The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye @SarahMarieGraye @rararesources #QandA #Giveaway (Open Int)

The SecondCup-FlatCover.jpg

I am delighted to be sharing a Question and Answer today with the author of The Second Cup Sarah Marie Graye. I read this book as part of the blog tour by Rachel At Rachel’s Random Resources, so when the chance to pose a few questions to the author came up I was definitely interested.

First Anniversary Blog Blitz: The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye

The Second Cup was originally published on 19 July 2017. The extended edition (includes character interviews) was published on 12 February 2018.

Amazon links

Amazon book page: https://getbook.at/SecondCup

Amazon author page: https://author.to/SarahMarieGraye

Lets see what the book is about first:

Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did.

Faye knows her heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She also knows he might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he’s taken his own life.

Faye is left wondering how to move forward – and whether or not Jack’s best friend Ethan will let her down again. And the news of Jack’s death ripples through the lives of her friends too.

Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and wondering if she was right to leave her first love behind. Poor Olivia is juggling her job and her boyfriend and trying to deal with a death of her own. And Jack’s death has hit Beth the hardest, even though she never knew him.

Is Beth about to take her own life too?

Question and Answer:

As I mentioned earlier I had the chance to read The Second Cup (my review here) so when the chance came to pose a few questions to Sarah I definitely wanted to know more. I have experienced depression from the stress of work, and life, I was lucky to see a Doctor who was able to see and help me. My issues were diagnosed and dealt with over a period of time, but the experience has made me aware of how quickly things can spiral into a down. It has left me with a sense of being more aware of how important your own mental health is and how you need to look after that and not just your physical health.

Q:  You’re open about suffering from mental health issues. How can authors help readers understand such issues?

A: If you write a character in the first person that has mental health issues, you are effectively allowing the reader to step inside their head and experience it for themselves.

If your reader is capable of empathy (and I like to believe that most people are) then they are able to put themselves in the position of that character and gain an understanding of what it must feel like for your own brain to be your enemy.

Q: How do you think society views suicide?

A: I think society is getting better at accepting suicide, especially when there are high profile cases, such as the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. If those who supposedly “want for nothing” can choose to end their lives, then it suggests that suicide is driven by something else.

For me, the biggest problem is that suicide is still viewed as being “selfish”. Many of those who take their own lives put their affairs in order first and take great pains to write a note explaining how this is nobody else’s fault – that nobody is to blame. These actions aren’t the actions of someone being selfish.

Q: What is the most important aspect of the story that you are trying to convey to the reader?

A: That picking up the pieces can be difficult, but it’s always worth it. Life can be really tough and bad things do happen to good people. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the way forward and to keep ourselves going. Each of my characters goes through their own issues but manages to come out the other side – more than a little battered and bruised, yes, but they still make it.

Q: What significance does the new cover of The Second Cup hold?

A: The original cover was chosen by my hybrid publisher. I was really unhappy with it because I felt it suggested a ghost story! When we parted ways, it was the perfect opportunity for me to pick something that I felt worked for the story.

At the heart of the story is the butterfly effect: the idea that you can be affected by something that happens to someone else – and in this case the suicide of someone you either didn’t know or haven’t seen for years.

A butterfly in a jar doesn’t stop being beautiful just because they’re trapped. Many of us are trapped or limited by our circumstances, but it’s still up to us how much we live, how much we spread our wings, within these limitations.

Q: What is next step on your literary journey?

I’m currently working on my second novel, The Victoria Lie, which will be out soon – it’s currently with my editor!

The Victoria Lie is the second book “The Butterfly Effect” series. Both Beth and Faye from The Second Cup feature in the book, but the main story focuses on a different group of friends. This time it’s the actions of one of these friends that are the catalyst, rather than the focus coming from outside the group.

During the writing process for book two, I’ve realised I have another story to tell about two of the friends, which I’m now planning as book three. The plan is still very fluid at the moment, but I’m hopeful that the initial idea is strong enough to work!


Thank you so much for your answers Sarah. I think society definitely has taken baby steps towards being more understanding. It helps that people are more open with their own experiences and are willing to talk about them, in doing this it breaks down the stigma that is attached. I also love this new cover, it says so much more than the previous one. I can’t wait to read The Victoria Lie and I wish you all the very best with that and also future writing xx

About the Author:

The Second Cup SarahMarieGraye-Headshot.jpg

Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester in 1975, to English Catholic parents. To the outside world Sarah Marie’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing, until aged nine, when she was diagnosed with depression.

It’s a diagnosis that has stayed with Sarah Marie over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision, including the one to write a novel.

Sarah Marie wrote The Second Cup as part of an MA Creative Writing practice as research degree at London South Bank University – where she was the vice-chancellor’s scholarship holder.

Sarah Marie was diagnosed with ADHD in November 2017 and published an extended edition of The Second Cup in February 2018 that included character interviews so she could diagnose one of her characters with the same condition.

Follow Sarah on – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Goodreads

Win 3 x Signed copies of The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye  (Open Internationally)  ∗∗∗ENTER HERE∗∗∗

*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.

See what others on the tour think

The Second Cup Full Blog Blitz Banner.jpg

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

 

Advertisements

The Dead Ex by Jane Corry @JaneCorryAuthor #NetGalley #BookReview

51o-X2uYbfL.jpg

I am so pleased to be sharing my thoughts with you for The Dead Ex by Jane Corry. It is available in various formats from Amazon UK and other good book shops and published by Penguin. This is not my first visit with this author, I have read and reviewed her previous two books

My Husbands Wife (my review here)

Blood Sisters (my review here)

Synopsis:

HE CHEATED. HE LIED. HE DIED.

Vicki’s husband David once promised to love her in sickness and in health. But after a brutal attack left her suffering with epilepsy, he ran away with his mistress.

So when Vicki gets a call one day to say that he’s missing, her first thought is ‘good riddance’. But then the police find evidence suggesting that David is dead. And they think Vicki had something to do with it.

What really happened on the night of David’s disappearance?
And how can Vicki prove her innocence, when she’s not even sure of it herself?

For anyone who loved The Couple Next Door, Lisa Jewell’s Then She Was Gone and Cara Hunter’s Close To Home, this book has everything you need for the perfect summer read – gripping twists and turns, brilliant characters and a story you can’t put down.

My Thoughts:

There is something that I have found with this author and it is that I know I am in for a good read, that it will have some great twists and story-lines. This book was no exception as i was taken into the world of Vicki and her dead ex.

The story takes a route that I didn’t expect and wove it’s way through different timelines. One thing I have come to expect from this author is her ability to hoodwink me completely.

Epilepsy plays a crucial role in this story as it is something that really does have an impact on the character of Vicki. I only know very basics about epilepsy but felt by the end of the book I had a better understanding. For me the author taught me things without me being aware, as a reader I really like this. It is not done in a preachy way, it is done via the character telling others what they need to be aware of when they have to deal with her. It felt as if the research had been done and also understood properly to be part of the story.

The synopsis for this book does the best job of keeping things vague and it is something I am going to mirror in my thoughts as well. There are some curvy curve balls that came my way as I worked the way through the story, and I loved them.

This author gives you not only a great read but also give you something to think about. She has the ability to educate and also weave a cracking story with a mixed bunch of characters that you will love or hate. Believe me when I say you will work out who fits into which list, eventually !

A story of family, life and new beginnings with twists in the telling and I that found addictive, a book I would definitely recommend to readers of crime, mystery and thrillers.

About the Author:

51cb3cFsYwL._SY200_.jpg

Jane Corry is a writer and journalist who has spent time working as the writer in residence of a high security prison for men – an experience that helped inspire her Sunday Times bestsellers ‘My Husband’s Wife’ and ‘Blood Sisters’. Jane runs regular writing workshops and speaks at literary festivals all over the world. Many of her ideas strike during morning dog-jogs along the beach followed by a dip in the sea – no matter how cold it is!

Jane’s brand-new thriller ‘The Dead Ex’ is being published on 29th June 2018 by Penguin Viking and is available for pre-order.

You can find Jane on Twitter at @JaneCorryAuthor and on Facebook at JaneCorryAuthor as well as Instagram.

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

The Chalk Man by C.J.Tudor @cjtudor #BookReview

DSC_0152

I have my thoughts on The Chalk Man by C.J.Tudor on my blog today. I had heard so many good things about this book from loads of fellow Book Bloggers that I really needed to read it myself. It is available in various formats and a paperback version is due out August 23rd and published by Penguin Books.

Synopsis:

You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury . . . the fear that something or someone is watching you.

It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran – the Chalk Man.

He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body.

Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure.

Is history going to repeat itself?

Was it ever really over?

Will this game only end in the same way?

My Thoughts:

This is told from the perspective of Eddie in a dual timeline format, it flickers back and forth between 2016 and 1986. A mysterious letter brings back a host of memories of the summer 30 years ago. A summer of friends and friendship, family, a body and the Chalk Man.

This is a story that gradually gets under your skin in a creepy and eerie way as the past events unfold. I think it has more of an effect as it is from the characters as children as they are caught within the story. I loved this gang of kids, Eddie, Fat Gav, Hoppo, Metal Mickey and Nicky, they are your typical kids growing up in the 80’s, my era. A time of long hot summers, dens, mischief, finding their own fun, out playing for hours with no worries. Something I could identify with.

There are various threads running through the story and so you get to know more of the kids, their families and the dynamics between them. There is a saying that goes along the lies of “you never know what goes on behind closed doors”, it is very apt for this story.

The thing that really stood out for me about this story was the real sense of time and place for the kids. The language, the activities and games they played and secret coded messages, going round to call on friends. Then as I was reminiscing with my own childhood the author began to weave a sense of danger and apprehension in such a way that I could sense something coming. I love this sense of hairs raising, spine tingling and I have to make a real effort to slow my reading down a little as I am so eager to see what is coming.

The part of the story of 2016 is just as unsettling in the respect that as an adult there are things we like to know, for example if you got sent a letter regarding something from your past you would want to know why it had been sent and by who, and also why would the past be dragged back up again. Unless of course the past hadn’t actually been dealt with properly.

That is all I am giving you, I’m not going to go into details about the plot it would be wrong to spoil anything.Just take my word for it when I say that it most definitely worth reading, especially if you are a fan of psychological thrillers.

I loved this book, it had not only a great story line but was so well described, captivating and gave a sense of unease and suspense. An absolutely cracking, spine-tingler of a book and one I would highly, highly recommend.

If you are unsure about buying this then have a look at how other authors describe it.

‘If you like my stuff, you’ll like this’ STEPHEN KING

‘Wonderfully creepy – like a cold blade on the back of your neck’ LEE CHILD
‘[I] haven’t had a sleepless night due to a book in a long time. The Chalk Man changed that’ Fiona Barton, bestselling author of The Widow and The Child

‘Completely engrossing. Reminiscent of those unsettling Stephen King stories of childhood’ John Boyne author of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

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

The Lost Letters Of William Woolfe by Helen Cullen @wordsofhelen @MichaelJBooks #NetGalley #BookReview

DSC_0042.jpg

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Lost Letters Of William Woolfe by Helen Cullen with you today. This book came on holiday with me and joined me sat beside the River Teign in Devon. My thanks to Michael Joseph Publishing for my copy of the book. If you would like to buy a copy it comes in various formats and can be found on AMAZON

Synopsis:

Inside the Dead Letters Depot in East London, William Woolf is one of thirty letter detectives who spend their days solving mysteries: Missing postcodes, illegible handwriting, rain-smudged ink, lost address labels, torn packages, forgotten street names – they are all the culprits of missed birthdays, broken hearts, unheard confessions, pointless accusations, unpaid bills and unanswered prayers.

When William discovers letters addressed simply to ‘My Great Love’ his work takes on new meaning. Written by a woman to a soulmate she hasn’t met yet, the missives stir William in ways he didn’t know were possible. Soon he begins to wonder: Could William be her great love?

William must follow the clues in Winter’s letters to solve his most important mystery yet: the human heart.

My Thoughts:

William and Clare Woolfe met at university and got married. They settle into marriage and also working life and over time the dreams they had at university gradually diminish. Life and work becomes a routine.

This story is told from the perspective of both Clare and William and I got to learn more about them as individuals as well as a couple. Clare has a successful career in law, though her original love is of art. William works in the Lost Letters Dept of the Post Office, just a temporary job until he became an author, this job now seems rather permanent.

William’s job entails him finding the recipients of those letters that have been wrongly addressed, address is missing or damaged. One day he finds a distinctive envelope and letter and is very taken with it, wanting to more about it and its author.

As his investigations with the letter progress I found another story, that of William and Clare. They are caught in that rut of routine in their marriage. They are a normal couple living normal lives but that have just lost that bit of sparkle.

So essentially you are given two stories, that of the letter and that of the marriage. This is where I may be right off the mark but, I think it’s like a comparison of what the perfect relationship in a letter is against actual relationships. The letter, or I should say letters as there are several, are beautiful in their sentiments and wording. They talk of dreams and plans for the future and for happiness and love. William and Clare have lost their youthful and exciting dreams, and though they still love each other they are frayed and fraught.

Life and the way you see it can sometimes narrow into a tunnel, it doesn’t allow you to see the bigger picture. At times we need to step out of our comfort zone of routine, rotas and timetables and experience new things, visit new places and above all dream. The letters allow William to do that.

So this is a book that is almost an enigma from the synopsis. I thought I would be reading about the letters that had gone astray, and while they do play a part in the story it is not all the story is. Once I realised what was happening I was able to enjoy the story of William and Clare and their lives as individuals and as a couple.

It is a gentle paced story that is quiet and thoughtful, not quite what I expected given the synopsis but non the less I thoroughly enjoyed. A book that I would recommend to readers of contemporary and literary fiction and is a beautiful story that I would definitely recommend.

About he Author:

A1Nruu1t2qL._SY200_.jpg Helen Cullen is an Irish writer living in London. She worked at RTE (Ireland’s national broadcaster) for seven years before moving to London in 2010. In the UK, Helen established a career as an events and engagement specialist before joining the Google UK marketing team in 2015.

The first draft of her debut novel THE LOST LETTERS OF WILLIAM WOOLF was written while completing the Guardian/UEA novel writing programme under the mentorship of Michèle Roberts. Helen holds an M.A. Theatre Studies from UCD and is currently completing an M.A. English Literature at Brunel University.

‘The Lost Letters of William Woolf’ will be published this year, 2018 in UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Germany, Italy and Israel.

Helen is now writing full-time and working on her second novel.

Follow Helen on her – Website – Twitter

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

 

The Cornish Dressmaker by Nicola Pryce @NPryce_Author @CorvusBooks #BookReview

51leIea1DNL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on The Cornish Dressmaker by Nicola Pryce. I would like to thank Sophie Walker at Atlantic Books for bringing this book to my attention, when Sophie asked if I would like a copy my response was a definite yes please, how could I not want one? I do live in Cornwall after all!

Synopsis:

The third sweeping novel in a stunning series of family sagas set in eighteenth-century Cornwall, following the trials of seamstress Elowyn Liddicot as she attempts to forge her own destiny.

Cornwall, 1796.

Seamstress Elowyn Liddicot’s family believe they’ve secured the perfect future for her, in the arms of Nathan Cardew. But then one evening, Elowyn helps to rescue a dying man from the sea, and everything changes. William Cotterell, wild and self-assured, refuses to leave her thoughts or her side – but surely she can’t love someone so unlike herself?

With Elowyn’s dressmaking business suddenly under threat, her family’s pressure to marry Nathan increasing, and her heart decidedly at odds with her head, Elowyn doesn’t know who to trust any more. And when William uncovers a sinister conspiracy that affects her whole world, can Elowyn find the courage to support the people she loves in the face of all opposition?

My Thoughts:

Cornwall in 1796. Think smuggling, mining, fishing, a time of new ventures and risks. This is where Elowyn Liddicot (Elly) lives. She has a loyal shadow in the form of Billy, a young lad who is inquisitive as he is loyal and trustworthy. Elly is torn between a marriage to Nathan who can provide her with a good stable home and life, but then there is William Cotterel, a washed up man who has nothing to apart from a passion for right and wrong.

This is an absolute cracker of a read as I got to travel along the lanes and shores of rugged Cornwall. An area I know well from living here for 18 years, so it was very easy for me to use the authors words to imagine the scenery. This book has a mix of things I like from a historical fiction read, history, facts, references and also some good old fashioned romance.

Elly has to make a decision, it should be her own but her family are pushing her towards Nathan. It is the ideal way for her family to take a step up the status ladder, not nice but it’s something that happened more often than not. If it wasn’t for Willaim washing up then there would be no decision, so he is the proverbial spanner in the works.

The story itself is one that had some interesting asides to it as the author used things that happened at the time with mining, advances in technology as well the judicial system to give a great depth to the story, making it more that just a historical romance.

There are several character sin this book that covers various roles and it didn’t take me long to get a grasp as to who was who. The story started off at an amble that gradually picked up a little speed as I got comfortable in its pages.

So this is a book I would definitely recommend, if you like Cornwall, historical fiction, Romance and also  Poldark then you should definitely choose this.

About the Author:

61e8TlTMGLL._SY200_.jpg

Nicola Pryce trained as a nurse at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. She has always loved literature and completed an Open University degree in Humanities. She is a qualified adult literacy support volunteer and lives with her husband in the Blackdown Hills in Somerset. She and her husband love sailing and together they sail the south coast of Cornwall in search of adventure.

‘Pengelly’s Daughter’ is the first novel in her new Cornish saga. Her second novel, ‘The Captain’s Girl’ was published this July and ‘The Cornish Dressmaker’ in May 2018.

Nicola is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Historical Writers Association.

She can be found on : Twitter – Goodreads – Facebook – Website

Many thanks for reading my review, a like or share would be fab 🙂 xx

The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan @evgaughan @urbanebooks #Bookreview

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan. My huge thanks to Urbane Publications for gifting me a copy of this book. You can buy a copy of The Story Collector from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

A beautiful and mysterious historical romance from the author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris.

Thornwood Village, 1910. Anna, a young farm girl, volunteers to help an intriguing American visitor, Harold Griffin-Krauss, translate ‘fairy stories’ from Irish to English.

But all is not as it seems and Anna soon finds herself at the heart of a mystery that threatens the future of her community and her very way of life…..

Captivated by the land of myth, folklore and superstition, Sarah Harper finds herself walking in the footsteps of Harold and Anna one hundred years later, unearthing dark secrets that both enchant and unnerve.

The Story Collector treads the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly, the seen and the unseen. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, Evie Gaughan’s latest novel is full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell. Perfect for fans of Jess Kidd and Eowyn Ivey.

My Thoughts:

This is a fabulous and fantastic story that encompasses mythological and legendary tales from the Good People or Fairy Folk of Ireland. The Story Collector is Harold, who is researching and writing a thesis on the folklore and of the belief people have of the Fairies. He enlists the help of local girl Anna and they travel around her homeland collecting tales and stories, she keeps her own diary of these stories. A hundred years later and the diary is found by Sarah when she makes a spontaneous trip to Ireland, was it spontaneous or was it fate, or maybe it was something more.

This story is such a good mix of things; folklore, myth, legend, love, life and death. The author has created a wonderful story that combines all of theses within a beautifully described area of the world. I love the way I was transported into the community that Anna lived in and walked or cycled along the lanes visiting people and listening to their tales.

I should add that there is a dual timeline to this story. The story of Sarah is one that also struck a chord as she comes to terms with things in her life. As much as I also loved Sarah’s story I have to say Harold and Anna were the characters that really did it for me.

This book is fabulously written and I was able to imagine the various scenes and images from the words. A story of love and loss that has a span of a hundred years so I was transported back and forth across the years as they alternated in their telling.

Yes I loved this book and read it in one sitting as I was captivated and enchanted. A book I would highly recommend to those who love a little romance, a little history and a little folk-lore. Go buy yourself a copy right this moment xx

About the Author:

91hSfiej5XL._SY200_.jpgEvie Gaughan is the bestselling author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris.

Living on the West Coast of Ireland, which is not renowned for its sunny climate, Evie escapes from the inclement weather into a converted attic to write stories and dream about underfloor heating. Growing up in a walled medieval city, she developed her love of storytelling and all things historical. Her books tread the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly – but always with an Irish woman’s wit. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, her stories are full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell.

When not writing, she also works as an artist, creating stories on canvas. Evie is currently working on her third novel, The Story Collector, which will be published by Urbane in 2018.

Follow Evie on Twitter  – Amazon Author Page

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

A Flicker Of Steel by Steve McHugh @StevejMcHugh #RandomThingsTours @annecater #AFlickerOfSteel #BookReview

A Flicker of Steel Cover

I am so delighted to be bringing you my thoughts on A Flicker Of Steel by Steve McHugh the second in The Avalon Chronicles as part of the blog tour with Anne at Random Things Tours. My thanks to Steve for my signed copy of his book and also to Anne for the invite to take part in the tour. You can purchase a copy HERE 

Synopsis:

Avalon stands revealed, but the war is far from over. For Layla Cassidy, it has only just begun.

Thrust into a new world full of magic and monsters, Layla has finally come to terms with her supernatural powers—and left her old life behind. But her enemies are relentless.

Sixteen months after her life changed forever, Layla and her team are besieged during a rescue attempt gone awry and must fight their way through to freedom. It turns out that Avalon has only grown since their last encounter, adding fresh villains to its horde. Meanwhile, revelations abound as Layla confronts twists and betrayals in her own life, with each new detail adding to the shadow that looms over her.

As Layla fights against the forces of evil, her powers begin to increase—and she discovers more about the darkness that lies in her past. As this same darkness threatens her future, will she be ready to fight for everything she holds dear?

My Thoughts:

As I have mentioned this is the second in The Avalon Chronicles and I would advise reading this series in order, you can purchase the first book A Glimmer Of Hope HERE . I really enjoyed the first book and it was a great introduction to this series, it laid the basis of things to come, you can read my thoughts on it HERE.

This is an urban fantasy with so much action in it than the previous book, this really does kick off from where the previous book left off. Layla has not only come to terms with but actually seems to relish her new-found powers. She is still wary abut completely letting go to them but is forming bonds with her spirits and embracing her lifestyle as the game players in the battles are becoming more known.

I love the way the author has used mythological characters, gods and deities, legendary figures dwarves, elves and a whole range of others to wrap them into an urban fantasy setting. I really like this meld of old and new to create a really addictive read.

It was great to be able to catch up with these characters once more and it didn’t take me long to get back up to speed with who was who, and I got to learn more about the key players. I do have a couple of favourites like Remy, Chloe and Harry as well as the main focus character Layla. They have a certain bond and ease with each other as they deal with what lies in their path.

The book is based around the age-old battle of good and evil and not everyone fits where you expect adding to the intrigue, though you do become aware of who the evil side is. The battle scenes and skirmishes have been wonderfully described to a point where I could visualise as I was reading. They are creative as the characters have some very particular skill sets, choices of weaponry and there is of course an element of magic, it always adds a bit of spice.

I would recommend reading the first book as there is a lot of information as to the how, why and who of the characters and it does do a great job of building a foundation for what is following.

I think this is a very accessible book as the names of characters can be pronounced at a glance, it has a setting that people would be familiar with and an ease with which it is read. I would highly recommend A Flicker Of Steel to readers who love Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Battles, Mythological and Legendary Figures, Battles between Good and Evil with some great characters and a very addictive read. It is a brilliant story and I cannot wait for the next one.

About the Author:

Steve McHugh Author Pic

AUTHOR BIO:  Steve’s been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up ‘One boy and his frog’ was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn’t for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel, the result of which is Crimes Against Magic.

He was born in a small village called Mexborough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.

Follow Steve on – Twitter –  Website

See what other readers think by following the tour

A Flicker of Steel Blog Tour Poster

Random ThingsTours FB Header

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

183 Times A Year by Eva Jordan @EvaJordanWriter #BookReview

51iwAviZIOL

I am so delighted to be sharing my thoughts on 183 Times A Year by Eva Jordan I have had this book on my TBR for quite a while now (shame on me) and I am delighted to have finally read this fabulous book. You can purchase a copy in either e-book or paperback from AMAZON UK. My huge thanks to Eva for my e-copy of the book that agreed to read for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Mothers and daughters alike will never look at each other in quite the same way after reading this book—a brilliantly funny observation of contemporary family life. 

Lizzie—exasperated Mother of Cassie, Connor and Stepdaughter Maisy—is the frustrated voice of reason to her daughters’ teenage angst. She gets by with good friends, cheap wine and talking to herself—out loud. 

16-year-old Cassie—the Facebook-Tweeting, Selfie-Taking, Music and Mobile Phone obsessed teen—hates everything about her life. She longs for the perfect world of Chelsea Divine and her ‘undivorced’ parents—and Joe, of course. 

However, the discovery of a terrible betrayal and a brutal attack throws the whole household into disarray. Lizzie and Cassie are forced to reassess the important things in life as they embark upon separate journeys of self-discovery—accepting some less than flattering home truths along the way. 

Although tragic at times this is a delightfully funny exploration of domestic love, hate, strength and ultimately friendship. A poignant, heartfelt look at that complex and diverse relationship between a Mother and daughter set amongst the thorny realities of today’s divided and extended families.

My Thoughts:

There are times when I agree to a book and it just sits on my TBR shelf on my kindle, then when I do eventually get around to reading it I could kick myself for not getting to it sooner 183 Times A Year is such a book.

This is a story of a family, well two families actually that through circumstances come together to live as one, they are step families. Teenage daughters, a younger son and two parents trying to support each other in this family unit, oh and grand parents. Drama and hysterics from the teenage girls, drama from friends and lack of drama from an absent father add an interesting cocktail of emotions into this story.

As I have already mentioned, I could so kick myself for not reading this sooner, the only time I stopped reading this book was to make another cup of coffee, only to let it go cold again…. It is a beautiful, heartbreaking, emotional, realistic and wonderfully written story of Lizzie and her family, Lizzie is the mum by the way.

The author has broken the story down into chapters with sub chapters and tells the story from the perspectives of mainly Lizzie and her daughter Cassie, though other family member do have the odd spotlight moment, each of these sub chapters had their own title of the character who was telling the story, but to be honest I soon got to know the characters so didn’t actually look at these headings. This for me was the moment I realised how well the author had allowed me to get to know the characters, she had given each one their own individuality, style and their own voice.

The story itself is about angst, rebellion, pushing the boundaries and the teenage world of “my life is so unfair”. But it is also about a mum working, running a home and the children to various events as well as keeping home. It portrays life for many families who have to juggle many balls, with a dad who is caught up in the middle of trying to keep the peace and support everyone.

What made this story so special for me was how the author had created an addictive read from what is essentially an everyday life for many families. She has accurately captured the emotions and struggles and managed to blend in a certain amount of humour.

There are elements from three generations that work so well, they have been balanced to create a realistic and very believable story that had me knowingly nodding my head at some of the scenarios, grinning and smirking at others as life, school, work and boyfriends are explored.

I absolutely loved this book from the very start to the last pages, I didn’t want to leave and was gutted when I finished the book. It had me grinning one moment, frowning the next and at one point absolutely crying ugly. This is a story that I would absolutely highly recommend to readers of women’s fiction, contemporary and literary fiction with a focus on family life.

A beautiful story and to quote Grandad, from the book , “it’s not life, it’s an adventure” sums it up xx

 

About the Author:

B1YE2zI6lhS._SY200_Eva Jordan, born in Kent but living most of her life in a small Cambridgeshire town, describes herself as a lover of words, books, travel and chocolate. She is also partial to the odd glass or two of wine. Providing her with some of the inspiration for her novel, Eva is both a mum and step mum to four children. Her career has been varied including working within the library service and at a women’s refuge. She writes a monthly column for a local magazine and currently works as a volunteer for a charity based organisation that teaches adults to read. However, storytelling through the art of writing is her passion. 183 Times A Year is Eva’s debut novel.

You can find Eva on Twitter Instagram Website – or join her each morning on Facebook for a cup of coffee or later in the day for a glass of wine xx

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

Remember: A Unique Love Story by Shervin Jamali @ShervinJamali @CarolineBookBit #BookReview

40336633

Today I am sharing my thoughts on Remember: A Unique Love Story by Shervin Jamali as part of the blog tour by Caroline at Bits About Books. This is the second book I have read by this author and I am delighted to have been part of the tour for this one. You can get a copy of your own HERE. My huge thanks to Shervin and Caroline for my ebook and my spot on the tour xx

Synopsis:

As Daniel watches the life ebb from Grace’s body, he wishes they had more time, knew each other when they were young. His wife surprises him by insisting that they did. And then she’s gone. Daniel knows this can’t be true. Can it? They only met later in life, so why would Grace’s departing words hint at a shared youth? Haunted by this notion, Daniel journeys into the past to discover the truth. ‘Remember’ is a unique love story. Find out how it really began… ‘Remember’ is dedicated to the brilliant Scottish author Brendan Gisby and his late wife, Alison. Here’s what Brendan Gisby says: “Well, you bugger, ‘Remember’ made me cry. The one word I’ll use to describe it is: Magnificent!” 

My Thoughts:

This is definitely not your typical love story, it’s not your usual boy meets girl, fall in love and live happily ever after. It is instead the story of Daniel and Grace. Grace is dying and her last words to Daniel are that they had met before.

This is an absolutely beautiful story that is heartbreaking and stunning. Daniel is the main focus as I got to learn about his life, the ups, the downs, the good and the bad. If you believe in love at first sight at, that you have a soul mate or that fate can play a part in two people meeting then this is a story for you. If you don’t believe in these things then this is still the story for you as it will challenge your belief.

As for the story line, I am saying nothing much about it. But you will discover that Daniel’s life has been hard, leaving him with having to try to deal with past issues and trauma and Grace has been the force behind him coming to terms and dealing with them.

It is a well thought out story that the author really has executed so well. There is a balance that felt right about it, giving it a realistic feel to it as in everyday life, and it felt very personal. It has elements of dark and light as the journey with Daniel progresses, but above all it is a story of love and life.

This is a novella that really packs a punch with the emotions, it is beautifully written and I think that people will take different things from this book. It makes you think about life and death, loved ones and family. This is a book I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

15272210.jpgI’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until recently that it just seemed to click. I’ve had stories locked away, but suddenly, and unexpectedly, they now need to get out. I completed the first draft of “The Devil’s Lieutenant” in just two months, and that was as a result of writing when I had the opportunity to do so. My 8-5 job and family still came first. I look forward to the day when I can be a full time writer who can take my children to school, pick them up and chauffeur them to various activities, with a healthy dose of writing in between. I believe that day might be right around the corner.

Also, my favorite punctuation mark is the semi-colon; it’s often used incorrectly, but it’s always winking at you!

Find the author at : Website Twitter 

See what other readers think of the book by following the tour

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

The Red Hand Of Fury by R.N.Morris @rnmorris @rararesources #Giveaway (Open Int) #BookReview

The Red Hand of Fury - Cover

I have my thoughts on The Red Hand of Fury by R.N.Morris to share with you today as part of the blog tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. You can purchase a copy of the book from AMAZON UK or AMAZON US.

Synopsis:

London, June 1914. A young man is mauled to death at London Zoo after deliberately climbing into the bear pit. Shortly afterwards, another young man leaps to his death from the notorious Suicide Bridge. Two seemingly unconnected deaths – and yet there are similarities.

Following a third attempted suicide, Detective Inspector Silas Quinn knows he must uncover the link between the three men if he is to discover what caused them to take their own lives. The one tangible piece of evidence is a card found in each of the victims’ possession, depicting a crudely-drawn red hand. What does it signify? To find the answers, Quinn must revisit his own dark past. But can he keep his sanity in the process …?

My Thoughts:

Inspector Silas Quinn of the Special Crime Department believes there is a connection when he comes across 2 suicides and 1 attempted suicide. There is not much that links these events together, but Quinn thinks differently and along with his sergeants; Macadam and Inchball they try to discover the truth.

This is set in 1914 London and begins in Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum as the newest patient is brought in. The author describes the brutal and harsh treatment of patients before taking a step back by a few weeks, and then I got to learn the story of the events as they happened bringing me back up to date.

This is a really gritty and grimy read as I got taken round some not particularly nice areas of London. There are historical references that help set the picture and add to the scenes and have very nicely woven into the story.

The plot is very clever and I had no idea as to who was responsible or why. It contained teasing and cryptic little details as I followed Quinn and his team on their investigation. The characters themselves are quite likeable, but I am not sure about Quinn he is an oddball in some ways.

This is the fourth in the series and it worked very well as a stand alone. True to my usual form I haven’t read the previous books, but didn’t feel that I was missing out too much on any previous stories. It has left me very intrigued and wanting to read the previous books in the series.

If you like early 1900’s detective, murder mystery then this is a really must read one . It is well paced and kept me guessing all the way through, it does have some good historical references. This is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

rm shot 2

R. N. Morris is the author of eight historical crime novels. His first, A Gentle Axe, was published by Faber and Faber in 2007. Set in St Petersburg in the nineteenth century, it features Porfiry Petrovich, the investigating magistrate from Dostoevsky’s great novel, Crime and Punishment. The book was published in many countries, including Russia. He followed that up with A Vengeful Longing, which was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger. A Razor Wrapped in Silk came next, followed by The Cleansing Flames, which was nominated for the Ellis Peters Historical Novel Dagger. The Silas Quinn series of novels, set in London in 1914, began with Summon Up The Blood, followed by The Mannequin House, The Dark Palace and now The Red Hand of Fury, published on 31 March, 2018.

Taking Comfort is a standalone contemporary novel, written as Roger Morris. He also wrote the libretto to the opera When The Flame Dies, composed by Ed Hughes.

Social Media Links – TwitterFacebook page for Red Hand of FuryWebsite

Giveaway – Win a hardback copy of The Red Hand of Fury (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.

ENTER HERE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A HARDBACK COPY

Follow the tour and see what other readers think

The Red Hand of Fury Full Banner.jpg

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