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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Perfect Match by Zoe May @zoe_writes #BookReview

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I am sharing my thoughts today on Perfect Match by Zoe May. You can get you own copy from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

Can you ever find true love online?

Sophia Jones is an expert in all things online dating: the best sites, how to write a decent bio, which questions to ask and the right type of photos to use. The only thing she’s not so great at? Picking the guys…

After sitting through yet another dreadful date with a man who isn’t quite what she expected, Sophia is just about ready to give up on the whole dating scene. But her flatmate, Kate, persuades her to give it one more chance, only this time she must create a profile describing her ‘perfect’ man.

Yes, he must look like Robert Pattinson and needs to own a multi-million pound business, but there are a couple of other deal breakers, too! So, when a guy comes along who ticks every box, surely there’s got to be a catch?

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy, perfect for fans of Catherine Bennetto and Rosie Blake!

My thoughts:

Sophie has tried most of the on-line dating apps. Her latest date is boring her with random facts about food. Sophie and her flatmate Kate make a list of who Sophie’s perfect date would be. So when Mr.Perfect actually turns up Sophie is bowled over.

This is such a fun read and had me sniggering when Sophie and Kate made their Mr Perfect list. When Daniel walks in and is everything Sophie wants she is waiting for the catch. When she realises he is what he appears to be she starts to relax.

Daniels world is so far removed from Sophie’s and there are so many differences in their lifestyles. There are a few characters that make this story move along at a nice pace.

The story is not just about Sophie’s relationship with Daniel. It also has Sophie’s close friends and also her work colleagues. With using the characters, the author has done a great job of showing what sort of person Sophie is and also her values as a person. Sophie is so desperate not to be the last shoe in the shop as people around her seem to be married or in relationships.

This is ideal for readers who like a romance with some humour, a good story line and plenty of fun moments. One I would recommend.

About the Author:

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Zoe May lives in south-east London and writes romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She moved to London in her early twenties and worked in journalism and copywriting before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe could not resist writing a novel about dating, since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!

As well as writing, Zoe enjoys going to the theatre, walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading.

Zoe loves to hear from readers, you can contact her on Twitter and Instagram at: @zoe_writes

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

Spring At Lavender Bay by Sarah Bennett @Sarahlou_writes #BookReview

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Today I have Spring At Lavender Bay by Sarah Bennett, this is book one of a three book series and I am looking forward to continuing my journey at Lavender Bay. You can buy this book via AMAZON UK and while your at it why not pick up the rest in the series 🙂

Synopsis:

A season for change…?

Beth Reynolds loved growing up close to Eleanor’s Emporium – a bric-a-brac shop full of wonders on Lavender Bay. Devastated to learn that Eleanor has died, she returns home from London immediately and is shocked to discover that the elderly lady has left the shop to her!

Vowing to restore it to its former glory, she only intends to stay until the end of the season. Although the longer she spends in the colourful seaside town, the more she falls back in love with everything she left behind…and quite possibly, with her best friend Eliza’s older brother, local chef Sam Barnes!

Why didn’t she notice he was quite this gorgeous before? And will their spring fling be enough to convince her to stay?

Spring at Lavender Bay, the first book in the enchanting Lavender Bay trilogy! Perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Rachael Lucas and Hilary Boyd.

Book 1: Spring at Lavender Bay
Book 2: Summer at Lavender Bay
Book 3: Snowflakes at Lavender Bay

My Thoughts:

Beth is left a bric-a-brac shop by her good friend Eleanor. Beth had left home and made a life for herself in London where she is overworked, and unappreciated until the inheritance. Not sure what to do with the shop she decides to clean up and sort through the various items and then re-open, better to sell as a going concern… or should she stay put…

This is one of those delightful romantic reads about decisions that need to be made. Beth has good neighbours and friends in an area that is popular with holiday makers visiting this seaside town.

Her friends Libby and Eliza are a great help with decisions about what to do with the shop and offer support with the sorting. Next door is the pub and home to another childhood friend Sam. Sam is a chef who has returned home to help out after his fathers failing health made him cut back on the hours he works. Sam and Beth go way back and have always wanted to remain friends but as the two reconnect there is a definite spark.

This is a “will they won’t they” kind of story that has the wonders and memories of the shop mixed in with a good amount of friendship and a great sense of community. The author has done a great job of bringing various elements together giving a deliciously addictive read. I followed Beth through the highs and lows and also the odd funny moments of this story.

This is a picturesque, delicious and wonderful read that would be ideal for readers who like light-hearted romance with some other wonderful story lines threaded through. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

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Sarah Bennett has been reading for as long as she can remember. Raised in a family of bookworms, her love affair with books of all genres has culminated in the ultimate Happy Ever After – getting to write her own stories to share with others.

Born and raised in a military family, she is happily married to her own Officer (who is sometimes even A Gentleman). Home is wherever he lays his hat, and life has taught them both that the best family is the one you create from friends as well as relatives.

When not reading or writing, Sarah is a devotee of afternoon naps and sailing the high seas, but only on vessels large enough to accommodate a casino and a choice of restaurants.

You can connect with her via Twitter or on Facebook

Sarah is the author of the Butterfly Cove, Lavender Bay and the forthcoming Bluebell Castle trilogies, published by HQ Digital UK.

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

#Q&A #HeartSwarm by Allan Watson @allanwatson12 @sarahhardy681

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Today I am delighted to be sharing a Q&A with you all for Heart Swarm by Allan Watson as part of the Blog Blitz with Sarah Hardy. Allan is attending Bloody Scotland this is Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival, if you are around for this event it is held 21st-23rd in Stirling DETAILS HERE. This is an event I really want to go to (pulls sulky face and stamps feet)… most of the time I am very content living in Cornwall until I see a book event I would love to attend that happens to be hundreds of miles away.

Here is the purchase link so you can grab a copy of your own from Amazon UK. I didn’t have time to read this so instead I just bought a copy for future reading  🙂

Now lets see what the book is about.

Synopsis:

Heart Swarm – Prepare to be Scared…

It feels like history is repeating itself when out-of-favour detective Will Harlan gets summoned to a crime scene in the village of Brackenbrae after a young girl is found hanging in the woods.

Five years ago Harlan headed up the investigation of an identical murder in the same woods; a mishandled investigation that effectively destroyed his credibility as a detective. The new case immediately takes a bizarre twist when the body is identified as the same girl found hanging in the woods five years ago.

The following day a local man commits suicide and the police find more dead girls hidden in his basement. The case seems open and closed.

Until the killing spree begins.

Harlan finds himself drawn into a dark world where murder is a form of self-expression and human life treated as one more commodity to be used and discarded.

The only clue that links everything is a large oil painting of ‘Sagittarius A’ – a massive black hole at the centre of the galaxy orbited by thirteen stars daubed in blood with the words –

Question and Answer:

You will be attending Bloody Scotland this year, how important do you think it is for authors as well as readers to attend events like these?

Readers also attend? Really? Whenever I go along to a Crime-fest I’m always narrowly avoiding being trampled to death by hordes of wild-eyed, drink-fuelled authors. I think it’s a great thing for writers to meet up and swap war stories, commiserate on the latest rejection letters, and lie through our teeth over how many Amazon 5 Star reviews we have for our latest book. It provides a sense of community and fosters camaraderie. So much better than my early days as an isolated writer, not ever meeting anyone else with the same obsession. I even remember trying to join a writers club at my local library and finding myself trapped in a small room with a group of mad people whose idea of writing was penning lengthy articles for Caravan Monthly. Each to their own, I suppose.

Can you tell us a bit more about what a normal writing day for you is like?

I normally write in the evenings as I work during the day. In fact, when I say evenings, I mean midnight is usually my starting point. It’s a good time to work as I don’t normally get interrupted by phone calls about car accidents I’ve never been in or people at the door wanting to Tarmac my driveway or replace my guttering. It’s also an acceptable time of night to drink lots of gin.

What would your dream office/writing space be like?

My perfect writing space would be on a revolving spot-lit stage in a huge auditorium filled with admiring fans. Whenever I write a particularly pleasing piece of prose the audience will cheer and go crazy and flash bombs and strobe lights go off. When I make a typo the audience will let me know by sighing loudly and in extreme cases maybe throw Space-hoppers from the balcony. Um… I guess I haven’t really thought this one through properly.

What made you decide to write in the crime genre?

Peer pressure. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always enjoyed reading Crime, but I preferred to write fiction that was darker and not necessarily restricted to this reality. Unfortunately, that side of the fiction fence gets branded with the big Horror tag and no one takes you seriously. A fellow author recently pointed out that by simply sticking a policeman in the heart of the story you can reinvent yourself as a Crime writer and suddenly everyone feels fine about the unusual stuff going on the background. Personally, I feel there’s so many books out there tagged as crime, especially all the serial killer thrillers, that are basically just Horror dressed up as Crime. But these days the public shy away from the ‘H’ word. Horror isn’t all about giant slugs and mutant rats, you know.

For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of reading your books, can you tell us a bit more about DI Will Harlan, the protagonist from your series?

Will Harlan was once an ace detective who badly messed up a high-profile murder investigation and lost almost everything as a consequence, including his marriage. He’s spent the best part of five years being marginalised at work, overlooked for everything except the most mundane cases. He lives in a small hotel next door to the Glasgow City Necropolis. It doesn’t help his fading reputation at work that his landlord is a retired old-school London gangster. Redemption for Harlan finally comes along in the novel Heart Swarm. In the second novel, Wasp Latitudes, Harlan has rediscovered his old talents but still always looking over his shoulder for the next ambush from his colleagues. I’ve been told he’s not terribly likeable.

Where do you get inspiration from for the crimes you feature in your novels?

It’s very difficult to come up with a new crime that hasn’t already been committed in someone else’s book, or in real life, come to that. All you can do is apply a decorative touch to try and set it apart as semi-original. I’ve stopped trying to come up with anything remotely unique as the toy box has already been emptied. For me, the location of a crime can be more shocking than the crime itself and that’s been my focus lately.

Finally, what are you currently working on at the moment and what else can readers look forward to from you in the future?

I’m currently working on the third book in the DI Will Harlan series, a novel called ‘Nightingale Static’. After that I plan on changing tack and writing something different. It’s still nebulous and shape-shifting right now, but hopefully it’ll reveal itself when I need it to.

About the Author:

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Allan Watson is a writer whose work leans towards the dark end of the fiction spectrum. He is the author of seven novels – Dreaming in the Snakepark, Carapace, The Garden of Remembrance, 1-2-3-4, Monochrome, Heart Swarm and Wasp Latitudes.

In between the books, Allan wrote extensively for BBC Radio Scotland, churning out hundreds of comedy sketches, in addition to being a regular contributor for the world famous ‘Herald Diary’.

He occasionally masquerades as a composer/musician, collaborating with crime writer Phil Rickman in a band called Lol Robinson with Hazey Jane II whose albums have sold on four different continents (Antarctica was a hard one to crack)

Allan lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland, but has never worn the kilt or eaten a deep fried Mars Bar. He also once spent three days as a stand-in guitarist for the Bay City Rollers, but he rarely talks much about that… 

Follow Allan on – His Blog – Twitter Heart Swarm Face Book Page

See what other Book Blogger think by following the blitz

H E A R T S W A R M B L O G B L I T Z (1)

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

Vox by Christina Dalcher #BookReview

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I am so delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Vox by Chistina Dalcher. I had originally requested this via NetGalley and was declined by the publisher. I am not a reader who expects all requests to be accepted so, not being deterred at all I treated myself to the hardback copy, it was one I was desperate to read. Also the added bonus is that when my review goes onto Amazon it will be as a verified purchase, so a win for all. One hundred words isn’t a lot, this first paragraph is exactly one hundred words long…

Synopsis:

Silence can be deafening.

Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins.

Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you’re a woman.

Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and seventy million women lose their jobs. Even more terrifyingly, young girls are no longer taught to read or write.

For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. This is only the beginning…

My Thoughts:

If you are a female you have 100 words a day that you can speak. You have no bank account. No job. No entitlement. No mail. No nothing. If you have a son, he will have more rights than you, his mother…

Did I mention that as a female you are required to wear a word counter. Oh and it will give a bolt of electricity if you exceed the word count!

Oh WTFlaming Hell….. I can speak 100 words and most of them crap and waffle before I have finished my second cup of coffee in the morning…

This book did such a good job of building up not only the sense of injustice in a patriarchal society but there was such a heartbreaking essence to it as well. As a mother you want to chat to your children about what they did at school, yeah well forget that… Sentences have become condensed to such an extreme, yet the father and male siblings can chat away about anything, laugh and joke about things but you dare not utter a word, as that means you may not be able to Goodnight, or Love You at the end of the day.

It was as if the women became an asset to be managed, a homemaker, cleaner, carer and a quiet one at that. Now we may laugh and joke about people who constantly chatter away, but the author has managed to build a world that has a scary reality to it.

As I was reading through the book and getting to grips with how and why things had changed, the tone and way of the story started to change. This did initially throw me and took me a while to get my head around.

Essentially women played their role in society before the enforced change. They had jobs, responsibilities, they were leaders in certain fields and had in some areas knowledge that few others had. This change of direction in the story, once I had time to get used to it actually made sense. Even though it was worked quite well into the story, it did give the book a feeling of being one of two stories.

This is a book that will possibly divide readers, but for this reader worked so well. I also think it would be a great book for reading groups as there are many possibilities for discussion. I found it quite thought-provoking and there are concepts that I have not touched on as I don’t want to spoil it for other readers.

Ideal for those who like dystopian read with a political aspect, contemporary fiction as well as general fiction genres I would also add that there is a psychological aspect to it. This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers who like a book with an eerily realistic feel.

It is published by HQ in various formats and available from good book shops and also AMAZON UK.

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

Shiang by C.F.Iggulden @MichealJBooks #BookReview #Netgalley

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Today I have my thoughts on Shiang by C.F.Iggulden that is published today, the second in The Empire of Salt Series. I would like to thank Michael Joseph Books for my ecopy recieved via NetGalley, my thoughts are my own. You can purchase a copy of this book from good book shops and here is the link to purchase from AMAZON UK.

You can read my review of the first book Darien: Empire of Salt by C. F. Iggulden

Synopsis:

IF THESE STONES COULD SPEAK . . . THEY WOULD CALL FOR WAR.

In Shiang, the young king rules without dissent. Mazer swordsmen stand watch on every corner, looking for the first sign of rebellion. This city is a place of quiet and slow dignity, like a man eating rice with a razor pressed against his throat.

Yet with one sharp movement, order is overturned. The balance of centuries is undone in the sudden spill of blood – and in the darkness, something terrible returns to Shiang.

Far to the west, four Shiang masters approach the city walls of Darien. The sword saint and his companions have crossed a continent to bring an old man home for punishment. They will not be denied, even if the whole city stands in their way.

TWO ANCIENT CITIES. ONE FINAL WAR.

My Thoughts:

So this is the second in this series of books by Conn Iggulden. Shiang and Darien are ancient cities separated by many miles of rough, mountainous landscapes. So why anyone would want to make the journey across the mountains, especially in winter, must be for something important.

There are two groups making this journey, Hondo and his group are journeying to bring back a traitor, a man who disgraced the royal family in Darien, he now resides in Shiang. The other group is led by Gabriel and they are a more fearsome band, they are drawn to Shiang seeking power.

This is very much an action and well paced story, there are descriptions and histories that are filled in as the story unfolds. The journeys made by the two groups are interesting and the reasons for the trek was one that intrigued me.

This book gave me a chance to learn more about the ruling families and also how they rule. Also the way they use the power they posses.

Even though I did enjoy this story I found I was at a bit of a loss to find the links I would have expected between the first and second book. It did confuse me as I didn’t seem to have any memory of any of the key characters, once I kind of shrugged that off and decided to read it in the mindset of being more of a stand alone novel then I could enjoy the story. It was quite a long way in before I came across a character I could remember from the first book, he only makes a fleeting appearance.

So this book leaves me in a bit of a quandary, as part of a series I kind of expect characters to come back to me in the few chapters at least, but this wasn’t the case, this essentially left it as a book that had more of a stand alone feel.

I did enjoy the story and found it descriptive, it is full of action, a fair bit of blood, death and destruction, it also has magic, swordsmanship, warriors and honour. It is a book that I would recommend and I am still looking forward to the next in the series.

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

You Were Made For This by Michelle Sacks #BookReview #NetGalley

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I am sharing my thoughts today on You Were Made For This by Michelle Sacks. My thanks to HQ for my e-book I recieved via NetGalley.

Synopsis:

A chilling, gut-wrenching thriller.’ Helen Fields

A bold, sharp, gripping debut about a couple whose perfect life in the Swedish countryside is not what it seems…

A gripping page-turner for fans of The Couple Next Door, Michelle Sacks’s You Were Made For This provocatively explores the darker side of marriage, motherhood and friendship.

Doting wife, devoted husband, cherished child. Merry, Sam and Conor are the perfect family in the perfect place. Merry adores baking, gardening, and caring for her infant son, while Sam pursues a new career in film. In their idyllic house in the Swedish woods, they can hardly believe how lucky they are. What perfect new lives they’ve built for themselves, away from New York and the events that overshadowed their happiness there.

And then Merry’s closest friend Frank comes to stay. All their lives, the two women have been more like sisters than best friends. And that’s why Frank sees things that others might miss. Treacherous things that unfold behind closed doors.

But soon it’s clear that everyone inside the house has something to hide. And as the truth begins to show through the cracks, Merry, Frank, and Sam grow all the more desperate to keep their picture-perfect lives intact.

My Thoughts:

Husband and Wife, Sam and Merry and their son Connor now live in a remote and idyllic area of Sweden. Merry’s best friend Frank comes to stay, the women have been friends since childhood. All seems good, life appears perfect….but is it really?

This story is told from the perspectives of the three main characters, Merry, Sam and Frank in quick alternating chapters. Merry is looking forward to Frank coming to visit, as Merry is now a stay at home Mum, but she is determined to show Frank that she has a wonderful life, baby and home that everything is perfect. Frank however knows Merry from old, knows how she works, and how she make things out to be rosy, so she is trying to see if things are indeed as rosy as they appear. Sam is trying to get his business up and running so is not home all the time.

The author has taken the concept of marriage, happy families and idyllic home-life and thrown a big old spanner in the works by psychologically manipulating her characters. Friendship is not immune to this spanner either, it doesn’t take long for the pretence of perfect to start showing a few little cracks, as the bonds of marriage and friendship are not as they first appear.

One thing I really loved about this story was the lack of dialogue. Yes you read this right, no dialogue. Instead you are given the perspective from whichever characters head you are in. I got to see and hear the thoughts of past events, conversations and it worked so well for this story. It was easy to follow and it didn’t take long for me to recognise which character was which was which. The voices of the characters came out loud and clear for me. It was a way of seeing behind the mask of the character if you like, hearing their real thoughts rather than saying what they think should be said. It was also a great way to build up the suspense and the tension as the story developed even more, but even though I was in their heads there were still quite a few shocks along the way, and the mistrust built up.

Initially I thought I was warming to the characters, but as things progressed I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about them, I didn’t trust what they thought. I did empathise and feel for them but by the end I was shocked.

This is a clever look at marriage, parenthood and friendship and how each aspect of them fit together, or how they can be forced to fit. A great suspense filled psychological, noir that I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Michelle Sacks is the author of the short story collection, Stone Baby (December 2017) and the novel, You Were Made For This (June 2018).

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