Murder In The Dark by Betsey Reavley @BetsyReavley @Bloodhoundbook #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for Murder In The Dark by Betsy Reavley as part of the Blog Tour with Emma at Bloodhound Books. Huge thanks to Emma for the invite and for organising my e-copy of this book 🙂

Synopsis:

Without a motive, how do you identify the killer?

Imagine a quaint little bookshop. Outside the snow is falling. Inside the shelves are stacked with books by authors waiting to be discovered. What could be better?

When Tilly Edgely lands a position working at Ashton’s bookshop in Cambridge she thinks she’s found her perfect job. But one winter’s morning, when she arrives to open up, she discovers the body of her boss suspended from the ceiling, hanging by a rope around his neck.

DCI Barrett and DI Palmer are called to the scene and quickly find themselves searching for a twisted killer whose identity and motive are nearly impossible to trace.

But just when they think they have the murderer in their sights, another body shows up throwing the case wide open…               

Who is behind the killings and why?

The police have their work cut out and key to unlocking the gruesome mystery might be found right under their nose.

But one thing is for certain, this killer will leave you hanging…

My Thoughts:

Tilly didn’t expect to find her boss hanging when she arrived to work. The police detectives soon realise that the position of the body meant this wasn’t a suicide. The murderer taunts the police with another body and a mysterious trail begins as they piece information together.

This is my first time reading a book by this author and I spent a cold wintery afternoon reading this one, and it was in one sitting, so that kind of gives you an idea of how much I liked it. I really enjoyed this style of murder/mystery, yes it has police procedural aspects, but also a lot more other things. I think what I am trying to say is that it was more a sense of seeing the bigger picture from various perspectives. Yes, there is a body, but also the person the found it, the police investigating, the family connected to the body and also any other people who might be directly involved with all the previously mentioned people. Each person was introduced at the right time and in the right order for me to be able to remember them. No needless bystanders, each person there for a reason.

The plot itself I thoroughly enjoyed as it took me on a murder/mystery tour and I enjoyed getting to know more about the characters. I will say that there was no way of me guessing the killers’ identity until the author started to give me the pieces and put them together. This was something that Agatha Christie used to do with her books and is something that I personally like. The other great thing was that the author didn’t just stop the story at the arrest stage, instead adding a further step that for me left the story with a definite feeling of being finished in a very satisfactory way.

This is a story of murder, mystery and suspense that I really did enjoy. This is one that I think would appeal to many readers and is one I would recommend.

A great introduction for me to this author and an added bonus is that there are a few books already published for me to buy and read.

About The Author

Author of The Quiet Ones, The Optician’s Wife, Murder at the Book Club, Frailty, Carrion, Beneath the Watery Moon and the poetry collection The Worm in the bottle. Betsy was born in Hammersmith, London.

As a child she moved around frequently with her family, spending time in London, Provence, Tuscany, Gloucestershire, and Cambridgeshire.

She showed a flair for literature and writing from a young age and had a particular interest in poetry, of which she was a prolific consumer and producer.

In her early twenties she moved to Oxford where she would eventually meet her husband. During her time in Oxford her interests turned from poetry to novels and she began to develop her own unique style of psychological thriller.

Betsy says “I believe people are at their most fascinating when they are faced by the dark side of life. This is what I like to write about.”

Betsy Reavley currently lives in Cambridge with her husband, 2 children, dog and quail.

Betsy’s Social Media Links: Twitter  –  Facebook –  Amazon UK –  Goodreads

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The Uninvited by J.A. Baker @thewriterjude @Bloodhoundbook #BookReview

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Uninvited by J.A. Baker as part of the Blog Blitz with Bloodhound Books. My huge thanks to Emma for the invite and also the author for my copy of this book.

Synopsis:

A fragile woman. An unwelcome intruder. A house full of secrets.

Faye and her husband Hugh have had a traumatic year. Wanting to start again, the couple decides to buy a large rundown property, Cross House in a village in NorthYorkshire, hoping to leave the past behind them.

However, the tranquillity is soon ruined when Faye begins to awake, every night, to the sound of somebody creeping around the bedroom. She tries to explain it to Hugh, frightened for the safety of their children Aiden and Poppy, but Hugh dismisses her claims, thinking she is heading for another breakdown.

But when Faye discovers some diaries that contain secrets about the family that lived in the house before them, she starts to wonder if the intruder might be closer to home than she first thought.

Obsessed with finding answers, Faye is determined to learn about the Wentworth family, a fractured family with a tragic past.

And when she discovers that Hilary Wentworth fell to her death down the stairs in CrossHouse, Faye realises she is in mortal danger…

To purchase :- Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

Faye and Mark, with their children Aiden and Poppy, move into an old, rundown house called Cross House. They have moved here because of past troubles, with a hope that a new house will give them the much needed new start they need. Faye is looking for a place to heal herself emotionally and mentally after being stalked and harassed and wishes to live a normal happy life with the past well and truly behind her.

With a setting of an old and unloved house that has been abandoned and neglected, this story had all the right vibes, and then there is the name of the property… Cross House… It is not long before a nervous Faye starts to hear and feel things, something she is reluctant to share with her husband given her past track record. It is understandable that she would be wary of broaching him given her previous experiences. She herself wonders if she is paranoid and second guesses herself at times, but there are things that cannot be overlooked. When things come to a head it is her husband that that tells her she needs to talk to someone about it, yep… the good old supportive husband and his delusional wife routine… Oh, but how the tables are turned and it was a real pleasure to see him experience things as well. Yes, I admit to taking great delight in this role reversal, maybe it is a bit of a mean streak in me, but I liked the way the author gave a balance and also a sort of support to Faye with this turn of events as things get a little spookier.

There are quite a few snippets and bits of information about other characters and their stories and this is one of those books that I felt that the house itself was a key character. Various revelations come to light that are woven together to provide a story that gave me a sense of chills and suspense in an atmospheric and slightly sinister spooky way.

I really enjoyed the descriptions of the property and its gardens and the author made it very easy to visualise aspects from the descriptions given. I do have to admit that as much as I would love to get my hands on the house and bring it back to its full potential, I would be too much of a scaredy-cat to even step foot in it.

Gradually things are teased out and the links and connections are made, it tells a tale of its past inhabitants. A really good hauntingly atmospheric story with a lot of suspense and mystery, One I would recommend.

About The Author:

J.A.BAKER was born and brought up in North East England and has had a love of language for as long as she can remember.

She has a love of local history and genealogy and enjoys reading many genres of books but is an addict of psychological thrillers.

In December 2016 she was signed by BloodhoundBooks who published Undercurrent. 
Her second novel, Her Dark Retreat was published in October 2017 and The Other Mother was published in December 2017. Her fourth novel, Finding Eva was published in August 2018

J.A. Baker has four grown up children and one grandchild. She lives in a village near the river with her husband and madcap dog and when not working part time in a primary school, she spends her days trying to think up new and inventive ways of murdering people.

She can be reached on any of the links below and loves hearing from readers.

Twitter – Facebook – Website


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The Raven Tower by Emma Miles @EmmaMilesShadow @rararesources #Giveaway #Extract

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Today I am sharing an extract from The Raven Tower by Emma Miles as part of the Mini Blog Blotz with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. A book that I would love to have the chance to read but time does not allow. Have a read of the extract and while you are here why not enter the Giveaway to win one of five signed copies, it gets better as its Open to International readers as well… Good Luck xx

Synopsis:

The Raven Tower

What price will Kesta and the fire-walkers have to pay to keep their people from enslavement? The raids were more ferocious, more desperate and much earlier in the year. When Kesta sees in the flame who is really behind the attacks the Independent islands of the Fulmers seem doomed to fall. Their only hope is to cross the sea to seek the help of the King of Elden and his sorcerer, the Dark Man.

Purchase Links Amazon USAmazon UK

Extract:

In this extract, Dia Icante, the ruler of the Fulmer islands, heads out to look at the aftermath of one of the Borrowmen raids. With her are her bodyguards, the twins Heara and Shaherra, her apprentice, Pirelle and a young warrior called Dorthai.

Heara went ahead again and Shaherra stepped back to Dia’s side with her hand on her dagger hilt. There was a strong smell of smoke and burnt wood long before they stepped out of the trees and onto the beach. The ship had been broken up by the sea and a large part of it had washed up against the rocks. Planks and long crates had been thrown up onto the pebbles and sand along with several bodies. Gulls and crabs swarmed the beach, but one area was notably empty of carrion hunters.

‘That’s the head,’ Dorthai whispered.

Dia’s skin tingled and itched as though she’d walked through an invisible spider’s web. She shuddered and then asked Pirelle, ‘anything?’

‘I … I want to say no but that isn’t quite the case. I don’t feel the emotions of a person but there is a wrongness here; it makes me feel queasy.’

Dia called up her own knowing and immediately tasted the sour fear from Pirelle and Dorthai. The twins were uneasy but alert, concentrating more on their surroundings than their emotions. She picked up on what Pirelle had tried to describe at once; it was a feeling of impending danger such as a lone person might feel on hearing a large predator growl. Life pulsed in the severed head at the same time as death ate at it. For a moment Dia found herself rooted to the spot in dread, but she forced herself to move.

‘The head is alive, it’s watching us,’ she said.

Shaherra drew her dagger and Heara nocked an arrow to her bow. Dorthai gripped the torch he carried in both hands like a club. Pirelle shrank back behind them as Dia stalked forward. The eyes of the head followed her as she approached, the slack mouth contorted as though attempting a grin.

‘Who are you?’ Dia demanded. ‘Why have you attacked the Fulmers?’

‘I’ve come for you, Icante.’

Giveaway – Win 5 x Paperback copies of The Raven Tower (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.

About the Author:

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Author Bio-

I presently live in the stunning county of Dorset where I’m a cat slave to Wolfe and Piglitt I spend as much time as I can outside in nature and love exploring and learning about new cultures and languages. I’ve visited Greece, Serbia, Transylvania, Sicily and Norway as well as making several road trips around our beautiful United Kingdom. I paint, sculpt, dabble in photography and do a little archery but most of all – whenever I get a chance – I write.
My writing started from a very young age when I often found myself being the one taking charge of and entertaining all my younger cousins. They loved to hear my stories and although they mostly called for ghost stories it was fantasy I fell in love with when I read The Lord of the Rings when I was ten. I went on to write stories and short ‘books’ for my friends through school and college; then one evening whilst I was waiting for my aunt and uncle to visit an image came to my mind of a boy sitting beneath a bridge. I didn’t know who he was or why he was there, but from exploring those questions ‘The Wind’s Children’ trilogy blossomed and grew with roots going back into his far history as well as stretching out to his future. The boy’s name was Tobias.

I have since left Tobias’s world of ‘Naris’ to explore the Valley with Feather in the ‘Hall of Pillars’ which is now available through Amazon. I am now presently finding my way through Elden, the beautiful Fulmer islands, the ravaged Borrows and haunted Chem with Kesta Silene; a shamaness of sorts with a big journey ahead of her. I hope you come along to share her story and join her adventure; she needs you and you won’t regret it.

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Thalidomide Kid by Kate Rigby @rararesources #Excerpt #Giveaway

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Today I am delighted to be sharing an extract from Thalidomide Kid by Kate Rigby as part of the Blog Blitz with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources.

Synopsis:

Daryl Wainwright is the quirky youngest child of a large family of petty thieves and criminals who calls himself ‘Thalidomide Kid’.

Celia Burkett is the new girl at the local primary school, and the daughter of the deputy head at the local comprehensive where she is bound the following September. With few friends, Celia soon becomes fascinated by ‘the boy with no arms’.

The story of a blossoming romance and sexual awakening between a lonely girl and a disabled boy, and their struggle against adversity and prejudice as they pass from primary to secondary school in 1970s Cirencester. The story deals with themes and issues that are timeless.

Purchase Links – Amazon UKAmazon ComPaperback from Amazon UK

Read the Excerpt:

Excerpt 4 – Celia is invited to Daryl’s house for dinner

“Oh what a bloody morning I’ve had, Daryl,” his mother said, slipping off the voluminous coat. She looked at Celia. “Are you staying for some dinner?”

Celia looked to Daryl for the answer.

“Yeah, Mum, she is. This is Celia, my friend from school.”

“You can tell me what you think of my new lipsticks, Celia,” she said through the hatch as she unpacked her shopping in the kitchen. “Run up to the garage, Daryl, and see if Vince wants any dinner, can you? Tell him it’s chops.”

While Daryl was away, Celia sat still in the sitting room, Mrs Wainwright flitting in every so often to pull out the leaf on the imitation-wood table or la-la along in a cracked voice to pop songs on the tranny. Celia couldn’t imagine her mum doing that, or wearing a bright pink jumper of the shade Mrs Wainwright had on, or with her hair dyed blonde in that short straight style, fringe in her eyes.

“You’re quiet,” Mrs Wainwright said the next time she shuffled in with some cork-bottomed place mats and cutlery. “Mind you, you’d need to be around my Daryl. He can’t half gas on.”

“Would you like any help, Mrs Wainwright?”

Daryl’s mum stopped then, her hands clasped together, her head to one side. “Well, ain’t that nice. Not many that comes round here has the manners of a lady. No, you sit yourself there and look at the lipsticks.”

Unsure how to act or which lipstick she should prefer, Celia found herself wishing Daryl would hurry on back. Mrs Wainwright carried on in the kitchen, calling through every so often about magazines Celia might like to read while waiting for dinner.

When Daryl came back it was with Vince, dressed in oily clothes. “Smells good,” Vince said, before plonking himself down at the small dining-table over a newspaper, his long legs taking up most of the space underneath. Daryl sat down opposite him and spun his fork round and round. “Come on, Celia. You sit down there.”

When his mum came through, it was with dinners that other people have, on plates that other people own; shiny, oval plates covered with potatoes, peeled and pale as eggs, and carrots small and all the same shape and straight from the tin, same as the peas, and gravy rich and gloppy over the chops. Celia tucked in, enjoying it for its novelty.

“You’re the head’s girl, ain’t you?” Vince said, his voice gruff and scary as the chunky chains round his neck and wrist.

Mrs Wainwright glanced up from her dinner. “You never said, my love.”

Celia pronged another egg-potato onto her fork. “He’s the deputy head. Miss Bond’s the head.”

“All the same in my book,” Vince said. “I hate teachers. Burn the pissin’ lot, I say.” He pointed his knife at Celia. “You know, like that rhyme; build a bonfire, put the teachers on the top.”

Celia fell into a silent discomfort by the attack on her father’s profession.

Vince then pointed his knife at Daryl. “Listen to what I say, kidder. Them runts at that school have always had it in for us. That’s why Mum had to fight to get you in there. You don’t want nothing to do with no fuckin’ teacher’s kid.”

Suddenly Daryl shot to his feet as though he’d sat on a pin. “Shut up, Vince! Shurrup! She’s my friend so leave her alone!”

Daryl stomped out then. Celia heard his door slam upstairs but she was rooted to the table by good manners and the proper thing to do. You didn’t get up from table if you were a guest in someone’s house, even if that house was the Wainwright house. Vince scowled on while Mrs Wainwright waved away the occurrence.

“Oh he’ll cool off in a while,” she said, clearing away the plates, including Daryl’s half-finished one. “D’you want some pears and cream, Celia?”

Afterwards, Vince grabbed his jacket and disappeared while Celia offered to help Mrs Wainwright with the dishes.

“Don’t you be worrying about Vince, Celia. His bark’s worse than his bite.” Mrs Wainwright squirted a good helping of Fairy Liquid into the washing-up bowl. “I could brain him sometimes, I really could, but he’s only protecting his brother, you know, coz his dad ain’t here. He don’t mean nothing by it.”

She started attacking the plates with a very grey-looking mop. “It’s tough for my Daryl, see, coz of his handicap, you know.”

Celia smiled and wiped the oval plates and melamine cups and pulled on drawers with false fronts that didn’t open, while Mrs Wainwright chattered on about Daryl, her cigarette smouldering in the ashtray. “He’s more or less grown out of his fits as I called ’em. They weren’t real fits, but he used to go bright pink and hold his breath and bang his head against the sideboard. He was mad at himself, see.”

Mrs Wainwright dabbed her hands dry on a tea cloth, picked up her cigarette and took down another framed photo from the sideboard which Celia at first thought was Daryl.

“This is Martin.” Mrs Wainwright handed the picture to Celia. “He’s a good-looking boy, isn’t he? Always had the girls after him at school.” She puffed on her cigarette. “The fact is that Daryl could have been the school heart-throb too, but for his arms.”

Celia tried to say something but the words dried up on her lips. She wanted to say how much she liked Daryl and his arms but this was the first time she’d met Mrs Wainwright and she wasn’t sure this was the sort of thing she should be saying. In any case, the cuckoo clock in the kitchen struck two o’clock, reminding her how late it was getting. “I should be going, Mrs Wainwright. Thanks very much for having me.”

About the Author:

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Kate Rigby was born near Liverpool and now lives in the south west of England. She’s been writing for nearly forty years. She has been traditionally published, small press published and indie published.

She realized her unhip credentials were mounting so she decided to write about it. Little Guide to Unhip was first published in 2010 and has since been updated.

However she’s not completely unhip. Her punk novel, Fall Of The Flamingo Circus was published by Allison & Busby (1990) and by Villard (American hardback 1990). Skrev Press published her novels Seaview Terrace (2003) Sucka!(2004) and Break Point (2006) and other shorter work has appeared in Skrev’s magazines.

Thalidomide Kid was published by Bewrite Books (2007).

Her novel Savage To Savvy was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) Quarter-Finalist in 2012.

She has had other short stories published and shortlisted including Hard Workers and Headboards, first published in The Diva Book of Short Stories, in an erotic anthology published by Pfoxmoor Publishing and more recently in an anthology of Awkward Sexcapades by Beating Windward Press.

She also received a Southern Arts bursary for her novel Where A Shadow Played (now re-Kindled as Did You Whisper Back?).

She has re-Kindled her backlist and is gradually getting her titles (back) into paperback

More information can be found at her WebsiteBlog

Social Media Links – FacebookAmazonGoodreadsBookbubPintrest

Enter the Giveaway to win a copy of Thalidomide Kid

Giveaway – Win 1 x signed copy of Thalidomide Kid

*Terms and Conditions –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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Cold Winter Sun by Tony J Forder @TonyJForder @Bloodhoundbook #BookReview

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I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my review of Cold Winter Sun by Tony J Forder. I have read all of this authors books and I always love getting an email informing me of a new book. My huge thanks to Emma at Bloodhound Books for the invite and copy of the book.

Synopsis:

A missing man. A determined hunter. A deadly case.

When Mike Lynch is contacted by his ex-wife about the missing nephew of her new husband, he offers to help find the young man with the help of his friend Terry Cochran.

Arriving in LA to try and track down the young man, the pair are immediately torn away when the missing man’s car shows up, abandoned on the side of a deserted road in New Mexico.

When two fake police officers cross their path, Terry and Mike know there is more to the case than meets the eye, and soon they find themselves asking exactly who it is they are really looking for…

A gripping thriller you won’t want to miss.

My Thoughts:

Mike Lynch and his best mate Terry are helping Mike’s ex-wife, well actually his ex-wife’s new husbands family…

So, Mike and Terry, they have a great dynamic and have got each other’s back. They have worked together over several years and the camaraderie and bond become apparent as they now enter a new case. This case has emotional implications for Mike as he sees his daughter settled in a new life, with a stepdad that can provide for her. It is a chance for Mike to explain some of the demons he has personally had to battle.

Now to the plot, yes I don’t give anything about these away. I will say it is very atmospheric and action-packed. It is a plot that had me guessing as there were a couple of directions I could see it potentially going, and yet while I did guess one or two things along the way, I was still hooked. The things I did guess were later on in the story and there were several other pieces of the jigsaw that I didn’t see.

This is an excellent read and one that has a few red herrings and seemingly dead ends as it twisted through the desert landscape. If you are a reader who likes fast-paced, action adventure, crime thriller reads they speed off from the very first pages then this is a book you need to grab. A brilliant read that works well as a stand-alone, but I would recommend Scream Blue Murder and while you’re there get the rest of this authors books… you are guaranteed of riveting reads

Cold Winter Sun is a book I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Tony Forder photo

Tony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler. The first three books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, and If Fear Wins, will be followed by The Reach of Shadows, scheduled to be published on 21 January 2019.

Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone novel, and delves into the mind of a serial-killer.

Scream Blue Murder was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller. The sequel, Cold Winter Sun, will be published on 1 November 2018.

Tony is now a full-time writer and lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK.

Follow Tony on Twitter or visit his Website

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Divide and Rule by Rachel Mclean @rachelmcwrites @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my review of the second book in the Division Bell Trilogy.

Divide and Rule by Rachel Mclean takes a darker and more sinister turn and I couldn’t wait to read this one and I am really looking forward to reading the final installment. Many thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite to the tour and for Rachel Mclean for the e-books.

You can read my review of the first book in the trilogy:- A House Divided

Synopsis:

Jennifer Sinclair’s fight to save her political career, her family and her freedom has failed. Traumatised by prison violence, she agrees to transfer to the mysterious British Values Centre.

Rita Gurumurthy has betrayed her country and failed the children in her care. Unlike Jennifer, she has no choice, but finds herself in the centre against her will.

Both women are expected to conform, to prove their loyalty to the state and to betray everything they hold dear. One attempts to comply, while the other rebels. Will either succeed in regaining her freedom?

Divide and Rule is 1984 for the 21st century – a chilling thriller examining the ruthless measures the state will take to ensure obedience, and the impact on two women.

Purchase Links: Amazon US or  Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

So this is the second book in the Division Bell Trilogy, it takes a decidedly darker and more sinister turn. After her fall from her office and trial Jennifer Sinclair – ex-MP, is sent to prison. She is then given a choice, remain in prison or move to a new center to continue her sentence. In this mysterious center is teacher Rita Gurumurthy, she has been sent there for neglecting the children in her care and thereby failing them.

After reading the first book in this series and, loving it, by the way, I had an inkling of where this next installment was going…HA, yeah right… me and thinking or having an inkling are obviously not on the same page as I was way off the mark. My excuse is I didn’t read the synopsis. This book takes a real 1984 (I love that book) approach, Big Brother is definitely watching. Legislations and laws are laid down by those in power. The center the women are sent to has laws and rules to help them conform, respect and adhere to the British Values that are set out… translation = brainwashing program.

Group therapy and counselor led sessions are supposedly designed to help people see the error of there ways, well this is ok if those people think they are wrong, but what if the truth of your beliefs does not conform the standard that is expected? As I said this book is very different in tone, feeling, and emotion to the first. It is vivid and darkly compelling, the first book held the belief that people can make a difference, this book explores how those freedoms are taken away, rebellion is a no-no, free speech has conditions. “Patients” in the centers are being reformed into what is required by the state.

This is one of those books that gives a terrifyingly realistic glimpse into the possibility of something that could happen in the future, a controlled state, controlled thinking, controlled freedom of speech. It has a convincing storyline that is complimented with characters that have their own traits and beliefs. Some I liked, others I took an instant dislike to along with a definite feeling of mistrust.

A wonderfully addictive and compelling read that continues from the first book really well. I would advise reading this trilogy in order. I am eagerly awaiting the third and final book with anticipation and wondering where and how it will go next, and yep, I’m not going to read the synopsis I am going straight in.

This is a book that will definitely appeal to readers of a dystopian, patriarchal and state-led conforming society. One I would definitely recommend.

 

About the Author:

rachel mclean.jpg I’m Rachel McLean and I write thrillers and speculative fiction.

I’m told that the world wants upbeat, cheerful stories – well, I’m sorry but I can’t help. My stories have an uncanny habit of predicting future events (and not the good ones). They’re inspired by my work at the Environment Agency and the Labour Party and explore issues like climate change, Islamophobia, the refugee crisis and sexism in high places. All with a focus on how these impact individual people and families.

You can find out more about my writing, get access to deals and exclusive stories or become part of my advance reader team by joining my Book Club.

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Oh! What a Pavlova by Isabella May @IsabellaMayBks #BookBirthdayBlitz @rararesources #Giveaway

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Oh! What a Pavlova by Isabella May as part of the Book Birthday Blitz with Rachel’s Random Resources. Celebrating a books first birthday is great and it also means that people, like me, get a chance to be part of a Blog Blitz when they missed it the first time around 🙂 To order your own copy of this book then follow the link HERE

Synopsis:

Kate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy.

Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation. 

Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future.

And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom…

But will she escape before it’s too late?

My Thoughts:

Kate leads a double life. To the outside world of family, friends, and colleagues, she is a successful businesswoman. To Daniel, she is the woman who should be home pulling her weight with the cooking, cleaning, and chores and be the perfect housewife. He does make his feeling known about how he feels…

I will admit that this book took me a while to get into, it did initially feel a little jumbled as I was faced with many different characters. I took me a while to get to who they were and also their role in the ensuing story. However, once I started to remember who was who the story began to roll along easier.

Once settled, I found a story that soon showed it’s colours. It became apparent that Kate is the victim of domestic abuse. There are scenes that give you an idea of what is happening, but not overly graphic in nature. The author did a good job of explaining the event and also how Kate dealt with her home life.

This book was almost like a comparison and also contrast to the two sides of Kate. On the one hand, she was successful in her job that took her to various other countries around the world, but then on the flip side, she was overworked and underpaid. At home, she was expected to do certain jobs in a certain way and again felt underappreciated. Daniel had a big hang-up about him being the breadwinner, but this is not the case.

The side of Kate and Daniel at home gave an unexpected but good element of never knowing what to expect, it had a real sense of dread to it as she mentally prepares herself for being at home and then what would happen when she got there.

I suppose you are wondering about the cake… well cake certainly does make an appearance on several occasions and I am going to leave you hanging and not give anything away about it…not sorry 😉

A book about family life, work, and relationships with a side order of cake. One I would recommend.

 

About the Author:

Oh What a Author PicIsabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing. As a co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One). She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’! Costa del Churros is her third novel with Crooked Cat Books, following on from the hit sensations, Oh! What a Pavlova and The Cocktail Bar.

Social Media Links – Website –  Twitter –  Facebook –  Instagram

DO YOU WANT TO WIN A  SIGNED COPY OF THE COCKTAIL BAR BY ISABELLA MAY.? THEN ENTER THE GIVEAWAY BELOW THE T’s & C’s

Giveaway – Win a signed copy of The Cocktail Bar (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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Malignant by Anita Waller #BookReview @Bloodhoundbook

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I am delighted to be one of the Book Blogger opening the Blog Blitz today for Malignant by Anita Waller. This is a fantastic book that I read in one sitting and is one I would highly recommend. It is published by Bloodhound Books.

Synopsis:

What if someone set you limits?

Claudia and Heather have been friends and neighbours for many years and both women decide it is the right time for them to leave their husbands. Together they get a flat but their peace is short lived when Claudia is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Being a good friend, Heather takes on caring for Claudia but a lethal meeting with James, Claudia’s ex-husband, results in someone dying.

As life for Claudia and Heather begins to unravel, the answer to their problems becomes clear… it’s murder.

My Thoughts:

Claudia and Heather have been friends and neighbours for years. They are each others support system and shoulder to cry on when life with their husbands gets too much. After one particular nasty event, both women decide that they have had enough and come to realise it is time to get out of their relationships. They rent a flat and finally they are free… but at what price…

Straight off I am going to say as much as I loved the crime element to this story, it takes a second place to they story of the women. Their friendship is one that has been their sanity over the years as they have listened and cried with each other. When they finally break away from the abusive husbands they have the chance to start again.

Claudia and Heather I absolutely adored, their tenacity, grit and determination is to be applauded, I am not going to applaud everything they have done, but I can see the reasoning… that’s all I’m saying!

The emotions run high with this book, from an emotional prologue right the way through the story to the moving Author Notes. This for me is where this author really excelled, the tone and feeling felt just right. When a terminal illness diagnosis made its appearance into the story, I was so angry as by this point I cared about the characters, I wanted to them to have a happy life. The author did such an amazing job of creating characters I could empathise with. By the end of the book the term “blown away” springs to mind for the journey that I had been taken on.

I suppose I should say a little something about the crime element of the book… the crimes work well and do feel plausible for those involved and that’s all I’m giving you! It does have a very real presence in this book and one that threw up some unexpected turns of events.

This is a fabulously brilliant book that deals with many emotions in various forms. It is a heartbreaking book in so many ways taking me from elation to despair as the characters take risks, form stronger bonds and deal with betrayal and loss and so many other things. If you are after a book that deals with family, relationships and friendship that takes dark turns and twists that will hook you from the very beginning then you really do need to read this. It is a book that falls into so many categories such as crime, thriller, suspense, family drama, family life, relationships, abuse…Oh and MURDER!!!

This is a book I would highly recommend for so many reasons, and as I read Malignant, the film Thelma and Louise came to mind… two women setting out to make a new start in their lives xx

About the Author:

Anita Waller.jpgAnita Waller was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1946. She married Dave in 1967 and they have three adult children.
She began writing when she was around 8 years of age, writing ‘compositions’ at junior school that became books with chapters. She wrote several novels in the romance genre and then realised she wanted to add murders to the romances, so she morphed into a psychological thriller author. Beautiful was her first completed novel in this genre.
The manuscript was submitted to Bloodhound Books who, within three days of reading it, offered her a contract. 31 August 2015 it was released as an ebook, to be followed a couple of days later by the paperback version.
Following the outstanding success of Beautiful, she began a sequel on 27 December 2015, finishing it on 19 March 2016. The new novel, Angel, was launched on 7 May 2016.
Her third novel, 34 Days, followed Angel and was launched on 3 October 2016 to outstanding success; at its highest level, it was #26 in Amazon charts. It is selling equally as well in the US and Australia and has sold over 15,000 copies in the first eight weeks following publication.
She then took time out to temporarily change genre; Winterscroft, a supernatural novel, was launched on 7 February 2017. While she was writing Winterscroft it became clear that fans of 34 Days wanted a sequel, and on 10 August 2017, Strategy was launched.
She is now working on her sixth novel, A Legal Issue, once again set in Sheffield, and once again a psychological thriller.
In addition to writing, she also teaches patchwork and quilting – a little reference to this is likely to surface in every book!
She is a lifelong Sheffield Wednesday supporter with blue blood in her veins! More than a little reference to this is likely to surface – see 34 Days!

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

 

The Cornish Retribution by Amanda James #BookReview @Bloodhoundbook

John Nicholl - White is the Coldest Color_korica proba

I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Cornish Retribution by Amanda James as part of the Blog Blitz with Emma at Bloodhound Books. My thanks to Emma for the invite.

As soon as I saw an email for the new Amanda James book I didn’t read the synopsis I just grabbed my diary and scheduled the review straight in. I have read a few of Amanda’s books and I have not been disappointed. There are a few authors whose books I will automatically agree to be part of a Blog Tour/ Blitz for and Amanda is one of them 🙂

Synopsis:

After a tragic car accident, Samantha is left widowed and bereft.  Her husband Adam was everything to her. But at least the home they shared together in Cornwall provides her with some security. Or does it?

Upon returning from a school reunion in Sheffield, where Sam met her old friend, Penny, and an old flame from her school days, Dan, she discovers that Adam had invested money unwisely and she is now penniless.

When Penny and Dan, who are now married, arrive in Cornwall to visit Sam, Dan comes up with a way in which Sam can keep the house. He suggests she turns it into a writing retreat. And he is willing to invest.

Despite his wife’s reservations, Dan gets his way but at what price?

Why is Dan so keen to help? Has Sam put herself in harm’s way?

Some relationships are built to last. Others are deadly.

 

My Thoughts:

Samantha (Sam) is recently widowed and struggling to deal with various things. She decides to attend an school reunion and meets up with Penny and Dan. They haven’t seen each other for many years and when Penny and Dan decide to visit. They find Sam isn’t quite as financially secure as she thought she would be and so a business partnership is arranged though not everyone is quite so keen …

One thing I have discovered with this author, no actually there are two things… one is the ability to keep me dangling as she weaves her story and the other is the spectacular setting descriptions.

The setting in this book is the Cornish coastline that provides its own range of characteristics that compliment the characters and the story in the book. The characters themselves are not all they appear to be and take routes I wasn’t expecting. What is a seemingly nice gesture and a friendly helping hand soon turns out to be something quite different.

As I read this book I found my emotions towards the characters changing, one moment feeling sorry for them and at others thinking they’re hiding something or being shocked at their actions.

As the characters were gradually introduced I did wonder how the connections would be made, they came across as nice, normal people…but what is normal? By the end of the book I had been manipulated into various beliefs and thoughts that had me chopping and changing as I read. I have to say the baddie was one that made my skin crawl as I discovered who they were and why they were doing the things they did. You will certainly work out your favourites.

I know this is my usual vague non spoiler review, but it has to be like this. I read this story on one sitting as I got hooked, willing some characters to see sense and hoping others would get their comeuppance. The story line held my  attention throughout and I really enjoyed that feeling of not quite being sure about who I could trust or what the truth would eventually be.

If you are a reader who likes a vividly described, atmospheric read that has a plot that has you guessing as it weaves and twists then this is one you should definitely read. A wonderful crime, thriller novel with a psychological edge, its devious, full of suspense, drama and manipulation and one I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

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Amanda has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published, given that she left school with no real qualifications of note apart from an A* in how to be a nuisance in class. Nevertheless, she returned to education when her daughter was five and eventually became a history teacher. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true when her first short story was published. Amanda has written many short stories and has six novels currently published.

Amanda grew up in Sheffield but now has realised her lifelong dream of living in Cornwall and her writing is inspired every day by the dramatic coastline near her home. She has sketched out many stories in her head while walking the cliff paths. Four of her mystery/suspense novels are set there, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Summer in Tintagel, Behind the Lie and Rip Current. The Cornish Retribution is also set in Cornwall and will be published by Bloodhound Books in October 2018.

Amanda, known to many as Mandy, spends far more time than is good for her on social media and has turned procrastination to a fine art. She can also usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.

Links: Amanda’s blog – Amanda’s Blog –  Twitter  –  Facebook

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The Makings of a Lady by Catherine Tinley #Extract @rararesources

The Mills & Boon cover Makings of a Lady

I am delighted to be sharing an extract for The Makings of  a Lady by Catherine Tinley today as part of the Blog Blitz with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. I have not had the chance to read this yet, the extract is a glimpse into a book that is definitely going to be one I want to read and I just love this cover.

Synopsis:

Be calm, she thought.
Be gracious. Be twenty-two.

Lady Olivia Fanton is eager to prove she’s no longer a child. However, just as she thinks she’s found a suitable match in the suave Mr Manning, charismatic Captain Jem Ford walks back into her life, bringing with him all the embarrassment of her infatuation four years before! She’s determined to appear mature, distant, friendly. But does she dare hope he’ll notice her as the lady she’s become?

Purchase Link: Click Here

The Extract:

This extract is taken from chapter one. It highlights Lady Olivia’s frustration with her well-meaning but over-protective family, and her desire for adventure. She’s also nervous about the fact that Jem Ford will be visiting the family the next day. Olivia had an embarrassing crush on Jem a few years before. Just to complicate things, a new man then appears in her life…

Olivia stared at her own reflection. Stormy grey eyes, dark curls, fashionable habit. What is the point of wearing fine things, she was thinking, when no one ever sees me but my own family? I could wear my oldest muslin and nobody would care.

Rejecting the matching hat, she stated firmly that she would ride today with her head uncovered. Someone will see you tomorrow, an inner voice murmured. Jem will be here. After four years, you will see him again.

Ignoring the thought, she focused instead on her current frustration. This year they were not in London for the Season, because of Charlotte’s condition. Oh, but it was hard to be two-and-twenty and stuck in the country! At least in London there were balls and routs, and trips to the theatre, and people who realised you were a grown-up young lady. Not a child. And there were ways to avoid seeing certain people, if you did not wish to spend time with them. A house-guest in the country could not be avoided.

Olivia absent-mindedly thanked Susie and made her way to the stables, enjoying the feel of the May sunshine on her shoulders. As always, she felt a rush of love when she saw her fine-looking mare, Dahlia.

‘Hello, my beauty!’ She nuzzled the horse’s delicate cheek and slipped her a treat. Dahlia pranced impatiently and had to be told to hold still while the groom handed Olivia up and into the side-saddle.

‘I shan’t need you, Joseph!’ Olivia waved away the head groom, who was just about to offer to accompany her. ‘I won’t leave our lands, I promise!’ He looked disapproving, but refrained from chastising her.

‘Where do you plan to go, miss?’ He was always concerned when she rode alone, though why he should be, Olivia could not fathom. Nothing ever happened here.

‘I’ll go to the river,’ she said decidedly, ‘and the Bluebell Woods.’

She could feel the groom watching her as she trotted out of the stable yard. She really felt it today—how much she was watched and protected, and imprisoned. It was an itch between her shoulder blades and it seemed as though it had been there her whole life. Her brothers. The servants. Great-Aunt Clara. Her sisters-in-law. Why could they not see she was no longer a child? And how was she supposed to appear different to—to other people—if her own family treated her as though she was still a debutante?

Stop it! she told herself sternly. This is no prison and they all care about you. That is why they do it—they are just trying to protect you.

The words failed to quell the burning inside her and so she did the only thing she could—she let Dahlia build from a trot to a canter, then to a full gallop through the deer park. She steered Dahlia eastwards through the fields and lanes of the estate farms, until at last she reached the Bluebell Woods. At this time of year, bluebells were everywhere—along the hedgerows, around the estate workers’ cottages and there was a good sprinkling of them in the Home Wood. But here, at the most easterly edge of the Chadcombe estate, here was where they grew in abundance.

Olivia directed Dahlia into the woods. Slowing to a walk, she savoured the coolness of the air, the smells of luxuriant foliage and fertile soil, and the magical colours of the woodland. Sturdy browns and greys mingled with lush green, and everywhere the indigo-purple beauty of the nodding bluebells. The canopy of ash and elm, oak and maple filtered verdant sunlight to warm the ferns and flowers on the forest floor. To her left, a startled squirrel raced up a tree, its tail a flash of rich bronze. Birds chirruped and called, and small creatures rustled in the undergrowth.

Olivia felt the tension leave her shoulders. This place never failed to calm her.

She made her way to the river and allowed Dahlia to drink. She dismounted, leaving her overskirts tied up, and tethered the mare to a nearby sapling in the cool shade. The horse promptly tilted one hind hoof and rested, her tail twitching at flies.

The next half-hour was delightful. Olivia wandered through her favourite part of the woods, up and down along the riverside, gathering bluebells as she went. Clara would love them. The day was warm, so, greatly daring, she removed her half-boots and silk stockings and sat down, dabbling her feet in the coolness of the sparkling river. She allowed the idyllic peace of her surroundings to soothe her, and—briefly—put tomorrow’s worries to one side. The sun gently warmed her shoulders, the river babbled to itself, and the woodland whispered and swayed, oblivious to its own beauty.

All it needs, she thought, a little wistfully, is for a romantic hero to appear…

The small river marked the edge of Chadcombe’s lands, forming the boundary with their neighbours at Monkton Park… From here, Olivia could see a mass of white flowers on the far riverbank. On impulse, she stood and gathered her skirts. Leaving her stockings and boots with the small pile of bluebells, she ventured across the stepping stones barefoot, lifting her petticoats to make sure she was putting her feet in the right places. Reaching the far side safely, she began plucking handfuls of sweet-scented lily-of-the-valley—they would be the perfect foil for the bluebells.

Monkton Park’s owners, Mr and Mrs Foxley, were Olivia’s friends. Indeed, Mrs Foxley—Faith—was Charlotte’s cousin. Olivia had nothing to fear from being on the wrong side of the river. Or so she thought. Old fears run deep, so when a man’s voice suddenly spoke nearby, Olivia’s heart leapt in alarm.

‘“The summer’s flow’r is to the summer sweet,”’ the voice intoned.

Olivia whirled around to face the speaker.

‘Ah,’ he said, ‘a rose indeed!’

His cultured accent – and his knowledge of poetry – proclaimed him to be a man of information and learning. She took in his appearance at a glance. My, she thought, he is handsome!

He looked to be a few years older than her – possibly around Harry’s age. He had expressive brown eyes, thick, dark hair, and an unfashionably swarthy complexion – as if he had been in a warmer climate than England. His clothing proclaimed him the gentleman – a crisp white shirt open at the neck in a way which Adam would have abhorred, well-fitting unmentionables, boots that gleamed with a polished shine, and a well-cut Weston coat. He was, in every detail, the embodiment of a romantic hero.

Olivia’s jaw dropped. Just moments ago, she had been wishing for just such a man to appear. She felt the hairs on the back of her neck spring to attention. Fate had never yet noticed her, or interfered in her life. Was this to be a turning point? Was this, in fact, the beginning of a story that would be truly hers?

About the Author:

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Catherine Tinley writes heartwarming Regency love stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She has loved reading and writing since childhood, and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, NHS management, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now works in Sure Start. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, cat, and dog and can be reached at catherinetinley.com, as well as facebook.com/CatherineTinleyWriter  and @CatherineTinley on twitter.

Social Media Links – Facebook – Twitter

Don’t forget to take a look at Catherine Tinley’s Social media accounts.   She is running a giveaway to win a copy of the book, along with two other (surprise) romance novels by other writers.

2 x UK/Ireland Winners and 1 x International Winner.

For all the details look out for Catherine Tinley on Facebook and Twitter.

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