After He Died by Michael J Malone @MichaelJMalone @OrendaBooks @annecater #BookReview

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I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my thoughts on After He Died by Michael J Malone as part of the blog tour for Orenda Books. I would like to thank Anne Cater for my invite onto the tour for this fabulous book and also Orenda for my copy. You can get your own copy from AMAZON UK

Synopsis:

You need to know who your husband really was…

When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son, Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed…
When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought they knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger.
Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets…

My Thoughts:

Paula Gadd lost her son almost seven years ago, her husband has just died. But a stranger asking Paula how well she knew her husband leaves her questioning all she thought she knew.

Straight away I want to mention the cover, how simple, effective and amazing it is. The story itself is far from simple, but it is effective and it really is amazing. I got to meet Paula at the funeral of her husband Tommy, she is still stunned, shocked and in a daze when this random stranger just walks up and asks Paula how well she knew her husband…

By this point I am already hooked, what follows left me on the edge of my seat as the story unfolded. Paula is rocked and as she discovers there are things that her husband has done that she had no idea about. I also got to meet some of Tommy’s family and also the stranger and how she fits into the story. Yes this is vague for a reason, no spoilers from me..

This is a book that is fast paced but one where I forced myself to slow my reading of so I didn’t miss any little detail. The author does the most amazing job of building up tension and suspense and at the same time sows so many seeds of doubt along the way. The plot is deliciously deceptive and twisted, but never once did I feel confused, the writing simply flowed as the story was revealed.

The characters in the story are such a random lot, and yes some I did like, those that I couldn’t make my mind up about and some that completely hoodwinked me. I love the concept of how well you know someone and how the author has used that and then completely turned it on it backside to reveal a world of doubt, mistrust, conflict and finding the truth about the person you thought you knew.

This is the first book I have read by this author, I have now bought a myself a couple more as this was so amazing. If you are a fan of crime, mystery, thriller, and suspense with a good helping of domestic noir then you will absolutely want to read this one. An absolutely fantastic read that I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

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Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.

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Haircuts, Hens and Homicide by Stephanie Dagg @llamamum @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Haircuts, Hens and Homicide by Stephanie Dagg as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for the invite and Stephanie for the copy of her book. You can buy your own copy HERE.

Synopsis:

Megan finds mayhem when she arrives in France to bury her Gran and sort out her affairs. She expected difficult encounters with civil servants and red tape but not with wandering chickens, an imperious policeman and a dead body. Together with her unlikely new friend, the elderly and grumpy Alphonse and his canine equivalent, Monsieur Moustache, Megan becomes involved in investigating the fowl-related foul play that’s at work in this sleepy part of rural France.
She’s helped but mainly hindered by the people she comes across. These include the local mayor, who wants Megan to stay and set up a hair salon in his village to help keep it alive. There are the cousins Romain, the gendarme, and Nico, the clumsy but hunky farmer. They have always clashed, but do so constantly now that Megan is on the scene. Michelle, Romain’s terrifying ex who wants him back, appears along the way, as does Claudette, a wheelchair-bound old lady, and Kayla, Megan’s best friend, who is hugely pregnant but not above taking on the forces of French law and order when Megan finds herself the prime suspect after Alphonse is stabbed.

There’s excitement, humour and lots of ruffled feathers in this rom-com slash cosy mystery, the first in a projected series.

My Thoughts:

When Megan’s Gran dies, it’s up to Megan to travel to France to sort out her Gran’s things, the farm, the legal stuff, the chickens and duck. Oh and the body…

When I read the synopsis for this book it was one that sounded fun and one I definitely wanted to read, it came across as a wacky and fun story-line. As Megan makes her way around this rural area of France she meets a real mix of characters. As word gets out that Megan is a hairdresser, her services are called in and she chops and trims as she goes. A great way to meet and get to know people.

From a visit to the vet with a hen on the back of a scooter and discovering her Gran’s business dealings, Megan had me smirking and chuckling as I read. The characters are fabulous Romaine and his clumsy cousin Nico, Alphonse and Monsieur Moustache are just the tip of the iceberg.

The idyllic setting belies a slightly more sinister side that Megan found herself caught up in. As I got to know Megan I also got to learn some of her own story, as well as her family. The story of the family is one that I am looking forward to knowing more about and it has been wonderfully wrapped in and around the hair cutting, hens and the homicide…

This is a book that I could have easily devoured in one sitting as I was taken by scooter and tractor and police car around rural France.

This is ideal for readers who like a Rom-com, cosy mystery, and a dash of drama. A great first book in the series and left me wanting to know more. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

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I’m an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. I now consider myself a European rather than ‘belonging’ to any particular country. The last ten years have been interesting, to put it mildly. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie, makes for exciting times. The current array of animals includes alpacas, llamas, huarizos (alpaca-llama crossbreds, unintended in our case and all of them thanks to one very determined alpaca male), sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys, not forgetting our pets of dogs, cats, zebra finches, budgies , canaries, lovebirds and Chinese quail. Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it’s been a steep learning curve. I recount these experiences in my book Heads Above Water: Staying Afloat in France and the sequel to that, Total Immersion: Ten Years in France. I also blog regularly at http://www.bloginfrance.com.

I’m married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful.

I’m a traditionally-published author of many children’s books, and am now self-publishing too. I have worked part-time as a freelance editor for thirty years after starting out as a desk editor for Hodder & Stoughton. Find me at http://www.editing.zone. The rest of the time I’m running carp fishing lakes with Chris and inevitably cleaning up some or other animal’s poop.

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The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater #BookReview

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I am so delighted to be bringing you The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech. This is a beautiful story, and after watching a Twitter video of Louise opening her parcel of finalised copies, I can also say she may be a little excited about the cover being embossed. Yes Louise Beech is embossed! You really need to watch this, its brilliant 🙂

My huge thanks to the fabulous Orenda Books for my copy and also to Anne Cater for my invite to take part in this blog tour. I may have been a little excited in my email back to Anne about joining this tour to help share the book love, this was already a book that was generating fantastic early reviews, there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to take part.

Synopsis:

Be careful what you wish for…

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…

Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it? What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?

My Thoughts:

Wishes and dreams are part of life, but what happens when the things you wish and dream for are not as you imagined they would be. Dreams are great, but if you follow your dream for an alternative motive then in reality it isn’t what the dream was meant to be. Andrew the wish-maker and Ben with the dream are meant to be together, but why…

This is a story that I just found myself being captivated with from the very start as I met Ben in Zimbabwe at a lion sanctuary. This is his dream and also a fulfilling of a promise , but I realised that instead of being ecstatic and excited about helping lion cubs, Ben was subdued, there but not quite there. Here was a man with something on his mind, and as the story flitted between Zimbabwe and Hull I discovered a story that just blew me away.

In Hull I got to meet Andrew, a chance meeting allows Andrew to meet and get to know Ben. The story tells of their friendship and then their relationship,also of their feelings for what others may think. Family, relationships, misunderstandings and expectations really do come into play and the author deals with this in such a natural and wonderful way.

There is so much that I absolutely loved about this book, as well as the story line itself one thing that really stood out for me was the attention to detail. As a reader I like settings to be described in as much detail as possible but not in great long passages, this author has the ability to describe in detail in a short and vivid way. Not only did I get an image of the sights and sounds but also of taste and smell, from the mud coffee to the aromas the lions. For me it is the additional little details that are just as important.

Now the story line, it flits back and forward in time and also between Hull and Zimbabwe. The main characters are Ben and Andrew and I really did get to them well, there are other characters that also have major parts to play in the story, but Ben and Andrew are the key characters. The story is about many things, but love and relationships are the main ones. The author deals with Ben and Andrews relationship in such a beautiful way, and also on the flip side the way that a person may think that some may not like same-sex relationships.

The story moved along at a nice pace, building up and filling in details and history of the characters and their families and then suddenly took a route that not only caught me unawares, but also had me with my heart in my mouth. It moved into such an emotionally charged story as the author had me on the edge of tears. I tried my hardest to keep them in check for such a long time and just as I started to breathe normally again I came across three words that had me in a total sobbing mess. There are several parts of the story that had me balancing on the emotional see saw, and I think that many others will be the same.

This is a beautiful, emotional, passionate, wonderful story that had me absolutely glued from the first page to the very last.

An absolute must read for readers who want to experience an author who knows how to take a reader on a fantastic literary journey.

About the Author:

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Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The sequel, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Her third book, Maria in the Moon, was widely reviewed and critically acclaimed. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

Follow Louise on Twitter Website

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Creature by Hunter Shea @huntershea1 @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BookReview

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Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Creature by Hunter Shea as part of the blog tour with Anne at Random Things Tours. My thanks to Hunter for my copy of this book and Anne for my spot on the tour.

This is available to purchase from Amazon UK from 6th Sept. It is published by Flame Tree Press, the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices http://www.flametreepublishing.com/

Synopsis:

The monsters live inside of Kate Woodson. Chronic pain and a host of autoimmune diseases have robbed her of a normal, happy life. Her husband Andrew’s surprise of their dream Maine lake cottage for the summer is the gift of a lifetime. It’s beautiful, remote, idyllic, a place to heal.

But they are not alone. Something is in the woods, screeching in the darkness, banging on the house, leaving animals for dead.

Just like her body, Kate’s cottage becomes her prison. She and Andrew must fight to survive the creature that lurks in the dead of night.

My Thoughts:

Kate suffers from a whole host of autoimmune diseases and her husband Andrew decides that they both need a break before Kate’s next round of treatment. He rents a lake cottage in a remote and secluded area in Maine. Being city dwellers that find that country living is not as quiet as they thought it would be, and that they are not always by themselves.

The descriptions the author gives for Kate’s diseases is a real eye-opener and part way through reading this book I took a break to have an internet search to discover more. At the end of the book I discovered that the author has used his own personal experiences about autoimmune diseases.

I was shocked to read Kate’s story about how she tries to live a life in constant pain and constant supply of medication. I had a sense of the autoimmune diseases as being like a third person in Kate and Andrew’s relationship, I say this because everything that a normal couple would enjoy from walking, going out and just doing basic things is not an option for these two, never mind a more intimate side to being a couple. Andrew has to work to pay medical bills as well as provide support for Kate, he has a lot on his shoulders and at times it shows. Whereas Kate is the position of feeling helpless and useless, not always able to the basic housework without paying the price and spending hours asleep afterwards.

As I started t get further into the story I got a real sense of them not being alone, while it is implied early on. It gradually starts to build and the suspense of there being something unknown takes a hold. I did have an idea about what was happening and I did wonder if my random thought process would be right as I started to piece things together. Even though I was right to a point, I found the author stepped up the pace and also the horror element and took a route that caught me a little by surprise.

If you are someone who doesn’t read much in the way of horror then be prepared for some blood and guts, but nothing that I felt was majorly over the top. The story of Kate and Andrew as they deal with their life is an emotional and a real eye opener of a story. I found myself quickly turning the pages to discover the truth.

This is a book I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

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Hunter Shea is the product of a misspent childhood watching scary movies, reading forbidden books and wishing Bigfoot would walk past his house. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter’s novels can even be found on display at the International Cryptozoology Museum. His video podcast, Monster Men, is one of the most watched horror podcasts in the world. He’s a bestselling author of over 13 (lucky number!) books, all of them written with the express desire to quicken heartbeats and make spines tingle. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to gobble down Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.

Website http://www.huntershea.com/

Twitter @huntershea1

Facebook Author Page

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Crimson Siege by Jay Raven @JayRavenAuthor @rararesources #PromoPost

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Today I am shining a spotlight on Crimson Siege by Jay Raven as part of the Blog Tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. I have a few purchase links here to tempt you lovely readers, if you like vampire hunters, Carpathian Mountains, mercenaries and the supernatural then this could be right up your street.

Universal purchase link-   http://geni.us/9E27uh

Amazon.com link           https://amzn.to/2HZrEar

Amazon.co.uk link       https://amzn.to/2JUJqxb

 

Now let’s have a look to see what the book is all about.

Synopsis:

Blood Riders Book One.

In the Godforsaken badlands of Transylvania the fragile truce between mankind and monsters is about to explode…

When bounty hunters target one of 19th century Europe’s most feared vampire clans, the last place any lawman wants to be is caught in the middle…

But for Anton Yoska, Lord Marshal of the Imperial lands south of the Carpathian Mountains, fate has trapped him in a supernatural stand-off that can end only in a bloodbath.

A gang of mercenaries led by Anton’s former army comrade Milosh Drubrick have captured vampire aristocrat Stefan Modjeski, wanted for a string of frenzied murders, and have come to Anton to claim the reward. And as Stefan’s predatory undead kin lay siege to the jailhouse, Anton is faced with an agonising choice – hand over his prisoner and abandon the bounty hunters to their unspeakable fate, or stand and fight.

The jailhouse defenders are outnumbered and out of options. It’s a battle that can’t be won, certain slaughter for them all, and Anton can’t trust his scheming allies. But Lord Marshal Yoska isn’t about to surrender.

For he’s an experienced vampire hunter, a dangerous man when cornered, and a single minded warrior who knows there are worse things to fear than death…

About the Author:

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Jay Raven is the author of Gothic chillers and historical horror reminding readers that the past is a dangerous place to venture, full of monsters and murderous men. He blames his fascination with vampires, witches and werewolves on the Hammer Horror films he watched as a teenager, but living in a creepy old house beside a 500-acre wood teeming with bats may have something to do with it.

Follow Jay on –   Facebook –  Twitter –  Website

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One Endless SSummer by Laurie Ellingham @LaurieEllingham @rararesources #99pPriceDropPromo

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I am delighted to be sharing a Price Drop Promotion today for One Endless Summer by Laurie Ellingham as part of the promotional blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources.

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One Endless Summer is in the UK Kindle Summer Sale.

Until 31st August it is only 99p and can be purchased HERE

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Synopsis:

How long can you keep a secret?

Three best friends are embarking on an all-expenses paid trip of their dreams. The only catch? Every moment will be documented on film.

Lizzie is finally ready to embrace adventure for the very first time. It’s their last three months together, but it is Lizzie’s time to finally start living!

Jaddi is known for her stunning looks, flirtatious attitude and many conquests. But Jaddi has a secret and on this last trip together she needs to decide whether her best friends will ever know the real her.

Samantha has always been the ‘grown up’ of the group, the one with a five year plan. What Lizzie and Jaddi don’t know is that Sam is trapped, and her perfect life isn’t quite what it seems…

As they trek across the globe Lizzie, Jaddi and Samantha must come to terms with loss, love and trusting one another. But will it all be too late…

‘Speechless at just how breathtaking this book really is.’
Rachel Gilbey

’Mind-blowing, enchanting, heart-breaking, moving, spell-binding and emotional.’
The Writing Garnet

About the Author:

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When I am not running around after my two children, my husband, our cockerpoo Rodney, or just plain running, I love nothing more than disappearing into the fictional world of my characters, preferably with a large coffee and a slab of chocolate cake to hand.

I have a degree in Psychology and a background in Public relations, both of which help me in everything I do.

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The Little Cornish Kitchen by June Linfoot @janelinfoot @rararesources #NetGalley #Giveaway (Open Int’lly) #BookReview

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I could not resist being part of the Blog Tour for The Little Cornish Kitchen by June Linfoot. I am supposed to be on a self inflicted Blog Tour break through the summer holidays but I am so glad I had a waver for this cracking book. Huge thanks as always to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite and June for my eBook copy via NetGalley. You can purchase this book from AmazonUK There is also a fab Giveaway towards the end on my post today, you have the chance to win a signed copy of The Little Cornish Kitchen, a Mermaid Notebook and a pack of Unicorns ( oops sorry, sugar unicorns not real ones 😉 ) xx

Synopsis:

It’s time to come home to Cornwall

With an exciting new life in Paris, Clemmie Hamilton isn’t looking forward to heading home to the picturesque but sleepy village of St Aidan, Cornwall. However, when she discovers that the cosy apartment by the sea, which her grandmother left to her, is under threat from neighbour and property developer, Charlie Hobson, Clemmie realises she can’t abandon her home in its time of need.

With her childhood friends encouraging her, Clemmie decides to turn the apartment into ‘The Little Cornish Kitchen’ – a boutique pop up pudding club raising money for the repairs to the building in an effort to stop Charlie once and for all. But when Charlie and his easy charm won’t seem to go away, everything soon becomes even messier than the state of Clemmie’s Cornish kitchen…

My Thoughts:

So Clemmie is on a break from her job in Paris and returns to her grandmother apartment in St. Aiden, Cornwall. The apartment was left to Clemmie and it has been a long time since she last visited. She is in St. Aiden for only a few months but her childhood friends coerce and cajole her into setting up The Little Cornish Kitchen. Clemmie needs to raise money for repairs to the apartment and her business minded besties help her raise the much-needed money.

Oh this book should come with a warning of “Do Not Read On An Empty Stomach” as the macaroons, brownies, sorbets and the array of yummy-scrummy-umptious confectionary delicacies start to make an appearance.

The setting is something that definitely appealed to me, as some may be aware, I live in Cornwall and I always like to try to link a books setting to a place I may have visited, this one made me think of a couple of places straight away. This for me made the setting and more importantly the description of said setting work so well for me.

Now this apartment is so me and I could so easily see myself there, in fact can I go right now pleeeease 🙂 It is a mish mash of unmatcing crockery, cutlery and furniture with a balcony overlooking the sea, it sounds snug and magical and absolute perfection.

Oh! I should mention the story and characters as well. The story in some respects is basic but it has been so well put together that I simply fell in love with it.  Clemmie comes home, she is the only one of her friends who hasn’t settled and instead travelled. Her story has a twist and as the story unfolds you realise how her fabulous friends are, they’re supportive and totally brilliant, if a little quirky at times, a group you would definitely love to have a drink with and there would be tons of laughing.

So this is really Clemmie’s story, about how things over the years led her to a life of travel and not settle. But the move gives her something to think about, re-kindles memories and she discovers things that she hadn’t realised she could do or had even occured to her to do. Then there is a neighbour, ‘Well hello there’. He has a few hidden talents that would come in rather handy. I wasn’t too sure on his agenda, if you read the story you will know what I mean.

This was a great story and it ticked a lot of boxes for me; well written, great cast and wonderful descriptions. It was humorous at times and also had moments that had a little more of a serious side. Thoroughly enjoyable and a book that you can definitely loose yourself in, with a heartwarming, uplifting and generally a great ‘mmmmmm good, snuggly feel. This is one I would definitely recommend to readers who look for pure escapism and want a cracking read, even though it did leave me with cake withdrawal symptoms when I had finished 😉 .

About The Author:

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Jane Linfoot is a best selling author, who lives in a muddy cottage, up a steep hill in Derbyshire, with her family, their pets, and an astonishing number of spiders. Although she loves seeing cow noses over the garden wall, she’s happy she can walk to a supermarket.

Jane grew up in North Yorkshire where she spent a lot of her childhood avoiding horizontal gales blowing off the sea, and wrote her first book by accident, while working as an architect, and renovating country houses. While she loves to write feelgood books that let readers escape, she’s always surprised to hear her stories make people laugh, admits to (occasionally) crying as she writes, and credits her characters for creating their own story lines.

Jane’s garden would be less brambly if she wasn’t on Facebook and Twitter so often. On days when she wants to be really scared, she rides a tandem.

Her latest books include a series of stand alone novels, based around a seaside wedding shop in Cornwall. Cupcakes and Confetti – The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea, Sequins and Snowflakes – Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop, and Bunting and Bouquets – Summer at the Little Wedding Shop, and most recently, The Little Cornish Kitchen. These are all published by Harper Impulse,  an imprint of Harper Collins.

Follow Jane on Twitter @janelinfoot, or find her on her Author Page Facebook or her Personal Page Facebook. She’s also on Instagram, and has lots of Pinterest boards relating to her novels.

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Giveaway – Win a signed copy of The Little Cornish Kitchen, Mermaid Notebook and Sugar Unicorns (Open Internationally)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize. ∗∗∗∗∗ ENTER HERE ∗∗∗∗∗ Good Luck folks xxx

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Chasing Black Gold by Robert Stone @rstonecbg @rararesources #BookReview #Giveaway (Open Int’lly)

Chasing Black Gold: The Incredible True Story of a Fuel Smuggler in Africa by [Stone, Robert]

Today I am delighted to be sharing Chasing Black Gold By Robert Stone as part of the blog blitz by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Robert for my copy of the book and Rachel for the invite to join the tour xx

Where to buy a copy: The History PressAmazon UKWaterstonesBarnes and Noble

Amazon.ComeBooks.Com

Synopsis:

ROBERT STONE was a serial entrepreneur – an enterprising individual, mostly on the wrong side of the law, who spent twenty-five years operating all over the world, before being arrested in Switzerland as a result of an international manhunt led by an Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Over the course of his career, Stone earned and lost several lifetimes’ worth of fortunes, went to prison on three continents, used dozens of aliases, saw men die, and masterminded one of the biggest marijuana smuggling operations in criminal history. Fuel smuggling in Africa, trading fuel with generals, rebels and businessman, was both his career high and, ultimately, what brought him down.

My Thoughts:

Well this was a really interesting read and the author is very candid in his account of his life as a smuggler. I’m also having to remind myself that it is the book I am reviewing and not the lifestyle the author chose to live. I am someone who works hard for my weekly wage and I live within my means, so this book was a real eye opener for me. To see how the shadier side of smuggling and making the next million can consume someone to the point of risking their life.

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This photo shows the coastal shipping base in Warri, Nigeria.

The author definitely ‘aint no saint, but I did get the impression that he was well thought of as an employer. He has had a dangerous life and most definitely lived it on the edge more often than not. While I can admire the inventiveness required to solve logistical problems I do not admire the fact that his life was a lie and gotten by illegal means, but I am not judging, each to their own.

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This shows Robert and his wife Linda with some of the employees off Africa.

I found that this book was really easy to get into and did capture my attention as I was taken into the authors real life world. It has danger, chases, being on the run, being in prison, being a millionaire with ships around the world to being broke and living in hiding. I must also mention he has a wife and family and on several occasions my heart went out to them as the author was essentially a husband and father who worked away a lot of the time, well most of the time.

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The Family re-united in 1996

If you want a book that is a real eye-opener then this is one for you. It could just as easily be a script for a Hollywood Blockbuster film rather than a biography, it really is that action packed, dangerous, jaw dropping and thrilling, that will take you around the world. From beautiful beaches to regime ruled countries it has it all. This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers of biographies and true crime.

About the Author:

CBG -Getting ready to bury Kruggerands and money.jpg

This picture shows Robert getting ready to bury Kruggerands and money.

Author Robert Stone first came to Aberdeen Scotland in 1973 as a pioneer saturation diver in the early dangerous days of the North Sea. Retiring from diving in the mid 80’s he became a serial entrepreneur –mostly on the wrong side of the law. He spent the next decade operating businesses all over the world from his Aberdeenshire home.

Stone earned and lost several fortunes, went to prison on three continents, used dozens of aliases, and masterminded one of the biggest marijuana smuggling operations in criminal history. Fuel smuggling in Africa, was only one of his many exploits.

His Scottish wife and young children knew nothing of the dark side of his life until the day they were all arrested in Switzerland as a result of an international manhunt led by an Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Twitter – https://twitter.com/rstonecbg

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Giveaway – Win 10 x signed copies of Chasing Black Gold (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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A Flicker Of Steel by Steve McHugh @StevejMcHugh #RandomThingsTours @annecater #AFlickerOfSteel #BookReview

A Flicker of Steel Cover

I am so delighted to be bringing you my thoughts on A Flicker Of Steel by Steve McHugh the second in The Avalon Chronicles as part of the blog tour with Anne at Random Things Tours. My thanks to Steve for my signed copy of his book and also to Anne for the invite to take part in the tour. You can purchase a copy HERE 

Synopsis:

Avalon stands revealed, but the war is far from over. For Layla Cassidy, it has only just begun.

Thrust into a new world full of magic and monsters, Layla has finally come to terms with her supernatural powers—and left her old life behind. But her enemies are relentless.

Sixteen months after her life changed forever, Layla and her team are besieged during a rescue attempt gone awry and must fight their way through to freedom. It turns out that Avalon has only grown since their last encounter, adding fresh villains to its horde. Meanwhile, revelations abound as Layla confronts twists and betrayals in her own life, with each new detail adding to the shadow that looms over her.

As Layla fights against the forces of evil, her powers begin to increase—and she discovers more about the darkness that lies in her past. As this same darkness threatens her future, will she be ready to fight for everything she holds dear?

My Thoughts:

As I have mentioned this is the second in The Avalon Chronicles and I would advise reading this series in order, you can purchase the first book A Glimmer Of Hope HERE . I really enjoyed the first book and it was a great introduction to this series, it laid the basis of things to come, you can read my thoughts on it HERE.

This is an urban fantasy with so much action in it than the previous book, this really does kick off from where the previous book left off. Layla has not only come to terms with but actually seems to relish her new-found powers. She is still wary abut completely letting go to them but is forming bonds with her spirits and embracing her lifestyle as the game players in the battles are becoming more known.

I love the way the author has used mythological characters, gods and deities, legendary figures dwarves, elves and a whole range of others to wrap them into an urban fantasy setting. I really like this meld of old and new to create a really addictive read.

It was great to be able to catch up with these characters once more and it didn’t take me long to get back up to speed with who was who, and I got to learn more about the key players. I do have a couple of favourites like Remy, Chloe and Harry as well as the main focus character Layla. They have a certain bond and ease with each other as they deal with what lies in their path.

The book is based around the age-old battle of good and evil and not everyone fits where you expect adding to the intrigue, though you do become aware of who the evil side is. The battle scenes and skirmishes have been wonderfully described to a point where I could visualise as I was reading. They are creative as the characters have some very particular skill sets, choices of weaponry and there is of course an element of magic, it always adds a bit of spice.

I would recommend reading the first book as there is a lot of information as to the how, why and who of the characters and it does do a great job of building a foundation for what is following.

I think this is a very accessible book as the names of characters can be pronounced at a glance, it has a setting that people would be familiar with and an ease with which it is read. I would highly recommend A Flicker Of Steel to readers who love Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Battles, Mythological and Legendary Figures, Battles between Good and Evil with some great characters and a very addictive read. It is a brilliant story and I cannot wait for the next one.

About the Author:

Steve McHugh Author Pic

AUTHOR BIO:  Steve’s been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up ‘One boy and his frog’ was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn’t for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel, the result of which is Crimes Against Magic.

He was born in a small village called Mexborough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.

Follow Steve on – Twitter –  Website

See what other readers think by following the tour

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Remember: A Unique Love Story by Shervin Jamali @ShervinJamali @CarolineBookBit #BookReview

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Today I am sharing my thoughts on Remember: A Unique Love Story by Shervin Jamali as part of the blog tour by Caroline at Bits About Books. This is the second book I have read by this author and I am delighted to have been part of the tour for this one. You can get a copy of your own HERE. My huge thanks to Shervin and Caroline for my ebook and my spot on the tour xx

Synopsis:

As Daniel watches the life ebb from Grace’s body, he wishes they had more time, knew each other when they were young. His wife surprises him by insisting that they did. And then she’s gone. Daniel knows this can’t be true. Can it? They only met later in life, so why would Grace’s departing words hint at a shared youth? Haunted by this notion, Daniel journeys into the past to discover the truth. ‘Remember’ is a unique love story. Find out how it really began… ‘Remember’ is dedicated to the brilliant Scottish author Brendan Gisby and his late wife, Alison. Here’s what Brendan Gisby says: “Well, you bugger, ‘Remember’ made me cry. The one word I’ll use to describe it is: Magnificent!” 

My Thoughts:

This is definitely not your typical love story, it’s not your usual boy meets girl, fall in love and live happily ever after. It is instead the story of Daniel and Grace. Grace is dying and her last words to Daniel are that they had met before.

This is an absolutely beautiful story that is heartbreaking and stunning. Daniel is the main focus as I got to learn about his life, the ups, the downs, the good and the bad. If you believe in love at first sight at, that you have a soul mate or that fate can play a part in two people meeting then this is a story for you. If you don’t believe in these things then this is still the story for you as it will challenge your belief.

As for the story line, I am saying nothing much about it. But you will discover that Daniel’s life has been hard, leaving him with having to try to deal with past issues and trauma and Grace has been the force behind him coming to terms and dealing with them.

It is a well thought out story that the author really has executed so well. There is a balance that felt right about it, giving it a realistic feel to it as in everyday life, and it felt very personal. It has elements of dark and light as the journey with Daniel progresses, but above all it is a story of love and life.

This is a novella that really packs a punch with the emotions, it is beautifully written and I think that people will take different things from this book. It makes you think about life and death, loved ones and family. This is a book I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

15272210.jpgI’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until recently that it just seemed to click. I’ve had stories locked away, but suddenly, and unexpectedly, they now need to get out. I completed the first draft of “The Devil’s Lieutenant” in just two months, and that was as a result of writing when I had the opportunity to do so. My 8-5 job and family still came first. I look forward to the day when I can be a full time writer who can take my children to school, pick them up and chauffeur them to various activities, with a healthy dose of writing in between. I believe that day might be right around the corner.

Also, my favorite punctuation mark is the semi-colon; it’s often used incorrectly, but it’s always winking at you!

Find the author at : Website Twitter 

See what other readers think of the book by following the tour

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx