#BookReview : The Garden In Every Sense and Season by Tovah Martin @timberpress #NetGalley

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I am delighted to be sharing “The Garden in Every Sense and Season” by Tovah Martin, the photography is by Kindra Clineff.  This is due to be published on 4th April 2018 by Timber Press.  I recieved an eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley, my thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

Synopsis:

So much of gardening is focused on the monthly checklists, seasonal to-do lists, and daily upkeep—weed this area, plant these seeds, prune this tree, rake these leaves, dig this hole—frantically done all year long. But what about taking the time to truly enjoy the garden in every sense? In The Garden in Every Sense and Season does just that. Beginning the heady blooms of spring and closing with putting the garden to bed in winter, Tovah Martin mindfully explores her garden through sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste. She sees the bright yellow daffodils of spring, smells summer’s pungent roses, hears the crows in autumn, and tastes winter’s juicy citrus. In 100 evocative essays, Martin shares sage garden advice and intimate reflections on her own garden. The Garden in Every Sense and Season, from one of the greatest garden writers of our time, urges gardeners to inhale, savor, and become more attuned with their gardens.

My Thoughts:

Tovah reminds you that flowers, your garden and the wildlife are not just for looking at, rushing past, quickly weeding, instead she focuses on the five senses touch, sight, sound, smell and taste and explores each one of these for each of the seasons.  It all about relaxing, appreciating, enjoying and exploring what we have in out gardens.

She has a very natural way of explaining colour companions and foliage with structure.  Building a garden no matter what size takes planning and preparation, but there is no check list and must do in this book, taking the pressure of planting and setting at set times.  Instead, Stop, Slow Down, Relax and Enjoy.  It is a more relaxed approach and Tovah’s approach to life seems to come through in her approach to gardening and plants.

This is a refreshing look at gardening today.  It should be a pastime or a hobby not a job.  I found that even though I am a UK gardener, mainly of vegetables, there were lots of things that were relevant and useful.  It is good to see another persons thoughts and perspectives.

This is a beautifully laid out book with stunning photographs.  I have read this on a PC, but I know if I had the physical book in my hands I would be dipping in and out of it often.  The writing is set out more as a story of a journey through the year of a garden, rather than a book about a garden.

This is a book I would definitely recommend.  I really loved it.  The photographs and words compliment each other beautifully.

About the Author & Photographer:

Tovah Martin is a fanatical and passionate organic gardener and the author of The Indestructible Houseplant, The Unexpected Houseplant, The New Terrarium, and Tasha Tudor’s Garden, as well as many other gardening books. Visit her at tovahmartin.com

Kindra Clineff specializes in location photography and regularly produces feature assignments for national magazines; her images have appeared in numerous books, including several with Tovah Martin. She lives in Essex County, Massachusetts.

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

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#GuestPost | Outremer by D.N Carter @gilbster1000 @AuthorightUKPR @Authoright #SpringReads #BlogTour

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I had the pleasure of reading “Outremer” by D.N Carter last year and was absolutely stunned by the amount of historical references in this tome of a book, the first in a planned four part series.  When the opportunity to take part in Authoright’s Spring Reads Event arrived I knew exactly what I wanted; more information about the research that went into the book, and also about the £10,000 prize for anyone than can crack the code in the book. In this post you will discover, amongst other things, how a lifetime of research lead the author underestimated the word count, from 140,000 to 1,247,000…… yes you really did read that right!  It is a real eye opener.

You can  Purchase fromAmazon UK.

Firstly the Synopsis:

Who Controls The Past Controls The Future

 An epic love story must overcome religious divide and a plot to eradicate two blood lines, as the Crusades and the search for the ancient mysteries of the Holy Grail gather momentum.

Raised by his father in La Rochelle, France, Paul Plantavalu is known for his artistic nature, inquisitive mind and Christian faith. He also has an unshakable love for his Muslim childhood friend, Alisha al Komaty. Courageous and outspoken, she returns Paul’s love. But their path is paved with obstacles; religion, war, political chaos and a mysterious enemy determined to destroy their family lines.

Sometime between 1110 AD and 1120 AD in the aftermath of the first crusade, a small band of nine knights — the founding knights Templar — recover ancient precious artefacts left by a former, advanced civilisation, beneath the City of Jerusalem. Ruthlessly guarded, the secrets revealed by this discovery are highly prized by powerful and dangerous forces far and wide; the repercussions of their capture are inextricably linked to Paul and Alisha. As Paul starts to experience dark and vivid dreams and the fragile balance of peace starts to crumble, it will fall to an enigmatic man known as Kratos and his female warrior protégée Abi Shadana, to safeguard Paul and Alisha.

Paul and Alisha’s love story weaves between the threads of our reality and other realms — from the Druids to the Sufi mystics, the Magi of the East, the secret political arm of the Knights Templar and the Isma’ilis, the Assassins. Knights and pilgrims alike will witness some of the darkest battles ever fought. The discovery of a unique sword’s lethal power and whispered connections to King Arthur and the Holy Grail lead Paul and Alisha to question if their lives ever be the same again.

The first of a four-part series, Outremer is an historical epic, which sweeps across England, Scotland and France, to Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt. Discover the truth — and crack the ancient code — behind the great mysteries of the High Middle Ages for yourself.

 

Get comfortable for this amazing post about the research and the prize:

    It has taken me since I was a young child to accumulate the research behind Outremer…and I am still learning more even now in my fifties. My main reason for writing Outremer was, and remains, to share and impart what appears to be highly advanced knowledge from our distant past that is provable and irrefutable, yet suppressed or deliberately ignored by so-called main stream academia. It all started after reading Chretien de Troyes Grail romances, plus my love of castles and ancient ruins…my original inspiration. I hope to provoke readers to think and start upon a path of their own research and not just accept my words, but to challenge all that I write, to seek for themselves answers and either refute or verify what I claim.

I can state with all clarity the first time I sat down and wrote the title and saved it as a word document was back in 2005. Almost a year later I penned the basic story time line together…175 pages! I knew it was going to be a massive undertaking but vowed I would finish. The research took the most time to ensure accuracy. From the smallest detail of clothing to major historical facts, to religious doctrine and philosophies, and only then, when I felt confident enough, did I commit to writing full time. In early 2014 I finally began to flesh out the original story time line. It soon became apparent my idea of penning a 140,000 word book was woeful wishful thinking and grossly underestimated the extent and volume of material I was trying to convey. 1,247,000 words later I typed ‘The End’ in December 2015. Now the hard work would begin I was then informed with editing and proofing etc and splitting the manuscript into four major volumes.

I wanted to share the knowledge of the ancients and their codes, as I believe I have understood them, in an engaging and enjoyable format, especially as they still have profound consequences for all of us. I have included a new one using those codes that readers may wish to work upon. If they crack it, it will lead to a location and an item. There are also exoteric and esoteric messages that run throughout the manuscript. To some they will be obvious whilst missed by others unfamiliar with the symbolism at first; however they will discover and understand as the information slowly reveals itself. It is possible to crack the code from book 1 alone. I have learnt that all three of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) all carry within their respective Holy Books, a genuine and provable mathematical code…and they are the same code. As the famous scientist Stephen Hawkins once said, “If God is real, he is maths”. It shows that there is a higher knowledge behind their origins. Whoever breaks my code will win £10,000. The code can also be reversed to reveal the location of a genuine and far greater treasure and that is why I put up the prize to get people to look a little closer than perhaps they would have.

I have adhered as near as possible to historical truth whilst conveying a new perspective on our history in a verifiable format that not only educates the reader, but hopefully inspires too. ‘Your beliefs do not make you a free thinker…the ability to change your beliefs based upon new information does’ I was told when living in Cyprus, and so I strive to seek out new information; consequently I discovered many new things…far too many to include here but all comprehensively covered within Outremer. Some of the simpler facts that surprised me however were learning that King Richard the Lion heart could not speak English…his first language being French, and the name Jesus was not even generally known by that name in the Middle Ages, but as Iesus.

Outremer is based upon real people who lived during the tumultuous period of the 12th century, and few people nowadays appreciate the massive implications of events then that still impact upon us today. This was the perfect period platform to express the many levels of love, from the total and unselfish love for another, to unrequited love, jealousy, betrayals and forgiveness. But this period was also when items were recovered by the original founding Knights Templar that would ultimately lead to the rediscovery of practices and technologies that had an immediate impact, especially upon the design and construction of great cathedrals, but also leaps in other areas not so obvious that led to the explosion of what became known as the Renaissance starting in Florence.

This was when the first Grail romances about chivalry were being penned. Geoffrey of Monmouth, writing around 1130 with ‘History of the Kings of Britain’, introduced the first literary creation of the character, King Arthur and the idea of courtly love, but it was Chretien de Troyes who built and expanded on this creating Camelot, Lancelot and the Holy Grail. All my research pointed to this as being the period when a great revelation of esoteric and exoteric codes started…and the perfect backdrop to set a love story that is enmeshed with those very same codes of antiquity. I have always had an affinity to this period, especially the secret and mysterious Knights Templar, their clothing and equipment plus a deep fascination with ruins, mainly castles. It began when I was nine years of age. I went to Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire on a school trip. I loved the architecture and the feeling of spiritual peace that I sensed there. That trip revealed I had a natural talent for drawing architectural scenes. I visited many castles and ruins and my fascination simply grew from there. As a youth I was lucky enough to travel to several major castles in Cyprus, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The beauty, scale and history of them utterly captivated me…but gave me a sense of sadness too for all the carnage of war that was visited upon them and their occupants. Consequently I asked myself, why, why would people fight wars of such unbelievable brutality? That question was rammed home after learning how the Christian Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099 AD and massacred all of its 70,000 inhabitants regardless of religion. I seriously questioned the real motives for the first Crusade with a deep sense there was far more than we are taught.

I still love ruins…an almost naive romantic notion of great Knights on quests that stirs within me whenever I see a castle, or even just a small part of an ancient wall, but the reality of castles is one of war and likewise those warrior monks, the Knights Templar. They projected a mystique I wanted to know all about, especially if they were somehow true guardians of what is known as the Holy Grail. How could monks be warriors too…it was a contradiction? I learned that Knights Templar swore to protect an original spirituality belief system, which is the basis for all religions, dedicated to supporting established Churches of all denominations and religious Orders and of other traditions…including Islam. It is knowledge and an understanding all people should have the opportunity to be shown.

The main thing I have personally learned, is that we, mankind as a whole, are all connected, we are inherently good, not bad and we are all spiritual beings and religion is simply a vehicle that has been used to convey a higher message across time as well as moral codes and words of hope and comfort…plus a message we are now only truly beginning to recognise for what it is. And that love, as airy fairy, corny or as some argue naive as that may sound, is the key…and true education I believe is when you are shown something, but not told how to see it. So we have a choice for we effect the very environment we live in and the world as a whole.

Being of a spiritual nature, I have read and studied as much as I could on every religious order and doctrine I could find. One aspect I always suspected was not somehow real was the so-called apocalypse. I could never understand how and why a God, who supposedly created us, would destroy us. I learnt that Apocalypse means to ‘unveil’ or to ‘reveal’ meaning ‘un-covering’, translated literally from Greek meaning ‘disclosure of knowledge’, a lifting of the veil or revelation …not destroy, nor the end of the world etc. So what else within scripture was not explained properly I wondered? Also what was contained within the fourteen books removed from the Bible and why were they removed. To learn why meant delving back to the late 1100’s, a period that shaped the geopolitical maps of both Europe and the Middle East, which in turn shaped the relations between Christian and Muslim countries to this day, with repercussions that still echo to the present. That is why, in my opinion, it is so essential to fully grasp and understand the true realities of that era that led to Christian and Muslim ideologies being so diametrically opposed …but how some today, knowing how to manipulate those facts to suit their own particular agendas, can effectively control the future by controlling our understanding of the past; hence the sub title ‘Who controls the past, controls the future’.

Follow on:  Outremer Website  ~    Outremer on Facebook

Yvonne: Oh my goodness, if this does not show the dedication I really don’t know what does. I am no where close to discovering the secret of the code.  But I do know is that this book is an epic read, full of so many facts and historical content.  The following books in this series are already on my “must buy when then are published list”.

About the Author:

About the author: After strange and vivid experiences whilst living in Cyprus as a child, author D N Carter has been fascinated by the history, myths and legends of the Middle Ages and mankind’s past. As he got older travels to Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Languedoc region of France and the deserts of Arabia fuelled his enthusiasm. While not decoding maps and mathematical codes D N Carter enjoys adventure sports from parachuting to microlight flying. Today he divides his time between East Anglia in the UK and the south of France with his family.

Check out the other books and bloggers on the Spring Reads 2018 Blog Tour

Spring Reads 2018

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

 

#BookReview |Bandit Country by Andrew Turpin @AndrewTurpin

51dVLYAL6mL._SY346_Bandit Country by Andrew Turpin, the third book in the Joe Johnson series.  Available from Amazon UK HERE in paperback of eBook format.  Buy the box set and read The Last Nazi, The Old Bridge and Bandit Country HERE.

Synopsis: 

A trail of high-profile sniper victims across Northern Ireland. Rising tension over the US president’s imminent visit. And the on-going bloody conflict driven by republican terrorists.
Ex-CIA war crimes investigator Joe Johnson quickly realizes there’s much more to it after he’s called to Belfast by a man who claims to be worried about the impact on his business of a long series of terrorist bombs and shootings.
The sniper’s body count rises, but with his motive remaining a mystery, fears mount as the president and UK prime minister’s visit for a G8 world summit draws nearer. 
Eventually, Johnson and his ex-MI6 colleague Jayne Robinson come to believe that the key lies in files, documents and secrets from nearly thirty years ago that certain high-flying public figures would rather remained unread.
Bandit Country—the third book in the Joe Johnson series—dives into the murky depths of historic conflicts between British security forces and the IRA, as well as the illegal US-based fundraising and weapons smuggling operations that armed the terrorists.
Meet Joe Johnson today and discover how he uncovers hidden truths from the past in an effort to prevent another devastating crime happening now.

My Thoughts:

Joe Johnson is back! This time in Northern Ireland. He has a freelance job offer that has connections to troubles in Northern Ireland from the 1980’s. Now 2013, the political stage has changed, Sinn Fein have political positions and there is a peace agreement in place.  Not all feel hopeful about the future and grassroots dissidents still make their feelings known with bombings and shootings, this affects business and is the reason why Joe has been called in.

I am a big fan of this series with Joe as the main protagonist, an ex-CIA war crimes investigator. This book feels a little bit different to the others, a slight step away from the war crimes investigations with more emphasis on events at the time of its setting in 2013, there are however many references to 1984, as well as other decades that are just as important.  Joe is soon in the thick of the action, his experiences, expertise and knowledge are all assets that he will need.

It is a story that covers many aspects of IRA, The Real IRA, Sinn Fein and also the thoughts and feelings of the people on the streets.  The mistrust, the distrust and the fear to hope things will actually change for the best as well as showing the frustrations of the dissidents at grass root level.

As the story moves forward the inclusion of arms shipments, smuggling and also US backers for the cause make an appearance as Joe tries to learn of an active sniper. This along with the added extra details that the author includes adds that believable factor I like in a story.  Things like how fast the helicopter flies rather than it just flying past, or why two guns of the same model have slight differences. These extras make me think that the author knows his stuff and done the research. The one thing I always enjoy with this authors work is the addition information he includes at the end of the story, where he found his sources, what books or sites he used. A great place for further reading and a great insight into the background of the book.

You could read this as a stand alone, it would work well I think, but I would definitely recommend reading the other books in the series. They give a great deal of information about Joe and importantly show his tenacious character.

This is a fast paced, action packed, thriller.  The author has created a balance of fact and fiction backed up with a huge amount of research and is the backbone of this book, add to that an amazing story that has been fictionally wrapped around events and you have a convincing read.  A Highly Recommended read from me.

About the Author:

0258_600MODERN THRILLERS WITH HISTORICAL TWISTS:

Andrew is a former journalist who has always had a love of writing and a passion for reading good thrillers. Now he has finally put the two interests together.

His first book in the Joe Johnson series, The Last Nazi, was published in August 2017, and the second, The Old Bridge, in January 2018. The third, Bandit Country, was published in February 2018.

Who is Joe Johnson? He’s an ex-CIA officer and former U.S. Nazi hunter with the Office of Special Investigations, part of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
Johnson has a passion for justice and a drive to investigate unsolved war crimes in different parts of the world. In particular, he is frustrated by the sectarian and religious conflicts that generally lie behind such crimes.

The themes behind these thrillers also pull together some of Andrew’s other interests, particularly history, world news, and travel. They explore the ways in which events and human behaviors deep into the past continue to impact on modern society, politics and business.

Andrew studied history at Loughborough University and worked for many years as a business and financial journalist before becoming a corporate and financial communications adviser with several large energy companies.

He originally came from Grantham, Lincolnshire, and lives with his family in St. Albans in Hertfordshire, U.K.

Follow Andrew on Twitter ~ Website 

The Joe Johnson Thriller Series: Books 1-3 (The Joe Johnson Thriller Series Boxset 1) by [Turpin, Andrew]

 

 

The Joe Johnson Thriller Series 

Available from Amazon UK

 

 

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

#BookReview | Spring at The Cafe at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe | @HJRolfe @orionbooks

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“Spring at The Cafe at the End of the Pier” by Helen Rolfe in the second in this series of short stories.  Published by Orion Books and available on AMAZON UK as an eBook.

Synopsis:

Spring is coming to The Café at the End of the Pier… A feelgood novella and the start of a brilliant new series…

Jo has settled into running her grandparents’ little café at the end of the pier in Salthaven. She’s given it a spring-clean and a spruce-up and she’s getting to know the locals and starting to enjoy life by the sea.

But when her Harry, her ex-boyfriend, turns out to be her new accountant, feelings from the past start to flood back. He’s here to help sort out the café’s finances, which Jo’s grandparents left in a mess, but Harry seems to have a hidden agenda and Jo isn’t entirely sure spending time with him is a good idea.

Jo throws herself into her new plans for the café – turning it into a real café of love by arranging blind dates for some of the regulars. Her own love life might be non-existent, but it doesn’t mean she can’t bring a little bit of magic to the locals who have made her so welcome. This time she chooses single-dad Ben and doctor Jess. Will they find love at The Café at the End of the Pier?

And will Jo manage to put aside her feelings for Harry in order to give the café the future she dreams of for it…?

My Thoughts:

This continues on from “Valentines Day at The Cafe at the End of the Pier”, where Jo helps out at the cafe.  Now she is running her Grandparents cafe for four months and is really getting a feel for her regular customers, and realising that there is more to the business than she originally expected.  Paperwork, need I say more?

Helen has done it again for me with this book.  This book for me is very believable, I work in a cafe/ restaurant in Cornwall, a rural but near the coast location.  I love the way author has picked up on all the little aspects of this type of business, not just the achy feet, the customer nuances but also the behind the scenes aspects.  But then wrapped around this busy cafe is the story of Jo, she has a chance at a new start.  Her return to her home town means she will have to deal with an ex boyfriend, she will have to leave the bitterness of their separation behind her.

Helen gives wonderful descriptions of the cafe, the people, the town and the food.  I have a feeling that this author has a thing for cakes and smoothies as she describes them wonderfully.  I can close my eyes and see this cafe from the descriptions Helen has woven, if only it were real so I could eat those cakes. Into this there is the romantic side of Jo, too busy to look for love herself, she sets about trying to link up a couple of her customers.

I was gutted by the time I got to the end of this book, I was totally immersed in the story.  It is a wonderful story that meanders through the life of Jo, and the romantics will be spoilt for choice.  A perfect, quick read that is beautifully written feel good story that will make you smile as you read.

I love this series and I am eager to read the next one in June. Highly Recommended.

About the Author:

2krhc8k2oi7ko3vv94v986teti._SY200_.jpgHelen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community. Characters often face challenges and must fight to overcome them, but above all, Helen’s stories always have a happy ending.

Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she studied writing and journalism and began writing for women’s health and fitness magazines. She also volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases. Helen began writing fiction in 2011 and hasn’t missed the I.T. world one little bit, although the I.T. skills have come in handy of course, especially when it comes to creating and maintaining a website.

After fourteen years of living in Australia, Helen returned to the UK and now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and their children.

To learn more about Helen and her writing, find her at: Website  ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

The Series:

There are a further two books, to follow this series, I have already pre-ordered them, but at the time of publishing this post the covers are not available :o) xx

Many thanks for reading my post, a share or like would we wonderful. 🙂 xx

#BlogTour | #GlimmerOfHope by Steve McHugh @StevejMcHugh |#GuestPost #BookReview @annecater

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I am delighted to be part of the Blog Tour for “Glimmer of Hope” by Steve McHugh, the first in The Avalon Chronicles.  Available in various formats and you can get a copy HERE. I am over the moon to have a Guest Post by Steve, he discusses his “Getting published” experiences, I wasn’t sure if I would have time to read the book in time for the tour, I should have a little more faith in myself as I can also share my thoughts on the book I did have time to read 🙂 xx Thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the tour x

Synopsis:

From Steve McHugh, the bestselling author of The Hellequin Chronicles, comes a new urban fantasy series packed with mystery, action, and, above all, magic.
Layla Cassidy has always wanted a normal life, and the chance to put her father’s brutal legacy behind her. And in her final year of university she’s finally found it. Or so she thinks.
But when Layla accidentally activates an ancient scroll, she is bestowed with an incredible, inhuman power. She plunges into a dangerous new world, full of mythical creatures and menace—all while a group of fanatics will stop at nothing to turn her abilities to their cause.
To protect those she loves most, Layla must take control of her new powers…before they destroy her. All is not yet lost—there is a light shining, but Layla must survive long enough to see it.

Guest Post by Steve:

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Getting Published. 

Every author you ever speak to about how they became published has a different story. This is mine. 

I was 25 back in 2004 when my first child was about to be born, and I figured I should actually try this whole writing thing seriously. Turns out writing a book is hard. Who knew? 

It took me several years to get to a place where I had written something I actually thought worthy of publication, it was my second completed book, and was called Crimes Against Magic (spoilers, it did get published). 

I wanted to go the traditional publishing route. I just wanted to see my book in shops. I had no illusions about being a best-seller, or the next [Insert name of famous author here] I just wanted to write the best story I could, and get it out there. 

I sent query letters and synopsis to agents, making sure that I actually gave them what they asked for, and received quite a bit of useful feedback about why the book isn’t for them, but good luck. 

By 2011, I was beginning to feel a little downhearted. I’d spent the better part of a year trying to get the book published, I’d been writing other things in the meantime, and wondered whether or not Crimes was actually worthy of publishing. 

Several self-published friends of mine at the time spoke to me about how they’d been able to do well through self-publishing and that maybe I should look into it. 

Well, first I decided to send the book into the Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award, and it ended up in the semi-finals (last 200 out of several thousand, I think). I found the whole process rejuvenated my thoughts that the book was worthwhile. I set about the self-publishing route. 

It took me a year or so to get the book properly edited, a good cover, and reading up on how to get your book noticed before I clicked upload and it was on Amazon. 

Then things got a bit unexpected. People started buying it. Quite a lot of people. 

By the end of the year, I’d published book 2, Born of Hatred, and by the January of the following year had 2 books that together had sold in the tens of thousands of copies. I was over the moon. 

Then things got even more unexpected. 

A publisher by the name of 47North (part of Amazon publishing’s own imprint) contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in working with them on relaunching the 2 Hellequin books, and also writing several more for them. I said yes. 

After the third book came out a year later, I also got an agent in the form of Paul Lucas at Janklow and Nesbit. 

So, in the end I did get my books in stores, and I did get an agent, and publisher, but I sort of took a detour to get there. And none of it might have happened if I’d never taken the chance on self-publishing the book. 

After 6 years of being published, by the end of 2018 I’ll have had 10 published books and 1 novella. It’s a staggering thing to consider that I’ve come all this way in such a short period of time, and that my journey from aspiring author to best-selling author was one with so many twists and turns, with so many lows and highs. But sometimes you have to take that chance, and sometimes it doesn’t pay off, but when it does, it can change everything in ways you can’t even imagine.

Follow Steve on Twitter ~ Blog ~ Facebook Author Page

My Thoughts:

This is my first experience with this author and what an absolutely brilliant introduction I had via Glimmer of Hope.  Layla is the main character in this book, a woman who has problems trusting and accepting people in her life.  She has a history and a story that is best kept secret, but she does have two good friends and she will need them as she discovers what this world and life holds in store for her.

Oh this book was a great read that hit all the right spots for me.  An Urban Fantasy with a whole range of legendary, mythological and folk-lore characters and above all magic, spirits and demons.  As Layla learns that there is more to her life than what she first imagined, she has hidden her past from others, but then others have also hidden parts of Layla’s past from her to protect her. She will discover that she does have a place and a role in life and believe when I say you don’t want to mess with her. The author has created a great mix of characters and has given enough details for the reader to see his “other” characters.

This is a fast paced, kick ass, saving the world, urban fantasy novel.  I did think it had a bit of a feel of being aimed at a YA audience. I am looking forward to continuing this journey  and read future books from The Avalon Chronicles, and also to start to read the Hellequin books. A great read that I would definitely recommend to those who like Urban Fantasy, Action and Fantasy genres, or a great start for those who want a bit of escapism.

If you want to see what others thought of this book, check out the dates and below

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Many thanks for reading my post, a share would be great if you liked it.  Get your own copy of this book HERE 🙂 xx

#BlogTour : Abel’s Revenge by Ross Greenwood @greenwoodross @CarolineBookBit #PublicationDay #BookReview

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I am delighted to be one of the opening hosts today for the Blog Tour for  Abel’s Revenge by Ross Greenwood to share with you.  I am delighted to be on the Blog Tour for this book organised by Caroline at Bits About Books. My thanks to Ross and Caroline for my copy of this book and my spot on the tour.  Abel’s Revenge is available in paperback and also eBook today. You can purchase a copy HERE.

Synopsis:

This is a story about a city. As with all others, it’s a place of violence. There are murderers, and they live among us.

This is also a tale about a couple — sometimes friends, occasionally lovers, but always partners. Dan and Olivia are fighting modern battles; the ones parents have over a lack of money, time or peace.

An escalating serial killer terrifies the streets and homes. The body count rises as their relationship crumbles. Society reveals its dark side, and no one is safe. Dan and Olivia experience this first-hand as danger closes in.

Will Abel’s reign of terror ever end?

Who will live and who will die?

My Thoughts:

The synopsis for this book is quite unique and it is not until I now sit and write my review that I really get it’s significance as I re read it, a story about a city.  This is a clever and a brilliant concept of the city being responsible for the actions of people.  Life in a city is what you make it.  If you don’t accept and embrace the diversity and opportunities it lays out before you, it will mess with your head.  A couple with two children, one parent accepts city life and loves her life, the other parent feels suffocated, out-of-place and struggles.  With their own problems to deal with the couple hear of a serial killer crime wave.  It is a crime wave that terrorizes the inhabitants of the sprawling urban streets, it has a name. Its name is Abel.

This is a cleverly thought out book, with dark depths and subtle moments of unexpected sarcasm and humour as it brings the city to life through those who live in it.  It shows us a typical family with the stress and strain of being parents, and trying to balance time between children, work and for themselves. We hear of their story as the city is in the grip of Abel, his actions are on the news and on everyone’s lips, this adds another worry to their lives.

Half way through this book is a newspaper article that gives the most perfect way of summarising events that have been escalating.  It’s a great way of taking the reader out of the cocoon and opening it up to give a wider general opinion, it expands the vision and lets the reader get more of a feel for what is being referred to as “The Abel Effect”.  It adds public opinion, fear and outcry as they feel the police are not doing enough to balance this is the police response and how they are dealing with this phenomenon.

It is at this inclusion in the story I made a note as I was reading, “this is bad, but I have an even badder feeling something sinister is going to happen”, okay I am not very articulate when I make notes, but I know exactly what I felt and what I meant. This is the point when you realise that the story is winding up again, upping the ante and giving this reader a real sense of dread.  The way I had no idea who the serial killer was, well  had several suspects and kept changing my mind but had no idea how this story was going to end.

This is a story that took me on a journey that was unexpected, even after reading I am still thinking about it.  It is deceptive and a brilliant read, a book I really wanted to race through to discover the whys and hows of the plot, but one that I slowed my reading for so I could really understand the story behind the story.

This is a definitely highly recommended read, not often I use definite and highly together, it is a psychological thriller that is powerful, brutal and honest.  A look into the mind of a serial killer as the crimes are committed and seeing the reasoning and justification behind them.  But also in contrast, how a family struggling in their relationship deal with the strains of living within a city. This is a book that I think would be brilliant for a brilliant Book Club pick, it has many aspects that I think could give some great discussions.

About the Author

Ross Greenwood  Author Image.jpg  Ross Greenwood was born in 1973 in Peterborough and lived there until he was 20, attending The King’s School in the city. He then began a rather nomadic existence, living and working all over the country and various parts of the world.

Ross found himself returning to Peterborough many times over the years, usually, so he says “when things had gone wrong.” It was on one of these occasions that he met his partner about 100 metres from his back door whilst walking a dog. Two children swiftly followed. And, according to Ross, he is “still a little stunned by the pace of it now.”

Lazy Blood book was started a long time ago but parenthood and then four years as a prison officer got in the way. Ironically it was the four a.m. feed which gave the author the opportunity to finish the book as unable to get back to sleep he completed it in the early morning hours.

Ross Greenwood’s second book, The Boy Inside, was picked up by Bloodhound Books, and in September 2017, Fifty Years of Fear was published. All his books are thought provoking, and told with a sense of humour.

Ross Greenwood hopes you enjoy reading them.
Please feel free to get in touch on Website ~ Facebook ~  Twitter

Other Books by Ross Greenwood

Lazy Blood (Sept. 2016) Amazon UK
The Boy Inside (Feb 2017) Amazon UK
Fifty Years of Fear (Sept.2017) Amazon UK

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#GuestPost : The Invisible Hand by James Hartley @jameshartleybks @rararesources #TheInvisibleHand #Giveaway

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Today I have a wonderful Guest Post by James Hartley, author of The Invisible Hand : Shakespeare’s Moon – Act One.  James explains how books, especially those by Paul Theroux helped him.  Purchase from – Amazon UK ~ Amazon.com

Synopsis:

The Invisible Hand is about a boy, Sam, who has just started life at a boarding school and finds himself able to travel back in time to medieval Scotland. There he meets a girl, Leana, who can travel to the future, and the two of them become wrapped up in events in Macbeth, the Shakespeare play, and in the daily life of the school. The book is the first part of a series called Shakespeare´s Moon. Each book is set in the same boarding school but focuses on a different Shakespeare play.

Guest Post by James Hartley:

When books are your best friends

I was ill recently. Not anything life-threatening, but enough to put me down and keep me there, to change my world and leave me out of everyone else’s.

Stuck in the house, alone, immobile, I felt as though I were living a parallel existence to my neighbours and the rest of the world. My usual routine made no sense and was largely impossible. I wondered how everyone else could carry on, laughing and running about, when I was aching and felt so useless. As usual when I became ill, I could’t believe how much I´d taken my good health for granted and vowed to do a million things when I got better and never be lazy again.

Unable to sleep or concentrate on films or television, I reached for the books I´d been reading up to then and rejected them: no, they were for when I was well. Some other person had been reading those books, not me. Now I needed something different. Some comfort reading, perhaps, but not necessarily an easy read. Just a dependable one. An old friend.

Looking about the house, I spied Paul Theroux´s book about travelling the coast of the Mediterranean, The Pillars of Hercules, up on a top shelf in the living room, and thought: Yes, that´s what I want. What I need. I have all of Theroux´s travel books huddled together at home, close at hand; battered old copies which have criss-crossed the world and relationships with me.

I don´t know what it is about these books, why they comfort me in dark times, but I think it has something to do with the time I suffered a shocking bereavement, over ten years ago now. Someone very close to me had left the house in the morning and had never come home. It was an accident, they said, but that´s no comfort. There are no answers in accidents, only chaos and misery.

Nobody could console me then, no words or drink or actions, and I really don´t know how I even managed to start reading. Perhaps it was an escape from the tears and reality. Back then it was The Happy Isles of Oceana, by Theroux, and I still have the copy I dived into all those years back. That book got me through a vile time. It somehow managed that odd trick books have, like sleep, shock or love, of playing with time, of taking me out of myself, away from my real life, to bathe in a kind of collective sea of imagination which replenished me and gave me a breather and made me come back stronger.

I always feel the need to keep these books close to me after periods in my life like this. They are like mementos, gateways to times past, reminding me of where I’ve been, where I come from. They are good, old friends, always the same and always different each time we meet.

Now, getting better, I salute those old friends, gathering dust, looking down upon me from that top shelf, and I remember why they are they´re there. They´re there because, like me, they have survived and come through.

The trick is to never take them, your health or your life for granted.

I hope you are now on the road to recovery James.  Personally I find books to be a great friend when not feeling well, they can help lift your spirits and have no expectations.  Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts today, and I wish you all the very best.  Yvonne xx

About the Author:

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James was born on the Wirral, England, in 1973 on a rainy Thursday. He shares his birthday with Bono, Sid Vicious and two even nastier pieces of work, John Wilkes Booth and Mark David Chapman.

His mother was a hairdresser with her own business and his father worked in a local refinery which pours filth into the sky over the Mersey to this day. They married young and James was their first child. He has two younger brothers and a still-expanding family in the area. As an Everton fan he suffered years of Liverpool success throughout the seventies and was thrilled when his father took a job in Singapore and the family moved lock, stock and two smoking barrels to Asia.

He spent five fine years growing up in the city state before returning to the rain, storms, comprehensive schools and desolate beauty of the Scottish east coast. Later years took he and his family to baking hot Muscat, in Oman, and a Syria that has since been bombed off the surface of the planet.

James studied journalism in London and later travelled through Ireland, France, Germany and India generally having a good time, before finally settling in Madrid, Spain, where he now lives with his wife and two children.

Social Media Links – ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Website

Giveaway *Win 5 x Signed copies of The Invisible Hand with special Invisible Hand tactile pens (Open Internationally)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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#BlogBlitz : No Comment by Graham Smith @GrahamSmith1972 @rararesources @caffeinenights #BookReview

No CommentI am delighted to be sharing No Comment by Graham Smith with you all today.  A novella that involves DI Harry Evans. Purchase links for this great power packed read are at Amazon UK or Amazon.Com.

Synopsis:

When a single mother, Julie Simon, is found in her kitchen with a stab wound to her stomach, Cumbria’s Major Crimes Team are handed the case. Under the supervision of DI Campbell and with advice from his former DI, Harry Evans, DC Amir Bhaki fights to discover who assaulted an innocent woman and left her with life-threatening injuries.
Nothing is as it first appears and when the team looks into Julie’s life they uncover a hidden sex-life that may just hold the key to the identity of her attacker.

My Thoughts:

When Julie Simon’s is found stabbed in the stomach, DC Amir Bhaki is the first detective on the scene.  His gut instinct tells him this is more than a burglary gone wrong, the whole crime scene looks not quite right.The new DI in charge is Campbell, he has big shoes to fill as he follows in the footsteps of his predecessor, as along with his team of DC Phollips and Chrisholm they work the case with assistance of Harry as they find themselves in a confusing case.

For a novella this doesn’t half pack a punch.  Addictive from the outset as the hard hitting details unfurl and have you guessing at the motive behind the crime, and it was one I didn’t guess until the author led me and allowed me to become aware of it.

The investigative team are dealing with a new boss who has his own ways of doing things; by the book.  A step away from their previous gut instinct boss.  But some of their slightly unorthodox ways of going about their jobs does get some results, so even thought it rankles Campbell does let some things slide.

The author has worked the dynamics between the team very well in such a short space of time and is a credit to his writing skills. There is the genuine feel of a team that has worked together before, and the uncertainty of having another person joining them. They are definitely a unique bunch and by the end of the story I felt I had got a good idea of them, their characters their traits and a little of what makes them tick. It is enough to leave me wanting to know more about them all and also how they will continue in the future books.

This is a read from a new to me author, though I do have a couple of this his books on my kindle yet to be read.  So if you are after a quick, hard hitting, crime thriller then I highly recommend giving NoComment a go.

About the Author:

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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: ~ Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website

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#BookReview : The Fear by C.L. Taylor @callytaylor @AvonBooksUK #NetGalley #TheFear

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I am delighted to be bringing you The Fear by C.L. Taylor. Published by Avon Books UK and is available in Paperback, eBook and Audio Book format.  Available for pre-order from Amazon UK publish date 22nd March.

Synopsis:

‘Grabs you by the metaphorical throat right from the start and doesn’t let up until the end.’ Heat

When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.

Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.

But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…

The million copy Sunday Times bestseller returns with a taut, compelling psychological thriller that will have you glued to the edge of your seat.

My Thoughts:

18 years after Lou left her home town to go and live in London, she makes the return to her home.  Now 32 years old she is coming back to memories, dreams, demons and nightmares from her past.  She discovers that Mike,the man who was once the love of her life, is now looking at destroying another innocent teenage girls life. Lou will do everything to stop this from happening at all costs.

This story is set out in chapters from the perspective of each of the main three female characters as they alternate through the story.  They all have a connection to Mike in some form, but it is Lou who takes more of a lead as you learn of her life through memories, her experiences of being groomed by Mike until she is so besotted with him that she runs away to France.  It is only there that she actually see’s what sort of danger she is in from him.  The character of Mike is brilliant in the way that he has been portrayed, don’t think for a moment that I liked him but, the author gives an image of a man who is an evil, conniving and manipulative ******! The way he has of manipulating not only his victim but also the families and friends is one that left me with a whole host of angry, frustrating emotions. He has a mask that others cannot see past, he shows the community a side that he wants them to see rather than what he actually is.

I was quickly drawn into this story and there I remained until its very last page.  It is addictive as I worried and wondered through frustrations, anger and despair over the characters and what they could possibly do?  Would they give into his lies and succumb to the fear?

If you are after a convincing, addictive, psychological manipulative thriller, then let me Highly Recommend this book to you.  A story that not only deals with events of the past, but also how those events play a part in the present and can affect a person for years to come.

My thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for my copy of this eARC, my thoughts are honest and my own.

About the Author:

7078175  C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son. She is a three times Sunday Times bestseller and her books have hit the number one spots on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and Google Play. Cally has a degree in Psychology, with particular interest in abnormal and criminal Psychology. She also loves knitting, Dr Who, Sherlock, Great British Bake Off and Margaret Atwood and blames Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected for her love of a dark tale.

Her dark psychological thriller THE ACCIDENT was published in the UK by Avon HarperCollins in April 2014 and as BEFORE I WAKE in the US in June 2014 by Sourcebooks.

Her second psychological thriller THE LIE was published in the UK in April 2015. It became a Sunday Times bestseller and hit the #1 slots on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play and Sainsbury ebooks. THE LIE was published in the U.S. by Sourcebooks.

CL’s third psychological thriller THE MISSING was published in April 2016 and was another Sunday Times and ebook bestseller. THE MISSING was published in the U.S. by William Morrow in 2017.

THE ESCAPE, her fourth psychological thriller, went to number 2 in the Sunday Times paperback chart in 2017 and won the Dead Good Books Most Unreliable Narrator award.

Her fifth psychological thriller THE FEAR will be published on 22nd March 2018.

THE TREATMENT, her Young Adult thriller, was the fastest selling UK YA debut of 2017.

Her international bestselling romantic comedies (written as Cally Taylor), HEAVEN CAN WAIT and HOME FOR CHRISTMAS were both published by Orion in the UK. They have been translated into 14 different languages, and her debut was voted ‘Debut Novel of the Year’ by chicklitreviews.com and chicklitclub.com.

In 2014 HOME FOR CHRISTMAS was made into a feature film by JumpStart Productions. For more information visit Home For Christmas Film.Com ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Facebook

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#BlogTour : The Summer Will Come by Soulla Christodoulou @schristodoulou2 @rararesources #BookReview

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Today I am on the blog tour for The Summer Will Come by Soulla Christodoulou. This is available in either eBook or paperback format and can be purchased HERE.  My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the tour and also Soulla for my copy of this book.

Synopsis:

Set in the 1950s, the story begins in Cyprus. EOKA, British rule, and the fight for Enosis (unity) disrupt the world of two Greek Cypriot families, living in different villages on the island. They are desperately trying to cope with the unpredictability of this fractious time.

Circumstances over a five-year period push both families to escape to London where, as immigrants, they struggle to settle, face new challenges, trauma and cope with missing their homeland’s traditions and culture.

Both families’ lives cross paths in London and it seems that happier beginnings could be theirs. But at what cost?

A story of passion for a country in turmoil, family love, loyalty and treachery and how, sometimes, starting over isn’t always as imagined. 

My Thoughts:

Set in 1950’s Cyprus we meet two Cypriot families, from different villages.  These families eventually make the decision, along with many others, that it is better to leave the trouble in Cyprus and start a new life in England.

We meet both the families and discover a little of their histories and also the run up to the hard decision they have to make to leave the homeland and start again in a new country.  This part of the story is a great way to get to know our main characters as they go about their everyday lives, also a great way to show much of a difference and a contrast it is when they continue their lives in London.

Once in London the families have to find lodgings and jobs, even though it is a new start, their traditions and customs have an even bigger part to play.  It is an essential part of who they are and gives them a strength, something they know and can rely on as they come to terms with the changes.  London is cold, noisy and has a polluted atmosphere compared the tranquillity that was their home before the troubles.  With a close-knit community and a commitment to traditions paths are invariably going to cross and new connections and friendships made.  This leads to the romantic side of the story.  This part of the story is where new and old meet and mix, traditions governing the meeting of potential husband/wife are paramount to the way things are done and also seen to be done.  Just because they are in a new culture does not mean they should abandon their own.

This is a really interesting book to read on many levels.  The author explains how the trouble on the island in the 50’s was experienced by those in the midst of it and incorporating it into a story line that is a great read.  I did feel the second half of the story was stronger and had a more personal feel to it.  The contrasts between the two lifestyle between the two countries were well explained and gave a great insight into conditions and also feelings.  The actions and reactions of people was also touched upon, by that I mean the racists attitudes and comments made.  I really loved the mentions of the mouth-watering sounding dishes and foods from a culture I know only the basics about.

If you are after a fictionalised historical novel that explores the Cypriots and the move some of them made to London to escape the fighting and turmoil at home then I would definitely recommend this book. It takes the reader in a journey of life, death, despair, hope and new beginnings.   It is insightful and also educational, and has a wonderful romantic side to it.  I book I would definitely recommend to readers.

About the Author:

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Born in London to Greek Cypriot parents Soulla Christodoulou spent much of her childhood living carefree days full of family, school and friends. She was the first in her family to go to university and studied BA Hotel & Catering Management at Portsmouth University. Years later, after having a family of her own she studied again at Middlesex University and has a PGCE in Business Studies and an MA in Education.

Soulla is a Fiction author and wrote her first novel Broken Pieces of Tomorrow over a few months while working full time in secondary education. She is a mother of three boys.

She is a compassionate and empathetic supporter of young people. Her passion for teaching continues through private tuition of English Language and Children’s Creative Writing Classes as well as proof reading and other writing services.

Her writing has also connected her with a charity in California which she is very much involved in as a contributor of handwritten letters every month to support and give hope to women diagnosed with breast cancer. One of her letters is featured in a book ‘Dear Friend’, released on Amazon in September 2017.

When asked, she will tell you she has always, somewhere on a subconscious level, wanted to write and her life’s experiences both personal and professional have played a huge part in bringing her to where she was always meant to be; writing books and drinking lots of cinnamon and clove tea!

She also has a poetry collection, Sunshine after Rain, published on Amazon and The Summer Will Come is her second novel. She is currently working on a third novel Trust is a Big Word about an on-line illicit relationship that develops between two people.

Social Media Links – Website ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Scriggler

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