There’s Something About A Cowboy by Rich Amooi @RichAmooi @rararesources #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for There’s Something About A Cowboy by Rich Amooi as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for the invite and to Rich for my e-copy.

Synopsis:

Rule #1: No Dating Cowboys.

A fake fiancé doesn’t count, right? Oh boy . . .

Amy Weaver is tired of her dad meddling in her love life. Fed up, she hires an actor to play the part of her fake cowboy fiancé when she goes home for her grandpa’s ninetieth birthday. Sure, Luke Jenkins has got looks, charm, and muscular legs, but this is business, pure and simple. Things are fine and dandy until she finds out he’s a real cowboy, not an actor. Now, she’s stuck between a rock and his chiseled jawline, falling faster than a sack of horseshoes. How the heck is Amy supposed to ignore the sparks between them and stick to her rule of not dating cowboys? All bets are off.

Purchase LinksAmazon USAmazon UKAmazon AUAmazon CA

My Thoughts:

Now I have seen various reviews mention fake dates being a popular theme over the years, but as a reader who is relatively new to contemporary romance and Rom-com I cannot make any comment on that. It is great to be able to find a genre that has no real prior expectations. So let’s get onto what I thought…

Amy Weaver has a thing about Cowboy’s for boyfriends, but does not have the best track record. She meets Luke Jenkins in a local bar and a challenge for a bronco bull riding is set. Amy is expected home and she is getting fed up with her father going on about how she should go back to her ex-boyfriend. Amy in her wisdom decides the only thing to do is take along a fake boyfriend and Luke just so happens to fit the stereotype bill.

This is a book I quite happily sat and read in one sitting. I really liked Amy, she is feisty, stubborn and a naturally competitive 40 something. She was such a good character to pit against the handsome and rough around the edges cowboy looking Luke, who also has a competitive streak. Amy believes Luke to be an actor who had been hired by the bar to help add to the atmosphere, well he definitely added atmosphere…

The author did a great job of capturing my attention from the first few pages as I was introduced to the main characters. Others were added along the way as the story required and by the end of the book I knew exactly who was who and a bit about them. I found them easy to remember and this gave me the opportunity to enjoy the story.

As the story unfolds there are some surprising revelations for Amy to deal with. Not everyone has had her best interests at heart and they shock her. They also give her a new sense of direction and a focus that maybe she had lost in her earlier years before she moved away.

This book should come with a literary health warning… Do Not Read On An Empty Stomach… the food and recipes that are mentioned throughout, yes throughout the story are fabulous. Wonderful culinary creations and delights are laid across the pages spare ribs, barbecues, fire pits, pies, crumbles and breads are just some of the delights. They sounded as yummy as Luke himeself…

This is a book that would appeal to contemporary romance and rom-com readers. It has a great storyline and cast and there are some surprises along the way. This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I will definitely be buying more. Ideal if you are looking for an escape into a pleasant, charming, at times humorous story. One I would recommend.

About the Author:

Fun, Quirky Romantic Comedies from a Guy’s Perspective. Rich Amooi is a former radio personality who now writes romantic comedies full-time. He is happily married to a kiss monster imported from Spain. Rich believes in public displays of affection, silliness, infinite possibilities, donuts, gratitude, laughter, and happily ever after.

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The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire @jennifermacaire @rararesources #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Road To Alexander by Jenny Macaire as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for the invite and to Jennifer for my e-copy of this book.

Synopsis:

What do you do when the past becomes your future?

The year is 2089, and time-travelling journalist Ashley Riveraine gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to interview her childhood hero, Alexander the Great. She expects to come out with an award-winning article, but doesn’t count on Fate intervening.

Alexander mistakes Ashley for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his own time. Being stuck 3000 years in the past with the man of her dreams wouldn’t be so bad if the scientists of the Time Institute hadn’t threatened to erase Ashley from existence if she changes history.

Ashley must now walk a tightrope, caught up in the cataclysmic events of the time, knowing what the future holds for the people she comes to love but powerless to do anything to influence it.

Join Ashley on her hilarious, bumpy journey into the past as she discovers where her place in history truly is…

Purchase  Link – Click Here

My Thoughts:

This is the story of Ashley and how she travels back in time to meet one of her heroes, Alexander the Great, to interview him. Alexander unwittingly prevents Ashley from returning back to her time and she is left stranded in history and decides to embrace the predicament in which she finds herself.

Now I did wonder how I would get on this story, time travel and ancient history. I really should not wonder when it comes to reading as this author did an absolutely cracking job with the story and completely won me over. I will mention that the author stated in her notes at the end, that she has moved somethings and people around to help with her story. I am aware of something from the days of Alexander but I am not au fait with much of it so I just enjoyed the story as the author saw it.

I would definitely say this is a historical romance as well as being a historical fiction read. It is about two people from very different times, backgrounds, interests, and experiences. The author has managed to inject some humorous aspects into the story that had me smirking, Ashley uses phrases and words that would not have been around at that time, and it gets some of the historical characters scratching their heads. For them, it adds to the mystery behind who or what they believe her to be.

I really liked the way a lot of historical facts has been mixed in with the fiction it made reading details much more interesting. Essentially turning a list of dates, people and places into something a lot lighter reading. There are mentions of battles, gods, religion, philosophy and the beliefs of the time. There is so much from the daily life, health, hygiene pretty much everything you would expect and a lot I didn’t even think about.

While Ashley is the main part of the story, her focus is on Alexander, the man, and the legendary historical figure. By the end of the story, I realised that this author really knows her stuff and has an obvious love of this time period, as it really does show in her writing. I came away knowing so much more than when I started this book, that is a big bonus for me.

I did mention it had a romantic aspect to it. Ashley initially is a little aloof and comes across as cold, where as Alexander is definitely a hot blooded male… thats all I am saying at this point, it does make for some very interesting reading! As the story develops Ashley then seems to thaw a little and others start to see a change in her, she becomes more emotionally engaged.

This is the first book in a series and I cannot wait to see what comes next. This is a really good book and one that I think would definitely appeal to readers of historical fiction and romance readers. It is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Jennifer Macaire is an American living in Paris. She likes to read, eat chocolate, and plays a mean game of golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St Peter and Paul High School in St Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories

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A Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft #review

I am still playing catch-up on my festive fiction reads and today I am sharing my review of The Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft.

Lets see what the book is about…

Synopsis:

One Christmas can change everything…

Georgine loves Christmas. The festive season always brings the little village of Middledip to life. But since her ex-boyfriend walked out, leaving her with crippling debts, Georgine’s struggled to make ends meet.

To keep her mind off her worries, she throws herself into organising the Christmas show at the local school. And when handsome Joe Blackthorn becomes her assistant, Georgine’s grateful for the help. But there’s something about Joe she can’t quite put her finger on. Could there be more to him than meets the eye?

Georgine’s past is going to catch up with her in ways she never expected. But can the help of friends new and old make this a Christmas to remember after all?

Purchase link – Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

This is the story of Georgine and Joe. Georgine is strugglingto make ends meet and hiding from debt collectors, they are after her ex-boyfriend by the way. Joe has just been taken on as Georgine’s assistant at Acting Instrument, a college that provides dance, music, acting and backstage education and experience.

A story that is about two people who cross into each other’s lives, the highs and lows, the ups and downs and how roles can be reversed so very quickly is how I would probably sum this up. The author has created two characters and a series of events conspire against them.

There is so much in this story that I would love to tell and I have had to edit this review several times as I would have given important details away that would ruin it if you have not read this book.

Even though this is a Christmas book, it is not overly Christmassy in itself, though it does have a Christmas theme… how convoluted does that sound? But it makes sense to me! The students have a Christmas show to put on and Joe soon proves his worth and seems to have invaluable patience and experience.

This is a book of surprises, hence the very sketchy review, but it is one that when I started I really could not put down. The plot had me hooked as I found myself wanting to know more about the elusive Joe, as well as more about the families of the main characters. It had a sort of dramatic suspense that kept me page turning.

A book that would appeal to readers of general fiction, festive fiction, romantic fiction who are after a heartwarming and uplifting read. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, an international bestselling author and has held the #1 spot in the UK Kindle chart. She writes contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes.

Sue has won a Best Romantic Read Award, received two nominations at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards and is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. Her short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’ have sold around the world.

An army child, Sue was born in Germany then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a digital prepress. She’s pleased to have now wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.

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Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye with Rebecca Mascull @RebeccaMascull @HQStories #review of #MissMarley

I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my review for Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye and Rebecca Mascull. I was over the moon to be sent a copy by Joe Thomas HQ Stories. A wonderful cover for a wonderful book.

Synopsis:

Before A Christmas Carol there was… Miss Marley

A seasonal tale of kindness and goodwill

Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price.

And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart…

In Miss Marley, Vanessa Lafaye weaves a spellbinding Dickensian tale of ghosts, goodwill, and hope – a perfect prequel to A Christmas Carol.

My Thoughts:

Have you ever wondered about Jacob Marley, how he became the ghost in A Christmas Carol? What did he do in life to deserve such a penance? I always have. So when the chance to read Miss Marley came along I jumped at it. Set as a prequel to A Christmas Carol, the author has invented a sister for Jacob, Miss Clara Belle Marley. Jacob’s story is told from her perspective.

As a reader I have always associated Christmas with Dickens, A Christmas Carol is one of those books that is synonymous with the festive season and has been the basis for many offshoots in the form of film, musical, and theatre. Miss Marley is a welcome addition and is the perfect book to accompany the Dickens classic. Dickens has some mighty big footsteps and I was a little wary as to how this book would fair. I have to say here and now it faired very well indeed and it complimented those footsteps completely for me.

From the outset I was transported and completely immersed into Dickensian London, slums, rough neighbourhoods, dank sewer lined streets and the notorious poverty. This was here I was introduced to two youngsters, Jacob and Clara. I followed them as they struggled to find food to eat, a roof and warmth to keep themselves healthy and safe. The story tells of a chance event that was to provide the start of a new life. A life that would see them rise from the gutters and to meet Ebenezer Scrooge. 

There are a few references to A Christmas Carol and these were perfect for setting the scene, the feel and introducing characters that follow in Dickens book. By the time I had finished reading Miss Marley, I found my reading appetite definitely whetted and was eager to continue into the book we all know.

You may notice that there are two authors mentioned for this book, I wasn’t really aware of this until I got to the end and read the afterword. The first author is Vanessa Lafaye, she wrote the vast majority of this book. Unfortunately, she lost her battle with cancer before it’s completion. Rebecca Mascull then took on the role of finishing the final few chapters. The friendship, discussions and the love these two authors shared for Dickens really does show and I had no idea where one author left off and the other picked up. It wasn’t until I read the afterword that I discovered this revelation. It was a seamless transition between the two and an ending that I believe Vanessa would approve of (in my opinion). 

This is a novella that is an absolute must-read not only for fans of Dickens and A Christmas Carol but also for those that have not turned the pages of a Dickens before. It would be the perfect introduction to the style and feel of this great author. Everything about this book was absolutely perfect and spot on and it will be one that I will read again for the festive season years to come. This book gets an absolutely highly recommended from me.

About the Authors:

Vanessa Lafaye was born in Florida and studied in North Carolina. She moved to the UK in 1999 (having been deported once). She is the author of two previous novels, her first book Summertime, was chosen for Richard and Judy in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Historical Writers Award. Vanessa passed away in February 2018.

Rebecca Mascull is the author of three historical novels and also writes saga fiction under the pen-name Mollie Walton. Visit her websites for more information: https://molliewalton.co.uk/ & https://rebeccamascull.co.uk/

She is currently hard at work on her next trilogy of historical fiction, with the first novel slated for publication in spring 2019 to be published by Bonnier Zaffre as The Ironbridge Saga. These will be published under the name of Mollie Walton and the first book in the series is set in the dangerous world of the iron industry: THE DAUGHTERS OF IRONBRIDGE.
Her first novel THE VISITORS (2014) tells the story of Adeliza Golding, a deaf-blind child living on her father’s hop farm in Victorian Kent. Her second novel SONG OF THE SEA MAID (2015) is set in the C18th and concerns an orphan girl who becomes a scientist and makes a remarkable discovery. Her third novel, THE WILD AIR (2017) is about a shy Edwardian girl who learns to fly and becomes a celebrated aviatrix but the shadow of war is looming. All are published by Hodder & Stoughton.

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

The Raven Tower Front Cover.jpg

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

Synopsis:

The Raven Tower

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

Purchase Links Amazon USAmazon UK

Extract:

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

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

‘That’s the head,’ Dorthai whispered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘I’ve come for you, Icante.’

Giveaway – Win 5 x Paperback copies of The Raven Tower (Open Internationally)

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

About the Author:

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Author Bio-

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

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

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A Thunder Of War by Steve McHugh @StevejMchugh @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BookReview

A Thunder of War Cover.jpg

As the final stop on the Blog Tour, I am so happy that I finally get my turn to share my review of A Thunder Of War by Steve McHugh on the Blog Tour with Anne at Random Things Tours. My huge thanks to Anne for the invite and also to the author for my signed copy of this fabulous book. It is book number three in The Avalon Chronicles and I absolutely love this series.

Synopsis:

There’s thunder on the horizon, and the lightning of war is about to strike.

After years of struggle, Layla Cassidy has finally mastered the dark powers that threatened to control her and turned them to good. She’s ready to fight, but the next battle will be her greatest test yet.

The forces of Avalon are growing ever stronger, reinforcing their dominance with almighty displays of brutality. When Abaddon comes close to crushing Layla and her friends, it’s clear that the thunder of war is about to give way to lightning—and that they have no chance of surviving it alone.

The final battle against Abaddon is drawing closer. Now Layla and her friends must fight for themselves—and the future of the world. To win, they will need every power and ally they can muster. But even with all their strength, will it be enough to stand against the impending doom?

Purchase link at Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

This is the third in The Avalon Chronicles and yes I would definitely suggest reading these books in order as you get to see the transformation of Layla Cassidy. She is coming to terms with her powers, though not fully accepted all that she can be. The battle against Avalon becomes more brutal as the fighting increases. No one knows if Avalon can be defeated and everything is risked.

With Layla learning more about her powers and her role, she increasing finds herself and her friends in a relentless situation. Avalon forces are desperate to take over the control of the realms. They have won over some and it is a race to prevent more being lost. Layla and Abaddon have history and again they butt heads as Abaddon becomes a more increasing pain in the rear. With Layla still discovering the full extent of her power, it seems that Abaddon beats her at every turn.

This is a fantasy series that mixes and draws on legend, folklore, mythology from various countries and times. The way the author uses the different realms and also keeping its phrasing and language modern still allowing it to mix in different settings is a real treat. By doing this the author can mix in the odd demi-god, the occasional sorcerer, a few dwarves, were beasts and there’s a dragon or two… the dragons made me so happy.

The mix of old and ancient with a modern setting has worked really well for me as I was reading. I often found myself making notes for further reading with regards to some of the more unusual mythology or legendary references. There is such a large scope when it comes to the things that have been included such as; Arthurian legends, Norse Mythology, Roman mythology, and Native American and then there is also mentions of necromancy, elemental magic, and pure magic. These various elements have been well researched and while I wouldn’t necessarily have put such a range of different things like this together, I am so glad the author did as it makes such a wonderful read.

The characters are brilliantly described and their storylines and the way they are entwined is wonderful. There are a lot of characters, and again this is where I would reiterate that reading the series in order would help. The author has dropped some brilliant little one-liners that are delivered by certain cast members, and I have a feeling this may possibly be a little bit of the author’s personality popping by. You will soon build up a list of those characters that you really like because of their various traits, and then there are those you would quite happily take up a sword and personally chop their heads off.

If you are a fan of fantasy, magic, legend, mythology, and folklore then this is a must read. If you also like elves, dwarves, were beasts and don’t forget the dragons, then this is a must read.

A fabulous series, that I think would also work for general fiction readers as well as fantasy, yes it is heavy on the fantasy do to the mix of magic, legend, and mythology but I think it is very accessible with names you can actually pronounce. This is a book and a series I highly recommend.

The Series

Read my reviews for the first two book in the series.

A Glimmer of Hope

A Flicker Of Steel

About the Author:

Steve McHugh Author Pic.jpg

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

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

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

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Thalidomide Kid by Kate Rigby @rararesources #Excerpt #Giveaway

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

Purchase Links – Amazon UKAmazon ComPaperback from Amazon UK

Read the Excerpt:

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

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

Celia looked to Daryl for the answer.

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

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

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

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

“Would you like any help, Mrs Wainwright?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

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

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

Thalidomide Kid was published by Bewrite Books (2007).

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

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

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

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

More information can be found at her WebsiteBlog

Social Media Links – FacebookAmazonGoodreadsBookbubPintrest

Enter the Giveaway to win a copy of Thalidomide Kid

Giveaway – Win 1 x signed copy of Thalidomide Kid

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

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The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James @CarolineJames12 @rararesources #BookReview and #Giveaway

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I am delighted to be one of the opening Book Bloggers to be sharing my review for The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James. This is a book I bought when it was first released in March, I had seen so many good reviews from fellow book readers and it has taken me this long to read it. I am grateful to Rachel for inviting me onto the Blog Tour for this book, it gave me the opportunity to move it up my TBR and now it rests on the HBR (Have Been Read) shelf 🙂 While you are here please enter the Giveaway at the bottom of the post to stand a chance of winning your very own Bertie Bear and Tote Bag.

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Synopsis:

Let the shenanigans begin at the Best Boomerville Hotel …
Jo Docherty and Hattie Contaldo have a vision – a holiday retreat in the heart of the Lake District exclusively for guests of ‘a certain age’ wishing to stimulate both mind and body with new creative experiences. One hotel refurbishment later and the Best Boomerville Hotel is open for business!

Perhaps not surprisingly Boomerville attracts more than its fair share of eccentric clientele: there’s fun-loving Sir Henry Mulberry and his brother Hugo; Lucinda Brown, an impoverished artist with more ego than talent; Andy Mack, a charming Porsche-driving James Bond lookalike, as well as Kate Simmons, a woman who made her fortune from an internet dating agency but still hasn’t found ‘the One’ herself.

With such an array of colourful individuals there’s bound to be laughs aplenty, but could there be tears and heartbreak too and will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?

Purchase Links – AmazonKoboIBooks/GoogleiTunes

My Thoughts:

A hotel for those of a certain age with opportunities to experience different activities, with a stunning Lake District setting, gorgeous rooms, a fabulous menu and a bar that always seems to be open…

Crazy characters and their escapades are the heart of this story. They are the maddest mixed bunch you could want to read about in a story. Hattie seems to be an accident waiting to happen, that is when she isn’t in the midst of said accident and Jo has the patience of a saint as they run the hotel. A mix of activities that include art, pottery, and creative writing are some of the things on offer. Oh and then there is the Shaman who runs a meditation class that is in a world of its own…

The guests are just as varied as the staff and friendships are formed. It is a chance for some to start healing their grief and wounds and others have a different objective and reason for staying. I soon discovered that an ulterior motive is at play in the rooms and corridors of the hotel.

So along with the characters, there are various underlying stories that are teased out, some are connected to the guests and some with the staff and the hotel. These stories are individual to each character and is a way to help connect with the others.

This story moves along at a pace that suits the story and it is a great read. It had me sniggering at some of the antics and left me with a lighthearted feel it does have a couple of more serious undertones. A book I would definitely recommend to readers of romantic comedy, general fiction and are after a good all-round feel-good book.

About the Author:

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Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, consultant and food writer, Caroline is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association and writes articles and short stories and contributes to many publications.

Her debut novel, Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me is set in North West England, at the time of a famous gypsy horse fair. The book went straight to number three on Amazon and was E-book of the Week in The Sun.

So, You Think You’re A Celebrity…Chef? was runner up the Winchester Writers festival for best TV Drama and takes a light-hearted look at the world of celebrity chefs as they battle it out for fame and fortune. Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean & Me was runner up at The Write Stuff, LBF, 2015 and is an Amazon best-seller and top recommended read by Thomson Holidays. Jungle Rock, a romcom novella set in Australia, revolves around a TV game show.

In her spare time, Caroline can be found trekking up a mountain or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.

Caroline James Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebook Author Page

NOW FOR A GIVEAWAY

Win Bertie Bear and his travel bag (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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Love Punked by Nia Lucas @BooksNia @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my review with you all today for Love Punked by Nia Lucas as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. Huge thanks to Rachel for the invite to join the tour and also to Nia for my e-copy of her book.

Synopsis:

When her life is irrevocably altered by a post-Rave tryst on her mother’s floral patio recliner, Erin Roberts’ long-standing relationship with Humiliation takes her down a path that’s not so much ‘less well trodden’, more ‘perilous descent down sheer cliffs’.

Armed with a fierce devotion to her best friend and the unrequited love for the boy she might have accidentally married at age seven, when Erin falls pregnant at sixteen, life veers off at a most unexpected tangent.

Her journey to adulthood is far from ordinary as Erin learns that protecting the hearts of those most precious to you isn’t balm enough when your Love Punked heart is as sore as your freshly tattooed arse.

Whilst raising football prodigies and trying not to get stuck in lifts with Social Work clients who hate her, Erin discovers that sometimes you have to circumnavigate the globe to find the very thing that was there all along.

Purchase Links:  Amazon UK or   Amazon US

My Thoughts:

Erin Roberts is an average girl growing up. She is feisty, determined and will stand up for herself and her best friends. After falling pregnant at 16 after a one night stand her life is not the one she imagined for herself as she juggles being a mum with studying. With unwavering support from her family and a small group of friends, she does all she can as a mum and as a woman. Her priority in life has changed, being a mum is the most important thing in her life and they always come first, even before her…

This story is so full of highs and lows, inspirational and poignant as well. At times I got angry with Erin as I thought she was passing up opportunities for happiness as she puts her family first. But as it happens she does do the right thing and more importantly the right thing for her family. I can understand her not wanting to have a potential man in her life if they are not serious. For me, Erin grew up very quickly and at times had an old head on young shoulders. Determination has got her through some difficult situations as she gradually makes her way through the story and the early years of being a mum.

Now this story is a little colourful in language and, while it may not appeal to all readers, I think it was so appropriate for the characters, the setting and the time of the story. She says what she thinks and occasionally without a filter. This is a character that does not see the qualities that others see in her, she has doubts, fears and a strength that she is unaware of.

Now I did find I went through quite a few emotions with this book, anger, sniggering and, the odd tear. At times it is beautifully poignant and at others raucous and wild. A real modern feel to this story that tells the story of a young woman growing up that is faced with many challenges and decisions to make.

It is a book I wasn’t sure how I would get on with but I found myself completely immersed with and read in a couple of days a great debut. A story that is modern and gritty but also loving, witty and hopeful, one I would definitely recommend to readers of contemporary and literary fiction.

About the Author:

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I am a UK based author of Contemporary women’s fiction who is passionate about telling the stories of strong, sympathetic, entertaining and engaging female characters and the lives that they lead. My Welsh heritage and my life as a practising Social Worker with teenagers and their families heavily influences my work as does my love of all things 90’s and an adolescence spent immersed in clubbing culture.

Social Media Links – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook – Blog

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Rednecks Revenge by Joan Livingston #GuestPost @rararesources #Giveaway (Open Int’lly)

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Today I am delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers to be opening the Blog Tour for Joan Livingston the author of Redneck’s Revenge as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. In this guest post the author describes how to keep the attention of a reader when writing a second in the series novel. As a reader I don’t always read a series in the order, yes I know it’s bad but sometimes things just happen. So how do you introduce a reader to a series when they haven’t read the first book and also still keep it interesting to a reader who is already aware of the characters. A fine balance indeed is required. You can buy a copy of Redneck’s Revenge HERE.

Synopsis:

Her next case. She’s in it for good.

Isabel Long is in a funk months after solving her first case. Her relationship with the Rooster Bar’s owner is over. Then the cops say she must work for a licensed P.I. before working solo.

Encouraged by her ‘Watson’ — her 92-year-old mother — Isabel snaps out of it by hooking up with a P.I. and finding a new case.

The official ruling is Chet Waters, an ornery so-and-so, was passed out when his house caught fire. His daughter, who inherited the junkyard, believes he was murdered. Topping the list of suspects are dangerous drug-dealing brothers, a rival junkyard owner, and an ex-husband.

Could the man’s death simply be a case of redneck’s revenge? Isabel is about to find out.

Guest Post:

Well, you have to start somewhere. And when it comes to writing a novel, an author wants to grab the reader in the opening scene and hopefully they won’t get away.

My new mystery, Redneck’s Revenge, presented an interesting challenge. Since it’s the second in the series, I wanted to introduce my protagonist, Isabel Long, without boring people who read the first — Chasing the Case. Then again, I didn’t want readers who might have skipped the first going, “Huh, what’s she writing about?”

Isabel Long tells the story, so the novel is written in first person. She’s a former long-time journalist who took on her first case as an amateur sleuth because suddenly she had a lot of time on her hands after she got canned from her job as a newspaper’s managing editor. Besides, the disappearance of a woman 28 years earlier was her first big story as a rookie reporter when she was covering the hilltowns of rural Western Massachusetts where she lives.

She also has an unusual ‘Watson’ — her 92-year-old mother who came to live with her. Her mother has read enough mysteries and watched enough crime shows to help steer her in the right direction.

With that first case under her belt, Isabel faces an obstacle. The cops said if she wants to continue as a private investigator, she has to follow certain legal requirements including working for a license private investigator for three years.

So in the opening chapter, Isabel making a pitch to Franklin Pierce, a licensed P.I. whose best days are behind him. I wanted to give readers a good first look at Isabel at this meeting. She’s smart and sassy. She won’t take crap from anybody. But she also cares. This will help her be a good P.I.

Here is a bit of the opener to Redneck’s Revenge.

Isabel Long. The man’s greeting was more of a statement than a question, but then again, Franklin Pierce is expecting me. He’s a private investigator and I need his services. It’s not what you think. I don’t have a case for him to solve. I want him to hire me for three years, so I can be a bona fide P.I. We are meeting at his office, which is just a narrow storefront between a Cumby’s – that’s Cumberland Farms to those who don’t live in New England – and a pizza joint. The sign on the window says:

FRANKLIN PIERCE

LICENSED P.I.

FRAUD, DIVORCES, LOST PEOPLE.

Franklin Pierce is on the pudgy side, pushing seventy or more, maybe, with glasses and a double chin that hangs loose like a turkey’s wattle. He’s got to be about five-foot-two or shorter because I tower over him. Get this. He’s wearing a cowboy hat and a long canvas coat as if he’s a cattleman out West. But when he opens his mouth, he’s pure Yankee with those missing Rs and added Rs, plus a twang that says his folks have lived in this part of the world, that is, Western Massachusetts, since the white folks found it and the people who lived here before them.

He clutches a set of keys as I make my approach to the front door. Naturally, I was ten minutes early, my M.O., and waited in the car with my mother before he arrived. Yes, Maria Ferreira, my ninety-two-year-old mother, soon to be my ninety-three-year-old mother April 2, is with me. But when Ma saw Cumby’s, she hightailed it out of my car. She says she’ll go to the pizza joint afterward to get something to drink. She could have stayed home, but it’s February, and like the rest of us, she’s got a bit of cabin fever from the seemingly endless winter that began in October.

I smile and extend my hand to Franklin Pierce. I feel a bit self-conscious my skin is colder and rougher than his. I’m curious why someone would name their kid after one of the worst presidents so far although I can think of a few other contenders. But now isn’t the time to bring up that observation. I need to win this man over. So, what will it be: Franklin or Frank although I seriously doubt Frankie. I play it safe.

“Mr. Pierce, hello.”

“Please call me Lin. And you? Is it Isabel or Izzie? Which do you prefer?”

I shake my head.

“Never Izzie,” I say.

“I’ll remember that.”

“Okay, Lin. How do you spell that?”

“L-I-N.”

Gotcha.

Thank you so much for this post Joan, sometimes coming back to a series requires a quick recap and for those new to a series who want to know a bit of what has previously happened, not feeling that they are missing out and also hopefully to entice them to buy and read the previous book/books.

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If this has whetted your appetite then here is the link for the first book in Chasing The Castle the first book series CLICK HERE

I am so intrigued by these books I have bought them both 🙂

About the Author:

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Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Redneck’s Revenge, published by Crooked Cat Books, is the second in the mystery series featuring Isabel Long, a long-time journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. The first is Chasing the Case.

An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and most recently the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.

After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, Joan returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including the Isabel Long series.

Social Media Links – Website FacebookTwitterInstagramGoodreads
Giveaway – Win a paperback copy of Redneck’s Revenge (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.

***TO ENTER CLICK HERE***

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