#BlogTour! Author @Catherine_ann_f shares her views on writer life @avonbooksUK #guestpost

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Author of the incredible novel; Four Weddings and a Fiasco, Catherine Ferguson, is back and she is bringing her brand new novel with her! ‘The Secrets of Ivy Garden’ was published on the 3rd April 2017 by Avon Books and is currently sporting a ‘Best Seller’ banner on Amazon UK already!! Today is day three of Catherine’s blog tour with me, TWG. I have a guest post from the lady herself where she shares her own personal thoughts about writer life, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.
Please follow the blog post until the end where there will be the all important new book details and to buy link for you!

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Fab and scary things about being a writer
by Catherine Ferguson.

Let’s get the scary things out of the way first …

That horrible first draft.

There’s a brilliant book on writing by Ann Lamott called Bird by Bird that explores all the high and lows of writing for a living – and her assertion that ‘all first drafts are shitty’ was a real relief moment when I read it. Because I realised it’s absolutely true – for me, at any rate. My first drafts are embarrassingly bad, and it can be quite scary when you’re right in the middle of it all and wondering why your sentences seem so dull and uninspiring this time round. You panic, thinking you’ve lost the knack altogether and you’ll never again be able to write a book that some people might actually enjoy.

                I used to agonise for ages over the opening chapter, polishing the same few thousand words over and over, aiming for perfection. But I’ve since realised that the trick, for me, is to just get it all down on the page, without stopping to read it back, no matter how childish it seems or how many holes in the plot I might suspect there are.

                Then, when I’ve got the words down (but not necessarily in the right order), I can go back to the beginning and transform my shambolic load of horse manure into something that makes sense and might even be emotionally engaging!

Self-motivation

You need this in spades to be a writer. As you’re usually working at home (with easy access to fridge, TV and social media, without a boss looking over your shoulder), it can be very hard to rev the engine and get motoring. I envy people who can be stern with themselves (no stopping until I’ve written a thousand words!) and actually carry through with it. I’ve found it helps to set a realistic word-count target that you know you can easily meet. Then, if you manage to actually exceed your target, you feel very pleased with yourself, which puts you in a helpfully positive frame of mind for the next day’s writing session!

            Reviews (bad)

It doesn’t matter how many great reviews you might already have, it’s the single bad one you will end up obsessing about. Scary!

And the fab things?

Light-bulb moments

These are the times I love best of all about being a writer.

                Light-bulb moments happen most often when I’m out walking to escape the screen for an hour. It can be anything from suddenly thinking of the most brilliant name for a character, to realising in a flash of inspiration exactly why I introduced the friendly post woman in chapter three. (When characters first come along, they’re not fully formed and it can take a while to get to know them and to find out what their motivation is.) I love it when a piece of the plot jigsaw suddenly falls into place and I realise, for example, that the friendly post woman would pair up perfectly with one of my male characters!

Publication day

There are butterflies in the stomach on publication day, when all your months of hard work are about to be revealed to the public. But they’re the deliciously scary kind rather than the exam-day dread type. Publication day is always exciting. And the perfect excuse for opening the champagne. I’m currently writing my sixth book but I know that when publication day arrives, I’ll be just as excited for this one as I was three years ago for my very first book …

Reviews (good)

Reviews mean so much to a writer – especially if they’re glowing! It can really make your day like nothing else if a reader takes the time to go on Amazon and tell the world that they really enjoyed reading your book. It makes you feel all months of the hard work were worth it.

*********

Whilst Catherine’s post made me chuckle, it was lovely to get an insight into a writer’s mind. If you thought that your one sentence opinion on a book (constructive) was irrelevant, think again. Reviews are what help authors get seen in a very busy market, although make sure your review is actually for the correct thing. I mean, you don’t want to review Catherine’s book with a line that should belong somewhere else now do you?

Thank you to Catherine Ferguson for the fabby-tastic guest post!
If Catherine’s Ivy Garden intrigues you with its secrets; here is the important ‘to buy’ link and the book information!

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The ebook bestseller is back with her next hilarious read – a fun, fresh tale of love, friendship and family secrets…

When Holly breaks up with her boyfriend Dean, she’s at a loss as to what to do next. But things go from bad to worse when her beloved grandmother Ivy dies – and Holly is left in charge of sorting out Ivy’s house and garden. As she sorts through her grandmother’s belongings and makes her way through the wilderness outside, Holly soon finds that there is more to Ivy than meets the eye, and uncovers a surprising family secret that changes everything…

This is a heart-warming and hilarious story from Catherine Ferguson about starting over, learning to garden and most of all learning to love.

Buy now from Amazon UK

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#BlogTour! #Review – Don’t Stop Me Now by Colleen Coleman (@CollColemanAuth) @Bookouture

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A hilarious feel good read about making lemonade when life gives you lemons, and finding the silver lining in every cloud.

Poppy Bloom planned to finish her PhD and walk straight into a job at her university. But here she is, unemployed, unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend, and living back at her mum’s in her vampire-themed childhood bedroom.

Not exactly what she was hoping for.

But when Poppy sets her mind to something, nothing can stand in her way. She scores herself an internship at the hottest radio station in town, joins a netball team, and renews her friendship with her oldest friend Leanne. Spending time with Leanne’s gorgeous twin Tom is just a bonus…

But life has a way of tripping you up when you least expect it, and Poppy soon has to decide where her priorities lie… With new friends, a new career and a new romance, can Poppy keep everyone happy, or is everything about to tumble down around her?

What does TWG think?

DON’T STOP ME NOWWWWW, CAUSE I’M HAVING SUCH A GOOD TIME, I’M HAVING BALLLLLLL. DON’T STOP ME, DON’T STOP ME OOOH OOOH OHHH.

Sorry, couldn’t resist, especially seeing as I have the pleasure of hosting today’s stop on Colleen Coleman’s blog tour for her brand new book, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’! Colleen’s book was published on the 22nd March 2017 by Bookouture, and it already has 21 FIVE star reviews (information correct as of 26/03/17)! Amazing. Here is my review of ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’.

The title of Colleen Coleman’s book intrigued me beyond belief as, despite the fact we know those four words from a well-known song, it made me curious to see what those words would mean in the storyline itself.

Seeing as I was in a really dark place before I began reading ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, I was really hopeful that the book would give me the escape I so desperately craved. As soon as I had finished the first chapter I knew for certain that it was going to be THE book for me.

Poppy Bloom has been working so hard to ensure that all her T’s were crossed and I’s were dotted, in regards to her studies at university. Poppy was adamant that she would end up leaving university with a ready made job and that her life was going to go exactly to plan. The thing is, we all know that life doesn’t always (if ever) go to plan and unluckily for Poppy, she got to find out that her plan was no more, right in front of an audience. Double burn. No job. No home. No boyfriend. No income. No plans. That’s enough to scare anyone really, isn’t it? Well, lets just say that Poppy’s buds BloomED. No, really…they did. Get your mind out of the gutter people!!

Some people may read this book and think that Poppy’s lifestyle ended up unrealistic and unachievable (yes, I’ve been nosing), and you know what? I’m not one of those people. Yes, the things that happen to Poppy on a positive level DID make me envious, but did I think that it was unrealistic for people like us? No I didn’t. If anything it gave me hope that good things DO actually happen to people, and going through a ton of bad things doesn’t automatically mean that you’re going to live a life of picking the short straw. Poppy left a life of organisation, a life where she had grown accustom to the ins and outs of her daily circumstances, a life where anything different meant that Poppy ticked it off as a ‘don’t like’ thing.

The moment Poppy had to think about what she wanted, what her choices meant for those closely linked to her, how it felt to have a group of trusting friends; was the moment, for me, that Poppy flourished. As a reader who was so invested in the storyline and the characters I could have probably had a cameo in the book, I felt like I saw another side to Poppy’s personality. Her humour was incredible and her heart was ginormous; she really is the type of character I would LOVE to have as a best friend!

I found the entire novel rather hilarious, so hilarious in fact that several giggles managed to escape at the most random moments. The storyline was so fun from the very start, and I was overjoyed to see that fun carry on right until the very end. It didn’t lose momentum at all. The levels of sarcasm from Poppy’s new/old-found friends was ON POINT. Several giggles and snorts escaped from my mouth at the moments, I have to be honest!

Before I started Colleen Coleman’s novel I had a feeling it was going to be a good book;  what I didn’t know though,  was exactly HOW good it was going to be. As the saying goes, it turned my ‘frown upside down’. I have never felt so much joy and fun the entire length of a novel, as I have this one. I can’t put my finger on exactly why that was, it just was…perfect.

‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ is THE book to read right now. It’s fun. It’s flirty. It’s sassy. It’s hilarious. It’s light. It’s real. Colleen’s words showed me that it is okay not to be okay, it’s okay to not have your shizzmanizzle together as long as you DO get it together. Colleen showed me that it’s okay to follow the right route for you, not the right route for everyone else. Most important, Colleen and Poppy (of course) showed me it doesn’t matter how rocky the road is, all that matters is whether you have the right people helping you over those rocks.

Never mind buying a self-help book when you can buy ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. I absolutely adored this book, and I absolutely adored Poppy. If you need (hah, we all need books) a book to buy yourself, I highly recommend ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ as it is just what Doctor Bookouture and Doctor TWG ordered. Oh, and it just happens to be in amongst my favourite books ever.
Colleen Coleman; YOU’RE AMAZEBALLS.

Thanks to Bookouture.

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US

About the author
 
Colleen Coleman is an Irish-Canadian novelist. She is the winner of the much-coveted Novelicious Undiscovered People’s Choice Award launched to find the next ‘chick-lit star’. She spent over ten years working as a teacher of English and Philosophy before finally taking a deep breath, scrunching her eyes shut, putting her pen to paper and vowing not to lift it again until she wrote the words The End. As a result, her first novel was born. Colleen lives between London, Ireland and Cyprus with her very patient husband and very, very chatty twin daughters. Don’t Stop Me Now is her first book and will be released in March. 
Colleen Coleman’s Twitter

Make sure you follow the rest of the tour with these fabulous bloggers!!

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#BlogTour! #Review of #TheEscape by C.L.Taylor (@callytaylor) @AvonBooksUK

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“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.

The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

The Sunday Times bestseller returns with her biggest and best book yet. The perfect read for fans of Paula Hawkins and Clare Mackintosh.

What does TWG think?

29 days…29 tour stops…and day two is finally here…
I am beyond thrilled to be hosting today’s stop on C.L.Taylor’s blog tour for her new release, #TheEscape, which was published by Avon Books on the 23rd March.

How on EARTH have I not read any of C.L.Taylor’s books before now?! I am ashamed of myself for not sticking my nose into one of her books until ‘The Escape’, but by golly! WHAT a book to start with!!!

Jo, being too trusting, ends up giving a stranger a lift and she soon realises that the stranger is quite clearly not a ‘stranger’ to Jo’s personal life. The stranger knows EVERYTHING and they use their knowledge to their advantage. Unfortunately, this means that Jo is left at a severe disadvantage. She’s anxious, she’s a mother and she feels as though her whole life is about to get taken away from her. There’s only one thing that she can do…escape…

An incredible page turner of a book, The Escape had me flicking through the pages at lightening speed, wanting to digest the storyline as quickly as I could. My maternal instincts kicked in for Jo’s little girl, even though a lot of those uncertain moments were incredibly difficult to read, I felt as though I owed it to that little girl…

I am honestly surprised that I didn’t faint whilst reading this book, as it felt like I was holding my breath the entire time, I don’t recall taking a breath. Even though I could work out bits and pieces of the storyline before they actually happened, the sense of fear and uncertainty jumped off those pages making those ‘known’ moments; unknown.

C.L.Taylor writes the storyline from both Jo and her husband’s, Max. Max describes Jo as severely unstable and seems to be determined to get what he wants. Although to be honest, I wasn’t even sure that Max even knew what he want. During the chapters from Jo’s point of view, my nerves went on high alert as every single noise and emotion that Jo heard and felt; I weirdly felt it too. If Jo looked over her shoulder thinking that she was being followed, I also looked over my shoulder and wondered why I was seeing the back of my sofa and not a path like Jo.

C.L.Taylor has quite clearly researched, and researched, and researched some more, where the procedures and illnesses are concerned. Taylor hasn’t written those parts into the storyline on a whim, thinking that nobody would notice. No. She has taken several illnesses, laid them bare and entwined them in a rollercoaster ride of fear. ‘The Escape’, personally, psychologically stumped me for a good 24 hours after reading it. My emotions and mind were in absolute tatters…and not in a negative way! Thank goodness for having a lot of chocolate in my cupboards to inhale!

‘The Escape’ has enough plot twists to make you require a sat nav. It has enough headfunk material to render you psychologically paused. The storyline offers multiple opportunities to ask yourself a ton of questions to the point you’ll think you’re on an episode of ‘Question Time’. Whilst reading C.L.Taylor’s novel, you may find that your most repeated words are ‘what the…..’.

I am in awe at Taylor’s literary skills with her ability to create a storyline so complex and intense, without losing momentum. I really don’t know the heck she does it, but geeeesh she does it good.
A heart pounding, spine tingling, fear inducing novel from the incredibly talented, C.L.Taylor.
(P.S. I blame you if I end up with a lack of money after buying your back catalogue….sorry, not if…WHEN. -runs to amazon-.

Huge thanks to Avon books for having me on the tour.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Make sure you keep a look out for the other bloggers on C.L.Taylor’s tour (details on pic).

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#Blog Tour! #Guestpost from author of ‘In Plain Sight’ Mel Comley (@melcom1) @bloodhoundbook

Huge thanks to BloodHoundBooks for allowing me to host today’s stop on Mel Comley’s blog tour! I have a guest post from the lady herself, enjoy!

Hi,
Thank you for hosting me today. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Mel Comley, I write under the name of M. A. Comley. I’m known for writing, fast-paced, gritty crime thrillers. My main series is the bestselling Justice series in which there are now 14 novels and several novels and short stories – you can download the first two books in the series for free Here

I began writing around 9 years ago when I moved/retired to France. After renovating the farmhouse we bought I became bored and craved something new to fill my time. I enrolled in a home study creative writing course. After completing the course, I initially started out writing romances. I switched genres after reading my first James Patterson novel.
It took me 18 months to complete the first book in the Justice series, Cruel Justice. The second book, Impeding Justice took over twelve months to write. Nowadays, I can write a novel in 4-6 weeks. How you ask? Once the characters take over and dictate the way the story unfolds it’s a done deal.

In Plain Sight is the third book in the bestselling Hero series which I’m delighted to say has been published by the wonderful Bloodhound Books you can sign up to their website HERE. This is the first time I have been fortunate enough to be traditionally published having been a self-published author for the past 7 years. I’m absolutely thrilled by the early reviews In Plain Sight has received so far.

I hope you enjoy my books, here is the blurb for In Plain Sight:

No one is safe… not even the police. DI Hero Nelson is used to violent crime but this one is personal. When he’s called to a crime scene he discovers the victims are two police officers one of whom is a good friend.
Determined to track down the killer, he’s dealt another blow as the body count continues to rise. To catch the killer before he strikes again, Hero calls upon the public for help. But when the criminal ups the ante by taking hostages, he soon regrets his decision.
Can Hero and the police catch the murderer before more innocent victims are hurt?
Hero must apprehend the killer who is hiding in plain sight before the time runs out.Can Hero and the police catch the murderer before more innocent victims are hurt?
Hero must apprehend a killer who is hiding in plain sight before the time runs out.

You can find out more about me here:

Amazon author page
KOBO author page
iTunes author page
Barnes and Noble author page

My website
Twitter
Facebook author page

Thank you to Mel Comley for stopping by TWG. Enjoy the rest of the tour!

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

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

A darling killed – Matt Johnson.

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now from Amazon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you Aria.

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

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

About the author.

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

Murder on the Minneapolis is available here [http://tinyurl.com/z2ly6lm] and
Murder at Cleeve Abbey can be pre-ordered here. [http://tinyurl.com/zkqhx37]
Twitter – @AnitaSDavison

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you Kim at Bookouture!

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US

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

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

The battle is on…

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

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

Buy now from Amazon UK

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

Extract
by Marnie Riches

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

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

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

A glimmer of hope. ‘You what?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

#BlogTour! #Review – Dangerous To Know by Anne Buist (@anneebuist) @legend_press #thriller

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I have the pleasure of welcoming Anne Buist, and Legend Press TWG today! Over at TWG HQ, I have been given the honour of kicking off Anne’s blog tour for her latest novel, Dangerous To Know, which is published today (15th/01/17)! Huge congratulations, and I hope you enjoy the tour!

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Natalie King is back: back from a stay on the psych ward. Her reluctance to live a quiet life has contributed to a severe depressive episode, and now it’s time for a retreat to the country, and a low-key research job at a provincial university nearby.

But Natalie and trouble have a strange mutual fascination. Her charismatic new boss Frank is friendly, even attractive. But it turns out his pregnant wife is an old enemy of Natalie’s. And when Frank’s tragic personal history is revealed – then reprised in the most shocking way – Natalie finds herself drawn deep into a mystery. And even deeper into danger.

What does TWG think?

I had a little bit of a school boy error with this novel, as I didn’t realise there had been a book before it also containing the forensic psychiatrist, Natalie King, until after I had read the book. Would I say that it can be read as a standalone? Yes, if you’re prepared to spend the first 30% trying to work out what you have missed. However, I did manage to read the novel fine, but it might be a good idea to get the first Natalie King book read beforehand just in case (buy here).

Before I received the e-mail from Legend Press, I had seen the cover of ‘Dangerous To Know’ make its way across several social media channels, piquing my interest almost straight away. The cover is striking and most certainly unique, yet it still is quite secretive in terms of storyline clues like some other covers. As I mentioned above, I found the first 30% a bit of a slog to read as I couldn’t seem to work out what was going on. Not only that, I found Natalie King’s personality quite tricky to gauge. I know she’s poorly and she’s doing everything she can (well, almost) to keep her life calm, but it felt as though we were bouncing here, there and everywhere with her and the storyline. I did get a little bit frustrated I’ll admit.

However, I found that the storyline started to get more of a rhythm from the halfway point. There had been a slight shift within the storyline, the characters became a bit more gritty and things started to get more interesting. I felt as though I was reading a completely different book from the one I had originally started, and it was from that moment when I knew that the book wasn’t going to leave my hands until I found out what had happened.

When Frank became more involved with the storyline I had already marked his cards. Something just wasn’t sitting right with him and his past and weirdly enough, I didn’t feel too edgy about it although I probably should have. Natalie was meant to be living a life of peace and serenity, taking on a research job as to not overstretch herself, but instead she had involved herself in a spikey situation that she shouldn’t have done. Whilst I can see WHY she involved herself (her job), I couldn’t quite understand why she was spending a lot of time asking questions about the situation, even asking strangers. It was constant!

I’m no Detective, but I tried so hard to piece things together as I went through the storyline, feeling quite proud of myself when I had managed to narrow it done to one person in particular. And, judging by the fact my conclusion wasn’t correct, I am rather glad that I am no detective otherwise I would have been fired by now haha.

Overall, I didn’t find the storyline as chilling as I would have expected, which surprised me. Don’t get me wrong, the storyline is full of enough question marks to keep you interested and puzzled, but I couldn’t find that goose bump feeling. What I did feel though was physically sick when I ‘saw’ the completed puzzle. It felt as though I was looking at completely different characters to the ones I had been reading about for however long! ‘Severely sick and twisted’ sums this book up for me, and weirdly enough, not in a negative way. Yes, the finished puzzle piece was horrific to read and vile, but Anne Buist has obviously done what she set out to do as I had absolutely no idea that that was going to be the ‘image’ of the completed puzzle.

‘Dangerous To Know’ is a rollercoaster ride of ‘who dunnit’, with enough red herrings to keep the sea birds happy. Despite the storyline taking me a while to sink my teeth into it, ‘Dangerous To Know’ completely caught me off guard, creating a  new meaning to the word ‘twisted’. Busy, gritty, sick, twisted and eventful, Anne Buist’s novel is incredibly memorable in its own right and I am looking forward to go back and read her first book!

Huge thanks to Legend Press.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

#BlogTour! #Review – The Difference Between You & Me by Celia Hayes @Aria_Fiction

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It’s Monday again, how did we get here so quickly?! Seeing as it IS Monday though, it can only mean one thing on TWG, any guesses? TWG is kicking off the week by kicking off a blog tour for Aria Fiction and Celia Hayes! It seems to be a standard Monday thing eh! On  the picture above, you can see all the names of the fabulous bloggers involved in Celia Haye’s blog tour so make sure you check in with them daily!
So, seeing as it’s me today, I will be sharing my review of ‘The Difference Between You and Me’, by Celia Hayes, published by Aria Fiction on the 1st March 2017. Enjoy!

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Trudy Watts has everything she’s ever dreamed of: a job that she loves, a successful boyfriend and an ultra-modern apartment in one of the most fashionable parts of London. With a long-awaited promotion due to come her way and her wedding just around the corner, Trudy’s life is just perfect…

That is until catastrophe strikes and her life is turned upside down. She’s transferred to Turriff, a remote Scottish town to manage a small, struggling bank branch.

Her arrival is traumatic and she wishes she was anywhere but here… Until she sees him – Ethan, the charming pub landlord, who seems to enjoy nothing more than to tease her. And it’s right there, in that pub, that her life will suddenly change…

What does TWG think?

Have you ever come across the type of person who cares more for their manicured nails than clean dishes (just an example)? Or a person who likes to have the best a man can get (AND SOME),  nor would they settle for anything less than the best, without a fight? Well, when you read this book you’ll come across ALL of the above.
Trudy Watts has a life that even poor Cinderella would envy (and even she has the shoes!), so I am sure you can guess her reaction when she got transferred to a remote Scottish town, to work.

Drama.Drama.Drama.Drama.

& that is even BEFORE she finds out that she can’t upload her pouting selfies to Instagram du to no Wi-Fi! Her over reactions were absolutely hilarious and whilst her amateur dramatics performance came across as more ‘oh no she didn’t!’ instead of ‘oh yes she did!’, the way Trudy went about things was brilliant. Comedy gold. All is not lost for Ms.Watts as she comes across Ethan, a pub landlord. A man who likes to reel his lady friends by teasing them. Oh wait, no, sorry, border line insulting them was what I should have said! Trudy and Ethan’s relationship was like watching a game of ping-pong; one would throw an insult or tease (ping!) and then straight away, the other will return those insults and take them up a notch (pong!). Quite entertaining to be honest! I couldn’t work out if the two of them would realise their chemistry was boiling over like a pan of pasta, though. It was refreshing to read about two people with the fine line banter, I found it more realistic than a female fluttering her eyelashes at a man one day, and then being married the next (or something like that anyway).

For me, Trudy and Ethan were really the only two memorable characters in the book. The residents of Turrif were pleasant enough don’t get me wrong, I just felt that we didn’t spend enough time getting to know them. I would have liked that. I have seen a few of the reviews for Celia Hayes’ novel online already and it seems to be falling under the ‘marmite’ type of book. Some may find Trudy over bearing and Ethan arrogant, or, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find the pair of them over the top in such an entertaining and comical way.

If you’re after a storyline with a bit of a difference, then, between you and me, I recommend this book, ‘The Difference Between You and Me’. It’s different, it’s memorable, it’s vibrant and you’ll probably have many ‘what the….’ moments, or shake your head in disbelief at Trudy’s antics; BUT, it really is the remedy for a stressful day.

Thank you Aria Fiction.

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

Celia’s previous book, DON’T MARRY THOMAS CLARK is out now!
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Facebook: @ariafiction
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Instagram: @ariafiction
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