#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 : The Forever Night Stand by Bena Roberts @benaroberts : @rararesources : #Spotlight

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Today I am shining a spotlight on “The Forever Night Stand” by Bena Roberts for the Blog Tour organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. This is yet another book I would love to have the time in my schedule to read.

Synopsis:

A two hour romance which starts with drama and mayhem!

Sara has her back up against the wall. She is recovering from the side effects of chemotherapy and at her own “cancer free” party, she makes a decision that will change her life forever.

The adventure begins when she leaves her posh lifestyle in Scotland and moves in with her Bollywood loving parents, in West London. Her parents are tragically ashamed of Sara’s actions and her electronic monitor. She decides to make them happy again and considers re-marrying. 

Enter Raj, a possible hero who comes with the promise of a huge Indian wedding in Goa!

George, the childhood love of her life who seems to be hanging around every corner. Or should she just go back to her husband? Sara faces the biggest dilemma of her life, after making the colossal mistake of her life. What will she do and whom will she choose?

Purchase From –  Amazon –  Smashwords – Kobo – Nook

About the Author:

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Bena Roberts was a journalist and analyst. Now she prefers the title novelist and romance adventurist. She graduated in England 1994 and then with a Masters in 1997.

Born in 1973, Bena lived in West London until she was 24. Then she lived and worked in Budapest, Bruges, Prague, Amsterdam, Vienna, Hamburg and Munich. She currently resides in Germany, between Heidelberg and Frankfurt. Although she still refers to London as ‘home.’

Bena successfully created a technology blog which gained funding, had lunch with Steve Ballmer and was ‘top 50 most influential woman in mobile.’ Her blog also won several awards including Metro Best Blog.

Bena has two children, loves small dogs and always writes books with a cup of Earl Grey.

Bena’s favorite literary style is black humor, and she hopes to offer a unique voice in this area. Her books aim to confront the darkest of life experiences, with levity. Most of her writing is heavy hitting yet also entertaining.

Also –  Available My Cake! A short story

Pre-Order Tammy&Lisa – How far would you go to protect your teenage son ?

Follow Bena on –  Twitter –  Amazon Author Page – Goodreads Author Page

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#BlogTour : Judge Walden: Back in Session by Peter Murphy @AnneCater #RandomThingsTours @NoExitPress #JudgeWalden #BookReview

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I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for “Judge Walden: Back In session” by Peter Murphy and today I am sharing my thoughts. Thank you to Anne Cater at #RandomThingsTours and No Exit Press for a spot on the tour and also a copy of the book that is due to be published on 24th May.

Synopsis:

If you like Rumpole of the Bailey, you’ll love Walden of Bermondsey

Judge Walden is back, to preside over five new cases at Bermondsey Crown Court.
Retired resident judge Peter Murphy takes us back to the world of criminal trials in South London for another session with Charlie Walden keeping the peace between his fellow judges – Marjorie, ‘Legless’ and Hubert – while fighting off the attacks of the Grey Smoothies, the civil servants who seem intent on reducing the court’s dwindling resources to vanishing point in the name of ‘business cases’ and ‘value for money’.
Meet the rum and memorable characters who pop into Charlie’s domain, including Lester Fogle from one of London’s Disorganised Crime Families, Arthur Swivell the one-time Bermondsey singing legend and the very unbardlike Elias Shakespeare. And you will never feel the same about ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ or the Entente Cordiale again.
Fortunately, Charlie has Elsie and Jeanie’s lattes and ham and cheese baps, and newspaper vendor George’s witty banter, to sustain him in the mornings; and in the evenings, the Delights of the Raj, or La Bella Napoli, to enjoy with the Reverend Mrs Walden.

My Thoughts:

This is a book that contains 5 Stories about the Bermondsey Resident Judge, Charles Walden. They are a mix of cases that are brought before the Judge and his jury as well as behind the scenes of the court and the canteen with its dubious meal of the day! The synopsis for this book is great and definitely caught my eye when I had an invite to be part of the tour.

I really enjoyed reading Walden of Bermondsey: Where There’s Smoke and it did set the scene and expectations for “”Back In Session”. It takes in the various things of Walden’s daily life, his interactions with members of the public, the jury, other colleagues and the “Grey Smoothies” or civil servants as we know them!

The cases are brought before him and I enjoyed the way they were laid out, they are not full of legal jargon and so makes it easy to follow each case. It is not all about the cases though, there are things that occur behind the scenes that give great insight into how things work and also the politics that happen. Pandering to the civil servants demands and being a little sneaky is part of the course.

Walden is a principled and somewhat old-fashioned character who likes things done right, but also in an ethical and fair way. His wife is Reverend Mrs Walden, she is the priest in charge at Parish of St Aethelburgh and All Angels in Southwark. Together they make quite a formidable couple and their lives outside court does change for one of the stories.

The cases themselves cover a mix of topics as do the behind the scenes stories. These are great for quick reads, but once you get started you will want read one after the other as they flow brilliantly into each other, and helps to build up the characters and what makes them tick. The characters are a real mixed bunch that show many various traits you find in people, some you will agree with and some will make you hmmmm over.

These are great stories that show the highs and lows of the legal system with humorous undertones and stories to capture the imagination. It is entertaining reading and one I would definitely recommend to readers who would prefer a more lighthearted read, though there are serious stories included.

You can get a copy of this book in either paperback or e-book format from Amazon UK from 24th May 2018.

About the Author:

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Peter Murphy was born in 1946. After graduating from Cambridge University he spent a career in the law, as an advocate and teacher, both in England and the United States. His legal work included a number of years in The Hague as defence counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal. He returned to England in 2007 on his appointment as a judge of the Crown Court. He lives with his wife, Chris, in Cambridgeshire.

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#BlogBlitz : Game Players by Anita Waller @anitamayw : @BloodhoundBook @sarahhardy681 : #NetGalley #GamePlayers #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Game Players” by Anita Waller today as part of a blog tour by Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books. It is available to purchase from Amazon UK. My thanks to Sarah, Anita and Bloodhound for my copy of the book from NetGalley.

Synopsis:

When a gang of six children playing in their den in the woods spot a man burying drugs nearby, it marks the beginning of the end of their childhoods.

Unsure what to do, the children dig up the drugs and take them away. But when the dealer, who they watched bury the stash, shows up dead, the youngsters are thrown into turmoil.

Scared of what might happen, the children tell the police about the body they have discovered.

Meanwhile, a group of gangsters start searching for their missing drugs.

 Soon the children and their families become the target of the vicious criminals who will stop at nothing to retrieve their narcotics…

My Thoughts:

Well the synopsis definitely did the job for me when I agreed to read this book for the Book Blitz, it did not however prepare me for the journey contained within its pages and the emotions I would go through reading this story. Be prepared to put everything on hold when you pick up this book, for me it was a “one sitting read” a book that I could not put down.

The six children are a close-knit group and it was great to read a story about a group playing outside, making dens and basically building the bonds of a strong friendship. They definitely have each others backs and this really shows when they discover not only bag of drugs but then a body. They discuss the stages of what they will do and the possible outcomes of their actions. They did not however discuss every possible variable or outcome and I can say that I didn’t envisage the route this story would take.

This fast paced story had me with my heart in my mouth as I read how their childhood innocence was taken from them, the author has injected real emotion, feeling and absolutely shocking story lines within its pages as I read.

The children are fundamental to this story in making this story a really great read. The plot is twisted and although I am not going to give any details, believe when I say you will be horrified, shocked and if like me you really get into a story you will also go through the wringer. It is easy to follow and also quite detailed.

This for me was a book I absolutely loved. It had crime, mystery, suspense and murder that was wrapped around the story of six children and their families as well as a community. It showed the bond of friendship and how decisions they made were for their own justifiable reasons. This is an absolute Highly Recommended read from me.

About the Author:

 

unnamed (1)  Anita Waller was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1946. She married Dave in 1967 and they have three adult children.

She began writing when she was around 8 years of age, writing ‘compositions’ at junior school that became books with chapters.

In 1995 she sent Beautiful to a publisher and as they reached the contract stage the publisher went into liquidation. As a result, the book was consigned to the attic in dejected disgust but in 2013 it was dragged out again for an enforced complete re-type. The original was written on an Amstrad 8256 and the only thing that remained was one hard copy.

Anita is not a typist and it was painfully reworked over two years, submitted to Bloodhound Books who, within three days of reading it, offered her a contract. 31 August 2015 saw its release into the wide world.

Following the outstanding success of Beautiful, she began a sequel on 27 December 2015, finishing it on 19 March 2016. The new novel, Angel, was launched on 7 May 2016.
34 Days followed, with its launch in October 2016. This was a huge success, particularly in the United States. While this, her third book in the psychological thriller genre, was flying out in all directions, she began work on her fourth book.

Winterscroft was a change in genre. It is a supernatural tale, set in Castleton, Derbyshire, and its release date was February 2017.

While she was writing Winterscroft, it became very clear from reading reviews that a sequel to 34 days was needed, and she began work on that. Bloodhound Books launched Strategy, on 10 August 2017.

Her next book, launched February 2018 and entitled Captor, is a psychological thriller, set exclusively in Sheffield. It was an instant success, both in the UK and the US.

The along came Game Players… once more set in Sheffield, the story involves a group of six children who have each other’s backs to a remarkable extent. The darker, criminal side of Sheffield is explored, and the book launch is 18 May 2018.
In her life away from the computer in the corner of her kitchen, she is a Sheffield Wednesday supporter with blue blood in her veins! The club was particularly helpful during the writing of 34 Days, as a couple of matches feature in the novel, along with Ross Wallace. Information was needed, and they provided it.

Her genre is murder – necessary murder.

Follow Anita on – Amazon Author Page – Facebook page – Website – Twitter

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#BlogTour : Decide To Hope by June A. Converse @JuneAConverse : @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Decide To Hope” by June A. Converse as part of the Blog Tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. My thnaks to June for my copy and Rachel for my spot. Decide To Hope is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Synopsis:

An unimaginable trauma. A future that seems impossible. When your world shatters, how do you put it back together?

For 950 days, Kathleen Conners has struggled with that choice. Behind a scarf and sunglasses, she hides from the world, from herself, from The Event, from any future with anyone.

After receiving a box of letters from his deceased mother, Matt Nelson is shoved from his predictable, controlled life to a secluded beach in North Carolina. While trying to understand his mother’s intent, he discovers Kathleen.

Matt must choose whether to follow the path his mother orchestrated or rescue the woman who has captured his heart. When the only person Kathleen blames more than herself reappears, can Matt be the strength Kathleen needs to create a new life, or will he be forced to walk away if she decides the climb is too great?

My Thoughts:

Now I admit to being a little unsure whether to read this book when it landed in my in-box. I was in a bit of a grumpy mood and when I came back to the email the next day I decided that yes I did want to be part of the tour. Life can at times get in the way of things and how we deal with these things goes in some way to explaining what makes us react as we do. Why am I telling you this? Well, life for the two main characters Matt and Kathleen is what this book is about, though their life problems are very different to mine.

Matt is a high-flying tax attorney who has a job that is routine, the job it what he does and not who he is. Kathleen is a recluse dealing, or rather not really dealing with her past, she exists. They do not know each other but the connection is Matts mum and the letters she left to her son  regarding him and Kathleen. His mum saw a special something in Kathleen and hopes that he will see that same something. He cannot ask his mum anything about the letters as she had died recently, he has to decide if he wants to work his way through them.

The plot of this story is about two people who do not realise how to live life to the best they can, they are consumed with different things, Matt’s is his work and Kathleen’s is her past. They have to come to a realisation and make their own decisions as to how they want to experience life. Thy have to make the choice to Decide to Hope.

This book is a beautiful and also a hard book to read. At times I thought that Matt was overbearing, but actually he was taking control in order to help, but is he up to giving the strength that will be required. The story behind Kathleen is brutal and it is gradually teased out as the story progresses.

This is a story about two people and their battle. It is a story that brought me to tears several times with this incredible story. It has that raw, honest, brutal and awe-inspiring feel that gives a glimpse into others lives. The author has given me a glimpse into a side of mental illness at a level I am aware of but have not read about in this quite this way before.

This is a story that I would highly recommend to readers of Womens Fiction.

About the Author:

June Converse Author Photo.jpg  June happily resides in Sandy Springs, Georgia, with her husband, Dave, and their dog, Sodapop.  They have two wonderful adult children and two grandchildren.  She is an enthusiastic exerciser and an accomplished cook.  She and her husband enjoy hiking with Sodapop, traveling, scuba diving, trying new restaurants, concerts, and whatever other adventures they can find.  Reading and a constant desire to learn keeps her busy too.

A trauma survivor who struggles with mental illness, June is continuously reaching for hope like the characters in her books.  She openly discusses her personal struggles on her blog, JuneConverse.com

Decide to Hope is her first novel and relies a great deal on her own experience with trauma, choices, recovery and hope.  If you’d like to discuss trauma, coping and recovery, contact her at JuneConverse.com or DecideToHope.com

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#BlogTour : The Old You by Louise Voss @LouiseVoss1 : @OrendaBooks @annecater : #BookReview #TheOldYou

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I am delighted to be finally sharing my thoughts on “The Old You” by Louise Voss as part of the tour by Anne Cater at Random Things Tours with Orenda Books and my biggest thanks go to them for my spot and copy of the book. The Old You is available from Amazon UK in eBook and Paperback formats.

Synopsis:

Nail-bitingly modern domestic noir
A tense, Hitchcockian psychological thriller
Louise Voss returns with her darkest, most chilling, novel yet…

Lynn Naismith gave up the job she loved when she married Ed, the love of her life, but it was worth it for the happy years they enjoyed together. Now, ten years on, Ed has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and things start to happen; things more sinister than missing keys and lost words. As some memories are forgotten, others, long buried, begin to surface … and Lynn’s perfect world begins to crumble.
But is it Ed’s mind playing tricks, or hers…?

My Thoughts:

How would you deal with your husband gradually loosing himself to early onset dementia? Personally it is something I hope never to have to experience though I know people who have had to deal with it. The author takes dementia and how it impacts not only the sufferer but those around them. Then she takes it on a route that I never saw coming as she took me on a suspense filled and breathtaking journey.

The start of this book really sets up the life of Lynn and Ed as I followed then through the diagnosis and how Lynn can see how their lives will change. My heart went out to both of these characters initially, please note the word “initially” as this believe you me when I say that my thoughts definitely made a massive u-turn!

The story does have a slight time slip element as I got to learn about Lynn in her life before she met Ed and how she met him. I almost dropped my book at this point, and from that point on the sinister and frighteningly realistic story really starts to make itself felt.

I want to say that I had a little hint of a something in the story, but as I reflect back I didn’t work anything out, the author just played games as she let teasing little pieces of information out. By the end of the book I was a little stunned, i should add in a good way, and it took me quite a while to write my review on paper as I was trying to work out what I had read. The twists and jaw dropping realisation that the author has managed to work into this story is brilliant. The plot is devious and manipulative as I learnt, experienced and saw through Lynn’s eyes what was happening around her.

This is a book that caught my attention from the get go and subtlety drew me into a world that was addictive and a real eye opener. By the end of the story my thoughts on the characters had changed so much. If you want a story with a definitely sinister, dark, manipulative and psychologically twisted route then this is the book for you. Billed as having a feel of Hitchcock and a domestic noir, and yes I completely agree with this. It is an addictive and brilliant read, one I would Highly Recommend it is an absolute cracker.

About the Author:

Louise VossOver her eighteen-year writing career, Louise Voss has had books out via pretty much every publishing model there is, from deals with major traditional publishing houses (Transworld and Harper Collins), to digital-only (the Amazon-owned Thomas & Mercer) and self-publishing – she and co-author Mark Edwards were the first UK indie-published authors to hit the No. 1 spot on Amazon back in 2011. She has had eleven novels published in total, five solo and six co-written, a combination of psychological thrillers, police procedurals and contemporary fiction. Louise has an MA(Dist) in Creative Writing and also works as a literary consultant and mentor for writers at http://www.thewritingcoach.co.uk. She lives in South-West London and is a proud member of two female crime-writing collectives, The Slice Girls and Killer Women.

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#BlogTour : No Remorse by Robert Crouch @robertcrouchuk : @CarolineBookBit : #BookReview

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I am delighted to be on the blog tour for “No Remorse” by Robert Crouch and the third instalment in The Kent Fisher Mystery Series. My thanks to Robert for my e copy and Caroline at Bits About Books for my spot on the tour. No Comment is available in eBook format from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

An old man dead. Dementia or murder? Threats won’t stop Kent Fisher from finding out.

At luxury retirement home, Nightingales, appearance matters more than the truth. But what is the truth? Was Anthony Trimble killed as he predicted? If so, who wanted him out of the way, and why?

Kent puzzles over the only clue Trimble left him. Do the numbers come from a takeaway menu or are they a mysterious code that could reveal his darkest secret?

As Kent digs deep, people start dying.

Will Kent win the race to discover the truth, or become the next victim?

Inspired by Agatha Christie and Sue Grafton, Robert Crouch brings a fresh voice and a new twist to the traditional murder mystery.

My Thoughts:

Oh I do like Kent Fisher and in this third book he definitely gets himself into more trouble. His day job as an Environmental Health Officer is becoming increasing more stressful with new workloads, schedules and reshuffles, his home is an animal sanctuary and during his spare time he visits a residential home with his dog Columbo as part of a therapy programme. It is during one of these visits that things feel just a little bit off.

If you have not read this series, then please take a tip from me and read them, another tip read them in order as you will get a real feeling for what makes this character. I am speaking from experience as I read book 2, then 1 and now I am in order for future book 🙂  This is a brilliant series that see’s Kent getting caught up in crimes and mysteries. This book follows certain thread from previous ones building on what we already know of Kent.

No Remorse brings in new faces as well as the key characters from the previous books. The story of a nursing home is the basis for a story that is in my opinion just a little darker than the others and taking various routes that I didn’t expect. There is a mystery for Kent to solve and one that will put him danger yet again. The plot is definitely one that gets you turning the pages as you try to discover what the clues add up to.

I really like the various threads that run through this story, it is not just about the mystery of a body. There is the ongoing problems with the sanctuary and it’s future, the continual battle with his EHO boss Danni who doesn’t seem to live in the real world as far as doing actual groundwork goes, (No! I’m not a fan of her either) and on top of that there is Kent’s love life, if you can call it that. You get a lot of story, well stories within a story from the author.

Mixed in with Kent’s unique detective / sleuth role is a sense of pride and doing the right thing. The right thing by the residents in the home, by the sanctuary and at work. He comes across as a very principled character but a sense of humour.

The author has a real love for the South Downs and his descriptions of the area allow this to come through as he describes the area and scenery as well as adding the odd historical snippet of information.

This is a series I would recommend for those who like a sleuth style, whodunit murder mystery. It has a darker atmospheric feel, with a great sense of tension, suspense and drama. A Highly Recommended from me xx

About the Author:

Robert Crouch Author Image With more baggage than an airport carousel, amateur detective, Kent Fisher, should appeal to readers looking for an alternative to the usual crime procedural and private detective novels.

Robert Crouch blends his extensive experience as an environmental health officer with inspiration from Sue Grafton, Agatha Christie and Peter James to offer a fresh interpretation of the traditional murder mystery novel.

If you’re partial to a baffling whodunit with a complex twisting plot, engaging characters and a unique amateur detective, the Kent Fisher mysteries may be just what you’re looking for.

Now writing full time, Robert lives with his wife and their West Highland white terrier in Eastbourne. Together they enjoy reading, running and roaming the South Downs and beautiful countryside of the UK.

For monthly updates, offers and insights, you can sign up to the Kent Fisher Reader Group  or follow on Twitter.

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#BlogBlitz : My Sweet Friend by HA Leuschel @HALeuschel : @rararesources : #BookReview : #Giveaway (open Int’lly)

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I am delighted to be sharing “My Sweet Friend” by H.A Leuschel today on the blog as part of the blog blitz by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. I have read Helen’s last Book of short stories and did not hesitate when the offer to take part in the blitz for the next book. You can purchase “My Sweet Friend” Here.

Synopsis:

A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives

A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?
Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships. 

But is Alexa all she claims to be? 

As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?

In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.

My Thoughts:

For “My Thoughts” I am going to start at the end of the book with the acknowledgements, a little odd but there is a reason for this. Helen refers to the research she had done into the consequences of lying. It is this that provides a premise for the story of “My Sweet Friend”.

We follow the two main characters in this novella. Alexis is just about to start her new job where she meets fellow employee Rosie. They become friends and in the alternating chapters between the two women we gradually learn more about them. It isn’t long before you start to become aware that not everything is quite as it should be, the snarky little comments are a little more barbed than they should be between friends. But friends stick together right?

The author has a very convincing way of telling her stories and a devious way of leading you to think one way when actually she has taken on a different route. I love the way the author uses distraction to hoodwink the reader.

It was nice to be able to read something by this author that was longer than a short story. I really liked to be able to immerse myself in this longer format, and it was still over far to quickly. Helene manages to create atmosphere in the surrounding of the streets and cafes.

Using the trust we place in a friend, Helene has created a story that explores how far a person can push the boundaries of friendship. This is a novella that has some very good twists and an element of suspense. This is an author I would definitely recommend and  one who knows how to create a story that relates to human behaviour in a very convincing and believable and enjoyable way.

About the Author:

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Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches Yoga.

Social Media Links – Facebook– Twitter – Goodreads – Website

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I also have a link for a chance to win a signed copy of “Manipulated Lives” that is open internationally.

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

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

#BlogTour : Stench by AB Morgan @AliMorgan2304 : @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681 : #NeyGalley #Stench #BookReview

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I am sharing my thoughts on “Stench” by AB Morgan as part of the Blog Blitz by Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books. Many thanks for my copy that I received via NetGalley. Stench can be purchased from Amazon UK in paperback and eBook format.

Synopsis:

Rory Norton didn’t always make his living as a motorbike instructor and he went to great lengths to leave his past life behind, to start again.

He thought he had succeeded, until the body of a missing woman is discovered under the floor of his cottage. Only then do the guilt and shame of his wife’s mysterious, untimely death and the accusations about his connection to the missing woman combine to break him.

The question is not how the missing woman died but why, and who is responsible?

Sometimes the truth stinks.

My Thoughts:

Ali Morgan is an author I am becoming quite familiar with as I have taken part in a few of the Blog Tours for her books. She is becoming an author that I agree to reading without paying too much attention to the book, now I know that sounds bad but it isn’t really, what I mean is she is an author I will read as I know I will get a story that I will enjoy.  Stench is no exception.

I thought the title was a bazaar choice as I started this story, but by the end I realised actually it is a really good choice of title, there are various meanings behind the title and it makes perfect sense. The author has used the various different threads for this story and from the smell of the noxious fumes from the neighbour and the fishy smell of something not being right as the plot unfolds you start to see a link, this does continue with a character as well, but I’m leaving it there for now.

The characters did take a little while to get used to but as you start to get familiar with their roles you soon recognise them. The timeline for this is not a standard one, it does flicker and change but as you realise how this style works it makes for a really enjoyable read. I think this also adds to the story as you get to witness different perspectives and this adds to the story. You begin to realise there is a lot more going on than you first think. Anna has her own story to tell and she decides she wants to learn how to ride a motorbike, walk in Rory an instructor who gets to know Anna. Through the story you get to learn about these two characters and what makes them tick. It is not straight forward and they both have things in their pasts that still haunt them.

Ali has a background in that she really does bring into play with this story. There are  Mental Health aspects within this story and the author has used her experiences of the system to show how quickly things can spiral out of control when someone does not get the treatment they need. It is a side to the Mental Health Service that we are aware, the under-funding, the out of hours service and general inadequacies, now I do mention this as it plays a part in the story but the author has got the balance spot on for me, incorporating a problem into a story without going over the top and coming across as preaching.

I thought this story was an addictive, absorbing and an insightful read. It has elements that I found fascinating and I liked the pacing of it, not all action and rush, but slower and deliberate that fitted in with the mystery element of the story. Another great read and a book I would definitely recommend as one for those who like a psychological mystery, crime and suspense read.

About the Author:

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Married to an overgrown child with a beard and too many motorbikes, Alison Morgan lives in a corner of a field in North Bedfordshire and is making the most of a mid-life crisis. The Morgans are determined not to grow old gracefully or to be seen wearing beige and can be found exploring life through a love of live music, anything with an engine, the sea, mountains, rugby, proper pubs and fascinating people.

Alison worked for the NHS for nearly thirty years, twenty of those within mental health services, at the front line. She eventually became the manager of a countywide community service for people experiencing their first episode of psychosis. Much to her frustration, her heart decided to develop an electrical fault, which forced her to sit down for more than five minutes and her career juddered to a halt. Not one for thumb twiddling, she took up position in front of a computer with a plan to write a set of clinical guidelines for assessment of psychosis but instead a story, which had been lurking in her mind for several years, came tumbling out.

Her first two novels, A Justifiable Madness and Divine Poison, were inspired by her career as a psychiatric nurse and her fascination with the extremes of human behaviour. Then she stepped sideways and wrote a gritty psychological thriller, The Camera Lies. All published by Bloodhound Books, Alison’s novels have received excellent reviews and inspired many an interesting debate. Above all, they are entertaining reads and, despite dark subjects, will raise a smile.

Links:

Email: alison@abmorgan.co.uk /  www.abmorgan.co.uk / Facebook: @ABMorganwriter

Twitter: @AliMorgan2304 / LinkedIn: Ali Morgan

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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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