#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?

image002

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!!!

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

bornbad1

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

bornbad
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.

 

#BlogTour! #Q&A with author of #TheGoodDaughter – @alexandraburt @avonbooksuk

tgd1

From the #1 ebook and Sunday Times bestseller, comes the tale of a young woman in search of her past, and the mother who will do anything to keep it hidden…

What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?

Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.

In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighbouring farm, she’ll learn that in her mother’s world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered…

The Good Daughter is a compelling take on a genre that shows no sign of slowing down. The perfect read for fans of Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins.

Buy now from Amazon

It’s my stop on the blog tour for ,The Good Daughter, by Alexandra Burt! I have a mini interview to share with you today, enjoy!

Q&A with author, Alexandra Burt.

1.      Your second novel, just like Little Girl Gone, centers on a mother-daughter- relationship. Was that a conscious choice, did you feel compelled to revisit the relationship?

I am fascinated by mother-daughter relationships. My mother passed away when I was in college and I never got to experience an adult relationship between us. There are so many unanswered questions, so many stories she hadn’t told me yet. Her absence left such a steep abyss, such a cavernous black hole, and the effects were far reaching—I felt grief beyond loss, beyond darkness and despair, her death was the end of nurturing, the end of safety, and the end of who I was. I revisit mother-daughter relationships because it allows me the opportunity to live vicariously through my characters, mothers and daughters, for I am both; a motherless daughter and the mother of a daughter. The word ‘orphan’ has such a dramatic incantation, is reminiscent of Dicken’s Oliver Twist getting by with little food and few comforts, a Victorian vision of what it means to be alone in this world and yet it isn’t so farfetched at all, because here I am, literally, forever holding out the empty bowl asking for some more of my mother’s love. It took decades yet eventually I came to a place of gratitude and appreciation, after all, twenty-one years with her were better than nineteen, or ten. Any amount seemed better than no time at all and I continue to hold on to this gratitude. I sometimes hear her firm voice—she wasn’t stern at all but that’s how I imagine it—saying You get what you get and you don’t complain, her attempt to lessen the blow of her absence, make it less painful, less life-altering, a mere loving scolding.

There were these odd moments that snuck up on me after her death. The first one was in my early forties when I realized I had spent more years without her than with her, like a switch had been flipped. Shortly thereafter I approached the age my mother had passed and I imagined my life being cut short at that moment and I felt this panic inside of me; if I let another year go by my stories will be lost to my daughter like my mother’s stories are lost to me. Let no stories be lost was a mantra I adopted, like a coping mechanism, a motto allowing me to eternalize death which is inevitable. That’s when I began to write about mothers and daughters, and yes, there might just be a theme here I won’t be able to escape from any time soon.

 

  1. How did your preparation/research for writing this novel differ from, or perhaps was similar to, your preparation for writing Little Girl Gone?

I had personal experience with postpartum depression, a central aspect of Little Girl Gone. I had a lot to draw from, personally and from the mothers I spoke with in preparation for the book. I also consulted maps of New York, had to get it just right because slipups are easy and readers would notice. The setting of Aurora Texas, somewhere East of Dallas, is completely fictional. There are many small towns like Aurora in Texas and all over the country. Childhood is not only a place but also a state of being, something you re-experience once you cross that threshold and returning home to the house you grew up in or lived for the better part of your life can be extremely emotional.

For The Good Daughter I did a lot of research on personality disorders and seizure disorders. The most fascinating theory I came across was a theory called “the doorway effect.” In essence it is the belief that memory is disrupted by switching locations, like walking in another room but forgetting why we went there. It’s not a matter of poor memory at all, but an event that creates a mental boundary, separating episodes, filing them away, in essence compartmentalizing them in order to be able to move on. For The Good Daughter I imagined this “doorway effect” in reverse and on a grander scale: what if we revisit a place where some sort of suffering was inflicted upon us and how that would play out when a character returns to a house where unspeakable acts have taken place. Then I imagined the character unable to leave and forced to confront the past. I was literally stuck in that process of the research, didn’t want it to end, that’s how fascinated I was. Almost as if my mind refused to step out of it, cross over a threshold, anxious if my state of wonder would erase itself, would I too forget how it felt? It’s this obsessive part of a project that allows me to soak up knowledge like a sponge and as I write, I squeeze it and watch it all unfold.

 

  1. What were your influences in creating the characters of Dahlia and her mother?

The Good Daughter was inspired by the demise of a marriage I witnessed. I wasn’t at the heart of the story, I was a mere bystander, yet it is safe to say that I got caught up in it. There was a middle-aged couple and their marriage came to an abrupt end. There were no red flags, no infidelity, and no disagreements on financial decisions. I want to believe, like any marriage, it wasn’t perfect but quite average in its trials and tribulations. One day a man finds his house empty, but it’s one thing to be in a deteriorating marriage and ending up separated, it’s another to be the victim of a cloak and dagger operation in the middle of the night. I was left with the premise that we really don’t know the people we live with, regardless how much we want to believe we know everything about them. In the novel I took it a step further; what if your entire life was based on a lie from the day you were born and it was up to you alone to assemble the pieces to uncover the truth. In The Good Daughter, the character Dahlia is a flower and every flower needs water and soil and sunshine and nurturing, like human beings rely on others to sustain them. I realized early readers were quite fascinated with the character of the mother, and I found myself connecting more and more dots and ending up with the character named Memphis who became just as important as Dahlia. Memphis means to endure. It felt fitting, inevitable in a way.

Thank you for stopping by, Alexandra! Also, thank you to Avon Books for having me involved in the tour! This book is on my TBR pile, looking forward to reading it once I get to it!

Here are all the other blogs involved in this tour:

tgd


#BlogTour! #Review – If Ever I Fall by S.D.Robertson (@SDRauthor) @AvonBooksUK

iief

Dan’s life has fallen apart at the seams. He’s lost his house, his job is on the line, and now he’s going to lose his family too. All he’s ever wanted is to keep them together, but is everything beyond repair?

Maria is drowning in grief. She spends her days writing letters that will never be answered. Nights are spent trying to hold terrible memories at bay, to escape the pain that threatens to engulf her.

Jack wakes up confused and alone. He doesn’t know who he is, how he got there, or why he finds himself on a deserted clifftop, but will piecing together the past leave him a broken man?

In the face of real tragedy, can these three people find a way to reconcile their past with a new future? And is love enough to carry them through?

What does TWG think?

After reading this novel, I felt quite similar to a bag of liquorice all sorts; completely out of sorts. Having read multiple posts on social media in regards to the book being a real tear-jerker, I found myself wondering if I truly was an Ice Queen..

If Ever I Fall is written as though it has three separate personalities, all with their own stories to tell. The storyline switches between those three personalities multiple times, however, it isn’t as straight forward as you might think.
There’s Dan, a man who is very close to losing hope; Maria (his wife) who’s only form of grief release is through letters, and, finally, there is Jack, a….man.

I couldn’t warm to Dan as much as I would have liked as I found his character a little cold. I had my fingers crossed that that would change as the storyline progressed and it did, but only by a little bit. When the storyline changed to Maria and her letters, at first I was a little bit confused as to why she was writing letters and to whom, but sure enough, things became clear and I was quite taken aback by the emotional value those letters and her actions contained. The whole situation caught me off guard, but in a good way as it gave the storyline more of an edge. Very cleverly written.

The third personality we come across in the storyline, is Jack’s, the wildcard of the book in my opinion. As soon as we were introduced to his life I wondered where on Earth did he come from? One minute I was looking at Maria’s letters, and the next I was faced with a man who only knew that he was a man, because he has eyes to see the important ‘clue’. It took me a while to work out where he fit in with the rest of the storyline and what his purpose was, I have to admit.

For me, the storyline went on a rollercoaster ride. It peaked at certain points and it also dipped at certain points too. S.D.Robertson most certainly has a way with words and it is evidently clear by this novel and his previous one, that he has the knack when it comes to enchanting his readers. He comes across, via his storylines, that he understands what it will take to make the reader feel some sort of emotion, whether it be positively or negatively. Even when I found the storyline dipping, the authors writing ‘hugged’ me into the storyline, does that make sense? Let me try to explain; when I came across moments where I felt as though there was a little puzzle piece missing from somewhere; S.D.Robertson  natural and warm storytelling made me feel warm within, enough to continue. In simple terms I was pretty mesmerised by how he wrote the novel to be honest. Really, really beautiful.

That said, for once I didn’t cry yet a lot of people classed this as a tear jerker. Now, before you go all ‘oh em gee’ on me for not crying (believe me, I was shocked myself), my emotions shut down (no, I’m not telling you which part of the storyline that happened!). I became numb and exceptionally cold. Maybe that was because of shock, I don’t know, although it’s highly likely due to the fact my mouth was open and my hand was over it. I wish I could say I loved the entire storyline, but for me, there were multiple parts of the book where a question mark hovered above

Overall, ‘If Ever I Fall’ is a novel which will head straight for your emotions in a way that only YOU know. S.D.Robertson has written a truly lovely book which highlights the true extents of love, grief and hope.

Thank you Avon/Netgalley.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Extract of #PerfectRemains by @Helen_Fields @AvonBooksUK #FeelingBrave

pr

#FeelingBrave?
For my stop on the blog tour for Perfect Remains by Helen Fields, I have an extract as well as the all important buying link, enjoy!

pr1

Blurb.

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness…

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

Fans of Angela Marson, Mark Billingham and M. J. Aldridge will be gripped by this chilling journey into the mind of a troubled killer.

Extract:

The woman had given in more easily than he’d imagined. If it had been him, he’d have fought to the last, would have focused every ounce of anger and bile on resisting. She had pleaded, begged and in the end cried feebly and howled. Life was cheap, he thought, because the general populace failed to appreciate its value. He understood. He constantly pushed himself to the limits of his capability, strove to learn, to surpass. He burned with a thirst for knowledge like others craved money, making it hard to find an equal. That was why he’d been forced to kill. Without her sacrifice, he would forever have been surrounded by women unable to satisfy his intellect. 

He listened to a language CD as he drove. He liked to learn a new language each year. This time it was Spanish. Easier than many, he admitted to himself guiltily, but then he had an exhausting amount of other matters on his mind. He couldn’t be expected to pick up anything more complex whilst doing so much research and travelling. 

‘It’s not as if I’ve had any free time.’ A rabbit dashed out from the verge. He slammed on his brakes, less from a desire to avoid it than with the shock of the movement in his periph­eral vision. ‘Damn it!’ He was distracted and he’d been talking to himself again. He only did that when he was overtired. And stressed. He’d stayed up late arguing. Whoever thought it was an easy task persuading an intelligent woman to do what was best for her, was a fool. It was a challenge, even for a man of his faculties. The brighter the woman, the harder it was. But rewarding in the end. 

He pulled over at the outskirts of Edinburgh and drank passably warm coffee from a flask. He couldn’t risk going into a cafe. In spite of the lack of interest he was likely to generate – no one wanted to stare at a middle aged, saggy-bellied man with an unsightly bald patch – it would be stupid to have his likeness caught on CCTV returning to the city along this route. 

The Spanish voice droned in the background until he hit the off switch. It was such a big day, why shouldn’t he take a break for once? A lady was waiting at home, needing substantial care and attention. She wouldn’t be able to talk clearly for a while, in fact she would probably need speech therapy. Luckily for her, he was a gifted tutor in many fields. It would be his pleasure and privilege to assist.

Buy ‘Perfect Remains’ from Amazon – NOW

 

#Tour! #Review of Secret & Fries at the #StarlightDiner – Helen Cox @Helenography @Avonbooksuk

saf1

Absolutely thrilled to be today’s stop on the blog tour for Helen Cox and her newest release; ‘Secrets & Fries at the Starlight Diner’! This book is the second book in the Starlight Diner series and was released by Avon Books UK on the 16th December 2016! I haven’t read the first book (yet), but luckily I didn’t need to read it first to make sense of the story. It does now mean that I will be buying it and reading it ASAP thanks to this book! Today I have an excerpt from the book as well as my review. Hope you enjoy!

saf
Blurb.

What brings Bonnie Brooks to The Starlight Diner? And why is she on the run?

As the front-woman in a band, Bonnie is used to being in the spotlight, but now she must hide in the shadows.

Bonnie only has one person who she can turn to: her friend Esther Knight, who waitresses at the Fifties-themed diner. There, retro songs play on the jukebox as fries and sundaes are served to satisfied customers. But where has Esther gone?

Alone in New York City, Bonnie breaks down in front of arrogant news reporter, and diner regular, Jimmy Boyle. Jimmy offers to help her. Can she trust him?

When the kindly owner of the Starlight Diner offers Bonnie work, and she meets charming security officer Nick Moloney, she dares to hope that her luck has changed. Is there a blossoming romance on the cards? And can Bonnie rebuild her life with the help of her Starlight Diner friends?

What does TWG think?

I need to admit something! Before I began reading Helen’s new book, I assumed that it would be a candyfloss style read. I don’t read blurbs you see, so I try to guess the book by the cover. It is safe to say that my guess was way, WAY off with this one.

Bonnie is definitely a character to remember. She’s quirky, bolshy and isn’t afraid to ensure that she’s noticed. However, things aren’t as they seem and soon enough, Bonnie lands herself in a bit of hot water at the diner she just happened to ‘stumble’ across. Seeing as I assumed that the storyline would be more candyfloss than pancakes and syrup, I had no expectations of the storyline itself. When Bonnie appeared in the diner trying to find her friend, it didn’t take me long to work out that this book would have more sustenance than even pancakes and syrup!

Every chapter seemed to unearth yet another quizzical circumstance and leave me with unanswered questions. More characters appeared on the scene and took the book up another notch, whilst still leaving a lot of boxes unticked. I had no idea where the storyline was headed but I was super excited to find out!

As well as a FABULOUS book soundtrack that you may find yourself singing along to whilst you read, Helen has laced the entire book with on point humour and dry one liners. Absolutely brilliant.

Secrets and Fries was definitely a book that kept on giving and I was pretty disappointed when it ended. Every single character added to the ambience of the diner (and the storyline) in their own unique ways, making the unfolding storyline even more of a surprise.

I wouldn’t have minded if this book had a candyfloss feel to it (sweet, fluffy) don’t get me wrong, but I am rather pleased that I ended up wrong with my guess and that the Starlight Diner just kept on surprising me.

Full of songs to job your memory, food to tickle your tastebuds, humour to knock your funny bone and a superb, gripping storyline, what more could anyone want? I really do hope that we get to visit the Starlight Diner again, I am already having withdrawal symptoms! A must read by the fabulous Helen Cox.

Thank you Avon Books UK.

Secrets & Fries at the Starlight Diner is available to buy now in e-book from Amazon UK.
If my review hasn’t convinced you enough, here is an excerpt in case you need a smidge more convincing:

Excerpt of Secrets & Fries at the Starlight Diner by Helen Cox.

Even in my sleep I wasn’t safe from those vacant eyes, the colour of copper. Once again, they had stared at me out of the darkness, all the memories and hopes sieved out of them. Drained out of the bullet hole punched through his right temple.

I whimpered and my body slackened in Jimmy’s grasp. My heart was still hammering at the thought of what I’d just relived.

What I’d witnessed four nights ago.

Even now, the gunshot still echoed in my ears.

‘I’m so sorry,’ was all I could think of to say to Jimmy, who was crouching in front of me, his hands still resting on my arms.

‘For what?’ he shook his head.

‘Just, everything,’ I croaked. ‘For waking you up. For being a wreck. God…’ I put a hand over my mouth to hold in the disturbing truth loitering on the tip of my tongue.

‘I’ve seen worse.’ A soft smile displaced the hard lines on Jimmy’s face. I took in a deep breath, and then another, realising there was a hint of mandarin in the atmosphere and that it was coming from Jimmy. He’d showered off all of that musty cologne before going to bed. Now he just smelled fruity. And soapy.

‘You gonna tell me what’s goin’ on here?’ Jimmy stared at me.

I swallowed hard. But didn’t say anything. If I did, it could mean his life.

‘Nowhere to go. Nightmares. A makeover from the beauty school of Cyndi Lauper. You’re clearly in some kinda trouble. Don’t need to be good at reading people to see that.’ Jimmy scratched his head. ‘Maybe I can help… Who’s Frankie?’

I started and looked back into his brown eyes. Neat. I couldn’t even keep my trap shut while I was asleep. He moved from his crouching position and sat on the arm of the sofa I’d been sleeping on. It was upholstered in fabric the shade of chewy caramel, but wasn’t nearly as soft as it promised to be. Still, it was better than the sidewalk or a park bench, which is right where I’d be without Jimmy.

I sat up properly, but kept my feet covered with the yellow sheets and stared up again at the map of New York State hanging on his wall.

Perhaps confiding in Jimmy would make me feel better. He was a reporter. He probably had connections. But what if he told me to go to the cops about my situation? I’d already tried that back in Atlantic City, and had nearly died doing it. If I didn’t go to the police myself, maybe Jimmy would and I didn’t know for sure how far Frankie’s influence stretched. It could be limited to Atlantic City, but I doubted it. He’d been around long enough. I had to assume he had informants on this side of the Hudson.

Peeling my eyes away from Jimmy’s wall art, I looked over at him.

‘Don’t take this the wrong way or nothing, but I can’t tell you what’s going on.

There is somethin’, obviously, but I really can’t say what it is,’ I said, running my fingers through my hair and straightening out a knot I found in the back. Flattening it down as best I could.

‘You don’t trust me.’ Jimmy lowered his gaze down to the lime-green carpet, which seemed to line the floors of every room in the whole apartment, save the kitchen area behind the sofa where he’d had wood-effect lino fitted.

‘It’s not that. If I tell you, it could be dangerous. It’s better you don’t know.’

‘Maybe you oughta let me worry about myself,’ he said staring back at me.

can’t risk it,’ I shook my head and looked down at my fingernails. They were painted with black nail polish that was chipped to hell from strumming my guitar.

For once Jimmy didn’t have some wisecrack to make but I heard him sigh and could see him shaking his head out of the corner of my eye.

I had to get him off this subject quick.

‘You got a record player?’ I asked, tilting my head to one side. He paused, frowning at the question.

‘Yeah I got a record player, I’m not a caveman.’ He reached a hand down to Louie who’d been whining off and on and gave the short fur on his head a ruffle.

‘Mind if I play a record or two?’

Jimmy squinted his eyes just enough at the corners to let me know he was well aware I was trying to throw him off the scent. Then he looked at his watch, which I guess never left his wrist since he’d just jumped out of bed. ‘It’s three in the morning.’

‘Music always makes me feel better,’ I said, with a small pout to my lips. Something about the way I did it must’ve amused Jimmy because a smug smile came over his lips.

‘Alright,’ he replied.

Pushing aside the sheets, I stood in my purple plaid nightshirt and walked barefoot over to the corner with the lamp where I’d left my suitcase about three hours ago. Louie scampered over to join me and I gave him a quick pat whilst kneeling to open the clasp on my luggage. Lifting the lid, I pushed aside the sweater dresses and T-shirts I’d thrown in before bolting for Atlantic City bus station. Underneath my toothbrush and my notebook, where I wrote down all the song lyrics I never shared with anyone, was a small pile of 45s. A modest selection of the best records from the last three decades.

I felt the heat of Jimmy’s breath on my neck as he squatted down near me. He was looking over my right shoulder and goosebumps pushed up through my skin at the thought of him being that close. It’d been too long since I’d had a guy that close to me. For the last few years my major concern had been making enough money to pay rent. But showing my parents I could make it on my own had been harder than I’d thought it would be and as a result my love life had been sort of on the back-burner.

‘That’s what you choose to pack in an emergency? Records?’ said Jimmy, waving a hand at my suitcase.

‘Yeah, just the essentials,’ I said, turning in his direction and trying again to look at his face rather than his chest.

‘Any good ones?’

‘Only the best ones.’ I made a show of looking insulted.

‘Alright, let’s hear one.’

‘Hmm. This one.’ I passed him a record in an orange sleeve. He took it and held it close to his face to read in the dim light.

‘“Concrete & Clay” by Unit 4 + 2.’ He shook his head at me. ‘Never heard of it.’

‘Then you’ve never heard really great music.’ I smiled. ‘Play it.’

With a shrug, Jimmy walked over to a small nook near the TV I hadn’t spotted before. It was stacked up high with old, folded newspapers but once they were lifted away a small music centre appeared underneath, complete with a record deck on top. Jimmy blew the dust off it and set the record in place. I walked over to the window and drew back the orange curtains, gazing down to the empty Brooklyn street four storeys below. Tinged yellow by the streetlamps, from this angle the world outside was a jigsaw of fire escape ladders, blacked out windows and water hydrants.

There was nobody out there. Not that I could see, anyway.

The scratch of the record sounded out, followed by the metallic chime of a cymbal right before the sprightly rhythm kicked in. I turned back to face the room and leaned with my back against the wall, running my fingertips over the cheap woodchip. Closing my eyes, I let the music surround me and at the sound of Tommy Moeller’s rich, smooth voice, my shoulders loosened, the tension bleeding out of me.

As the first chorus played out, Jimmy said, ‘That is a good record.’

I opened my eyes. Jimmy stood a few paces away at the record player. Still shirtless, and apparently confident enough about his body not to think about it. Still, he looked, to me, somehow vulnerable in his part-unclothed state. So much softer than I’d first thought him in the diner, when he was making suggestive comments and ogling everything south of my chin.




‘And now, the end is near..’ #SavingSophie #Blogtour @sam_carrington1 @avonbooksUK

tour-banner

It is time, unfortunately, for the final curtain ladies and gents! I began to arrange this blog tour back in October, the first ever blog tour that I had organised, and it’s safe to say I was bricking it. I wanted it to be well received as both the author and book, are fabulous.

Kicking off the tour was a blogger a lot of you have come to know, and love; Jo Robertson from My Chestnut Reading Tree. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for all of the support during the tour and for kicking it off with a fantastic review.
In case you missed her review, you can read it HERE.

Day 2 of the tour saw two bloggers taking part:
Nerdish Mum who shared her review and a guest post which you can read HERE
AND
Lauren, who was popping her blog tour cherry with a review of the book. You can read it HERE.
HUGE thank you to both of the fabulous bloggers for supporting the tour and getting involved. Really means a lot.

Day 3 of the tour brought us to the PAPERBACK PUBLICATION DAY! Woot!! Two lovely bloggers took part on that day!
Linda from Linda’s Book Bag is sharing a guest post to make you think, as well as a review. You can read both HERE. Very special thanks to Linda for the constant retweeting throughout the day and all the shares. Phenomenal, thank you.
AND
The rather fabulous Emma, aka Damppebbles shared an extract and a review! You can read both HERE. I think she enjoyed the book, don’t you? ;). Thank you for being involved Emma, your enthusiasm for the tour was exceptional.

Onto day 4 and Susan Hampson (Books From Dusk till Dawn) shared her corker of a review which you can find HERE. Thank you so much for being involved in the tour Susan, and for your fabulous review!

On the fifth day of the blog tour, two bloggers gave to meeeee;

Swirl and Thread posted her review over on her blog, and it is incredible! You can read it HERE. The support that Mairead has given the blog tour and I, is amazing. Thank you so much for being involved!
AND
Emma Mitchell was talking about non-crime books with Sam Carrington, in the form of a guest post! Intrigued? You can read that HERE. Thank you for being involved in the tour and all of the sharing/tweets and general shouting, Emma!!

Day 6 saw another two bloggers supporting Sam Carrington and Saving Sophie! They were:

The rather lovely Victoria Goldman and her fabulous review (can be found HERE). Thank you for being involved in the tour Victoria!
AND
Rae Broughton was brave and brought up the ever so controversial topic of ‘book to film adaptations’ in the form of a guest post from the author herself! Take a nose HERE! Thank you Rae for being involved in the tour, and for being such a support! Means a lot.

Still with me? Good. That now brings us to today, the final day on the tour. Alongside my own stop on the tour, two other bloggers wanted to accompany me and give the tour a good send off. At the time of writing this, I didn’t have their post links on me, HOWEVER, you can hop on over to their twitter accounts for their posts.
BibliomaniacUK aka Katherine
Alison Drew
Thank you both for being extremely patient and being so eager to be on the tour, truly means a lot.

Thank you to all of the bloggers for taking part in the Saving Sophie Paperback Blog tour, your support and dedication to the tour and Sam has been incredible. Also, thank you to EVERYONE that has tweeted, shared blogger posts, liked the tour posts or supported the tour in any other way. Without those shares and constant retweeting, the blog tour wouldn’t have been as successful as it was.
Lastly, thank you to the author of Saving Sophie, Sam Carrington, for writing such an incredible book and for putting your trust in me to organise your blog tour!

Saving Sophie is out NOW in both e-book and paperback formats, both of which can be bought from Amazon UK. Or, if you’re ever in your local Asda, the paperback can be picked up there too. Perfect Christmas treat.

Thank you all again and please continue to shout about the book! Oh, go and buy it too obviously!!

#Tour! Guest post by author of #SavingSophie @Sam_carrington1 & #extract! @avonbooksuk

tour-banner

I cannot believe that we are at the end of this blog tour already! This tour was set up to help celebrate the publication of Saving Sophie in PAPERBACK! If you pop into your local Asda, you’ll be able to pick up your very own copy! How brilliant is that!
Seeing as I am actually a tour stop today, please do keep an eye out for another post later with all the thank yous, and so on. For now though, I have a fab guest post from the lady herself, Sam Carrington, AND an extract from Saving Sophie! Enjoy!

My advice for aspiring writers
By Sam Carrington
 

As a writer, you often get asked for your top writing tips. I’ve compiled the ones I’ve given out so far in one list:

  *-*   Search for information online  

There’s so much advice readily available for writers! I spent a lot of time online searching for tips and ‘How To’ books, and I attended some workshops which were really useful. 

*-*  Get social media savvy 

I find social media a Godsend. It’s an amazing source of support that I would advise writers to tap in to because writing can feel a lonely process at times, particularly when you’re first starting out.

*-*  Join a writing group

This can be beneficial as gaining feedback is invaluable. I would say, however, that you might receive a lot of differing advice, so in the end it’s about learning what will work for you and what won’t – I think there’s an element of trial and error here! 

*-* DO NOT rush to submit your work to agents.  

It’s so exciting to have finished a novel, so much so that it can be hard to hold back! But agents receive so many submission packages you don’t want to give them an easy reason to reject yours. Make sure you read the individual agent’s requirements, have a strong covering letter, a succinct synopsis to the length they ask, and make sure your opening chapters are polished, polished, polished! I DID send my work too early and received a number of rejections quite quickly. Then I was lucky enough to have my work edited by a newly qualified editor and afterwards I began getting requests for my full manuscript. It can be costly, but personally I think it’s worth it.

*-* Enter competitions. 

I entered my opening chapters of Saving Sophie (then titled Portrayal) in to the CWA Debut Dagger award and was longlisted. It was an amazing feeling to have my work recognised. Being placed in a competition validates you as a writer and gives a huge boost to your confidence. Even though my agent was already interested in my writing, I believe that being able to tell her I’d been longlisted was a factor in her decision to sign me.

*-* Learn the art of patience

You’ll need a lot of it (although I’ve yet to master this myself!)

*-* Learn to take constructive criticism. 

But also know that a dozen people could read your MS and each one of them might suggest a different way to ‘improve’ it. You have to try and be subjective, sit back, think about the comments you’ve been given – if there are similarities, then it’s likely that part of your MS is an issue that needs reworking. But DO NOT change your MS after each and every bit of feedback. You’ll end up in a mess. If you can, get a professional editor, or use a manuscript assessment service. I was lucky to have an editor who had just qualified and was taking on work in order to gain experience. I realise this was great timing – and a lot of people won’t get such good luck. But money spent at this stage could prevent a lot of heartache later down the line when the rejections roll in! 

*-* Tell yourself every day that you are a writer.

Act like one, and you will be one! Grit, determination and self-belief are key. 

*-* Get organised and make time to write. 

Although I’m giving this tip – I am the world’s worst and need to heed my own advice. When people ask ‘So, you write full time then?’ and I answer ‘yes’, I’m sure they think that I do nothing other than sit at my keyboard and hammer out page after page of a novel. But there is so much more to being a writer than that. You might like to visit a blog piece I wrote on fitting everything in: (http://samcarrington.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/settling-into-life-as-published-author.html) The key, I think, is to have a schedule that fits around your everyday life – and do your best to stick to it!

*-* Don’t forget to eat properly, drink and exercise!

I have been known to get to 4pm and realise I have only consumed coffee and chocolate bars. Add the sedentary lifestyle of sitting for hours at your desk, and you have a very unhealthy writer! Take regular breaks.  

*-* Write what you love to read. 

Coming up with around 90,000 words will be far easier if you are enjoying it. Your readers will be able to tell if you are bored, and they will be too. Skip the boring parts.

Above allENJOY WRITING AND NEVER GIVE UP!

To wet your appetite for the headfunk that is ‘Saving Sophie’, here is an extract for you to read, as well as the all important book links!

Extract from SAVING SOPHIE 

DI Wade slid back the curtain, slowly, as if it could make a difference. Prevent the inevitable for a moment longer, give this couple a few more precious seconds before their lives plunged into the black hole of grief. She’d been here before. Only once during her time as DI, thankfully, but it’d burned a cavity in her consciousness, which had never been fully refilled. She could still see the small body – battered, discoloured, the skin beginning to deteriorate; the image branded on to her retinas. His killer hadn’t been found, the case now a cold one. Lindsay Wade wasn’t prepared to let it happen again.

Standing inches away from Liz Howard, Lindsay could feel her shaking. Not a tremble, but a full-body tremor. Her husband held on to her, to stop her collapsing. A few hours ago, her daughter was merely missing. A terrible thing: the fear of what might be, the not knowing, the constant eyes peeled in the hopes of catching a glimpse. Some people went through it for years, never finding their loved ones. Did it make these parents lucky that their daughter had at least been found? They might gain an element of closure. But then, the next stage: who did this to their beautiful girl? And what if the perpetrator was never brought to justice – what kind of closure was that?

Lindsay placed a hand on Liz’s shoulder. ‘Are you ready?’ The words seemed ridiculous even as she spoke them. How can anyone ever be ready to view a dead body – a body they are expecting to be their child? The woman and man took hold of each other’s hands, took deep breaths, and stepped closer to the window.

Lindsay closed her eyes, not able to watch their pain. She waited for the scream she knew was coming.

A brief, sharp wail emitted from Liz’s open mouth before the man lost his grip and she slumped to the floor.

Featured Image -- 6267Blurb.

A teenage girl is missing. Is your daughter involved, or is she next?

Your daughter is in danger. But can you trust her?

When Karen Finch’s seventeen-year-old daughter Sophie arrives home after a night out, drunk and accompanied by police officers, no one is smiling the morning after. But Sophie remembers nothing about how she got into such a state.

Twelve hours later, Sophie’s friend Amy has still not returned home. Then the body of a young woman is found.

Karen is sure that Sophie knows more than she is letting on. But Karen has her own demons to fight. She struggles to go beyond her own door without a panic attack.

As she becomes convinced that Sophie is not only involved but also in danger, Karen must confront her own anxieties to stop whoever killed one young girl moving on to another – Sophie.

Buy:
Amazon UK
WHSmith Online
Amazon US


#Tour! Review – It’s A Wonderful Life by Julia Williams (@JCCWilliams) @AvonBooksUK

jw1
Super excited to be todays stop on Julia Williams’ blog tour for ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’! It feels like ages ago that I was helping AvonBooks reveal the cover to the book, and now here I am reviewing it!

jw
Blurb.

Christmas with the family. Cosy, relaxing…and a total nightmare?

Driving home for Christmas, Beth has everything she wants. The kids and the house, the career and the husband. So why is it that when the New Year comes, she can’t stop thinking about her old college boyfriend?

Her husband Daniel is tasked with bringing a struggling school up to scratch, but when family life catches up to him, can he be a good father and a good teacher at the same time?

Beth’s sister Lou has just been dumped…again. Single and childless, she can’t help but be jealous of her sibling’s success. But is the grass really always greener?

What does TWG think?

Julia Williams has been an author whose books I have always looked at from afar and not read; until now. This is Julia’s tenth book which equals ten years of Julia Williams’ books! Massive congratulations!

With a title like this one, and a cover shouting ‘deck the halls’, you would automatically think that this book will be full of Christmas spirit and rival ‘The Snowman’ movie, yes? Do not be fooled by the dog sniffing out a present on the cover as this Christmas cracker packs a punch! Not literally obviously…you know what I mean.

‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ switches itself between three different viewpoints; Beth, husband David and sister Lou as they embark on individual journeys. Beth is a children’s book illustrator and she finds herself getting stuck in a rut when both her and her editors opinions clash over her work in progress. Something is missing and whilst Beth’s editor wants cute, Beth wants realistic. Bit like her life really. Beth’s husband, David, has his own personal struggles. As well as trying to run a new school, David’s past comes to sing a few Christmas carols; but will they be the only one singing, or can David be the bigger man?
As for Beth’s sister, Lou, she seems to be holding her cards very close to her chest in fear of ending up looking like the ‘joker’. Will Santa bring her good luck for Christmas, for once?

Three different viewpoints equals three separate lots of drama! My opinion of Beth seemed to change all the way through the book. One moment I felt sorry for her as she came across rather sad and then the next moment I was thinking ‘you stupid….’! I did end up finishing the book liking her though, so that is always good haha. It’s brilliant when you read a book that changes your opinion of one character more than once, it certainly kept me on my toes.

They say ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ and I believe that a similar saying should be linked to this book; ‘this book is for life, not just for Christmas!’. As I said above, the cover shouts Christmas; however, whilst the book is set during the festive period, I wouldn’t class it as a book to be read specifically for Christmas. The storyline is so diverse so you can read and love it any time of the year!

‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ was full of rollercoaster emotions as well as a lot of drama which, for me, made it stand out from the other books out at the moment (in a very good way).
It seems as though all of the characters weren’t happy with their lives so they set out to change them. Unfortunately, they seemed to think that a past moment would be as fantastic now as it was back then, being totally oblivious to any consequences.

We all do it, we all have moments where we look through our rose-tinted glasses whilst trying to relive a moment from many moons ago. We all have moments where we focus on what we COULD have, rather than what we DO have. Julia has cemented that important message throughout the storyline in such a bold and eye-opening way. Truly inspiring, it definitely had me thinking!

Julia Williams has written a book about self discovery, taking chances and learning to live in the moment. Her enticing writing had me gripped the whole way through, as well as getting me emotionally involved in the characters lives. Thank you for allowing me to embark on such an inspiring and beautifully written journey.

Thank you AvonBooks for having me on the tour.

It’s A Wonderful Life by Julia Williams, published by AvonBooks, is available to buy now from Amazon

#Review! All She Ever Wished For by Claudia Carroll(@carrollclaudia) @AvonBooksUK #Tuesnews

claudia
Blurb.

A gorgeous story of chance meetings and unexpected friendships . . . because sometimes what you’ve always wished for isn’t necessarily what life has in store . . .

Marriage. It’s a dream come true. Isn’t it?

One wet winter night, two women meet on a bridge. One is Tess Taylor, a personal trainer on the way to meet her boyfriend for date night. The other is Kate King, a celebrity married to a handsome billionaire who just happens to make her cry. In the cold dark evening, there is nothing to link them together but the bridge they shiver on. Little do they know they’ll both hold the key to each other’s future marriage…

All She Ever Wished For tells the story of what happens when your dream is about to come true. And what happens when that dream turns into a bit of a nightmare…

What does TWG think?

Planning your wedding is supposed to be an exciting experience isn’t it? Well, stressful too, but you would think that when your upcoming wedding was being spoken about, you would show more happiness as opposed to….nothing, right? I have watched many episodes of Say Yes To The Dress and Don’t tell the Bride to understand that anger or uncertainty, are two feelings that would only appear if your other half has annoyed you…and NOT because of someone asking you whether you’re excited to be getting married.

Meet Tess, a personal trainer who is planning her wedding to a man that is her polar opposite who thinks his reputation is far more important than anything else.
Meet Kate, a celebrity who is married to a man she thought would be her ‘one’, her ‘happily ever after’, funny how things can change isn’t it?

I revealed the cover of this book on my blog the other month, so when I realised that I was able to review it too, I became rather excited! I didn’t know what to expect at all but I rather looking forward to finding out.

As soon as the story begins it seems as though we’re gaining a puzzle piece because of the first scenario we come across. To what that puzzle piece represented, I didn’t know, yet, but it seemed as though that first puzzle piece was a vital piece of information for the story.

The storyline itself switches between Tess’ and Kate’s lives and how they got to where they are now, and more I read, the more puzzle pieces I collected. I gave up trying to work out where the storyline was heading as there was so much information and enjoyable situations, I didn’t want my mind to be taken away from the overall story. I wanted to enjoy it for what it was instead of trying to be Sherlock. Both Tess and Kate were brilliant characters to follow as their personalities were so very different yet they were still quite similar ladies. I found the storyline to be quite complex as there was a lot going on and I was taken on such an emotional journey, absolutely loved it.

‘All She Ever Wished For’ is such a powerful and poignant read, it truly opened my eyes to the bigger picture in general. I thoroughly enjoyed going with the flow with this book and letting myself enjoy every single moment of Claudia’s enchanting words. I couldn’t believe where the storyline headed as it was totally unexpected, that said, it made for an even better read.

Such a wonderful book that will have you siding with a heroine or two. I got lost in Claudia’s majestic storyline and was rather disappointed when the book had to end. I absolutely cannot wait to see what Claudia has up her sleeve for her next book!

Thank you to Avon for my ARC.

All She Ever Wished For by Claudia Carroll, published by Avon Books UK, is available to buy now in both e-book and paperback from Amazon UK! The paperback is also available to buy in the wild as I spotted it in Tesco and Asda!