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

Description:

A mesmerising debut novel with echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism…

‘If Armistead Maupin were to write about a diverse group of friends in Deptford, the results might resemble this … You’ll miss these characters when they’re gone’ Paul Burston

Under their feet lies magic…

When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

My Thoughts:

Attend is a beautifully written book that has a depth of characterisation that enables readers to form a deep and tangible connection with the main characters, especially Anne and Sam.
Both of these wonderful creations are linked by a thread that neither is aware of, the bond of friendship with Deborah. Deborah is a seemingly innocuous character, regularly regaling her new friends with tales of her life, how she came to be a seamstress and sailor, the events of her life up to that point and how she thinks that there’s something more to life, more than the eye can see. She is a character that’s hard to sum up in a few sentences, so exquisitely complex and with a history that draws the readers in, makes them need to know more about her. I don’t think I could do justice to this marvellous creation and I applaud the author for crafting such an array of personalities.

Anne was a character that I wasn’t sure what to make of initially. There’s a rawness and a vulnerability to her, her previous life as a drug user has impacted on her ability to interact with her family and loved ones. The dependency on illicit substances robbed her of many things, and trying to rebuild her life and the trust of others is a difficult and arduous struggle. Watching her find her feet through the prose was almost heartwarming at times, seeing her making decisions and reaffirming that her dependency on drugs was over made me want to cheer for her. This is a character that you really get under the skin of, the more you read about her, the greater the connection and the understanding you gain of events that have occurred.

The youngest of the main characters, is Sam. He moved to London as a means of taking control of his life, leaving the sadness of an accident from his youth behind. Having accepted his sexuality, he breaks away from a cycle of meaningless interactions when he meets Derek. Sam’s indecisive nature makes him quite an endearing character, he’s been on a path of self destruct for sometime but slowly he manages to make changes, he finds happiness and acceptance.

The threads of the story twist and weave expertly in West’s capable hands as he takes readers on a poignant and thought provoking journey.  As you may guess, characterisation was a key aspect of this book for me, I felt that I was connected, invested and genuinely cared about these characters.

Settings play an enormous part in any story, and here the way that the tunnels Deborah explored almost came alive. The smells, the damp, the darkness all became so real through the vivid descriptions. The same can be said for the details woven into the house that Deborah lives in, the unique and quirkiness of it appealed to me .
I think it’s fair to say that West Camel has really crafted a very special story, he has managed to combine a very human tale with touches of magic, adventure, history and charm. The writing is spellbinding and leave readers hungry for more.

Orenda Books are fast becoming known for publishing books that push new ideas, that challenge readers and go that bit further, and Attend is definitely one of those books. It’s a rare gem that I think will keep circling round and round in my head long after I finished reading it.


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

Description:

A fragile woman. An unwelcome intruder. A house full of secrets.

Faye and her husband Hugh have had a traumatic year. Wanting to start again, the couple decide to buy a large rundown property, Cross House in a village in North Yorkshire, hoping to leave the past behind them.

However, the tranquillity is soon ruined when Faye begins to awake, every night, to the sound of somebody creeping around the bedroom. She tries to explain it to Hugh, frightened for the safety of their children Aiden and Poppy, but Hugh dismisses her claims, thinking she is heading for another breakdown.

But when Faye discovers some diaries that contain secrets about the family that lived in the house before them, she starts to wonder if the intruder might be closer to home than she first thought.

Obsessed with finding answers, Faye is determined to learn about the Wentworth family, a fractured family with a tragic past.

And when she discovers that Hilary Wentworth fell to her death down the stairs in Cross House, Faye realises she is in mortal danger…


My Thoughts:

I do enjoy psychological thrillers, and have a bit of a soft spot for Yorkshire settings, there’s something about them that appeals to me and so I was really keen to read this when I that it combined a bit of a ghost story too.

Main characters Faye and Hugh buy an house in need of work as part of their “fresh start” in the countryside. They are attempting to move on with life after very difficult year, one that left Faye seriously shaken and falling apart. But far from being the new start the family so desperately needed, things soon begin to have Faye questioning whether there’s something sinister lurking in the shadows of night or if her mind is playing tricks on her.

Whilst the author details the move to the new house and the family dynamics of Faye, Hugh and their two children Aiden and Poppy, there is also a thread to the plot of Faye’s previous year, one where snippets of recollections and nightmares are mentioned. Hints are given as to something sinister and traumatic having occurred, but details are slowly drip fed to increase the tension and hook the readers in. This in part helps to spread the feeling of general unease for Faye, and as you get to know her more and understand her mental health issues, it helps to explain why she feels that someone might be watching her, and the unusual activity around Cross House.
J.A. Baker weaves a very clever tale that leaves readers wondering about what they’ve read and whether they believe it.

Cross House is a bit of an enigma for Faye, the discovery of some diaries from the previous owners of the house leave her with more questions, and this is not helped when her son returns from school saying that people have been talking about the house.

I really don’t want to say too much more about the plot, there are so many things that readers need to discover for themselves and with this is quite a gripping and fast paced read, they will soon be hooked and held captive by the plot.
It’s the sort of read that gets under your skin and leaves you feeling shivers down your spine … and maybe sleeping with the light on for a few nights.

About the Author:

J.A.BAKER was born and brought up in North East England and has had a love of language for as long as she can remember.

She has a love of local history and genealogy and enjoys reading many genres of books but is an addict of psychological thrillers.

In December 2016 she was signed by Bloodhound Books who published Undercurrent. 
Her second novel, Her Dark Retreat was published in October 2017 and The Other Mother was published in December 2017. Her fourth novel, Finding Eva was published in August 2018.

J.A.Baker has four grown up children and one grandchild. She lives in a village near the river with her husband and madcap dog and when not working part time in a primary school, she spends her days trying to think up new and inventive ways of murdering people.

Social Media Links:
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/thewriterjude
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thewriterjude
Website: http://www.jabakerauthor.com







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Hello and welcome along to another Friday post to share another brilliant offering from the world of independent publishing! Today I have a review of Around the World in 80 Words written by Paul Anthony Jones, it was published in October 2018 by Elliott and Thompson Ltd and is available to purchase now.


Book Feature:

Description:

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From Monte Carlo to Shanghai, Bikini to Samarra, Around the World in 80 Words is a whimsical voyage through the far-flung reaches of the English language.

What makes a place so memorable that it survives for ever in a word? In this captivating round-the-world jaunt, Paul Anthony Jones reveals the intriguing stories of how 80 different places came to be immortalised in our language.

Beginning in London and heading through Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas, you’ll discover why the origins of turkeys, Brazil nuts, limericks and Panama hats aren’t quite as straightforward as you might presume. You’ll also find out what the Philippines have given to your office in-tray; what an island with more bears than people has given to your liquor cabinet; and how a tiny hamlet in Nottinghamshire became Gotham City.

Surprising and consistently entertaining, this is essential reading for armchair travellers and word nerds. Our dictionaries are full of hidden histories, tales and adventures from all over the world – if you know where to look.

 

My Thoughts:

I’ve been a fan of this author ever since I discovered his book The Accidental Dictionary in 2016, and have enjoyed the books that have followed. For those who don’t know who Paul Anthony Jones is, he is the man behind @HaggardHawks on Twitter and http://www.haggardhawks.com which pulls together blogs, quizzes, newsletters, a Youtube series and details of his books full of etymological delights. I would recommend checking out the website and the Twitter page, each day there is a new forgotten word posted each day.

In this latest offering, the author takes readers on a wonderful literary journey without them having to leave the comfort of their own homes. Around the World in 80 Words informs and educates readers about the names of 80 destinations that have been absorbed into the English language, and are so commonly used that we might not give them a second thought.
I love the way that this book can be picked up and flicked through without having to follow each chapter as you would with an “ordinary” book. This is a fascinating read, and the author has evidently put a lot of time into researching the material, his passion for etymology pours from the pages and it’s almost infectious. I had no idea of the origins of phrases such as being sent to Coventry, and you can be sure that Paul Anthony Jones takes great delight in sharing this knowledge. It also leaves the reader feeling that wonderful sense of having learned something new, you almost feel like you want to attend a quiz night, just in the hopes that a question may come up so that you can use your new knowledge.

This would make the perfect stocking filler for fans of etymology, I’ve already bought a copy to wrap as a Christmas gift.

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Hello and welcome along to Celebrating Indie Publishing! I am thrilled to be chatting with another fantastic indie author and sharing my review of his latest book. Today’s author is Ian Patrick, a name that I link to intelligent writing, gritty stories and utterly fantastic characters. If you’re not familiar with Ian’s books, I would highly recommend them. His first book, Rubicon was published in August 2017 and has been optioned by the BBC for a six episode series. I read and reviewed this back in May 2018.

Stoned Love is the second book in the Sam Batford series, and I have to admit to loving this book! It’s clever, it’s punchy and it’s downright brilliant!
It was published in August 2018 and is available to buy direct from the publisher or Amazon now!


Book Feature:

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Description:

Detective Sergeant Sam Batford has been lying low at a remote safe house in the highlands of Scotland. He’s doing his best not to attract the attention of the enemies he made, on both sides of the law, during his last under-cover operation but Batford knows he’s just killing time until he’s called to account.

Inevitably the sharks begin to circle and as Batford is called back to front-line action in London he’s thrown into a deadly game of cat and mouse where it seems everyone is out to get him.

After having to endure a frustrating resolution to their previous undercover operation together DCI Klara Winter from the National Crime Agency is determined to prove that Batford has crossed the line into criminality and finally bring him to face justice.

All Sam Batford wants is to outwit his enemies long enough to stay alive and come out ahead of the game.  

My Thoughts:

I was thrilled when I heard that Ian Patrick had written a follow up to Rubicon, his thrilling debut novel featuring DS Sam Batford. This is a character that I eagerly look forward to catching up with, his wit and quick thinking make him such a fascinating character, and there’s something magnetic about him, he draws readers in making them want to know more about him and the various guises he wears as an undercover officer.

Without rehashing the blurb or giving anything away, I will say that this is a very bold and exciting book. Batford is up to his neck in danger, and that’s nothing new there really. However, this time the undercurrent of danger is more like a perilous riptide waiting to sweep our protagonist out into the murky depths.
Any undercover job has the potential to go wrong, but in this case it seems that Batford is working against the clock as well as enemies both seen and unseen.
For fans of Rubicon, the fallout from the previous operation leaves Batford with a price on his head. But fear not, if you’ve not read Rubicon and want to jump straight into this book then you can be sure that the author has included wee details that will quickly get you up to speed with what has happened before without bogging down the narrative for returning readers.

Stoned Love is a fast paced read, the sort of book that you really, really want to race through to find out what happens Sam, his handler and those colleagues around him. The notion that there are investigations within investigations makes this a deliciously thrilling read, making readers wonder who they should trust and what the motivations of certain characters might be. Characterisation is excellent, each of the main personas has been thoughtfully created and appears very lifelike in their quirks and temperaments. I love that the narration swaps between Batford and DCI Klara Winter, giving readers a glimpse into their mindsets, making this a deceptively clever read. It’s clear from reading this that not only has Ian Patrick researched well, but he has lived policing. His experiences in a policing role ensure that this remains credible and realistic at all times without becoming drab or boring.

If you’ve not already got Ian Patrick on your radar, I would highly recommend adding his name now! This is an author you definitely want to keep an eye on, and I know I will be waiting eagerly to see what he writes next!


Author Feature:Ian Patrick Author Photo

Ian spent twenty-seven years as a police officer, the majority as a detective within the Specialist Operations Command in London. A career in policing is a career in writing. Ian has been used to carrying a book and pen and making notes. Now retired, the need to write didn’t leave and evolved into fiction.

Rubicon is his debut novel published by Fahrenheit Press and Stoned Love the second in the series. Rubicon has been optioned by the BBC for a six part TV series. 

He now lives in rural Scotland where he divides his time between family, writing, reading and photography. 

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @IPatrick_Author

 

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

Having a reader say how much they loved your book. I write to bring joy, entertainment and escape from everyday life. When you get feedback that you’ve achieved that it’s wonderful. It makes me want to do better the next time too. Time is precious and a reader’s time should never be wasted.

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

The inability to switch off. Once it has you, you’re captive to its will. It means if you aren’t writing you are thinking about it, making notes, plot ideas arise that can’t wait to be addressed. You get the idea? Sounds great until it prevents you enjoying any downtime! To write is a privilege so I’m prepared to suffer the small irritation. I have an incredibly supportive family so this too makes it easier.

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

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. That book defined a generation and has gone way beyond the written word to be engrained in male and minimalist culture.  The whole concept works on so many levels, it’s just an incredible book.

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

See the answer to question 2!  I’m a nightmare to live with if I’m not writing. I have a disability that does restrict me in how much I can do outside the home but I do enjoy photography and taking the dogs out. They trot alongside my scooter so we can get a couple of miles in easily. I’m also a parent so spending time with the kids is important to me too.

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

None. I spent 27 years in the Met Police so not having a structure is a blessing. Flip side is it can also be a challenge. Writing is a disciplined art and without some form of discipline you can’t be a writer of novels. If the words aren’t adding up then you won’t have a story. I always try to write each day. Word count doesn’t matter. I just find a space and write.

I’m fortunate that I’m now retired from the police so finding the time is easier. Rubicon was written in the evenings. Stoned Love whenever I could find the time. That would mean carrying my laptop with me and using any spare time I had to write.

I don’t need silence to write, either. Most of Stoned Love was written in The Clachan Inn pub in Dalry. My youngest daughter was at a local playgroup in the morning. The hall she was in had a back room but it was too cold in winter. So cold I could barely type. I was offered the chance to write an article for the local paper on an award the pub had won. The owners’ took pity on my plight and said I could write there each morning. How could I refuse a table and open fire? The rest, as they say, is history.

What’s on the horizon?

My third book, Fool’s Gold, is with a beta reader. It’s third in the Batford series. Once this is done it will be on its way to Fahrenheit Press, my publisher. Hopefully Chris and his team will like it enough to publish it.

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

Stoned Love follows on from Rubicon and explores the life of a corrupt undercover cop, DS Sam Batford. What you will get is crime fiction with a dash of police experience that will take you on a journey you will want to repeat again and again. You’ll find yourself warming to a protagonist you wouldn’t take home for tea but could be persuaded to have a meal with at Claridges.

 

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

Don’t waste time on a book you don’t enjoy (mine included). Life’s too short and there’s some incredible talent out there to discover. Sometimes we pick up a book at the wrong time in our lives. If we’re meant to read it then it will come back. I’d recommend any on the Fahrenheit list. A diverse and talented set of writers. There are also a host of other fabulous independent publishers.

 

My thanks to Ian for joining me today and being so honest, there are so many authors who have said that they find it hard to switch off the writing side of their brains and it’s always interesting to see what they do outside of being wordy rockstars!
I’ll have to keep an eye out for Ian appearing at some book festivals so I can pop along to get some signed books.
I completely agree with Ian, it would have been foolish to turn down the table and open fire in the local pub, purely for the purposes of writing whilst his wee one was at playgroup, that’s the savvy thinking that we’ve come to know from our favourite writers! Fool’s Gold is something to look forward to, and I will be sure to keep an eye on Fahrenheit’s twitter feed/website for news of publication!

 

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** My thanks to the author, publisher and damppebbles blog tours for my copy of this book and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour **

Description:

She’s chasing a killer. He’s watching her every move.

He hides in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment. Each kill is calculated, planned and executed like clockwork.

Struggling to balance her personal and professional life, young DS Becca Vincent has landed the biggest case of her career—and she knows that it will make or break her. But she can’t catch the culprit alone. Together with facial recognition expert Joe Russell, she strives to get a lead on the elusive murderer, who is always one step ahead of them.

Time is not on their side. The body count is rising, and the attacks are striking closer and closer to home. Can Becca and Joe uncover the connection between the murders before the killer strikes the last name from his list?

My Thoughts:

You can always rely on John Marrs to write something with a darkness leeching from the pages, and if the thrilling darkness wasn’t enough, there is a twisted and thought provoking tale to delight readers.

Usually penning psychological thrillers, Her Last Move marks a change for Marrs. This foray into the world of police procedurals is a good move for Marrs, he makes use of his trademark tense and enthralling writing to make this a pacy read with some incredibly well crafted characters.

The characters in this are particularly interesting, facial recognition expert Joe Russell is one that I enjoyed getting to know. His backstory adds another layer to this fascinating creation, and provides means and explanations for the quirks of the character. His use of this “gift” really gives readers something to think about and appreciate.
DS Becca Vincent needs to solve this case, stopping the gruesome murderer could be the case that makes her career, gives her a foothold on the ladder and means that she will be taken seriously professionally. As always, this author has a way of making you take his characters into your heart, makes you care about them and their fates and Becca is one that I found I wanted a good outcome for. The more I read about her, the more invested I became, watching her struggles and the complexities of her personal life unfolding gave me a greater appreciation for her. 

There are murders aplenty in the opening quarter of the book, this is a skilled and inventive murderer, which makes for a thrilling and exciting read. The pace then slows somewhat as the focus turns to the investigation by the police. This is a different type of tension, the buzz as the investigation uncovers the clues behind the identity of the killer.
Marrs keeps readers on the back foot as he increases the tension again and brings to a conclusion this dark and thrilling read.

About the Author:

John Marrs is the author of #1 bestsellers The One (soon to be made into a film with Urban Myth Films), The Good Samaritan (shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards 2018), When You Disappeared, and Welcome to Wherever You Are. After working as a journalist for 25-years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time writer.

Her Last Moveis dedicated to John’s late father, Charlie, who was a police officer for 25years.


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** My thanks to the wonderful Karen at Orenda Books for my copy of Good Samaritans **

 

Description:

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.
But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…
And someone is watching…
Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices. 

My Thoughts & Review:

One glimpse of that cover was enough to grab my attention with this book, the artwork is immediately arresting, and the tagline is clever.  You expect nothing less of Orenda Books, and you know that you will be in for a treat when you start reading because they have built a reputation for publishing excellent books that challenge readers, that draw powerful emotions and generally leave readers feeling stunned at what they have just read.

Good Samaritans is the first book by Will Carver that I’ve read and I have to admit that based on this one I would be very keen to see what else he’s written/has planned for the future.  I liked his witty writing style, the snappy dialogue and the chilling unease that he expertly weaves throughout the narrative.
The book is broken into days, with each day having narration by several characters in short, snappy chapters which in turn keeps the pace taut and crisp.  So much happens under the cover of darkness that we can never truly guess where Carver will take the plot next.  This darkness feeds into the danger element of the story, who is watching, why are they watching, are people really who they seem to be …it keeps the reader on their toes and details are drip fed as and when to enhance the story, so it’s safe to say that Carver knows how to hook his readers in, hold their attention and ensure that sleep will be lost with this brilliant book..

Characterisation is one of the key aspects of Good Samaritans, and each persona is exceptionally well crafted.  Seth Beauman is a character that I found witty and interesting, his insomnia making him spiral into phases of somewhat disturbing actions.  A late night hobby of phoning strangers is strange, but seems harmless.  The connection he makes with a troubled young woman named Hadley Serf gives him hope and equally gives her something to hold on to. There is a spark, excitement and it all comes down to chance.  Unfortunately for Seth, his wife Maeve would definitely not appreciate this blossoming love affair, and so their conversations and subsequent meetings are kept hidden.
The wonderful juxtaposition of the images of the characters and the views of those around them make for entertaining reading.  Seth’s image of himself is so wonderfully contrasted by the way his wife sees him and vice versa, what seems like a perfectly reasonable action in his mind is perhaps wildly inappropriate or erratic.  Hadley has her own troubles, her suicidal thoughts swirling around her brain, leaving her hell-bent on self-destruction.  Her mindset is explored carefully and with a sympathy that does not belittle the severity of her feelings, and for this I am grateful.  Carver does not shy away from the uneasy reality that his character faces.

The actual plot of this book is genius, I would love to get hold of Will Carver and quiz him about where his ideas came from, how he plotted this out and how he managed to give so little away throughout the story.

Forget “snap, crackle and pop” this is more like “crash, bang, wallop”, so twisted, so enjoyable and so flippin’ clever!

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The Failsafe Query - Cover Image.jpg

** My thanks to the author and Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy of the book and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour **

 

Description:

The Failsafe Query is a gripping thriller set in the contemporary world of modern British espionage.

Sean Richardson, a disgraced former intelligence agent, is tasked to lead a team to search for Alfie Chapman, an Intelligence officer on the cusp of exposing thousands of secrets to the media. This includes a long lost list of Russian moles embedded since the Cold War, one of whom remains a public favourite in the British parliamentary system.

The action moves with absorbing pace and intrigue across Central Asia and Europe as the puzzle begins to unfold through a deep hidden legacy.

Tense, fast paced, and insightful, The Failsafe Query twists and turns to a satisfyingly dramatic finale. 

My Thoughts:

From the opening chapter, readers are taken on an action packed and adrenaline fueled adventure through the worlds of espionage and intelligence.
The main character in this book is a disgraced former intelligence agent, who has become involved with tracking down a current member of the intelligence community, one who was ready to leak privileged and incendiary information. Sean Richardson is a character very much fighting against his own demons and trying to find a way to life with the lasting impacts his career have had on him. But he is also a team player, and part of the draw of this character is seeing him pull together the right team for the mission and watching to see whether they can succeed. The camaraderie between the members of the team was great to see and really added to the realistic feeling of the characters.

Michael Jenkins has a wonderful style of writing that is packed with vivid detail and an authenticity that almost has the reader wondering “what if”, whilst managing to maintain a calm and steady approach. By this I mean that he constructs settings so clearly for readers to experience them, captivating the audience with the scenes playing out before their eyes and ensuring that they are on the edge of their seats, waiting with bated breath to see what will happen next, how the situation will unravel around our protagonist. This is undoubtedly an explosive and thrilling read, but at no point did I feel that the pace was rushed.

This is a modern spy thriller that I would rank up there with my beloved John le Carré books.

You can buy a copy of The Failsafe Query via:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

About the Author:

Michael Jenkins served for twenty-eight years in the British Army, rising through the ranks to complete his service as a major. He served across the globe on numerous military operations as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers.

His experiences within the services involved extensive travel and adventure whilst on operations, and also on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that he led or was involved in.
He was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity.

He was awarded the MBE on leaving the armed forces in 2007 for his services to counterterrorism.

The Failsafe Query is Michael’s first novel. He has started work on his second spy thriller, The Kompromat Kill, and hopes to publish it the spring of 2019.

Social Media Links:

Twitter

Facebook

Website

 

Giveaway – Win 5 x PB copies of The Failsafe Query & a spy linkage map (unframed) (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Normally I review books in their own post, but today I have decided to review books four and five of The Cosy Cottage Café series in this one post.
This series is written by the lovely Rachel Griffiths who has created the idyllic village of Heatherlea and some of the loveliest characters that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in a book.


Spring at The Cosy Cottage Café

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Description:

Artist Honey Blackwell is happy with her life. Well, almost. She lives in the picturesque village of Heatherlea, has three close friends and a soft spot for local supply teacher Dane Ackerman. If only she could put her past behind her and embrace the present.


Dane is working hard to prove himself at the village primary school and doesn’t really have time for love, but he’s drawn to Honey and hopes she feels the same. When a permanent teaching position is advertised in Heatherlea, he faces stiff competition to secure it.


As Honey and Dane deal with the ups and downs of life, will they be able to find a way to be together, or will they have to accept that sometimes love just isn’t enough?


My Thoughts:

The fourth instalment of The Cosy Cottage Café allows readers to see Spring from the perspective of Honey Blackwell, the final member of the group of friends who meet up at the Café regularly to sample the delights cooked up, share the ups and downs of life and generally keep each other going when life gets tricky. Honey is a character that we’ve briefly glimpsed in previous books, she always comes across as easy going, cheery and an all round lovely lass who never fails to make everyone around her smile.

Honey has recently embarked on a relationship with Dane Ackerman, a local supply teacher but neither of them has actually put a label on the relationship, so they’re at the stage where their friends all know that they’re a couple, even if they don’t quite know they’ve reached that point yet. Watching their relationship develop and getting to know both of these characters better is definitely a treat, being able to learn about Honey’s past makes her even more lovable.
As well as her lovely personality, Honey has wonderfully bright coloured hair, a bit like a unicorn but it all adds to her charm. The names she’s given her chickens made me laugh so much!

As well as getting to read Honey’s story, Griffiths continues the stories of her other characters in Heatherlea in the background, meaning that fans of the series can see how life has moved on for Camilla, Allie and Dawn after their books.
The thing I love about these books is that the characters have become so real to me, I eagerly look forward to catching up with them and seeing what they’ve been up to. The setting of Heatherlea is lovely, the descriptions are so vivid and make it seem like the sort of place you would love to visit. Although, word of warning, do not read this when you’re hungry. The food created in the Café is likely to have you drooling and wishing you could taste it!


A Wedding at The Cosy Cottage Café

51jzmrimcpl-_sy346_Description:

When Allie Jones’ daughter, Mandy, arrives at The Cosy Cottage Café in tears one spring morning, Allie is extremely concerned. She’s been worried about her career-driven daughter for a while, and she’s hoping she’ll finally get to find out what’s wrong.

Dawn Dix-Beaumont has her hands full with three young children, a husband who works from home and the guinea pig family that lives in her garden. She’s happier than she’s ever been, but is it too good to last?

Camilla Dix is madly in love with local vet Tom Stone. Being with Tom and cuddling her baby niece have stirred feelings she didn’t know she had, but it’s far too soon to be making long-term plans. Isn’t it?

Honey Blackwell’s boyfriend, Dane Ackerman, has secured his teaching post at Heatherlea Primary School and they’ve decided to live together. Everything seems to be working out well, until a member of Honey’s household expresses a clear dislike for the handsome teacher.

Plus someone has been planning a proposal…

Join Allie and her friends this summer as cakes are baked, secrets are shared and surprises bring smiles and tears at The Cosy Cottage Café.

My Thoughts:

The fifth part of the series and what a book this is! After the revelations in the previous book, I went into this book wondering who’s wedding was going to feature here, there were three options and I could not wait to see who would be getting the fairy tale happy ever after moment. After a year of stories following the group of friends, this was the perfect way to tie up the four seasons, each of the main stories has reached a wonderful point filled with happiness and laughter.

It’s possible to pick up any of the books in the series to read as a stand alone, including this one but I do think to get the full story it’s worth reading the full set of books to get the backstories, enjoy the build up and drool over the delights that Allie whips up in the Café.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot and give anything away, but this is a wonderful way to pass an afternoon with plenty of laughter and feel good moments.
The style of writing makes this such a light and enjoyable read, the characters are appealing and relatable and the story draws readers in.

The only downside is that I have to bid Heatherlea farewell now.

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Celebrating Indie Publishing today sees a mini review of a humorous crime tale set in the Scottish Borders, written by Mark Farrer.

The Good, The Bad and The Rugby was published in ebook on 18th October, copies can be purchased via Amazon UK or Amazon US.

As part of the blog tour, there is a giveaway running to win some bookmarks, this is only open to UK entrants, details and your chance to win is below.


Book Feature:

 

Description:GBR-Front-Cover

Getting to the truth. By trial… and eror error.

Cullen is on jury duty, and the sleepy Scottish town of Melrose is experiencing a rare crime wave: the famous Rugby Sevens trophy is stolen, a dead body is unearthed, there is a spate of petty arson, and someone drives a van into Gloria’s front room.
Why? And what is her husband doing every night up on Eildon hill?

In this hilarious crime romp, misguided loyalties, thwarted love, and unbelievable gullibility reach crisis point on the one day in the year when the world pays a visit to Melrose.

At the final whistle, Cullen will ensure that justice is done.

Because sometimes twelve good men just isn’t enough.

 

My Thoughts:

What a funny and madcap book this turned into! When I started this book, I had no idea that I would be chuckling aloud at sections and dialogue so much, and even reading parts out to my long suffering husband to see if they were as funny to him as I found them.

The characters are superb creations, Farrer has brought together a wonderful cast of societal misfits with a great dash of humour and mixes them with a plot that has readers racing through to find out what happens next! Although the character of Cullen is from previous books, this is a stand alone book, and it reads very easily in that respect. Although, after having met Cullen, I am keen to go back and read the previous books.
Clever plotting and weaving together the various strands of it all means that this is a well rounded and enjoyable read. Humour is balanced well with darkness, and so when we reach various points of the plot, the scenes feel realistic as well as entertaining.

 

Giveaway:

As part of the blog tour, Mark’s novella Dirty Barry is available to download from Amazon for free here.

For your chance to win 2 bookmarks featuring the covers of all four of Mark Farrer’s books, please click the following Rafflecopter link.
Please note this a UK only giveaway.  The 14 winners will be selected at random and your postal address will be passed onto Mark Farrer.  There is no cash alternative.  The giveaway ends of midnight (GMT) on 16th November 2018.  Any personal information stored by the Rafflecopter giveway will be deleted after the winners have been drawn.

Rafflecopter Competition Link

 

About the Author:

Mark was born in Liverpool, studied Computer Science at Hull University, then had a successful career in IT management in London and the South-East for twenty years before moving to Edinburgh in 2001. He continued working in IT until 2015 when he decided to retire from the rat race and focus on becoming a writer. He now spends half his time writing and the other half worrying why he is not yet making money from writing.

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby is Mark’s third comic novel featuring a morally righteous loner called Cullen. He also has a perma-free novella on Amazon, called Dirty Barry, which tells how Cullen and Big Paul first met. He is currently at work on a second novella, called Bronchial Billy.

Mark has three children, one at University, one on a gap year in Ghana, and one still at High School. He lives with his partner Claire, a photographer, near West Linton, in the Scottish Borders.

He likes: his Mini Cooper, songwriting, playing piano, vanilla panna cotta, The Beatles, woodburning stoves, wittertainment, Bill Bailey, #sadmanonatrain, fruit gums, Carl Hiaasen, The Wire, spicy food, Van Gogh, Lindsey Buckingham, oaked chardonnay, House MD, long walks, cinema, reading in bed, florentines, Only Connect, board games, Otis Lee Crenshaw, Budweiser, GBBO, India, cheese, David Armand’s mimes, bookshops, Scandi Noir, Diet Coke, The Economist, Blackadder, good sausages, Dickens, Helena Bonham-Carter (secret crush), the Times crossword, the song mmmbop, and pies.

And lists.

He dislikes: ITV, pinot grigio, tattoos, ballet, ready meals, rap, religion, clutter, artificial raspberry flavouring, marmite, jazz, under-powered showers, people who don’t look after their stuff, opera, sprouts, and waste.

And mashed potato.

He really doesn’t like mashed potato.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mark_farrer

Website: http://markfarrer.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mark-Farrer/e/B074S4XMGL/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

good-bad-rugby

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Today I am rather excited to share a review of a book I had the privilege of reading early, and since reading the unedited version I’ve read a completed copy and loved it even more! What is the book you ask? It’s Who Killed Anne-Marie, a clever and thrilling read from the brain of the coffee drinking, fiendish author CM Thompson.

And as a special gift, I have a copy of the paperback to send to one lucky reader!

 

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** My thanks to the author and publisher for my copy of the book **

 

Description:

Daniel and Anne-Marie’s marriage isn’t just on the rocks, it’s about to go six feet under.

Anne-Marie Mills is out of work, out of love and out of whisky. Everyone else is out of patience.
When Anne-Marie is found dead who is to blame? The neighbours who despised her drunken rants? The husband who wondered how much more he could take?

Or is there another killer in the neighbourhood?

My Thoughts:

Who Killed Anne-Marie is a peek behind the façade of “normal” life on a “normal” residential street, it allows readers to discover the darkness that lurks in the homes, hearts and minds of those that live there. It is a chilling exploration of the fragility of relationships and their toxicity.

The characters are carefully created and whilst not always the most appealing, readers begin to understand, connect with and feel empathy for them, in particular, Anne-Marie and her long-suffering husband. Supporting characters are multidimensional, each coming vividly to life as readers see narration from their perspective. And the more we learn about some of these characters, the more we become aware that things are never as they seem. Everyone has a limit that they can be pushed to or a line they won’t cross, and Thompson craftily demonstrates that each character struggles with this, feeling pulled by circumstances or people around them to the point that something snaps.

Plotting is clever, the mystery of the title is explored from the viewpoints of both a police perspective and that of a layperson, giving readers a more rounded read. As Daniel attempts to restore balance in the home following Anne-Marie’s death, readers see how a “normal” person might process events and try to clean up following what unfolded
The author presents many characters who would have a motive to kill Anne-Marie. The downwards spiral that this character is on is well charted throughout the narrative, her behaviour depicting just how dark her world became, her mind unravelling as her dependence on alcohol increased.

An interesting and dark read with a thrilling “whodunit” to keep readers guessing!

 

Giveaway

For your chance to win a paperback copy of this book all you need to do is retweet the pinned tweet on Twitter. This is open to UK entries only and the winner will be randomly selected when entries close at midnight and contacted via Twitter on Friday morning.

Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.

 

About the Author:

CM Thompson lives in Nottingham, she has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Portsmouth. Her first novel, What Lies in the Dark, came out in 2014. She doesn’t have much to put in her bio because she spends too much time reading and playing Candy Crush. She can be found on Twitter @cmtwrites.

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