Thursday, 17 January 2019

#BlogTour: Spiral into Darkness by Joseph Lewis @jrlewisauthor @rararesources #SpiralintoDarkness


Published by Black Rose Writing on 24th January 2019. My thanks to the author and the publisher for the review copy and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me on to the blog tour. 


He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement.
Purchase Links

My Thoughts:

I have been toying with the idea of this review all day. Spiral into Darkness is a book that I find myself having complicated thoughts about. It has a great many merits but it also has some points that I found hard to swallow and others that I found too darn complicated. 

This book is not for the easily scared or those prone to being sensitive. It can be violent and graphic but certainly one I won't forget in a hurry. The hunt for a murderer is on after the deaths of victims with two bullets to the face. I found that quite unsettling that the last thing the victims saw was the killer. 

This book is an exploration of many themes, adoption and families, fitting in and what home feels like. Whether having a difficult upbringing can make you a murderer or whether you can be born a killer. 

I found the exploration of these themes a fantastic idea but that the message got a little but jumbled at times, I however admire the tenacity of the author from not shying away from big themes. 

I found the number of characters also a little confusing and felt that this could have been scaled back a little bit and the overall delivery of the narrative would not have been impaired. 

I would like to read more from this author in the future because although I didn't straight out adore this book, it challenged me and I would love to find out some more of the authors ideas and writing. 

It is for all of these reasons that I would suggest that this would make a read that provokes discussion and for that I would say that it is memorable and worth reading just so you know what other people are talking about. 

About the Author:

Joseph Lewis has written five books: Caught in a Web; Taking Lives; Stolen Lives; Shattered Lives, and Splintered Lives. His sixth, Spiral into Darkness, debuts January 17, 2019 from Black Rose Writing. Lewis has been in education for 42 years and counting as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator. He is currently a high school principal and resides in Virginia with his wife, Kim, along with his daughters, Hannah and Emily. His son, Wil, is deceased.
Lewis uses his psychology and counseling background to craft his characters which helps to bring them to life. His books are topical and fresh and appeal to anyone who enjoys crime thriller fiction with grit and realism and a touch of young adult thrown in.
Social Media Links –
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI /

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

#BlogTour: The Sinister Gathering by Diane Ezzard diane_ezzard @rararesources #TheSinisterGathering


Thrilled to be featuring this one which is Book 3 in the Sophie Brown series. My thanks to the author for the review copy and to Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me on to the blog tour. You can get your copy of the book:
Amazon US - https://www.amazon.com/Sinister-Gathering-Sophie-Brown-Book-ebook/dp/B07HWP9V5H


Sophie attends a well-being retreat hoping to find herself, instead she finds a dead body.
Coming to the Scottish Highlands, she hopes to escape life and get in touch with her inner self. She wants to free herself from the anxieties that have gripped her for years.
Peace and harmony are advertised but what she discovers is anything but.
She is around women with other ideas. As she gets to know the strange bunch staying at Glenloch Hall, fights and arguments become the norm.
She should never have entered that fateful property.
She was looking for peace but found death.

My Thoughts:

I was really excited when I found out there was to be a blog tour for the third in the Sophie Brown series. I read and reviewed the first two last year and you can read my thoughts on those here.

I am so pleased that Sophie Brown is back as with each book in the series that goes by we find out a little bit more about her and get to know her that little bit more. This one is no different and is another very accomplished mystery. 

Sophie is recovering from her addictions and a retreat in the Scottish Highlands seems like a good place to be to help with the calmness and well being she desperately needs. However Glenloch Hall is not quite what she had in mind when someone is found dead. The amateur sleuth that Sophie is means that this sends her in to overdrive. Could she be next on the list? 

This book showed a much more mature version of Sophie, I liked her before but I liked her even more in this one. Diane Ezzard has created a host of excellently drawn female characters. The darkness and mystery that pervade every level of this story is palpable. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this one and although it can be read on its own I would really recommend reading the series in its entirety. 

About the Author:
Manchester born Diane Ezzard writes emotionally charged psychological thrillers and mysteries about everyday people in seemingly ordinary circumstances until something goes badly wrong in their lives.

Before taking early retirement to concentrate on her writing, she worked as a HR manager, a counsellor, owned a cafe and managed a charity. 

She now lives and writes in South East London close to her daughter and grandchildren.
Social Media Links –

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



Monday, 14 January 2019

#MondayMusing with Guest: Anne Coates @Anne_Coates1 @urbanebooks #HannahWeybridge

A product of contemplation; a thought: "an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" (James Atlas).

Today I am thrilled to welcome Anne Coates to the blog. Anne is the author of the highly successful Hannah Weybridge series of books which are published by Urbane Publications. I can't thank Anne enough for stopping by with a great post about Setting a series in the 1990's. First off let me start by telling you a bit about the books. 

SHE IS HUNTING FOR THE TRUTH, BUT WHO IS HUNTING HER? Freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is commissioned by a national newspaper to write an investigative article on the notorious red light district in Kings Cross. There she meets prostitute Princess, and police inspector in the vice squad, Tom Jordan. When Princess later arrives on her doorstep beaten up so badly she is barely recognisable, Hannah has to make some tough decisions and is drawn ever deeper into the world of deceit and violence. Three sex workers are murdered, their deaths covered up in a media blackout, and Hannah herself is under threat. As she comes to realise that the taste for vice reaches into the higher echelons of the great and the good, Hannah realises she must do everything in her power to expose the truth .... and stay alive.


Death's Silent Judgement is the thrilling sequel to Dancers in the Wind, and continues the gripping series starring London-based investigative journalist Hannah Weybridge. The series is very much in the best traditions of British women crime writers such as Lynda La Plante and Martina Cole. Following the deadly events of Dancers in the Wind, freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is thrown into the heart of a horrific murder investigation when a friend, Liz Rayman, is found with her throat slashed at her dental practice. With few clues to the apparently motiveless crime Hannah throws herself into discovering the reason for her friend s brutal murder, and is determined to unmask the killer. But before long Hannah's investigations place her in mortal danger, her hunt for the truth placing her in the path of a remorseless killer...

A woman's body is found in a lake. Is it a sad case of suicide or something more sinister? Hannah Weybridge, still reeling from her friend's horrific murder and the attempts on her own life, doesn't want to get involved, but reluctantly agrees to look into the matter for the family.
The past however still stalks her steps, and a hidden danger accompanies her every move.
The third in the bestselling Hannah Weybridge thriller series, Songs of Innocence provides Hannah with her toughest and deadliest - assignment yet...

Now I would like to hand you over to Anne...

Setting my Hannah Weybridge series in the 1990s

There’s a very good reason that Dancers in the Wind is set in 1993 – it’s the year it was first written. I submitted it to various agents and publishers but although it got good feedback it never found a home. Fast forward to 2015 – I found the manuscript in a drawer and decided to read it through. I still liked it but thought it could do with some rewriting and reshaping.

     That was the moment when I could have updated the narrative except that the initial concept was based on interviews I had done with prostitutes and police for an article in a national newspaper. The story was of its time and place (King’s Cross before it was redeveloped) so I decided to stick with the original. It wouldn’t have worked otherwise or it would have been a completely different story.

     As it was, the narrative did change as I rewrote it – an experience I found fascinating. Just when I thought I had completed it, I decided the penultimate chapter was too tame and brought in a completely different and dramatic scene. And so Hannah Weybridge, freelance journalist and single mother, was ready to face the world. Fortunately for me, Matthew Smith at Urbane Publications loved it and saw the possibility for a series.

     This must have been in my mind all those years ago as I had written the first three chapters for the next book which was to become Death’s Silent Judgement and begins with Hannah discovering the dead body of her close friend Liz Rayman in the crypt of St John’s at Waterloo where she ran a free dentist’s clinic for the homeless of the area. At that time I had never been into the church but have done so in the intervening years. The area was familiar to me as I used to work at IPC magazines and often passed the Bull Ring, the maze of underpasses, which housed Cardboard City where rough sleepers congregated. That area is now the IMAX cinema.

     In book two Hannah is employed by Liz’s mother to investigate the murder which is first passed off by the police as the work of one of her homeless clients high on drink or drugs. However it soon becomes evident that something far more sinister is involved linking back to Liz’s work with a health charity in Somalia. While I was writing this in 2016, I used the name of a real charity, then thought better of it and gave it a fictitious name. No one was more surprised than I was at the subsequent scandals which affected some of our most prestigious charities last year.

     Initially I had a year elapse in the narrative between Dancers in the Wind and the sequel. However I felt I had to add too much back-story to explain what had happened in between (especially between Hannah and Tom Jordan, the DI she had become close to). So I moved the time back to the beginning of 1994 and this meant changing the weather and the clothes they were wearing. Hannah can now afford a mobile phone (only used for calls and reception can be patchy) and email is available via a dial-up connection and the fax machine still reigns supreme.

     Moving on, the action in Songs of Innocence takes place in May 1994. The first body is discovered in Peckham Rye Pond. This park is local to me and was redeveloped a few years ago. Fortunately I have photographs of how it used to be when I took my daughter there when she was Hannah’s daughter’s age.
    
     I loved the discipline of having the narrative take place within one month and I included various historical facts like the death of John Smith, leader of the opposition in the UK and the swearing in of President Mandela in South Africa. Both of these events are linked to fictional ones – Joe Rawlington’s by-election success to become an MP and the death of a character who had been deported to and imprisoned in SA.

     Setting a novel back in time means paying attention to names – using ones that were popular then and appropriate to a character’s age, and not ones that have become fashionable now. Also language needs to be monitored so that you’re not using words, which did not exist in the 1990s.

     In terms of research, I am blessed with friends who have memories of the 1990s in different areas like the Met, education, politics and so on. I even have a fashion designer on the books but I don’t go in for a lot of description about what people are wearing unless it is pertinent to their personality or the plot. As a great hoarder I have theatre programmes from that era and I have had characters reading a bestseller or I mention a TV programme. It all helps to anchor the scene into the period.

     Currently I am working on the fourth Hannah Weybridge. We are still in 1994 only the month is now July. Hannah feels as though her life is on a downward spiral and not much is going right for her. However life has a habit of throwing investigations her way, which in the end will have a major impact on her life. I have a couple more scenarios planned for books five and six which might take us to 1995 but I have also written a few sentences and plot ideas for a contemporary Hannah Weybridge which I would love to explore.

About the Author:
Reading and writing has been Anne Coates’ passion for as long as she can remember. Inspired by her mother who taught her to read before she went to school and by the Deputy Head at her secondary school in Harlow, Essex who encouraged her hunger for reading by granting her free access to the books not yet in the school library, and she feels still grateful for this, in her eyes, amazing privilege.
After her degree in English and French, Anne moved to London where she has lived ever since. During her career she worked for publishers, as a journalist, writer, editor, and translator. The birth of her daughter, Olivia inspired her to write non-fiction books, such as ‘Your Only Child’ (Bloomsbury, 1996), books about applying to and surviving university (NeedtoKnow, 2013), but also short stories, tales with a twist, and stories exploring relationships, published in in various women’s magazines including Bella and Candis.
As a journalist, Anne interviewed all types of people and some of their situtations made her think “What if…” And so, investigative journalist Hannah Weybridge was born… The Hannah Weybridge series currently consists of three books, all published by Urbane Publications: ‘Dancers in the Wind’ (2016), ‘Death's Silent Judgement’ (2017), and ‘Songs of Innocence’ (2018).
Anne Coates lives with three demanding cats and enjoys reading, going to the theatre and cinema, wining and dining and time with her family and friends.


Where to find Anne Coates
Author Website:
www.annecoatesauthor.com
FB Author Page:
https://www.facebook.com/AnneCoatesAuthor/
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/Anne_Coates1
Parenting Website – Twitter:
https://twitter.com/ParentingWT





Sunday, 13 January 2019

#BlogTour: Island of Secrets by Diane Demetre @DianeDemetre @LuminosityPub @rararesources #IslandofSecrets


Published by Luminosity Publishing on 14th October 2018. My thanks to the author and the publisher for the review copy and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me on to the blog tour. 


A captivating story of love, mystery and hope

Two love stories separated in time. Two women following their dreams. In a paradise littered with painful secrets, will love turn the tide?

1973. Cecilia “CiCi” Freemont has a restless soul and the voice of an angel. Leaving her privileged upbringing behind, she chases her dreams to the sandy beaches of an unspoiled Hawaiian paradise, Harbor Island. But life takes an unexpected turn when she falls for the island’s young heir-apparent and her newfound adventure becomes too much to bear…

2017. Investigative journalist Tina Templeton has dedicated herself to the pursuit of truth. But when she inherits Harbor Island, her career plans take a confusing twist. Managing the sprawling island estate is tough business even with the help of aging cabaret singer, CiCi Freemont. Especially when a massive ecological disaster threatens to destroy her beautiful beaches—and the responding coast guard captain steals her heart.

As the investigation into the disaster reveals a 40-year-old mystery that could change their lives forever, will Tina find love among the secrets, or will CiCi’s painful past dash her dreams on the rocks?

Island of Secrets is an epic love story. If you like generations-spanning drama, characters with hidden pasts, heart-warming romance and intrigue, then you’ll love Diane Demetre’s powerful romantic mystery in paradise.

My Thoughts:

Island of Secrets is a gorgeous love story of epic proportions that spans more than forty years. It is touched with mystery and this served well across the passage of time and the bringing together of characters and strands of the story. 

The author has really created a beautiful idyll in Harbor Island. It was delightfully imagined and it was brought to life by the brush strokes of this authors deft writing. I long to visit such a place now. 

Island of Secrets is a story of love in its many guises. The love of families, the love of friends, first loves, last loves, forever loves. The one that drew me in the most was the love of Harbor Island, the ability to fall so completely in love with a place you would do anything to protect it and never want to leave. 

This book touches on some interesting environmental issues and as the passage of time moved on so did the issues that arose. 

I adored the fact that this novel had so many wonderful characters and strong women. I loved the feminism that shone through and when it came down to it, it was the women that got things done. I enjoyed reading about these characters very much. I think my favourite was CiCi Freemont. She was a real tonic, her lust for life and unwavering ability to follow her dreams was admirable. She was passionate, kind and caring. 

Island of Secrets was a little of slice of island life that brought me as a reader more than I imagined and I thoroughly enjoyed being castaway between the pages of this one. 

About the Author:

Diane began her career as a school teacher before moving into the entertainment industry as a choreographer, director, event manager, dancer and actress, working in television and live theatre, and managing multi-million dollar productions. 
            Following her onstage career, she spent many years as a stress & life skills therapist, keynote speaker and presenter, appearing on national radio and television.
            When she launched into a writing career, Diane’s debut erotic romance series, the Dance of Love was voted Luminosity Publishing Readers’ Choice Best Books and Best Covers for 2015 and 2016. 
            Her romantic suspense, Retribution won the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Pro Award 2017 for Best Unpublished Manuscript. Diane loves to write genre-busting stories with a twist. Her works are packed with emotional punch and feature empowered heroines who live life to the fullest, much like the author herself.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

WEBSITE                   www.dianedemetre.com

BLOG                         https://dianedemetre.com/blogposts/

FACEBOOK                https://www.facebook.com/dianedemetreauthor

TWITTER                   https://twitter.com/DianeDemetre

AMAZON                     https://www.amazon.com/Diane-demetre/e/B015P878H4/

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

Should you wish to purchase your own copy of the book, you can get it on one of the following links:
Publisher Luminosity Publishing Llp
Ebook ISBN 978-1-9993066-0-1
Paperback ISBN  978-1-9993066-1-8
386 pages
     
Ebook
Paperback https://www.amazon.com/dp/1999306619         


Saturday, 12 January 2019

#BlogTour: The Wrong Boy by Cathy Ace @AceCathy #TheWrongBoy #RandomThingsTours

Published by Four Tails Publishing Limited on 9th January 2019. My thanks to the author and the publisher for the review copy and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on to the blog tour. 

Perched on a Welsh clifftop, the ancient, picturesque hamlet of Rhosddraig has its peaceful fa├žade ripped apart when human remains are discovered under a pile of stones. The village pub, The Dragon's Head, run by three generations of women, becomes the focal point for those interested in the grisly find, and it’s where layers of deceit are peeled away to expose old secrets, and deep wounds. The police need to establish who died, how, and why, but DI Evan Glover knows he can’t be involved in the investigation, because he's just two days away from retirement. However, as the case develops in unexpected ways, it becomes irrevocably woven into his life, and the lives of local families, leading to disturbing revelations – and deadly consequences . . .

My Thoughts:

The Wrong Boy has allowed me to have a cracking start to my reading in 2019. This book was just up my street and I am thrilled to discover a new to me author, as it is the first time I have come across Cathy Ace. 

The Wrong Boy is thrilling, dark and mysterious and I was absorbed throughout. The author has managed to capture a tremendous sense of place in the creation of the Welsh village of Rhosddraig. The descriptions and the characters just leapt of off every page. 

There are many strands to this story and I promise I won't give anything away here. DI Evan Glover is on the brink of retirement but he can't shake this last case off, this has the tendency to annoy those around him. The setting of the village pub, The Dragon's Head is an interesting one. The female characters that run the pub are intriguing and beguiling and really drive the narrative of this story. 

This isn't a book that rattled at a hurtling pace for me but one that nevertheless was completely packed full of suspense and all the trademark twists and turns of the genre. 

Really great stuff and I loved the characters and the realism and voices given to them. 

I would like to read more by this author in the future. 


About the Author:
This is the 13th novel from Cathy Ace. Her criminal psychologist, overindulgent-foodie sleuth, Cait Morgan, has stumbled upon Corpses with a Silver Tongue, Golden Nose, Diamond Hand, Garnet Face, an Emerald Thumb, Platinum Hair and Ruby Lips during her globetrotting. Ace’s WISE Enquiries Agency series features four softly-boiled female PIs who solve quintessentially British cases from their stately home-based office in rural Wales, where Cathy was born and raised. Shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Award for Best Light Mystery by a Canadian three times in four years, winning in 2015, she was also shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story in 2017. Author website: http://www.cathyace.com/

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






Monday, 7 January 2019

#MondayMusing with Guest: Isabelle Kenyon @kenyon_isabelle @fly_press

A product of contemplation; a thought: "an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" (James Atlas).

Today I would like to welcome Isabelle Kenyon to the blog. Isabelle is Editor of Fly on the Wall Poetry Press. She has popped by to talk about poetry collection, Persona Non Grata and also to put Homelessness in the Spotlight. There are also a couple of wonderful examples of poetry from the collection. 

Persona Non Grata is packed with exceptional poets writing on the theme of social exclusion.
With interpretations exploring our refugee crises globally, physical and mental illness, homelessness, addiction and family estrangement, the anthology fundraises for two important and vital charities: 'Shelter' and 'Crisis Aid UK'.





Sample poetry:


HOLOCAUST
By Debbie Walsh


                   We watched them leaving my little brother and me
   And we stood gazing gaping as they shifted
                                                                                   
From parents to corn stalks in over-filled carriages
                     And the train just repeated: ‘God-angst God- angst.’

Michael held his teddy bear in a small gloved hand
                   And held me, almost whole, gloved in the other.

                                    Looking into his dark eyes; innocence pooled
                   Shouting softly, pouring hope into my heart.

 I squeezed his hand and smiled.

          Somewhere there were tears, tragedy ploughed through this
                        Half-closed platform – what would yield more than fear?

                                               In the distance, a train like a tamed ancient
                                Beast drew breath-beating to a halt.

                 I swung him upon my hip.

 Limping he would fall beneath the dragon toothed
           Crush of brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers,

                       and

                            Safely seated on my safely seated knee, I felt the bite of his
             Ice cold face warm. My fingers staccato through his hair.

                            His palm sized head.

                          Fear is noiseless; love is noiseless, felt like lightning
 Forks gripping each before a fall. Thunder in your Soul.

                 I didn’t know that time was darkness and breath-ticked
Everywhere. I was smiling into Papa’s face waking:

                      Waking. My trousers wetted and a huge tear in the
           Corner of Michael’s eye. I hugged him. Nodded okay.


There was a huge departing crush.

          All I could see was an arm, a hand, a finger pointing
                                 A finger in the air pointing right or left. Michael stood
   By my side.

RIGHT. Said the finger.
                LEFT. Said the finger.

            His glove slipped as they tore him away
Huge eyes kissing mine. Huge eyes kissing mine.


Originally published in ‘21 Poems' published in the USA by Linda J. Langham, 2007.



The roof’s not free
By Rose Drew


If you escape at night
cos your mom’s insane
[beating you with sticks not cool
at 17]
Walk off to the pub,
find some friends,
end up at theirs –
but she’s not in…

‘The roof’s not free’ he says
sex pest
sex pest
if I don’t say yes & don’t NOT say no can I stay

Nothing’s free
and he’s bigger than me
and he covers me
and I seem to sleep,
eventually.

Dawn comes: I go.
Teddy can never know!
I’ll avoid her now:
another loss that night

Hope she someday
realises
what he is like.



Homelessness in the spotlight:
Award winning editor launches political poetry collection ‘Persona Non Grata’.

With the global refugee crises being very much in the media at present, it is timely that a collection of poems should be published, which goes to the heart of how it feels to be displaced from society. Inspired by the concept of social exclusion, the collection, ‘Persona Non Grata’, which features exceptional poets across the globe, explores themes including homelessness, loneliness and mental health.
                                                                           
All profits from the book will be donated to Shelter and Crisis Aid UK. Isabelle, who is the editor of small press, Fly on the Wall Poetry, hopes that with the support of her readers, and the 45 poets involved in the anthology, she will raise an incredible amount for charity, providing support and advice for anyone who finds themselves homeless.

Isabelle said, “I am thrilled and proud to have edited and compiled this anthology to raise money for charity. This has been a brave, yet thrilling project which aims to give a voice to those who feel alienated from society for whatever reason. Reading the work of so many talented poets and being granted access to their inner thoughts, has been a great privilege. Knowing that the money we raise will be used to improve the lives of those who find themselves displaced, throughout the UK, is humbling.”

Shelter commented: “We are delighted that 'Fly on the Wall Poetry Press publishes charitable anthologies - and anthology 'Persona Non Grata' is packed with poetry inspired by the concept of social exclusion. Without support such as this we would not be able to support the people who reach out to us for help with housing issues and homelessness. Thank you so much to everyone involved.” - Lindsay Tilston Jones, Regional Community Fundraiser: Manchester.

This book is the second anthology published by the press, which was awarded ‘Runner Up for Best Anthology’ at the prestigious Saboteur Awards this May. Both books are available to buy through www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk in both in paperback and Kindle formats, worldwide.

To support Isabelle’s charity book release, please visit www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk to find out more about the project, or to request an interview, please contact Isabelle directly (see email address at top of page). 


About Fly on the Wall Poetry Press
Fly on the Wall Poetry Press publishes high quality anthologies on pressing issues, chapbooks and poetry products, from exceptional poets around the globe. The first anthology, Please Hear What I’m Not Saying, for UK charity Mind, came runner up at the Saboteur Awards 2018, for Best Anthology.

Isabelle Kenyon is editor and you can find her on twitter: @kenyon_isabelle.

You can find out more: www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk