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** My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and Louise Wise for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Can you really be on the WRONG path in life?

No one knew she was driving on that stretch of road. No one saw her car leave the highway and crash into a watery ditch. No one heard the car’s windscreen smash or saw the tree branch come through to impale her to her seat. No one heard her screams.

Julie Compton’s life should have come to an end that day, but instead, that moment was the beginning of her new life as she wakes, unharmed, back in 1972 and primed to relive her traumatic childhood all over again. One flaw. She’s in the body of a stranger.

Journey back to the 70s and 80s England where Julie is forced to jump through the eras, occupying and controlling other people’s bodies she knew as a child. She must work out which destiny path was the wrong one all while wondering if her body, back in 2016, was dying in her car.

With each momentous change, her memories transform and she realises she’s not only changing her future but of those around her. She’s finally ‘living’ but does that mean she must die?

My Thoughts & Review:

There was something in the description of this book that instantly caught my eye and made me want to read more.  I’m a sucker when it comes to tales with a hint of time travel, I recently enjoyed Stephen King’s 11.22.63 and have been watching Outlander on Amazon so this book had an instant appeal and I was keen to see where Louise Wise would take her character with this.

I enjoyed reading this novel, and found that I was eagerly looking forward to seeing where Julie would end up next with her leaps.  The way that the events of Julie’s past are revisited through her possession of another body is fascinating, she is able to watch and experience the events of her childhood through the perspective of another person which adds another dimension to the tale.  The period details of the 70s and 80s were well written and felt authentic.

A little bit of an open mind is helpful when reading this, as it does hint towards sci-fi but it works.  There are elements of humour and romance woven through the plot making this a well rounded read for those who want to branch out from their comfort zones slightly.  I also found that it got me thinking, if I had the chance, would I go back and change anything about my life…..?

An enjoyable and engaging read!

 

You can buy a copy of Wide Awake Asleep via:

Amazon.com

Amazon UK

About the Author:

Louise Wise is a British writer and has been weaving stories all her life—and for many years, she was a ‘closet writer’ with a cupboard is full of ageing manuscripts depicting fantastical romantic adventures!

Most of her books have an element of romance, but tend to cross over into other genres, giving them a unique edge.

Her debut novel is the best-selling sci-fi romance EDEN, which was followed by its sequel HUNTED in 2013.

A PROPER CHARLIE is a romantic comedy written purely for the chick lit market, but then she decided to unite her love of all things supernatural with romance and OH NO, I’VE FALLEN IN LOVE and WIDE AWAKE ASLEEP came along.

Her other works include SCRUFFY TRAINERS (a collection of short stories with a twist). She has written numerous short stories for women’s magazines including Women’s Own and Take a Break.

She loves hearing from her readers – the good, the bad and the ugly stuff they want to share!

Social Media Links –

Website: http://louisewise.website

Books: http://amzn.to/1Ne7KX0

Twitter: https://twitter.com/louise_wise

 

 

 

Wide Awake Asleep Full Schedule

 

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Hello, it’s Friday and that means it’s time for a post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing”, the publisher this week is Urbane Publications, the book being featured is All The Colours In Between by Eva Jordan, a thoroughly moving and wonderful book that deserves to be loved and read by all.

I also have the lovely Lloyd Otis in the hot seat for the author feature, his debut Dead Lands was published in October 2017.


Book Feature:

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Eva Jordan’s much-anticipated follow up to the bestselling 183 Times a Year It’s not a life, it’s an adventure!

Lizzie is fast approaching 50. Her once angst ridden teenage daughters, now grown and in their twenties, have flown the nest, Cassie to London and Maisy to Australia. And, although Connor, Lizzie’s sulky, surly teenage son,is now on his own tormented passage to adulthood, his quest to get there, for the most part, is a far quieter journey than that of his sisters. The hard years, Lizzie believes, are behind her.

Embracing her new career as a writer; divorce, money worries and the constant battle to weather the stormy complexities of the blended family, are all but a distant memory. It’s time for Lizzie to focus on herself for a change. Stepdaughter Maisy is embracing life down under and daughter Cassie is working for a famous record producer in London. Lizzie’s only concern, albeit a mild one, is for the arrested development of her Facebook-Tweeting, Snapchatting, music and mobile phone obsessed, teenage son. With communication skills, more akin to an intermittent series of unintelligible grunts, conversation is futile. However, Lizzie is not particularly perturbed. With deadlines to meet and book tours to attend, Lizzie has other distractions to concentrate on. But all in all, life is good. Life is very good.

Only, things are never quite as black and white as they seem…

A visit to her daughter in London leaves Lizzie troubled. Cassie is still the same incessant chattering Queen of malaprops and spoonerisms she ever was, however something is clouding her normally cheery disposition. Not to mention her extreme weight loss. And that is just the start. Add to that an unexpected visitor, a disturbing phone call, a son acting suspiciously, a run in with her ex husband and a new man in her life who quite simply takes her breath away; Lizzie quickly realises life is something that happens while plans are being made.

Harsh but tender, thought provoking but light-hearted, dark but brilliantly funny, this is a story of contemporary family life in all its 21st century glory. A story of mothers and sons, of fathers and daughters, of brothers and sisters, and friends. A tale of love and loss, of friendships and betrayals and a tale of coming of age and end of life. Nobody said it would be easy and as Lizzie knows only too well, life is never straightforward when you see all the colours in between.

My Thoughts & Review:

After falling in love with Eva Jordan’s writing with her debut novel 183 Times a Year, I was ecstatic to learn she had penned a follow up that would see me catching up with Lizzie and Cassie again, but I wasn’t prepared for the raft of emotions I would feel reading this and a huge hat tip to Eva for her superb writing for turning me into a blubbering wreck.

So where to begin…..even just thinking back to this book catches my breath and reminds me of some of the most inspired and moving narrative I’d read lately.
Right, so, time has moved on from where we left Lizzie in the previous book, she’s now concentrating on her writing career and careering towards the big Five Oh, her daughter Cassie is off to London, her son Connor is exactly what you would expect from a teenager and Maisy, her stepdaughter is in Australia with her partner.  For once, life seems to be settled and everyone knows what they’re doing…..or so it would seem.  Poor Lizzie is never one for a quiet and easy life, and sure enough life finds a way to complicate itself.

Poor Lizzie, my heart goes out to her, she is a parent who wants the best for her kids.  And as most parents will agree, no matter the age of your children, they are still your babies and you will care about them and want the best for them whether they are 5 or 45.  And this applies to Lizzie and Cassie.
Cassie has a secret and despite wanting to give her her independence, Lizzie also wants to help her daughter with whatever it is that’s bothering her.
Connor is a character I could not help but like, despite his moody teenage ways he’s lovely.  All too often we forget what it’s like to be on the brink of growing up, shaking off the shell of childhood and stepping into the new adult world and I think that Eva Jordan has written Conner perfectly.  The narration from his perspective felt authentic.

When it comes to the plot, I will say that this is a book to read with a box of tissues near by.  As I mentioned above, I ended up a blubbering mess reading parts of this book.  At points I didn’t even realise there were tears streaming down my face, so strong was the emotional pull of the story and the characters.  That said, there were also bits in the book where I laughed and smiled, it’s a book that really has the whole gamut of emotion woven throughout.

If you’ve not read either of Eva’s books then I wholeheartedly recommend you do, and whilst I think that All The Colours In Between can be read as a stand alone, why deprive yourself?  Go on, spoil yourself to two new books and get lost in some exquisite writing.

 

You can buy your copy of All The Colours In Between via:

Amazon UK
Urbane Publications
Wordery
Book Depository


Author Feature:

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Lloyd was born in London and graduated in Media and Communication. An avid movie fan, he wrote film reviews for his university magazine and enjoyed a stint in a television production company where he helped with props and scripts. He went on to write reviews for music sites, including ilikemusic, and after gaining several years of valuable experience within the finance and digital sectors, completed a course in journalism.

Under the pen name of ‘Paige’ he has interviewed a host of bestselling authors, such as Mark Billingham, Hugh Howey, Kerry Hudson, and Lawrence Block, and has blogged for The Bookseller, and The Huffington Post. He also wrote a regular book review column for WUWO Magazine and two of his short stories were selected for publication in the ‘Out of My Window’ anthology. He has also had articles appear on the Crime Readers’ Association website, and in the Writers’ Forum magazine. He currently works as an Editor.

 

 

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

For me, there are many favourite things about being an author such as publication day and seeing my book in a bookstore, but most of all it’s feeling like one. That’s awesome.

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

Having to do rewrites and edits with only a short time to implement them.

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

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger for its observations of a particular place and time, and Orwell’s 1984 for its amazing futuristic foresight.

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

I strum a few chords on the guitar when I can so that I’ll be able to solo like Slash one day and I also read a lot too. Fiction and non-fiction.

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

I tend to keep my stationary environment linear without too many distractions so that I can immerse myself fully into the story. Getting a consistent writing pattern is key for me and I can’t bear the thought of missing out on writing time if I am out and about, so I write on-the-move. On the bus or on the train.

 

A huge thank you to Lloyd for taking part and for sharing some more about himself, it’s always nice to get to know the person behind a book.  Especially when they’re a guitar playing rockstar – the book world’s answer to Slash perhaps?!  Love the idea that if you see Lloyd whilst he’s out he might be writing furiously on the train as an idea hits him for his next book!
If you would like to know more about Lloyd and his work, check out the following link:

Website: https://lloydotis.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lloydotiswriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LloydOtisWriter

 

** My thanks to the ever wonderful Matthew Smith at Urbane Publications for my copy of this wonderful book and for taking part in Celebrating Indie Publishing **

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I am so excited to share a guest post with you today by Angelena Boden about the destructive grip of obsession as part of the blog tour for her latest book The Future Can’t Wait.

Description:

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The Future Can’t Wait is the emotive and compelling second novel from Angelena Boden, author of the gripping The Cruelty of Lambs.

Kendra Blackmore is trying to be a good mother and a good wife, as well as pursuing her pressurised teaching career. Then Kendra’s half-Iranian daughter Ariana (Rani) undergoes an identity crisis which results in her running away from home and cutting off all contact with her family.

Sick with worry and desperate to understand why her home-loving daughter would do this, Kendra becomes increasingly desperate for answers – and to find any way possible to discover the truth and bring her estranged daughter home…

The Future Can’t Wait is a gripping story of a mother’s love, and the lengths we would all go to in order to know our children are safe.

You can buy a copy of The Future Can’t Wait via:

Amazon UK
Urbane Publications


Guest Post:

THE DESTRUCTIVE GRIP OF OBSESSION (and the title of the book)

Many of us get mocked for having little rituals we carry out daily: checking the door to make sure it really is locked or the electric hob to test that all the rings are cold. My friend has to make a dramatic show of pulling out her iron from the socket to help manage her obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  It’s a visualisation exercise in case you were wondering. When you’ve read this blog, have a cuppa and think about the rituals that shape your life.

Irrational thoughts flood our brain from time to time like when our child is late home. We can’t concentrate on anything other than ringing round their friends or zapping out numerous text messages Call me NOW. Really worried.

Is it only a certain type of person that becomes obsessive? No. It can happen to anyone in different forms. The most talked about is obsessive-compulsive hand-washing and cleaning. Think of the TV programmes featuring cleanaholics. No doubt you’ve wondered what drives someone to scrub their house for twelve hours a day.

In The Future Can’t Wait, Kendra becomes obsessive or even addicted to consulting psychics, triggered by a casual flick through a magazine. She’s a good example of a grounded personality who, in a time a deep distress, develops a set of behaviours to help cope with anxiety. It’s about taking back some control. Whilst research into the biological factors relating to the cause and development of OCD is ongoing, there is no definitive explanation as to why one person might become obsessive in their thinking and another not.

Anxiety is certainly a trigger and a driving force behind this distressing condition, which can affect relationships, work and everyday living, (think hoarders) and it is has been proposed that there might be some genetic link.

I can talk about this a little bit from a personal point of view as from time to time I get sucked into the vortex of rumination and nothing anyone can say will end it until it’s run its course, normally four days. I liken it to having your rational mind squeezed through a colander. Mine developed along with PTSD in the mid –nineties when I needed to regain some control over events that were spiralling out of control. Many anxiety-related disorders come from some sort of conflict – inner or outer. Thankfully many can be successfully treated.

To help manager her anxiety, although she did not realise this at the time, Kendra develops an obsession with her daily horoscope. Unlike most people who dismiss it as a bit of fun, she allows this multi-million pound industry of psychics and mediums to become her oracle. Operating from phone hotlines, they guarantee success from “genuine” psychics whilst milking enormous amounts of money from the gullible and desperate.

Some research coming out of the USA about this alarming phenomenon, indicates that psychic addiction is becoming an epidemic with no boundaries. Once someone gets drawn in they find it difficult to stop.

It becomes a problem is when you consult several people over a short period of time about the same issue. Psychic dependency is now classified as having more than two readings in the same year about the same issue i.e psychic hopping. The soothing words of the clairvoyant are a life line, hence the risk of addiction. As with a substance addiction, it is always about the next fix.

Maybe some of you lovely readers might want to debate the validity of psychics but that’s for another day. My issue is about how a well-balanced individuals can develop a behaviour addiction when desperate to solve a problem and its destructive nature. There are healthier avenues to explore. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for one.

I’ve heard it said from those who are the most susceptible is that the worst thing in life is the not knowing and the desperate need to bring the future forward. Hence the title of the book.

If you’ve been affected by any of the content of this blog, here are some sources of help.

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cognitive-behavioural-therapy/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://ocduk.org/

http://www.psychic-readings-guide.com/psychic-dependency/   Ignore the pop-ups from the sales peddlers.

NEW BANNER

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I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for The Good Samaritan by John Marrs, not only because I’ve enjoyed a lot of his books, but because I am joining some of the best book reviewers and bloggers on this tour, especially my tour buddy Sharon Bairden who blogs over at Chapterinmylife she’s also my go to person when I need recommendations for Scottish Crime Fiction – seriously, head over there and check out her blog if you’ve not done so already…but perhaps after you’ve read my review.

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** My thanks to Tracy Fenton and Thomas & Mercer for my copy of this and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

She’s a friendly voice on the phone. But can you trust her?

The people who call End of the Line need hope. They need reassurance that life is worth living. But some are unlucky enough to get through to Laura. Laura doesn’t want them to hope. She wants them to die.

Laura hasn’t had it easy: she’s survived sickness and a difficult marriage only to find herself heading for forty, unsettled and angry. She doesn’t love talking to people worse off than she is. She craves it.

But now someone’s on to her—Ryan, whose world falls apart when his pregnant wife ends her life, hand in hand with a stranger. Who was this man, and why did they choose to die together?

The sinister truth is within Ryan’s grasp, but he has no idea of the desperate lengths Laura will go to…

Because the best thing about being a Good Samaritan is that you can get away with murder.

My Thoughts & Review:

After I read and enjoyed The One by John Marrs earlier this year I was delighted to hear that he had written another book and was ecstatic to be offered an early copy to read for the blog tour (the perks of being a complete book nerd!).
I do love the creeping unease that builds throughout John’s books, there’s a danger that lurks just out of sight in the narrative that you can’t quite put your finger on, but you know that it’s coming and you know that it will catch you completely unawares but you can’t help but devour the book waiting for it to jump out at you.

In The Good Samaritan we meet Laura who is the epitome of the perfect character written by John Marrs, you can’t quite work her out.  To others, she seems perfect.  She’s caring, helpful, bakes cakes to bring into her co-workers, offers to sew clothing that’s lost a button or needs hemming, and on top of all of this, she has survived cancer so she stands out as someone who is noticeable.  But underneath it all, there’s something sinister about her, she gets a kick out of helping people end their lives and working in  a call centre where suicidal people call is the perfect setting for her to cherry pick her victims.

With some impressive plotting, readers are taken on a journey through Laura’s twisted and fiendishly devious mind as she recounts moments from her past that shock and alarm at times, she’s tortured by her earlier life and wants to escape the memories by helping others who truly want to die.  And I admit, I did feel incredibly saddened for her at times, but like a yo-yo my sympathies lessened when I learned more about her, she seemed ruthless and cruel, before sneakily John Marrs changed tact and had me feeling empathy towards her again.  This is offset perfectly with the character of Ryan.  Where Laura evokes horror and shock, Ryan elicits emotions of sadness, pity and sympathy, but as the plot moves on at a rate of knots the emotions switch around as each of the lead characters assume the position of power.

The way that the story hooks readers in is absolutely key, and for those out there who love an unreliable narrator then you’re in for a treat with The Good Samaritan.  There are moments where you think you can preempt where the plot is heading only for John Marrs to swiftly pull the carpet from underneath you and leave you reeling.  The plot twists are clever and downright brilliant in places.
This is the sort of book that you can’t read whilst cooking supper or you may well end up cremating it all, or end up reading into the wee hours of the morning because you’ve been so wrapped in what happens.  And if you do manage to put the book down, you may well find that it plays out in your head, taunting you to get back to reading, making you wonder what might happen next, or make you ask what you might do in that situation.

A gripping thriller that really gets into your head!

You can buy a copy of The Good Samaritan via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

Tour Poster 1

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** My thanks to the wonderfully sparkly Miranda Dickinson and the folks at Pan Macmillan UK for my copy of this wonderfully festive novella **

 

Description:

A wonderfully festive ebook short that will get you excited for the Christmas season, by the author of the bestselling Fairytale of New York.

Heartbroken Cerrie Austin is doing her best to hold it together in the run up to Christmas. Not easy when her cheating ex works in the same school and everyone’s eyes are on her. The last thing she needs is a new teacher meddling in her beloved nativity play, even if he is charming, handsome and a talented musician. The Christmas performance is her pride and joy, and she won’t be undermined.

Seren McArthur has recently returned to her Cornish hometown and is enjoying being close to her family and her oldest friends again. St Ives is at its most magical at Christmas, with fairy lights and tinsel in every shop window, tempting locals and holidaymakers alike as they pick up gifts. But an exciting opportunity is just around the corner: will she stay or will she go?

Meanwhile, the St Ives Christmas celebrations are in crisis: plans for a giant lantern parade through the starlit streets have ground to a halt. As the snow starts to fall, can Cerrie, Seren and their friends Kieran and Aggie rally around in time to save the big day?

My Thoughts & Review:

I make no secret of the fact that I like to read books outside of my favoured genre of crime, thriller, police procedural type things, and when I’m in the mood for something to make my heart happy and restore my faith in human nature Miranda Dickinson’s books are some of the first I will grab.  My love of her writing started with A Parcel for Anna Browne and since then I’ve pretty much bought copies of most of her books without a second thought.  That’s how much I love her style of writing!

When I saw the buzz about Christmas in St Ives on social media I was intrigued, mostly because Miranda hinted about something special coming, something sparkly that fans would be excited about and needed some people to help create a buzz about it.  So like many others, I volunteered and was rewarded with a sneaky preview of what was to come.  One look at the cover of this and I knew I had to find out more, it’s so elegant and eye-catching.

In Christmas in St Ives we meet a cast of characters that I wouldn’t mind befriending in real life, ok well some of them more than others.  The way that each character comes to life through the narrative is exceptionally well done, each of their personalities and quirks shines through as if they were real people.  I loved watching Cerrie coming alive again, finding herself again after the breakdown of her relationship, like watching a rose blossom.  Seren, oh how I wish I could actually see the glass jewellery she makes, the way it’s described in the book conjures such beautiful images in my head and makes me wish I could have seen the window display in the gallery.  She’s such a caring character and her connection with her father really tugged at my heart strings, and reminded me a little of the author in the way that her father was her hero.  Aggie, wow that’s a woman I need to meet!  Peppermint mochas?!  Now that’s a treat I seriously have to try!!  Her cafe sounds so funky and stylish, I may have to steal the idea of the new lights for my kitchen!  Kieran, he has a heart of gold and I really wanted to grab him and give him a little shake at times, tell him to stop being such a wise ass and just take a step forward, be brave…his indecision at times felt so real.

The story is really about relationships, be they between families, friends, lovers.  At the root of it all is a firm foundation of trust and honesty, if those foundations aren’t laid properly then anything on top will surely fall and crumble, and throughout the story we see how the characters falter before realising that they must fix what’s been done before they can build up.

With a short snippet of Somewhere Beyond the Sea at the end of the novella, readers really are spoiled and it’s tantalisingly cruel, after reading it I just wanted to read on and find out what happened next but unfortunately I have to wait until June 2018, suppose I can pretend it’s a birthday present….?

The perfect read to get you in the Christmas spirit and make you feel all sorts of warm and sparkly!

You can buy your copy of Chrsitmas in St Ives now via:

Amazon UK

About the Author:

Miranda Dickinson has always had a head full of stories. Born in 1973 in Wolverhampton, she grew up in Kingswinford and dreamed of one day writing a book that would reach the heady heights of Kingswinford Library… Her first novel, Fairytale of New York (2009) was discovered on Authonomy.com – HarperCollins’ site for unpublished authors. Within three weeks of its release, Fairytale of New York had entered the Sunday Times Top Ten Bestsellers List, where it remained for five weeks – making it the world’s first crowd-sourced bestseller. The novel was also shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2010 at the Pure Passion Awards.

Miranda is a six-times Sunday Times Bestseller, with Fairytale of New York, Welcome to My World, It Started With a Kiss, When I Fall in Love, Take a Look at Me Now, I’ll Take New York, A Parcel for Anna Browne and Searching for a Silver Lining. Her new Christmas novella, Christmas in St Ives, is a festive treat and also a prequel to her ninth novel, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, which publishes in June 2018. She is an international bestseller in four countries and her books have been translated into seven languages. To date, she has sold one million books worldwide. She is currently writing her tenth novel.

Miranda lives in Dudley with her husband, Bob and daughter, Flo. She is also a singer-songwriter and recently released her first solo album, About Time.

Follow Miranda’s vlog at www.youtube.com/mirandawurdy and visit her website: miranda-dickinson.com
You can also follow Miranda on Twitter @wurdsmyth, on Instagram @wurdsmyth and on Facebook: MirandaDickinsonAuthor

 

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** My thanks to Sarah at Bombshell Books for the opportunity to read a copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog blitz **

Description:

I would rather love passionately for an hour than benignly for a lifetime.”

In a house full of history and secrets, the past will not stay where it belongs…

Lou has always loved Hill House, the derelict manor on the abandoned land near her home. As a child, the tragic history of its owners, the Mandevilles, inspired her dream to become a history teacher. But in her late twenties, and working in a shop to pay off student debts, life is passing her by.

That changes when a family disaster sends Lou’s life into a downward spiral and she seeks comfort in the ruined corridors of Hill House. The house transforms around her and Lou is transported back to Christmas 1913. Convinced she has been in an accident and is in a coma, Lou immerses herself in her Edwardian dream. With the Mandevilles oblivious to her true identity, Lou becomes their houseguest and befriends the eldest son, Captain Thomas Mandeville, a man she knows is destined to die in the First World War.

Lou feels more at home in the past than the present and when she realises the experience is real she sets out to do everything in her power to save her new friends.

Lou passes between 1913 and 2013, unearthing plots of murder and blackmail, which she must stop no matter the cost.

On her quest to save the Mandevilles by saving Thomas, Lou will face the hardest decision of her life. She will learn that love cannot be separated by a century.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Callie Longridge has crafted a very special story here, and something about this book still lingers on after I’ve finished reading it – always a good sign for me.

I am a fan of historical fiction so this book instantly appealed to me, I wasn’t put off by the time lapse concept at all and was intrigued to see how the author would work this into the plot, and indeed to see if she would pull it off.  I needn’t have worried, Langridge did a wonderful job and and her writing is exceptional.  The attention to detail in the descriptions throughout transported me to the settings, I felt that I was seeing the house myself and not just through the eyes of Lou.

I won’t say too much about the plot, I always fear giving away something that will spoil the book for others or will give some sort of hint about what’s to come in the story.  But I will say that I loved the idea that Lou sought solace and escape in Hill House, a place she had loved since her childhood and the place that stemmed her love of history at a young age.  From there her adventure really begins, slipping back into 1913 and becoming wrapped up with the lives of the occupants of the house at the time, the Mandeville family.  Lou is a wonderful character that I think many readers will take into their hearts, she is a caring and interesting character and watching events play out makes you want to reach out to her, embrace her and wish for the best to occur.

The pace of this novel was just right, the story flowed well and the way that the time slips were written worked perfectly.

For me, this story is just as much about love and family as it is about secrets and mystery – a perfect combination!

You can buy a copy of A Time to Change via:

Amazon

BLOG TOUR

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white lies final

 

** My thanks to Sarah at Bombshell Books for the opportunity to read this book and inviting me to be part of the blog blitz **

 

Description:

Lydia knows first-hand that ‘having it all’ isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. As far as she’s concerned, when it comes to job versus family, it’s a case of one or the other. And whilst most women her age have spent years climbing the corporate ladder, she’s made a career out of bagging her perfect man. Now nearly thirty and still single, Lydia wonders if she’d made the right choice.

Realising the time has come to take stock, she goes against her family’s wishes and goes travelling in the hope of finding a new direction. At least that’s the plan.

So when Sam comes along, she decides to tell a little white lie, re-inventing herself as a professional chef – not exactly the best new identity for a woman who can’t cook. But the truth can’t stay hidden for long and when her family show up unexpectedly things go from bad to worse…

Can Lydia find love? Will she ever learn to cook?

Little White Lies and Butterflies is a heart-warming comedy about finding your place in the world.

My Thoughts & Review:

After reading Suzie Tullett’s previous book The Trouble with Words I was delighted to be offered an early review copy of her next book by the publisher.
Despite this being only the second book that I’ve read by this author, I definitely have a new name to add to the list of go to authors for when I need a book to pick me up or offer an escape, she’s right there alongside Holly Martin, Darcie Boleyn, Rachel Griffiths and Jenny Colgan.

I won’t go into the ins and outs of the plot, that’s something for you to discover on your own, preferably with a hot cuppa and a chocolate biscuit or two.  But I will say that I loved how the story flowed so easily in this book, the way it all wound perfectly together despite the madcap escapades of certain characters.
Lydia, wants to find her soul mate, her perfect match, the one…..and in doing so she has a strict list of criteria she is looking for and not willing to deviate from it.  But with this mindset she is potentially missing out on perfectly nice men in search of a mythical man that might not exactly exist.  There were times I could sympathise with her, if you were to settle down you would want it to be with someone special, someone who is the chocolate to your digestive, but there were also times that I wanted to give Lydia a shake and tell her to stop being so quick to judge.  To open her eyes and see what was right in front of her, see who was in front of her.

There were so many moments in this that I found I was chuckling out loud, seeing little white lies becoming huge whoppers that snowballed cataclysmically made this such a humorous read.  However, this book has more to offer than just light-hearted comedic read, it has romance, and some enthusiastic family members that cause embarrassment and panic.  But ultimately it has an important lesson to share – everyone has their own place in this life, it may not be apparent if you are quick to judge and only see one perspective, look deeper and try to appreciate what’s around you.

I absolutely love Suzie Tullett‘s style of writing, it flows beautifully and it feels like it transports you into the book.  The descriptions of the Greece were mesmerising, the beaches became such clear images in my head, the sights and smells (especially food) felt so rich and authentic.  One of those books that’s perfect to lose yourself in for an afternoon.

You can buy a copy of Little White Lies and Butterflies via:

Amazon

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Published: 28 August 2017

 

Description:

A red gash of a mouth rimmed with impossibly tiny, razor-sharp teeth yawned wide, then swift as a snake, she bent and struck . . . “
For Sandra, daughter of illusionists, Adam and Ophelia, life’s never been run of the mill. But when Adam’s wandering eye lights on yet another conquest, it proves a chorus girl too far, and Sandra’s caught in the reverberations of her parents acrimonious parting. Coerced into restoring her depressed Mother to the bosom of a family Sandra never knew existed, she’s sucked into a situation that even for her is unnerving.
 
From being without a single relative, she suddenly acquires several she’d rather do without, and learns a few home truths she’d prefer not to know. Ophelia it appears, has not been entirely honest about any number of things. There’s no doubt in Sandra’s mind, the sooner she puts as much distance as possible between herself, her newly discovered nearest and dearest, their peculiar tendencies and their failing hotel business, the very much happier she’s going to be.
 
Dire straits call for desperate measures and Sandra reluctantly rises to the occasion. A hanged housemaid, a fly-on-the-wall documentary, The Psychic Society and a quasi co-operative journalist all handled correctly should, she reckons, get the family business up and running, which will allow her to do the same – as fast as she can, and in the opposite direction. Things unfortunately move swiftly from bad to farce and then get a hell of a lot darker. One moment Sandra’s struggling to save the family’s income, the next, she’s battling to save their lives.
Turns out, some darknesses, once buried, are best left undisturbed.

My Thoughts & Review:

The reader meets Sandra just as her life begins to unravel slightly, her mother Ophelia appears and as dramatic as ever announces that she and Sandra’s father have argued and that she’s left him for good.  The fight between the two became physical and she hit him over the head before leaving, not caring if he were dead or alive.  Ophelia declares she has had enough of Adam’s roving eye and womanising ways, and this time it’s the end.
And just as the reader grasps what’s happening, Sandra begins to recount her childhood, how it was to grow up the daughter of the great illusionists Adam and Ophelia.  The relationship between daughter and parents never appears as that of the stereotypical one, Sandra was often left behind or forgotten about and the much needed parental figure coming in the form of the couples’ manager.  The way in which Sandra describes the relationship of her parents gives readers an insight into this stormy pairing.  Both seeming to spark something in the other that gives rise to an argument or heated exchange, but ultimately this chemistry is the thing that keeps their stage act alive and popular.

Back in the present, Ophelia is in full diva mode, demanding that Sandra take time off work and drive her to Stratford, she however fails to inform her daughter of the significance of the address to which they are heading.  Upon arrival at the hotel, Sandra is astounded to realise that she has family that Ophelia omitted to tell her about, having believed her mother’s tales whilst growing up that she had no family.
The family hotel is failing and Sandra decides to help out whilst she is there, and Ophelia true to her nature, disappears at the mention of helping out by doing some work.

What then follows is a tale of madness, chaos and ghostly goings on with quite possibly the strangest collection of characters.

I found this was a quick read, once I’d started I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened and where Sandra would end up in the grand scheme of things.

The characters in this have been created well, their descriptions are well rounded and show off their quirks as well as making them quite interesting to read about.

I will admit that it’s a little outside my usual crime thriller reads to it did take a little time to switch off my logical thinking brain and just let the story flow.

You can buy a copy of Witch Dust via Amazon

My thanks to Noelle and Kate at Thick as Thieves Book Publicity and Promo for the opportunity to read and review this book, and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Follow the blog tour:

Witch Dust Blog Tour Poster

 

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Description:

When Colin discovers his son is on a murder charge in France, he trails his small boat, The Dragonfly , across the channel to stay in Paris to try and help him. There he meets his grand-daughter the irrepressible Delphine for the first time. They embark on an exciting boat journey through the picturesque French canals, heading south through Burgundy, until the butter melts. Along the way, they catch up with Tyler, a spirited American, and through various mishaps and misunderstandings, they land big fish, cultivate new loves and uncover a burning secret. But can Colin finally help his son get off the hook?

My Thoughts & Review:

This was a book that I read on holiday and was lost for words when it came to writing a review.  It’s such a captivating book following Colin and his boat The Dragonfly as they travel the canals of France after receiving a letter informing him that his estranged son has committed murder.  Colin is desperate to find out why his son has acted so out of character and travels to France to try and  help him.

Colin’s arrival in France is bittersweet, the circumstances that have brought him there have also brought him face to face with the granddaughter he’s never met, Delphine.  As complete strangers they start out their journey along the French waterways, Dephine finding she  must speak in English so that her grandfather can understand her.  The relationship and bond that forms between the two steadily grows in this heart warming tale.  I really don’t want to say too much about the details of the plot and so this book an injustice, it’s not one that should be spoiled.

The French backdrop is beautifully described, and there’s a great depth to this book, the story flows easily from the pages and captures the heart of the reader.

This is a book that it’s taken so long to write a review for, so many times I thought of what to write for I could never quite capture the right words to explain what I loved so much about this book, it really is quite a special book and one that needs to be read to be appreciated.

You can buy a copy of “The Dragonfly” via Amazon

My thanks to Kate Dunn for the opportunity to read a copy of The Dragonfly, it’s reserved a special place in my library.


Author Feature: b1tzuqkbers-_ux250_

Kate Dunn has had five books published, two novels: Rebecca’s Children and The Line Between Us as well as three works of non fiction, Always and Always — The Wartime Letters of Hugh and Margaret Williams, Exit through the Fireplace and Do Not Adjust Your Set. She has written travel articles for various national newspapers and has broadcast on Radios Two, Three and Four including regular contributions to Front Row. She worked for ten years as an actress and has a PhD in Drama from Manchester University. Her third novel The Dragonfly will be published by Aurora Metro in March 2017.

 

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

The writing process itself.  Sitting in my shed looking down the hill over other people’s gardens, thinking really hard.  Sometimes sinking deep into your imagination is almost transcendental.  I like the process of disappearing from the world like that, but also surfacing at the end of an intense day to find that everything is as it was.  The pursuit of the perfect phrase.

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

I’m lucky enough to have an amazing agent, Laura Longrigg, who has been both a shield and an inspiration, but even in spite of her protection and encouragement the process of finding a publisher is incredibly stressful.  There’s a phrase for the kind of letters you receive – the rave rejection – and I’ve had a few of those.  However, the fact that The Dragonfly has found a fantastic home at Aurora Metro, who are a small independent publisher with a really personal touch, feels even sweeter.

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

I think I would like to have written A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews.  She’s a Canadian writer who draws quite closely on her own experience and she has an extraordinary knack for describing the most harrowing events and putting  a comic spin on them at the same time.  Her novels are brittle and incredibly beautiful, with all kinds of interesting tensions running beneath the surface.  I love her work and would read anything she has written.  I’m awash with admiration.

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

My husband and I are lucky enough to own a small riverboat in France and we spend as much time as we can racketing around the French canals.  It’s 95% blissful relaxation and 5% white knuckle terror.  In fact, the inspiration for The Dragonfly came from some of the adventures we have had, which perhaps goes to show that as a writer you’re never not thinking about your next book!

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

I tried to write in the morning when I’m freshest, and I use the afternoons for gainful employment such as copyrighting or freelance editing, both of which I enjoy and find can complement my own work.  I don’t have much of a ritual, although for every book I write I have a dedicated note book where I jot down ideas and keep a kind of writing diary, so I can chart the development of the story.  Oh yes, and silence – crucial.

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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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