#BookReview : Letterbox by P.A.Davies @padavies #Letterbox @CarolineBookBit

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I am delighted to be sharing “Letterbox” by P.A.Davies as part of the blog tour by Caroline at Bits About Books. My thanks to Caroline for my spot on the tour and also the author for my e-copy of the book.

You can purchase a copy at :-
Paperback (signed): https://padavies.co.uk/shop/
Paperback or Ebook from Amazon: getbook.at/Letterbox

Synopsis:

Letterbox is strong, powerful, emotive. A harrowing novel about the 1996 Manchester IRA bombing – what a haunting tale and heartbreaking insight into the lives of those, responsible for the bombings and of those, who by their very being had no choice but to be implicated in it… their lives will never be the same…
At approximately 09.00 hrs on the 15th June 1996, an unassuming white lorry was parked on Corporation Street in the city centre of Manchester, England; It contained over 3000 pounds of high explosive.

At 11.15 hrs the same day, Manchester witnessed the detonation of the largest device on the British mainland since the Second World War … The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility for the attack.

Based around actual events, LETTERBOX tells the story of Liam Connor, an ordinary boy brought up in Manchester by a seemingly ordinary family.  He goes to the local school, loves football and has a best friend called Sean … an ordinary life.

Unbeknown to Liam, his father, Michael Connor, harbours a dark historic secret and follows a life less ordinary … as a furtive yet high ranking soldier within the IRA.

As a result of extraordinary circumstances, Liam’s innocent and carefree world is shattered when he is exposed to the truth about his family’s heritage and then learns about the tragic death of his father at the hands of the SAS.

Consumed with both hate and the need to seek retribution, Liam is taken to Ireland where he is intensively trained to become a highly skilled and efficient soldier within the Irish Republican Army … He is 16 years old.

Some years later, following the drug-induced death of his beloved sister, Liam is given the opportunity to exact his revenge on those he believed should truly be blamed for the tragedies in his life … The British Government.

Thus, on the 15th June 1996, it was Liam’s responsibility to drive the bomb-laden lorry into the unsuspecting city of Manchester and let the voice of the IRA be clearly heard …

And listened to…

My Thoughts:

This has been a difficult review for me to write. I understand people have their own reasons for their actions, I do not always agree with them. Trying to kill people to make a point is not something I agree with. But I am reviewing a book based on actual events and I will try to convey my thoughts on the story.

Theauthorhas used facts from the 1996 Manchester bombing by the IRA and wrapped a fictional aspect around it to create an addictive, powerful, hard and yet compelling read. As you will see from his Author bio below, he was raised in Manchester, he has an interest in the city. The synopsis is detailed so you are aware in advance of the content of the story.

The story begins with two old friends meeting up by chance just before the explosion, they have not seen each other for years. I was then taken back as these two characters as they grew up. Liam and Sean become best friends and I got to experience their childhood antics and the taunts towards Liam from other children. Liam’s family is a one of the father being away working a lot, with Liam not knowing exactly what his father does. This all changes one night and suddenly opens up a world that challenges everything Liam believes in.

The first part of the story is actually the main bulk of the book and deals with Liam, Sean and their lives. Then towards the end of the book is the shorter Part Two, and I got to learn a little bit about Liam’s sister. Even though she has been in the story, she is often only a brief mention, it is in this part of the story that I finally got to learn about her, and how events have affected her on a personal level. The often forgotten and older of the two siblings.

The story also incorporates little bits of history from the 1916 Easter Uprising against British rule in the Irish Republic, and the IRA. This gave a different perspective to the Manchester bombing. Though there are political reasons for why this happened, the author has not gone into the politics too much. He has kept the story about the friendship of two boys, about their family and also their belief.

The author, for me has done a wonderful job of setting out this story. I was hooked pretty quickly and as I was slowly drawn deeper in. I got a real sense of family and friendship from the lives of the boys. As they got older and events unfolded the speed gradually increased and I was flipping pages faster, it was if it had taken on an urgency as I turned the pages quicker.

The bombing is described and the author has in my opinion dealt with it well. I felt that he hadn’t over dramatised the event, but had shown a side of an event from the perspective of a characters personal point of view.

This is a book that I would definitely recommend to readers. It is an emotional, strong, fact based book.

I would also advise reading the Epilogue. I know many readers do this, but for those that don’t, you will find just a couple of pages of very interesting facts of Manchester before and also after the bombing.

About the Author:

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P.A. Davies grew up in Manchester, UK, a place he has lived in and around all his life – he loves Manchester and is proud to be part of the multi-cultural, modern city that houses two Premiership football teams and is the birthplace of many a famous band, such as Oasis, the Stone Roses, Take That and Simply Red.

For most of his life, he dabbled with writing various pieces, from poems to short fictional stories just for fun. However, following advice from a good friend he decided to have a go at writing a novel. Thus, his first novel ‘Letterbox’ was conceived, a fictional take on the infamous IRA bombing of Manchester in 1996. It took him over a year to complete but while doing so, he found it to be one of the most satisfying and interesting paths he had ever followed. It comes as no surprise that the writing bug now became firmly embedded within him.

P.A. Davies’ second book was published in May 2013, ‘George: A Gentleman of the Road’, a true story about one of Manchester’s homeless. His third novel, ‘The Good in Mister Philips’, is an erotic novel (arguably set to rival Fifty Shades…!) and his fourth, ‘Nobody Heard Me Cry’ (Dec. 2015) is again a fact-based tale, this time of Manchester’s darker side. The thriller ‘Absolution’ (Oct. 2017) is his fifth novel. Currently, P.A. Davies is writing his sixth novel, titled ‘I, Muslim.’

To label P.A. Davies’ writings would be difficult because his works diverse from thrillers to touching novels to true-to-life tales embedded in a captivating story for the author is an imaginative and versatile storyteller.

Follow the Author on ––  Website –  Facebook –  Twitter –  Goodreads – Amazon –  Google – Instagram

Other Books by the Author – 

 Absolution
Nobody Heard Me Cry
The Good in Mister Philips
George: A Gentleman of the Road
Letterbox

See what others think by following the tour

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

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Summer at The Cafe at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe @hjrolfe #BookReview

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I am absolutely over the moon to be sharing my thoughts on “Summer at The Cafe at the End of the Pier” by Helen Rolfe. Get your copy here at Amazon UK. I am not going to lie I love this series a huge amount, so much so that I have already got the rest of the series pre-ordered 🙂 If you have read this series have you noticed what is being published on 27th December (lots of happy dancing and whooping 🙂 🙂 🙂 !!!)

If you have not started this series…. Why Not ! 😦 Make amends and get a copy of the first book HERE it’s free by the way and it is a great little novella that marks the start of this fabulous series.

Synopsis:

Searching for love this summer? You’ll find it at The Café at the End of the Pier…

Since moving to Salthaven-on-Sea to help her beloved grandparents run their charming little café at the end of the pier, Jo has blossomed.

The café is at the heart of the community, and Jo is determined to serve up a little romance to her customers alongside her delicious cooking. As summer sizzles, her plans to bring the town’s lonely hearts together on blind dates, each with a specially designed menu, are finally getting into full swing…

Spring in Salthaven brought new friendships, lost loves, and a little flirtation… But as a fresh opportunity threatens to tempt Jo away from the town, will she find where she belongs – and her own love story – at The Café at the End of the Pier?

A perfect feel-good summer read, for fans of Debbie Johnson and Cathy Bramley

*****

Readers love The Cafe at the End of the Pier:

A beautifully written feel-good story that will make you smile’

‘Loved the characters and couldn’t wait to turn the page’

‘What an absolute delight!’

My Thoughts:

Each new instalment is like catching up with old friends. With the cafe being the centre of the series, I like to think of myself as sitting at a corner table listening in to the local gossip and seeing new people whilst drinking a mug of black coffee and eating one of Jo or Molly’s scrumptious culinary creations.

So through the previous stories I have got to know a little about the cafe and its owner Jo, how her life has changed since running the cafe. A few months in and the work is hard, the days are long but the rewards are definitely worth it. There is a downside however as she realises that things break, things need replacing, these are the standard run of the mill problems and give her pause for thought.

The old characters are still here and I gradually get to know a little more about them and their lives. New characters are introduced to me, though they are regulars to Jo and the cafe. A nice amount of romance is in the air as she tries her hand at match making again, and who is on the horizon for Jo? There are a few contenders and I know who I would like to see her matched up with!

There are ongoing themes from the previous stories regarding a rift, the match making, Jo’s personal life and also that of her grandparents and mum. This is where I advise reading this series in order as you build up a relationship with the characters and discover the things that make them who they are and discover how the community of Salthaven clicks.

These are wonderful stories set in an idyllic seaside cafe and it’s surrounding area. I work in a cafe/ restaurant/ice cream parlour and so know the ins and outs of working in this environment and the author really does have several aspects of the business down to a tea (pun intended 😉).

The author has built a fabulous community around the cafe and it is a hub for grandparents, parents, teenagers, couples and those who are alone. They have been incorporated into a story that has some realistic scenarios and by the end of this book there was a definite Oooohhh moment, a sneaky ending and roll on the next one.

If you are after an escape for an hour then you really must pay a visit to the Cafe at the End of the Pier series, it is charming and delightful with a warm welcome, some fabulous food and company with a side order of romance. An Absolutely Highly Recommended from me.

About the Author:

2krhc8k2oi7ko3vv94v986teti._SY200_Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community. Characters often face challenges and must fight to overcome them, but above all, Helen’s stories always have a happy ending.

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

Helen also writes for Orion Books under the name Helen Rolfe. Her new series, Cafe at the End of the Pier, is out in 2018 and begins with a Valentine’s short story.

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

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

To learn more about Helen and her writing, find her at:

Website – FacebookTwitter

The Pier Books:

The next one “Autumn at The Cafe at the End of the Pier” is available for preorder at Amazon UK

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

#BookReview of Proof Positive by Lucy V Hay @LucyVHayAuthor @rararesources

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Proof Positive” by Lucy V Hay as part of the blog tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. This book was originally released as “Lizzie’s Story” you can get a copy HERE My thanks to Rachel and Lucy for my spot on the tour and my e-copy of the book.

Synopsis:

(Intersection Series Book 1)

On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Lizzie finds herself pregnant: she’s literally days away from her exam results and university beckons around the corner. The bright Lizzie has big plans, but can she have the life she wanted, with a baby in tow? What will her family and friends say? And what will the baby’s father choose to do: stay out of it, or stand by her?

An exciting “What if…” journey in the style of “Run Lola Run” and “Sliding Doors”.

My Thoughts:

Lizzie finds she is pregnant just as she is due to turn 18 and go off to University, her future hangs in the balance as she has a decision to make. It is a decision that could change her life and plans, what will she decide?

This is a really interesting read and not quite what I was expecting. Told from from Lizzie’s perspective I was taken through various scenarios from when she learns the test is positive. It is almost like reading a series of short stories all with the same starting point. She is pregnant what are her options? Well there are various options that spring to mind and the author goes through each one and how it affects Lucy and her future. Some of the scenarios are straight forward and some caught me unawares with their outcomes.

During these scenarios you get to learn about Lucy, her family and her friends and also their actions or I should say reactions to Lizzie’s news. These scenarios are quite addictive and the author has provided quite a few interesting and thought-provoking scenes. The decisions that are put forward in this story are not about what is right or wrong, the decision to be made is for Lizzie and what is right for her.

This is a relatively quick read at only 200 Kindle pages and I found that I moved through this quite quickly. There are various aspects I liked about this story and at times I found it to be enjoyable and also emotional and the odd moment that really pulled on the heartstrings. It is a book that looks at teen pregnancy and the dilemma that accompany decision and its effects on all involved. It is a book I would recommend to other readers.

About the Author:

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Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), as well as the script editor and advisor on numerous other features and shorts.  Lucy’s also the author of WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books’ “Creative Essentials” range, as well as its follow ups on DRAMA SCREENPLAYS and DIVERSE CHARACTERS. Her debut crime novel, THE OTHER TWIN, is now out with Orenda Books and has been featured in The Sun and Sunday Express Newspapers, plus Heatworld and Closer Magazine. Check out all her books, HERE.

Social Media Links –

Follow the Tour and see what others think

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Island Life Sentence by Carrie Jo Howe @CarrieJoHowe : @unbounders #IslandLifeSentence : @annecater #RandomThingsTours : #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Island Life Sentence” by Carrie Jo Howe as part of the blog tour by Anne Cater of #RandomThingsTours My huge thanks to the author for my copy and also Anne for my spot on the tour. You can purchase a copy of this book from Amazon UK and it is available in eBook and paperback format.

Synopsis:

Peg Savage has contractually agreed to move to Key West, Florida. The smudged signatures on the damp cocktail napkin are irrefutable proof. “An adventure…” her husband Clark says. Peg can’t swim; she’s afraid of bridges (there are 42 of them); and she doesn’t want to leave her friends. However, after a bottle of Cabernet, a move from Chicago to the southernmost city in the United States seems like the best decision ever. But now Clark has taken a long term job in Cuba and she’s on her own. Neither her dog Nipper, nor the ghosts in the attic, offer up any good advice. But how hard can it be living in paradise? Peg dives into island life but the more effort she makes, the wider her wake of catastrophes. 

My Thoughts:

Peg and Clark live in Chicago, when Clark suggests they move to one of the Key West islands Peg is a little reticent to say the least, not only to leave her friend, her home but also the thought of crossing the 42 bridges leaves her in a cold sweat.

Oh Peg! What a character she is. Funny without meaning to be, dramatic, easily swayed and an ability to attract trouble without even trying. Once in Key West she has to get used to the unfamiliar climate,people, language and local wildlife. She is left to unpack and find her feet while Clark has to go to Cuba to set up an important business opportunity. During this time mishap and misadventure are her close friends.She has little confidence and finds the whole experience stressful.

Peg is the narrator of her own story and I admit to getting hooked straight away. The chapters are quick and quirky, with humorous little tales of her experiences. There are also some terrifying moments, some are definitely justified and some are just Peg being Peg.

This book for me was pure escapism and an absolute joy to read, a simple story with observations told in a fun and at times hilarious way. I can honestly say I really did not want this to end. I would love to think the author is considering a follow-up to this book as I would buy it in a heartbeat. As a character Peg is brilliant with her own style and way of approaching life.

This is a book you can escape into, one that gives a different perspective on the idyllic island lifestyle. A fabulous book to escape into for a few hours and one I would highly recommend. Yep I loved it xx

About the Author:

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After raising three boys in the suburbs of Chicago, Carrie Jo Howe now lives in Key West, Florida with her husband and her dog. Her new book, Island Life Sentence is a fictional account of an American Mid-western woman who feels like an alien in the “one human family” of Key West. Carrie Jo’s first book, Motherhood is NOT for Babies, received raved reviews, and works wonderfully as an alternate form of contraception. Her blog Florida Keys Crime Report, tells of all the goings on in the Keys, where bank robbers get away on bicycles, and perps caught with an undersized, pinched, out-of-season lobster get more jail time than drug runners. She is currently working on her second Key West book.

Follow Carrie on – Twitter –  Website –  Facebook 

Follow the tour and see what other Book Bloggers think

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My Summer Reading List.

Plans for my summer reading.

As some of you may be aware I am planning on taking a break from Blog Tours over the three months of the summer as work gets crazily busy, I work in a tourist destination and this means long hours and not much time for reading. Even though this was a tough call to make it was also the best call, this way I am not letting any organisers down if I struggle to meet a schedule, also it means I am not rushing to read a book and possibly not enjoying it as much as I should.

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As well as working I do like to get out in my garden, mainly vegetables and some flowers, walking around beautiful Cornwall gardens, coastline and hidden away places. I always have a book with me and my camera.

Then there are my two dogs Billy and Buster, I couldn’t resist putting them in this post. They alert me to the postman/woman arriving so I can intercept (this translates as hides some of the books hehehe) the books that I have bought or been sent 🙂

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So I thought I would make a list of the books that are at the top of my list from my TBR, I have photo’s “woohoo” so you see my physical books and then I will mention some of the books on my kindle. I am obviously not going to be able to read all the books that I am going to list, but it will be great to look back and see how I got on.

So here they are:

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Now to those I have on my Kindle:

I have managed to buy various book series on my kindle and the vast majority are from recommendations and reviews from fellow Book Bloggers. The series I really want to read are

Angela Marsons – DI Kim Stone series. I have heard so many good things about this author and I’m really looking forward to reading this series. ( I know I will get many “about time” comments about this lol)

Barbara Copperthwaite: I was over the moon to have won a copy of “Flowers for The Dead” and it is an amazing read. I have since bought all her other books and I am desperate to read them all.

I love the covers and the sound of Bella Osbourne’s “Ottercombe Bay” series and have quite a few of these ready for the odd sunny summers day reading that I may get.

I have been collecting Karin Slaughter books and as yet have not read any, so another new to me author that I am excited to read.

I don’t know if I dare mention that I have not read any Anne Cleaves (Oh I know the shame of it), my husband loves to watch the series Vera and I must admit to following it and cannot wait to get into these and the Shetland ones.

So as you are all responsible for this rather large Kindle (1,122) and also physical books (500+) it will probably be increasing rather than decreasing, as there are some fantastic books coming out. I have a couple of questions for you…….

  1. What book/ series would you start with ?
  2. What is not on my list that should be ? ( I cannot believe I am asking this as I know I will be adding even more to my groaning TBR 🙂  )

 

Any hows, I have to go to work ( surprise, surprise) and I will catch up with you all later. Have fun and read lots

Yvonne xx

#BlogTour : Indigo Lost by S R Summers @IndigoLost : @Authoright #Extract

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I am sharing an extract today for “Indigo Lost” by S R Summers for the blog tour by Authoright. Indigo Lost is available in hardback, paperback and eBook format from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

After the brutal murder of her family, and the uncovering of her mysterious abilities, a young girl escapes and hides in the city of Las Vegas — but who is going to protect her?
Violence has always has always been familiar to seven-year-old Mysty, known for her piercing indigo eyes. Ever since she can remember her father has been an aggressive and brutish man, but then one day things go too far and Mysty witnesses the violent murder of her beloved mother. Taken in by the police for safety and questioning, she realises that she has nobody to turn to and can only rely on herself to survive. So, when she has the chance, she decides to make her escape; the only problem is she’s three floors up and it’s one hell of a drop. But seeing no other option, she takes a leap of faith out of the window and never looks back.
Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, the king of the city, cut-throat mob boss Donny Capello, is contemplating his next takeover when an out-of-control truck nearly crashes into him. Dazed, he notices a skinny young girl with bright blue eyes injured and crouching in a doorway, who he swears somehow saved his life, like a guardian angel. But before he can speak to her she disappears. Determined to find out who the girl is, and why she would trouble herself to save someone as irredeemable as him, Donny Capello will do anything to find her. But she’s not yet ready to reveal herself, and this time there’s no window for her to escape from, and Vegas is Capello’s city, so it’s only a matter of time before he finds her.
In the first book of her epic Infinity Squared series, author S.R. Summers has drawn on her varied life experiences and the challenges she’s personally faced —from work-place bullying to xenophobia— to craft not only a dramatic and, at times uncomfortable, narrative, but also one which provokes questions within the reader about their place in the world. Through the relationships between her central female protagonist, Mysty, and those she encounters, Summers hopes to highlight the importance of personal growth, the internal conflicts an individual experiences when faced with diicult life questions, and the strength and empowerment of reaching out in life and making real connections and friendships rather than the at-a-distance relationships of today’s technology-mad world.
Blending elements of crime, fantasy, romance and coming-of-age with social fiction, Indigo Lost is the perfect next read for those looking for an exciting and thought-provoking new series to get stuck into this spring.

Extract:

Extract – Indigo Lost – p165

This extract comes from a scene between Donny Capello, mafia boss of Vegas, and our young central female character, a runaway child from a broken home who escaped a brutal end to a tragic domestic abuse case that claimed the lives of her sister, mother and grandmother. This is an important moment when she chooses a new name for herself, as her powerful new friend offers her a chance to get her life back on track. An opportunity she is only partially cognisant of, in her childlike innocence.

He got up and came back with a pad of paper and a pen, and slid it across the table to her right side, knowing she was right-handed, and looked at her. 

Will you write down what you will not tell me?”

Her face paled again and her heart pounded. Why did he have to ruin everything by asking her to do that? She didn’t want to do that. She squeezed her eyes shut. But the urge to wipe her soul clean of the pain, of the hurt and the blood, was growing within her. But why here is this room, with this . . . stranger?

You don’t want to know what I know. I don’t want you to know.” It was a whisper. “Sometimes I wish I was dead too so I wouldn’t be able to remember.” She shook her head. “I can’t write it.”

The man who killed your family, I can make sure he’s never able to come after you.”

Her eyes snapped open, and despite the emotion they were bright and alert now. “He’s in prison. I think he is, anyway.”

Even easier.”

She shook her head. “No. I’m not a killer. Though he deserves to die a million times for what he did.”

You’re sure?”

Yes . . .”

It was a shaky whisper. It was clear the idea was tempting, but agreeing to more death was obviously unthinkable for her. And he didn’t want her to become blood-thirsty, he just wanted her to feel safe.

Will you tell me your name?”

No.”

She picked up the pen and wrote the initials of her mother’s name very faintly, then crossed them out, not wanting to give away any clues.

You can’t go through your whole life being a mystery with no name.”

Absent-mindedly she wrote the word ‘mystery’, doing an impressive slanted ‘M’ and two looping ‘Y’s. She tilted her head and crossed out some of the letters, and then rewrote the word she ended up with. She put the pen down and turned the pad around and pushed it to him.

Then I’ll be a mystery inside a name.”

This was no average kid. He was going to have to get used to that.

Mysty? Two ‘Y’s? Unusual. It suits you. You’re sure?”

She nodded decisively.

Fine. OK, Mysty, now explain to me another mystery: how do you survive those jumps off buildings?”

He crossed his arms and leaned back, looking at her with eyes that told her he wanted an answer and it had better be honest. Squirming a little under the scrutiny, she fiddled with her napkin while she tried to come up with a good enough answer.

About the Author:

  About the author: Living in Leamington Spa, West Midlands, S.R. Summers owns and runs the popular ZouBisou cafe. Previously, she has enjoyed a career working within broadcast media whilst living in Belgium and within the field of e-commerce. She also holds a degree in History from the University of Cambridge. When not managing her cafe, you’ll find her busy writing and working on the final book in her Infinity Squared eight-part series. The first in the series, Indigo Lost by S.R, Summers (published by ShieldCrest Publishing XX April 2018 RRP £20 hardback, £12 paperback and £5.99 e-book) is available to purchase from online retailers, including Amazon, and to order from all good bookstores. For more information you can follow the author @indigolost.

Follow the tour to see what other Book Blogger think

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#BlogTour : Small Change by Keddie Hughes @keddiehughes : @Authoright : #BookReview

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Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Small Change” by Keddie Hughes as part of the blog tour with Authoright. Small change can be purchase in paperback or eBook format from Amazon UK. My thanks to both the author and Kate Appleton for my copy and also my spot on the tour.

Synopsis:

Murder, marital troubles and the murky world of football corruption collide into one woman’s life in this dramatic new novel, set against political upheaval and Sectarianism in Glasgow in 2011.
Forty-two year old Izzy Campbell wants more to life than husband who is over fond of a drink as well as a fanatical Rangers supporter. For as long as she can remember she’s always put her family’s needs first, but with her son turning eighteen she decides it’s time things change. Izzy signs up to volunteer at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and enrols to study for a part time degree in Social Sciences, where she meets fellow student and SMP candidate, Bridget, who encourages her to start a career for the first time, something her husband Jim does not support. Meanwhile, Jim’s security company is preparing to make a bid for a contract with his beloved Rangers, in spite of the Club’s reportedly murky finances. So when Izzy encounters charismatic journalist, Sean Docherty who reveals to her that he is investigating alleged financial corruption at Rangers, she finds her loyalties torn. However, hoping to protect her husband, and with her interest piqued in more ways than one, she finds herself oering to help Sean with his research unaware of his family connections to the murder of a young Celtic fan. A murder her husband witnessed.

Growing up in Glasgow, in a staunchly Protestant home, with a Rangers fan for a father, Keddie Hughes is no stranger to the blight of Sectarianism which she refers to as ‘Scotland’s secret shame’. However, she’s quick to highlight that her story isn’t only about the problems surrounding football. As a self-proclaimed woman entering the ‘third age’ she wanted to create an authentic and relatable character in the form of Izzy. Through her main protagonist, Keddie acknowledges the struggles that women can often go through —from self-doubt to loneliness and feelings of invisibility— when faced with the prospect of their children growing up and moving away. Combining her own experiences as a psychologist and executive coach, Keddie hopes that her character’s journey will provide inspiration and understanding to others and show them that even small changes can add up to make a big dierence in life.
An engaging and relatable story of one woman’s personal evolution and transformation against a backdrop of social and political upheaval in Glasgow, Small Change by Keddie Hughes is the perfect next read for fans of commercial fiction with an edge.

My Thoughts:

Normally I would start “My Thoughts” with my version of a synopsis, but I think you will agree the one above is very thorough. So I will get straight on with what I thought.

This is an enjoyable and very interesting read. I was a little concerned that having a football theme I might not take to it, I am not really a fan of football , but even though it does feature it is not overly done and so I could really enjoy the story. I got to meet Izzie and was taken on a journey into Glasgow and the life in which Izzie has. It explored the contrast between a comfortable homelife to those with nothing or on the brink of loosing what they had. Izzie works with CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau) and meets a wide range of people with a myriad of different problems. Problems are something that Rangers FC are well aware of, and it plays its part in upsetting the world of Izzie and her husband.

The character of Izzie is a really likeable, warm, cosy woman who wants to help others and is also a loyal wife and mum. The story is told from her perspective and I was given a chance to feel like I was getting to know her. Every couple of chapters or so you get a dialogue in script form from her husband Jim and this added an extra sense of what was going on. The plot is how Izzie takes various changes around her and adapts to them. You begin to sense the change in her and its a wonderful journey that I really got caught up in.

The rivalry between football clubs and fans is something I was awware of but I didn’t realise how deep rooted it actually was, so this was a bit of an eye opener for me.

This is a really good story. It is one of those that ambles along at it’s own pace, for me it was the perfect pace. A book that kept my attention and held it throughout, I should mention that I read this in one sitting and finished just after 1am! A wonderful read and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

About the author: Born in Glasgow, Keddie Hughes has worked for over thirty years in executive coaching and leadership development for large multi-national companies. In 2012 she completed the Faber Academy writing course and later enjoyed writing for eighteen months under the mentorship of author Jill Dawson. Today Keddie lives in Buckinghamshire where she dedicates as much time as she can to writing. Her first novel, An Obstinate Vanity was published in 2016 (CreateSpace). Small Change by Keddie Hughes (published by Spiffing Covers ) is available to purchase from online retailers including Amazon and to order from all good bookstores.

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#BlogTour : a spoke in the wheel by Kathleen Jowitt @KathleenJowitt : #BookReview

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I am delighted to be on the blog tour for “a spoke in the wheel” by Kathleen Jowitt. My thanks to Kathleen for my copy and also for my spot on the tour. You can buy a copy at Amazon UK and is available in paperback or eBook format.

Synopsis:

The first thing I saw was the wheelchair.

The first thing she saw was the doper.

Ben Goddard is an embarrassment – as a cyclist, as an athlete, as a human being. And he knows it.

Now that he’s been exposed by a positive drugs test, his race wins and his work with disabled children mean nothing. He quits professional cycling in a hurry, sticks a pin in a map, and sets out to build a new life in a town where nobody knows who he is or what he’s done.

But when the first person he meets turns out to be a cycling fan, he finds out that it’s not going to be quite as easy as that.

Besides, Polly’s not just a cycling fan, she’s a former medical student with a chronic illness and strong opinions. Particularly when it comes to Ben Goddard…

My Thoughts:

Ben Hubbard is a disgraced drug taking cyclist. He wants to become anonymous as he walks away from his career, instead of trying to make excuses or trying to justify his actions. He leaves his family and his lifestyle and wants to start afresh. A chance encounter with flatmates Vicki and Polly gives him the chance to a take the first steps.

This is a book I wasn’t sure what to make of from the synopsis especially as I am not really a road cycling fan. Little things caught my eye and I am so glad they did because I started the book and devoured it in one sitting. I love books that surprise me and this is one that did that.

Three characters Ben, Vicki and Polly are very different in their personalities and come across as quite a rag-tag bunch. With various aspects of their lives that make them stand out you get to learn about Ben and his past and the way he is starting from scratch. Polly is a brilliantly blunt, no-nonsense person whose chronic illness means she is reliant on a wheelchair. Finally Vicki a workaholic who likes to give people a chance and I think is something like the glue to the group.

So this is not just about cycling though it does play a role and has mentions throughout. What it is however is a story about three people and how they deal with life from three very different perspectives. Cycling is the unifying point of this group for various reasons and the author has found a wonderful balance and not allowed it to be the most important factor of the book. Kathleen allows each characters story to unfold and make themselves heard.

If you want a wonderfully addictive and absorbing character driven story then this is one I would highly recommend. It is not a depressing book by a long shot, and it is written in an honest and at times humorous way. The author has brought life to the characters on the pages as you experience the ups and downs of their lives in this realistic portrayal of three people.

My huge thanks to the author for bringing this book to my attention and for my honest thoughts on it and for my spot o the Blog Tour xx

About the Author:

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Kathleen Jowitt was born in Winchester, UK, and grew up deep in the Welsh Marches and, subsequently, on the Isle of Wight. After completing her undergraduate degree in English Literature at the University of Exeter she moved to Guildford and found herself working for a major trade union. She now lives in Cambridge, works in London, and writes on the train.

Her first novel, Speak Its Name, was the first self-published book ever to be shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize.

Follow Kathleen on –  Website – Twitter – Facebook – Instagram – Amazon Author Page

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