blog tour · book blogger · Book Review

#BlogTour! #Review of The Song of the Stork by Stephan Collishaw (@scollishaw) @legend_press

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Fifteen-year-old Yael is on the run. The Jewish girl seeks shelter from the Germans on the farm of the village outcast. Aleksei is mute and solitary, but as the brutal winter advances, he reluctantly takes her in and a delicate relationship develops.

As her feelings towards Aleksei change, the war intrudes and Yael is forced to join a Jewish partisan group fighting in the woods.

Torn apart and fighting for her life, The Song of the Stork is Yael’s story of love, hope and survival. It is the story of one woman finding a voice as the voices around her are extinguished.

What does TWG think?

Stephan Collishaw’s blog tour bus comes to a stop at TWG HQ today, as we round-up his tour for ‘The Song of the Stork! Here is my review:

Reading ‘The Song of the Stork’ took me completely out of my comfort zone as, whilst having read historic novels previously, I had never read one where the storyline felt completely black and white. Set during one of history’s most distressing times, WW2, Stephan Collishaw took the storyline up yet another notch by incorporating the life of a Jewish person. If you know your history, you’ll know that Jews were constantly looking over their shoulders in fear and just like the main character in this novel, Yael, they were forever on the run.

Yael, a fifteen year old girl had to find a safe haven away from the Germans, preferably somewhere where they wouldn’t even think to look (she hoped). Thankfully Yael found a gentleman who finally agreed to take her under his wing and, despite the fact that he was mute, Yael and Aleksei’s relationship began to blossom. However, the war continued around them…

A new author as well as a rather different take on historical fiction that I have grown to love, it didn’t take me long to realise that I had to keep my mind incredibly open with this book. It was intense due to the topics it covered, obviously, and I would have been a bit miffed if it hadn’t had that intensity flowing through it. However, I felt as though there was something missing from the overall book and I could not work out what it was. It just didn’t warm to me as much as I thought it would, overall. I think I was a little bit irked that I had to keep re-reading a few sentences to gain more clarity of where the storyline was heading. I dislike having to do that!

That said, the content itself was poignant, powerful and incredibly intense, which I rather enjoyed. For me, The Song of the Stork was a promising read with the bare bones of the storyline showcasing the authors intellect in regards to a devastating and memorable situation.

I didn’t dislike the book at all. I enjoyed the overall concept of the storyline; I just wanted more.

I am glad that I was given the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and embark on a journey with a new author. Despite my reservations, The Song of the Stork was a risk worth taking.

Thanks Legend Press.

Buy now.

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#extract · blog tour · book blogger · Crime/thriller · guest spotlight

#BlogTour! #GuestPost from ‘Deadly Game’ author Matt Johnson (@Matt_Johnson_UK) @OrendaBooks

Big thanks to author of ‘Deadly Game’, Matt Johnson, and Orenda Books, for having me host today’s stop on the blog tour! Matt Johnson has written a really insightful guest post for us here at TWG HQ! I am super excited to share with you Matt’s thoughts on editing books and having to decide whether all parts of the storyline make the final cut or not!

A darling killed – Matt Johnson.

The editing process can be hard, especially to a new author who is not used
to it. Those words that you have almost sweated blood to produce, that you
have agonised over, changed, improved … only to find they are despatched
to the edit room floor. But that is the very nature of the editor’s role, too look
dispassionately at the content and to make recommendations on what needs
to be changed, what needs to be added, and what should be cut. Editing
helps the story move smoothly, maintains pace and keeps the book on track.
It chops the padding, removes the irrelevant red herrings and polishes up
what remains. It turns a manuscript into a book.

This is an extract from Deadly Game, one that didn’t make the cut. I liked it,
and was sad to see it go, but the editing team were right. And so, my darling
was killed. In this chapter, the central character Robert Finlay has been sent to interview
a potential witness in Gloucester. He meets an old friend, Wendy Russell,
now in charge of policing for that area. This extract, describes and event from
when they first met.

***

Wendy Russell and I had been PCs together at Albany Street and, before
that, on the same intake for the police training school at Hendon in North
London. Early days as a constable consisted of a lot of classroom work, practical
assessments and exercises. After that, every evening was spent on book
study. As an older student, I hadn’t found the book-work easy. Wendy had
been a great help. We first met, one late evening, when I’d taken a break from
the studying to grab a quick beer in the recruit bar. A young redhead had
walked up beside me and offered to buy me a drink. It was Wendy. I accepted
the offer, of course. It’s not every day that kind of thing happens.

Our first hour together was spent talking about the course, why we’d joined
the police and other, ‘get to know you’ type things. Later, Wendy explained
that she’d only spoken to me out of sympathy; she felt sorry for me, sitting on
my own at the bar. I didn’t mind, and that first drink turned out to be the start
of a long friendship. My new friend was on the graduate entry scheme. I
hadn’t heard of it. She explained that by the time I would be eligible to try for a
promotion to sergeant, she would already have made inspector. As it
transpired, her prediction proved correct. Wendy was bright, articulate, and
attractive. She was also a lot younger than me, and was already engaged to
be married to a sergeant who worked in Central London.

Our friendship was cemented one day during ‘restraint’ training. One of the PT
staff had a dislike of female recruits and a resentment of what he called the
‘Bramshill flyers’, the fast-track promotion graduates who would be heading to
the police staff college as their careers progressed. To this particular
instructor, WPCs were all a ‘plonk’ or ‘Doris’ who should have been kept
inside the police stations to make the tea and to look after women and kids.
The fact that Wendy was both female and a ‘flyer’ caused her to be the
subject of much of this man’s attention. A former NCO from one of the infantry
regiments, his uniform tunic was adorned with several medal ribbons, some of
which I recognised. It wasn’t unusual; most of the ex-services lads wore their
ribbons. Almost all had completed tours in Ireland, so the green and blue
General Service ribbon was quite commonplace. Others sported NATO
medals and the Falkland Islands ribbon.

On the day in question, Wendy had been singled out by the PT instructor to
demonstrate restraint techniques. We were to be taught how to deal with
awkward prisoners using the ‘hammerlock and bar’ hold. It was simple
enough to use, but not if you were a rather diminutive female who’s
overpowering male instructor was set on showing you up.
As the rest of the class watched, our fellow recruit was teased, humiliated
and, repeatedly dumped on the gym floor in a bedraggled mess. Wendy tried
hard, very hard, but the instructor was strong, and he was determined to
make his point about the value of WPCs. I saw a tear in Wendy’s eye as she lay on the floor following her sixth or seventh attempt to apply the hold to her tormentor. Ignoring her, the instructor ordered us to form pairs and practise amongst ourselves. I went over to
Wendy and helped her up.
‘You ok?’ I asked.
‘One day, I’m going to come back here as an inspector, then we’ll see who’s
laughing,’ she answered, bravely.
‘Why wait that long?’
‘What do you mean?’

I moved Wendy to the back of the gym where we would be away from the rest
of the class. The instructor, I noticed, had nipped out to do something else
while we tried to master the hold he had been teaching. I had also noticed the
way he had been tipping Wendy on her back as she tried to place him in the
hold. He relied on brute strength. He was overconfident, certain of his strength
advantage and, as a result, was badly balanced on his feet. He didn’t consider
his adversary to be a threat. That left him vulnerable to surprise.
Over the course of the next few minutes, I allowed Wendy to practise on me.
The first time, I dumped her on her back, in the very same way that had
happened to her in front of the class. She made to storm off, but I held her
arm.
‘Stop,’ I said. ‘Now, try this.’
Using a simple sweeping movement of the leg, I showed Wendy how to knock
me off balance and onto my back. By the time the instructor returned, she was
becoming quite proficient at it.
‘OK you lot,’ came the call from our leader. ‘Who’s going to show me what
you’ve learnt?’
For a few seconds, nobody moved. Then Wendy stepped forward. ‘Mind if I
have another try, sergeant.’ The instructor and a couple of the younger male
recruits laughed, but Wendy continued her approach. Failing to anticipate that his stooge could have improved much in the time he had been absent, our teacher adopted the same casual approach to embarrassing his challenger. It was a mistake. Wendy was quick. What she
lacked in strength, she more than made up for in speed. In a flash, the
instructor was decked.

For good measure, Wendy stood for a moment, her right foot on her victim’s
neck and her fists in the air. She looked for all the world like a victorious
gladiator awaiting a command from her audience as to whether to spare her
unfortunate opponent. Two of the women laughed and gave the ‘thumbs
down’ sign. The rest of us cheered and clapped our hands enthusiastically.
In November that year, we were both posted out to Albany Street Police
Station, near Euston, to start our two-year probationary period as uniform
PCs. I had been placed on ‘C’ relief, Wendy was put with ‘D’. Over the coming
years, she inevitably encountered a lot more of the kind of attitude shown by
that instructor, but it didn’t faze her. We kept in contact until she left the Met
several years later, having been promoted to Superintendent.
And now, here she was. As large as life, with six years under her belt in
charge of policing in Gloucester.

Thanks again to Matt for the fantastic guest post! Read on to find out more about his book, Deadly Games, and the link to buy a copy for yourself!

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Reeling from the attempts on his life and that of his family, Police Inspector Robert Finlay returns to work to discover that any hope of a peaceful existence has been dashed. Assigned to investigate the Eastern European sex-slave industry just as a key witness is murdered, Finlay, along with his new partner Nina Brasov, finds himself facing a ruthless criminal gang, determined to keep control of the traffic of people into the UK. On the home front, Finlay’s efforts to protect his wife and child may have been in vain, as an MI5 protection officer uncovers a covert secret service operation that threatens them all… Picking up where the bestselling Wicked Game left off, Deadly Game sees Matt Johnson’s damaged hero fighting on two fronts. Aided by new allies, he must not only protect his family but save a colleague from an unseen enemy … and a shocking fate.

Buy now from Amazon

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aria fiction · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review

#BlogTour! #Review – A Knightsbridge Scandal by Anita Davison (@AnitaSDavison) @Aria_Fiction

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It’s Monday, brand new week which means brand new tour! Aria have given me the honour of kicking off yet another blog tour for them! This is why I LOVE Mondays (even though I’m not on tour for Aria for a few weeks after this one. Sniff).
On my stop today I will be bringing you a review of Anita Davison’s new book, A Knightsbridge Scandal, which was published by Aria Fiction on the 1st March 2017. Hope you enjoy!

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1903 London is bustling and glamorous. With troubling secrets simmering and worrying signs of war Flora Maguire must solve a deadly mystery which leads right to the heart of the corridors of power.

Flora Maguire has escaped the country to enjoy some time in fashionable Knightsbridge, London. Extravagant shops, exuberant theatres and decadent restaurants mean 1903’s London is a thrilling adventure, but there are dark secrets threatening from the continent.

When the body of a London socialite, and leading light of the burgeoning women’s movement, is found outside The Grenadier public house, Flora can’t resist investigating.

Mysterious letters are discovered in the victim’s belongings, strange links to the foreign office and why do the clues keep coming back to the assassination of a Baltic king?

As Flora closes in on the killer, it soon becomes clear she is no longer safe in London, but will her husband Bunny be able to get to her before it’s too late?

What does TWG think?

I was really looking forward to starting Anita Davison’s latest novel, A Knightsbridge Scandal, as she was a brand new author for me to sink my teeth into in regards to her work. I had heard of her, well, seen her books on Amazon, but my love for historical fiction wasn’t as deep back then as it is now.

Set in 1903, London; A Knightsbridge Scandal brought to light the issues that women were up against back in the day;  such as the suffragette movement.  The movement was only just beginning to get the word out about their organisation and their beliefs; and, as this storyline shows, A LOT of people (mainly males) were completely against the entire thing. Because of that, women’s safety became a rather touchy subject and also rather dangerous. Again, just like this storyline describes, there is always a scandal when you least expect it. Especially if, like Flora, you’re meant to be having a little city break and the definition of ‘seeing the sights’ is completely different to what you originally thought….

Recently I have been reading a lot more historical fiction novels than ever before as I am a HUGE history buff (not many people know that), which meant my excitement for this novel was at a high. Early 1900’s, London and a lot of history, what’s not to like?
I need to be honest. It took me a little while to be able to get into this storyline and find something to sink my teeth into to keep me interested. The first couple of chapters seemed to ponder along at their own pace with a couple of sparklers alongside them, instead of a firework moment. Does that make sense? I struggled to find ‘the thing’ at first, and I so badly wanted to! I’m not usually one to give up on a book for a trivial reason, so I kept reading with my fingers crossed.

Did someone say SCANDAL?! Why helllooooooo there! The little ‘something’ I needed to reel me into the storyline properly, arrived with glittery paper and a huge bow (well, not really but you know what I mean). Flora was SUCH an inquisitive soul, completely unable to keep her nose out of things that didn’t concern her. But you know what? I’m SOOOO glad that she was like that because I got to follow her journey of investigation, as well as learning more about an early 1900’s London. From that moment I just knew that the book and I would be A-Okay.

Flora’s mother in law, SHEEEEEESH!!!! What WAS that woman on? Both Bunny and his mother got on my nerves something chronic, no wonder Flora wanted to get a bit of excitement into a life and what a way to do it! Of course she managed to land herself in a bit of hot water, Flora was delving into a situation that she really should be steering clear of. That said, it was an exciting read with my detective skills failing me once again!

Anita Davison filled the storyline with one of my most favourite historical moments, The Suffragette Movement, and her brilliant descriptions made the movement come to life before my very own eyes.

Even though I was slightly unsure of the novel at the beginning, Anita’s delightful writing style, historical knowledge and infectious bouts of excitement throughout, really did change my mind. It was as though something in the storyline just clicked.

Entertaining, secretive and incredibly interesting, A Knightsbridge Scandal is an ideal read to lounge on the sofa and step back in time with.

Thank you Aria.

Links to buy
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2kbPt2U

Book 1 – Flora’s Secret is out now:
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/2cJhzSn
Book 2 – Betrayal at Cleeve Abbey is out now
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/2edQSnv
Follow Aria
Facebook: @ariafiction
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Instagram: @ariafiction
Sign up to the Aria newsletter: http://bit.ly/2jQxVtV

About the author.

Anita’s earlier novels are set in 17 th Century England, with a family saga set in Exeter
during the Monmouth Rebellion and a biographical novel about Elizabeth Murray
during the English Civil War in Surrey. Her fascination with the revival of cosy
mysteries made her turn to the early 1900’s for inspiration where she found Flora
Maguire lurking. The series of five novels was taken up for publication by Aria
Fiction, a digital imprint of Head of Zeus Publishing.

Murder on the Minneapolis is available here [http://tinyurl.com/z2ly6lm] and
Murder at Cleeve Abbey can be pre-ordered here. [http://tinyurl.com/zkqhx37]
Twitter – @AnitaSDavison
blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Crime/thriller

#BlogTour! #Review – Those Who Lie by Diane Jeffrey (@dianejeffrey) @neverlandbt

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Such an honour to be kicking off Diane Jeffrey’s blog tour for ‘Those Who Lie’! I could not put this book down, at all! I am relieved that my stop is a review so that I can share just how ‘ohmyGOD’, that this book is. Hope you enjoy the tour and keep a look out for the all important ‘to buy’ link at the end of the review!

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Emily Klein doesn’t know she has killed her husband until the day of his funeral.

At first, signs point to a tragic accident. Yet, as Emily pieces together the events before his death – events which led to her own memory loss – she begins to suspect that her husband’s death may have been the result of more than a terrible twist of fate…

But the accident is only the beginning. Because while Emily’s physical scars will heal, the trauma of the accident has awakened old ghosts. She hears strange sounds, catches things that can’t possibly be there in the corner of her eye. Before long, everywhere she looks, she seems to see her husband.

And suddenly, Emily finds herself asking the most dangerous question of all.

Can she really trust herself?

What does TWG think?

Oh.My.GOD! I started ‘Those Who Lie’ one morning and I had it finished by dinner time. Wherever I went my kindle came with me; I HAD to find out who the finger pointed to, did I guess correctly, you know the same thoughts you have with books like this. For me, the first thing that caught my eye on the e-mail of the book was the very first sentence:

‘Emily Klein doesn’t know she has killed her husband until the day of his funeral.’

Errrrr!!! All sorts of things came to mind, yet the most obvious conclusion for Emily not knowing about her husband’s death didn’t even cross my mind. When the reason came to light in the storyline it was as though the first puzzle piece from an intricate puzzle, had just been put down ready for things to unfold.

Then suddenly, BAM. The author took the storyline back (nearly) to where it all began where Emily was concerned. It wasn’t easy to read. It was chilling, intense and made me physically gasp as it took me back to a moment in my own past, that has left an almighty scar. I honestly thought that I would end up giving up the book due to that link between the characters past, and my past, yet I didn’t. I was far to curious about the overall storyline to give up the book due to a small part of it. Far too nosy for that!

As more of the storyline began to unfold, the closer to the edge of the sofa I became as Emily’s past came back to haunt her. She tried to live her life and move forward as a widow, yet something or someone just wouldn’t leave her alone. Was it her subconscious playing tricks on her or was someone really out to get her? Emily tried to confide in the people she trusted the most, but even they started to look at her like she was going crazy. Losing myself in the storyline and the intensity of Emily’s circumstances made ME feel like I was going mad! One moment things were clear in Emily’s life, and then the next moment things became dark, foggy and even more intense. Goose-bump inducing shall we shall!

Of course, I refuse to do the whole spoiler thing in my reviews as one) that’s not fair on you, and two) it’s extremely unfair on the author. If you are curious about anything in this review, you will need to go and buy the book to read it for yourself as every situation, circumstance and level of fear are ALL linked to one another. That’s why this review is exceptionally hard as I want to tell you everything, but…I can’t! Haha.

‘Those Who Lie’ is a complete head-funk of a book that is full of way more twists than even a game of ‘Twister’ can handle. Also, being red herring galore, this storyline will have you attempting to solve the mystery one moment, to mirroring Emily’s emotions the next. Let’s just say that every single noise I heard after reading this book, made me jump out of my skin and convince myself that I had a nosy parker in my garden (I didn’t btw).

Diane Jeffrey totally blew my mind with such a belter of a storyline and a conclusion even I didn’t see coming. An absolutely fantastic read, I’m looking forward to the next book from this author!

Thank you Diane/NeverlandBT.

Buy now from Amazon UK

book blogger · cover reveal · Uncategorized

#CoverReveal! Just For The Holidays by Sue Moorcroft (@SueMoorcroft) @avonbooksuk

Sue Moorcroft is BACK! It only feels like yesterday that we were helping to reveal the cover of Sue’s previous novel, ‘The Christmas Promise’! Getting us all ready for any upcoming sun, sea, sand and….err, shoes, Sue Moorcroft is set to release her summer treat, Just For The Holidays, in May, and I am delighted to be able to help reveal her beautiful new book cover!

Ready?

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PUBLISHING IN EBOOK AND PAPERBACK: 18THMAY 2017

The #1 bestselling author returns for summer! Grab your sun hat, a cool glass of wine, and the only book you need on holiday…

In theory, nothing could be better than a summer spent basking in the French sun. That is, until you add in three teenagers, two love interests, one divorcing couple, and a very unexpected pregnancy.

Admittedly, this isn’t exactly the relaxing holiday Leah Beaumont was hoping for – but it’s the one she’s got. With her sister Michele’s family falling apart at the seams, it’s up to Leah to pick up the pieces and try to hold them all together.

But with a handsome helicopter pilot staying next door, Leah can’t help but think she might have a few distractions of her own to deal with…

A glorious summer read, for you to devour in one sitting – perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

If Sue’s new book will follow in the same vein as her previous novels, we are in for an absolute treat. Looks like this is going to be yet another book for my TBR pile!!!

Accent Press · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review

#BlogTour! #Review of #PuzzleGirl by Rachael Featherstone (@WRITERachael) @AccentPress

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Love is a riddle waiting to be solved…

Clued-up career girl Cassy Brookes has life under control until one disastrous morning changes everything. When she finds herself stuck in a doctors surgery, a cryptic message left in a crossword magazine sends her on a search to find the mysterious puzzle-man behind it. Cassy is soon torn between tracking down her elusive dream guy, and outwitting her nightmare workmate, the devious Martin.

Facing a puzzling love-life, will she ever be able to fit the pieces together and discover the truth behind this enigmatic man?

What does TWG think?

Ever since Accent Press started posting the book cover on social media (to tease me) at the end of last year, Puzzle Girl had put itself on my radar. There was just something rather unique and exciting about a multi-coloured, puzzle piece tree and I wasn’t going to rest until I had read the book. As always, I’m true to my word and my excitement about #PuzzleGirl began to grow every time Accent Press posted anything about the book. I’m sure you can guess the look on my face when I got approached to review the book for the blog tour!

Now, I’m not the cleverest person when it comes to completing puzzles, especially as Sudoku reminds me of trying to work out your BMI (awfully frustrating), but I was intrigued to see how puzzles were going to be made into a storyline. I thought that maybe I needed to go on a word search(sorry!) to find out, but I ended up having a few cross words with myself due to the constant brain teasers of the storyline! Sorry, I will stop now!

It all started by Cassy finding a puzzle book in a doctor’s surgery waiting room, working out and adapting a few clues (multiple times), whilst finding a mysterious replying puzzle man in the process. I can’t even get people I know talking to me, never mind a stranger responding to me via a puzzle book!! Cassy had a bee in her bonnet and was adamant that she would find out who her puzzle man was, however, the only way that she could do that was by finding multiple (bizarre) reasons to drop into the clinic to check the puzzle book. The bee in the bonnet became an obsession, and the obsession started taking over her life, her friendships and her work life. Thanks to a smidge of rivalry in the office, Cassy’s workplace was already taken over by a different kind of obsession…

At first, I found Cassy’s obsession with her puzzle man quite funny, especially as she was making herself look like an absolute fool every single time she made an excuse to go to the clinic. She let it rule every part of her life which made me feel like she had taken the whole excuse thing completely overboard, making it more about finding excuses as opposed to finding out who the mystery puzzle person was. Her rivalry with a work colleague was hilarious, even if I did think that she had created a completely different version of her rival in her head! Martin didn’t appear to be as big of an arrogant ogre as Cassy made him out to be, but her reactions to his antics were sometimes OVER dramatic that it was brilliant.

‘Puzzle Girl’ is the type of book that to believe it, you need to read it. There are so many unique, clever and utterly bonkers moments throughout the whole book which need to be ravished by your own imagination. There really is something truly hypnotizing about this book, I can’t even put my finger on exactly what it is but all I know is that it filled a large void. I have never, ever read a book like ‘Puzzle Girl’ and I have read  A LOT of books. Every character had a place in the book (even the grumpy receptionist!), not one of them gave off the vibe that they were just ‘there to fill up the storyline’. Obviously, some of the characters were more memorable than others, but they all brought something completely different to the overall feel of the book. For me, that added even more depth to an already puzzling storyline.

Seeing as I was so excited to read ‘Puzzle Girl’, I had everything crossed that my excitement wasn’t going to be short lived once I had begun reading it. I really had no need to worry as Rachael Featherstone’s book ticked each and every box for me, multiple times. Yes, some parts of the storyline, for me, were over exaggerated at points, but it didn’t ruin the book in any way. I just put those OTT situations down to Cassy’s individual personality. After all, she is definitely a unique cookie!

It’s hard to believe that ‘Puzzle Girl’ is Rachael Featherstone’s debut novel, as to read it you might think that she had a fair few novels under her belt. Instead, she just has puzzle pieces!

Puzzle Girl is a humorous, bonkers and unique story which shows that love can be found in the most unexpected places, as long as you have a bit of  two down and three across (not even a clue btw).
A fantastic, witty debut that resulted in me closing the book with a massive smile on my face. Absolutely loved it.

Thank you Accent Press!

Buy now from Amazon UK


blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture

#BlogTour! #Review – Mystery at Maplemead Castle by Kitty French @KFrenchBooks @Bookouture

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Welcome to Chapelwick, a leafy English town in the hills of Shropshire, where chocolate pecan cookies come with a helping of sabotage.

Maplemead Castle is crawling with ghosts, and the new owners need them gone. When Melody Bittersweet and the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency arrive on scene, they quickly identify the troublemakers swinging from the chandeliers… literally.

A century ago, stunning trapeze artist Britannia Lovell plunged to her death, and has done every night since. But did she really just fall, or was there something more to her demise?

Forced to work with Leo Dark, her scoundrel ex, and infuriating, irresistible reporter Fletcher Gunn, Melody’s investigative powers are under strain (i.e. lost in a pink mist of lust and confusion). She needs her team on top form, but best friend Marina’s cake pipeline goes AWOL, assistant Artie’s distracted by a giant sausage roll, and the pug is scared witless by a lion.

Somewhere, hidden in the castle, is a heart-breaking secret, but what will it take to find it? And is there a chance it could set Britannia free, or is she doomed to repeat her last fateful act forever?

What does TWG think?

Happy publication day to the FABULOUS Kitty French and book two in the Chapelwick Mystery series, Mystery at Maplemead Castle! You may remember TWG HQ being extremely vocal about the first book in the series back in 2016, when it was previously titled ‘Melody Bittersweet and the Girls Ghostbusting Agency’ (Book review of ‘Melody Bittersweet and The Girls Ghostbusting Agency’ by Kitty French.). Well, fast forward a year and the first book has had a make-over and is now called ‘The Skeletons of Scarborough House’ (FYI it’s only 99p for a limited time only buy here). That book made my top books of 2016 list, and my top books of all time list. I didn’t think that the series could become even better than was (super brilliant btw)….until I read book number 2. I am beyond thrilled to be one of the blogs kicking off Kitty French’s blog tour today! I hope you enjoy my review:

Melody Bittersweet is back with a bang; even more flamboyant and a MUCH looser mouth. Put it this way, I can no longer look at certain chocolate bars in the same way after reading this book. When I see them out and about in shops, I just burst out laughing and think of Melody Bittersweet and her antics. Although, the images my mind conjures up about her antics, leave such a mark on my imagination whilst taking my innocence along with it. HAHAH, sorry, I couldn’t even type that with a straight face. Innocence my double decker….

In book one of the series, Melody Bittersweet had a love hate relationship with the sweet treats. Basically she loved them and hated anyone that went anywhere near them or attempted to eat them. Book two sees Melody’s love of sweet treats rank even higher and it is absolutely hilarious. Some familiar faces join Melody as she takes on ghosts at Maplemead Castle, finding herself caught in the middle of a love triangle with the ghosts, AND her personal life (she doesn’t want to admit it though). Melody and her team (including the pug who attempts to take down a lion…) have got their work cut out where these ghosts are concerned. None of the ghosts which to talk, and when they do, they think that the truth isn’t what Melody wants to hear..so they refrain.

Having LOVED book one (as you already know), I was in a constant state of bouncing excitement whilst pestering Bookouture about the next book in the series (sorry Kim!). I couldn’t wait to hang out with Melody again! Part of me was a little bit apprehensive about it though as I truly loved the first one and really hoped that Maplemead Castle wouldn’t disappoint. It didn’t disappoint, AT ALL. Kitty French managed to raise the bar even higher for herself with such a hilarious and intense storyline. Yes, Kitty French has a truly fantastic sense of humour and she has written Melody Bittersweet to be a character who everyone wants to be, however, Kitty French also knows when to switch the storyline from hilarity, to deep. I really don’t know how she manages to do that so flawlessly. The history of the ghosts this time around, completely moved me and I did end up with something in my eye, cough. I couldn’t help it though, it was beautifully described and totally unexpected.

Kitty French knows how to write THE perfect storyline; covering all basis with amazing humour, friendship, romance, dog love and sugar love, leaving the reader feeling as though they have just won a prize by reading this book. Even though Maplemead Castle is book two, Kitty French’s unique writing style and vivid imagination made everything about the book feel brand new, once again.

I ADORE Melody, she is such a brilliant character in more ways than one, I would love it if she was a real person so that I could hang out with her for real! Kitty French has managed to have me crying with laughter and unable to conform to human duties, aka breathing, AND even looking at chocolate bars in a completely different way. I thought the first book was great and couldn’t get any better, but oh my God THIS one is a-m-a-z-I-n-g!!! Absolutely fantastic!

THIS is by far one of my top 5 books of 2017. I have no idea how Kitty French manages to do it, but she does and she owns it. Absolutely BRILLIANT, I was devastated that the book had to end and I want another one in the series!!!!!! You’ll be missing out if you do not have Melody Bittersweet in your life, seriously.

Thank you Kim at Bookouture!

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US

kittyfrench


book blogger · cover reveal · Crime/thriller

#CoverReveal! So, SO excited for this! @LisaStoneBooks @AvonbooksUK

Weekly Wrap Up! (1)

This is extremely exciting -bounces-. When this cover reveal landed in my e-mail inbox yesterday I squealed, bounced up and down and squealed some more. I ADORE this author, her writing is spectacular and I cannot wait to nab a copy of this.

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I couldn’t even keep you in suspense! Cathy Glass is incredible and I am sure that ‘The Darkness Within’ will also follow suit. Here is the blurb:

PUBLISHING IN EBOOK & PAPERBACK: 13TH JULY 2017

 A gripping new crime novel from the global bestseller Cathy Glass writing as Lisa Stone
You know your son better than anyone. Don’t you?

When critically ill Jacob Wilson is given a life-saving heart transplant, his parents are relieved that their loving son has been saved.
However, before long, his family are forced to accept that something has changed in Jacob. Their once loving son is slowly being replaced by a violent man whose mood swings leave them terrified – but is it their fault?
Jacob’s girlfriend, Rosie, is convinced the man she loves is suffering from stress. But when his moods turn on her, she begins to doubt herself – and she can only hide the bruises for so long.
When a terrible crime is committed, Jacob’s family are forced to confront their darkest fears. Has the boy they raised become a monster? Or is someone else to blame?

How fantastic does this sound? Let me know what you think in the comments! Get sharing!

#extract · blog tour · book blogger · Crime/thriller

#Blogtour! #Extract of #BornBad by Marnie Riches (@Marnie_Riches) @AvonBooksUK

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A powerful, darkly comic novel set in the criminal underworld of Manchester from bestselling author Marnie Riches.

The battle is on…

When gang leader Paddy O’Brien is stabbed in his brother’s famous nightclub, Manchester’s criminal underworld is shaken to the core. Tensions are running high, and as the body count begins to grow, the O’Brien family must face a tough decision – sell their side of the city to the infamous Boddlington gang or stick it out and risk losing their king.

But war comes easy to the bad boys, and they won’t go down without a fight. So begins a fierce battle for the South Side, with the leading Manchester gangsters taking the law into their own hands – but only the strongest will survive…

Buy now from Amazon UK

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Thank you to Helena, from Avon Books for inviting me on the blog tour today! I have an extract from ‘Born Bad’ to share with you, enjoy!

Extract
by Marnie Riches

Resignation in Tiffany’s voice. She turned to him, treating him to a dead-eyed stare. ‘All they can do is try to shrink it. Radiothingy. They said it’s grown into his nose and around the optic nerves. He’s going blind. Doc said there’s not a surgeon in England has got the savvy to get it out. He’s shafted …’

Lev looked down at Jay and felt tears leak onto his cheeks. Imagining the tumour within his son, wrapping itself around the boy’s beautiful green eyes, suffocating the healthy tissue, eating into space that his brain should by rights fill, replacing thoughts of Postman Pat and Chuggington and whatever other shit the kid watched on CBeebies with pain. Somehow, he had failed the boy. Somehow, it was his fault. There had to be a way to make it better. His mother had always told him the Lord was merciful.

‘… Unless we can get him to the States.’ Tiffany inhaled her cigarette deeply and blew the smoke over Lev’s closely shorn hair.

A glimmer of hope. ‘You what?’

She nodded slowly. Flicked her fingernails with her thumb. ‘There’s this brain surgeon in Baltimore. The place is called John Hopkins Brain Centre or summat.’

‘Right,’ Lev said, wiping the tears from his cheeks determinedly. ‘He’s going. We’ll take him.’

‘It’s a hundred and fifty grand. Maybe more. Where you gonna find that kind of cash, smart arse? Flogging baggies of coke in town on a Saturday night? Get a grip!’

Lev’s heart, buoyed instantly by the thought of a cure that glittered with promise on the other side of the Atlantic, took a slow trip back down to the soles of his Nike Air-Max trainers. He mentally rifled through the hiding places he had for cash in the Sweeney Hall high-rise he called home. The toilet cistern contained £2,500 and a gun that was worth a few quid, wrapped up in plastic bags. There was another £1,900 at the back of the gas meter in an old Brillo box. £5,000 in a carrier bag, gaffer-taped to the underside of his wardrobe. He couldn’t even make ten grand.

‘We’ll find it,’ he said. ‘I’ll ask Tariq and Jonny for more work. Maybe I can help out as muscle. The Fish Man gets paid a mint.’

Tiffany snorted. ‘You? Muscle? Where, in your pants? That’s the only place you ever had muscle, Le-viti-carse.’

His hours spent at the gym every week were clearly lost on that cheeky, head-wiggling cow. Or maybe she was bitching because she wasn’t getting it any more. Yes, that was it. The jibe stung less when he looked at it that way. But this was no time for hurt sensibilities over the quality of his six-pack.

‘I’ll have it saved, borrowed or stolen inside six months. I promise. The full whack.’ The words came out as a half-whisper, bound for his sleeping son’s ears.

‘Six months? You are joking,’ Tiffany said, picking her cigarette dimp out of the ashtray. She put it back inside her cigarette packet, stood and grabbed the empties from the table. No trace of emotion in her indifferent face. ‘The doctor reckons he’ll be dead in three, even with radiowhatsit. We need a miracle. How about you talk to that shithouse, your mother. She’s pretty fucking friendly with God, isn’t she?’

But the words he’ll be dead in three were ringing in Lev’s ears like bad tinnitus. He looked down at Jay, frowning in his sleep. Golden downy hairs on those honeyed, rubicund cheeks. The only beautiful thing in this godforsaken hole. The only beautiful thing in Lev’s entire beleaguered existence. Lev imagined his son lifeless and stiff, his eyes, staring blankly into the abyss, the childish shine all gone. His small body, interred in the autumn-hardening ground of Agecroft Cemetery, a fancy white coffin the only cold comfort remaining at the end of a life left unlived and mourned bitterly by wailing female relatives who should have looked after the poor little bastard better. Then, he pictured himself by his son’s graveside. Wearing his only suit, normally worn for court appearances, weddings and the odd stag night. Here is the homecoming for the son of Leviticus Bell – a pure soul begat by a sinner, snatched back to heaven by an unforgiving God that expects more from his flock than petty drug-dealing, cheap sex and knife crime.

Lev allowed the darkness to engulf him. Chastised himself for being useless at a time of need. Reminded him- self that he was one of life’s fighters. Remembered that Jay still had a chance while Dr Whateverhi‌sorhernamewas at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore existed. ‘Jesus Christ, Tiff. Our Jay can’t die. I won’t let him. I’m gonna sort this.

 

blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture

#BlogTour! #Review – Evie’s Year of Taking Chances by @ChristieJBarlow @Bookouture

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It’s Evie’s birthday and the start of a year she’ll never forget. An emotional story of love, friendship and grabbing life by the horns.
Evie’s job has always been her safe haven. As a librarian in the little town of Becton she loses herself in books – after all it’s far easier to read about other people’s problems than set about solving her own.

Then, one birthday, everything is turned upside down. A mysterious parcel containing a beautiful book with a poignant inscription arrives for Evie. It’s the beginning of a new chapter for Evie and she’s inspired to try and find her real mother. 

Evie’s search leads her to meet handsome author Noah Jones. Charming and intelligent, Noah seems the perfect catch but what Evie doesn’t realise is that he is hiding something – a key to Evie’s past. 

As Evie gets closer to Noah and discovering her mother, she must take a giant leap of faith. Can she embrace the new and make this her year of taking chances? And if she does, will she get her heart broken?

A romantic, funny and poignant story of living life to the full and finding love in the most unlikely of places. Fans of Debbie Johnson and Cathy Bramley will adore this book!

What does TWG think?

Er, why is Mrs Barlow JUST popping her TWG cherry?! I am disgusted with myself for not having Mrs B on my blog before now! Forgive me? Good! Thrilled to be a stop on Christie’s blog tour today with a review of her new release, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances. Enjoy!

Have you ever fallen in love with a book very early on in the storyline? I don’t mean ‘fallen in love’ as in you love the book, giggle, close the book, giggle and put it away. No. I mean falling head over heels in love with the front cover, the characters, the setting; all before you’ve gotten to the nitty gritty moments? Yes? Well, I have, and thanks to Christie Barlow, it was her book that made it happen.

First of all the main character, Evie, is a librarian which means that most of the storyline is set surrounded by books. Er hello, heaven! Second of all, Evie has such a warm personality and a huge heart, it was a bit difficult to do anything except LOVE her. I just wanted to hug her as she came across as such a fragile soul, and with her past in mind it’s no wonder why she is fragile. Evie’s birth mother gave her up soon after she was born, meaning that Evie was taken in and loved by a second mother, with no idea who or where her biological mother was.

There was something incredibly special about this entire novel, it felt as though the storyline was a game of pass the parcel and underneath each layer sat something rather beautiful. For me, Evie was the star of the show with her adopted mum a close second. Everywhere either of them went, they were able to light up the area or someone’s face by doing very little. Their personalities just gave off that vibe; people like that are like gold dust.

I’m struggling with my words here, apologies. I can’t find the right words for how this book made me feel, but I really am trying my best.

Reading Christie’s novel had me laughing like a hyena one moment, and then ugly crying the next. The humour that oozed from this book was incredible, so natural, unforced and extremely on point. Don’t get me wrong there were a couple of moments where my laughter was due to proper cringy moments (yet oh so fabulous!).

I really felt as though I got to see various different sides to Christie in terms of her writing ability. Within the space of a chapter she had created an emotional moment which also had a smidge of humour attached to it, as well as keeping the flow of the storyline intact and perfect. How many authors could be so diverse in one chapter, yet still keep the momentum? Absolutely incredible.

Now, I tried to be a brave girly whilst reading this novel. I had told myself that I wouldn’t cry as I was aware it had already made several people rather teary, so I gave myself a kick up the bottom and told myself to be brave. Ha ha ha…yeah I can see that worked well! Christie Barlow!!!! What did you do to me woman! I was blubbering like a baby yet I wasn’t the one going through everything like Evie was! Absolutely beautifully written and such poignancy in regards to such a sensitive subject; I had even more respect for the author after that.

I am in awe of ‘Evie’s Year of Taking Chances’ and Christie Barlow’s outstanding delivery of an emotionally charged, humorous storyline which became the home to a family of such warmth and depth. Every small detail, every emotion, every action and  every description were written flawlessly. I wasn’t just reading about characters going through heart breaking moments and walking the path of love, no; I was feeling every single emotion alongside those characters.

Reading ‘Evie’s Year of Taking Chances’ felt like being on the receiving end of a warm, safe embrace from an extremely good friend. Full of heart ache, true friendships, love, respect and enough books to last you…..several months; Christie Barlow has written such a beautiful and poignant novel which will keep your heart full from the first page, until the last, whilst highlighting the importance of believing in yourself.

Utterly spellbinding (even if it did take me ages to stop ugly crying!), Evie and her friends are now included in my list of most favourite books, EVER.
Christie Barlow, you are a fantastic, fantastic author.

Thank you Bookouture.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author
 

Christie Barlow was born in Cheshire and had a successful career as a civil servant until she decided to trade it in for something more glamorous: ironing, mucking out chickens and horses and chasing a mad cocker spaniel while rearing four children. Christie wrote her debut novel, A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, as an example to her kids about realising their dreams.

https://www.facebook.com/ChristieJBarlow

www.christiebarlow.com


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