores and shade the armoured exoskeleton of crustacean larvae. The illustrations are stylised and highly decorated for the colourist while visually communicating the structure and biological functions of the organisms. It takes the colourist to the unobservable, a world beyond the limits of our own vision.

My Thoughts & Review:

Colouring books are something that I’ve often picked up and enjoyed, granted most of the ones I seem to get near at the moment seem to be filled with Paw Patrol or Care Bears…So the idea of a colouring book just for me seemed like such a treat.

Life Under The Lens is a beautifully illustrated book which is both enjoyable and informative.  There are images of cells, creatures, bacteria etc along with information about them to give the audience context about the illustration and in a way guide your colour choice if you wish to remain true to nature.  I did however colour freely for some images, preferring to colour my image of Volvox in purples and blues.
The intricate details of each image are utterly awe inspiring, I found that with each new page I turned I stopped for a moment or two just to appreciate the artwork.  The descriptions on each page were informative and interesting, I felt that I had learned something new and fascinating from this book whilst allowing my creativity to flow freely.
One or two of the illustrations reminded me of Biology class at academy, where we had to copy cell images from text books to colour and annotate, and I wonder if a resource like this might be quite useful for budding scientists at school.

I’d definitely recommend this to colouring book fans, it’s something a little different from the norm but the images are crisp and enticing.  I did recommend it to a few nurse friends who are colouring fans, and they were intrigued by the idea of the book, one remarking she’d not seen anything like it before and would definitely buy a copy.

You can buy a copy via Amazon

About the Creator:

Jennifer Delaney has spent 15 years teaching Mathematics in rural Donegal, Ireland.  She has a background in Marine Science and is a self-trained illustrator.  She uses both art and science as a means to investigate and make sense of the world in which we live.  She shares her love of art, science and nature with her husband and four young children.

 

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Published: 29 July 2017

 

Description:

Detective Joe Stone and his team investigate a major terrorist attack on one of London’s most iconic buildings. They soon draw up a list of suspects who are highly respected members of the community and government. When most of his team is attacked, it soon develops into a war of nerves and a race against time before a deadly weapon is unleashed with horrific consequences.

My Thoughts & Review:

“Long Shot” is the follow on novel to “Loose Cannon” and I would highly recommend you read these books in order so that you can fully understand backstories and the characters at play.   That’s not to say you cannot read this book as a stand alone, the author does add in detail to ensure that points from the previous book are explained in enough detail so that readers will know what’s happened but for the sake of continuity I would recommend following the series.

The plot in this is fascinating, there are so many red herrings and decoys to keep readers guessing throughout and completely throw them off the trail.  Short chapters keep the pace brisk and punchy, making it the sort of book you can quickly devour whilst lapping up all the action.  I do think the plot felt very current, the terror threat and attack slant was written in such a way that readers were very aware of the panic and fear that emerged after the initial attack.  The characters are fantastic, Joe Stone is a character I found fascinating in “Loose Cannon” and I was glad to see that he hadn’t changed in the interim between the books.  He’s still fiercely loyal to his friends and teammates, his caring side sneaking out at times.  The relationship between Joe and Carl is one I will never tire of, they work well together and have such a strong bond between them.  I also liked the way that Joe and Stella worked together, the humour and light hearted dialogue between them felt natural and was enjoyable to read.

I loved the Gemma storyline running alongside the main investigation, Stone desperately trying to keep juggling everything at once but all the while trying to work out the how, why and what happened to Gemma and how she ended up where she is.  His personal feelings that surface after a particularly starting revelation felt very authentic and I know I was gasping in shock when I discovered that nugget of information.

Jack Steele has a wonderful way of capturing the attention of his readers and ensuring it never wanders off by keeping the story constantly moving, small details here and there build up, atmospheric descriptions of locations and settings transport readers, adrenaline filled scenarios have readers on the edge of their seat and best of all, he knows how to write a cliff hanger that has a reader scream “BUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!?”
I hope we don’t have to wait too long for book 3……

You can buy a copy of “Long Shot” via:

Amazon

My thanks to Jack Steele for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Hello and welcome along to The Quiet Knitter!  It’s Friday, and that can only mean one thing (well for here anyway!), it’s time for another post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing”.
This week I am delighted to bring you a book from Bombshell Books who are an imprint of the fantastic Bloodhound Books – I thoroughly recommend checking out both as they have some cracking books to offer!  Today’s book in the spotlight is “The Trouble With Words” by Suzie Tullett and she’s kindly taken some time out to face a grilling for the author feature.


Book Feature:

Published: 29 July 2017

Description:Trouble 5(1)

Annabel is desperate to have a baby – there’s just one problem. She’s single and after losing her husband in a hit and run accident, she’s just not ready for another relationship. 

Dan is on the hunt for the perfect woman but when his mother drops a bombshell, he starts to feel the pressure.

When Dan and Annabel’s worlds collide, both start to think that maybe they’ve found the solution to their problems. But things are about to get messy.

Can Dan and Annabel get what they want?

Both will soon find out that the trouble with words is finding the right thing to say.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

This has to be one of the most powerfully emotive books I’ve read this year, it’s so packed with laughter, love and raw human emotion that this reader cannot help but give this book special place in her heart.

An enjoyable story that is equally heartbreaking as it is heartwarming, it restores your faith in humanity, kindness and unquestioning friendship through the wonderful cast of characters and their takes on life.
In the beginning I will admit to not being entirely sure of Annabel.  Her grief felt so raw and it seemed that she was rushing straight into having a baby, perhaps this was just her method of survival, we all know that grief can do funny things to people and we will do whatever it takes to just make it through a moment in time relatively intact.  But once her thought process becomes clearer, the reader begins to understand her more.
Dan on the other hand, well there’s fictional boyfriend material if ever you needed it!  It would seem that he has a heart of gold, he wants to try and keep people happy.  His relationship with his mother is so lovely, the dialogue between them felt very natural and was cause for some laughter.  Dan’s mother, what a character!  Her outlook on life is one I applaud.  Why keep things for best indeed!  If you want to wear a ballgown to nip down to Tesco for loo rolls then on you go, enjoy!  Might drag out my wedding dress and wear that next time I pop out for the shopping.  The sparkle in her eyes what shines bright with mischievous intent is so abundant throughout the story.

The easy flow to the writing makes this a quick but enjoyable read.  With so much emotion woven into the story I felt like I’d been on a rollercoaster, and there was one point I was convinced by specs were covered in dirt as I was struggling to read properly, not realising it was due to the tears threatening to spill from my brimming eyes.

It’s easy to say that a book has left a lasting impression on you, that characters have stayed with you after you’ve finished the book, but this is a book that leaves you almost feeling bereft once you reach the end.  I became so invested in the characters and I genuinely felt as a loss once I’d read the final words, there’s no doubt in my mind that this is a special book and one I will be sure to buy a paper copy of for the bookcase so I can revisit soon.  Suzie Tullett is a writer who has secured her place on my “must read” list, and I will be keeping an eye out for her next projects!

You can buy a copy of “The Trouble With  Words” via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository

 


Author Feature:

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Suzie Tullett is an author of contemporary humorous fiction and romantic comedy. She has a Masters Degree in Television & Radio Scriptwriting and worked as a scriptwriter before becoming a full-time novelist. Her motto is to ‘live, laugh, love’ and when she’s not busy creating her own literary masterpieces, she usually has her head in someone else’s.

Suzie lives in a tiny hamlet in the middle of the French countryside, along with her husband and two Greek rescue dogs.

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

One of my favourite things about being an author is the fact that I can work anywhere. All I need is a notebook and pen or a laptop and I can take myself off to a café or the beach to write. Like now, the weather is so glorious I’ve set myself up in the garden. It’s lovely to have the freedom to change environments like this.

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

In contrast to the above, there are times when authors have no choice but to sit at the desk for hours on end, especially when it comes to meeting tight deadlines. This is when being an author can be quite a lonely business. I can go days and days without seeing a real live person, so the isolation can be difficult. 

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

There are so many books I’ve read that I absolutely love and all for different reasons. Wearing my author hat though, I’d probably choose the Harry Potter series. Not only are they hugely successful, I’ve heard it said many time that J.K. Rowling is responsible for getting a whole generation of people reading. Now that’s an accolade any author can be proud of.

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

When I’m not plotting my next book you’ll usually find I’ve swapped the keyboard for a saw, or a hammer, or a tile cutter. We bought a run down house a couple of years ago so I’m turning into a bit of a DIY expert.

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

When it comes to starting a new book I like to write long hand, so a beautiful notebook and extra sharp pencil is a must. I don’t have any rituals as such, but I do have to have silence. No radio or music playing in the background, I find these too distracting. Once I’m in the writing zone, however, it’s a different story. Anything can be going on around me and I wouldn’t notice. In fact, a neighbour’s house once caught fire and I missed the whole event. Thankfully it wasn’t a big fire and no-one was hurt, but still, you’d think I’d have seen or heard something!
A huge thank you to Suzie for taking part and for sharing some more about herself, it’s always nice to get to know the person behind a book, and if I need some DIY done I know who I’ll be calling!!
If you would like to know more about Suzie and her books, check out the following links:

On Twitter: @SuzieTullett
website: suzietullett.com


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I am so excited to be part of the cover reveal for the third instalment of the Detective Ruby Preston series “Murder Game” written by the incredibly talented Caroline Mitchell.

 

Description:

To catch a killer, you must first think like one …

A killer is playing a twisted game of life or death with his victims. After he captures them, a countdown begins. He marks the time by sending clues to the whereabouts of the women he has taken in three disturbing images: alive, tortured, dead.   

In a race against the clock, East London Detective Ruby Preston must play the killer’s terrifying murder game and decipher the clues before more women die.

But this isn’t the first time the police have seen such a sickening crime. The notorious Lonely Hearts Killer, Mason Gatley, was put behind bars ten years ago for murdering six women in exactly the same chilling way. Desperate for more information, Ruby asks her gangster boyfriend, Nathan Crosby, to set up a dangerous meeting to allow her to see into the twisted mind of a murderer.

But the closer Ruby grows to the dark and charming Mason Gatley, the more worried her team becomes. Is he really helping her catch the killer? Or is he lining her up to be his next victim?

Fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Peter James will be hooked by this dark and utterly disturbing thriller, packed with twists until the final page.

Murder-Game-Kindle

 

Isn’t that a stunning cover?!  The book is available for preorder now on Amazon (links below) and will be published 31st October 2017.  I don’t know about you, but I’m very excited about this and will be counting down the days until publication day to read it!

Pre order links for Amazon:

UK: http://amzn.to/2v1l8v5

US: http://amzn.to/2umrDqp

 

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LittleBird alegra sans + ancona cd FINAL

Published: 31 July 2017

 

Description:

Some secrets are best kept quiet. Declan Wells, a forensic psychologist, has a lot on his plate. He has been struggling with the aftermath of a car bomb, which has left him in a wheelchair, his wife has been dutiful but Declan is certain she is having an affair, and his eldest daughter Lara’s new property developer husband, has dubious business practices.

Meanwhile, Anna Cole is running away from her mother’s death and a stale relationship. On secondment to the Police Service of Northern Ireland from Wales, Anna hopes that she can throw herself into work to distract herself from her guilt. Then the murders begin and the killer leaves behind some very strange messages. Can Anna and Declan work together to catch this deranged murderer?

Will either of them be able to get over their turbulent pasts?

My Thoughts & Review:

Little Bird is a gripping read with some very intriguing characters, and a killer that leans heavily towards depraved and gruesome.

Anna Cole leaves her home in Cardiff after the death of her mother, her marriage has come to a stalemate but her husband isn’t fully aware of it yet.  The opportunity for secondment to the Police Service of Northern Ireland affords her the opportunity to make a fresh start, expand on her skills and do some digging into her birth family who originate from Ireland.
In some respects she is a selfish character, taking the secondment without talking it over with her husband or even allowing him to voice an opinion on the matter.  She is also troubled by the cases she has worked previously, which have clearly left a lasting impression on her.  But amidst this, she is juggling the grief of watching her mother slowly die a painful death through cancer.  Some of her motives and actions are questionable, her involvement with certain characters makes the reader want to shout at her to stop.  She walks a very dangerous tightrope at times.
Her quest for answers about her birth mother unearths information that she could never have imagined.

The case that the team are investigating is strange, brutal and seemingly impossible to find connections between the murder victims.  The killer is a depraved individual that the author gives her readers a glimpse into the mindset of, this works well in building the tension throughout, and in some ways keeps readers guessing as to their identity.  But at the same time, there are aspects of the killer that I found hard to read about, being an animal lover I did find the reference to taxidermy and the mistreatment of animals a little uncomfortable to read about.  I wouldn’t say I was squeamish but there was a point in the book that I definitely felt repulsed by the killer, a hat tip to Sharon Dempsey for crafting such a strong character that can evoke that level of disgust and abhorrence.

Overall I would say this is a well written and well thought out book, there is depth to the investigation, lots of history that links in well with the plot without becoming too heavy and there is a very intriguing case for the team to solve.

My thanks to Sarah at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to read this and participate in the blog tour.

You can buy a copy via Amazon

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Paperback Published: 27 July 2017

 

Description:

Francesco has a memory of his father from early childhood, a night when life for his family changed: their name, their story, their living place. From that night, he has vowed to protect his mother and to follow the words of his father: Non mollare. Never give up.

When Francesco is rounded up with a group of young men and herded into a camp on the island of San Domino, he realises that someone has handed a list of names to the fascist police; everyone is suspicious of one another. His former lover Emilio is constantly agitating for revolution. His old friend Gio jealously watches their relationship rekindle. Locked in spartan dormitories, resentment and bitterness between the men grows each day.

Elena, a young and illiterate island girl on the cusp of womanhood, is drawn to the handsome Francesco yet fails to understand why her family try to keep her away from him. By day, she makes and floats her paper birds, willing them to fly from the island, just as she wants to herself. Sometimes, she is given a message to pass on. She’s not sure who they are from; she knows simply that Francesco is hiding something. When Elena discovers the truth about the group of prisoners, the fine line between love and hate pulls her towards an act that can only have terrible consequences for all.

My Thoughts & Review:

Mussolini’s Island was a book that I was first aware of via a review from another blogger, Mairead over at Swirl and Thread wrote an exceptionally powerful review that grabbed my attention and had me desperate to read this book for myself.

Set against the backdrop of Fascist Italy, Sarah Day takes her readers deep into the heart of part of history that many know little about, the drive to rid Sicily of  degenerates, deviants and those who would cast a shadow on the great Italian name.  Benito Mussolini, leader of the National Fascist Party founded Italian Fascism, and Prime Minister between 1922-1943, made it practically impossible for homosexuality to exist in his ideal of a fascist Italy.  And so, the confinement of gay and bisexual men was was enforced on the outlying islands of the country.  Here we follow one group who were sent to San Domino.

Our protagonist, Francesco touches the hearts of readers as he recounts early memories of his father and life before Sicily.  Soon we learn that he and his mother fled their home in Naples to being afresh in Catania, with new names and a new history.  For Francesco, hiding his true identity comes as second nature, and when he begins to question his sexuality this is yet another secret he keeps close to his heart.  He some drifts towards the local arrusi, young men and boys meeting up in the shelter of darkened alleyways, dancehalls etc to spend time with their lovers for a few short moments of illicit freedom.

The expulsion of the arrusi to the island of San Domino leaves the men stripped of their identities, no longer are they village mechanics, waiters, fathers, friends, but merely an insult to the Italian people.  They are viewed as a contamination that needs to be contained.  The people of San Domino do not want them on their island, but in times of hardship a job is a job, and so if they are to be paid to guard these prisoners then they will do it.

Throughout the book, Francesco remembers vividly the quote his father repeated to him Non Mollare – Never Give Up and that’s exactly what he tries to do.  Regardless of the difficult situation he finds himself in, Francesco looks up, holds his head high and carries on.  He feels strongly that despite having let those around him down, he will do whatever he can to protect his loved ones. 

Sarah Day has written an exceptionally wonderful novel, so full of emotion and detail.  The historical information woven into the tale is fascinating yet at the same time utterly heartbreaking.  I found at several points I wanted to scream out at the injustice of what was happening, the way that the writing brings the story to life is so moving and yet it is handled with such care and devotion.  I cannot say that this was an aspect of history that I knew about, but it’s sparked my need to find out more and I thank Sarah for this.  Not only is this a beautiful book that I will cherish, it’s also made me think about society and what we are willing to tolerate.

You can buy a copy of Mussolini’s Island via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository

My thanks to Millie Seaward at Headline Publishing Group for the opportunity to read this exceptional book and take part in the blog tour.

 

 

 

 

 

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