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Archive for September, 2018

Today I am thrilled to welcome you to my post to celebrate another brilliant book from Bombshell Books, an imprint of Bloodhound Books specialising in women’s fiction, chick-lit & romance. The book in the spotlight today is The French Escape, which was published on 20th September 2018.


Book Feature:

Description:

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It’s fair to say that Flick has had a terrible year. Her beloved father died, she had the wedding of her dreams and only hours after the ceremony her husband ran out on her. 

Brenda, fed up with her daughter living like a hermit, decides to drag Flick off to France to stay in a chateau. What could be better than an idyllic escape?

But when they arrive Flick discovers the chateau is all but abandoned.

The only upside of her French escape is the handsome and mysterious neighbour, Nate.

Nate loves his life living in the cottage on the grounds of the abandoned chateau but that is about to be put in jeopardy…

Can Nate and Flick ever learn to come to terms with the past and find love again?

 

Description:

Having enjoyed Suzie Tullett’s previous books, I was thrilled to find out that she had a new book coming out! There’s something really lovely about Suzie’s books, maybe it’s the way that she writes, maybe it’s the way she creates her characters, or maybe it’s just the book I need at the time, but each of her books has been a delight to read.

Readers meet Flick as she and her sleeping mother are on their way to a mysterious French holiday destination, well mysterious for Flick as her mother hasn’t really given her much detail other than where to programme the satnav for. But when they arrive, Flick is astounded, they are staying at a chateau, albeit one that looks in need of a massive overhaul, but breathtakingly beautiful.
Interspersed through Flick’s story, is narration from Nate, someone who has a history that he wants to keep securely locked away and likes living in the relative remoteness of the woods.
Both of these characters has their own struggle, they are trying to rebuild their lives and find a way to move forward. I think it was Nate’s story that was the most intriguing, what secret is hiding in his past, why doesn’t he want to be recognised?

The wonderful descriptions of the settings and the food are simply wonderful, the chateau sounds so full of character and the icy cold shower sounded like such a shock to the system! I could almost see the picturesque views, the market in town, it just all came to life from the pages.

Aside from Flick and Nate, there are some really fun and quirky characters in this book, each of them so very different from the other, and I will admit there were ones I took more easily to than others. Brenda, Flick’s mother, bless her heart, just wants the best for her daughter. And as a mother I could sympathise with her, I could understand why she would do whatever it took to make her daughter happy, her methods might not be the most straightforward, but she has a heart of gold. Julia was another character I liked, always there to pick up the pieces for her nephew, always there with a word of wisdom or dole out a sharp reminder that life isn’t easy.

The French Escape is a lovely romantic comedy, it has the great “will they, won’t they” element to it, it’s the sort of escapism that you want from a book. A good story, great characters and enough mystery to keep you hooked!

Highly recommended!

You can buy a copy of The French Escape via Amazon UK

 

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the tainted vintage

 

** My thanks to Fahrenheit Press for my copy of this book and to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for inviting me to part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

In the small Czech town of Vinice the mayor has been found dead in his wine cellar.

Detectives Jana Dvorska and Ivan Dambersky are called to the scene and soon realise that despite appearances, Mayor Slansky’s death was most definitely not from natural causes.

Almost immediately, the close-knit community closes ranks to try and brush the unexplained death under the carpet with the minimum of fuss.

Dvorska & Dambersky are drawn deeper and deeper into secrets that many hoped would remain buried forever and they’re forced into pursuing an investigation where their own lives are put in danger.

The Tainted Vintage is the first book in a wonderful new series set in and around The Czech Republic, an area rich in history, literature and culture that still remains largely unexplored by contemporary crime fiction fans.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I picked up this book I didn’t expect that it would be such an enjoyable and engaging read, something about the setting, the characters and the plot instantly grabbed my attention and held my attention captive.

I have to admit that The Czech Republic isn’t a setting that I am overly familiar with when it comes to books, and can’t actually think of any recently that I’ve read that even have characters travelling there, but will say that authors are missing a trick! What a fantastic location and the way that Blanchard brings it alive, the landscape, the history … it all becomes so vivid.

The story line is one that inspires intrigue, the town mayor discovered dead in his own wine cellar and everyone apart from the detectives is happy to believe a heart attack was the cause. Paired together are the most unlikely of detectives Jane Dvorska and Ivan Dambersky, who are determined to investigate the matter and find out the truth. But this pairing works, they make for great detectives and I look forward to meeting them in future novels.

History is something that plays an important role in this plot of this book, and I will say that it is written in a way that really gives the reader pause for thought. Tracing back to the war, there are crimes buried in the histories of characters that shock not only those around them but the reader too.

Well written, well paced and a great start to what looks to be a very exciting series!

You can buy a copy of The Tainted Vintage via:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Kobo

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** My thanks to the wonderful Karen at Orenda Books for my copy of this book and Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of the blog tour**

 

Description:

Be careful what you wish for…

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…

Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it?
What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?

A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story … with a tragic heart.

My Thoughts & Review:

If there’s one author you need to read it’s Louise Beech, this wily wordsmith has a unique gift when it comes to crafting a beautifully evocative tale that will capture the heart of readers.  You will often hear people throw the phrase “this is the best book yet” when they read the latest offering from an author, but in this case I truly believe that The Lion Tamer Who Lost is Louise’s absolute best book yet!

Without rehashing the plot, I will say that this is an incredibly moving and poignant read that flows beautifully.  The characters are so vivid and real, you can feel their anguish, their frustration, their happiness and become so invested in them, they become part of you.
This is a love story like no other and it draws emotions from the reader in a way that I cannot explain.  It was likened to the sort of book that brings on a therapeutic cry, a bit like the way that Beaches starring Barbra Streisand never fails to make me weep, and I found that whilst reading this I went through an entire box of tissues.

The most exquisite thing about Louise’s writing is that she portrays emotion and the fragility of it so sympathetically, so understandingly, but with a frankness that does not shy away from the magnetic pull of it.

If you want characters that you can take into your heart, a plot that carry you off to the wilds of Zimbabwe and back again, and writing that will take you on an emotional journey then this is the book for you.  I cannot recommend this highly enough!

The Lion Tamer Blog Tour Poster Final.jpg

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** My thanks to the author and publisher for my copy of this and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

A policeman on his first murder case
A tattoo artist with a deadly secret
And a twisted serial killer sharpening his blades to kill again…

When Brighton tattoo artist Marni Mullins discovers a flayed body, newly-promoted DI Francis Sullivan needs her help. There’s a serial killer at large, slicing tattoos from his victims’ bodies while they’re still alive. Marni knows the tattooing world like the back of her hand, but has her own reasons to distrust the police. So when she identifies the killer’s next target, will she tell Sullivan or go after the Tattoo Thief alone?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

The tattooing world is one I am familiar with, and so the plot of this book immediately appealed to me. The idea that a serial killer is out there, removing inked artwork from the bodies of his victims, leaving the police no idea why or for what purpose absolutely grabbed my attention and had me frantically racing through the pages to find out more.

This is quite a dark and addictive read, there are certainly chapters that you feel that you cannot put the book down after reading, definitely a case of “one more chapter” …
Characterisation is good, there are plenty of interesting personalities to keep readers glued to the book and I think there are a couple that will appeal to the audience. Marni Mullins, who discovers the first victim instantly appealed to me. There was something about her that struck me as damaged but strong, like she had rebuilt herself and was determined not to crumble or fall apart again, even though things around her were hellishly messy.
And we can’t have a book with a serial killer without mentioning them and their dangerous and depraved ways! Belsham writes the perspective of the killer so frustratingly well, little snippets of information breaking free in the narrative but never enough to give away the identity. This is a killer who will stop at nothing until his mission is complete, he knows what his goal is and doesn’t plan on making any silly mistakes to give himself away. He is meticulous in his methods and not afraid to get his hands dirty (probably a good thing really, skinning people would get a wee bit messy I’d think).

Alison Belsham has written a very impressive debut, it’s dark and gritty and has a plot that will keep readers hooked and slightly disturbed.
Just to be on the safe side, I think I will keep my tattoos safely under my clothing for a while … just in case.

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Overkill Cover

 

** My thanks to the wonderful Karen Sullivan for my copy of this book and Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not what it seems.
Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide and has to face the realisation that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast aside her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands.
To find the murderer … and clear her name.
A taut, atmospheric and page-turning thriller, Overkill marks the start of an unputdownable and unforgettable series from one of New Zealand’s finest crime writers.

My Thoughts & Review:

I have to admit that this author is a new name to me, but when the description of the book is as intriguing as this then you just have to dive straight in! There is something quite refreshing about discovering a new author, you have no preconceived notions as a reader about their writing style, their characters or what the plot may hold. This journey of discovery was an enjoyable one, being able to watch the characters evolve seeing the plot twist and weave around on itself in ways you find inexplicably exciting and with such an explosive and emotive opening, this was a book that held me captive!

Symon has a wonderful writing style, her vivid descriptions of settings conjured such crisp images in my head, I almost felt that I was able to see Mataura, smell the farms, feel the closeness of the small community… it all flows so beautifully from the pages. However, Symon’s talents don’t stop here, she takes great effort and time to create a cast of characters that readers instantly feel a spectrum of emotion towards. From the murder victim and her family, to the local Mataura police constable Sam Shephard, I think I went full circle with shock, sadness, confusion, anger, disbelief and surprise. Sam is delightfully sarcastic, her humour is peppered throughout the narrative, providing a welcomed lightness to an otherwise dark thriller. Her tenacity is matched by her honesty, which can at times be a downfall for her, but this in turn makes her endearing to readers. This is a character I would very much like to meet again!

There is an incredibly “real” feel to this book, the issues at play in the plot are ones that impact on many: love, hate, fear, honesty and secrets. The way that the plot pulls together is superb and leaves you with a satisfying conclusion. Now I just have to hope that there are more books lined up with Sam Shephard …

You can buy a copy of Overkill via:

Amazon UK
Orenda Books eBookstore
Waterstones

Overkill Blog Tour Poster

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For today’s post on Celebrating Indie Publishing I am thrilled to share a review of a book that has been much loved since we discovered it earlier in the year. If you’ve followed The Quiet Knitter, you might have seen the review of the first book of the Teacup House series in July 2018 and I am pleased to say that it’s time to share the review of book two.


Book Feature:

Description:

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Stevie’s mum is having a party, so she’s baked a delicious cake for all the guests.

Stevie’s tiny toy rabbits, Silver and Fig Twitch, would love a taste of its yummy purple icing.

How will they get their paws on some?

It’s time for an adventure outside the Teacup House!

 

 

 

My Thoughts & Review:

After falling in love with the Twitch family in Meet The Twitches, I quickly ordered a copy of the second book of the series for my mini bookworm so that we could continue with our fun filled adventure with the rabbit family of the Teacup House.

Picking up from their adventure in book one of the series, we catch up with Stevie and her mum as they prepare for a party to introduce themselves to their new neighbours. But when the toy rabbits are involved, you just know that there will be fun, laughter and daring missions.

As the title and gorgeous cover suggest, there is a cake involved in this tale. And what  cake it is! The purple icing is enough to lure the two youngest T

witches into a daring mission across the kitchen, weaving between obstacles to get enough icing for a cake of their own.
Whilst Fig and Silver are on their adventure, readers find out a little more about Stevie. She’s still not 100% sure about living in the country, life is much different from the city and she misses her friends. Meeting the new neighbours brings much apprehension for Stevie, and it seems that the adults are still making plans about her and for her without asking her what she thinks.

As with the previous book, Meet The Twitches, the illustrations are bright and crisp, they bring the story to life and compliment Hayley Scott’s writing perfectly. Being able to see the wonderful cake, the way that Fig and Silver make their way around the obstacles in the kitchen make this a truly magical read and had us in fits of giggles as we read.

We cannot wait for the third book in the series which is due out in October, The Twitches Meet a Puppy!

You can buy a copy of any of the books in the Teacup House series via:

Amazon UK
Waterstones

About the Author:

Hayley grew up in and around Berkshire and after a short stint in magazine publishing, her boss encouraged her to apply for the MA in Creative Writing at UEA where she gained a Distinction. In 2006 she won an Escalator Award from Writers Centre East and a Grant for the Arts to write her first novel, Jar Baby (Dexter Haven, 2012).

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Another Rebecca Cover

** My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

A gripping psychological family drama about Rebecca Grey, a sensitive girl who’s spent her childhood caring for her alcoholic mother, Bex. They lurch from one poverty-stricken situation to another until Rebecca is hospitalised with exhaustion. While there, she has an illness-triggered hallucination which entangles her deeper than ever into her mother’s psyche. As an art student, Rebecca can’t understand why she is repeatedly impelled to paint a white horse in a blue landscape. And then there is the boy with yellow hair who she glimpses from the corner of her eye.

Bex’s life was frozen by a shocking tragedy when she was nineteen. Her ‘great grief’ caused her to make a decision which nobody must ever find out about. Rebecca has been implicated in her mother’s lies since the moment of her birth, a fact that her father, Jack, has no inkling of.

As Rebecca gets to know her father’s new family, the gap between her and her mother widens. The mystery of Bex’s dark past comes into focus when an old woman she has never met contacts Rebecca, claiming to be her grandmother.

The thunder of hooves is getting closer for both Rebecca and Bex and the blond-haired boy is more and more often in Rebecca’s dreams. Can Bex continue to keep Rebecca in the dark about the circumstances of her birth, or will the final twist in her tail set Rebecca free to make a new life of her own?

Adapted from a short story written by the author when she was an art student, Another Rebecca was inspired by the painting There is no Night by Jack B. Yeats.

My Thoughts & Review:

This was a book that veered away from my usual reads but seemed to grab my attention when I heard about it.

Told from the perspectives of three characters, Rebecca and her parents, readers are taken on a journey through the years of the family, building up a clear picture of these people and their lives. In the beginning I was a little confused, the opening chapter is a little different from what I’m used to, snippets of what seems to be dreams and thoughts from an unravelling mind but it’s worth sticking with the book, the reward is a unique and thought provoking read.

By using narration from differing perspectives, readers can glimpse into the mindsets of each character, make some form of a connection with them and their plights and glean some understanding of each of them. Whilst not all characters will appeal to readers, there are times where you find yourself sympathising with each of them whilst reading.

This is a poignant tale that delves deep into the fragility of family and the connections of the members. The topics covered in this book make for interesting reading, mental health and addiction are complex ones and they are well written by the author.

You can buy a copy of Another Rebecca via Amazon UK

 

As part of the blog tour, there is a giveaway running to win either a paperback copy of an ecopy of this book, so be sure to check out some of the other stops on the blog tour for your chance to win.

Another Rebecca Blog Tour Poster

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inthesilence

** My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Anna hasn’t set foot in Glasgow for ten years. And for very good reasons…

Anna, a criminology lecturer, returns to Glasgow from Rome during the coldest winter in memory. While out with her best friend from school, Anna has a chance encounter with a former flame, Andrew. Tragedy strikes later that night when Anna discovers Andrew stabbed and dying on a blanket of snow.

Soon Anna finds herself at the centre of the investigation as the star witness for the police, and embarks on investigating the case herself. But Anna doesn’t realise the danger she is in and soon finds herself in trouble.

When another body shows up, who has links to the first victim, it appears that the motive may lie buried in the past.

As Anna gets closer to the truth, the killer starts closing in.

But can she solve the gruesome mystery before the killer strikes again?

My Thoughts & Review:

I do love Scottish crime fiction, there’s something about “local” settings that makes a book really come to life for me, and when I saw that this book was set in Glasgow, a city that I know well, it seemed like a good excuse to shoehorn another book into my ever growing list to read.

With some great dialogue, readers get a real feel for the lingo although some readers may struggle with some of the exchanges, but this does give characters an authentic feel, and makes Zoe one of the characters that had me laughing almost every time she opened her mouth.
The plot is interesting and I have to admit that I didn’t quite know where it was leading me or where it might end up.
Originally from Glasgow, Anna has returned to help her friend celebrate her birthday, not knowing that the jolly events will lead to her being a suspect in a murder investigation. With the police convinced that Anna is somehow involved, she sets out to find out what happened and why. Unfortunately for her, a second victim is found, and she is placed firmly in the sights of the detectives.
I really didn’t take to the detectives at all, they came across as quite old fashioned, but I do wonder if perhaps part of their technique was to aggravate a suspect into revealing something unintentionally …
Initially, Anna was quite a hard character to take to, something about her screamed standoffish, rude and a bit strange. But as you get into this book, you realise that there’s more to this character, there are explanations for her ways and it soon makes sense.

This is a solid and interesting debut novel, and I would be keen to read more by this author in the future.

You can buy a copy of In The Silence via:

Amazon UK

 

B L O G B L I T Z (1)

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It’s always a pleasure to welcome an indie author to join me on a Friday to fly the flag and raise a cheer for indie publishing, and today I joined by Rebecca Howie.
Rebecca is the author of the Sam Beckett mystery series which features a 17-year-old private investigator. The Game Begins and A Scorned Woman are both available for purchase now!


Author Feature:

Rebecca Howie is a procrastinating writer from Scotland, who prefers spending her time in fictional worlds rather than the real one.

She self-published her first novel, The Game Begins, at 18, and it reached 2nd in the Teen and Young Adult Detective category on Amazon after its release in February 2016.

 

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

I think that’s probably being able to write all the time, because I love planning new stories, and seeing where they end up.

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

The editing. By the time I get round to final revisions, I can type whole passages with my eyes shut because I’ve read them so many times, and the last thing I want to do is read the whole thing from the start again.

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

I’d quite like to have written the Harry Potter books, because it still impresses me how developed the magical world is. I think it’s amazing how much there is to learn about, and how much people still love it even after twenty years.

I’d love to be able to capture readers’ interest like that.

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

If I’m not writing, I’m either reading, researching, or plotting, which I’ve only recently started to do. For my first book, I only made an outline after I was already halfway through, but when I started A Woman Scorned, I knew I’d have to get over my aversion to being organised because there were so many details I needed to remember for the ending.

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

While working on The Game Begins, I wrote whenever I could find the time, but since I was serious about getting its sequel written, I started taking a few hours every morning to write or plan, so now that’s become a ritual I observe every morning unless I have a really good excuse for being unable to.

I can’t write if there’s too much noise, so silence is important if I want to make progress with whatever I’m working on, and I need to be at my desk in my room, with the door shut- which does nothing to make my room any quieter, so I suppose that’s just as much a part of my routine as writing in the morning.

What’s on the horizon?  What can your fans look forward to next?

I’m working on the third book in my Sam Beckett Mysteries, but it doesn’t have a release date yet, and after I finish, I’ll either be starting the fourth, or working on something completely new.

 

Can you tell me a little about your latest book?  How would you describe it and why should we go read it? 

My latest book is called A Woman Scorned, and it’s the second in my Sam Beckett Mysteries series, which follows 17-year-old Sam Beckett as she tries to uncover the truth behind her dad’s car crash.

A Woman Scorned picks right up as Sam is struggling to deal with the consequences of the choices she made in the first book, and this time, she’s faced with the murder of a therapist, and the psychological consequences of the ending of her first case.

The series has been described by a reader as ‘Taggart meets Veronica Mars’, so if you liked either of those shows, or are just looking for a YA novel that’s a bit different, you could give The Game Begins and A Woman Scorned a try.

 

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be? 

Reviews are so important to authors, and if you have a few minutes to spare, consider leaving one on Amazon or Goodreads. It lets other people know how much you loved the book.

 

 

Social Media Links:

Blog: https://rebeccahowiebooks.wordpress.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rebeccah2016/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rebeccah2016

 

A huge thank you to Rebecca for joining me today and sharing a little about the brain behind the books, it’s always fun to find out more about an author’s routine and I completely agree about the Harry Potter series, it really is such a wonderfully well developed world that draws readers in..

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** My thanks to Orenda Books and Random Things Tours for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son, Christopher’s, death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed… When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought she knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger.

Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

After He Died is an unpredictable and intense read, it’s expertly plotted, has striking characterisation and is a damned good read.

If you’ve read any of Michael Malone’s books you will be aware of just how skilled this author is at setting a scene, making a reader feel that they’ve been transported into the book and facing the situation alongside the characters, but in this book, he’s somehow gone beyond that.  The way that Paula has been written means that readers are experiencing her grief with her, they are able to feel her desperation as she tries to make sense of what is happening around her. If this strong character wasn’t enough, there is another striking figure that stands out, Cara. Her personality, her job, everything about her screams intrigue, and the more time I spent reading about her, the more I liked her.
Equally, the settings are just as fantastically written, so vivid and atmospheric. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve added another place to my list for book related adventures!

One of the best things about this book was the way that it kept me guessing, there are a few authors I can always rely on to give me enough information to keep me hooked without overdoing it, and Malone is definitely one! Masterfully, he weaves mystery and trickery throughout the beautifully written narrative. I had no idea whether characters were trustworthy, whether narrators were reliable, what lay ahead in the darkness that loomed, but I did know that I wasn’t able to put this book down for long.

This is an addictive read that has everything I look for in a domestic noir thriller!

After He Died Blog Tour Poster

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