Saturday, 23 June 2018

#BlogTour: Missing Pieces by Laura Pearson @LauraPAuthor @AgoraBooksLDN #MissingPieces

Published by Agora Books on 21st June 2018. My thanks to Lucy Irvine for the beautiful care package that arrived including a copy of the book and for inviting me on to the blog tour. 


What if the one thing that kept you together was breaking you apart?

All Linda wants to do is sleep. She won’t look at her husband. She can’t stand her daughter. And she doesn’t want to have this baby. Having this baby means moving on, and she just wants to go back to before. Before their family was torn apart, before the blame was placed.

Alienated by their own guilt and struggling to cope, the Sadler family unravels. They grow up, grow apart, never talking about their terrible secret.

That is until Linda’s daughter finds out she’s pregnant. Before she brings another Sadler into the world, Bea needs to know what happened twenty-five years ago. What did they keep from her? What happened that couldn’t be fixed?

A devastating mistake, a lifetime of consequences. How can you repair something broken if pieces are missing?

My Thoughts:

Missing Pieces is the debut novel novel from Laura Pearson, you wouldn't know that though. It is highly accomplished and managed to pull at my heart. Every copy should come with a packet or tissues or even a giant box. This book managed to capture my mind and break my heart in equal measure, it is absolutely spectacular. 

Concentrating on The Sadler family, Missing Pieces is an exploration of grief, bereavement and family dynamics. A portrayal of how a single event can change everything and the all encompassing effects that can reverberate a family and tear it apart. I am not going to tell you more at the point as this would be to spoil a moving reading experience for you. 

There is mystery involved and as a reader I was utterly captivated and completely entwined between the pages and emotionally invested beyond belief. Laura Pearson writes sublimely, the complexity of the story driven by a sparsity of the writing. There is nothing wasted or superfluous here. 

Laura Pearson has written her characters with a great insight and managed to give them depth and brought them absolutely to life. It really is utterly mesmerising.

A story of what happens when everything blows apart and the hows and whens of putting it back together again.

Breathtaking. 




About the Author:
Laura Pearson has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. She lives in Leicestershire with her husband and their two children. Missing Pieces is her first novel.

Twitter: @LauraPAuthor

Please do have a look at some of the other stops on the blog tour. 

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Friday, 22 June 2018

#BlogBlitz: Tilting, A Memoir by Nicole Harkin @harkinna @rararesources #Tilting


I am really pleased to be able to post my review today of Tilting, A Memoir by Nicole Harkin as part of the first birthday celebrations. My thanks to the author and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for the review copy and inviting me to be a part of the blog blitz. You can get your copy of the book here.



There is also a trailer to whet your appetite 




We only learned about our father's girlfriend after he became deathly ill and lay in a coma 120 miles from our home.

Overhearing the nurse tell Linda--since I was nine I had called my mom by her first name--about the girlfriend who came in almost every day to visit him when we weren't there confirmed that the last moment of normal had passed us by without our realizing it. Up to then our family had unhappily coexisted with Dad flying jumbo jets to Asia while we lived in Montana. We finally came together to see Dad through his illness, but he was once again absent from a major family event--unable to join us from his comatose state. This is the moment when our normal existence tilted.

Dad recovered, but the marriage ailed, as did Linda, with cancer. Our family began to move down an entirely different path with silver linings we wouldn't see for many years.


In this candid and compassionate memoir which recently won a Gold Award in The Wishing Shelf Book Award, Nicole Harkin describes with an Impressionist's fine eye the evolution of a family that is quirky, independent, uniquely supportive, peculiarly loving and, most of all, marvelously human.


My Thoughts:

I very rarely read memoirs much preferring the fictional lives of the characters. There was something about Tilting though that sucked me in and I am so glad that I read this raw and emotional read. I will be thinking about it for some days to come. 

Nicole Harkin has written about herself and her family in a way that engages the reader. She writes with great warmth and wit given some of the circumstances portrayed. She manages to present the family dynamic and what life was like for them. The title is so apt families and their members are always Tilting. Changing direction slightly sometimes, at others being tipped completely on their axis. Bending but never completely breaking. 

Everything changes when Nicole's Father is in a coma in hospital and it transpires he has a girlfriend and a secret life and when Linda her Mother has Cancer. The entire memoir is littered with vignettes from different periods in the family timeline. 

Tilting is honest, raw and emotional and a portrayal of a family and was very real and inescapably readable. Highly thought provoking and interesting. 


About the Author:
Nicole Harkin currently resides in Washington, DC with her husband and two small children. She works as a writer and family photographer. As a Fulbright Scholar during law school, Nicole lived in Berlin, Germany where she studied German environmentalism. Her work can be found in Thought Collection and you are here: The Journal of Creative Geography. She is currently working on mystery set in Berlin. Her photography can be seen at www.nicoleharkin.com.
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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

#GuestPost: The Forgotten by J.V. Baptie @jvbaptie @crookedcatbooks #LoveBooksGroupTours

Published on the 13th June 2018 by Crooked Cat Books. I am delighted to be able to share with you today a Guest Post from author J.V.Baptie and tell you more about The Forgotten. My thanks to Kelly of Love Books Group Tours for inviting me to take part. You can order your copy of the book here.

What if everything was a lie?
Newly-promoted but not welcome in CID, Detective Sergeant Helen Carter is tasked with investigating a murder in an old abandoned picture house. The case takes a chilling turn when the business card of an ex-cop is found at the scene.
Helen must piece together the case before the bodies mount up around her, and before the killer strikes closer to home…

Delve into the underworld of Scotland’s capital city in this fast-paced thriller!

Praise for The Forgotten:

A genuine page turner.” Bestselling author, Alex Gray
Fast-paced and gritty Tartan Noir. A Brilliant Debut.” Bestselling author, Frances Di Plino
“Fans of Rebus will love this.” Thriller author, E.A Clark.
“Memorable and smart.” Tom Ward, author

Guest Post by Author J.V. Baptie: Ideas for The Forgotten

I wrote this novel as apart of the dissertation for my degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. I don’t think I would’ve ever got around to finishing a novel without this deadline! (I can be the world’s worst procrastinator.) That reminds me I better go hoover…

As part of the early development process for this novel, I decided to set it in 1977 and I did this to do more with the story but it also meant I had to do a lot more research to make sure the story is realistic. I have some old police manuals from the sixties and seventies which have been invaluable.

I also wanted to capture the change in the police force which is similar to what’s happening at the moment with the creation of Police Scotland. In the late seventies, Edinburgh was on the cusp of a massive drug problem and there was a huge amount of regeneration and slum clearances going on at the time, all of which I found really interesting. My initial ideas for the Forgotten were very wide and varied.  My lead character Helen is strong but flawed in many ways. She is good at her job but doesn’t quite have the confidence in herself to see that. She’s brave but frustrated and lonely. It’s hard to think where I got the initial idea for this novel. I think I had a shell of a character in my mind for a long time. I’ve also watched a lot of seventies television shows, so I’m sure those helped.  I find that I write better without a plan so I tend to just drop a character into a strange situation and see how they get themselves out of it. 

About the Author:
J.V. Baptie graduated from Manchester Metropolitan
University in 2017 with an MA in Creative Writing. When
not writing, she is also an actress and has appeared in a
variety of children’s shows and stage plays. You can find out
more about her at jvbaptie.com on Twitter @jvbaptie and Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJVBaptie/







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Monday, 11 June 2018

#BlogTour: I Never Lie by Jody Sabral @jsabral @canelo_co @INeverLie2018 #INeverLie

Published by Canelo on 11th June 2018. My thanks to the author and publisher for the review copy and inviting me to be part of the blog tour. You can get your copy using the following links:



Is she the next victim? Or is she the culprit…?
Alex South is a high-functioning alcoholic who is teetering on the brink of oblivion. Her career as a television journalist is hanging by a thread since a drunken on-air rant. When a series of murders occur within a couple of miles of her East London home she is given another chance to prove her skill and report the unfolding events. She thinks she can control the drinking, but soon she finds gaping holes in her memory, and wakes to find she’s done things she can’t recall. As the story she’s covering starts to creep into her own life, is Alex a danger only to herself – or to others?
This gripping psychological thriller is perfect for fans of Fiona Barton, B A Paris and Clare Mackintosh. 
My Thoughts:
I Never Lie is an intelligent and thought provoking thriller that I read in one sitting so engrossed was I in the characters and the premise. 
Alex South is an alcoholic who manages to function just, her life is spiralling out of control. She has black outs and is only just managing to hold her job down as a journalist, relying on alcohol to make it through the day. 
News breaks of a murdering spree. Alex South is on the scene as the lead reporter. Is this the opportunity she needs for her colleagues to restore their faith in her or something much sinister. All of the women murdered have been using the same dating app, one that Alex also uses. 
I Never Lie is full of mystery and intrigue. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested. Flawed but dynamic characters give the story depth and left me with so much to think about. I cannot get this book out of my head, it has got under my skin. 
I Never Lie is a story for the social media age, an exploration of using apps to secure dates, it puts under the microscope how safe all of that is and the risks that some people take without a thought for their own personal safety. It is also a well researched spotlight on the destructive nature of alcoholism which made for difficult reading. 
I Never Lie is the sort of book that would appeal to many and it is one that I will be recommending as I can't stop thinking about it. 

About the Author:
Jody Sabral is based between the South Coast and London, where she works as a Foreign Desk editor and video producer at the BBC. She is a graduate of the MA in Crime Fiction at City University, London. Jody worked as a journalist in Turkey for ten years, covering the region for various international broadcasters. She self-published her first book Changing Borders in 2012 and won the CWA Debut Dagger in 2014 for her second novel The Movement. In addition to working for the BBC, Jody also writes for the Huffington Post, Al–Monitor and Brics Post.
Twitter: @jsabral
Please have a look at the other stops on the blog tour.


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Tuesday, 5 June 2018

#BlogTour: The Life of a Banana by PP WonG @Legend_Press #PPWong #TheLifeofaBanana

Published by Legend Press. This new edition was published on 1st June 2018. The Life of a Banana was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction and is available now. You can get your copy here.

Xing Li is what some Chinese people call a banana - yellow on the outside and white on the inside. Although born and raised in London, she never feels like she fits in. When her mother dies, she moves with her older brother to live with venomous Grandma, strange Uncle Ho and Hollywood actress Auntie Mei. Her only friend is Jay - a mixed raced Jamaican boy with a passion for classical music.

Then Xing Li's life takes an even harsher turn: the school bullying escalates and her uncle requests she assist him in an unthinkable favour. Her happy childhood becomes a distant memory as her new life is infiltrated with the harsh reality of being an ethnic minority.


Consumed by secrets, violence and confusing family relations, Xing Li tries to find hope wherever she can. In order to find her own identity, she must first discover what it means to be both Chinese and British.

My Thoughts:

I really love the fact that Legend Press are reissuing some of their catalogue, many of which I missed the first time around. The Life of a Banana is one of those books and I am really glad that I had the opportunity to read it. 

The Life of a Banana is a unique and heart wrenching take on the coming of age story. Xing Li is 12 years old. Born in the UK to Chinese parents. She has a lot to contend with. She lives with her Grandmother, Uncle Ho and Auntie Mei after the death of her mother. She feels that she doesn't fit in. Her Grandmother is mean and Xing Li feels like she doesn't belong. 

The school life of Xing Li is fairing no better, bullying and racism are rife. Xing Li is isolated and on the periphery of all areas of her life. Her story is poignant and moving and as a character was superbly written. Although only young she was accessible and relatable. 

The Life of a Banana is an exploration of what life is like coming from an ethnic minority. A challenging read and it throws everything you thought you knew and understood back up into the air for consideration. 

A deeply moving and satisfying read that I am so glad that I have read as I will remember it and Xing Li for a long time.  



About the Author:
PP Wong was born in London. Her parents, both Chinese and originally from Singapore, moved between London and Asia during her childhood. She experienced prejudice throughout her schooling in the UK. PP Wong worked as an actress for six years, with her first job aged 15 when she was cast as 'Screaming Vietnamese girl' in a James Bond film. Other work includes performing in lead roles at the Soho Theatre in Moonwalking in Chinatown and BBC Radio 4's play Avenues of Eternal Peace about the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. PP Wong is now a writer and is also editor of www.bananawriters.com, a platform to encourage new East Asian and South East Asian writers with thousands of readers from over 30 different countries.

Visit her at ppwongauthor.com
Please check out the other stops on the blog tour. 

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Thursday, 31 May 2018

#BlogBlitz: When The Waters Recede by Graham Smith @GrahamSmith1972 @caffeinenights @rararesources #WhenTheWatersRecede

Published on the 31st May 2018 by Caffeine Nights Publishing. My thanks to the author and the publisher for the review copy and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the Blog Blitz. You can get your copy of the book here.


When a car is pulled from raging floodwaters with a dead man in the front and the decapitated body of an evil woman in the boot, Cumbria’s Major Crimes Team are handed the investigation.

The woman is soon recognised, but the man cannot be identified and this leads the team and their former leader, Harry Evans, into areas none of them want to visit.
Before they know it, they’re dealing with protection scams and looking for answers to questions they didn’t know needed to be asked

My Thoughts:

I am so happy to be able to be able to bring you a publication day review of When The Waters Recede. Anybody that reads the blog will know how much I love this series and it seems to me that each book keeps getting better and better. It feels like returning to old friends. 

Sometimes when I am following a series I find that they can become staid and possibly a bit repetitive but there is no such issue here. Every book is as exciting as the last and this time around I would say this is the best one. 

Harry Evans is back and is a complex character that we manage to find out more about in this story. I can't help but adore him. The other characters are all excellent and really make the team come alive. 

Graham Smith has written a story that hooks the reader right in at the beginning and doesn't let go until the thrilling final pages. The investigation into who a dead man is gives us the backdrop here, and the race for justice was exhilarating and breathtaking. I refuse to go into the plot anymore because it is just one you would have to read for yourself for the full experience. 

Graham Smith and his characters are always one step ahead, dropping clues here and there. Enough to pique the readers interest but never enough for them to solve the case. I was not able to unravel this one at all. Graham Smith is one hell of a talented writer. 

Intelligent crime fiction that just sucks the reader right in, takes them along for the ride and then spits them out at the end. Fully immersive crime fiction. Perfect just perfect, I loved it and can't wait for more. 

If I have tempted you at all the author is running a great competition which you can find out about at the bottom of this post. 


About the Author:
Graham Smith is a time served joiner who has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000, he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

He is an internationally best-selling Kindle author and has four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team, and three novels, featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009

Graham is the founder of Crime and Publishment, a weekend of crime-writing classes which includes the chance for attendees to pitch their novels to agents and publishers. Since the first weekend in 2013, eight attendees have gone on to sign publishing contracts.
Graham can be found at



Website

Giveaway
To celebrate the release of When the Waters Recede, Graham Smith is offering one lucky reader the chance to win all six books in the Harry Evans series.
To enter, simply sign up for his newsletter via the link provided before the 5th of June 2018 and you’ll be entered into not just this competition, but all competitions that he runs. Entrants from the whole world are welcome.
http://blogspot.us9.list-manage.com/subscribe

That is one great prize to win!!! Do check out the other stops on the blog tour. 


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Sunday, 27 May 2018

#BlogTour: Amy Cole Has Lost Her Mind by Elizabeth McGivern @MayhemBeyond @rararesources

Published on 25th May 2018. My thanks to the author for the review copy and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me on to the blog tour. 


Amy Cole is a stay-at-home mum and a woman on the edge.

After a very public breakdown and failed suicide attempt, Amy finds herself trying to make it through her everyday life as a high-functioning zombie.
Elle De Bruyn is a force of nature ready to shake Amy back to life whether she likes it or not.
After a fortuitous meeting, the two embark on a journey together which will change them both and help them find out exactly what they’re capable of when rock bottom is just the beginning.




My Thoughts:

I was thrilled to be invited on to this blog tour as after taking part in the cover reveal I was desperately wanting to read this book and I can safely and assuredly say that I was not disappointed. 

Elizabeth McGivern is a gifted writer that has taken a serious subject matter and managed to mix it in with dashes of wonderful humour without detracting from the difficulties that the characters encounter. 

Amy Cole has been through through something traumatic. She is depressed and at a rock bottom, struggling to find her way back up. An encounter with Elle De Bruyn is a game changer. Elle is different from Amy in so many ways but still a friendship begins that could change both of their lives. Much hilarity ensues as the antics of the pair are laid out in all of their comedic glory for the reader. 

I loved the characters in this novel, complex and well rounded they were relatable and entertaining in equal measure. They could be ourselves or people that we know. 

Elizabeth McGivern has written a story with mass appeal that will strike a cord with women everywhere. Depression exists and should be talked about. This story is proof that we can still exist with these mental health issues and tackle life with humour and see the world with beauty and grace. 

An exceptionally accomplished read that tackles many issues of today including miscarriage, depression and suicide and one that brings a touch of comedy to brighten the days whilst never dimming the seriousness of the issues people go through. 

A wonderful read that I can't help but recommend.

About the Author:
Picture credited to Jess Lowe
Elizabeth McGivern is a former journalist turned hostage-in-her-own-home surrounded by three men and a horrible dog named Dougal. 
In an effort to keep her sanity she decided to write a parenting blog after the birth of her first son so she can pinpoint the exact moment she failed as a mother. 
In an unexpected turn of events, the blog helped her to find a voice and connect with parents in similar situations; namely those who were struggling with mental health issues and parenting. It was because of this encouragement – and wanting to avoid her children as much as possible – her debut novel, Amy Cole has lost her mind, was born. 
Elizabeth lives in Northern Ireland although wishes she could relocate to Iceland on a daily basis. To witness her regular failings as a parent you can find her on: 

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/mayhemandbeyond/

Please do have a look at some of the other stops along the tour.



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Saturday, 26 May 2018

#BlogTour: Kid To Killer by Paul Elliott @EdinburghAuthor #KidtoKiller #PaulMcGraw #RandomThingsTours

Published independently on 2nd June 2017. My thanks to the author for the review copy and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on to the blog tour. You can get your copy here.

A fifteen year old boy sees it as his duty to rid Edinburgh of the scum that prey on the innocent people of the city. He finds that to punish the guilty he must first face fear,loss and betrayal.

He will soon discover things aren't always as they seem, and there are other people who have uses for a young killer as well as bigger forces at play.

My Thoughts:

Kid To Killer is a little removed from what I normally read but I am really glad that I read it. It is a gritty, gripping piece of vigilante fiction that kept me turning the pages until its conclusion. 

As the first in a series it was interesting to be introduced to Paul McGraw. At fifteen years old and living in Edinburgh, going to school in a bit of a rough area. McGraw takes it upon himself to become a killer. I have given nothing away here as the title already gives us that piece of information. His goal is to rid the street of the 'scum' as he sees it. 

I found this novel page turning and highly readable. A big debate could exist around the aspect of Vigilantism and it is certainly something that didn't sit 100% comfortably with me. Kid To Killer would be a great read for book groups, its provocative nature could certainly get some good debates going. 

Whilst Paul McGraw is a Killer he also just wants to fit in and be liked. For this reason I found him a highly complex character and I actually didn't dislike him.

A well written multi layered story that I will certainly remember for a long while to come. 

About the Author:
Paul Elliott, born in Edinburgh in 1974 is the creator and writer of the book Paul McGraw: Kid To Killer which is available now on the kindle store

Having grown up in some of the roughest areas of Edinburgh and leaving Wester Hailes Education Centre after year one with no qualifications, he joined the army as a junior officer at 15 years old but very quickly realised it wasn't for him.
Paul then moved onto being a nightclub bouncer, debt collector, personal security provider and car dealer before trying his hand at writing a novel.




Please have a look at the other stops on the blog tour.






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Wednesday, 23 May 2018

#BlogTour: Ask Me To Dance by Sylvia Colley @SylviaColley @MuswellPress #AskMeToDance #RandomThingsTours

Published on 3rd May 2018 by Muswell Press. My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on to the blog tour. You can get your copy of the book here.

Rose Gregory has suffered a devastating blow, a double bereavement from which months later she is still reeling. Sanctuary and rest are prescribed by her doctor. But when she arrives at her refuge, a dank and decaying Monastery, she finds it is not the haven promised. Despite the veneer of calm contemplation, the Monastery turns out to be a hotbed of intrigue and disharmony. Rose witnesses bullying and cruelty and ultimately in defence of the vulnerable turns to violence herself. Sylvia Colley s extraordinary understanding of a woman s struggle to deal with grief, the denial, the anger, the loneliness, is described without sentimentality. A beautifully written and moving story.

My Thoughts:

Ask Me To Dance is the incredibly moving and engrossing first novel by author Sylvia Colley. A portrayal of grief, healing and faith. It is incredibly well written and atmospheric.

Rose Gregory is all consumed by grief, she doesn't even know herself anymore. She is barely able to function at all when at her Dr's request she goes to stay at a Monastery in the hopes of healing and being able to put herself back together with peace and quiet and a little faith. 

The Monastery is falling down, unkempt and the Brothers are soon to be moving on. All is not well, complacency is rife and they seem to view Rose as an added problem. It would seem the the Monastery is far from the tranquillity and getting away from it all that Rose had envisaged. 

The atmosphere and descriptive nature of this book is superb. The descriptions of the unravelling of Rose's emotions and the monastery make the story seem very real, and created a real sense of foreboding. I could sense the damp and decay of the surroundings and I could put myself in the shoes of Rose who seemed a little cold but in reality was so grief stricken she was numb. 

Sylvia Colley is a writer to be reckoned with, a force of nature with the pen. She has managed to write a story that is highly readable, that is relatable to all and is a perfectly pitched examination of love, grief, loss and religion. 

Well written, I recommend this. 


About the Author:
Sylvia Colley was born in Romsey, Hampshire. She became a teacher and spent many years as Head of English at the Purcell School in North London.
She has published a book of poetry, It’s Not What I Wanted Though, and a novel, Lights on Dark Water. Her work has been read on BBC Radio 4. She lives in Pinner, Middlesex.

You can find her on Twitter: @SylviaColley

Please do have a look at the other stops on the blog tour.




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