#BlogTour : Q and A : The Picture by Roger Bray @rogerbray22 : @rararesources

The Picture

I am delighted to be hosting a Question & Answer session today with “The Picture” author Roger Bray. Due to a busy reading schedule I was not able to read the book, so decided on asking Roger a few questions as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. But first a little bit about the book.

Synopsis:

A warehouse in Japan used as an emergency shelter in the aftermath of the 2011 Tsunami. A distraught, young Japanese woman in dishevelled clothes sits on a box, holding her infant daughter. Ben, a US rescue volunteer, kneels in front of her offering comfort. They hug, the baby between them. The moment turns into an hour as the woman sobs into his shoulder; mourning the loss of her husband, her home, the life she knew. A picture is taken, capturing the moment. It becomes a symbol; of help freely given and of the hope of the survivors. The faces in the picture cannot be recognised, and that is how Ben likes it. No celebrity, thanks not required.

But others believe that being identified as the person in the picture is their path to fame and fortune. Ben stands, unknowingly, in their way, but nothing a contract killing cannot fix.

Q & A:

1/ What was the starting point, or inspiration behind this story?

I had half an idea which I wanted to explore about celebrity and was mentally throwing ideas around.  One morning in my courtyard on an overcast day the clouds parted a little and a beam of sunlight came down, really bright and focussed on a small area.  I starting thinking of how such an event could be used to illustrate a moment in time and came up with the eponymous picture.  Joining those two things together, one showing compassion and hope, the other greed and narcissism I put the two in opposition to each other and as is often true in life the ‘good’ side of the story didn’t really know there was anything untoward happening while the ‘bad’ side was focussed for its own ends regardless who got hurt.

2/Did you research this story and if so was there anything that really stood out for you?

I did a lot of research for the story, geographically as well as practical knowledge.  A lot of the research didn’t make it to the book but was invaluable in getting a better understanding of the loss and utter devastation after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.  What really stood out for me was the herculean efforts from locals and the wider community in the initial rescue and later recovery efforts.  There are many hundreds of stories of heroism and survival, most of which will never be told, but the ones I did find were awe inspiring.  Human capacity to help each other when it really matters was obvious in this event, and humbling to watch.

3/Now you have finished the novel and you have time to reflect, what in the story has inspired you?

What has inspired me is (tongue in cheek) that I finished it.  I have heard it said that writing the manuscript is the easy part, it is what comes after that is the most difficult.  Editing, re-editing, sending to editor etc etc.

Having gone through the process and reading the manuscript I was still amazed at finding typos right at the end (there are probably still some there to be found).  My real inspiration was my wife who stuck through the whole process and read the book over and over again looking for errors.

4/What 5 words would highlight the key factors in your story?

Love, compassion, hope, greed, selfishness.

5/What if any is the underlying message?

There are a number I think.   Life will find a way,  always try to do the right thing whenever you can and the cult of celebrity we have at the moment is the very definition of ethereal, it is based on lies and morbid fascination with others’ misfortune.  I would suggest to people instead of being glued to a TV screen getting a fix of reality TV they should help out at a local shelter, human or animal, help in a soup kitchen or volunteer abroad if they can.  If they want reality a TV is not going to give it to them.

6/Who are your favourite authors and why?

Tom Sharpe:  The funniest writer I have ever read.  His ability to turn the most innocent and innocuous situation into hilarious farce is brilliant.

John Gresham:  Brilliant story teller, packs a lot into his books can give a laugh and a shock in two sentences.

Robert Harris: He is not locked into any genre so each book is a new look at his ability as a writer, well researched and writes about areas I am interested in like Enigma and the Dreyfus affair.

Others: Leon Uris, Louis de Bernières, Gerald Durrell, Sebastian Faulks

Thanks very much for your interesting questions, I enjoyed answering them very much.  And thank you for the opportunity and inviting me onto your blog.

Thank you Roger so much for taking the time to answer. An absolute pleasure to be hosting you today and I wish you all the very best with your book xx

About the Author:

The Picture- Author photo.jpg

I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops.
My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider.

Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing.

Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school.

So here we are, two books published and another on track.

Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.

Social Media Links –  Twitter ~  Facebook  ~ Website

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#BlogBlitz : Under The Woods by KA Richardson @KerryAnn77 : @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681 : #BookReview

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This is the fourth book by this author, but my first time reading one of her books.  “Under The Woods” by KA Richardson was published by Bloodhound Books yesterday. It is available for purchase from Amazon UK in eBook format.  My huge thanks to Sarah, Bloodhound and KA Richardson for my copy and my spot on the Blog Tour. I am including the four book link HERE for the series xx

Synopsis:

Looking for a fast-paced crime thriller? Then you’ll love the gripping Under The Woods.

When a homeless woman, Cheryl Whiffen, hears voices in her head telling her to do bad things, she can’t help but obey.

But when Cheryl becomes the victim of a serial killer who is collecting angels, this time the voices can’t help her. She is deemed not worthy of being an angel and the killer has to find another way to dispose of her body. 

TJ Tulley has connections in the police force – her brother Jacob is a digital forensic analyst and her soon to be sister-in-law is a CSI. She knows many of their colleagues so when someone breaks into her house at the riding stables she owns, it’s not a surprise when the police dispatch CSI Jackson Doherty.

Is there a link between a suspicious fire at the stables and the serial killer?

As TJ and Doherty get closer to the truth they don’t realise the danger they are in. He is a killer – he’s angry at their investigation and he’ll do just about anything to protect his angels… 

Also available in The Forensic Files:

I’ve Been Watching You

Time to Play

Watch You Burn

Under The Woods is the 4th book in the unmissable and best-selling Forensic Files. It will appeal to fans of authors like Joy Ellis, Faith Martin, Robert Byrndza and Angela Marsons.

My Thoughts:

A woman is abducted and no one knows about it. Her body is buried and no one knows where. Another is abducted and is only missed by a homeless person. TJ Tulley discovers a break in at her home at her home at the riding stables and thinks it could possibly be someone close by who is responsible.

I am all over the place with where to start My Thoughts on this books, I should add that this means it was so good I want to tell you all about all of the story. easy to say this is a great read as I read it in one sitting, yep it was that good. This is the fourth in the Forensic Files series and true to my usual form it is the first one I have read. Under the Woods can be read as a standalone but I do want to read the other books in this series,

This is a dark and addictive murder mystery read with various plot lines.  It is a procedural mystery but from the usually overlooked forensic side of the investigation. This is something that I really liked, normally CSI guys come in do their thing and are gone, where as in this they have more of a lead role within the story.

The character of TJ is really quite an intriguing one, she has a past medical condition that affects her everyday life.  This becomes more prominent as the story and her part in it unfolds and explanations are given as to what happened.The killer is unknown until the author lets you in on who it is, I did have an ever changing idea as to who it could be and I really liked this cat and mouse style game between myself and the author as I tried to work it out. He is one of those characters you will love to hate, he makes his presence felt from his own point of view within the story, and he is a very creepy and twisted individual. There are various members of TJ’s family and also of the CSI team that make an appearance and once you realise who thay are and their role they are easily identifiable.

If you like dark, multilayered, well written, addictive and absorbing crime, thriller, mystery suspense reads then this is one I would highly recommend. I am now off to buy the rest of the books in this series xx

About the Author:

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My name is Kerry-Ann Richardson (generally known as Kerry) and I write as KA Richardson. I started writing the North East Police series in 2010 when I was working towards my MA Creative Writing – I used the first 15000 words of With Deadly Intent as my dissertation. I passed my MA in 2011 and kept on writing. This all came about from working as a Crime Scene Investigator – I’d always written but when I was a CSI I went to see a psychic, Anthony, and he wanted to know why I wasn’t writing. He reminded me that it was my passion and said he could see me signing in Waterstones in 5 years. That was 5.5 years before my first ever signing in Waterstones so he wasn’t far wrong! 

I did the normal things writers do when their book is ready to go out into the world – submitted to agents etc. I got a few nice personal responses back – still saying no but being constructive and polite about it. I approached Darren Laws from Caffeine Nights whilst at a crime festival and he asked to see my work. He agreed to publish With Deadly Intent from there, and once that was out I approached Bloodhound Books as wanted to know if there was any other interest in my novels. Bloodhound came back within 24 hours and offered me a 3 book deal!  And I’ve since signed an additional 3 book deal with them which covers the series up to and including book 7! 

LinksWebsite – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

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#BlogTour : If I Want You by Rachel Brimble @RachelBrimble : @rararesources : #PromoPost

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Today I have a promo post for “If I Want You” by Rachel Brimble as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. You can get a copy of this book at :-Amazon.UK – Amazon.com – Barnes & Noble – Kobo – Google Play

Synopsis:

When local journalist, Tori Peterson, fails to prevent a child abduction outside her niece’s school, her horror and guilt sparks a vow to do whatever it takes to get little Abby Brady home to her parents.

While Tori battles the vile memories of her own kidnapping as a child, she accepts the help of widowed father, Mark Bolton. As he and Tori join forces with the local police, their attraction and intimacy grows…along with their fears for Abby.

Links are uncovered between Abby’s disappearance and Tori’s kidnapping, and Tori is forced to accept the monster who held her captive is back. But this time, Tori is all grown up, and there is no way she will let him hurt another little girl.

About the Author:

Author pic - Dec 2017.jpg

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had seven books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and an eighth coming in Jan 2018. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press as well as writing several single titles for the Wild Rose Press.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

Social Media Links – Website – Blog – Twitter – Facebook – Facebook Street Team – Rachel’s Readers – Amazon Author Page – Goodreads

Giveaway to win a PDF of any book from Rachel Brimble’s Back List (Open Internationally)

Rachel Brimble has a rather varied and extensive backlist,  and one lucky winner can win a PDF of a book of their choice from it.  Full back list can be viewed here – Rachel’s Backlist

*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.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY and GOOD LUCK xx

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#BlogTour : The Penance List by S.C.Cunningham @SCCunningham : @rararesources : #Extract #Giveaway (Open Int)

The Penance List - Ebook

Today I am able to share an extract for “The Penance List” by S.C.Cunningham as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources.

Synopsis:

This one comes with a warning – a steamy suspense-ridden psychological thriller – think Silence of the Lambs meets 50 Shades and hold on tight! S C Cunningham writes with a skilled mix of fuelled tension, dark humour and pulsating sex scenes. Grab a glass of wine, close the bedroom door and read alone!

What happens when opposites attract – when a scorned childhood sweetheart grows into a gorgeous sexual tour de force – when a fun loving career girl, her racy girlfriends and insatiable lovers get caught in his revenge – when sex becomes a weapon, hearts become bait and straight tastes gay – when hi-flying careers, clandestine affairs and wannabe starlets are hunted by celebrity hungry press? Obsession, kidnap, murder… and he’s just getting started!

Purchase from  – Amazon UK

Extract:

Three fun loving friends meet regularly for lunch, they have no idea that a stalker sits in a café opposite, taking pictures of their every move. 

Cellini’s Restaurant, Chelsea, London

“Granted, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, if you swallow, you are in the minority, it needs sugar or brandy or something,” Tara blew her blonde fringe out of her eyes, concentrating on her defence.

“Depends on the guy’s diet of course, pineapple is meant to be good, no fast food, no ciggies, no drugs and it could almost be palatable,” her two girlfriends looked at her blankly.

“It’s full of protein, low on calories,” she enthused, but no, they were still not convinced.

Click, click… hidden in a cafe across the street, he pulled on the focus, fitting all three into shot.

As per normal for most Fridays, the girlfriends giggled through lunch discussing men, or the lack thereof. Tara, Helen, and Josie were single, beautiful, intelligent, best of friends. They’d reached the age of thirty having avoided the three things that sap a girl’s energy; marriage, divorce and kids.

It wasn’t that they didn’t want long term relationships; they were sexually active and adored men, they’d just never quite understood the workings of the male mind.

If you give them what they want the chase is over and they move on, if you don’t give them what they want, you are a frigid bitch and they move on. If you give them the babies their egos crave for, they are out the door, financing as little as possible, and seeing their offspring at weekends, between the golf, football and their latest sexual conquest. They want commitment yet freedom, for you to be faithful, yet them to be free, for you to be a full-time mother, yet them a part-time father. You couldn’t win.

Sourcing a man that knows what he wants, is a balanced, reliable, trustworthy soul mate, a good father, exciting and sexy as hell, was a tough call. Maybe the girls asked for too many boxes to be ticked, their quality control buttons set too high.

Maybe they shouldn’t even consider long term stuff until the guy was at least over thirty five, forty, settled in who he was and what he wanted. The trouble was a girl’s time clock ticked away. The choices were test tubes or older men. The most important choice a person makes is the parent of their child; no one wants to give the poor innocent thing a dodgy one that they have to live with for the rest of their lives.

It was tricky, can’t live with men, and can’t live without them. Hell, did they need to have babies anyway? Weren’t they overrated and oversupplied?

Tara Warr had a particularly high setting on her quality control button, although highly sexed, she was extremely choosy, the consequences of which led to long periods of man-drought. She was currently going through a serious dry patch, climbing the walls; she hadn’t been with a man for a year. She craved the relaxed laissez-faire attitude of Helen.

Helen Howard had a lower par setting, ‘love the one your with’, she made do with whatever was available on the day, or rather, whoever actually showed an interest in her, which, because she was beautiful, was quite a lot of men.

Josie James had little interest, what was all the fuss about? She would laugh along with the girls stories of man-woe, giving advice and sympathy where needed. She seldom dated, was wary of men and happy to be alone; she was more interested in her career and quite satisfied with the trusted middle finger of her right hand.

However cynical they appeared, they each had the romantic seed of hope, that one day Mr Right would come bursting in on his white charger or gas-guzzling SUV and whisk them away to a life of happily ever after. Meanwhile they waited, grazing on titbits that were, more often than not, bad for them.

Tara and Helen had met as juniors at a convent boarding school for young ladies, upsetting a multitude of nuns in their wake. Josie had been adopted by the feisty twosome years later at college. Her cheeky up-front London cockney savvy and their self-effacing Sloaney wit made an entertaining mix. They had stuck together through thick and thin, enduring life’s roller coaster; a good team.

Their bond was about to be tested. Evil was entering centre stage of their cosy, comfortable lives. It had been sitting on the periphery for years, plotting, planning, patiently waiting. It was watching them now; they only had to look up through the restaurant window to see it, hiding behind the large black lens that focused directly on them.

Click, click… the shot pulled in tight, slender fingers wrapped the stem of her glass.

“I love it, but I totally understand those that don’t, especially when you think about where it’s actually coming from… so to speak,” giggled Tara. “Excuse the pun!”

“Yes, urrgh!” Helen groaned, jumping on the gruesome fact with gusto.

Although she loved sex, she was not an advocate of placing anything remotely live or squidgy in her mouth. Her retch-reflex was too sensitive, oysters, snails and egg white had the same effect. She hated blow jobs.

“Think about it T, they urinate out of the same hole, it’s absolutely disgusting!” she raised her hand to the front of her face, blocking out the image.

“Yuk! Second thoughts don’t think about it, don’t even go there,” too late, she’d gone there, her face scrunched up with disgust.

“But, so do we,” corrected Tara, levelling up the case for the opposition.

Helen grimaced; covering her face with both hands to push away two sets of visuals. Looking down at her wine glass, the yellowy chardonnay didn’t look quite so appealing.

“Urrgh… STOP… I’m eatin, do ya mind?” moaned Josie, her cockney accent shouting over the two girls. She punched them both smartly on the shoulder, secretly loving it when they got into full debate on the endless subject of men and their ever-fascinating appendages.

About the Author:

The Penance List - Author Siobhan C Cunningham (2).jpg

British Crime Investigator & Crime Writer, Siobhan C Cunningham creates steamy psychological thrillers and kick-ass paranormal romance with a skilled mix of fuelled tension, dark humour, and pulsating sex scenes. Having worked in the very industries she writes about, her novels offer a fresh level of sincerity and authority, rare in fiction.

An ex-model, British born of Irish roots, she married a rock musician and has worked in the exciting worlds of music, film, sports celebrity management and as a Crime Investigator for the British Police (Wanted & Absconder Unit, Major Crime Team, Intelligence Analyst, Investigations Hub).

Abducted as a child, she survived; and every night for months afterward, she prayed to God, asking for a deal. This personal journey sparked the fuse behind the intriguing and riveting fictional world she portrays in The Fallen Angel Series. Twenty years later she crossed paths with a violent serial attacker who haunted the streets of London, the seed for The David Trilogy was sown, book one is The Penance List, and has been adapted to film screenplay.

She is the proud mother to contemporary Artist Scarlett Raven and is owned by three dogs.

Social Media Links  – Website – Twitter –  Facebook – Instagram – LinkedIn – Google+ – Amazon Author Page

Giveaway – Win 1 x Signed Copy of The Penance List (Open Internationally)

*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.

**** CLICK HERE TO ENTER ****

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#BookReview : Headland by Ged Gillmore @gedgillmore : deGrevilo Publishing @OliSands

Today I have my thoughts on  “Headland” by Ged Gilmore. This came to me via Oliver at deGrevilo Publishing a small Indie Publisher in Sydney Australia. My thanks to Oliver for my eBook and also for introducing me to another author. My thoughts are my own and unbiased. You can get a copy either in paperback or eBook format at Amazon UK or Amazon Au.

Synopsis:

Murdoch’s doing just fine, thanks for not asking. He’s dealing drugs for a professional crime syndicate in Sydney and saving for a house by the sea. But what does he think life is, a fairy tale?

As the syndicate puts pressure on him to fill the shoes of his murdered boss, Murdoch is cornered by an equally formidable foe: the Australian Tax Office demanding an explanation for his sizeable cash income.

Murdoch spins a beautiful lie, telling tax inspector, Hannah Simms, he’s a private detective. When Simms asks him to investigate the mystery of her niece’s disappearance, Murdoch grabs what he thinks is a golden opportunity to outrun the syndicate. But his arrival in the missing girl’s small coastal home town causes an unexpected stir and the reluctant PI soon realises his troubles are only just beginning.

HEADLAND is noir crime at its best, a thriller to keep you guessing until the very end. 

** THIS IS NOT THE AUSTRALIA YOU’VE SEEN ADVERTISED ** 

HEADLAND is the first book in the Bill Murdoch Mystery series. It is perfect for fans of Peter TempleJane HarperGarry Disher, and Alan Furst

Bad-boy-turned-local-hero, Bill Murdoch, returns for more noir mysteries in the sequels CLASS ACT, and BASE NATURE. (Both coming early 2018) 

My Thoughts:

Bill Murdoch is a drug dealer who is trying to evade his boss as well as the Australian Tax Office. All he wants to do is live a quiet life with his own house and car by the sea. After a lie to the tax office he finds himself looking into  a cold case of a missing girl in a small coastal town.

This is a definite off the beaten track of the stereotypical that I have of the Australian lifestyle. The reader is taken into the other side of life, into the more off the beaten track and into a community setting. The first section of the book deals with Bill in Sydney and is good but then the author takes us to a wonderfully descriptive setting with the next section as he Bill deals with the missing person. This I really loved, a definite feeling of noir as the atmospheric and descriptive passages give some really good and vivid imagery.

This is a slow burner and as the story unfolds it slowly took a grip on me, intriguing to start and then curiosity taking over to see where it was going and then to be totally addicted to discover the outcome. The characters didn’t take long to get used to and soon became familiar. I really liked the dynamics between Bill and his “sidekick” as their relationship changed over the course of the book, or actually as Bill’s attitude changed. He is not your usual lead in a story, he is a rude, wiry, closed off and almost cocky character who I didn’t immediately take a liking to, but found myself warming to as the story went on.

I found myself quite surprised by the different routes that the author took, in a good way I might add, and how the author drew me into the story. A story that deals with a community and the way it works, there are no secrets and everybody knows your business.

This is a book that would appeal to readers who like a slower paced crime, mystery and thriller style read. An Australian Noir that I would definitely recommend and a series that I will be reading more of.

About the Author:

61ZJpYz8ktL._UX250_ Ged Gillmore completed degrees in languages and literature at the University of London, but fancying a change to sunnier climes, made the leap to Sydney in early 2004. When he’s not falling off his surfboard at Bondi or dabbling with a day job which pays the bills he sits at his laptop and bashes out fiction. Headland, Class Act, and Base Nature are the first three books in Ged’s ‘Bill Murdoch Mystery’ series, set in Sydney and the Central Coast of New South Wales.

Follow or visit Ged at ~ Amazon Author Page ~ WebsiteTwitter

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#BlogTour : Keeper by JohanaGustawsson @JoGustawsson : @OrendaBooks #RandomThingsTour @annecater : #BookReview #FrenchNoir #Keeper

KEEPER COVER AW 2.indd

I am so delighted to be sharing my thoughts with you for “Keeper by Johana Gustawsson.  Published by Orenda Books and available from Amazon UK in paperback or eBook format.  My huge thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours, Orenda Books and Johana for my copy of this book and my spot on the Blog Tour.

Synopsis:

Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror. London 2015: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?

Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down…

My Thoughts:

This see’s the return of BIA Emily Roy and French True Crime writer Alexis Castells as they investigate a murder.  The work of an imprisoned serial killer comes into question when the same M.O is used.  Looking at possible connections from the past, this story is one that will have you eagerly turning the pages.

Having recently read Johana’s debut novel Block 46 I was looking forward to getting stuck into this one. Would I love Keeper as much as Block 46. I have to admit to no I didn’t love it as much, I loved it even more than the first.

Keeper has some of it’s plot in 1888 in London’s notorious Whitechapel and gradually works its way along side the present day setting until they are both connected.  It is a style I really like in the previous book and was glad to see it being used again.  I enjoy this dual timeline style setting that the author uses, it is  like you are getting two stories for the price of one and the connections are not really seen until they are being brought to their climax.

The characters are a mix of old and new faces, not so much police investigative as more profiler and researcher investigations.  This is something that is a refreshing change, as much as I love police procedural investigations I like to see read something that is a little bit different. One of the new characters is that of Aliénor Lindburgh a very analytical and logic based character, one I would like to see again and learn more about.

The plot… where to begin…. well its complex, it’s brutal and made me wince as I read. It takes in the various timelines and also various stories and I really don’t want to say anymore.  In fact that is all I am going to say id that the plot is a really strategic one and you have to read it to believe it.  As the end was approaching I still had no idea as to how the ending would play out and I was nowhere close to working it out either.

There is one final but also very important mention that I think deserves a big recognition here, that is the translator Maxim Jakubowski. His flawless translation gives those of us, including me, who only read or speak only one language a chance to read a book that would otherwise be unknown.

This is now the second book by this author I have read, and I can honestly say Johana is one of those authors whose books I would most probably buy without reading the synopsis. For me she is a must read author who shows an intense, deeply thought out and intricate way of telling her stories. If you like your crime to be full of darkness and your thrillers to be hard-hitting then you must definitely get a copy of this book. A definite HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from me xx

About the Author:

Johana PicBorn in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. Her debut, Block 46, was an award-winning, international bestseller, with Keeper following suit. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.
Follow Johana on Twitter or Website

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#BlogTour : Everybody Works In Sales by Niraj Kapur @Nirajwriter : @rararesources : #Extract

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Today I have an extract from”Everyone Works In Sales” by Niraj Kapur to share with you as part of the Blog Tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources.  Everybody Works in Sales is designed to help you do better in your career because we all work in sales. Available now on Kindle and paperback Amazon UK. A book that’s helpful for many in all different walks of life.

Synopsis:

We all work in sales. If you work for somebody, you earn a living by selling their product or service.

If you are self-employed, you earn a living by selling your product or service.

When you buy from Amazon, they always recommended other products similar to the ones you are purchasing or have already purchased – that’s selling.

When you download a song, movie or TV show from iTunes, they always recommend more similar products. That’s selling.

When you register for most websites, they sell their products or services to you through a regular email.  

When you attend an exhibition at the NEC, London ExCel, Olympia, Manchester or even a local market, everyone is trying to sell you their product.

We all work in sales, yet few people know how to sell. Until now.

Containing 27 valuable lessons, plus 17 interviews with experts, Everybody Works in Sales combines unique storytelling and personal development to ensure you have the tools you need to do better in your career.

Extract:

The problem is, most jobs don’t get us out of bed. They drain our energy and often leave us feeling helpless.

I called up a few entrepreneurial friends for advice. After 23 years, did I really want to keep working in sales? It had provided me a good life, however, I had recently been burned. Was this a hint? A quiet whisper?

Was I meant for something better in life?

If so, what?

I went to all the amazing independent coffee shops in Milton Keynes to enjoy a cup of Joe and slice of Victoria sponge cake with friends that had taken up entrepreneurial ventures. Once you have a child, the thought of going back to the daily grind doesn’t appeal to most people. The men I spoke to returned to work and, of course, they missed their kids, but they were glad to get back be to their routines.

The women were different.

The thought of being away from their child who they carried in their stomach for nine months, gave excruciating birth to, and in many cases, breastfed for years, was not an option. No 9-5 job was worth going back to for that. Some had tried, come home late at night and not seen their babies all day. On payday, the money they earned went to commuting, food and childcare. Nothing was left over. What’s the point of working hard if you are simply paying for childcare and never see your loved ones?

The entrepreneurs in Milton Keynes made me proud. Sure, you have to work longer hours with your own business than 9-5, however, you decide those hours, you work around the family. That’s pretty amazing way of looking at things. You may not have the salary you once had, but you have something better – freedom to make your own choices. How do they do it? Well, initially, many had no choice. They didn’t have parents who were business people. They decided the life they wanted and build their career around that.

Watching friends give up the corporate grind so they can have a cheese toastie van to feed lunchtime workers and be back for the school run was inspiring. Well done Aida and Bob of Good Times Café.

Observing another friend become of the top bloggers in the country with her website offering advice to writers and novelists. The awesome Lucy V Hay of Bang2Write.

Another friend does the best burgers in town with his incredible flavours and still has time to spend quality time with his wife and bring up the kids together. Congratulations Jonathan Duff of Bandit.

I had no business skills and with my wife being self-employed, the thought of having two entrepreneurs in the family was too risky. Maybe I could have a good life working for somebody else.

Here’s the life I want

  • Be a good dad and husband.
  • Give more value to others.
  • Earn enough money to take care of my family.
  • Enjoy three holidays a year, two in the UK, one holiday abroad.
  • Increase my charity donations from £4,000 to £8,000 a year.
  • Have a boss who isn’t an idiot.
  • Get a dog.
  • Spend 1 hour a day with family 6 days a week.
  • Provide value to others in sales and coaching.
  • Avoid small deals.
  • Work on big accounts for big money.
  • When I have a holiday, enjoy the holiday and don’t spend time working.
  • More money I earn, more money I can give to charity.
  • Find a boss who shares my values of company culture and family.

After 2 months of searching, applying for hundreds of jobs on LinkedIn, having over 20 interviews in London, every company ticked 1 or 2 boxes, but not all boxes. If you settle for second best, you end of up somewhere awful…

… but time was running out. After 2 months of job hunting, we had 5 weeks of money left in my account and it takes 4 weeks to earn salary in a new job – that meant I had to find work in a week or else my mortgage would default and our home was in danger of getting repossessed.

About the Author:

Everybody Works In Sales - Niraj's business photo 2018.jpg Award-winning executive, Niraj Kapur, has worked in corporate London for 23 years.

From small businesses to a national newspaper to FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies, he’s experienced it all and shares his insight, knowledge, big wins and horrible failures.

Containing 27 valuable lessons, plus 17 interviews with experts, Everybody Works in Sales combines unique storytelling and personal development to ensure you have the tools you need to do better in your career.

Niraj has also had several screenplays optioned, sitcoms commissioned, kids’ shows on Channel 5’s Milkshake and CBBC. His movie, Naachle London, was released in select cinemas across the UK.

He’s working on his next book while advising companies and coaching individuals on how to improve their sales.  Follow at @Nirajwriter

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#BookReview : Jennifer Brown’s Journey by Angie Langley @angielangley0 @JenBJourney

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on the brilliant “Jennifer Brown’s Journey” by Angie Langley. It is available in eBook from Amazon UK My thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this book for a review, my thoughts are completely my own.

Synopsis:

Five feet one and full of fizz, Jennifer Brown lights up the room. She has a gorgeous partner, a wicked best friend, and a boss who doesn’t mind that she’s the worst typist on the planet. She’s loyal, generous and irredeemably ditzy. Everyone loves Jennifer Brown.But can she learn to love herself? When her world caves in, she needs every ounce of her steely core to step back from the abyss and take charge of her life, reinventing herself first as cook and housekeeper to a saucy sexagenarian, then as manager of a tumbledown country estate with sensitive secrets. Peopled by a battalion of hilarious characters from the caustic, cross-dressing confidant to the besotted ex-boyfriend with a barmy ex-wife, Jennifer Brown’s Journey is a heartwarming, thoughtful, often poignant portrait of the trials of life as a thirty-something woman.Jennifer Brown champions the importance of self-belief, and the value of a bucket-sized glass of wine in a tight spot.And, always in the background, there’s the quiet man with the warm eyes and the velvet vowels.What on earth is Jennifer Brown going to do about him? 

The first in a series of three, Jennifer Brown’s Journey is a story of female self-empowerment and the triumph of the human spirit in the face of challenges that many women will recognise. Lighthearted and poignant, the story gives readers a very real sense of a woman, initially rather ditzy, maturing into a redoubtable, self-possessed individual who faces her many challenges with developing aplomb. 

My Thoughts:

Jennifer Brown, a wee blonde bombshell. Often looked at as boobs not brains. She has had enough of her job her life and embarks on a career change. She is doing it her own way and in her own style.

Oh I loved this book. The humour, the heartwarming feeling it gave me and the fact that I now want a cat, I am not telling you anything else about the cat, but his name had me in stitches, which is why I want a cat!  Anyway to the book.

Jennifer is stuck in a bit of a rut, the everyday routine of life has taken its toll. She has to lose everything before she can grasp hold of the reins of life again and start enjoying herself. The story is broken into three parts and takes us through Jennifer’s story from city office worker to housekeeper, estate manager and what ever she thinks she can turn her hand to.

This is a wonderful heartwarming read with a great humour to it and I loved everything about it. The bubbly Jen and her “I can do that” attitude when confronted with a new opportunity. This is a story that has a great feel good factor and I am a little in awe with this fictional character and the way she has taken on a new way of life.

I am looking forward so much to catching up with Jen in the next book, I cannot wait to see what she does next. I am sure it will be fun though!

A great read for whiling away a summer’s day with. A fun-filled , heartwarming, humorous lighthearted read and one I would definitely recommend to readers who like this style of book.

About the Author:

912C1KJefoL._SY200_ I grew up in Somerset and have lived in the south west of England all my life. Nowadays my home is in the beautiful Woodford Valley near Salisbury, on the banks of the river Avon. A tiny piece of heaven and a true writers paradise.
When I’m not writing, I’m a keen wildlife photographer and am currently working on a book of poems for children all about the local wildlife who live along the riverbank.
Writing Jennifer Brown’s Journey was a labour of love for me. Most of the book is based on my true-life experiences, enhanced by my furtive imagination which takes over as humorous characters and situations are brought in to provide the chapters with the emotional balance I feel is required. Many of these humorous elements are the result of everyday observations.

Follow Angie on Twitter ~ Website or Follow Jennifer on her own page at Twitter

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#BlogBlitz : Godsend by J.A. Marley @jamarleybooks : @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681 : #NetGalley #BookReview

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Delighted to be sharing my thoughts today for Godsend by J.A Marley. Published by Bloodhound Books and available for purchase from Amazon UK in paperback or eBook format. My thanks to Sarah Hardy for my spot on the tour and for my copy of the book via NetGalley.

Synopsis:

Looking for page-turning action and well-placed suspense? Then you’ll love the unmissable Godsend.

It has been eighteen months since Danny Felix pulled off the robbery of his life.  His plan brought London to a standstill, but at a heavy price. 

Now, living a quiet life running a charter fishing business in the Florida Keys, Danny is trying to come to terms with the death and destruction he had unwittingly unleashed. However, the low profile is beginning to wear thin and he soon starts to crave the adrenalin rush of his former criminal ways.  

Little does he know that three very different women are about to enter his life and turn it upside-down. Soon Danny finds himself right back in the action. 

But why has he been chosen? And does he have the appetite to pull off another job where the stakes are so lethally high?

My Thoughts:

Danny Felix is back! He is trying to keep his head down at his Miami bolt hole. A loveable criminal who just seems to attract trouble.  Even in the US he is not immune and it is not long before a blast from his past comes a calling.  A chance to confront his demons and a rather intriguing offer entices him out again.

I really like Danny’s character and was glad to catch up with him again after reading the first book “Standstill” (my thoughts here). With his British humour in an American setting the author really appears to have had fun and plays the British humour card well.  Danny has problems that haunt him and they crop up at the most inopportune moments and give a glimpse into the previous story.

I was expecting a “nothing will be straightforward” plot with this book and I was not disappointed. The author plays his cards close to his chest as the angles are played out with a variety of twists and turns along the way. Using an interesting starting point for this story and then, introducing new characters and bringing in the odd old face to gradually start picking up the tempo as the story unfolds. It has an imaginative plot line that twists and turn until the grand finale is reached and all the questions are answered as the author pulls all the threads together.

I really enjoyed this book and it could be read as a stand alone, but for a better idea into who Danny Felix is I would recommend reading the books in order. This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers who like a twisted plot, action and thrills with a pinch of British humour added in their crime, mystery and thriller reads.

About the Author:

John Marley, 27April2016, photographer Bronac McNeillJohn A. Marley’s writing career started with a poem about two brothers who both liked sausages…their names were Butch and Dutch and his Primary School teacher Mr. Murray liked it so much it made the main noticeboard at the entrance to Holy Child Primary School in West Belfast. A little older but none the wiser, he ended up as a film journalist in his native Northern Ireland, contributing to local newspapers, BBC Radio Ulster and latterly writing as the main film critic for the glossy magazine, Northern Woman.

John’s love of good stories came from the Irish predilection for telling a good yarn and the fact that there was nothing quite like sneaking away his Dad’s battered paperbacks to read even though he knew they were meant for adults and not kids. And so pulp fiction such as The Edge Westerns by George G. Gilman, the adventure novels of Alistair MacLean and the thrillers of Jack Higgins all served to whet his appetite for a good story told at pace.

These days, his reading tastes still focus on thrills, spills and good plot and he can’t walk by a James Lee Burke or an Elmore Leonard without pausing to read a few pages…even if it is in a busy bookshop.

Follow John on Twitter or his Website.

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#BlogTour : The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl @ko_dahl : #TheIceSwimmer #NordicNoir @OrendaBooks #RandomThingsTours @annecater #BookReview

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I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for “The Ice Swimmer” by Kjell Ola Dahl. This book is available in various formats and published by Orenda Books.  My thanks to Orenda, Kjell and also Anne Cater for my copy of the book and also my spot on the tour.

Synopsis:

The Oslo Detectives are back in another slice of gripping, dark Nordic Noir… Introducing Detective Lena Stigersand Award-winning, critically acclaimed and international bestselling author

When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated. Not only is she dealing with a cancer scare, a stalker and an untrustworthy boyfriend, but it seems both a politician and Norway’s security services might be involved in the murder. With her trusted colleagues, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, at her side, Lena digs deep into the case and finds that it not only goes to the heart of the Norwegian establishment, but it might be rather to close to her personal life for comfort.

Dark, complex and nail-bitingly tense, The Ice Swimmer is the latest and most unforgettable instalment in the critically acclaimed Oslo Detective series, by the godfather of Nordic Noir.

My Thoughts:

Lena Stigersand is called to attend the scene of a drowned man in the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour.  Her colleague Gunnerstranda is working on another case of suicide.  Amongst these cases a letter threatening a Member of Parliament arrives.

This book is broken down into chapters that then have several sub chapters, I found this really helpful as it meant I could get used to the names of the various characters and familiarise myself with their names. As the investigations proceed the presence of the other characters make themselves known and not always in the best of ways. I soon found myself getting used to their names, and some I am sure I have not  pronounced  correctly.

There are several plots that run together and the author has done a wonderful job of not blurring or mixing them up, this is where I think the sub-chapters really help.  I found myself taken around the streets of Oslo as well as the back alleys and also underground into tunnels. As well as this I discovered a variety of food that certainly whet my appetite and also a few Christmas traditions. By adding these little steps away from the hustle and bustle of the investigations it gave me a chance to almost catch my breath for a moment before being taken off again into the story.

Obviously murder and crime feature in this book, but the author focuses also on finding the who’s and the why’s of the case.  But also there is a good amount about Lena, the main protagonist in her personal life and newly diagnosis condition. She comes across as a mix of a logical thinking but also one that rushes headlong into trouble sort of person as well as being a guarded character regarding her personal life.

So this is a book I would highly recommend to readers of Nordic Noir, Crime, Mystery and Thriller genres.  It is a brilliantly twisted in a complex and well laid out story, with various investigations unfolding and all being brought to a satisfying conclusion. My first time reading a book by this author and it will not be my last.

About the Author:

Dahl-Kjell-Ola_Foto-Rolf-M-Aagaard.jpgOne of the godfathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries and sold over two million copies. He lives in Oslo.

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