#BlogTour! #GuestPost from author of #TheLastDay, Claire Dyer – ‘If Tomorrow Were My Last Day’ @ClaireDyer1 @DomePress

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What would you do if you knew your last day was imminent? Would you spend the day with your loved ones? Eat all of your favourite food until the point of being sick? Binge watch all the DVD’s you’ve been meaning to watch for goodness knows how long? For my stop on the blog tour today, I had asked author of ‘The Last Day’, Claire Dyer, what she would do if tomorrow was her ‘last day’ and thankfully, the author took the theme and has written such an emotive piece for us here at TWG. Just to make you aware, I have actually read the book, but my review will follow later on so please do keep your eyes peeled for that. In the mean time, grab a Kleenex and sit back to read Claire Dyer’s ‘Last Day’.

If tomorrow were my last day
by
Claire Dyer, author of ‘The Last Day’.

I’m assuming if I was facing my last day I would have made peace both with myself and with those I love and so would be free to spend the day how I wished.

I’ve thought about this a lot since being asked to write this blog and send my thoughts and prayers to all those who are really facing heartbreak of this sort.

However, when thinking about my novel and what happens to my characters in it I think, if I knew I could never do it again, I would like to go to Kalkan in Turkey and watch the sun track its path across the bay one last time.

According to one website Kalkan is ‘an enchanting place and one of the most beautiful
locations along Turkey’s gorgeous Lycian Coast. With the absence of mass tourism, Kalkan remains a charming and unspoiled haven of lush nature, brilliant blue crystal-clear sea, historic architecture, ancient history and warm traditional Turkish hospitality.’
I have spent fifteen happy holidays in Kalkan and can say that every statement of this quote is true. But what is more significant for me is the fact that when I’m there I can live a simple life, can sit and watch the boats in the bay, watch the sun sparkle on the water, eat delicious fresh food, swim and breathe a type of air I just can’t find in England.

What I’ve also done is track the sun’s path across the sky on each and every last day I’ve
been there; I’ve watched the sun set and turn the sky peach and pink and orange. I’ve heard the cicadas thrum their legs and seen bats flitter in and out of the eaves.
And then, after the sunset, come the stars – brilliant and sharp in amongst the black.
Another website tells me that ‘Herodotus: the best of the Greek historians said, ‘Kalkan is the closest place on Earth to the stars’. So, if you want to touch the stars, Kalkan is the best place you have even seen.’ Therefore, I’ve sat on the roof terrace of the villa where we stay and have stared in awe at the ever-changing night.

So far there has always been a next day when I’ve got up, packed my bag and started the
journey home, looking over my shoulder at the bay as the car climbs the hill out of town and turns the corner, leaving Kalkan behind me for a time.

I hope I am never faced with a final goodbye, I hope like in The Last Day, there will be a next day but if I am and there isn’t then this is where I would like to spend my last day.

For those of you who have already read Claire Dyer’s novel, a lump will probably be forming in your throat whilst you read the last sentence of the authors guest post – it did mine! Huge thanks to Claire Dyer for agreeing to write such a beautifully written guest post, and a big thank you to Dome Press for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Don’t forget that my review WILL follow at a later day – I’m not missing the chance to share my views on this thought-provoking novel.

For those of you who haven’t read the book and wish to find out more, and maybe even grab yourself a copy, here are all of the details of ‘The Last Day’:

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They say three’s a crowd but when Boyd moves back into the family home with his now amicably estranged wife, Vita, accompanied by his impossibly beautiful twenty-seven-year-old girlfriend, Honey, it seems the perfect solution: Boyd can get his finances back on track while he deals with his difficult, ailing mother; Honey can keep herself safe from her secret, troubled past; and Vita can carry on painting portraits of the pets she dislikes and telling herself she no longer minds her marriage is over. But the house in Albert Terrace is small and full of memories, and living together is unsettling. For Vita, Boyd and Honey love proves to be a surprising, dangerous thing and, one year on, their lives are changed forever.

Buy now from Amazon UK

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#BlogTour! #Review – My Mother, The Liar by Ann Troup (@TroupAnn) @HQDigitalUK

Despite the blog tour banner saying otherwise, today it is my turn to host Ann Troup and ‘My Mother, The Liar’, as I close the blog tour organised by HQDigitalUK. Thank you to the team for my ARC of the book, as well as the blog tour invite. Here is my review:

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Every family has a secret…

When Rachel Porter’s estranged mother dies, she returns to her family home filled with dread about having to face her past, and the people who populated it.

Little does she know that there are dead bodies waiting to be discovered, and a lifetime of secrets are about to unravel.

Secrets kept by her mother, the liar.

What does TWG think?

I don’t even know where to begin with this review! There is so much of the storyline which I could comment on, but due to the fact I may end dropping a spoiler, I am having to contain myself!

Let me just get this out of the way first – I struggled with the first part of the story. Yes there was a lot of ‘dundundun‘ moments, but it seemed to take a little while for the storyline to actually go anywhere with the information. So, for that reason, I really do think that the pace of the book could have been a lot faster. I wasn’t too keen on the hanging around waiting for things to happen, even though it was quite clear that the characters had already made things happen – I had to stop myself from saying ‘get on with it!’.

However, when the pace finally picked up, I found myself enjoying the nitty-gritty moments A LOT more! The entire storyline was laced with secrets, drama, psychological issues – you name it, it had it. And, weirdly enough, despite the being more jam-packed than a jam and cream scone, I wasn’t at all confused and relished the busy story as there was just so much for me to sink my teeth into.

Of course, like usual, there were a couple of characters who tugged on my heart-strings a little (naming no names!) – I wanted the truth to come out for their piece of mind, even though by the time it came to the book finishing, I was a little bit confused as to what the truth actually was. Part of me thought that the ending was a left a little open, and part of me felt like something was missing. Had something happened in the storyline which I had missed? I had gone back several pages to check, but I did still feel like there was a little gap in the storyline itself. 

Personally, ‘My Mother, The Liar’ held a lot of promise. The storyline has everything there to reel its readers in and keep them guessing; I just felt that the delivery could have done with a little more tweaking. I am sitting on the fence where this book is concerned because, whilst I was gripped by all of the eventualities, something for me was still missing.

Overall, I was impressed by the content and how the author had thought about each individual character, crafting them into someone you wouldn’t really want to come across down a dark alley (not all of them, just some). It is such a promising book, and an addictive one at that! I’m looking forward to seeing what the author comes up with next.

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Extract – The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom (@TracyBBloom) @Bookouture

The Last Laugh Blog Tour

Happy publication day to Tracy Bloom and ‘The Last Laugh’. Thank you to Bookouture for the blog tour invite. Here is an extract from Tracy’s new book, alongside the all important ‘to buy’ link should you want it!

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Jenny discovers her days are numbered at the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair… 

Frankly, her life was tough enough already. Two tricky teenagers, her mother’s constant complaints, friends who aren’t up to the job and a career which has been spiralling downwards since she won ‘Sunseeker Tour Rep of the Season’ twenty years ago. 

And now this: a cheating husband and a death sentence.

Enough is enough. Jenny vows to keep both catastrophes a secret. She takes her life – and death – into her own hands and decides to live as she did when she was happiest… in 1996. She plans a spectacular 1990s themed party in place of a wake that she herself will attend. But will she be able to keep her secrets for long enough to have the party of a lifetime?

Buy now from Amazon

Extract.

Prologue

25th June 1996

Bataria Beach, Kassiopi, Corfu

Somehow our bodies move as one, bouncing up and down to the beat, singing our hearts out, beer sloshing out of stubby bottles, broken plastic glasses crackling under our feet, air guitar solos occasionally breaking away momentarily before being brought back in the fold by hugs and kisses and the joy of feeling as one under the glorious champagne supernova that is the sky. There’s me in the middle of it, high on someone’s shoulders, long sun-kissed hair cascading down my back, smiling inanely down at Mark’s face bobbing up and down below me.

I’m so high.

Not because I couldn’t have dreamed of a better way to spend my twenty-fifth birthday, not even because of the quantity of tequila slammers I’ve inhaled.

I’m just high on life.

At least I managed it once.

Chapter One

Twenty years later… 

‘Table for three?’ asks the waitress, standing guard next to a cardboard cactus at the entrance to the restaurant.

‘No, four.’ I turn around. ‘Where’s Ellie?’ I ask Mark.

‘You really wanted to come here?’ he replies with a look so disdainful I whisk my head back round towards the waitress, ready to apologise for my husband’s rudeness, but she’s busy handing George a colouring-in menu and a pot of crayons.

‘He’s a very short fifteen!’ I say, thrusting my hand out to intercept the handover. It’s not George’s fault he’s still waiting for a growth spurt, but it might help if he didn’t hide his face in the depths of a hoody if he wants to avoid being mistaken for someone in need of artistic distraction during a meal. I am too eager in my protectiveness, however, and send the pot of crayons flying out of the idiotic waitress’ hands and all over the blue and white mosaic tiled floor.

George grunts.

Mark tuts.

The waitress gasps.

No one helps as I bend down to pick up the broken colouring sticks.

‘What’s Mum doing on the floor?’ I hear Ellie say as she emerges from whatever cover she was using to avoid being seen dead with her family.

‘She knocked the crayons out of her hand,’ I hear Mark reply with a sigh.

I can see the yellow one has rolled next to his foot ready to cause a potentially serious incident. I leave it there.

‘Sorry about that,’ I say, standing up and handing over a pile of broken coloured wax into the hand of the waitress. ‘He’s just a bit short,’ I add, pulling George’s hood off his head to reveal the back of his neck, which is bright pink.

‘Would you like to follow me?’ asks the waitress, grabbing four enormous menus as she escapes down the length of the restaurant towards the back.

I chase after her to ask if we could actually sit near the front. I need to be able to see the cactus fairy lights, you see. And I want to be near the bar where it’s livelier. Where I can sit and watch other people enjoying themselves even if I’m not.

‘We’re not actually serving food in that area,’ she replies as she carefully lays the enormous menus on a table in a dark corner with no view of anything.

‘But I would like to sit there,’ I say defiantly, looking round to see if there is any vague chance Mark will step in and back me up. Mark, Ellie and George have not even registered that I have moved, all engrossed in their phones or, in George’s case, his own mortification.

The waitress looks at me and puts her hands on her hips. Yes, her hips.

‘We are only serving food in this section,’ she says.

I stare back at her. Part of me wants to give up now, go home and write the night off as a bad idea. But it’s my birthday. I want to at least attempt an enjoyable meal with my family before… well, before things may never be the same again. Before I break the news to Mark on the twentieth anniversary of us getting together that, well… there might be something wrong with me. Catastrophically wrong with me.

‘I want a table where I can see the cactus fairy lights,’ I tell her with what I hope is an air of authority.

‘Yeah.’ She shrugs.

I realise I am in a stand-off in the back of a Mexican restaurant.

‘You let us have a table at the front or we will leave,’ I demand. My voice wobbles slightly, which may have given her the upper hand. I hold my breath.

She looks at me and sighs – yes, sighs.

‘I’ll have to go and ask the manager if we can open up another section,’ she says, strutting off and leaving me standing on my own.

I quickly gather up the enormous menus and begin a fast walk back up to the front of the restaurant. I’m thinking that if we’re seated before the waitress gets back she won’t be able to do anything about it.

‘What is Mum doing?’ I hear Ellie ask for the second time that night.

In my haste to win the race I have not spotted that the other three members of my family have finally deigned to join me and are walking in the opposite direction down the next aisle.

‘We’re sitting at the front,’ I say, barely slowing up. ‘Quick, this way,’ I shout over my shoulder.

‘But someone might see us if we sit there,’ I hear Ellie cry.

By the time Mark, Ellie and George join me, I’ve bagged, in my opinion, the best seat in the house. Back to the wall, right at the front, facing the bar, I can see everything going on. That is, until we all pick up our menus, blocking all of the view and a big chunk of light.

‘Why on earth did you want to come here?’ grumbles Mark from somewhere behind two layers of laminated card. ‘We could have gone to Sebastian’s. I said I’d treat you all. You don’t even have to book to come here. I can’t remember the last time I went to a restaurant where you could just turn up. Can you imagine if you did that at Sebastian’s?’

I remember the last time I’d agreed to go to Sebastian’s with Mark. It was his firm’s Christmas do. The lack of food (overblown and insipid) and terrible company (men: overblown, women: insipid) had led to an overindulgence in champagne on my part. When I loudly whispered into Mark’s ear that the only way the night could be salvaged was by a visit to a karaoke bar he’d given me a horrified glare followed by a large glass of water.

‘Do not drink any more champagne,’ he’d angrily whispered. ‘This is not the time nor the place to get drunk.’

But it’s a Christmas party, I thought. If there is any time and place to get completely pissed, surely it’s now. I watched as Mark leaned forward over his vanilla and basil posset with a hint of lavender foam to ask the Chairman’s wife about her plans for the holiday season. I leant back, sulked and never said another word. No one noticed.

The atmosphere between us was somewhat frosty for several days afterwards until he announced we were at the point in our marriage where we should no longer bother with Christmas presents. I declared I’d already purchased his and so he begrudgingly agreed we should do it one last time. The next day I went out and bought him a karaoke machine. He bought me a SodaStream.

            The enormous menus effectively prevent any eye contact until a waiter, thankfully not the scowling one, appears to take our order. All that can be heard is Mark huffing at the thought of nachos being the peak of today’s culinary experience. We even place our orders from behind our temporary barriers. I hear Mark ask for a chicken burrito like he’s agreed to eat regurgitated frogs’ testicles. Ellie asks for a taco salad but without the tacos, and the only indication that George has successfully ordered is the lowering of the menu and a wordless jab of the finger at an item, followed by a tremor of panic when the waiter asks how he wants his steak to be cooked.

            ‘Do you want it medium rare?’ I ask George.

            ‘For goodness’ sake, Jenny,’ snaps Mark. ‘Make him ask for it, if that’s what he wants.’

            George doesn’t raise his eyes from the menu but I know he is wounded.

‘Medium rare, please,’ he whispers without looking at the waiter.

            Then suddenly our barriers are whipped from us and we are all caught like rabbits in the headlights from the glare of our nearest and dearest.

            ‘Drinks?’ the waiter asks chirpily. Clearly he’s already completed the course on how to smile at a customer – unlike his colleague.

            ‘I’ll have a lime and soda,’ answers Mark before any consultation can take place.

            ‘I’ll have a large Chardonnay,’ says Ellie.

            ‘You will not,’ cries Mark.

            ‘All right then, a small one,’ she replies.

I smirk.

            ‘It’s a school night and you are seventeen,’ says Mark, looking at me as though I made the request.

            ‘Perhaps we could share a bottle?’ I say.

            He doesn’t say anything, just shakes his head in wonder.

            ‘I mean, you and me could share and perhaps let them have a small bit,’ I say.

            Mark looks at the waiter.

            ‘These two will both have a Diet Coke,’ he says, waggling his finger at Ellie and George.

            ‘I’ll have a margarita,’ I jump in.

            ‘It’s only six o’clock, Jenny,’ warns Mark.

            ‘On the rocks or frozen?’ the waiter asks, looking right at me with a smile. I like him.

            ‘Definitely on the rocks,’ I reply, grinning back. ‘It’s a special occasion.’

            I watch him cast his eyes around our party. Ellie has her elbows on the table, phone held at eye level, the screen illuminating her face as she taps away furiously. George has his head staring down in his lap, the air of concentration giving away the fact he has also turned to his phone for company. Mark is stroking his own phone, which is on the table in front of him, as though to reassure it of his constant presence.

            ‘And what is the occasion?’ the waiter asks, struggling to keep hold of the slippery menus clamped under his arm.

            ‘It’s my birthday.’ I swallow. We share a look. I could burst into tears but I hold them back. I stupidly bought cheap mascara that doesn’t mix well with tears, and I can’t cry yet.

            My gaze goes to the cactus fairy lights above the bar. I love them. They are so stupid and pointless but so bloody happy. How can you not smile at the sight of cactus fairy lights? There’s a couple sitting on high stools sipping fluorescent pink cocktails. Clearly not married. He’s trying really hard to entertain her and she’s trying really hard to be entertained. They are all smiles, hair flicks, body part touching and eye contact. Maybe it’s the promise of potential sex that is the only reason why people make eye contact these days, I think as I pull my eyes back to my fellow celebrators. Or to deliver bad news. I shudder.

I wonder how Mark will look at me when I tell him later that I’ve been prodded and poked to investigate my defects. What will he say when I tell him I need him to come and hold my hand when they deliver the verdict on what they have found? That it could be bad, really bad. They might say the C-word. How will my husband look at me then, I wonder.

            Mark gets up out of his bright green chair and wanders off, murmuring into his phone. George and Ellie… well, you can guess what they are doing.

            The drinks arrive. The margarita looks magnificent. I thank the waiter as he places it in front of me, then thank him individually for everyone else’s drink as they fail to acknowledge their arrival.

Mark takes his seat again and puts his phone face down on the table. It buzzes immediately, its glowing underside making it look like a mini rectangular UFO. Thankfully he ignores it and gulps down half his lime and soda. George and Ellie sip on their Cokes without tearing their eyes away from their screens. Mark picks his phone up again.

I sigh and lift my glass to my lips and mutter,  ‘Happy birthday, Jenny.’


About the author.

Tracy started writing when her cruel, heartless husband ripped her away from her dream job shopping for rollercoasters for the UK’s leading theme parks, to live in America with a brand new baby and no mates. In a cunning plan to avoid domestic duties and people who didn’t understand her Derbyshire accent, she wrote her romantic comedy, NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY. This debut novel went on to be successfully published internationally and became a #1 Best Seller.

You can follow Tracy on Twitter at @TracyBBloom, like her Facebook page on www.facebook.com/tracybloomwrites or get in touch via her website at www.tracybloom.com

#BlogTour! #Review – A Long Way From Home by Cathy Glass (@CathyGlassUK) @HarperNonFic @RosieMargesson

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It is such an honour to be taking part in yet another one of Cathy Glass’ blog tours – thank you to the team at HarperNonFic for the blog tour invite, it really does mean the world to me! Unfortunately, we have reached the end of the blog tour and it gives me great pleasure to close the tour with my review of Cathy Glass’ brand new novel, ‘A Long Way From Home’.

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The true story of 2 year-old Anna, abandoned by her natural parents, left alone in a neglected orphanage.

Elaine and Ian had travelled half way round the world to adopt little Anna. She couldn’t have been more wanted, loved and cherished. So why was she now in foster care and living with me? It didn’t make sense.

Until I learned what had happened. …

Dressed only in nappies and ragged T-shirts the children were incarcerated in their cots. Their large eyes stared out blankly from emaciated faces. Some were obviously disabled, others not, but all were badly undernourished. Flies circled around the broken ceiling fans and buzzed against the grids covering the windows. The only toys were a few balls and a handful of building bricks, but no child played with them. The silence was deafening and unnatural. Not one of the thirty or so infants cried, let alone spoke.

What does TWG think?

Just like every other Cathy Glass novel, what is written is a true story with all of the important details (names, places etc) changed to protect the identity of those involved. If you think that you’re going to be reading a novel that tells you what you want to hear when it comes to adoption – think again. Whilst Cathy Glass does state multiple times throughout that adoption is fantastic, and how many adoptions are completed with no issues whatsoever, there are situations where adoption becomes the polar opposite to what you had originally thought. Unfortunately, this story is one of them.

Elaine and Ian were a couple who were determined to have a family of their own. You can’t really fault them for that now, can you? After going through all of the legal documentation, dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s, the couple chose to adopt outside of the UK. Naively, I had absolutely no idea that children were left to suffer in such neglected conditions due to the high level of poverty in various countries. Was this an eye-opener? Most definitely. By page 6 of the book, a lump had already formed in my throat – if children can go through such heartbreaking times, I can read the book until the end. The lump in my throat was nothing compared to what those children had to endure.

Elaine and Ian believed that they were doing the right thing by adopting out of the UK, potentially saving a child from a bleak future if they were to be left in the orphanage. Judging by the couples reactions to what they saw that day, I truly believe that their eyes were opened as well. I think that they knew things were bad overseas, but I don’t think that they were quite expecting what they saw with their very own eyes. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t expecting it either. Obviously, adoption overseas comes with a lot of barriers, with the most important one being language – would the staff in the orphanage understand what the couple were trying to say? Would the child they were going to adopt, learn to understand this new funny language? It isn’t as easy as filling out a few forms, ticking a few boxes and then going to pick up your new child like you were going to pick up a click and collect order from your local Argos. There is so much involved and what really opened my eyes, was the fact that bringing your new addition to the family home is just the tip of the iceberg.

When the storyline changed to Cathy’s viewpoint, my heart sank as I knew what was going to happen, but I couldn’t believe it. I think my heart broke for the child and everyone involved. I applaud Cathy for what she did with Anna and how she managed to turn a questionable situation into something more manageable. That said, part of me felt quite deflated in regards to the adoptive parents. Granted I wasn’t in their situation, nor was I there to witness Anna’s personality, but I couldn’t quite understand their reaction to an older Anna. Here was a child, screaming out to be loved in the only way she knew how, with her new mummy looking at her like a blank piece of paper. I am not judging the parents because like I say, I wasn’t in their situation so I cannot form an opinion on how they acted. However, I can form an opinion from what I read and I would be lying if I said it didn’t catch me, because it did.

‘A Long Way From Home’ really opened my eyes to the side of adoption which people fail to mention. Yes it broke my heart, and yes I found it quite difficult to read, but I needed to be educated about that sort of thing and I am glad that Cathy Glass was the person to do that. As a huge fan of this author for many years, Cathy Glass’ work never fails to let me down, nor does any new release make me less inclined to read another of her books – in fact, with every book I read of hers, I have to go and buy a new one straight away just so that I can get into the mindset of children who find themselves in a situation no child should ever be in.

This book is heart-wrenching, I’m not going to lie, but it is also beautifully written and something which everyone needs to learn about. Not everything is all sunshine and roses, but with Cathy Glass supporting children, I really do think that she is a special type of angel.

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Broken by Casey Kelleher (@CaseyKelleher) @Bookouture

The Broken Blog Tour
Happy publication day, Casey Kelleher!! I am so excited to be bringing you my review of Casey’s brand new novel, ‘The Broken’, as part of her blog blitz today. Big thank you to Bookouture for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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They took her dad, but she won’t let them take her.

Nancy Byrne was the apple of her daddy’s eye. He might have been one of the most-feared gangsters in London, yet Jimmy Byrne idolised his little Nancy. But now Jimmy is dead, gunned down in cold blood – and Nancy vows to avenge his death.

She’s only twenty years old, but as the new head of the ruthless Byrne gang, running a lucrative world of drugs, sex and violence, she’s in over her head. Keeping her family together while her beloved grandma falls apart and her brother Daniel goes off the rails forces Nancy to grow up – fast.

But while Nancy takes the men on at their own game, there’s a greater danger hiding on the dark streets. Jimmy’s killer is on her trail – and will stop at nothing to shut her up.

Blood might be thicker than water, but soon, Nancy realises she can’t trust anyone. Not even her own family.

Especially her own family.

What does TWG think?

What I want to know is how an author so innocent looking, can write such jaw-droppingly twisted novels?! Personally, I would hate to get on the wrong side of Casey Kelleher, because I have no doubts in my mind that she would put me in her book, not letting me get away with murder…and then some.

‘The Broken’, thankfully, didn’t break me but I did spend time wondering if my jaw was going to ever pick itself up off the floor, or whether I was going to have to get used to walking around with my gob wide open and my jaw hanging low. Seriously.

I am in awe at Casey Kelleher’s talents. Yes her storylines are gritty and highly chilling, but she writes them in such a way which makes you become addicted to the intense gore and the twisted characters. Many times whilst reading ‘The Broken’, I found myself thinking ‘holy shizzle that’s ugh –  WHAT HAPPENS NOW?!?’. I was quite shocked with my own response to this book, that’s for sure. I’m certainly not complaining though – this book is brilliant!!

The entire storyline was full of grit, with the characters each digging themselves much larger holes as the story progresses. I didn’t have a clue who was going to be in the firing line, and because I was so fixated on the overall book, I didn’t want to spend time trying to find out as I was happy to let the story take its own course.

Nancy, despite often being an absolute female dog, was such a vibrant character to read about. I loved how determined she came across, refusing to let the ‘issue’ of her gender stop her from doing her job. She took no prisoners and she let everyone know who was boss. I also think the author wrote Nancy’s personality really well because we were able to see a different side of her to the one she showed at work.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Broken’! It took me a little while to come down off the high from the intense and chilling storyline I had just been reading. Again, I’m not complaining – the entire novel was worth the goosebumps, slight nausea and raised heart rate!

Fast paced, addictive, and most definitely one to read – ‘The Broken’ will test your reactions in a way you never thought possible. Brilliant!

Buy now!

About the author.

Born in Cuckfield, West Sussex, Casey Kelleher grew up as an avid reader and a huge fan of author Martina Cole. 

Whilst working as a beauty therapist and bringing up her three children together with her husband, Casey penned her debut novel Rotten to the Core. Its success meant that she could give up her day job and concentrate on writing full time. 

She has since published Rise and Fall, Heartless, Bad Blood, The Taken, The Promise, The Betrayed and her latest release The Broken is due for publication on the 22nd February 2018.

www.caseykelleher.co.uk

www.facebook.com/officialcaseykelleher

http://caseykelleher.wordpress.com

Twitter: @caseykelleher

#BlogTour! #Review – Perfect Death by Helen Fields (@Helen_Fields) @AvonBooksUK

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It may be sunny outside, but that doesn’t stop Helen Fields thinking about the ‘Perfect Death’. It gives me great pleasure to host Helen Fields on TWG today, as I review her latest book for the blog tour. Thank you to AvonBooks for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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There’s no easy way to die…

Unknown to DI Luc Callanach and the newly promoted DCI Ava Turner, a serial killer has Edinburgh firmly in his grip. The killer is taking his victims in the coldest, most calculating way possible – engineering slow and painful deaths by poison, with his victims entirely unaware of the drugs flooding their bloodstream until it’s too late.

But how do you catch a killer who hides in the shadows? A killer whose pleasure comes from watching pain from afar? Faced with their most difficult case yet, Callanach and Turner soon realise they face a seemingly impossible task…

What does TWG think?

Is there such a thing as the ‘perfect death’? After all, it’s not like doctors and nurses sit at the end of a bed, or police and strangers stand near a dead body, all holding up score cards to rate the death. Now you mention it…maybe there should be something like ‘Strictly Come Death’….I could make a killing…

For all of us ‘non-murderers’ in the world, thinking about the possibility of a ‘perfect death’, doesn’t really enter our minds. On the other hand, if you’re a calculated, twisted serial killer – the chances are, you would probably have a spreadsheet open on Word with the details of how to execute a perfect death (god I’m good with the puns today, eh?!). But, when the murder ‘weapon’ is in fact drugs, how can one determine the perfect death, and how would the local Detectives be able to stop the serial killer before he pumps his unknowing victims with yet another connection, unlikely to have been purchased from a pharmacy in nearby Fort Kinnaird?

‘Perfect Death’ is the third book in the series, but do not fret. I haven’t read all of the books and quite frankly, I didn’t think that I needed to as I was able to follow the storyline well enough. That said, I doubt it would do you any harm if you chose to read the books in order. It is completely up to you!

Helen Fields has grabbed the ‘serial killer’ theme by the youknowwhat’s, and ran with it – this author hasn’t scrimped and scraped when it comes to one of the main concepts in her storyline, and why should she? Even though said serial killer made my blood run cold, I loved how calculated, twisted and evil they turned out to be. It really did make for such excellent, realistic, and highly addictive reading.

As for the Detectives, Callanach and Turner are a bit like chalk and cheese, maybe that’s why I thought they worked well together, I don’t know. But they work – even if Turner did find herself in the deep end with this case!

Alongside the serial killer aspect, I found myself being pulled in the direction of Callanach’s family drama. So, if you think this book is all about cold-blooded killing, think again. There really is more to ‘Perfect Death’ that meets the eye, which really did surprise me as I thought the storyline would be overrun with the information of the killings.

‘Perfect Death’ is such a jaw-dropping, fast paced, and chilling read which made me feel as though I was unwrapping a present – the storyline certainly kept on giving. What I loved most about this book was its uniqueness. Helen Field is a very, very clever writer and the fact she has included such intricate details alongside some rather hard-hitting ones, absolutely blew me away. This author certainly knows her stuff – I really wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of her, that’s for sure!

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – The Little Cottage on the Hill by Emma Davies (@EmDaviesauthor) @Bookouture #PublicationDay

LCOTH - Blog Blitz
Delighted to be kicking of Emma Davies blog tour today, and on publication day!! Huge congratulations to the lovely, Emma, on the release of her new novel, ‘The Little Cottage on the Hill’. Thank you to Bookouture for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC. Here is my review:

The-Little-Cottage-on-the-Hill-Kindle
There’s blossom in the trees and daffodils as far as the eye can see. Maddie is looking forward to a fresh start in the countryside, but there’s just one little problem…

Following a scandal at her high-flying PR agency, twenty-six-year-old Maddie flees London to help promote what she thinks is going to be a luxurious holiday retreat in the countryside. Everything is riding on her making a success of this new job…

Yet when she arrives, Maddie is horrified to find a rundown old farm in a terrible state. The brooding and secretive owner, Seth, spent all his money on leasing the land when he fell in love with the beautiful, dishevelled farm cottages and the very romantic story behind them.

When Maddie discovers an old oil painting by the original owner’s wife, she unlocks the secret of the farm’s history and quickly realises she must start getting her hands dirty if this very special place is going to have any chance of survival. As she and Seth begin working together, the stunning view from the top of the hill is not the only thing that’s leaving her breathless…

After weeks of hard work the dream looks like it might become a reality, until a secret from Maddie’s past threatens to snatch it all away again.
Can Maddie find a way to save the business and herself? Will she finally find a place to keep her heart within the crumbling walls of the little cottage on the hill?

What does TWG think?

What a quaint little book! I have to admit that I wasn’t really keen on the first part of the book as it seemed quite the way away from the usual writing style of Emma Davies’, a style which I have come to love. Thankfully the further into the storyline I got, the more the author seemed to go back to her usual way of story telling, which meant that I was able to enjoy the rest of the novel. Personally, I really don’t think that this author needs to change the way she writes at all!

I was very relieved when I found myself being unable to put the book down. Emma Davies really knows how to capture her readers hearts with every word she writes. Me and Maddie didn’t see eye to eye at first, let’s just say that I didn’t like her at all. I thought she came across as such a jumped up, self-absorbed woman and, whilst I began to resign myself to the fact that this character wasn’t going to be changing anytime soon; she actually did! I know, I know – I was shocked too. I was convinced that this leopard wasn’t going to change its spots, yet Maddie made me completely change my opinion of her, finishing the book actually liking her! Why doesn’t this sort of stuff happen in real life?!

Poor Seth is such a troubled man. If you take him by first impressions, you would probably think that he was a rude, obnoxious and bad-tempered man. Honestly? You would be right! I thought it too at first yet there was a little piece of me that refused to give up hope. A man like Seth had to have been through hell to end up being that bad tempered!

Whilst I hold my hands up and say that the first part of the book wasn’t my cup of tea at all, I could not be more happier to say that the rest of the book was like walking on cloud 9. Everything about the storyline and the characters just seemed to work, the more of the book I read. The heart-warming friendships actually brought tears to my eyes because of what lengths certain characters went to, to save the ones they held dear. It’s things like that which get you thinking, eh?

‘The Little Cottage on the Hill’ is a touching, thought-provoking novel which had me grinning like the Cheshire Cat. If you ever find yourself doubting your abilities when it comes to jumping over the hurdles in life, remember that everyone has to start from somewhere. Whilst bricks and thatching may crumble and come loose, Emma Davies’ novel reminded me that a lot of things can be fixed with a little TLC, a few wooden spars, and a good daffy of love and support. Or in my case, by reading a book which managed to hug me from the inside out. I absolutely adore this author!

Buy now!

About the author: 

After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: ‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.’ Well the job in the design studio didn’t work out but she’s now a forty something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.

After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time, and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband, three children, and two guinea pigs in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life. It’s a county she adores, her love of its beautiful people and landscapes providing endless inspiration for her books, and in fact the only thing that would make Shropshire more idyllic is if it were by the sea. 

Pop over to her website www.emmadaviesauthor.com where, amongst other things, you can read about her passion for Pringles and singing loudly in the car. You can also wave to her on twitter @EmDaviesAuthor or find her on Facebook (a little too often than is good for her).

#Blogblitz! #Review – The Scent of Guilt by Tony J Forder (@TonyJForder) @Bloodhoundbook

B L O G B L I T Z
Another late one for the BloodHoundBooks gang! Delighted to welcome back Tony.J.Forder to TWG, as I review his latest novel, ‘The Scent of Guilt’.

SCENT OF GUILT 1.2

Twelve years after he left Peterborough under a cloud, DI Bliss returns to the city and the major crimes team. Having spent years policing organised crime, Bliss is plunged straight into the heart of a serial murder investigation.

 Meanwhile, Penny Chandler has been promoted to DS and has been working in London on the Met’s sexual crimes team. But when two rapes are reported on her old patch in Peterborough, Chandler volunteers to interview the victims.

 Chandler joins the hunt for the attacker and soon notices a possible link between the rapes and Bliss’s murder investigation. Could the same man be responsible?

 Just as both cases seem to stall, a call comes in from an ex-policeman who knows of unsolved cases in the USA with a similar MO. Bliss finds himself travelling to California to hunt for a killer whose reach may have stretched further than anyone could possibly imagine.

 But in order to catch the murderer, Bliss must discover the killer’s motive. A motive which should have remained buried in the past…

What does TWG think?

Having read (and loved) Tony.J.Forder’s ‘Scream Blue Murder’, I nearly bit BloodHoundBooks’ hand off when the e-mail came through regarding this tour. Of course having read a book which made it into my ‘Top Books of 2017’, meant that ‘The Scent of Guilt’ had a lot to live up to. Now, I haven’t read the first book in the series, but whilst I was able to follow the storyline fine, I would recommend reading the series in order as I did feel like I had missed out on vital pieces of information about the characters themselves.

‘The Scent of Guilt’ is a cleverly written novel which chilled me to the bone. With a storyline full of hard-hitting themes, hard to digest situations, and eye-opening events which you thought only belonged in the movies – Forder manages to reel his readers into his literary web, ensuring that everyone stayed for the duration of the book. I have to say that I was unsure whether I was going to last until the very last page, purely because one or two themes were a little close to home and, whilst I am fully aware that ‘The Scent of Guilt’ is a fictional piece of writing, it just goes to show how real the author made the events stand out if they managed to hit me on a personal level.

I was quite taken aback with how much I enjoyed this book given the circumstances! This book certainly kept my attention, with the storyline having my reactions in the palm of its hands. A cleverly woven, complex, and highly intense novel which will leave you with your eyes prised open and your jaw drooping low.

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Tony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed crime thriller Bad to the Bone, the first in a series featuring DI Jimmy Bliss and DC Penny Chandler. The sequel, The Scent of Guilt, is available from 17 February 2018. A third book in the series is currently in progress.

Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This was intended to be a stand-alone novel, but Tony is now considering the possibility of a follow-up.

One book that will definitely see a sequel is Scream Blue Murder. This was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross and Matt Hilton.

Some years ago, Tony won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books. The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale. It was the start of Tony’s publishing journey.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Mother’s Secret by Clare Swatman (@ClareSwatman) @Panmacmillan @Rosiewilsreads

The Mother's Secret Blog Tour Feb 2018
Having fallen head over heels in love with Clare Swatman’s debut novel, ‘Before You Go’, I am delighted to be sharing my review of the authors much awaited second novel, ‘The Mother’s Secret’, which will be published by PanMacmillan on the 22nd February. Huge thanks to the publisher for the blog tour invite as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review as part of the blog tour:

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The Mother’s Secret is a powerful story about family, secrets and devastating lies

Love keeps us together

Sisters Kate and Georgie have always shared a close bond. While Kate enjoyed the freedoms of youth, Georgie remained at home. But now Georgie is grown up, it’s time she started exploring.

Love can tear us apart

Their mother Jan loves her daughters with all her heart. So what if she kept them out of sight when they were young? She just cared for them so much. She wanted to protect them.

What if your life was based on a lie?

Maybe there was another reason for Jan’s protective behaviour? If they ventured too far afield, it might destroy the facade of their childhood. This family’s about to discover that while lies can cause pain, the truth could destroy them all.

What does TWG think?

We all expect our mothers to tell us the truth no matter what, right? We also put our faith into them from the moment we entered this world, relying on them to guide us and help us blossom as we grow up. But what if you found out that your entire life had been a lie? What if you found out that your mother had been keeping a secret from you all of your life? What if everything you’ve always known, ends up revealing that in actual fact, you’ve known absolutely nothing?

It doesn’t bear thinking about really, does it? I mean, our mothers wouldn’t do that to us….would they?

It feels like I’ve been waiting AGES for Clare Swatman to release her second novel, especially seeing as her debut was one of my top reads of 2017 – how was she going to top that?! Reader, she topped it in a completely different way. Whilst both books are exceptional stories, they are also written completely differently which means that comparing them would be highly unfair. I have fallen in love with both books for various reasons, and by golly Clare Swatman certainly does NOT disappoint with her highly anticipated second novel.

I am genuinely surprised that my heart is now in one piece, given the amount of times it broke in two whilst reading this book! Even though it was pretty clear from the onset where the storyline was heading, including what the big ‘dun dun dun’ moment was that was going to be revealed in due course, it didn’t change my opinion of the book at all. It soon became clear that whilst the heartbreak was made clear early on, the author wrote the book in such a way which was guaranteed to make the reader wish the heartbreak wasn’t true at all. It was as though the entire situation had a big question mark looming overhead – was it true? Or was one of the sisters making a mountain out of a molehill?

I had no idea what to think or what to believe. If the situation ended up being true after all, why did it happen? What reason did they have to go to such lengths to cause long-lasting devastation? I was surprised at a couple of the character’s reactions when the truth came out because of how lenient their response appeared. I even asked myself whether I would respond in the same way if I were in their shoes and, to be perfectly honest, whilst my gut and heart says ‘no’, my mind is saying something completely different.

‘The Mother’s Secret’ has such a high level of complexity throughout the entire storyline, lasting until the very last page. Each individual character had its place within the book, adding another dimension to an already colourful storyline with their vivacious personalities. Unfortunately, those vivacious personalities didn’t last long, though I saw it as a positive as I was able to see an alternative side to the character, finding out a little bit more about what made them tick. For me, the change in the characters meant that I was able to see them as realistic, two-dimensional characters instead of one with a chip on their shoulder. I knew Clare Swatman could write her characters well, but goodness me – this author has really outdone herself.

I absolutely loved this book, even with its shocking, devastating and emotional scenes, it still managed to warm my heart in a way I had never thought possible. ‘The Mother’s Secret’ may be based around one big event, but it also contains a lot of themes which I believe multiple readers will be able to relate to and find comfort in. I really don’t wish to divulge what those themes are in fear of spoilers, so please do trust me.

‘The Mother’s Secret’ opened my eyes to a world of endless possibilities, showing me how to get to the sunshine through the rain. My emotions were tested, my strength was challenged, yet my trust in Clare Swatman’s writing grew even more.

This author can write that’s for sure; she certainly proves that with this heart-wrenching, beautifully written, thought-provoking and absolutely stunning novel about life, loss, lies, trust, and forgiveness, teaching her readers that whilst not everything is ever as it seems, a flower can blossom even during a storm.

Probably one of the best books I have read so far this year, I am in awe at Clare Swatman’s literary skills and the way in which she not only writes to feed the mind, she also writes to feed the soul.

Devastatingly beautiful – I urge each and every one of you to read this book.

Pre-order now.

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Stateline by Dave Stanton (@Danrenonovels) @BloodHoundBook

B L O G B L I T Z (1)
Tonight on TWG I have review of Dave Stanton’s, ‘Stateline’, to close the blog blitz organised by BloodHoundBooks! ‘Stateline’ is book one in the ‘Dan Reno’ series. Thank you to Sarah Hardy from BloodHoundBooks for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book.

Stateline_preview
Cancel the wedding. The groom is dead.

When a tycoon’s son is murdered the night before his wedding, the grief-stricken father offers private detective Dan Reno a life-changing bounty to find the killer.

Reno, who is nearly broke, decides he’s finally found himself in the right place at the right time. But when a band of crooked cops get involved, Reno finds himself fighting for his life.

Who committed the murder, and why? Which cops can he trust, if any?

Haunted by his murdered father and a violent past, Reno wants no more blood on his hands. But a man’s got to make a living, and backing off is not in his DNA.

Traversing the snowy alpine winter in the Sierras and the lonely deserts of Nevada, Reno must revert to his old ways to survive. Because the bounty won’t do him much good if he’s dead.

What does TWG think?

I don’t know what is wrong with me lately – I must be getting fussy in my old age as ‘Stateline’ was yet another book which I couldn’t seem to gel with at first. Notice the all important words there; AT FIRST! Don’t get me wrong, there’s A LOT of grit in the book, but it took me a while to work out whether it was going anywhere.

However, just like Dan Reno, perseverance paid off and I found myself getting lost in amongst the events which the private detective found himself caught up in. Yes, there were moments where I was reading the book through slitted eyes, glad that I had had a few hours without any food in my stomach. And yes, there were moments where I wondered what on Earth I was reading. But you know what? ‘Stateline’ made me react in a multitude of ways and, as far as I am concerned, I couldn’t really have asked for more from one single book.

Dan Reno is no stranger to murder, violence and crooks, so when he gets asked to find the man who killed a rich mans son, he soon sees dollar signs and agrees. Dan Reno may have been aware of the fact that the job may be slightly difficult, but I don’t think he realised just how difficult it was going to be.

The police are meant to be there for you, right?

Even though my new pal, Reno and I, got off to a rocky start, I ended up thoroughly enjoying this chilling, gripping and highly intense read. At times I felt like my head was going to explode with all of the ‘whodunnit’s’ and my lousy attempts at keeping up with the rollercoaster ride of situations! It didn’t though, obviously! Weirdly enough I actually loved how the storyline made me feel like that – it just goes to show how well the author has written his storyline, seeing as it was able to convert me to trials and tribulations of the man, Dan Reno.

I am rather looking forward to reading the next book in the series as I cannot wait to find out what Dan Reno and Cody get up to next. I am hoping it will be a bumpy ride just like this one.

A highly recommended, fast paced and gripping start to a very promising new serial.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1960, Dave Stanton moved to Northern California in 1961. He attended San Jose State University and received a BA in journalism in 1983. Over the years, he worked as a bartender, newspaper advertising salesman, furniture mover, debt collector, and technology salesman. He has two children, Austin and Haley, and lives with his wife, Heidi, in San Jose, California.

Stanton is the author of six novels, all featuring private investigator Dan Reno and his ex-cop buddy, Cody Gibbons.

Links:

www.facebook.com/DanRenoNovels

Twitter: @DanRenoNovels

danrenonovels.com/