#BlogTour ~ The Chalk Man by C J Tudor @cjtudor @JennyPlatt90 @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Chalk Man by C J Tudor.

The Chalk Man was published by Michael Joseph on 11th January 2018.

 

None of us ever agreed on the exact beginning.

Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures, or when they started to appear on their own?

Was it the terrible accident?

Or when they found the first body?

* * * * * * * *

Thank you to Jenny Platt and Michael Joseph Publishers for my review copy of the book and for asking me to participate on the blog tour.

I have seen and read about this book on social media so I was absolutely delighted to receive a copy to review.

Wow! It’s hard to believe that this is C J Tudor’s first novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it to jam packed with intensity. It was creepy and just downright eerie.

I was hooked from the first page as we are introduced to Eddie and his friends back in 1986. It was a different time back then, no mobile phones, no social media and when you wanted to see your friends your called around for them on your BMX bikes, or….draw little chalk men as your secret way of communicating.

I loved how this book was set out with alternative chapters from 1986 to 2016, each chapter just leaving you with a cliffhanger and urging you to carry on reading as fast as you humanely can.

The author creates such a good atmosphere with her writing style that I could picture the scenes so vividly and when reading it late at night I found I was a little bit chilled to the bone!

The Chalk Man is an excellent story and you can feel the emotions that Eddie is feeling since his childhood and how this has shaped the man he has become since meeting ‘The Chalk Man’.

This to me was the just the perfect story with excellent twists along the way (that I didn’t see coming) and I really hope C J Tudor gets the recognition that she deserves as I can see this book becoming one of THE books of 2018. Just excellent.

 

About the Author

C. J. Tudor

C. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner and young daughter.

She left school at sixteen and has had a variety of jobs over the years, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter and voiceover.

In the early nineties, she fell into a job as a television presenter for a show on Channel 4 called Moviewatch. Although a terrible presenter, she got to interview acting legends such as Sigourney Weaver, Michael Douglas, Emma Thompson and Robin Williams. She also annoyed Tim Robbins by asking a question about Susan Sarandon’s breasts and was extremely flattered when Robert Downey Junior showed her his chest.

While writing the Chalk Man she ran a dog-walking business, walking over twenty dogs a week as well as looking after her little girl.

She’s been writing since she was a child but only knuckled down to it properly in her thirties. Her English teacher once told her that if she ‘did not become Prime Minister or a best-selling author’ he would be ‘very disappointed.’

The Chalk Man was inspired by a tub of chalks a friend bought for her daughter’s second birthday. One afternoon they drew chalk figures all over the driveway. Later that night she opened the back door to be confronted by weird stick men everywhere. In the dark, they looked incredibly sinister. She called to her partner: ‘These chalk men look really creepy in the dark . . .

 

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#BlogTour ~ Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb @crimethrillgirl @OrendaBooks @annecater

A big welcome to my stop of the blog tour for Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb, the much anticipated follow up to Deep Down Dead.

Deep Blue Trouble was published by Orenda Books on 5th January 2018.

DEEP BUE TROUBLE AW.indd

Single-mother Florida bounty hunter Lori Anderson’s got an ocean of trouble on her hands. Her daughter Dakota is safe, but her cancer is threatening a comeback, and Lori needs JT – Dakota’s daddy and the man who taught Lori everything – alive and kicking. Problem is, he’s behind bars, and heading for death row.

Desperate to save him, Lori does a deal, taking on off-the-books job from shady FBI agent Alex Monroe. Bring back on-the-run felon, Gibson ‘The Fish’ Fletcher, and JT walks free. Following Fletcher from Florida to California, Lori teams up with local bounty hunter Dez McGregor and his team. But Dez works very differently to Lori, and the tension between them threatens to put the whole job in danger.

With Monroe pressuring Lori for results, the clock ticking on JT’s life, and nothing about the Fletcher case adding up, Lori’s hitting walls at every turn. But this is one job she’s got to get right, or she’ll lose everything… Breathlessly paced, and bursting with high-voltage action and edge-of-your-seat jeopardy, Deep Blue Trouble is the unmissable next instalment featuring one of the most memorable and fearless female characters in crime fiction.

* * * * * * * * *

A big thank you to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for my review copy of this book and for inviting me to participate on the blog tour.

Crikey! I am writing this review now that my head has stopped spinning! What a book. I think Lori Anderson is my new favourite action hero.

This book is absolutely packed to the brim with action as you join Lori along for the ride as she finds herself backed into a corner and in a desperate situation. Following on from the events of the first book, JT is in prison and  not looking at getting out anytime soon – Lori is faced with a dilema as she finds herself trying to locate Gibson Fletcher in exchange for the release of JT. Sound easy enough??? Not so much when the said felon is a convicted murderer with absolutely no intention of being captured by Lori.

Steph Broadribb has done something brilliant with this series of books. She has brought a character to life so vividly (I picture Maria Bello playing her in the film!) and made you completely and utterly root for her that you race through this story to find out what else she is going to have thrown at her.

I absolutely loved Lori. She’s the person you want in your corner. She’s a bad ass mum who will do absolutely anything to protect those she loves and this is radiated in this book from the tender way she talks about her daughter Dakota and how desperate she is to save JT.

I did read this book quite fast. I didn’t want to but Steph Broadribb entices you in with just one more chapter, then another….. before you know it it’s 2am and you realise you need sleep.

I absolutely and positively CANNOT wait for the next installment!

Highly recommended from me…….(my friend has already collared my copy!)

 

About the Author

Steph Broadribb

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been divided between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at http://www.crimethrillergirl. com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases.

Steph is an alumnus of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens.

Deep Down Dead, her debut novel, published by Orenda Books, was the first in the Lori Anderson series, and was shortlisted for two Dead Good Reads Awards, including Best Debut and Most Fearless Female Protagonist.

Steph also writes under the name Stephanie Marland. The first Stephanie Marland book, My Little Eye, will come out in ebook in November 2017 and paperback in April 2018 with Trapeze Books (Orion).

You can follow Steph on Twitter @CrimeThrillGirl and on Facebook at Facebook.com/crimethrillergirl, or visit her website: http://www.crimethrillergirl.com.

Join the rest of the Blog Tour below……

Deep Blue blog poster 2018

#BlogTour ~ Nucleus by Rory Clements @BonnierZaffre @Emily_BookPR

Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Nucleus by Rory Clements.

Nucleus is published in Hardback on 25th January by Bonnier Zaffre.

The eve of war: a secret so deadly, nothing and no one is safe

June 1939. England is partying like there is no tomorrow, gas masks at the ready. In Cambridge the May Balls are played out with a frantic intensity – but the good times won’t last… In Europe, the Nazis have invaded Czechoslovakia, and in Germany the persecution of the Jews is now so widespread that desperate Jewish parents send their children to safety in Britain aboard the Kindertransport. Closer to home, the IRA’s S-Plan bombing campaign has resulted in more than 100 terrorist outrages around England.

But perhaps the most far-reaching event of all goes largely unreported: in Germany, Otto Hahn has produced the first man-made fission and an atomic device is now a very real possibility. The Nazis set up the Uranverein group of physicists: its task is to build a superbomb. The German High Command is aware that British and US scientists are working on similar line. Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory is where the atom was split in 1932. Might the Cambridge men now win the race for a nuclear bomb? Hitler’s generals need to be sure they know all the Cavendish’s secrets. Only then will it be safe for Germany to wage war.

When one of the Cavendish’s finest brains is murdered, Professor Tom Wilde is once more drawn into an intrigue from which there seems no escape. In a conspiracy that stretches from Cambridge to Berlin and from Washington DC to the west coast of Ireland, he faces deadly forces that threaten the fate of the world..

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thank you to Emily at Bonnier Zaffre for sending me a review copy of the book and for asking me to participate on the blog tour.

Wow – if you like your books to be fast paced and full of action whilst also throwing in the threat of war, then this is the book for you. The much anticipated follow up to Corpus, finds us catching up with Professor Tom Wilde and some characters you will recognise from the previous story.

Set in pre-war 1939, Europe is on the brink of war and the race is on with who can formulate and make the first and devastating nuclear bomb. Tom is tasked with trying to find out just how advanced the English are and with the scientists based in Cambridge at the Cavendish Laboratory – who is better suited?

The actions takes us all over the country from Cambridge to Germany and Washington DC as Tom and his love interest Lydia from the previous novel as they try to work out the connection between a dead nuclear physicist, a missing German boy and the IRA. There are twists and turns galore as we attempt to try and work it out with them along the way.

Rory Clements is so good at capturing the mood of what is happening with people being in denial about the coming war and others that have already tried to take action. The speed and action of the novel is superb and you feel as though your head is spinning at the end of the chapters!

This is what a good action political thriller should be and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

An excellent follow up story and I can’t wait to read what else Rory Clements has in store for Tom and Lydia…

Highly recommended from me!

 

 

About the Author

Rory Clements

Rory Clements is the bestselling author of the John Shakespeare series of Tudor spy thrillers. His six acclaimed novels, Martyr, Revenger, Prince, Traitor, The Heretics and The Queen’s Man and Holy Spy, follow Elizabeth’s Intelligencer, John Shakespeare, brother to the playwright William, through the dark underworld of Tudor England as he unmasks the traitors and conspirators who plot against the Queen.

Rory Clements won the Crime Writers’ Association Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award in 2010 for Revenger, and has been shortlisted for CWA Awards for Martyr, Prince and The Heretics.

A TV series is currently in development.

Find out more at http://www.roryclements.co.uk

#CoverReveal ~ One Summer in Rome by Samantha Tonge @SamTongeWriter @RaRaResources @HQDigitalUK

I’m very excited to be bringing you a cover reveal for the exciting new book by Samantha Tonge – One Summer in Rome.

One Summer in Rome is published by HQ Digital on 9th May 2018.

I, for one, cannot wait!

One Summer In Rome

To Rome…with love?

Mary Smith is turning her very ordinary life upside-down! She’s bought herself a one-way ticket to Rome and is ready for a summer she’ll never forget.

Men might be off the cards for waitress Mary, but within hours of arriving at the utterly charming family-run La Dolce Vita pizzeria, she’s already fallen in love with the bustling capital!

Only Dante Rossi, the mysterious (and drop-dead gorgeous) chef seems displeased with her arrival. And in the heat of the kitchen, it doesn’t take long for long-buried secrets to surface and sparks to fly…

* * * * * * * * *

This is such a beautiful cover, the colours are perfect and give you a good idea of what Samantha Tonge has in store for you!

Here it is!

one summer final cover

I can’t wait to read this – I think it will be perfect to read to get you in the mood for summer holidays (yes I know it’s currently freezing!)

About the Author

me and mitzie

Samantha lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat that thinks it’s a dog. Along with writing, her days are spent cycling, willing cakes to rise and avoiding housework. A love of fiction developed as a child, when she was known for reading Enid Blyton books in the bath. A desire to write bubbled away in the background whilst she pursued other careers, including a fun stint working at Disneyland Paris. Formally trained as a linguist, Samantha now likes nothing more than holing herself up in the spare room, in front of the keyboard. Writing romantic comedy novels is her passion.

Samantha has sold over 80 short stories to mainstream women’s magazines. Her debut romantic comedy novel from HarperCollins (CarinaUK), bestselling “Doubting Abbey”, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction Best Romantic Ebook award, 2014. The bestselling summer novel, Game of Scones, won the Love Stories Awards 2015 Best Romantic Ebook category. It reached the Top Ten of the UK Kindle chart, as did her summer 2016 novel, Breakfast Under a Cornish Sun. Her latest romance, The New Beginnings Coffee Club, is out now!

http://samanthatonge.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamTongeWriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaTongeAuthor

#BlogTour #Extract ~ What She Left by Rosie Fiore @RosieFiore @RaRaResources

A big welcome to my turn on the blog tour for What She Left by Rosie Fiore.

What She Left was published in e-book on 17th August 2017 and is published in paperback on 7th June 2018 by Allen & Unwin.

What She Left Cover

 

Helen Cooper has a charmed life. She’s beautiful, accomplished, organised – the star parent at the school. Until she disappears.

But Helen wasn’t abducted or murdered. She’s chosen to walk away, abandoning her family, husband Sam, and her home.

Where has Helen gone, and why? What has driven her from her seemingly perfect life? What is she looking for? Sam is tormented by these questions, and gradually begins to lose his grip on work and his family life.

He sees Helen everywhere in the faces of strangers. He’s losing control.

But then one day, it really is Helen’s face he sees…

* * * * * * * *

Here is an extract that will entice you to read more…..

“Sam, Helen’s husband and father to Miranda and Marguerite, has to come rushing back from a business trip to Manchester after his wife fails to collects the children from school. He picks up his daughters from a friend’s house and returns home, expecting to find Helen there.

I could see the girls were getting worried, so I tried to look and act cheerful. I chided myself for being a worrier and freaking them out. It was a beautiful, balmy evening, sunny and still, the kind of summer evening where Helen would serve dinner on the patio outside – grilled salmon, new potatoes and a salad with her homemade dressing. I imagined us walking into the house and seeing the patio doors flung wide, with music drifting from the kitchen radio; Helen, wearing her duck-egg blue skirt, feet bare and hair caught up in her trademark ponytail, would turn and smile as she carried the salad bowl outside.

We turned into our road, and I could see Helen’s Prius parked in the driveway, just as it always was. I began to believe my own fantasy. I could practically smell the salmon. Helen might be a little annoyed that the girls had already eaten, but Marguerite at least would be up for a second meal.

I put my key in the door, but it refused to budge. Whenever one of us was at home, we’d only use the Yale lock. We’d only lock the mortice if everyone was out. I took a deep breath and sorted through my keys to find the correct one, unlocked the mortice and then the Yale and the door swung open.

The moment I stepped inside, I knew she wasn’t there. The air was dead and silent. There were no dinner smells and no music and the doors out to the patio were locked. There was no Helen to turn and smile, a dish in her hand and her blue skirt swishing round her smooth, tanned legs.

As if someone had forcibly punched me into another time, I was hurled back to that other night, five and a half years ago, when I stepped into an empty house for the first time. I couldn’t help myself. My knees just gave way, and I found myself kneeling on the hall carpet in the dark, with my daughters standing beside me. Marguerite came to me and patted my shoulder, but, unexpectedly, it was Miranda who began to cry, in high, quick sobs.

‘Daddy, get up!’ she said sharply. ‘Get up!’
I didn’t get up. I fumbled in my pocket and brought out my phone. I dialled 999.
‘Which emergency service do you require?’ said a tinny voice on the other end. ‘Police, ambulance or fire?’

‘Police,’ I said. ‘Police. My wife is missing.’ And then I began to cry”.

Well this sounds brilliant and what an excellent cliffhanger!

What She Left Full Banner

 

Paperbackhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/What-She-Left-Rosie-Fiore/dp/1760292494/ref=tmm_pap_title_1?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/What-She-Left-Rosie-Fiore-ebook/dp/B07253XZR4/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

About the Author

What She Left Author Pic

Rosie Fiore was born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. She studied drama at the University of the Witwatersrand and has worked as a writer for theatre, television, magazines, advertising, comedy and the corporate market.

Her first two novels, This Year’s Black and Lame Angel were published by Struik in South Africa. This Year’s Black was longlisted for the South African Sunday Times Literary Award and has subsequently been re-released as an e-book. Babies in Waiting, Wonder Women and Holly at Christmas were published by Quercus. She is the author of After Isabella, also published by Allen & Unwin.

Rosie’s next book, The After Wife (written as Cass Hunter), will be published by Trapeze in 2018, and in translation is seven countries around the world.

Rosie lives in London with her husband and two sons.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rosiefiorewriter/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/rosiefiore

 

#BlogTour ~ The Confession by Joanne Spain @SpainJoanne @annecater @QuercusBooks @Hannah_Robbo #TheConfession

I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for The Confession by Joanne Spain today!

The Confession is published on 25th January by Quercus Books.

 

 

FIND OUT WHO DID IT ON THE VERY FIRST PAGE. ON THE LAST PAGE, FIND OUT WHY.

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal?

This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who – of Harry, Julie and JP – is really the guilty one? And is Carney’s surrender driven by a guilty conscience or is his confession a calculated move in a deadly game?

* * * * * * * *

Wow this book is one of those books. The one that pulls you in from the prologue alone and makes you carry on reading into the early hours.

I managed to read this book in 24 hours and I think that shows just how utterly gripped I was. The author has written a very clever story in that you find out who the attacker of Harry McNamara is immediately, the rest of the story is finding out why? Was this a random act of violence or is there more to it than we are originally led to believe?

The chapters are told from different points of view and at varying times – through Julie McNamara, his wife, we learn about how they met and their seemingly charmed and perfect life. Things aren’t always how they appear though and we slowly learn about how unscrupulous Harry really is. Alice Moody, the police officer in charge of investigating, who has a successful career and is determined to find out the truth and finally, JP Carney, the attacker who seemingly has no motive in this violent and heinous crime.

The back stories of Julie and JP are fascinating and we begin to find out more about their lives and how the actions of others have taken them down their particular path in life. Just when you think you have figured out a part of the storyline, the author takes you down a completely different twisty path and keeps coming at you with more twists and revelations that genuinely make you gasp and reassess what you thought you knew and had figured out.

The ending was a revelation for me and I had to re-read the last few pages again. It really does make you breathe in sharply as you try to digest what you have just read.

I can’t recommend this book enough – this is the type of book that keeps me reading. A fantastic plot with well written characters, some that you actually like and some not so much, that keeps you reeling and desperate to learn more.

I think this book is going to be BIG in 2018! (it definitely deserves to be).

 

Blog Tour poster 6


 

About the Author

Jo Spain

Jo Spain’s first novel, top ten bestseller With our Blessing, was one of seven finalists in the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller Competition 2015. It was named as an Irish Times crime fiction book of the year by Declan Burke. Beneath the Surface (2016) and Sleeping Beauties (2017), the second and third in the DI Tom Reynolds series followed, to further critical acclaim. Her standalone thriller, The Confession, will be released January 2018.

Jo is currently writing for TV.

A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and their four young children. Jo previously worked as a policy advisor in the Irish parliament and as vice-chair of the business body InterTrade Ireland.

Jo’s debut novel is set against a background of the infamous Irish Magdalene Laundries and Mother and Baby homes. The author’s own father was born in one such home in Dublin and the novel’s backdrop was constructed based on the in-depth research she undertook while attempting to trace her family roots.

Her favourite writers include Pierre LeMaitre, Fred Vargas, Louise Penny, Jo Nesbo, Ann Cleeves, B.A. Paris, Elizabeth Haynes and Agatha Christie.

#BlogTour ~ Beautiful Star and Other Stories by Andrew Swanston @AndrewSwanston @DomePress #BeautifulStar

A big welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Beautiful Star and Other Stories by Andrew Swanston.

Beautiful Star was published by The Dome Press on 11th January 2018.

 

Beautiful Star and Other Stories by [Swanston, Andrew]

 

History is brought alive by the people it affects, rather than those who created it.

In Beautiful Star we meet Eilmer, a monk in 1010 with Icarus-like dreams; Charles I, hiding in 1651, and befriended by a small boy; the trial of Jane Wenham, witch of Walkern, seen through the eyes of her grand-daughter.

This is a moving and affecting journey through time, bringing a new perspective to the defence of Corfe Castle, the battle of Waterloo, the siege of Toulon and, in the title story, the devastating dangers of the life of the sea in 1875.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Thank you to Emily at The Dome Press for issuing me with my review copy and for asking me to participate on the blog tour. Also a big thank you to Andrew Swanston for writing such a beautiful collection of stories and for sharing his thoughts with me.

I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of stories – the cover alone is a thing of beauty. In 2018 I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try to read a different genre of book. I’ve managed a few in 2017 so I want to step this up this year.

Beautiful Star is a collection of short stories, each fascinating in their own way.

All the stories are actually based on a true historical events which uses real characters and the author has done a beautiful thing in bringing these stories together and to life. Of all the stories, it was the first one in the book ‘Beautiful Star, that really captured by heart and I finished it with a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat!

The author came across a newspaper cutting in the church of where the story is set in St Monan’s and we listen to Julia Paterson the narrator of this story as she tells us firsthand of the dangerous life the fishermen had during this time and indeed still do. Her close and extended family were all fisherman and we learn about the perilous times they faced on a daily basis whilst simply trying to earn a living. We also learn about what is like for the families left behind, trying to remain calm and stay strong when the worst is happening.

The story is absolutely fascinating and I found myself turning each page eagerly to discover what Andrew Swanston would tell us next.  The descriptions are superb and could picture the village and boats so vividly that I felt I was actually there and watching it all take place from a distance.

A Witch and a Bitch was also another story that stood out for me. It is based around the Witch of Walkern, Jane Wenham and claims that she was a witch. A term used loosely nowadays but had terrible consequences in 1730 if you were accused of practising witchcraft. I’m not sure the ‘proof’ they claim to have in those days would ensure a conviction now (!) but I found the storyline really interesting.

I found this to be a fascinating and well put together collection of stories that you could easily dip in and out of. Andrew Swanston has done a brilliant thing with these stories in bringing them to life and this is a book I was glad to have read.


Andrew has also kindly written a piece about what and who inspired him to start writing…

Better Late then Never by Andrew Swanston

More than sixty years on and the memory of spending my pocket money on notebooks and pencils and of a youthful compulsion to put words on paper is still surprisingly clear. Goodness knows what I filled those notebooks with but it was a start.

At few years later I was interviewed by my new headmaster – a distinguished classicist, later Master of a Cambridge college, and a kindly soul with a soft smile and twinkly eyes.  As headmasters do, he asked me what I wanted to do in life. Ready for this, I replied confidently that I wanted to be a writer. ‘Ah,’ he said, ‘and what do you want to write?’

It was at that point that, despite diligent preparation, the nerve went, the young mind went blank and I blurted out that I did not know.

‘Well,’ he asked gently, wanting to put me at my ease, ‘what do you read?’

It was too late. I muttered something incoherent about Sherlock Hornblower, felt my face go crimson, and barely spoke again until the interview was over.  Such moments are never forgotten.

There followed, over the years of school and university, an assortment of letters and limericks, essays and scribblings, thoughts and reports – none of them, I fear, of any great  merit.

Later, the need to earn a living meant that very little scribbling was done until the family had grown up and the years beyond the daily grind had been reached.  The compulsion never went away although it might well have remained unfulfilled but for a walk on summer’s day along the Fife coastal path from the village of Elie to its neighbour, St Monans.

There, in the little church of St Monan, a framed newspaper cutting hangs at the back of the nave. It is a letter in The Times, dated November 1875, from Sir Robert Anstruther, asking for donations to alleviate the hardship suffered by the bereaved fishing families of St Monans and Cellardyke following the recent storms.

Much taken by this story, I set about researching it – extraordinary lives the fishers and their families lived – and, in due course, it became Beautiful Star. It was followed by six more short historical stories and five (so far) historical novels, all now in print.

Beautiful Star not only got me writing in earnest, it also answered the question my headmaster asked me half a century ago. I wanted to write historical fiction. It is a form I like because of the framework it provides, the fun of the research and the challenge of mixing real characters with imaginary, true events with fictional.

Once a pencil and a small notebook, now happy hours at the laptop doing what I tried to tell the headmaster I wanted to do. Better late than never.

 

About the Author

Andrew Swanston

After reading Law at Cambridge, Andrew Swanston held various positions in the book trade, including being a director of Waterstones and chairman of Methvens PLC, before turning to full-time writing.

Inspired by a lifelong interest in early modern history, his Thomas Hill novels are set during the English Civil War and the early period of the Restoration.

He lives with his wife in Surrey.

 

#Review ~ The House of Hopes and Dreams by Trisha Ashley @trishaashley @PoppyStimpson @TransworldBooks

The House of Hopes and Dreams is the latest book by Trisha Ashley and is published on 9th March 2018 by Transworld Books/Bantam Press.

When Carey Revell unexpectedly becomes the heir to Mossby, his family’s ancestral home, it’s rather a mixed blessing. The house is large but rundown and comes with a pair of resentful relatives who can’t be asked to leave.
Still, newly dumped by his girlfriend and also from his job as a TV interior designer, Carey needs somewhere to lick his wounds. And Mossby would be perfect for a renovation show. He already knows someone who could restore the stained glass windows in the older part of the house…

Angel Arrowsmith has spent the last ten years happily working and living with her artist mentor and partner. But suddenly bereaved, she finds herself heartbroken, without a home or a livelihood. Life will never be the same again – until old friend Carey Revell comes to the rescue.

They move in to Mossby with high hopes. But the house has a secret at its heart: an old legend concerning one of the famous windows. Will all their dreams for happiness be shattered? Or can Carey and Angel find a way to make this house a home?

Heart-warming, witty and quirkily original, Trisha Ashley’s THE HOUSE OF HOPES AND DREAMS will delight both old fans and new readers alike.

A big thank you to Poppy Stimpson and Transworld Books/Bantam Press for issuing me with my review copy of the book.

Trisha Ashley is one of my favourite authors so I was delighted to receive a review copy and started to read it right away! The beautiful cover captures what the book is about perfectly – plus who can resist the cheeky dog!

I immediately fell in love with the characters in this story and loved the chemistry between Carey and his closest and longest friend, Angel. Trisha Ashley has done it again with her setting for the story – it was perfect and I was overjoyed to see some characters from her other books popping up. It was like seeing an old friend!

One of my favourite characters was Tiny, renamed Fang, Carey’s small dog with a penchant for food, sinking his razor sharp teeth into the odd unsuspecting ankle or three and a dislike for men and unsavoury characters!

I really loved that throughout the book there is also another storyline running alongside it featuring a previous inhabitent of Mossby and a mystery involving the famous stained glass window and we learn all about this through diary entries from centuries ago. This was a brilliant addition to the story – it could almost be a book on its own!

This was such a lovely story to read and I found it so easy to lose myself in its pages. I found myself missing the characters after I had finished.

As with all Trisha Ashley books I eagerly await the next!

 

About the Author

Trisha Ashley

Trisha Ashley writes romantic comedies and her latest novel, The Little Teashop of Lost and Found, which is published by Transworld, is her ninth consecutive Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller. Her novels have twice been shortlisted for the Melissa Nathan award for Romantic Comedy and Every Woman for Herself was nominated by magazine readers as one of the top three romantic novels of the last fifty years.

She is from St Helens in West Lancashire, and believes that her typically dark Lancashire sense of humour in adversity, crossed with a good dose of Celtic creativity from her Welsh grandmother, has made her what she is today…whatever that is. Several of her novels are set in rural West Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Wales. They frequently explore aspects of the three F’s that are a constant in her own life: Food, Flowers and Friendship and include delicious recipes at the back.

Nowadays she lives in North Wales, together with the neurotic Border Collie foisted onto her by her son, and a very chancy Muse.

She is the founder member of NW Novelistas Ink, a group of twelve novelists, several of whom are bestselling, who meet regularly in North Wales; she is also one of the trio of authors called The 500 Club, along with Leah Fleming and Elizabeth Gill.

She is a long term member of the Society of Authors and a member of the Welsh Academi.

Trisha has a website at http://www.trishaashley.com where you can sign up for her newsletters, and an official fan site at http://www.trishaworld.com where you can find out more about her, or see a complete list of her books. You will also find her on twitter as @trishaashley

 

#BlogTour ~ Exile by James Swallow @jmswallow @BonnierZaffre @imosebba

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Exile by James Swallow.  This is the second book in the fast paced series featuring Marc Dane.

Exile was published in paperback by Zaffre on 14 December 2017.

 

 

MOVE OVER JASON BOURNE, MARC DANE IS HERE . . .

A vicious Serbian gang whose profits come from fake nuclear weapons.

A disgraced Russian general, with access to the real thing.

A vengeful Somali warlord, with a cause for which he’d let the world burn.

A jaded government agency, without the information to stop him.

Only one man sees what’s coming. And even he might not be able to prevent it . . .

Racing breathlessly from uncharted CIA prisons to the skyscrapers of Dubai, from stormbeaten oil rigs off the African coast to the ancient caverns beneath the city of Naples, Marc Dane returns in the incredible new action thriller from the internationally bestselling author of NOMAD.

 

EXILE by JAMES SWALLOW

 

Thank you to Emily and Imogen at Bonnier Zaffre for issuing me with a review copy of the book and for asking me to participate on the blog tour.

This book really reminded me of I am Pilgrim which completely blew me away!

This is the follow up to Nomad where we were introduced to Marc Dane working for MI6. Following the events from Nomad where he was betrayed and left as the only man standing, he is slightly less trusting of all around him.

Literally in Exile, we follow Dane who is investigating nuclear waste movement in Croatia and when he uncovers something that doesn’t add up, he finds that it is up to him to uncover what is actually going on. He once again turns to the mysterious Rubicon Group for help.

This is an excellent follow up and is just as fast paced as Nomad. The action in the book keeps you completely enthralled and promises many a late night as you race to its conclusion. The action sequences are excellent and I found myself holding my breath during some chapters!

I love reading a good action book a la Mission Impossible and James Bond-esque so this was absolutely perfect for me. (The author is a former writer for television and I can just imagine this on the screen).

I’m already eagerly awaiting the next book in this excellent series!

 

James Swallow

 

About the Author

James Swallow is a New York Times, Sunday Times and Amazon bestselling author and scriptwriter, a BAFTA nominee, a former journalist and the award-winning writer of over forty-five books, along with numerous scripts for videogames, radio and television.

His writing includes the Marc Dane action thriller series, the Sundowners steampunk Westerns and fiction from the worlds of Star Trek, Warhammer 40,000, Doctor Who, 24, Deus Ex, Stargate, Tannhauser and 2000AD.

His latest novel EXILE is out now from Bonnier Zaffre. For exclusive content, information on new releases and a FREE deleted scene from his novel NOMAD, sign up to the Readers’ Club here: www.bit.ly/JamesSwallow

You can also follow James on Twitter at @jmswallow for more updates!

 

 

 

#BlogTour ~ The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (Deceased) by Marie Gameson @mariegameson @annecater

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (deceased) by Marie Gameson.

The book was published by Salt on 15 July 2017.

 

The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (deceased) by [Gameson, Marie]

 

The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (deceased) explores the painful themes of having to grieve for someone who is not yet dead, and trying to find one’s identity through an absent father.

Winifred Rigby follows a Zen-like path of serenity and detachment, whilst leaving havoc in her wake. When Fred, a stranger haunted by poltergeist activity, contacts Winnie, he insists that stories she wrote as a teenager hold the key to his supernatural problems, and she is forced to renew acquaintance with her younger self.

Where will it all lead?

 

A big thank you to Anne Cater for my review copy of the book which I chose to review honestly and for inviting me to participate on the blog tour.

This is another type of book that I wouldn’t have ordinarily have picked out myself yet I was absolutely fascinated by it.

I found it be a bit of a slow burner of a book to start with but once I had read the first couple of chapters I loved how the storyline flowed so easily.

Win is a bit of a strange character but I warmed to her and her eccentric ways and enjoyed learning about her way of life following her time in Taiwan and the different turn her life takes when she is drawn into the world of Fred Fallowfield.

Although this begins as a journey to help Mr Fallowfield,  this is also a journey that follows Win and her choices, her way of life and her family issues with her mother and her almost estranged sister, Ursula. We slowly come to learn more about them and learn more about Win who has previously lost all recollection of her life before Taiwan.

Ancestor worship isn’t something I was very familiar with but I found it to be so interesting – the author has clearly done a lot of in depth research about this and this is what fascinated me.

I’m really glad I was given the opportunity to read this book – I will certainly be thinking about it for some time after.

 

About the Author

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Marie Gameson was born in Trinidad but spent her childhood in Barbados. As her knowledge of England was based entirely on the content of Enid Blyton books, when the family moved to the UK in 1974, Marie soon realised that you could never trust a writer to tell the truth. Marie and her mother co-wrote a book about the legacy of the Monmouth Rebels exiled to Barbados (The Turtle Run) which was published in 2016.

 

Mr Gadd Blog Tour Poster