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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Saturday, 19 May 2018

#BlogTour: Meeting Lydia by Linda MacDonald @LindaMac1 #MeetingLydia #RandomThingsTours

Published by Matador on 22nd March 2018. My thanks to the author for the review copy and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation for the blog tour. You can get your copy of the book here.

Meeting Lydia explores the very relevant topics of childhood bullying, midlife crises, the pros and cons of internet relationships, and how the psychological effects of these affect the main character and those around her. Readers will be gripped by the turbulent life of Marianne who navigates the onset of menopause, an empty nest, a suspected errant husband and a demanding new obsession that pulls her in deeper as the story unfolds. Those interested in the psychology of relationships will enjoy this novel, as well as those who delight in an enthralling story with relatable characters and the powerful question of what happens when the past catches up with the present. This second edition has reworked the early chapters of the first edition, making for a pacy and shorter version more in line with the audiobook.


Marianne comes home from work one day to find her husband talking to a glamorous woman in their kitchen. Old childhood insecurities resurface, stemming from a time back at school when she was bullied. Jealousy rears its head and her happy marriage begins to crumble. Desperate for a solution - and introduced by her daughter to social networking - she tries to track down her first schoolgirl crush, the enigmatic Edward Harvey. But Marianne is unprepared for the power of email relationships ...

My Thoughts:

Meeting Lydia is the second book that I have read by Linda MacDonald having read and enjoyed The Man in the Needlecord Jacket last year, you can read about that here.

This book is again an exploration of relationships and dynamics that was engaging and enlightening, the reader can't help but be drawn into the lives that are portrayed, the unravelling and the putting back together. 

At the centre of this story is Marianne. A history of bullying has left its scars, and the authors portrayal of this is sensitively handled and accurate. Fast approaching middle age, the menopause and the catalyst of her errant husband leads Marianne into the realms of online relationships and Edward Harvey. 

This book is not particularly fast paced or full of dramatic suspense but what it brings is something else, something different. It peels back the layers so that any of those characters traits could belong to you or me. It was uncomfortable at times. It felt like being a fly on the wall, on the other hand Linda MacDonald has managed to scrape beneath the surface and make her story seem very real and relevant to a whole host of readers. 

Linda MacDonald is a talented and ingenious writer who is capable of getting to the depth of her characters hearts and minds. I look forward to reading more from her in the future. 

Highly Recommended. 


About the Author:

Linda MacDonald is the author of four novels: Meeting Lydia and the stand-alone sequels, A Meeting of a Different Kind, The Alone Alternative and The Man in the Needlecord Jacket. All Linda's books are contemporary adult fiction, multi-themed, but with a focus on relationship issues. 

After studying psychology at Goldsmiths', Linda trained as a secondary science and biology teacher. She taught these subjects for several years before moving to a sixth-form college to teach psychology. The first two novels took ten years in writing and publishing, using snatched moments in the evenings, weekends and holidays. In 2012, she gave up teaching to focus fully on writing. 

Linda was born and brought up in Cockermouth, Cumbria and now lives in Beckenham in Kent.

Follow her on Twitter @LindaMac1

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





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Thursday, 17 May 2018

#BlogTour: Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson @DoubledayUK #MeetMeAtTheMuseum #RandomThingsTours

Delighted to be taking part in the blog tour today for Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson. Published by Doubleday on 17th May 2018. My thanks to the Publisher for the review copy and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the blog tour invitation. You can get your copy of the book here.


Sometimes it takes a stranger to really know who you are

When Tina Hopgood writes a letter of regret to a man she has never met, she doesn’t expect a reply.


When Anders Larsen, a lonely museum curator, answers it, nor does he.



They’re both searching for something, they just don’t know it yet. 



Anders has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. Tina is trapped in a marriage she doesn’t remember choosing.



Slowly their correspondence blossoms as they bare their souls to each other with stories of joy, anguish and discovery. But then Tina’s letters suddenly cease, and Anders is thrown into despair.



Can their unexpected friendship survive?

My Thoughts:

Meet Me at the Museum is a joy and delight and one of the best books I have read so far this year, I loved it . It is written in epistolary format and this really was the perfect way for this story to be delivered. It was authentic and the voices were real. 

Tina Hopgood originally writes a letter to Professor Glob after he dedicated a book to her and some other schoolgirls in the 1960's about The Tollund Man. Although not expecting a reply she was shocked to discover one from Anders Larsen the curator of the Silkebourg Museum in Denmark. Sadly Professor Glob had passed away some years previously.  What follows is a correspondence between the pair that spans all manner of things about their lives, past and present. 

The writing here is rich and draws the reader in to the lives of these two lonely older people. There is a sensitivity and warmth throughout that I found utterly charming. The blossoming of a friendship that allows these two characters to write without filter is unique and engaging. 

Meet Me at the Museum is everything I love in a book. The letter format here works extraordinarily well, Anne Youngson has managed to give Tina and Anders their own individual voices and they just came alive through their correspondence. An email will never be the same as a glorious hand written letter. 

A story of love in all its forms, of loneliness and being stuck in a rut. It is also a story of hope. 

Simple but powerful, this one really spoke to me. 


About the Author:
ANNE YOUNGSON worked for many years in senior management in the car industry before embarking on a creative career as a writer. She has supported many charities in governance roles, including Chair of the Writers in Prison Network, which provided residencies in prisons for writers. She lives in Oxfordshire and is married with two children and three grandchildren to date. MEET ME AT THE MUSEUM is her debut novel, which is due to be published around the world




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Sunday, 13 May 2018

#Review: The Little Big Things by Henry Fraser @henryfraser0 @SevenDialsBooks #littlebigthings


Published on 7th September 2017 by Seven Dials which is the Non Fiction imprint of The Orion Publishing Group. 

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER


'Henry Fraser is one of the most remarkable people I've ever met' J.K. Rowling

'What a story of transformation, inner power and inspiration' Jonny Wilkinson 

The memoir of the year by Henry Fraser, motivational speaker and mouth artist with a foreword by J.K. Rowling.

Being challenged in life is inevitable, but being defeated is optional...
Henry Fraser was 17 years old when a tragic accident severely crushed his spinal cord. Paralysed from the shoulders down, he has conquered unimaginable difficulty to embrace life and a new way of living. Through challenging adversity, he has found the opportunity to grow and inspire others.
This book combines his wisdom and insight into finding the gifts in life's challenges, and will resonate with anyone facing an obstacle, no matter how big or small. It includes Henry's thoughts on how to look at the right things and avoid the wrong, finding progress in whatever you do, and acknowledging and accepting the darkness when it comes. Right at the heart of Henry's inspiring philosophy is his belief that every day is a good day.

My Thoughts:

The Little Big Things is the inspirational memoir by Henry Fraser. Inspirational is a word that is often bandied about but in this case it is perfectly suited. Henry Fraser is the epitome of the word. 

On a holiday with friends when he was 17 a single moment changed his life. An accident in the sea left him permanently and completely paralysed. At this point most people would have given up but not Henry Fraser he decided that life was going to be different, not worse, not impossible, just different. It took him some time and lots of rehabilitation and of course dark days. 

The Little Big Things is his candid and non sugar coated account of a reality that most of us could only imagine. It could have been dark, depressing and bleak but it isn't. It is littered with hope and a determination that is admirable. 

Henry Fraser has shown that with a sheer will that anything is possible, now an incredibly talented artist through the medium of mouth painting and a motivational speaker. A high achiever who doesn't rest on his laurels. 

The Little Big Things is about how a tragic accident can shape your life but not define or confine it, and that a persons attitude is key in the ability to live a meaningful and positive life. 

So much respect and admiration for this book and this author. 

About the Author:
Henry Fraser is a British artist and motivational speaker. At the age of 17 he was paralysed in an accident. He had to learn to live life in a different way. 
Henry became a mouth painter. His first solo exhibition, Hand-to-Mouth, took place in July 2016. He has produced images for The Times coverage of the 2015 Rugby World Cup and earned a strong A-list fan base from J.K. Rowling to the England Rugby and England Cricket teams.
Henry's 'Pushing Myself' talk inspires a number of high profile businesses and sports teams, including the Saracens and the England 7's. His talk encourages others to step outside of their comfort zones to find the gifts in life's challenges. Henry perfectly embodies his personal mantra of taking a 'relentlessly positive approach to life' and passionately motivates others to do the same.
He was named as the Powerlist's 7th most influential person living with a disability in Britain 2017.

Website: www.henryfraser.org
Twitter: @henryfraser0
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Friday, 11 May 2018

#BlogTour: A Spoke in the Wheel by Kathleen Jowitt @KathleenJowitt #ASpokeintheWheel

A Spoke in the Wheel was published independently and is available now. You can find out more here.


The first thing I saw was the wheelchair.

The first thing she saw was the doper.

Ben Goddard is an embarrassment – as a cyclist, as an athlete, as a human being. And he knows it.
Now that he’s been exposed by a positive drugs test, his race wins and his work with disabled children mean nothing. He quits professional cycling in a hurry, sticks a pin in a map, and sets out to build a new life in a town where nobody knows who he is or what he’s done.
But when the first person he meets turns out to be a cycling fan, he finds out that it’s not going to be quite as easy as that.
Besides, Polly’s not just a cycling fan, she’s a former medical student with a chronic illness and strong opinions. Particularly when it comes to Ben Goddard…

My Thoughts:

A Spoke in the Wheel is the second novel by author Kathleen Jowitt. I don't particularly have much interest in cycling but something about the blurb for this one drew me in and I am so glad that it did. I read this book in a couple of sittings, it was addictive and written excellently.

This books centres on three characters. We have disgraced ex cyclist Ben, disabled Polly and Vicki who works hard and is the staple in the trio. The characters are underpinned by cycling.

I really enjoyed the fact that the story is told from Ben's perspective, having been disgraced he was hoping to fade in to the background but life is never as easy as that. I loved the fact that this story is mainly about the characters, I felt invested as a reader and couldn't wait to reach the conclusion which I was happy with. 

The writing here is engaging and enjoyable. The story is warm and I found the characters likeable and endearing. I am so pleased that I read this entertaining and addictive novel. I enjoyed going on the journey with all of the characters. 

About the Author:
Kathleen Jowitt was born in Winchester, UK, and grew up deep in the Welsh Marches and, subsequently, on the Isle of Wight. After completing her undergraduate degree in English Literature at the University of Exeter she moved to Guildford and found herself working for a major trade union. She now lives in Cambridge, works in London, and writes on the train.
Her first novel, Speak Its Name, was the first self-published book ever to be shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize.

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



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#BlogBlitz: The Things We Need to Say by Rachel Burton @bookish_yogi @rararesources @HQDigitalUK #thethingsweneedtosay

Delighted to be a part of the blog blitz celebrating the publication of The Things We Need to Say by Rachel Burton. Published by HQ Digital, you can get your copy here.


Sometimes the things we never say are the most important.

Fran loves Will with all her heart. They had a whirlwind romance, a perfect marriage and a wonderful life. Until everything changed. Now Fran needs to find her way again and teaching a yoga retreat in Spain offers her just that. Leaving behind a broken marriage she has some very important decisions to make.

Will needs his wife, he needs her to open up to him if they’re to ever return to the ways things once were. But he may have damaged any possibility he had of mending their relationship and now Fran is in Spain and Will is alone.

As both Fran and Will begin to let go of a life that could have been, fate may just find a way of bringing them back together.

 Perfect for fans of Katie Marsh, Amanda Prowse and Sheila O’Flanagan

My Thoughts:

The Things We Need to Say is the first book that I have read by Rachel Burton and I found the writing to be striking and beautiful. This moving and beautiful story will stay with me for some time. 

An exploration of how life can affect love, how change can cause problems and whether there really is any way back when things begin to seem desolate. There is always hope. 

This story centres on Fran and Will and a crumbled marriage. A story that is told from both perspectives which I found very interesting. Fran is teaching yoga at a retreat in Spain leaving Will behind. I particularly enjoyed the scenes at the retreat and the characters that we meet there. Can Fran find herself and gain peace and learn to move forward with life?

The Things We Need to Say is poignant and touching and incredibly well written. A story of loss and fertility and an examination of what happens when we forget to talk.

Rachel Burton writes beautifully, eloquently and sensitively. I very much enjoyed reading this story of love, loss and hope and will be reading more from this author in the future. 


About the Author:
Rachel Burton has been making up stories since she first learned to talk. After many false starts she finally made one up that was worth writing down.

After graduating with a degree in Classics and another in English, she didn't really know what to do when she grew up. She has worked as a waitress, a paralegal and a yoga teacher.

She has spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Leeds with her boyfriend and three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.

Her debut, The Many Colours of Us, was an Amazon Kindle bestseller. Her second novel, The Things We Need to to Say, is released on 11 May 2018. She is currently working on her third novel in which the heroine follows the love of her life to live in a city in northern England. It has no autobiographical elements at all.....maybe.

Find her on Twitter & Instagram as @bookish_yogi or search Facebook for Rachel Burton Author. She is always happy to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday....

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