#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

See what other readers think by following the tour

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#BookBlitz | Manipulated Lives by H.A.Leuschel | #Giveaway (open Int’lly) @HALeuschel @rararesources | #Bookreview

Manipulated lives“Manipulated Lives” by H.A.Leuschel.  A series of five stories that have a psychological aspect to them.  I am delighted to be on the blog tour for this wonderful book.  My thanks to Helene for my ecopy and also to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the tour. You can get a copy of this book via  Books 2 Read.

Synopsis:

Five stories – Five Lives

Have you ever felt confused or at a loss for words in front of a spouse, colleague or parent, to the extent that you have felt inadequate or, worse, a failure? Do you ever wonder why someone close to you seems to endure humiliation without resistance?

Manipulators are everywhere. At first these devious and calculating people can be hard to spot, because that is their way. They are often masters of disguise: witty, disarming, even charming in public – tricks to snare their prey – but then they revert to their true self of being controlling and angry in private. Their main aim: to dominate and use others to satisfy their needs, with a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their victim. 

In this collection of short novellas, you meet people like you and me, intent on living happy lives, yet each of them, in one way or another, is caught up and damaged by a manipulative individual. First you meet Tess, whose past is haunted by a wrong decision, then young, successful and well balanced Sophie, who is drawn into the life of a little boy and his troubled father. Next, there is teenage Holly, who is intent on making a better life for herself, followed by a manipulator himself, trying to make sense of his irreversible incarceration. Lastly, there is Lisa, who has to face a parent’s biggest regret. All stories highlight to what extent abusive manipulation can distort lives and threaten our very feeling of self-worth.

My Thoughts:

Manipulated Lives is a collection of five stories.  Tess and Tattoos. The Spell. Runaway Girl. The Narcissist. My Perfect Child. Each story takes a look at the different ways people can manipulate and be manipulated.

The stories read individually like a collection of novellas.  Each one is unique, but at their core is the psychological impact that makes its presence felt.  Each story drew me in quickly and held my attention.  I soon saw a pattern emerging with each one, what I thought was happening and what actually happened were two different things.  Helene has managed to create subtle twists, this leads the reader to challenge their initial thoughts.  They contain strong characters, often I didn’t see the strength until I was further into the story.  There are many characters and some have very unique traits that will leave you with a range of emotions, love, like or despise them.

This isn’t an action packed, race through the story book.  It is more subtle than that and I was led gently into each story and then was able to watch them unfold.  First perceptions are not always the true indication of someones life.  At times it felt like the author was manipulating me  as I read, leading me to one thought then showing me I was wrong.

This is a captivating read, very cleverly crafted and made me think.  I like stories like this and I think it will appeal to many readers, I Highly Recommend Manipulated Lives for those who are looking for a quiet and more subtle psychological look at how people lives can be affected.

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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Win a signed copy of Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel

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

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many thanks for reading my post, a share would be wonderful.  Better still get your copy of this book HERE 🙂 xx 

#BlogTour : Among the Branded by Linda Smolkin #AmongtheBranded @Lindasmolkin @annecater #BookReview

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I am sharing my thoughts on “Among The Branded” by Linda Smolkin today on my blog.  This is available in Paperback and eBook format from Amazon UK .  My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on this Blog Tour.

Synopsis:

What if a 70-year-old letter from World War II changed the course of your life?

While attending Valor of the ’40s, art director Stephanie Britain stumbles upon a flea market selling letters from the war. She buys a handful, hoping they’ll inspire the redesign for a client’s website at her branding and design firm. She’s at first drawn by the lost art of penmanship, but soon discovers a hidden treasure nestled inside declarations of love from homesick soldiers. Stephanie enlists a coworker to translate one and realizes it’s not a love letter after all. When a shocking discovery about a client causes Stephanie to question her principles and dedication to her firm’s business, she’s forced to make a difficult decision—one that could give her peace of mind, yet ruin her career in the process.

Contemporary fiction with a historical touch, AMONG THE BRANDED explores family life, an unexpected friendship, and moral conflicts that make us wonder what’s more important: our livelihood or our beliefs. This moving debut novel by Linda Smolkin is a great addition for readers who enjoy books by Jodi Picoult, Kristin Hannah, and Liane Moriarty.

My Thoughts:

Stephanie and Greg Britain, with their two children Jeremy and Jack are off to Valour of the 40’s a WWII re-enactment.  This trip was Jack’s choice, Jeremy is soon to go off to college.  While there Stephanie comes across a bundle of letters on a second-hand stall. One letter catches her eye and the story begins.

Oh my goodness what a beautiful and heartwarming story.  A chaotic and frantic beginning with the hectic lifestyle of this family. It shows how this active and close-knit family go about their everyday lives.  Then all of a sudden this story starts to grab your attention, in amongst the hustle and bustle of family and work, Stephanie and the truth about a letter start to make their place known and the story just blossoms.

This story is one about family, hope, love compassion and is a beautifully engrossing and an addictive read.  I found myself swept up as the story behind the letter comes out.  It touches on serious subjects and these have been told by an adult talking to children, it is told simply, honestly and with respectful. But also the realisation that there are still those in the world that are not accepting of others.  The characters in this story are funny, vivid and have been brought to life as we learn more about them. I’m not going into too much detail about the content of this letter or what Stephanie discovers, for me the details of it are what makes this story a stunning read.

This is a very engaging book, and was an absolute joy to read.  It is beautiful and has a serious and heart wrenching side to it as you learn the truth about the letter, but among this serious side is a witty and humorous side, it had me giggling at the banter between family and friends.

This is a debut novel by Linda and I want to know what is next. This book is one that I would highly recommend to readers who like a story that is a mix of historical and contemporary that has a great balance.  I loved this book and hope others will find it and love it as well.

About the Author:

Linda Smolkin - Author Picture .jpg  Linda Smolkin always wanted to be a writer—ever since she saw her first TV commercial and wondered how to pen those clever ads. She got her degree in journalism and became a copywriter. Linda landed a job at an ad agency, where she worked for several years before joining the nonprofit world. She’s currently working on her second novel, which will be released in Spring 2018. When not in front of the computer, she’s behind the drums (slightly) annoying her husband, son, and their 70-pound dog. For more information, visit her Website ,  follow her on Twitter  ~ Facebook

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#12DaysofClinkStreetChristmas : Molly Fish by Jack McMasters : @Authoright @AuthorightUKPR @gilbster1000 : #BookReview #BlogTour

 

 

Many thanks to Rachel at Authoright for the invite to take part in the “12 Days of Clink Street Christmas”. My post today is for “Molly Fish” by Jack McMasters.  This book is available in paperback or as an eBook.

 (Check out the calendar at the bottom of this post for more information.)

Synopsis:

 

When retired architect Arthur Howard receives an unexpected invitation from the elegant businesswoman he has just met, her promise of two weeks of incredible sex is enough to persuade him to forget his stale marriage and follow her to India. Leaving thoughts of his younger wife Ester far behind, Rani leads Arthur into paradise; her home lies in a beautiful valley filled with quiet villages, tranquil lakes, tea plantations and crocus fields, a place where his every need is catered for and his attention sought wherever he goes.
But danger lies hidden here. Arthur discovers that Rani and the other villagers he meets in this rural Indian idyl are the ancestors of an ancient civilization, thought to be merely mythical. From his contact with them, he succumbs to a mysterious illness that keeps him bedridden for a long period in a darkened room. Confused and stricken, Arthur’s days and nights are haunted by wild dreams; when he is unable to sleep, he reminisces about early love affairs and fears for his failing relationship with Ester until he is unable to distinguish dreams from reality.

My Thoughts:

Now first off, I am not a big reader of “Romance”, so why on earth would I decide to choose a book that has “A Love Story” as part of its title ? Well it was actually the second paragraph of the synopsis that got me, mythical, ancient civilisation and India part. I am so glad this was included in the synopsis or I, if I am completely honest, would probably have given it a miss.  Yes there is a love aspect in this story, but it was nothing like I expected, it is a love story with a catch.

Arthur is a retired architect who flirts with Rani, a beautiful, successful business woman and gets a result.  He agrees to accompany her to her village, very lucky chap you may think, and initially he seems to have fallen on his feet.  But as you start to get into the story there are little things at the periphery of it that start to niggle, of something that is a little unusual, and I am not going to divulge what those things are.

Jack has built up some beautiful descriptions of the valley, the people and the environment with a twist of mystery, wonder and awe.  As Arthur is taken around the valley, the back story of his and also Rani’s life, as well as the history of their location is given.

So for me, a love story that I liked, well it was more the other aspects that I liked, though the romance side of it was actually okay.  I liked being surprised by this book, an found it to be an addictive page turner that for me would be ideal read for those who like literary fiction, contemporary fiction and romance with an underlying darker element.

About the Author:

After growing up on a farm in northeast Missouri, McMasters joined the United States Air Force after attending the University of Missouri where he was sent to High Wycombe, England. He currently resides in Norfolk with his wife. While researching Molly Fish, McMasters travelled to India where he competed in the Karma Enduro, a 2,000 kilometer trek through the Western Ghats. He has previously published two short story collections, Iron(ing) Man and The Cucumber Murders and been featured by Škoda Magazine and the Eastern Daily Press.

 

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Clink Street Publishing (29 Jun. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1911525697
  • ISBN-13: 978-1911525691
  • Amazon UK or   Barnes and Noble

Check out the other brilliant books, dates, bloggers for

Clink Street 12 Days of Christmas.

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#BookReview Dinner At The Happy Skeleton by Chris Chalmers @CCsw19 #HappyPublicationDay

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Happy Publication Day today to Chris Chalmers for “Dinner At The Happy Skeleton” available in as an eBook. (2nd Nov 2017), Published by J.Mendel Books

Synopsis:

Dan is the kind of gay man for whom the Noughties might have been named. Warm, witty and serially promiscuous, his heart melts at the sight of a chocolate brown Labrador – but with men, it’s a different matter. He’s thirty-nine and as single as ever, not counting the couple he just met online. An arrangement that looks oddly like it’s going somewhere until Dan gets fired from his job in advertising. With time out from his career and a payoff in his pocket, the summer presents a world of possibilities; just as the memories surface of the ex he blames for the thinly-veiled chaos of his life.

From London to Ljubljana, a yen for closure sets Dan on the trail of the man who fed his ego into a shredder. Through an eerie encounter at the home of the Olympiad and a sleepover at the Dutch Embassy, run-ins with a fading porn star and the celestial manifestation of Margaret Thatcher, he ultimately confronts his past. Until, with his Big Four-Oh rapidly approaching, destiny beckons from where he least expects it.

‘Full of wit, comedy and unflinching honesty, like reading a gay Nick Hornby. This is clever contemporary fiction at its finest.’ Bleach House Library

My Thoughts:

Meet Dan, a nearly 40 something about to be made redundant.  Since splitting up with his last boyfriend he has muddled along, between one night stands and surfing the net for his next fling.  He has some great friends that seem to keep him grounded, unless alcohol is involved! Sandra is a work colleague and along with Dan she is also made redundant.  They are both given a payout that gives them a chance to relax before having to get a job, she is married with children and Dan does show more concern for her than for himself. Set in London, this is really the story of Dan.  He comes across as a down to earth man who, like everyone else, just wants to find that special person, his Mr. Right.  He does not seem to have much luck in love.  His last boyfriend’s personality seemed to change as they started to get settled,  and he hovers ominously around the edges of the story.  This is set at a nice comfortable pace, it fits perfectly with the story, it is about love, relationships, opportunity, friendship with wit and humour.

I really liked Dan, he is a sensitive, wary, caring but lonely character.  He has support of great friends like Gina, Duncan, Sandra and his internet chat-room friend Maestroman.  These characters have been wonderfully written, they are memorable.  I imagine they would be an absolute howl to go out for a drink with.  The descriptions of the various settings were very good, and the author does mention that he has travelled a lot.  I am assuming the destinations mentioned in the book are places that he has actually been to, as some of the descriptions have a little bit of an extra to them.  Chris has used his own experiences in the world of advertising to build a more complete picture of Dan, it’s those extra touches that add more depth to the characters, makes them more believable.

I would recommend this book to readers of contemporary fiction.  A refreshing read from the perspective of a man looking for love , this made a nice change, from an almost 40 year old, and his journey through love, life, relationships, with honesty and a good sense of humour to it.

I would like to express my thanks to Chris to allowing me a copy of this great book. My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About The Author:

6432527After many years creating advertising campaigns for everything from The Economist to ballet shoes, Chris Chalmers took the plunge into writing contemporary fiction.

His first adult novel, Five To One, about the day a helicopter crashes on Clapham Common, won a debut novel competition run by an indie publisher and was nominated for the Polari First Book Award. His next, Light From Other Windows, explores the effect on a family when the youngest son is caught in a tsunami. Literary critic Suzi Feay described it as a book that “can bring tears to your eyes on one page and make you laugh the next”. A third novel, Dinner at the Happy Skeleton, follows in autumn 2017. For children, he has written Gillian Vermillion — Dream Detective, which like all his work is published by J.Mendel Books.

Chris lives in South-West London with his partner, a quite-famous concert pianist. He has been the understudy on Mastermind, travelled to 40 different countries, and shared a pizza with Donnie Brasco. Publication aside, his most treasured literary achievement is making Martina Navratilova ROFLAO on Twitter.

Author Links: Website  Twitter

Book details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 671.0 KB
  • Publisher: J.Mendel Books (2 Nov. 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B076X98C31

Book Links:Amazon UK     Goodreads

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#BlogTour : The Winter’s Child by @cassandrajaneuk : published by @Legend_Press

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I am delighted to be part of the blog Tour for “The Winter’s Child” by Cassandra Parkin, published by Legend Press and available to purchase now in paperback or eBook.  I would like to say a big thank you to Imogen Harris for allowing me a spot in the tour.

Synopsis:

Five years ago, Susannah Harper’s son Joel went missing without trace. Bereft of her son and then of her husband, Susannah tries to accept that she may never know for certain what has happened to her lost loved ones. She has rebuilt her life around a simple selfless mission: to help others who, like her, must learn to live without hope.

But then, on the last night of Hull Fair, a fortune-teller makes an eerie prediction. She tells her that this Christmas Eve, Joel will finally come back to her.

As her carefully-constructed life begins to unravel, Susannah is drawn into a world of psychics and charlatans, half-truths and hauntings, friendships and betrayals, forcing her to confront the buried truths of her family’s past, where nothing and no one are quite as they seem.

A ghostly winter read with a modern gothic flavour. A tale of twisted love, family secrets and hauntings.

 

My Thoughts:

This is a heartbreaking, emotional and haunting story of Susannah, John and Joel.  Susannah and John are husband and wife, Joel is their son and went missing several years ago.  The story begins with Susannah sceptically going to see a fortune teller at a local fair, there she is told she will be reunited with her son by Christmas, and her journey will be hard. Christmas is only a few months away.  Susannah is quite vocal in her views of clairvoyants, fortune tellers and the like, she believes they are charlatans, fake and just after money from the vulnerable .

From this point on we are taken on a roller-coaster of a journey that is haunting and emotional.  The story takes the reader backwards and forwards through time, to Joel story as he was growing up, the life of the family and then life after Joel’s disappearance.  The downward spiral of hopelessness, grief, desperation and loneliness.  The story does not contain a large cast, and it is right that it doesn’t, it adds to the personal side of the story.  The personal tragedy is played out and along with this there are the usual rubber-neckers and interfering people who pray on the vulnerable victims by sending false leads and hurtful vile comments.  What appeared at first seemed to be a simple story, soon starts to twist and turn in some unexpected angles that I did not see coming.

The pacing is perfect timed and fits so well. There were several aspects of this book that I really liked in addition to the plot and characters, the blog inclusion was one of them as well as the great narrative that built up and expanded the visual side, I had clear pictures in my head.

I would recommend this book to readers of contemporary fiction, who also like elements of a psychological nature, family dynamics, loss, desperation and hope.  It is well written and developed, a real page turner all the way through.

 

About the Author:

71d1vu10v-L._UX250_Cassandra Parkin grew up in Hull, and now lives in East Yorkshire. Her short story collection, New World Fairy Tales (Salt Publishing, 2011), won the 2011 Scott Prize for Short Stories. Her work has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies.
The Summer We All Ran Away (Legend Press, 2013) was Cassandra’s debut novel and nominated for the Amazon Rising Stars 2014.

The Beach Hut (Legend Press, 2015) is her second novel.

Visit Cassandra at Website or on Twitter

 

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Legend Press (15 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1785079034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1785079030

Purchase from Amazon UK

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it give it a share.

Better still buy the book.

 

 

#BookReview : Far From the Turquoise Room by Kate Rigby : Book won in giveaway by @NeverlandBT

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This book was published 3rd November 2011 and is available in paperback or eBook. I have had this book sat on my TBR mountain for a little while, I was fortunate to win it as part of a giveaway competition run by NeverlandBT in July of this year.

 

Synopsis:

Told from both daughter and father’s perspectives, Far Cry From The Turquoise Room is a coming-of-age, riches-to-rags tale of loss, resilience, and self-discovery. It is also about the passage of childhood into puberty.

My Thoughts:

It is told from the perspective of father and daughter.  The father, Hassan, is a successful business man, his daughter is Leila, is the youngest of two daughters.  Now at this point I really do not want to give anything away, so I apologise for my vagueness. But, a tragedy befalls the family, this story charts the way that Leila and her father deal with it, how the family dynamics have changed, also for Leila growing up and becoming a teenager.  At times it is heartbreaking, emotional and also annoying, I will explain that it is a good annoying, this is because of the decisions that the characters take.  There is a good range of emotions that run through this story and the characters have chances to make different decisions, but due to their stubbornness, they don’t.

I thought the characters were well written and the author has managed to keep the inflections of Hassan’s speech, he is Iranian. The idea of the story I found to be very good and it was a very compelling read.  As I made my way through this book I was desperate to get to the end, in a good way, so I could discover the outcomes, but at the same time didn’t want it to end.  It was a simple, addictive but very well written story line.

I would happily recommend this book to readers of contemporary fiction.  I also think it would make a great choice for Book Clubs / Groups, there are a range of themes in the book that would make for some very interesting talking discussions.

 

About the Author: 

71cb1R6JS5L._SY200_ Kate Rigby has been writing for over thirty years. She realized her unhip credentials were mounting so decided to write about it in ‘Little Guide To Unhip’. However she’s not completely unhip. Her punk novel, Fall Of The Flamingo Circus was published by Allison & Busby (1990) and by Villard (American hardback 1990). Skrev Press published her novels Seaview Terrace (2003) Sucka! (2004) and Break Point (2006) and other shorter work has appeared in Skrev’s avant garde magazine Texts’ Bones. Thalidomide Kid was published by Bewrite Books (2007) and is now available on Kindle. She has had other short stories published and shortlisted and has put together a collection of these in ‘Tales By Kindlelight’. She has many other fiction titles on Kindle and is planning to get her previously published titles back into paperback as well as previously unpublished titles.

Details about Kate’s work can be found at her Website
Or her occasional blogs can be found Here.

Mant thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, give it a share. 

 

 

 

#BlogTour : The Second Son by Andy Blackman

The Second Son CoverThe Second Son published by Clink Street Publishing on 5th October 2017.

I would like to thank  Rachel Gilbey for allowing me a spot on the tour for this amazing book.

Synopsis:

As the second son of the Duke of Hampshire, Grenville St John Hampton isn’t likely to inherit his family’s title or estate, leaving him pondering an empty, aimless future. During the summer break from university, he impulsively decides to go backpacking with one of his oldest friends, Johnathan; their destination is Belize.

One sultry night on the Central American coastline, Grenville and Johnathan meet Tom. A game of darts takes a vicious turn. Realising he has nothing to look forward to back at home, Grenville decides to stay on in Belize with Tom, in pursuit of adventure. Together, the new friends establish an import business, and for the rst time in his life, Grenville has a sense of purpose.

But back in England all is not well. The sudden death of his brother leaves Grenville with an unexpected – and now unwanted – inheritance, with new consequences and responsibilities. He will return to claim the family’s seat with a dark secret in tow.

Andy Blackman is the author of For the Love of Grace (published by Clink Street, 2016).

My Thoughts:

Occasionally you come across a book that exceeds all expectations, The Second Son is one of them.  The synopsis is alluring and at the same time vague and almost understated, it gives the basic details but what is told within the covers is quite an amazing story.

The main protagonist is Grenville St. Louis Hampton, second son of the Duke and Duchess of Hampshire.  He has a more carefree nature with no expectations piled on him, unlike his brother Stephen who will carry the mantle of family tradition.  This burden of a future title is Stephen’s, and he does not carry it well, he does not see the point of Greville and mostly ignores him.  Grenville follows the family tradition of schools that have always been attended by the family, but takes a gap year with best friend Jonathan and they visit Belize.  There they meet Tom, he becomes their saviour and when Jonathan returns homewithout his friend, Tom becomes Grenville’s mentor.  Tom teaches him about his import business as well as more practical survival skills, and his business is not completely above-board.  After spending a few years in Belize, Grenville is to go home, his brother killed in a car accident and so the title of successor falls to Grenville.

Grenville still wants to help Tom with his business, so the two form a sort of business plan that they will set up in the UK, this gives Grenville something useful, practical to do as well also helping his friend. When he returns to the UK he has his work cut out for him, not only dealing with the estate but also setting up a business.  This he does not do alone , he calls on two old school friends, Jonathan and also Hugo, they begin a journey, and what a journey it is.

When I began this book I was not really that taken with Grenville, I cannot put my finger on what exactly it was, but as his character grew and changed I started to warm to him and actually ended up really liking him.  The characters in this book are really well-developed, the bad guys are real sleazy, lowlife slime balls that I instantly loathed, the good guys, yes you guessed it, I really liked them, even when they have their shady moments.  The characters, their surroundings and the dialogue are very appropriate and are well worked.

The plot, well… I am keeping sch-tum on this one, it is impressive and is absolutely nothing like I expected.  Even now as I write this review (24 hours after reading) I still feel a little lost and really want to read more, yes I am suffering from “book hangover”, so my order for to Amazon for a copy of “For the Love of Grace” is now on its way.   For The Love Of Grace deals with Tom and his mother, and how Tom ends up in Belize.  I have read The Second Son without reading For The Love Of Grace, and I found that it works well as a stand alone, but curiosity of Tom and Grace’s story has intrigued me.  So because of this I would suggest reading both.

This is a book that I would recommend to readers of contemporary fiction who like mystery, intrigue and is very well written.

Book Details: 

About the Author:

After serving in the British Army for over twenty-five years in the Parachute Regiment, Andy Blackman today lives in Bedworth, Warwickshire and works within in the IT sector. In his spare time he can be found visiting his three daughters and grandchildren. His previous novel, For the Love of Grace, was published in 2016.

Many thanks for reading my post.

 

 

 

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