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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The Cornish Retribution by Amanda James #BookReview @Bloodhoundbook

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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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She Lies Hidden C.M. Stephenson @cmstephenson @Bloodhoundbook #Bookreview

C.M. Stephenson - She Lies Hidden_cover

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on She Lies Hidden by C.M. Stephenson as part of the Blog Blitz by the publisher Bloodhound Books, my thanks to the publisher for my ecopy of this book, my thoughts are my own. You can get your copy of this book from AMAZON UK or AMAZON US.

Synopsis:

How far would you go to find your missing sister?

When DI Thomasine Albright is informed that the remains of her fifteen-year-old sister have been found, she has the tragic responsibility of breaking the news to her mother. Thomasine promises her mother that she will be the one to find Karen’s killer.

But Karen Albright wasn’t the only girl to go missing during that weekend in 1973… Veronica Lightfoot disappeared too. They’d lived barely four miles apart, yet apparently never met. Suddenly there is a new question, was Veronica involved in Karen’s death? Is that why she vanished?

DI Mel Philips is handed the original case file and begins a new investigation. Unwilling to be side-lined, Thomasine decides to go it alone.

As the case unfolds, Thomasine realises that there may be other victims. Can she find them too?

My Thoughts:

DI Thomasine Albright’s sister went missing many years ago. Finally the family know what happened. Finding the killer of her sister is going to be difficult for Thomasine as she is not allowed anywhere near the case. New developments come to light and nothing will stop Thomasine finding the truth.

This is a story that has several subplots running through it as I was soon to discover. I found that there were a few characters that I had to get to know but I soon started to recognise as the story unfolded, and they became recognisable. Also their role in the grand scheme of things, making them even more memorable.

As the story evolved I did wonder what sort of route this book would take, it became darker and caught me out when I started to discover where it was heading as questions and threads were being pulled together. At this point my reading started to quicken as the pacing seemed to speed up as well.

This story has good descriptions for the setting, a bleak, cold, isolated farm that was once a family home added to the story line, and increasing the tense feeling as I read.

This did require a little more concentration in the early stages as I had to get a grasp on the seemingly unrelated threads. Once the characters had cemented themselves and the threads of the story started to be woven together I had a better understanding and could really enjoy the story.

This is a story that would appeal to crime, thriller and mystery readers and is one I would recommend.

About the Author:

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After growing up in a small Lancashire village, Christine Stephenson left school at fifteen. Four years later she moved to Cornwall.

In her late teens she met people whose lives were complicated, fuelled by drugs, and filled with violence and aggression. There were others too, in her mid-twenties, everyday people, educated, with careers, who had decent parents; people who you wouldn’t look at twice in the street. They were worse; she knew the victims of their crimes too. These experiences continue to influence her writing.

Her career can be described as eclectic. Jobs ranging from office junior to dental nurse, management consultant to executive and corporate coach. She ran her own training consultancy for over twelve years. It was there that her love of writing bloomed. She went on to produce an extensive portfolio of work which included resource packs, case studies, role-plays, games, presentations and academic texts.

In 2008 her husband’s job dictated that they move to South Gloucestershire. This in turn, lead to a brand-new life. They now live just outside a small medieval town, set between Bristol and Bath.

In 2009, she decided it was time to study the craft and undertook the A215 in Creative Writing with Open University, and later followed that with an MA Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, graduating in 2016. She gained representation with Andrew Nurnberg & Associates soon after. She spent the following eighteen months writing and editing what is now her debut novel. In May 2018 Christine was delighted to accept a contract with Bloodhound Books. ‘She Lies Hidden’ is due for release in September 2018.

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Odyssey In A Teacup by Paula Houseman @PaulaHouseman @rararesources #BookPromo

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Today I am shining a spotlight on Odyssey In A Teacup by Paula Houseman as part of the Blog Blitz with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. You can pick up a copy of this book from Amazon UK CLICK HERE

Synopsis:

Encounters with a pair of supersized Y-fronts; a humourless schoolmarm with an unfortunate name and monstrous yellow incisors; and a tut-tutting, big-breasted, modern-day gorgon are the norm for Ruth Roth. She’s used to crazy.

Her mum squawks like a harpy and her dad has a dodgy moral compass. Add in daily face-offs with a relentlessly bitchy mirror, and Ruth’s home life feels like a Greek tragicomedy.

She hankers for the ordinary. But blah is not a good fit for someone who doesn’t fit in. And isn’t meant to.

Ruth’s vanilla existence is an issue for her besties—her hot-looking, obsessive-compulsive cousin and soul mate (who needs to do everything twice-twice), and her two closest girlfriends.

With their encouragement and a good homoeopathic dose of ancient mythology, Ruth embarks on an odyssey to retrieve her spirit. She’s confronted with her biggest challenge ever, though, when one of these friends sends her spiralling back into a dark place.

The decision she must make can either bring her out or launch the mother of all wars in her world.

About the Author:

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Paula Houseman was once a graphic designer. But when the temptation to include ‘the finger’ as part of a logo for a forward-moving women’s company proved too much, she knew it was time to give away design. Instead, she took up writing.

She found she was a natural with the double entendres (God knows she’d been in enough trouble as a child for dirty wordplay).

As a published writer of earthy chick lit and romantic comedy, Paula gets to bend, twist, stretch and juice up universal experiences to shape reality the way she wants it, even if it is only in books. But at the same time, she can make it more real, so that her readers feel part of the sisterhood. Or brotherhood (realness has nothing to do with gender).

Through her books, Paula also wants to help the reader escape into life and love’s comic relief. And who doesn’t need to sometimes?

Her style is a tad Monty Pythonesque because she adores satire. It helps defuse all those gaffes and thoughts that no one is too proud of.

Paula lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband. No other creatures. The kids have flown the nest and the dogs are long gone.

Social Media Links –  Twitter –  Goodreads –  Facebook – Linkedin

Odyssey in aTeacup

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The Last Plantagenet? Jennifer C. Wilson @inkjunkie1984 @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Last Plantagenet? by Jennifer C. Wilson today as part of the blog tour by Rachel’s Random Resources, my thanks to Jennifer and Rachel for my copy and spot on the tour. This is a short story and you can grab your copy from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

The fireplace hadn’t looked like a time-portal.
All Kate had wanted was a fun, relaxing day out, watching the knights jousting at Nottingham Castle. What she ended up with was something quite different.
Transported in a heartbeat from 2011 to 1485, how will Kate handle life at the Ricardian court? Even more importantly, how will she cope when she catches the eye of the king himself?

My Thoughts:

Kate is transported from 2011 back in time to 1485, through a fireplace. She only stopped momentarily whilst attending a historical event.

This is a quick read at only 68 pages and I was taken back to the era of Richard III. The author has not decided to take the more notorious aspects of Richard but instead taken the route of a warm, friendly and affectionate one. Who is right or wrong to say how Richard was in private, no one knows, he may have been like this.

Kate catches the eye of Richard in this romantic story and manages to include quite a few historical details. This has such a nice ending, I am not letting you know what it is, but it made me smile.

A really nice story that is ideal for some light escapism for an hour. A book that would be appealing to those who want a quick, light dip into a historical romance with a slightly different aspect, an entertaining read. One I would recommend.

About the Author:

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Jennifer is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots of childhood holidays (she since moved on to Richard III). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consultant since graduating.

Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to work on developing her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online. Her Kindred Spirits novels are published by Crooked Cat Books and available via Amazon.

Social Media Links – Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

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The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye @SarahMarieGraye @rararesources #QandA #Giveaway (Open Int)

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I am delighted to be sharing a Question and Answer today with the author of The Second Cup Sarah Marie Graye. I read this book as part of the blog tour by Rachel At Rachel’s Random Resources, so when the chance to pose a few questions to the author came up I was definitely interested.

First Anniversary Blog Blitz: The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye

The Second Cup was originally published on 19 July 2017. The extended edition (includes character interviews) was published on 12 February 2018.

Amazon links

Amazon book page: https://getbook.at/SecondCup

Amazon author page: https://author.to/SarahMarieGraye

Lets see what the book is about first:

Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did.

Faye knows her heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She also knows he might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he’s taken his own life.

Faye is left wondering how to move forward – and whether or not Jack’s best friend Ethan will let her down again. And the news of Jack’s death ripples through the lives of her friends too.

Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and wondering if she was right to leave her first love behind. Poor Olivia is juggling her job and her boyfriend and trying to deal with a death of her own. And Jack’s death has hit Beth the hardest, even though she never knew him.

Is Beth about to take her own life too?

Question and Answer:

As I mentioned earlier I had the chance to read The Second Cup (my review here) so when the chance came to pose a few questions to Sarah I definitely wanted to know more. I have experienced depression from the stress of work, and life, I was lucky to see a Doctor who was able to see and help me. My issues were diagnosed and dealt with over a period of time, but the experience has made me aware of how quickly things can spiral into a down. It has left me with a sense of being more aware of how important your own mental health is and how you need to look after that and not just your physical health.

Q:  You’re open about suffering from mental health issues. How can authors help readers understand such issues?

A: If you write a character in the first person that has mental health issues, you are effectively allowing the reader to step inside their head and experience it for themselves.

If your reader is capable of empathy (and I like to believe that most people are) then they are able to put themselves in the position of that character and gain an understanding of what it must feel like for your own brain to be your enemy.

Q: How do you think society views suicide?

A: I think society is getting better at accepting suicide, especially when there are high profile cases, such as the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. If those who supposedly “want for nothing” can choose to end their lives, then it suggests that suicide is driven by something else.

For me, the biggest problem is that suicide is still viewed as being “selfish”. Many of those who take their own lives put their affairs in order first and take great pains to write a note explaining how this is nobody else’s fault – that nobody is to blame. These actions aren’t the actions of someone being selfish.

Q: What is the most important aspect of the story that you are trying to convey to the reader?

A: That picking up the pieces can be difficult, but it’s always worth it. Life can be really tough and bad things do happen to good people. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the way forward and to keep ourselves going. Each of my characters goes through their own issues but manages to come out the other side – more than a little battered and bruised, yes, but they still make it.

Q: What significance does the new cover of The Second Cup hold?

A: The original cover was chosen by my hybrid publisher. I was really unhappy with it because I felt it suggested a ghost story! When we parted ways, it was the perfect opportunity for me to pick something that I felt worked for the story.

At the heart of the story is the butterfly effect: the idea that you can be affected by something that happens to someone else – and in this case the suicide of someone you either didn’t know or haven’t seen for years.

A butterfly in a jar doesn’t stop being beautiful just because they’re trapped. Many of us are trapped or limited by our circumstances, but it’s still up to us how much we live, how much we spread our wings, within these limitations.

Q: What is next step on your literary journey?

I’m currently working on my second novel, The Victoria Lie, which will be out soon – it’s currently with my editor!

The Victoria Lie is the second book “The Butterfly Effect” series. Both Beth and Faye from The Second Cup feature in the book, but the main story focuses on a different group of friends. This time it’s the actions of one of these friends that are the catalyst, rather than the focus coming from outside the group.

During the writing process for book two, I’ve realised I have another story to tell about two of the friends, which I’m now planning as book three. The plan is still very fluid at the moment, but I’m hopeful that the initial idea is strong enough to work!


Thank you so much for your answers Sarah. I think society definitely has taken baby steps towards being more understanding. It helps that people are more open with their own experiences and are willing to talk about them, in doing this it breaks down the stigma that is attached. I also love this new cover, it says so much more than the previous one. I can’t wait to read The Victoria Lie and I wish you all the very best with that and also future writing xx

About the Author:

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Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester in 1975, to English Catholic parents. To the outside world Sarah Marie’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing, until aged nine, when she was diagnosed with depression.

It’s a diagnosis that has stayed with Sarah Marie over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision, including the one to write a novel.

Sarah Marie wrote The Second Cup as part of an MA Creative Writing practice as research degree at London South Bank University – where she was the vice-chancellor’s scholarship holder.

Sarah Marie was diagnosed with ADHD in November 2017 and published an extended edition of The Second Cup in February 2018 that included character interviews so she could diagnose one of her characters with the same condition.

Follow Sarah on – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Goodreads

Win 3 x Signed copies of The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye  (Open Internationally)  ∗∗∗ENTER HERE∗∗∗

*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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The Note by Andrew Barrett @AndrewBarrettUK @sarahhardy681 @Bloodhoundbook

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I am delighted to be sharing my thought today on “The Note” by Andrew Barrett as part of the blog blitz with Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books. My thanks to Sarah and the author for my spot on the tour and my e-copy of the book. You can buy this book at Amazon UK

Synopsis:

A thrilling novella introducing Eddie Collins, CSI

Have you ever had that feeling of being watched but when you turn around no ones there?

I have.

It was raining, and I was working a murder scene around midnight when that prickle ran up my spine. If I’d listened to that feeling, if I’d thought back to my past, maybe I could have prevented the terror that was to come.

Back at the office, I found a death threat on my desk.

I had no idea who sent it or why they wanted to kill me.

But I was about to find out.

I’m Eddie Collins, a CSI, and this is my story.

Andrew Barrett is the best-selling author of The End of Lies. This novella serves as a thrilling introduction to his Eddie Collins Series. It will appeal to fans of authors like Ian Rankin, Robert Bryndza and Kathy Reichs.

My Thoughts:

This is a novella that is told from the perspective of Eddie Collins and we meet him as he is at a crime scene.

Being a short story the author has managed to pack a real punch. This is another new to me author and it is great to read a book that is the start of a new series.

So impressions for me on this novella was that Eddies is intense, I mean really intense with his work ethic as a police officer tries to hurry Eddie up. A crime scene has to be preserved and all evidence to be collected and this is exactly what Eddie does. He takes no nonsense and comes across as also quite angry.

Now Eddie is still an enigma for me, a novella doesn’t give you more that a snap shot of a character, I have mentioned my first impressions of him but also as I read the book I did discover something else. He is not really a people person, he keeps to himself at work, doesn’t seem to mix with others and lives in an isolated area. This has really piqued my interest as to how this character is going to pan out in a future series, he seems dark, focused, moody and also a professional hmmmmm i am intrigued.

The plot moves along quickly, as you would expect for this short format, but does have quite a few interesting elements that definitely kept me hooked.

This is a great introduction for a new series that has left me wanting more. I owuld recommend this to readers who like their crime based on a CSI perspective. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

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Biography

Do you like your crime thrillers to have a forensic element that adds to the realism? Do you like your lead character to be someone intense and unafraid to take on authority?

Andrew writes precisely that kind of crime thriller, and has done since 1996, about the same time he became a CSI in Yorkshire.

He doesn’t write formulaic fiction; each story is hand-crafted to give you a unique flavour of what CSIs encounter in real life – and as a practising CSI, he should know what it’s like out there. His thrillers live inside the police domain, but predominantly feature CSIs (or SOCOs as they used to known).

Here’s your chance to walk alongside SOCO Roger Conniston and CSI Eddie Collins as they do battle with the criminals that you lock your doors to keep out, fighting those whose crimes make you shudder.

This is as real as it gets without getting your hands bloody.

Find out more about him at https://www.andrewbarrett.co.uk where you can sign up for his newsletter and claim your free starter library.

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#BookReview : A Dead American In Paris by Seth Lynch @SethALynch #SalazarMysteries @fahrenheitpress @damppebbles

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I am delighted to be sharing “A Dead American In Paris” by Seth Lynch as part of the blog tour by Emma and Fahrenheit Press. My thanks to Emma for my spot on the tour and also Fahrenheit and the author for my e-copy of the book.

Synopsis:

Paris. 1931.

Arty Homebrook lived and died in a world of sleaze which stretched from Chicago to Paris but never beyond the gutter.

He’d been sleeping with Madame Fulton, which is why Harry Fulton promised to kill him. So far as the Paris Police are concerned it’s an open and shut case. Harry’s father has other ideas and hires Salazar to investigate.

As Salazar gets to grips with the case he’s dragged reluctantly into an unpleasant underworld of infidelity, blackmail, backstreet abortions and murder.

Salazar is far too inquisitive to walk away and far too stubborn to know what’s for the best. So he wakes up each hungover morning, blinks into the sunlight, and presses on until it’s his life on the line. Then he presses on some more, just for the hell of it.

My Thoughts:

The synopsis does a wonderful job of letting the reader know what they are letting themselves in for as regarding the content of the story. I do read this prior to accepting a book, but then as I read several books between accepting and actually reading I am not usually aware of what the book is about until I start to actually read it. I only read the synopsis after I have finished reading, it is at this point I can make my own decision as to whether it works or not. This is just the way I do things.

So going into this story “blind” so to speak, I was immediately drawn into the dark and atmospheric descriptions the author gives as I was plunged into 1930’s Paris with Salazar, or “Sal” as he is referred to. I was taken into the labyrinths that make up the back alleys, side streets and seedier cafe’s and living conditions. It is a dark and dangerous world as I followed Sal on his case. It looked at the political view of women and their rights, or I should say lack of rights regarding the choice of abortion at the time. I couldn’t help but think of the recent Ireland Referendum regarding this very subject and this made the timely read of this book very relevant to todays society. (Please not that I am not making a statement here only stating a relevant aspect.)

The plot itself took me a little while to get into as I was not able to just sit and read several chapters at once. For me, reading several chapters of a new book helps to cement the basics of the story. Work and other distractions kept me from reading more than a few chapters at a time initially. When I was able to sit and read a bigger chunk of the story I was then able to get a real feel for the characters, their personalities and the story itself really then opened itself up for me.

The settings and descriptions were brilliantly vivid and so atmospheric it gave me a very real sense of time and place. Sal the main character came across as a borderline alcoholic and insomniac who really does manage to put himself in the thick of it on more than one occasion as he follows slim leads and to find witnesses and clues.

This is a story that has a mean and moody backstreet feel, taking you into a world were people are only out for themselves and the money they can obtain from those less fortunate. A book that I did enjoy once I had the chance to really settle down with and immerse myself into. The author has a wonderful writing style and it appealed to me as a reader and allowed me to become lost in his literary world for a few hours.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who like a darker historical murder, crime and mystery read.

About the Author:

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Born and brought up in the West of England, Seth has also lived in Carcassonne, Zurich and the Isle of Man.

With two daughters, his writing time is the period spent in cafés as the girls do gym, dance and drama lessons.

Seth’s Social Media:- Twitter –  Amazon Author Page – Facebook

Buy Seth Lynch’s book direct from Fahrenheit Press:

A Citizen of Nowhere (Salazar Book 1)

A Dead American in Paris (Salazar Book 2)

The Paris Ripper (Chief Inspector Belmont Book 1)

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