#BookReview : Flowers for the Dead by Barbara Copperthwaite @BCopperthwait

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“Flowers for the Dead” by Barbara Copperthwaite, was published September 2015.  It is available in paperback or eBook.  Purchase from Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

Synopsis:

ADAM WILL DO ANYTHING TO MAKE LAURA HAPPY. EVEN IF IT KILLS HER.

After a devastating car crash wipes out her family, Laura struggles to get her life together. Grieving, she becomes forgetful. She doesn’t remember how money got into her purse, or buying that pint of milk…

Adam is the perfect boyfriend. He cooks meals. He does the housework. He looks after Laura’s every need. He knows everything about her.

But Laura has never met Adam. And she knows nothing about him.

What turned him into a monster who stalks his victims? How did he become warped from a sensitive boy who adored the fairy tales his gran read to him? And what is he trying to say with the bouquets he sends?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Into The Darkest Corner, Behind Closed Doors, and Sometimes I Lie will be captivated.

My Thoughts:

Adam and Laura have both had events in their past that have left their mark.  Laura lost her family in a car accident, but Adam is there to help her clean, cook, get food leaves flowers he really is the perfect boyfriend.  One problem is that Laura does not know him, never met him, but Adam knows all about Laura and has seen her on many occasions.

Oh this is such a devilishly delicious read.  It is creepy and a little scary.  The story of flits back and forth for Adam, his growing up, the things he had to deal with from his childhood through to present day.  The thing is though, I actually like the character of Adam, Barbara has created a character that you want to sympathise with, you feel sorry for him in his childhood and teen years.  He is a lonely, sad, shy, who has no confidence or friends leaving him withdrawn, he finds solace in his imaginary worlds and also with his Grandmother.  There are other characters in this book, Police and family , but they have been used sparingly but add enough links to keep the flow of the story.  They add links between events and places and this for me helped the story span the years and the places.

The pacing of this story is great, it starts off running and then calms and then is off at full pelt as the finale and conclusion are met. By the end of the book, all questions are answered, well almost all…there are some things in people’s lives that will never be known completely.

The psychological thriller aspect of this book is great, Barbara has used the this story line really well to create a wonderful feeling of suspense and tension. From Adam’s perspective we are given a reason of sorts as to why he behaves as he does, for me he was a brilliant character.  Even now I still kind of like him, it does feel a little wrong to admit this, but it’s true.

This is a book that readers of psychological crime and thriller genres will love, it has a devilishly sinister and believable plot, well written with some great characters.

I was lucky to win a copy of this book as part of a giveaway Barbara had run before Christmas.  My thoughts on this book are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

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Barbara is the best-selling author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE, FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD, THE DARKEST LIES, and HER LAST SECRET.

Much of her success is thanks to her twenty-odd years’ experience as a national newspaper and magazine journalist. She’s interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. Thanks to people sharing their stories with her, she knows the emotional impact of violence and wrong-doing. That’s why her novels are dark, realistic and tackle not just the crime but its repercussions.

When not writing feverishly, she is often found hiding behind a camera, taking wildlife photographs.

To find out more about Barbara’s novels, go to Facebook or follow on Twitter. To find out more about Barbara go to Website

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My copy of this book came with “crime scene tape”, now call me daft but I loved this additional little extra that Barbara had added, as well as chololate and a signed personalised card 😀 😛

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it give a little share.  Better still go and get yourself a copy of this book xx

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#BookReview : Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson @ragnarjo : @OrendaBooks

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“Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson is available in paperback, eBook and audio book.  It was published in 2015 by Orenda Books as part of the “Dark Iceland” series.  purchase from Amazon UK ~ Amazon US.

Synopsis:

Siglufjorour: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors – accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thor Arason: a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik – with a past that he’s unable to leave behind. When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theatre, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life. An avalanche and unremitting snowstorms close the mountain pass, and the 24-hour darkness threatens to push Ari over the edge, as curtains begin to twitch, and his investigation becomes increasingly complex, chilling and personal. Past plays tag with the present and the claustrophobic tension mounts, while Ari is thrust ever deeper into his own darkness – blinded by snow, and with a killer on the loose. Taut and terrifying, Snowblind is a startling debut from an extraordinary new talent, taking Nordic Noir to soaring new heights.

My Thoughts:

I have seen this authors books on various book bloggers sites, and thought it was about time I gave the Dark Iceland series a go.  I have had this book a couple months now and have finally got to read it.  So did I like it?

This is billed as a Nordic Noir, so I automatically expect certain things, and I admit to not being disappointed.  Ari Thor is the main protagonist and the reader is taken on his journey from Reykjavik and his police training to a new two year post in the old fishing village of Siglufjorour at the north of the island.  He leaves behind his girlfriend who is training to be a nurse. On arrival he finds that everyone knows of him, a village where most residents have been born and bred there.

Ari Thor’s story in the village begins in November 2008 through to the end of January 2009, though the Icelandic winter.  The descriptions Ragnar has given of the village, residents and setting were good, but for me I really liked the way he used Ari Thor’s character to  express how the dark, claustrophobia enveloped him.  From these descriptions I could imagine what he was describing, from the long dark winter months in a snow locked village, Ari Thor is used to a city setting and has not experienced the isolation like this before.

The plot of the story itself feels basic but at the same time has quite a complex layout.  As Ari Thor hunts for answers as well as getting to know the locals, he amasses his knowledge but the reader is not made aware of this until he starts putting the pieces together.  He then shares his thoughts more completely through conversations with others. Along the way there are a couple of red-herrings, these provided the reader with a chance to think up the wrong route.

There are quite a few characters, and given my complete lack of knowledge regarding Icelandic names, I found that I quickly got to know the characters and soon recognised them, though I did have a notebook to hand to make a note of them and their roles.  I took my time with this book, it was not a book I sat and read in one go, I do occasionally get books like this, it is almost like I need to read for a couple of hours and stop to digest.  I didn’t find the book too be fast paced, it had some wonderful narrative regarding the area and the people. I think this made it a slower read, but I think this is more a setting up book, but it did speed up a little towards the end. This is a really good setting up book for the series that follows and I am expecting the next ones to be easier to read as I have a prior knowledge  of cast and setting.

I would recommend this book for readers who like or are looking to read Nordic Noir, Crime, Mystery and Thriller genres.  The atmospheric feel of the book has been very well done, with a really good story that hits all the right notes.  After reading this first in the series, I have now ordered the next three, so this is my testament to how much I enjoyed this book, but I am also intrigued as to what comes next.

About the Author:

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Ragnar Jonasson is author of the award winning and international bestselling Dark Iceland series.

His debut Snowblind, first in the Dark Iceland series, went to number one in the Amazon Kindle charts shortly after publication. The book was also a no. 1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in Australia. Snowblind has been a paperback bestseller in France.

Nightblind won the Dead Good Reader Award 2016 for Most Captivating Crime in Translation.

Snowblind was called a “classically crafted whodunit” by THE NEW YORK TIMES, and it was selected by The Independent as one of the best crime novels of 2015 in the UK.

Rights to the Dark Iceland series have been sold to UK, USA, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Australia, Poland, Turkey, South Korea, Japan, Morocco, Portugal, Croatia, Armenia and Iceland.

Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he works as a writer and a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV-news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.

He is also the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir.

From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic.

Ragnar has also had short stories published internationally, including in the distinguished Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine in the US, the first stories by an Icelandic author in that magazine.

He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik.

Follow the Author on Website ~ Twitter

Many thanks for reading my post. Please give a share and go and get a copy of this great read.

#Top3Reads ~ The TOP 3 Reads for Me and My Books in 2017

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If someone asks me what books I have read this year are memorable, there are several obviously, I decided on Some of my favourite Reads of 2017,they have been great reads for various reasons.  But my Top 3 are books that had that something that made an extra impact on me.  One made me cry so many times, another is a writer who has a style and a way of laying out his story that really appeals to me, and then there is the books that blew me away.  My Top 3 comprise of a series, a non-fiction,  and a trilogy, so not actually 3 books, but authors of the year.

 

NUMBER THREE

 

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Blowback ~ The Blue Garou  ~ Can’t Stop The Funk ~ Ghosts and Shadow  ⇐click each title for my review.

Now I am going to introduce you to H.Max Hiller and his “Detective”Cadillac” Holland Mystery” series.  I just love this series of books, for me Hiram has a wonderful writing style.  These books are not all action packed, guns blazing at dawn books, they are more subtle than that.  The first three books use the aftermath of hurricane Katrina as a back drop to the stories, he highlights how the residents are coping and getting on with their lives.  Detective Holland and the other characters that include his sister, mother, best friend all have parts to play in the stories, I see these characters as friends, I am getting to know them and their individual quirks and their interests.  The books are laid out in a wonderfully logical way, but at no point do you work out what the endings are going to be.  It is great to be able to immerse into a well written and developed series, learning about the characters and their histories as you progress through the books.  Ghosts and Shadows takes a slightly different turn and includes a little of the authors love of food and cooking.  I just recently had the privilege of reading the first few chapters of the next book, and so my love for this series continues. These books are available in physical and eBook format from Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

 

NUMBER TWO

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“The Radium Girls” by Kate Moore ~ my review

I cannot believe this is a book that I read way back in March.  This book moved me to tears so many times, even when I tried to tell people about it I could feel myself welling up.

Kate Moore has done a superb job highlighting the working conditions and then the health implications of working with radium.  At the time no one knew what these implications were, and by the time the reader is told what is happening, a bond has already formed with the reader, so the emotional roller coaster begins.

I think this is a book that people should be aware of and take the time to read, Kate has done such a wonderful job of highlighting what these women went through and showed a warmth and an understanding when she told their story.  It is available in Hardback, eBook and will be released in March 2018 as a paperback. Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

NUMBER ONE BEST READ OF 2017 , is a Trilogy ! 

 

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“The Darkest Hand” Trilogy by Tarn Richardson absolutely blew me away, and then some.  I am a reader that starts a books, reads it and then moves on to the next one, when The Risen arrived in the post, I dropped the book I was reading immediately so I could begin reading this final instalment.

It originally started with “The Hunted”, a little 45 page prequel I was stunned by the time I got to the end, then moved onto The Damned and was amazed, then came The Fallen and was more amazed than before, then was furious as the publication date was moved back for The Risen. When I finally finished it I find few watery droplets falling from my eyeballs.

A brilliantly detailed, researched and written historical fiction and fantasy mash up. The Hunted is so action packed and fast paced, that when I had finished it, I thought there is no way this could be kept up for a full length book , never mind a trilogy.  Oh how wonderfully wrong I was. This has got the most brilliantly, elaborately thought out plot, with little, almost insignificant details in the prequel showing up in the last book.  Nothing in this book is there by chance, the characters have a role to play they are not mere bystanders.  In this series you will come across Poldeck Tacit a rude, blunt inquisitor of the unhinged variety, he will lead you across Europe and through wars, corruption and conspiracy within the church, with supernatural mixed in alongside old rites and rituals and oh so much more. The highlight of my reading year that wiuld appeal to Dark Fiction, Fantasy and Historical Fiction.

I just want to rave on and on about this trilogy,  they are that good, I still stand by my shout out that this trilogy is second only to Lord Of The Rings, and they are some of my favourite books.  Available in paperback, hardback and eBook from Amazon UK ~ Amazon US


I would like to thank all the wonderful fellow bloggers, authors and publishers that have made this year a great one from a literary perspective, the shares, likes and comments have been amazing.  I have have made some wonderful virtual friends and look forward to virtually meeting many more.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year xxx

Copy of Me and My Books (3)

#Books ~ Me and My Books ~ Some of my favourite Reads of 2017

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I have thought about this post for a little while now, and have iffed and ahhmmed over several weeks.  I have read some of the most amazing books this year that have taken me through a journey of several emotions, to different worlds  and times.

Prior to this year I spent 2015/16 reading a lot of Classics.  So when I decided to read newly published books it was almost like a child in a sweet shop, a lot of the authors were new to me as was the whole world of Book Blogging, and the wonderfully loyal, crazy, supportive bunch of people who inhabit it’s spot in the universe.

So now to my decisions :

I have read nearly 190 books this year and so this decision has been hard.

My “Top 3” I will be popping on a post tomorrow, but I have a selected some that I have loved reading so much over the year. This first list is of books that are not associated with any blog tours, (they are on another list lol 😉 ) and I thought they were amazing.  A mixed bag of fantasy, historical fiction, crime, contemporary, children’s and festive.

Click on book title for my review 🙂

Perfect Remains by Helen Fields.

Hortense and The Shadow by Lauren and Natalia O’Hara

My Husbands Wife by Jane Corry.

1066 : What Fates Impose by G.K Holloway.

Ronaldo The Reindeer Flying Academy by Maxine Sylvester.

The Deaths of December by Susi Holliday.

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase.

Melokai by Rosalyn Kelly.

The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days by Juliet Conlin.

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig.

The Little Village Christmas by Sue Moorcroft.

The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie.

The Ludlow Ladies Society by Ann O’Loughlin.

The Weight of Shadows by Karl Holton.

The Last Nazi by Andrew Turpin.

Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair by Heidi Swain.

I would also like to add a huge thanks you to all the Blog Tour Organisers who have allowed me a spot on the tours for books over the past few months.  Being new to blogging I appreciate the chance to take part in them. I am going to mention some of the favourites, but there were so many that I really enjoyed.

The Fallen Agent by Oliver Tidy.

The Dead Whisper by Emma Clapperton.

Scream Blue Murder by Tony J Forder.

Absolution by P.A Davies.

Outremer by D.N Carter.

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond.

You’re Next by Michael Fowler,

Christmas at the Little Knitting Box by Helen J Rolfe.

No Bodies by Robert Crouch.

Tall Chimneys By Allie Cresswell.


I have had a great reading year and would quite happily add so many more books to this list.  I would like to finish by saying to all those that have followed and shared my posts “Thank You Very Much xxx”

Wishing everyone a “Happy Christmas and New Year”, or “Happy Holiday”, (whichever you prefer) see you all in 2018 🙂

Copy of Me and My Books (2)

 

#BookReview : The Truants by Lee Markham

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“The Truants” by Lee Markham is available in paperback, hardback and eBook, published by Duckworth OverLook.

Synopsis:

In a fresh twist on the traditional vampire narrative, The Truants is a startling, noirish tale of immortality, bloodlust and rage.

Following his lover’s suicide, the last of the ‘old-ones’– ancient immortal beings as clever as they are ruthless, and unable to withstand the light of the sun – has had enough of this world gone to ruin and decides to end his existence. Yet as he waits for the burning dawn on a bench near a council estate, he is held up at knifepoint by a youth and stabbed. While the old-one’s body turns to ash as the sun rises, his assailant scurries back into the estate’s feral underbelly with the knife in his pocket. The old-one’s blood is still seared into its sharpened blade, and as the knife does its menacing rounds his consciousness is awakened in the city’s children from the depths of the afterlife. Determined to die, he must find and destroy the knife to regain control of his soul. But someone is out to stop him…

A sharp and powerful new voice, Lee Markham has written an intelligent, visceral novel which uncovers the fragility and hopelessness of Britain’s social underclass – and the horror of their everyday lives.

My Thoughts:

The “Old One” is the last of an ancient immortal race, he is centuries old and is awaiting death with the rise of the sun.  Following in the footsteps of his lover, who has already taken this route.  But things go awry when he is stabbed, his blood carried like a plague ready to infect others in the inner city estates.  When his blood infects another, his consciousness is transferred across to it’s new host.

Now this is a hard to read at times book, there are mentions of cruelty to a dog and neglect of a child, be warned!  This story has a “hive” aspect to it, with a controlling leader over it’s workers, but it then delves a lot further than that.  As the consciousness awakens, it takes in the the way some people live their lives in a poverty, drink and drug ridden section of society.  The vampire aspect of this story is actually a “Trojan Horse” concealing a much darker, grim and depraved story.  It explores the filth, stench and grim ridden slums and the desperate people who inhabit them. Now this is bleak reading, but I found also quite addictive and compelling as there is a hint of hope.

The story is told from several perspectives, giving a “both sides of the fence” viewpoint, as well as giving first hand accounts of those living in the estates and the how they struggle to live.  This also has mentions of riots and I was reminded of the London Riots, and the child neglect, again putting me in mind of the case that was in the news headlines regarding Baby P a few years ago.

When I started this book I thought i was going to race through it, but that really was not the case, and it was not what I was expecting, I took my time over it.  I am annoyed that it has been sat on my shelf since I bought it back in May and it has taken me until now (December) to read it.

Now this is a little difficult to recommend to readers, I liked a hell of a lot, but I am also aware that there are things that will not sit right with some readers, and this I get.  Yes it has a horror / fantasy factor to it.  But also an Dark Urban Fiction ( if there is such a thing), but it is very dark, real, gritty and truthful about what happens in the world, just look at the news, (not the vampire bit though) !

About the Author:

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Lee Markham is author of the acclaimed novel The Truants, published by Duckworth Overlook. Inspired by the murders of Baby P, Jamie Bulger and Damilola Taylor, and by the London riots during the summer of 2011, The Truants is a visceral, intelligent, gripping novel which uncovers the fragility and hopelessness of Britain’s social underclass – and the horror of their everyday lives.

With a background in branding and marketing, Lee also writes copy and develops content and narrative architecture for agencies and businesses across all sectors. With an instinctive knowledge for what needs saying and – equally importantly – what can be left unsaid, he is happy to work either as a lone wolf, or to integrate into creative teams to build compelling stories that can be told across campaigns, media and platforms.

Lee is also founder and storyteller-in-chief of Chestnut Tree Tales. Chestnut Tree Tales is a captivating series of children’s stories that generates awareness and revenue for the children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House. The first Chestnut Tree Tale, The Rainbow Snowstorm, is available now, with the next tale, The Flappity Happening, coming soon.

More recently Lee has also started working with schools on a term-long programme that allows Lower School age children to develop and launch their own children’s storybooks. The first book in this project is called The Way Through Gildredge Wood and was created with the Lower School children of Gildredge House School in Eastbourne.

 

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Duckworth Overlook (20 April 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715651765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715651766
  • Purchase from Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked give a share.  Better still go buy a copy of this book xx

#BookReview : Operation Hail Storm by Brett Arquette @brettarquette

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I am sharing my thought today on “Operation Hail Storm” by Brett Arquette.  Available as paperback, eBook and audio book formats.

Synopsis:

Marshall Hail was a husband, a father, a Physics Nobel prize winner and industrial billionaire. But when Hail’s family was killed in a terrorist attack, he became a predator and redirected his vast industrial assets toward one goal, removing every person on the FBI’s Top 10 Terrorist list. With the help of his MIT colleagues, Hail designed and built a devastating arsenal of attack drones of all shapes and sizes that are flown by the nation’s best young gamers. The world will come to realize that Marshall Hail possesses the capability of getting to anyone, anywhere, at any time, unleashing an operation so disturbing that the CIA has named it Operation Hail Storm.

My Thoughts:

Marshall Hail is a billionaire, he lost his wife and children in a terrorist attack two years prior to the story starting, now he is hell-bent on retribution.  Using his money, brains and intellectuals around him he is able to create super advanced weapons and technology to enable him to start removing those who were responsible, and stop further terrorist attacks and in doing so also make the world a better place.

This is a fast paced book, but I did find that some of the technical narrative was a little to intense for my understanding.  That being said, for the most part I did enjoy this book.    There were quite a few characters to get to know, and the main players soon became recognisable. I liked the basic premise of the story-line, a sort of modern-day Captain Nemo if you like, Hail is effectively an ultra rich vigilante, who in his heart wants to make the world a safer place and to also provide a cleaner safer energy source, the two ideas do work well together.  I also liked the idea of the American Government asking for his help to catch a weapons dealer.  If you are thinking why would they do this, well Hail had already proven his worth by assassinating a military leader who is on Top 10 Most Wanted, but also is also way for the US Governmental agencies to try to see what new gadgets and tech he has. So this then throws in an element of conspiracy and spying, adding another twist to the tale.

This is a book that I did enjoy, but found that I did struggle with a lot of the technological terminology, I think I needed a “dumbed down” version that would have made the story flow a little better.  After reading the book, I then had a read through the author’s bio, and found a mention of him being a “Chief Technology Officer” and also in cutting edge technology.  Given this background I think a reader who likes more technical genres would fare much better than I did.

If you like action advernture, military style fiction read with technical aspects, and government involvement, then this is the book for you.  I would like to thank the author for sending me an eARC of this book, my views expressed are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

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The middle child of five, Brett Duncan Arquette was born in 1960 and anointed with his mother’s pen name “Duncan”, given to him by Mystery Writer’s of America Grand Master award winner, author Lois Duncan. During her career, his mother Lois has written over 32 best selling young adult books, some of which have been made into movies, including the movie “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Hotel for Dogs”.  Brett was raised in New Mexico and moved to Florida on his 30th birthday.

Arquette spent most his career working as the Chief Technology Officer for one of the largest Circuit Court Systems in Florida. In 2002, Computerworld Magazine selected Arquette as one of the “Premier 100 IT Leaders” in the world, describing him as a “visionary” in reference to the cutting-edge technology. His books are peppered with technology acquired from his vast experience in advanced computers and audio/video systems.

Arquette is also the Editor in Chief of the Court Technology Forum, Contributing Editor for eWeek Magazine, columnist for ComputerWorld and SmartComputing magazines, all of which has helped to create a loyal fan base and lots of traffic on his website. Writing on the weekends, Arquette’s first book, “Deadly Perversions”, was published in 2002. His additional titles are “Seeing Red”, “Tweaked”, “The Pandemic Diary”  and “Soundman for a B-Band”.  He is proofing his new adventure into Young Adult writing with a series of “HAIL” books with the first one called “Operation Hail Storm”.  Mr. Arquette’s primary aspirations are to quit the 9 to 5 grind and become a best-selling author, following in his famous mother’s footsteps.

Mr. Arquette currently resides in the Sunshine State with his wife and three children.

Follow the author on Twitter ~ Website

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Lulu.com (1 Jun. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1365452549
  • ISBN-13: 978-1365452543
  • Purchase from Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it please give it a share.

#BookReview : Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair by @Heidi_Swain : @simonschusterUK

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I am sharing my thoughts today on “Sleigh Rides & Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair” by Heidi Swain, available in paperback or eBook, published by Simon & Schuster UK.

Synopsis:

When Anna takes on the role of companion to the owner of Wynthorpe Hall, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, she has no idea that her life is set to change beyond all recognition.

A confirmed ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to Christmas, Anna is amazed to find herself quickly immersed in the eccentric household, and when youngest son Jamie unexpectedly arrives home it soon becomes obvious that her personal feelings are going all out to compromise her professional persona.

Jamie, struggling to come to terms with life back in the Fens, makes a pact with Anna – she has to teach him to fall back in love with Wynthorpe Hall, while he helps her fall back in love with Christmas. But will it all prove too much for Anna, or can the family of Wynthorpe Hall warm her heart once and for all…?

Join Anna for a festive journey festooned with sleigh rides and silver bells and help her discover her happy-ever-after.

My Thoughts:

Anna does all she can to avoid Christmas and when the job as a companion comes up at Wynthorpe Hall it is perfect.  She is met with a very warm welcome from the owners and also the staff, in fact at times it is hard to see a difference between staff and family as they all just seem to bimble along in a wonderful warm way, everyone helps out with whatever is required.  Anna trying to be professional, unknowingly lets her guard down and fits right in.

Oh my goodness, this is such a deliciously warm, snugly and cosy read.  The characters are as welcoming to the reader as they are to Anna on her arrival.  As the story unfolds you get to meet all the characters and all their quirky ways and also their friendly and open warmth as you read about how they arrived at the Hall, what they do and their relationships with each other.  But there is also a serious side to the story that involves the owners three sons who you will meet further in, Christopher, Archie and Jamie.  They have different lives and responsibilities and the story line takes in various problems and run in between them in its stride.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book as I followed Anna and the other characters to the run up to Christmas at the Hall, there antics are hilarious at times and I found myself reading with a daft grin on my face.  A book that I could not put down, very well paced with a brilliantly written cast.

This is my first experience of reading this author, yes I am kicking myself for this, I will definitely be reading more.

If you want a heartwarming festive treat, then this is the book to read.  It is a book that was comfortable and relaxing and is ideal for readers who like a festive fiction, women’s fiction and romance.

 

About the Author:

A1v63L0h5XL._SY200_  Although passionate about writing from an early age, Heidi Swain gained a degree in Literature, flirted briefly with a newspaper career, married and had two children before she finally plucked up the courage to join a creative writing class and take her literary ambitions seriously.

A lover of Galaxy bars, vintage paraphernalia and the odd bottle of fizz, she now writes contemporary fiction and enjoys the company of a whole host of feisty female characters.

Heidi can be found at the keyboard at all hours of the day and night and quite often scribbling longhand in her car during her lunch break. She lives in stunning south Norfolk with her wonderful family and a mischievous cat called Storm.

Her debut novel, The Cherry Tree Cafe, was published on July 16th, 2015 and became an Amazon bestseller.

Follow the author on Twitter  ~  Website

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (5 Oct. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471164853
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471164859
  • Purchase from Amazon UK  ~ Amazon US

Many thanks for reading my post, feel free to share. 

Better still, go and buy this book xx

#BookReview : Hunting Nora Stone by Colin Weldon @colinweldon

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Hunting Nora Stone” by Colin Weldon today, a self published book available in paperback and also eBook.

Synopsis:

Taken from the streets, no money, no family, Nora Stone is transformed by a black ops division of the CIA. Her body, now a mixture of sophisticated bio-engineering, has become a lethal weapon. A weapon that has disappeared. Eddie Conrad, an Ex Navy seal turned military analyst, is counting the days to when he can be officially discharged. His nightmares, following a year in captivity in Syria, the only survivor of a mission gone wrong, are growing worse. When the bodies of a tactical team sent in to find Nora Stone show up horribly mutilated, Eddie is coerced into going back into the field to find her. But Nora wants to be found, is waiting to be found. And is ready to take revenge

My Thoughts:

Nora Stone, a nobody who is part of a top-secret bio-engineering research and development program and she has gone AWOL.  Eddie Conrad has been ordered to bring her in.  He has the support of a tech geek and a psychologist, they have no real field experience, but have invaluable knowledge and background of Nora.  As things evolve in the story, Eddie soon realises that he does not have all the facts, things don’t smell right and discovers that there are secrets, cover-ups, lies and corruption.  Also that there are things that are more top secret than top secret itself.

This is a well paced book that I really enjoyed reading.  It has a technological aspect to it, with computers, bio-engineering and various other things, but to be honest it is not an intense information overload, it gives enough to make you realise that this is advanced science but not so much that you get bamboozled. What starts off as being a woman hunt, takes a few turns and reforms into something else, very nicely manipulated to add some good plot twists.  It has a good deal of conspiracy, corruption and secrets of a military aspect, that goes down well with this reader.  The characters themselves I found to be memorable, and soon recognised them and their roles, there is not a huge cast, which for this book is perfect given the top top-secret aspects.  They are gradually introduced as the story progresses.

So given that it is a book with a technology side to it that I would not understand if too advanced, I found it to be an enjoyable, well paced book, that I actually felt I understood and made sense.  I really liked the idea behind it, the bio-engineered or super soldier aspect.  As I said I really liked this, it is a book that put me in mind of Universal Soldier meets Jack Reacher.

I think this would appeal to readers who like a military style action adventure read, with an element of slight sci-fi, with a good deal or corruption and conspiracy thrown in.  A book that I would have happily read in one sitting if I didn’t have to go to work.

My thanks to Colin for sending me a e -copy of this book, my views expressed are my own and are unbiased. I will add that there were a couple of typo’s but nothing that detracts from the story and my enjoyment of reading it, and I have not accounted for these in my rating of the book on Amazon or Goodreads.

About the Author:

14769995I am from Dublin, Ireland and have been writing most of my life. I studies Journalism and then went on to do an MA in Screenwriting. I love travelling, reading but most days you’ll find me sitting in one of the many coffee shops around the city trying to write stories.

Follow Colin on : Twitter ~ Website

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (12 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1975773772
  • ISBN-13: 978-1975773779
  • Purchase from Amazon UK  ~  Amazon US

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it, please give it a share.  Better still go and buy this book xx

#BlogTour : Love, Secrets & Absolution by K.L.Loveley @K_L_Loveley : @_globeflower_

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I am pleased to be part of the tour for “Love, Secrets & Absolution” by K.L.Loveley, available in paperback and eBook.  Published by GlobeFlower Books.  I would like to say a big “Thank You” to Anna-Lisa Hasedzic at Globeflower and Allie for a copy of this wonderful book.

Synopsis:

People in the village gossip about Grace’s son, Alfie.

He’s a lonely boy full of secrets, lies, and obsessive thoughts.

How far can a mother’s love go? Will she ultimately sacrifice her life for his?

Set in Nottinghamshire, this family drama follows the lives of Grace and Alfie as he transforms from a naïve, young boy into a teenager spiralling out of control.

Love, Secrets, and Absolution is a coming of age story with a difference.

Deceit, betrayal, love, and addiction, a family falling apart in the midst of teenage angst and torn loyalties; will anybody find absolution?

My Thoughts:

Grace and Paul had been trying for sometime to have a baby before she finally falls pregnant.  Alfie makes his appearance in the world and as he grows up and takes in his surrounding and other, he realises that he is not quite the same as other children.  Paul is aware that his son is a little different, Grace loves her son regardless.  Set during a time of miners strikes in Nottinghamshire, money is tight, nerves are frayed and emotions run riot, the reader is allowed into this little family group and gets a very unique perspective of how the family works, observing the stresses, strains as well as the happy times and milestones.

This is a wonderful read that had me hooked from the very first few paragraphs to the very last sentence.  Told from the perspectives of Alifie and Mum Grace, from his arrival in the world through his early years, schools and university, and also wonderful diary entries from Grace.  I loved the reasoning, experiences, observations and thoughts from both of these characters, but especially from Alfie.  He is a vulnerable, easily led and naive boy trying to find his place in the world, wanting to belong and find his “normal” place in society.

It also touches upon how schools, Doctors and health professionals didn’t diagnose Alfie, but also how Grace didn’t push for a diagnosis.  A very insightful and poignant read, that was emotional at times and very believable, having to remind myself several times that these were not real but characters.  The author has used her experiences from nursing and observing people in various situations to add that all important extra detail to this story.

This is a great read that I would definitely recommend to readers who like General Fiction, Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction with some wonderful detailing on family dynamics, social attitudes and factors, as well as mental health issues.

My views expressed here are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

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K.L Loveley is an exciting new author from Nottinghamshire, in England. Her debut novel ‘Alice’ is at times, a gritty but true to life story of a woman who finds herself in desperate straits.

The author’s love of writing began with a gift of a five year lock up diary at the age of seven and she has never stopped writing since. In addition to writing novels, the author writes poetry and will be sharing some of these on her blog.

She lives with her husband in a quaint village in Nottinghamshire and enjoys walking and cycling in the famous Sherwood Forest. The author and her husband own a narrowboat, and spend time navigating the British waterways. She spends many cosy evenings on her boat writing additional novels which will be released in the future.

To date, the author has enjoyed 40+ years working as a Nurse for the NHS , the latter twenty years as a Practice nurse in Primary care. During this time she has gained valuable knowledge and skills, which she has been able to transfer and use in her writing when related to medical and social issues.

K.L Loveley is a prolific reader, and reads a wide variety of genres. Some of her favourite bestselling authors include, Joanne Harris, Jodi Picoult, Marian Keyes, John le Carré, Maeve Binchy , Jojo Moyes and Philippa Gregory. She actively reviews the books that she reads on her blog klloveley.com and on GoodReads.

The author uses a pen name, K.L Loveley, aka Katie Lily Loveley. She felt compelled to use these names of her female ancestors, as a unique way of keeping their memory alive. Katie Loveley was the birth name of her maternal great grandmother. Lily, the Christian name of her paternal Grandmother. Alice, the main protagonist of her debut novel, was the name of her maternal grandmother. However, all of the characters in her stories are purely fictional.

She is currently working on a new novel which she hopes to publish in the near future.

Follow Allie on Twitter ~ Website  ~ Facebook

Details for Globeflower Books: Hybrid Publisher Agency – We nurture our authors and enrich our readers

Website: www.globeflower.co.uk

Twitter: @_Globeflower_

Facebook: The Globeflower Agency & Globeflower Books

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Globeflower Books (31 Oct. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1999829409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1999829407
  • Purchase from Amazon UK  ~ Amazon US

Many thanks for reading my post.  if you liked it, please give it a share.  Better still go and buy the book xx

 

#BlogTour : Tall Chimneys by Allie Cresswell @Alliescribbler : @rararesources : #BookReview

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I am so delighted to be taking part in the tour for this stunning book, “Tall Chimneys” by Allies Cresswell.  It is available to purchase in paperback and eBook, published via Createspace.  My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and Allie for my copy of this book.


Book Details: 

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Paperback: 416 pages

 Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (5 Dec. 2017)

 Language: English

 ISBN-10: 1978036914

 ISBN-13: 978-1978036918

Purchase from Amazon UK ~ Amazon.Com


Synopsis:

Considered a troublesome burden, Evelyn Talbot is banished by her family to their remote country house. Tall Chimneys is hidden in a damp and gloomy hollow. It is outmoded and inconvenient but Evelyn is determined to save it from the fate of so many stately homes at the time – abandonment or demolition. Occasional echoes of tumult in the wider world reach their sequestered backwater – the strident cries of political extremists, a furore of royal scandal, rumblings of the European war machine. But their isolated spot seems largely untouched. At times life is hard – little more than survival. At times it feels enchanted, almost outside of time itself. The woman and the house shore each other up – until love comes calling, threatening to pull them asunder. Her desertion will spell its demise, but saving Tall Chimneys could mean sacrificing her hope for happiness, even sacrificing herself. A century later, a distant relative crosses the globe to find the house of his ancestors. What he finds in the strange depression of the moor could change the course of his life forever. One woman, one house, one hundred years.

My Thoughts:

This is stunningly beautiful book.  Tall Chimneys is a Jacobean house set in a dip alongside the Yorkshire Moors. The story that unfolds is one that shows the relationship the Talbot family have with the house over a hundred years. It is told from the perspective of Evelyn, the youngest family member at the time. As she tells her story she also includes things going on in the world, providing reference dates through history. The house has a hold over Evelyn, it has always been there for her, it has been her home as she has watched it pass through the family.  It has been a place that at witnessed and seen many things along with Evelyn.  It has hosted parties and soiree’s, held secret wartime meetings, met famous people and also American servicemen, seen births and deaths and has remained just a little out of time, not really modernised properly at any point.  It holds a whisper of times gone past.

This is such a beautiful story to read.  It dips into family dynamics and social class structure of the times, looking at the differences and expectations of those “above stairs” and also those “below stairs”.  There is a wonderful array of characters, some you will love, other despise, odd one will probably infuriate and then there are the loathsome, they share different personalities, outlooks, opinions and expectations on life, love, death and loss.

As Evelyn led me through her story I could not help but feel for her, she has stayed true to Tall Chimneys, has been caught up in the time bubble that has surrounded it, in doing this she has used the house as a security blanket, it is her home, safe haven and refuge. The detailing that Allie has added to this book regarding the house, the interior, gardens and surrounding area built up a wonderful image for me.  All this was given as Evelyn made her way through the story.  Then at the end of the book we are brought up to present day as a distant relative shows an interest in discovering his roots, it is a very good way to bring an end to the story, this I found quite emotional as I knew I was also coming towards the end of this book.

For me the pacing is perfect for this book, from the first few lines of the prologue to the final line in the epilogue.  As I read of the pull that the house had over Evelyn, I found a similar pull keeping me held with in the story, so much so that I stayed up to finish this book until 2:45am, that was how much of a hold it had on me.

I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book, stunning, beautiful, wonderfully written and totally captivating.  Ideal for readers of Literary Historical Fiction, General Fiction and Women’s Fiction.

Thank you so much Allie and Rachel for a copy of this book. My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

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Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, one granddaughter and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.

Tall Chimneys is the sixth of her novels to be published.

Facebook – Website – Twitter

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy the book xx