Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor @Jennie_Ensor @bombshellpub #Review

I am delighted to share my review today for Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor. My huge thanks Heather at Bloodhound Books and Jennie for my copy and also spot on the BLog Tour.

Let’s see what the book is all about…

Neuroscientist Bea Hudson fears she is a bad mother and that her career will be thwarted by family life. When her husband suspects Bea of having an affair with her best friend, a chain of events is triggered, leading to a crisis in Bea’s life.

Bea Hudson, a neuropsychologist living in Godalming, is struggling to cope with the challenging behaviour of her obsessive husband Kurt and their disruptive four-year-old daughter Fran. On top of this, her boss is pressuring her to get results from her research. Bea has her work cut out.

Things come to a head when Kurt goes away on an extended business assignment. While sacking staff and drinking heavily, Kurt’s insecurities run amok and he becomes convinced that Bea’s close friend Madeleine is seducing his wife and unduly influencing his daughter.

Meanwhile, childless artist Madeleine sees her friend torn between the demands of work and offers to help with Fran. But when she reveals a startling desire to her unsympathetic therapist Mr Rowley, he advises her to focus on the attention of Colin, a man she met in a lift.

Can Bea survive the demands of her career and the turmoil in her marriage without having a breakdown? Can Madeleine survive Kurt’s anger and find happiness with Colin? And can love survive marriage, middle-age, alcohol and ambition?

Not Having It All is about a scientist torn between her stalling career and the demands of her family. With themes of trust, deception and obsession, it is a mercilessly playful take on modern friendships, relationships and family life.

How on earth does Bae Hudson juggle being a neuropsychologist on the brink of a breakthrough with being a wife, mum and friend? Well, I soon found that it isn’t easy for her as I read Not Having It All!

Bea is fraught and struggling. A serious career and research means she has to spend time at work to be seen as someone serious about her career. If she reduces her hours she could very easily be side-lined and her funding may disappear. Her husband also has a demanding job, often working away from home for periods. This time he is in Turkey because “he is the best man for the job”. With both of them in full time careers the housekeeping and looking after Fran, their daughter falls to Polish au pair Katie.

Along the way, I also met Madelaine, Colin, Nigel and Allie. They all have roles to play in one form or another. It seems they are also having some sort of crisis in their lives. This is at times a hilarious read as it includes such a cross-section of people. Whether they are having a midlife crisis, feeling guilty about working too much or feeling downright unappreciated, they all seem to be having problems of some sort. Life can be a pain sometimes as pressures easily mount, making mountains out of molehills and often just needed to be looked at from a different perspective or to have recognise the struggles of others. The author has taken everyday worries and wrapped them into a fabulous story that held my attention.

I liked the format or this book as it is told in journal entries, notes or emails from each of the respective characters. It felt that it added to the busy lives of those concerned. Yes, it is unusual but, it worked very well as I got to see different sides to each of the characters. It also meant that the story moved along at a good pace but also that it didn’t feel rushed.

I really enjoyed Not Having It All. I liked how it reflected today’s modern and fast world and also was upbeat and had a good level of humour that kept it from falling into a more serious read. I loved that I actually laughed out loud on several occasions.

Not Having it All is one I would Definitely Recommend.

Jennie Ensor lives in London and has Irish roots. During a long trip overseas she obtained a Masters in Journalism and began her writing career as a journalist, covering topics from forced marriages to accidents in the mining industry. Her debut novel BLIND SIDE was published by Unbound in 2016. In January 2018 her short story ‘The Gift’ was placed in the Top 40 of the Words and Women national prose competition. Her poetry has appeared in many UK and overseas publications, most recently Ink Sweat and Tears. She sings in a chamber choir.

Links

Author website & blogAuthor Facebook pageTwitter –  Instagram

Blind Side on Goodreads: 

Blind Side on Amazon

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NOT HAVING IT ALL: a brazen comedy about the perils of midlife to be published 28 May 2019 by Bombshell Books


Paperback launch: Waterstones, London – Crouch End, 7-9pm Tuesday 11 June. Free entry. To reserve seats email crouchend@waterstones.com or call the bookshop on 0203 551 9706

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The Secret to Falling In Love by Victoria Cooke @victoriacooke10 @rararesources #review #Giveaway (UK only)

Today I am delighted to be taking part in the Book Birthday Blitz for The Secret to falling in Love by Victoria Cooke. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite and to Victoria for my e-copy of her book.

Let’s see what the book is about…

Synopsis:

Lifestyle journalist and thirty-something singleton Melissa hashtags, insta’s and snapchats her supposedly fabulous life on every social media platform there is.

That is until she wakes up on her birthday, another year older and still alone, wondering if, for all her internet dates, love really can be found online? The challenge: go technology free for a whole month!

Forced to confront the reality of her life without its perfect filters, Melissa knows she needs to make some changes. But when she bumps into not one, but two gorgeous men, without the use of an app, she believes there could be hope for love offline.

If only there was a way to choose the right guy for her…

My Thoughts:

This is a story that revolves around Melissa, her friends and colleagues, and her love life… or lack of it. How many of us use technology in our everyday lives without even thinking about it? Could you go a month without a computer? Yes? Are you sure? Going without tech of any sort is exactly what Melissa has to do for a month after her boss told her to put her money where her mouth is.

I really do like the idea behind this story, I thought that yes I could go without a pc, phone etc for a month. But then the quick messages to my friends asking how they are, or that I would be running late. Or how about setting up travel plans? It really made me wonder if I could actually do this! The idea sounds great putting it into practice ..well maybe not so much.

So when Melissa writes an article it is her boss who suggests this drastic plan for the social media junkie, Melissa. It means a huge change in everything she does in her daily life. Once the initial shock has worn off she starts to see things around her that she had never noticed before. Spends time with family, rather than just a quick call or message to keep in touch.

Now that she has more time, things around her start to fall into place. Her future love life is definitely moving, but it’s not all plain sailing. Who would have thought that ditching the dating apps would lead to not just one, but two men vying for her attention?

This is a charming story that had some really great touches, especially ditching the tech. This made me think about how I would cope, and as much as I would like to think that I would be okay with it, I don’t think it would be as easy as I think. I really like the romantic tussle and though I did think it a little bit predictable I really enjoyed the story, it moved along at a wonderful pace and I found it very enjoyable.

One I would recommend to romance and rom-com readers.

About the Author:

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love,’ in 2016.

Follow Victoria on –FacebookTwitter Instagram

Giveaway – Win an ARC of The Secret to Falling in Love and a box of Belgian Truffles (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK 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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

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Out Of The Silence by Owen Mullen @OwenMullen6 @Bloodhoundbook #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for Out Of The Silence by Owen Mullen as part of the Blog Blitz with Emma at Bloodhound Books. My huge thanks to Emma for the invite to the tour and also to the Publisher and Author for my e-copy.

Let’s see what the book is about…

Synopsis:

Star investigative reporter Ralph Buchanan’s glory days are behind him. His newspaper has banished him to Pakistan, not knowing the greatest moment of his long career is waiting for him there.

When Simone Jasnin asks him to help expose a grave injustice, he finds himself embroiled in a harrowing tale that began in a dusty settlement in rural Punjab, setting in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of everyone involved.

Seven years later in the city of Lahore, members of a prominent family are being brutally murdered one by one. The only clue is a hand-carved wooden bangle left at the scene of each crime.

As the list of suspects grows and the tension mounts, Ralph realises the answers might be closer to home than he ever thought possible.

Solving the mystery will put him back on top but at what cost?

Only when the smoke clears will the killing stop and honour be satisfied…

My Thoughts:

The story of disgraced Investigative Reporter Ralph Buchanan and how he discovers the story of Afra. Afra is a young girl who has left her village to live in Lahore. This story is harrowing and heartbreaking and ultimately leads to murder. But why?

OH WOW! Not sorry for shouting! I read this book in one sitting and I literally shut the world out as I was completely overwhelmed by what I was reading. This is going to be such a hard one to review as the synopsis only hinted at what I was in store for me. It gives a glimpse and that is all. So I am going to be vague and give nothing much away.

Yes, this is a murder, mystery story but that doesn’t even come close to explaining what else is included within the cover. It is about Pakistan’s culture and how the plight of some have to deal with in their daily lives. An unjust world existence with no support of any kind. When pushed to the edge by harrowing, heartbreaking and unwarranted treatment, does murder become justifiable?

This is a stunningly beautiful story as well as one that was hard to read at times. So many different layers and characters that had their story to tell. They are wrapped up and intertwined with each other and not necessarily aware of the existence of the other. The author has done an amazing job of highlighting an important issue and dealing with it in a balanced way. I did warn you this was going to be vague…

If you want a story that has heart, soul, humanity, resistance, and determination then you really should pick this book to read. It is emotional and heartbreaking from the very first page right to the very last. It had me in tears by the time I got to the end. It is one I would Highly Recommend.

About the Author:

Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year long-listed novelist.

Owen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; he still loves to perform on occasion. His passion for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colourful continent of India and Nepal. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home in the Greek Islands where In Harm’s Way and the Charlie Cameron and Delaney series’ were created and written. His latest novel Out Of The Silence is a truly compelling thriller set in Pakistan. 

Social Media Links: WebsiteYou TubeTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreadsBookBub

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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)

*****TO ENTER CLICK 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.

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

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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.

Social Media Links –  Twitter – Facebook –  Instagram 

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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

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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.

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