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

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

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

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

Amazon links

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

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

Lets see what the book is about first:

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

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

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

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

Is Beth about to take her own life too?

Question and Answer:

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

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

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

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

Q: How do you think society views suicide?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What is next step on your literary journey?

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

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

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


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

About the Author:

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

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

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

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

Follow Sarah on – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Goodreads

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

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

See what others on the tour think

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

 

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

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

Synopsis:

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

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

Social Media Links – TwitterFacebook page for Red Hand of FuryWebsite

Giveaway – Win a hardback copy of The Red Hand of Fury (Open Internationally)

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

ENTER HERE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A HARDBACK COPY

Follow the tour and see what other readers think

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

The Letter – Kitty’s Story by Eliza J. Scott @ElizaJScott1 @rararesources #GuestPost #Giveaway (open Int)

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Today I am delighted to sharing a guest post for the author of The Letter – Kitty’s Story by Eliza J. Scott as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. This book is available to buy HERE. Not only do I have a fabulous Guest Post from Eliza but also there is a chance to win a beautiful box of goodies and a signed paperback copy of her book xx

Synopsis:

Thirty-four-year-old Kitty Bennett is trapped in a loveless marriage to criminal barrister, Dan, who’s gradually isolated her from her family and friends. Until the day she (literally) bumps into her first love, the handsome and easy-going Ollie Cartwright – someone she’s done her best to avoid for as long as she can remember. Looking into Ollie’s eyes awakens feelings for him she thought she’d buried deep years ago, and he clearly feels the spark, too. As she walks away, Kitty can’t help but wonder what might have been…
Dan senses that his marriage is on shaky ground and knows he needs to win his wife round. He turns on the charm, skilfully using their two children, Lucas and Lily, as bargaining tools. But Kitty’s older brother, Jimby, and her childhood best-friends, Molly and Violet, have decided enough is enough. For years they’ve had to watch from afar as Kitty’s been browbeaten into an unrecognisable version of herself. They vow to make her see Dan for what he really is, but their attempts are no match for his finely-honed courtroom skills and, against her better judgement, Kitty agrees to give her husband one last chance. But, all-too-soon, a series of heart-breaking events and a shocking secret throw her life into turmoil…
Will she stand by Dan, or will Kitty be brave enough to take the leap and follow her heart to Ollie?

Life is anything but peaceful in the chocolate-box pretty village of Lytell Stangdale, where life unravels, and hearts are broken. Full of heart-warming moments, this book with have you crying tears of joy, laughter and sadness.

Guest Post:

Hello Eliza, Welcome to Me and My Books. I am curious to know what skills or experiences you have used in The Letter – Kitty’s Story. Also what new things have you learnt along the way ?

Hi Yvonne,

First of all, thank you for taking part in the blog tour of The Letter – Kitty’s Story. I’m really excited to be on your blog.

I think the first ‘skill’ – if you can call it that! – that has helped me write this book is that I can touch type really quickly, which means my fingers can keep up with the thoughts as they spill out of my head. My writing is also incredibly messy, and I struggle to read it back sometimes, so typing my manuscript is definitely the better option for me. Having said that, I still have loads of scraps of paper and notebooks dotted about with various handwritten ideas and reminders scribbled randomly across them.

(I am a pen and paper person myself as my touch typing is  not very good, it is something I am working on.)

Experiences? Well, being the owner of two adorable black Labradors definitely helped when I was writing about Humphrey and Ethel (Kitty’s dogs). Some of Humph’s characteristics are based on those of one of my boys – particularly the greed part!

(I also have two dogs, and I agree that dogs have brilliant characters.)

My husband always makes a joke out of everything and has a mischievous sense of humour. He also has moments of clumsiness, which he’d be the first to admit. I had all of these attributes in mind when I wrote Jimby’s character. And, thanks to Mr S, I had a whole load of past experiences to draw on for inspiration!

On a more serious note, as Lily is in the story, my youngest daughter was bullied quite badly at school. It was a horrible time for her, and it was heart-breaking to see her so upset. I can still remember feeling a sickening cocktail of emotions and the struggle I had to control them. That experience, from a mum’s perspective, meant that I was able to put myself in Kitty’s shoes and feel her helplessness, anger and frustration while her young daughter, Lily, was having a tough time at the hands of Evie McEllison.

(Bullying is such a nasty thing and happens far too much)

As far as new things I’ve learnt along the way, well, where do I start? The learning curve I’ve experienced has been the mother of all learning curves, and I’ve absolutely loved it!

I think one of the first things I learnt was just how friendly and supportive the book community is. When I first booked a cover reveal and then publication day blog tour with Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources, I was overwhelmed by the generosity of the book community, offering to host a spot on their blog for my book and its cover.  It’s been so refreshing to experience this, and I’m so happy and honoured to be a part of it.

(Absolutely agree, Rachel is a brilliant and I love being part of the book blogging community)

As far as the actual writing process is concerned, this is huge! I’ve learnt how to structure a book, how to format one and how to publish one through Amazon KDP and CreateSpace. I’ve also learnt heaps from my fab editor, Alison Williams, on what is relevant in a story and I’ve developed a greater understanding of ‘showing, not telling – paying for a professional editor is definitely money well spent. Actually, when I sit down and think about it, the list of what I’ve learnt is endless!

Thank you so much for your great questions – they really made me think – and thank you for having me on your blog.

Eliza x

You are very welcome Eliza, it was a pleasure. Have a fabulous blog tour Yvonne xx

About the Author:

I live in a village in the North Yorkshire Moors with my husband, two daughters and two black Labradors. When I’m not writing, I can usually be found with my nose in a book/glued to my Kindle, or in my garden. I also enjoy bracing walks in the countryside, rounded off with a visit to a teashop where I can indulge in another two of my favourite things: tea and cake.

Social Media Links –  Twitter –  Instagram – @elizajscottauthor

Giveaway:

Giveaway – Win a PB copy of The Lettter – Kitty’s Story, Chocolate and Neom Hand Cream (Open Internationally)

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

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To be in with a chance to win this beautiful prize ENTER HERE Good luck xx

 

 

 

See what other readers think by following the tour

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

Sisterly Love by Michelle Vernal @MichelleVernal @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Sisterly Love by Michelle Vernal as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. You can grab a copy of this book from AMAZON UK or AMAZON.COM

Synopsis:

Nobody’s Perfect Are They?

Rebecca Loughton’s bumbled her way through her thirty-something years making a few cock-ups along the way. Of course, these wouldn’t be so obvious if it wasn’t for her golden haired, older sister Jennifer.

In a bid to escape Jennifer’s lengthy shadow and to find her happy ever after Rebecca, high-tails it out of her hometown of Christchurch to the other side of the world landing a legal secretary job in the buzzing city of Dublin. A few drinks later, all she has to show for her new life is an embarrassing one-night stand and a dollop of flirtatious banter with her boss Ciaran, who just happens to have a predatory receptionist in hot pursuit of him.

Amidst plans of preventing such a merger, Rebecca receives news that Jennifer’s picture perfect life has a big, fat crack down the middle of it in the form of a philandering husband. Summoned home to look after her sister’s children and cooking school while she works on her marriage, Rebecca finds the reality of looking after two young children along with the bizarre array of guests booked into the cooking school grim. The only bright spot on her horizon are Ciaran’s e-mails but then she meets David Seagar whom she thinks might just be the ending to her happy ever after but will he prove to be far from perfect too?

My Thoughts:

Two sisters. Rebecca the younger lives in Dublin working as a PA. Jennifer lives in Christchurch,is a mum of two, a successful business woman and in Rebecca’s eyes has everything. A call from Jennifer asking Rebecca to come home is unexpected, especially as she is to be looking after Jennifer’s two children.

This is a story about two sisters that have grown apart, you get a chance to see how both women live and also what they think of each other. It contrasts the lives of them, the sensible, down to earth and responsible settled older sister against the slightly reckless antics of the younger. Rebecca looking after two children is definitely something that made me snigger and shake my head.

The story is quite an addictive read as I got to know Rebecca, she has a good job with a gorgeous boss. She does like to party and drink, and that has landed her in the odd hot spot. Jennifer who comes across as the in control of everything sister, does not quite fit the image she portrays. As the two get to catch up you begin to see how they are with each other, not the closest of sisters with their battles and arguments, but behind all of that they are there for each other when needed.

This is a great read that explores the dynamics between Rebecca and Jennifer, it has some wonderful descriptions and I did get wrapped up with their story. There is a love or romance side that has been incorporated, I am not going into details about that or to be honest the rest of the plot as I don’t want to spoil it. I did see a couple of things coming, but there were others that I didn’t.

This is a great book to spend a lazy Sunday reading ( that’s what I did), it is romance, sisters, humour, food, a touch of drama and one I would recommend. The author has managed to thread in a 1980’s pop quiz in as well, I like this touch and I knew all the answers 😀

About the Author:

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Hello, my name is Michelle Vernal, and by way of introduction, I’m Mum to Josh and Daniel and am married to the super supportive Paul. We live in the garden city of Christchurch, New Zealand with our three-legged, black cat called Blue. BC (before children) Paul and I lived and worked in Ireland, the experiences we had there have flavoured my books.

I’ve always written, but it was only after my first son was born that I decided to attend a creative writing course at Canterbury University. Oh the guilt dropping him at pre-school so I could learn the basics of story writing, but oh the joy of having conversation to contribute other than the price of nappies that week! The first piece I ever penned post course was published by a New Zealand parenting magazine. I went on to write humorous; opinion styled pieces of my take on parenting, but when the necessity for being politically correct got too much, I set myself the challenge of writing a novel. Six books later and a publishing deal with Harper Impulse here I am. These days I write for a North Canterbury lifestyle magazine and my latest book Sweet Home Summer has just been released by Harper Impulse.

Social Media Links – FacebookTwitterInstagram

See what other readers think by following the tour

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

Absolute Darkness by Tina O’Hailey @tohailey @rararesources #Giveaway #FORLINEARS #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Absolute Darkness by Tina O’Hailey as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. This book is available to purchase from AMAZON UK from 5th July 2018.

Preorder from the publisher. Use code: PREORDER2018 to receive a 10% discount!
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Synopsis:

A thrill ride through time that will make you hold your breath.

Sitting by the campfire, Brandy admitted a secret to her friends. She swore she saw a ghost when exiting a cave earlier that day. Was she seeing things? Did they believe her? The next day, breaking a cardinal rule, she snuck back to the cave alone. No one knew where she was. What if she fell or was trapped? There would be no rescue.

For ten thousand years Alexander had kept the time streams of this universe safe from an eternal destructive force that continually threatened to tamper and destroy all. Locked in an unremitting battle, the two foes become sidetracked by an unexpected visitor. An entangled journey begins with chilling twists and turns until becoming locked into an inescapable death deep within a submerged cave.

Who will come out of the watery depths alive?

My Thoughts:

Brandy and her friend Susan share a love of cave diving, they escape their working lives whenever they can to take part in this. During one such expedition Brandy see’s what she believes to be a ghost, this is not the case, it is Alexander.

Occasionally I read a book that makes perfect sense while I am immersed in it, but when I then come to write a review I find it very difficult to convey my thoughts. This book has some really great threads in it that involve not only the friendship of the two women and their shared hobby but also of time dimensions, paranormal, centuries old battles and love. It has a complexity that while I read I wasn’t aware of until I tried to write this.

I think the author has really put a lot of thought into how the time theme would work and she has managed to do it in such a way that it was understandable. There are descriptions of seeing things in colour, travelling through different dimensions, and tall wrapped around the normal world and life.

I did get thrown a little with the battle between two of the characters, it took me a while to understand what the baddie was all about, but as that role in the story was explained then I started to get it.

There is a reasonable amount of detail regarding caving, it does have a balance and hasn’t been over used as far as the technical stuff goes. As much as I admire people for wanting to this activity, it is not something I want to do. Just the thought of it scares me! In some way it adds to the darker feel of the story.

So if you are looking for a story that has quite a few themes in it then this is one that could well be for you. It is a paranormal, time dimensional, friendship and love story, it was an intriguing and very interesting read, one I would recommend to other readers.

About the Author:

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Tina O’Hailey (author of animation text books “Rig it Right” and “Hybrid Animation”, professor in animation, visual effects and game programming, caver and occasional mapper of grim, wet, twisty caves—if she owes a friend a favor or loses a bet—whose passion is to be secluded on a mountain and to write whilst surrounded by small, furry dogs and hot coffee) was struck by lightning as a baby.

Follow the author on: Twitter  – Her Blog – Facebook

Tina has a giveaway running as part of the tour. 

#FORLINEARS puzzle: Please check out the virtual blog tour and you might find some embedded fun in the imagery. (https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/absolute-darkness) In fact, I dare you. Can you find the hidden puzzles that lead to an autographed book give away? First one to figure it out wins an autographed book. __BoxOBooks_AD.jpg

Here is my section of the puzzle

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Follow the tour to see what other readers think, and also to collect the other pieces

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

 

No Reception by Maisie Porter @eyeointment : @rararesources #promopost

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I am shining a spotlight today on “No Reception” a thriller by Maisie Porter as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. I am gutted that I did not have the time to read this book as it sounds right up my street.

Synopsis:

For hyper-successful wedding photographer and blogger, Zody Lee Swabler, anonymous death threats come with the territory. When warned by email not to continue booking jobs, she responds by accepting the next request that comes in.

When a strangely eager woman approaches her about the emails, she accepts the woman’s invitation to visit her home. So begins Helena Hoath’s elaborate plan to take over the life and profession of the photographer she wishes she could be.

And when Zody unleashes her own revenge scheme, she discovers that the unhinged woman may still have the wit to turn a successful photographer’s own talents against her.

Zody and Helena’s lives begin to intertwine in ways that neither could have foreseen…

Purchase LinkHERE

About the Author:

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Maisie Porter works as a professional photographer in Australia, with wide experience covering weddings, though she has neither abducted nor been abducted by any competitors. No Reception is Maisie’s first novel.

Social Media Links –  Twitter

See what other think by following the tour

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

The Flowerpot Witch by Wendy Steele @WendyWooauthor @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing  The Flowerpot Witch by Wendy Steele with you today. This is not my usual genre to read but I was a little bit intrigued by the synopsis when I was invited to be part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. You can get a copy of this “witch-lit” ( I love this term) book at  – AMAZON UK or AMAZON US.

Synopsis:

The Flowerpot Witch (A Wendy Woo Witch Lit Novel Book 3)

Lizzie Martin has chosen pottery to be her new career…

But the teacher from hell threatens to thwart her ambitions before she starts.

She has support from her best friend Louise and Evan, another pottery tutor, but Rowan, her fifteen year old daughter is restless, Josh, her ex-husband is colluding with her aunt and though her mother is alive, access to her is forbidden. When The Morrigan appears in her sacred circle, Lizzie knows she has a battle on her hands.

There is hope though.

Stardust the chicken brings a new creature into Lizzie’s life and a long awaited meeting with her Aunt Matilda brings Lizzie’s past into perspective.

Lizzie’s magic ventures beyond The Sanctuary, into the Welsh landscape and the realms of the fae.

My Thoughts:

I do have a little bit of a habit of reading books that are part of a series but I don’t start at the beginning of the series. This book is a prime example. I did find that although it could be read as a stand alone book, I felt I was missing something about things that had possibly gone on in previous books. It did take me a while to find the characters recognisable and also their association with other characters. So I would advise reading the series in order.

So as I read and gradually came to grips with this “witch-lit” story I discovered the main character of Lizzie and her daughter Rowan. My goodness what a character Lizzie is, how she has the energy to deal with everyone else’s “drama” is beyond me. I discovered that she is a really lovely, genuine, helpful and loving person. She likes to see the good in everyone and gives everyone a chance, and a second chance, and a third chance and well you can see where I’m going here.

There are quite a few things going on that seem to continually get in the way of what Lizzie would like to do. With her daughters occasional outbursts, an insensitive ass of an ex-husband, a family feud, possible new business opportunities and friends problems it is a wonder she gets any time to herself.

I wasn’t sure when I began how I would get on with a “witch-lit” read, but I am so glad I gave it a chance. I was pleasantly surprised with the plot of the story and I got a real sense of the authors personal interests coming through. It is after I finished the book that I decided to see what the author was about and I realised that this lady does have a real insight into the subject she has written about, and it really does show.

I would definitely recommend this book to readers who like chick lit with a twist, give this book go. It has at its heart a woman trying to find a balance as she juggles family, friends, ex’s, business and new opportunities. The third in the series and one I will be looking to read the other two books.

About the Author:

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Wendy Steele is author, wise woman, goddess. She is writer, dance teacher, mother and healer.

Her passion is magic.

‘The Lilith Trilogy’ leads the reader along the paths of the witches Qabalah, following Angel Parson’s story of betrayal, retribution and redemption. Her magical story contains high magic as well as pagan ritual.

‘The Standing Stone Book Series’ focuses on the lives of three women linked together across time and space by the standing stone. The countryside is the focus of their magic, embracing the gods and goddesses, tree spirits, elves and fairies.

Her latest series, The Wendy Woo Witch Lit Series, begins with The Naked Witch. Lizzie Martin, receptionist, single mother and witch, is asked by her new boss to conform and embrace the corporate dress code. The reality of paisley to pin stripe, an unexpected stay in hospital, monitoring of her fourteen year old daughter’s latest crush, the search for the truth about her father’s death and two new men in her life, give Lizzie plenty of plates to spin. In the Orphan Witch, Lizzie is grieving while trying to find her real mother and the truth about her father and in the third book, The Flowerpot Witch, due to be published on 21st June, she embarks on a new career, thwarted at every step by those around her.

You can hear Wendy telling her short stories in Pan’s Grotto on her Welsh riverbank, on her YouTube channel, The Phoenix and the Dragon.

Wendy’s non-fiction title ‘Wendy Woo’s Year – A Pocketful of Smiles’ offers the reader 101 ideas to bring a smile to every day.

Wendy lives in Wales with her partner, Mike, and cats. If she’s not writing or teaching dance, you’ll find her renovating her house, clearing her land or sitting on her riverbank, breathing in the beauty of nature.

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Mary Rosie’s War by Catherine M Byrne @Katrine66 @rararesources #BookReview #Giveaway (UK only)

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I am delighted to be sharing Mary Rosie’s War by Catherine M Byrne with you today as part of the blog tour by Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources. You can buy a copy of this fabulous book HERE. This is my first time with this author and this series. Each book is written so it can be read as a stand alone and I am immensely grateful for this. There is also a fabulous GIVEAWAY running to be in with a chance to win Catherine’s books, check it out below xx

Synopsis:

WW2 has been declared. A strange find on the beach gives Mary Rosie the chance to fulfil her dreams and contribute to her country, but all is not what she imagined.

After witnessing the first bomb to be dropped on mainland Britain, Mary watches her friends leave to join the forces and longs to be with them, but is held back by loyalty to her widowed mother.

France has capitulated. Johnny Allan’s regiment has been annihilated by German troops north of Paris. Johnny has to find a way to get home and to the girl who no longer waits for him.

Leisel is a German Jew who lost her family to the Nazis and has to make her way in Britain, a strange new country, while harbouring a desire for revenge.

Their lives become entangled in a way that no one could have envisaged.

A story about war, family ties, love, loyalty and loss.

My Thoughts:

Mary Rosie is the daughter of Chrissie and sister to Peter. Chrissie, a single parent after the death of her husband, has brought up her children between wars. It is where the story starts as the impeding WWII is still only rumour, how could there be another war after the end of WWI, it was supposed to be the war to end all war.

As WWII is declared it is Peter that is the first to enrol and leave home, followed by some of Mary’s friends. Mary felt quite put out that many others were going off “to do their bit” and she had to stay at home with mum. It is one night when Mary is out on the beach that she discovers Liesel and it sets the start of various events that will change the life of not only Mary, but many, many others.

This story is set in Scotland and uses some local dialect and also terms. Some readers like this inclusion some loathe it, me I love it, it really helps to imagine the voices of the characters and helps make them more memorable at times. I think this is because I tend to pay more attention to the dialogue as I read. In my head I have the perfect accent, what happens when I try to actually speak is a different matter entirely.

The beautifully written story took me into the life of Mary and the Rosie family and their friends within their small community. While I did understand Chrissie wanting to keep her daughter safe at home, I also really understood the need for Mary to want to help. She was a character I could understand, though some of her naivety did make me chuckle, that however was soon rectified as she met new friends. I have to admit to liking this naive Mary, it added a charm and honesty to her character that I did find quite endearing.

The author took me through the more traditional early 1900’s lifestyle and way of life, incorporating family values and expectations. Along with this is the worry of the turmoil occurring in Europe and the settings proximity to Scapa Flow, I was allowed a glimpse into the life of the Rosie’s. I got a real feeling of pride not only in the family but also of their friends and community. The setting was brilliantly described and even though I have not been to this area of Scotland, I was able to build up a good image from the authors descriptions.

The story moves through several years quite quickly from the build up to the War, during and also after. It gave me a chance to see the change in Mary, not only in her personally but also of her character. There are some scenes described that involve the war from various perspectives, but Mary is really the main character. The author has kept a continuation to the story even as the character point of view changes.

This is a story of family, war, hope, despair and love. It has been written in such a way as to keep me avidly turning the pages as I was transported into Mary’s life. A book that I would highly recommend to readers who enjoy historical, family saga, WWII setting and general fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be looking to read more books by Catherine Byrne.

About the Author:

Mary Rsies War - Author.jpg Catherine Byrne always wanted to be a writer. She began at the age of eight by drawing comic strips with added dialogue and later, as a teenager, graduated to poetry.  Her professional life however, took a very different path.  She first studied glass engraving with Caithness Glass where she worked for fourteen years. During that time she also worked as a foster parent.  After the birth of her youngest child she changed direction, studying and becoming a chiropodist with her own private practice.  At the same time she did all the administration work for her husband’s two businesses, and this continued until the death of her husband in 2005.  However she still maintained her love of writing, and has had several short stories published in women’s magazines.  Her main ambition was to write novels and she has now retired in order to write full time.

Born and brought up until the age of nine on the Island of Stroma, she heard many stories from her grandparents about the island life of a different generation. Her family moved to the mainland at a time when the island was being depopulated, although it took another ten years before the last family left.

An interest in geology, history and her strong ties to island life have influenced her choice of genre for her novels.

Since first attending the AGM of the Scottish Association of Writers in 1999, Catherine has won several  prizes, commendations and has been short-listed both for short stories and chapters of her novels. In 2009, she won second prize in the general novel category for ‘Follow The Dove’

In 2016 The Road to Nowhere  won second prize in the Barbara Hammond competition for Best Self Published novel. The follow up, Isa’s Daughter won 1st prize in the same competition the following year.

Although the books follow the fortunes of the same family, they are all stand-alone.

The fifth book in the Raumsey series is  Mary Rosie’s War.

Catherine Byrne lives in Wick, Caithness.

Follow Catherine on – Facebook – Website – Twitter – Blog

∗∗∗∗∗GIVEAWAY∗∗∗∗∗

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Giveaway – 1st Prize – all 4 of Catherine Byrne’s previous books in paperback .
6 x Runners Up Prizes – PB copy of Broken Horizon  (UK Only)

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

∗∗∗∗∗ENTER HERE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN, GOOD LUCK 🙂 XX∗∗∗∗∗

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#BookReview : Chilling Tales Of The Unexpected by Ann Girdharry @GirdharryAnn @rararesources

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I am delighted to be sharing “Chilling Tales Of The Unexpected” by Ann Girdharry as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for my spot on the tour and also Ann for my e-copy of the collection. You can get a copy from Amazon or see have a look at it on Goodreads

Synopsis:

Four twisty, short reads.
Addictive works of suspense,
That will leave you breathless and give you goose bumps…

Trading with Death
What sacrifice might we make for those we love? In the face of death, will we be selfish or selfless?

Tell Me a Secret
Deceit, lies and secrets – how well do we know those close to us?

Sweet Justice 
We follow Tess as she confronts the dark side…

Written on the Apple Tree 
A moment from a past life, a possession, or a simple meeting between strangers?

My Thoughts:

This is another new to me author and based on these short stories I will definitely be looking to read read more by her.

So this is a collection of four stories and each one has an element of the unexpected, or it has a twist. They bring a range of interesting concepts that I really enjoyed and yes I did like the unexpected kick at the end of each one. Given their short nature I found them to be compelling and well thought out with a feeling of completeness to them.

I always feel that I am being to vague when reviewing short stories as the review tends to also be on the short side and I never want to give any spoilers away. So what I found within the stories was that they had a slightly sinister element or maybe better described as an element of thrill, and left me with an “ooooohhh” at the end of each one.

They cover a range of themes and each one has been well developed and even though they are short I felt they had a good amount of depth. It would be hard to pick a favourite as they are so different to each other.

I would definitely recommend these to readers who like short stories with an unexpected twist and thrill to them.

 

About the Author:

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Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years.
Today she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.

She writes suspense and thrillers, is a book reviewer and occasionally blogs for the Huffington Post UK. Her crime thriller novel, GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL, was an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist 2017. Two of her thrillers are READERS’ FAVOURITE Five Star Books.

Social Media Links – Follow Ann on – Facebook – Twitter – Goodreads – Bookbub

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#BookReview : The Hanging Women by John Mead @JohnMeadAuthor @rararesources #HistoricalFiction

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Today I have my thoughts on “The Hanging Women” by John Mead as part of  the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for my spot and to John for my e-copy of the book. you can purchase from Amazon UK.

Synopsis:

A historical crime thriller set in 1886 Chicago; the power house of America, a sink of corruption and vice which is haunted by riots and gangland killings.  A story of weak men and strong women.

Jack Stevens discovers the bodies of two women, Philomena Blackstaff and Mary Walsh, tied together and hung by their ankles in a position resembling the symbol for treachery as depicted on tarot cards. Though retired and now wealthy, Stevens is an ex-sheriff and involves himself in the subsequent investigation.

As a result of Jack `stealing’ Philomena’s diary and his association with the Pinkerton detective agency, it is discovered that Mary Walsh worked undercover for the Pinkertons, investigating the Knights of Labour (the fastest growing workers’ rights movements in America of the late 1800’s). The women had been working together, tracing the man who was selling guns and dynamite to the more extremest factions of the workers movement. This led them to Ruby’s, a secret `nightclub for deviants’, where Stevens and Inspector O’Leary believe the pair fell foul of the man they were looking for, gang leader Joseph Mannheim.

With the May 4th Haymarket riots and bombings looming, Stevens must uncover the truth about The Hanging Women before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:

The synopsis for this book is quite detailed and I did find it useful when I felt the need to refer back to it on a couple of occasions as I read the book. The story itself is quite busy in relation to the plot lines and characters. There are several subplots that are seemingly unrelated to the investigation into the hanging women.

Jack Stevens is the main character and seems to have a limitless array of friends or associates and I did really like this whiskey drinking investigator as he wandered the 1880’s streets and alleys of Chicago. Told in chapters set out day by day I found myself reading of his investigations and other “activities”as well as learning of his wife Martha. I did like this couple and their antics though I did get confused trying to remember all the other characters they meet along the way, hence the need to return to the synopsis.

The subplots take in the Pinkertons, gangs, workers movements, murder, robbery and back street deals as well as a few other things. Some of the threads I really enjoyed and though I didn’t initially understand the relevance of all of them until the author started to the individual threads together towards the end.

Once I got into the story I felt it moved along at a reasonable pace, though I was slower at the beginning until I felt I had got a grip on it. As I mentioned previously it is a very busy story with lots of things happening and I did struggle initially but I did feel that my comprehension of the book picked up as I got further into it and especially as things were being pulled together. I would recommend this to a historical crime reader who prefers a more complex multi-thread read.

About the Author:

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John was born in the mid-fifties in Dagenham, London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub, he writes.

His inspiration for his debut novel came whilst attending a lecture in Denver about the history of the American midwest, describing a time and place that was very different from that espoused by popular culture, which started him thinking this would make a excellent period in which to set a crime story.

His book describes how Chicago was a prototype of much that we consider both good and bad in the current age, it had a vibrancy and decadence that allowed a few enterprising individuals to prosper whilst violence and intolerance held back many others. The situation for some African Americans and women was improving but it was still a time when to be anything other than white and male made you a second class citizen.  The city was the manufacturing and transport hub of America, the vast influx of immigrants swelling its already booming population brought great wealth but also corruption and criminality. The midwest and Chicago typified a way of life, the ‘gun culture’ which is a euphemism for individualism, from which much of modern American social values have grown.

John is currently working on a trilogy of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city: a Whitechapel noir. 

Social Media Links – Twitter – Goodreads Author Page – Amazon Author Page

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