Audiobook · contemporary fiction

Audiobook Blog Tour – The Art of Remembering

Author: Alison Ragsdale

Narrator: Heather McRae

Length: 11 hours 49 minutes

Publisher: Alison Ragsdale

Released: Sep. 23, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Professional ballerina Ailsa MacIntyre is at the peak of her career when her world is shattered by a shocking diagnosis. Life-saving surgery leaves her with a fractured memory, little recollection of her husband, Evan, and none of her career as a principal dancer.

While recuperating at home, Ailsa hears beautiful music coming from the apartment upstairs, and the sound of the grand piano at the hands of a talented new neighbor sparks her muscle memory. As her recovery progresses, the broken pieces of her past gradually re-emerge, a picture not quite as idyllic as Evan would have her remember. Ailsa must navigate the conflicting visions of her past, and potential future, as they collide.

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A former professional dancer, and marketing executive, originally from Edinburgh, Alison now lives near Washington DC with her husband and dog. She was educated in England and holds an MBA from Leicester University.

Alison is the author of five, bestselling novels: TUESDAY’S SOCKS, THE FATHER-DAUGHTER CLUB, FINDING HEATHER, A LIFE UNEXPECTED and THE ART OF REMEMBERING. She is also a two-time IPPY Award winner with THE FATHER DAUGHTER CLUB being awarded the IPPY 2016, Bronze Medal for Best Regional Fiction – Europe, and A LIFE UNEXPECTED, winning a Bronze Medal in the 2018 Popular Fiction category.

THE ART OF REMEMBERING, released in July, 2019 debuted as an Amazon bestseller, was a finalist in the American Fiction Awards Literary Category and was selected by BookBub for their Best Book Club Book list in both July and August, 2019.

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Narrator Bio

Heather McRae is from Falkirk in Central Scotland, but met her husband whilst studying at Lancaster University in the North of England, where both were very involved with the Theatre Group. Having moved back to Scotland in 2006, she and her brother took over the music and advertising business their grandfather had started back in the ’60s, and she’s currently in the process of setting up a glamping business to support the maintenance of a listed building. She also sings in two choirs, and she and her husband breed pedigree Tiffanie cats and are very involved in the cat show world.

Reading and writing have been lifelong passions, and Heather won numerous awards for poetry recital and public speaking growing up (though now prefers to be backstage). In 2018, some people commenting on a video she had uploaded to social media mentioned that she has a soothing voice, that would be good for audiobook narration. Seeing this, one of her friends pointed her in the direction of Amazon’s Audiobook Creation Exchange, and helping authors to bring their books to life has become a new source of much enjoyment in her free time. She has developed a fascination for dialects and accents, and now drives her husband mad by trying to learn to mimic every new accent she encounters.

 

Q&A with Author Alison Ragsdale
  • How did you select your narrator?
    • I worked with ACX to find the perfect narrator for this book. Initially, I searched through the available narrators/producers who met the criteria I had: primarily a female and a native Scot, who was versatile with accents. Then I uploaded an audition script and waited to see who would submit an audition reel. I also sent direct messages to a couple of narrators whom I felt would be a good fit. Soon the audition reels began to come in and I listened to each one, closing my eyes and letting the voices soak in. When I heard Heather McRae’s reel, the hairs literally stood up on my arms and I knew she was the voice who could bring this cast of characters to life. When I contacted her, she agreed to take on the project and, the rest is history.
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process?
    • I worked very closely with Heather, listening to each chapter as she uploaded them, making edits as we went along, and no doubt driving her crazy with my attention to detail. However, she dealt with all my concerns and edits, quickly and gracefully, so the book began to emerge exactly as I’d imagined it.
  • Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • Yes. The book includes characters from various regions of Scotland, England, and from Sweden, both male and female, so it was important to clearly differentiate between them as they were read. The book is also choc-full of ballet terms that required some clarification, here and there, on pronunciation. I also gave Heather information on the characters’ motivations and emotional temperatures, in certain scenes, to help her interpret particularly intense sections of dialogue. She brought wonderful drama, where it was needed, that made me well-up when listening to it back.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • Yes, there were. I am a native Scot, a former professional dancer, and a brain tumor survivor, so to a large extent, I mined many of my personal experiences for this book. However, I always make a point of clarifying that it’s not MY story, and that those are the only things I have in common with Ailsa. It is still, however, a very personal book to me, in many ways.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
    • As far as avoiding burnout, I rely on mother nature. I take long walks every day, with my sweet dog Maddie, soaking in my surroundings without any technology invading my mind-space. It’s meditative, and lets me recharge my sense of calm and connectedness to the earth. I also do yoga, and spend time with my husband and sisters, who help keep me sane.
    • Maintaining my enthusiasm for writing hasn’t been a problem, so far. I am an avid reader and the more great books I read, the more motivated I am to keep learning, and producing books I’m proud of. In terms of my process, I give myself licence to take breaks from writing, even as long as a few weeks, in some cases. That way I’m removing some of the pressure to produce when I may not be feeling inspired, or the story just won’t come.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • I’d say, think again. Whatever method a reader uses to enjoy the written word is as legitimate as any other. Also, think about all the keen readers out there who aren’t gifted with sight, or those who are so busy with life that the only way they can absorb a book is to listen to it, while going from point A to point B. There are so many things that may influence this choice, that to judge it as an inferior method of ‘reading’ seems unfair.
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    • It had been 3.5 years in the making, so felt like a major accomplishment. My husband cooked me a lovely dinner and we cracked open a special bottle of Tuscan red wine we’d been saving. It was the perfect way to celebrate, and mark reaching the finish line.
  • Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
    • Yes! Jeffrey Mere, the protagonist in my debut novel, TUESDAY’S SOCKS, first came to me in a dream. I woke at 3.00 am with his name, his face, his personality quirks and a basic outline of his story – all glowing in the dark. It also happened with Heather Forrester in FINDING HEATHER, and then again with Ailsa, in THE ART OF REMEMBERING.
  • What’s your favorite:
    • Food – I love rich, comfort foods like hearty soups, curries and veggie dishes. I also love fish, and the fresh mussels from the west of Scotland are the best in the world.
    • Song – Can’t think of a song, but my favorite piece of music is Vaughn Williams’, Lark Ascending.
    • Book – The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.
    • Television show – Call the Midwife
    • Movie – Julie and Julia
    • Band – Genesis
    • Sports team – I don’t follow sports
    • City – Edinburgh or Florence
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    • The best advice I can give would be to start writing. Don’t put it off because you feel as if you might not be good enough, or that others will judge your work. I was crippled by fear in the beginning – fear of failing, fear of letting myself down, fear of sharing my work etc etc. The best thing I ever did was join a writing group. I found a circle of wonderful people who all wrote from the heart, in a diverse range of genres. It was a safe place to share, and discuss each-others’ work, and we all grew as writers as a result. It was the first place I shared anything I’d written, outside of with my family, and it helped me get over what was holding me back.
  • What’s next for you?
    • I’m now working on the third draft of book number six, titled DIGNITY AND GRACE, which is a very poignant tale about family, loss and redemption. When that is ready to go back to my editor, I’ve already got book number seven planned out, so I’m excited to start writing that one. The wheels keep on turning.

 

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Oct. 28th:

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cosy · Finding Miranda · Iris Chacon · must-read · mystery · series

Book Review – The Mammoth Murders

The Mammoth Murders

Minokee Mysteries Book 2

by Iris Chacon

A Chinese Univ. of Fla. student & an old Florida farmer disappear, linked only by a canoe trip to a secret sinkhole. Neighbors, Shepard (a blind radio host) & Miranda (a shy librarian), soon find this double-murder puzzle could cost their lives – or at least their future together. Sequel to award-winning novel, “Finding Miranda.

About the author:

Iris Chacon is like a trip to sunny Florida, from the horse country of Ocala to the playgrounds and beaches of Pensacola, Orlando, Miami, Key West and all points in between.

Good, clean, fun is the Chacon mantra, whether on white sandy beaches, on theme park thrill rides, or on the pages of a novel. A good book is a vacation for the mind and spirit, and Iris loves vacationing with quirky characters in quaint locations.

Travel through laughter and tears with surprising people, and see the world in its happiest colors. That’s what reading can do for us. That’s what Iris Chacon writes for us.

My Review:

As soon as I saw the cover for this book, I instantly remembered the fun I had reading “Finding Miranda”, so it took less than a nanosecond for me to grab my copy of “The Mammoth Murders”.

Meeting up with Shep and Miranda was like catching up with old friends. Since the incident that took the lives of Pietro (Shep’s closest friend) and Dave (Shep’s dearest canine friend), Shep was still struggling to be 100% the man he used to be. But, with the help of Pietro’s twin brother, Carlo, one particular activity he had avoided – his morning jog -was now forced upon him – in the nicest possible way, of course.  And, as if that were not enough, after asking Miranda to marry him every day since, she finally said yes. But, take note – it was a secret (and possibly the worst kept secret in the whole of Minokee)

Talking of Minokee, how wonderful it was to catch up again with Miz Martha Cleary and the Coffee Ritual ladies, whose daily highlight was to see Shep and Carlo jog past, preferably shirtless, each morning.

And so it came to the couple’s ‘secret’ wedding – a secret that had morphed into a major event, organised with military precision by Shep’s mother, the high-society Hermione Montgomery Krausse. With her team of spies to hand, she was just waiting for the couple to set the date before her grand plans could kick in.

Shep had other ideas, a plan to marry quickly and quietly, but first a canoe ride to visit an ever-growing sinkhole on the land of a local farmer was in order. Together with some students from the university, the group enjoy a great day on the river, and peering into the vastness of the hole wondering what might be down there.

And so began the mystery – not just of the sinkhole. When one of the students – David Chang – disappeared, Shep and Carlo were asked to look into the case. The farmer’s strange ‘new’ behaviour, and some odd emails raised their suspicions – it was time to employ Shep’s secret weapon in the form of one of his fans from his radio days, and so began the surveillance exercise.

While all this was going on, Hermione had roped in Miranda’s parents too, and the wedding plans were getting more extravagant by the hour, something that did not sit well with Shep, and particularly with Miranda – the strain on the relationship was tested to its limits.

However, despite all of the issues facing them, it was an astonishing kitten, named Zeus (Carlo insisted the cat chose his own name!) who acted like the glue that would bind them together – eventually. Should Zeus finally decide to adopt Shep and Miranda, then expect those crazy, charming interactions to continue. I so hope they do.

The story includes a great balance of laughter and danger, of mystery and resolution, of hope and frustration, and all in all a good clean read that will keep any lover of cosy mysteries entertained from start to finish.
My thanks go to the author, and to Books Go Social via NetGalley for an advance e-copy, and I have reviewed this voluntarily.

As always,

book blitz · Giveaways · suspense · thriller

Book Blitz & Mega Giveaway – A Fool’s Circle

AFoolsCircle

Welcome to the super huge, A Fool’s Circle MEGA giveaway!!! Check out this amazing Domestic Thriller by Suzanne Seddon, and enter to win this fantastic haul!

unnamedA Fool’s Circle

Publication Date: March 17th, 2019

Genre: Thriller/ Domestic Thriller/ Suspense

Kate Sanders has suffered many years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her abusive husband Alan, and convinces herself that she is only holding the family together for the sake of her eight-year-old daughter. If it wasn’t for her best friend Jill Reynolds, she would have taken the suicide option a long time ago.

As she desperately seeks a way to escape, she is contacted by a solicitor. Kate’s old aunt has died and she has been left a small fortune.

For the first time, she sees the light at the end of the tunnel. She dreams of a fresh start, a new home, a new life. What Kate doesn’t know is that Jill and Alan have their own secrets, and are both desperate to get their hands on her money.

Kate soon finds herself falling for the charms of Jonathon Jacobs in what she believes to be fate finally intervening and offering her a second chance, unaware that each move he makes has been directed, orchestrated and well-rehearsed as he begs her to leave her husband Alan.

But is it all too late, as she finds herself in the frame for murder?

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Excerpt

Chapter 1 

A blonde head bounced on the floor in time to the yelling. Rays of the early morning sun caught her golden hair, and motes of dust hung in the air. Sophie Saunders was eight years old. Kneeling down on the floor, she played with her dolls, drumming Ken and Barbie against the carpet, her body bent forward, almost as if she were praying in her immaculately clean and pressed school uniform. But today her school uniform was the last thing on her mind. She bashed the dolls’ heads off the pink floor in unison. 

‘Ring-a-Ring-a-Rosie,’ she sang aloud to herself as she tried to drown out the voices that rose up through the floorboards. 

The noises from downstairs were a regular occurrence, and fast becoming the norm. Sophie felt her dad’s anger, ever-present in his voice as it vibrated through her bedroom, positioned over the kitchen. Scared, she dropped her dolls, raising her arms and clasping her small hands over her ears. Sophie closed her eyes. Blinded, she felt for Barbie and Ken and gripped the toys by the legs. With one in each hand, she remained still for a moment, and as the voices intensified beneath her, she sensed them possessing the dolls. 

‘You’re an old bag. I hate you!’ Sophie’s voice was deep and rough, as she rammed Ken’s head into Barbie’s chest. 

‘Why are you always so nasty to me?’ She raised the pitch of her voice as she shook the dolls hard. 

‘Because you make me want to vomit when I look at your fat ugly face,’ she growled. 

‘Please stop being so cruel to me,’ she enunciated. 

‘Who do you think you are? Don’t you dare tell me what to do, bitch!’ 

With each word, she struck Ken against Barbie, again and again, until finally Barbie’s head popped off and rolled across the carpet. 

That hadn’t been her intention. She didn’t mean to decapitate the poor doll. Shocked, she stood up as she searched for the missing head. She found it under the bedside cabinet at the back, by the wall. She crouched down, stretched out her arm and grabbed it. Sophie sat up on her knees, struggling to reattach the plastic head to its body. 

 

‘Bloody shit! Why won’t it go on?’ The racket from below grew ever louder. ‘Bloody shit.’ Frustrated, she gave up, and flung the dolls across the room. 

Downstairs, her father, Alan, almost lost his head. He shouted louder as his wife, Kate, persisted as the peacemaker. 

‘As useless as a one-legged woman in an arse- kicking contest.’ 

His voice echoed around the large stark white room, drowning out the soothing music from the old radio sitting on the window ledge. 

‘You’re one useless bastard!’ The barrage of abuse had just hit average level. 

‘Fucking useless.’ The kitchen had seen better days, as had their marriage, but Kate worked hard to keep both spotless and functional. 

‘Can you hear me?’ She strived hard at everything, as she had for a lifetime. 

‘Hello? Is there anyone home?’ However, her efforts now went unnoticed or drew heavy criticism for no reason. 

‘I’m fucking talking to you, whore.’ She knew only too well what was about to come her way, as she moved the blonde strand of hair out of her blue eyes and concentrated. She placed the boiled egg safely into its cup. 

‘Where’s this fucking breakfast, for fuck’s sake?’ 

She reached out her arm, picked up the knife and, clenching it tight in her hand, she decapitated the top of the egg. 

‘I can hear you, Alan.’ The toast was the light side of brown, just as he liked it, but who knew these days? ‘There’s no point keeping on at me, shouting. I can’t go any faster.’ 

She set the breakfast plate before Alan. His face was dark and menacing—the antithesis of the light sense of fun that had been knocked out of her. 

‘About fucking time. Talk about slow. You’re like a human fucking sloth.’ 

 

After ten years together, she found it more of a challenge to stay positive. Alan had turned negativity into a vocation. 

‘What the flying fuck is this?’ She stared at the top of his head, bristling with the military-style haircut he’d had since he was a child, raised by an army commander who gave no quarter. 

‘Do you seriously expect me to eat this fucking lot of shite?’ Alan had adopted the same rank in the family, but hadn’t served a moment in the services. ‘All these years, and you still can’t boil a fucking egg? I mean, it’s not fucking rocket science.’ She watched him as he snarled at her. ‘You’ve got to be having some sort of a laugh.’ 

He pushed the plate away with such force, it shot forward and hit the condiment pots. Kate flinched as the sharp noise pierced her ears. ‘Why, what’s wrong with it now?’ She clenched her fists as her body shook. Her nerves were all on the surface, as he mocked her and revelled in her fear. 

‘What’s bloody wrong with it? It’s the wrong colour, undercooked and looks like my fucking snot. You really are a fucking retard!’ 

 

She watched as his sneer took what used to be a pleasantly rugged face – a lifetime ago – and warped it monstrously. 

‘Well, I can do another for you, if you like. It won’t take me a minute!’ 

She tried her hardest to stay calm, fearful of what might come next. 

 

‘That’s how long I think you boiled that one for, a fucking minute, so what’s the bloody point? You’ll only mess it up again, you thick tart.’ Kate, petrified, noticed the pure evil as it manifested once again across his face. 

‘You’re miles away these days. Maybe you should go see a doctor and get some happy pills from him. For fuck’s sake, you can’t even time an egg.’ Once again defeated, she bit her lip and her voice broke. 

‘Well, I did boil it for three minutes.’ She watched his face as it reddened. She knew the inevitable was about to happen, and wished it over and done with. 

‘Yeah, yeah. Let’s face it, darling, you’re no good at cooking, no good in bed—in fact, you’re no good at fucking anything really. I bloody dread mealtimes in this house.’ 

The victorious grin that had taken residence across his smug face frightened her. 

‘I try my best, Alan, I really do.’ Kate’s voice sounded weak. Alan fed off her vulnerability as he chipped away at her. He cranked up the volume another notch. 

‘You really are a fucking retard. You’re trying to poison me with salmonella.’ Alan stretched out his arm, picking up the boiled egg. Terrified, she eyed him as he gripped it tightly in his hand. ‘Trying to do me in with food poisoning, are you?’ 

Kate jerked as he lobbed the egg towards her, raising her arm, shielding it from her face as it side-swiped her head. She tried to pick fragments of sticky shell out of her hair. 

‘That’s what I think about your boiled eggs. Now go and fucking clean it up!’ 

 

She decided the best defence was to stay silent. Terrified, she turned her back on him, and tried to disappear into the background. 

‘Don’t turn your back on me, I’m fucking talking to you! You’re one ignorant bitch. Don’t you dare fucking ignore me!’ 

She closed her eyes tight and gritted her teeth, trying hard to remain calm. 

‘I’m not ignoring you. I’m trying to get Sophie’s breakfast ready or she’ll be late for school.’ 

 

Her smooth tone stoked his fury more. ‘I don’t even know why I fucking married you. I could’ve done so much better. My parents were right on the money when they said I married down. An army bigwig and a doctor they were, and what are you? A washed-up failed actress, a shit teacher, and a poor excuse for a fucking wife.’ 

She ignored him as the vile comments became more and more aggressive. 

 

‘I mean, have you taken a fucking good look at yourself lately?’ 

He rotated his chair towards her. She watched him in terror as he looked her up and down like he’d just stepped in a massive turd. 

‘Please don’t, Alan. Please don’t start again today.’ 

She arranged the plate of food as fast as she could. Jumpy and exasperated, she picked up the tea towel from the draining board and wiped the edges clean, as he continued to mock her. 

‘“Please don’t, Alan – please don’t, Alan.” Can you hear yourself, Kate?’ 

 

The onslaught continued towards danger point. 

 

‘You’ve really let yourself go over the years. You need to get yourself to the fucking gym and start exercising. I married a woman, not a lard arse. Just look at you!’ 

She was tall and well-proportioned. If Alan wanted an anorexic model, he was living in cloud cuckoo land – and the wrong neighbourhood. 

‘Oh, for crying out loud, Alan.’ Her adrenalin kicked in, and she snapped out of her former resignation. She threw down the tea towel on the worktop. ‘I do exercise, Alan, when I have the time!’ 

‘Ha! Are you having a fucking bubble? You keep telling yourself that. You’re a silly stupid fat tart. You should take a leaf out of your friend Jill’s book. Now she looks great. Perfect little figure, and a great pair of tits!’ 

He did nothing to hide the wicked grin that was plastered across his face, or his semi- erection. Watching him, repulsed, she tried logic. ‘Well, Jill hasn’t got any children to worry about, or a husband for that matter, so she has more time on her hands than I bloody well do.’ 

She continued to busy herself, reaching into the cupboard next to her and removing a plate. 

‘Excuses, Kate, always bloody excuses with you! Don’t you know the truth always comes out? Mind you, you wouldn’t know the truth if it jumped up and took a bite-sized chunk out of your big fat fucking arse, you thick bitch.’ 

Her stomach churned. She didn’t want another fight. Against her better judgement, she apologised. ‘I’m sorry about the egg, Alan, I really am, but do you have to do this now? Sophie will be down for her breakfast any minute.’ 

She showed him Sophie’s plate. Desperate, she reminded him of their daughter’s existence. Kate was taken aback as she heard the almighty roar that bellowed out of his mouth. 

‘Who the fuck do you think you are? You think you can tell me what I can and cannot do in my own house!’ 

The house belonged to both of them, a wedding gift from his parents, but she wasn’t about to argue the toss about that now. 

 

‘Please, Alan, Sophie will hear you. It’s not fair she has to listen to this day in, day out. Do you not think about what this is doing to her? She’s your daughter, for heaven’s sake.’ 

She hated the sound of her weak voice. ‘Well, that’s fucking debatable.’ Sickened, Kate watched him as he swayed in his chair like a hypnotised cobra. A dreary Coldplay song rang out on the radio. 

‘I don’t give a toss about you or your fucking daughter.’ 

The saliva flew in all directions across the kitchen, as he continued to spit more venom in her direction. 

 

‘It’s my fucking house, my rules. Anyway, look at you. And what’s that on your face? Is that make-up and lipstick you’re wearing? Where do you think you’re going today with all that crap on your face? You look like a washed- up old whore!’ 

She was frozen to the spot, and the colour drained fast from her face. 

‘It’s just pink lip gloss, for goodness sake. What the hell’s wrong with you?’ 

His eyes bulged from their sockets like a bullfrog’s, his tongue sharp like a flickering whip, as he leapt from his chair and grabbed her firmly by the hair. ‘Lip gloss, my arse.’ She fought hard to hold on to Sophie’s plate as he ground his thumb into her mouth and smeared the tacky pink gloss across her cheek. 

‘Ha! That’s more like it! As if lipstick or lip gloss is going to help you.’ 

She felt the sting as the palm of his hand connected hard against her cheek. He picked up the dirty tea towel. 

‘Please, Alan, stop this.’ He rubbed it hard across her flushed skin. Kate, struggling to breathe, heard the crash as the plate fell to the floor. 

‘Look at the tea towel, cunt. It’s fucking make-up. Stop fucking lying to me!’ 

She could smell the remnants of the stale booze on his breath, which made her heave. ‘I’m not lying.’ She struggled hard to pull away from him, her eyes drawn towards the doorway. She noticed Sophie standing there, her perfect angelic face pale and in shock. 

‘Go away!’ Kate mouthed to her terrified daughter. 

‘What was that, bitch? Are you talking back to me again?’ 

She felt the sharp pain hit, as he punched her hard in the stomach. As Kate fell to her knees, she heard Sophie’s voice. 

‘Leave my mummy alone!’ Kate looked up at him, and at the same time his expressive dark eyes narrowed. Alan turned around and faced his daughter. 

‘Oh, it’s you! Have you seen your mother? Doesn’t she look like a cheap whore? This is what you’ll look like one day if you let yourself turn into a sack of shit like her!’ 

He hoisted Kate up from the floor by her hair, on to her feet, and slapped her viciously again across her cheek. 

She screamed. ‘Get out, Sophie! Get out!’ Kate watched Sophie as she turned around and raced from the kitchen in floods of tears. She pleaded with him: 

‘Alan, please stop this! Please!’ She stumbled as he pushed her hard into the side of the Formica worktop. Unsteady on her feet, she reached out with both hands and gripped on to it. 

‘You’re lucky I’ve got things to do today and that I don’t have to spend another minute looking at your gormless fucking mug!’ 

She watched as he grabbed his jacket off the back of the kitchen chair and threw it across his right shoulder. 

 

‘What have I told you about lying, Kate?’ She saw the triumphant expression on his face as he left the kitchen and whistled down the hallway. Kate listened out as he opened the front door, and jumped as she heard his voice again. 

‘Make sure you clean up all the mess and scrape all that raw egg off those bloody tiles.’ 

 

She closed her eyes for a split second and there came another almighty loud bang as the front door slammed shut behind him. Kate’s whole body trembled with this aftershock. 

‘God help me,’ she said to herself. She crawled across the kitchen floor, picked up the newspaper off the chair and gathered the food and shards of broken plate onto it as she chanted to herself. 

Now the giveaway!!!

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First Prize

A signed copy of A Fool’s Circle

$10 amazon gift card

A Fool’s Circle – fridge magnet

A Fool’s Circle- Keyring

A Fool’s Circle – makeup bag

A Fool’s Circle – 6 pack of red pencils

A Fool’s Circle – Pen

A Fool’s Circle – wooden book mark

3 Note books

1 sequin pencil case

7 piece makeup brush set

Rituals…50ml Zensational foaming shower gel

Rituals…#HOLIAWESOME gift set containing

Playable foaming shower gel 50ml

Crackling body mousee 50ml

1 shower Pom Pom

5 assorted 7th heaven face masks

3 assorted 38g Lindt Lindor chocolate bars

Second Prize

Digital Copies of A Fool’s Circle

Incredible right? AND this giveaway is open to EVERYONE!!!

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About the Author

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Suzanne Seddon was born in 1968 in Islington, London. After leaving school she had many interesting jobs, from swimming teacher to air hostess, and was able to travel the globe. Now a single mum to her teenage daughter Poppy-willow, Suzanne spends her days writing and has written several articles for magazines and newspapers.

Growing up, Suzanne witnessed mental and physical abuse within her own family which strongly influenced her when she wrote her first play, A Fool’s Circle, when she attended the famous Anna Scher Theatre. Suzanne, however, was not content to leave it there and decided to go ahead and transform her play into a novel.

Not one to shy away from exciting challenges, she also wrote, acted, directed, cast and produced a trailer for the book around her hometown in Islington with the support of local businesses, who recognised the drive and importance of Suzanne and her work.

Suzanne is a passionate writer and she is determined to be heard so that the issue of domestic abuse is raised amongst the public’s consciousness, empowering others to speak out. She wants those who suffer at the hands of another to have their voices heard, loud and clear.

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Blog hop · book news · suspense · thriller

Blog Tour – The Fixer: The Last Romanov

The Fixer: The Last Romanov by Jill Amy Rosenblatt Banner

 

The Fixer:

The Last Romanov

by Jill Amy Rosenblatt

on Tour October 21 – November 23, 2019

Synopsis:

The Last Romanov by Jill Amy Rosenblatt

“My name is Katerina Mills. Make sure I disappear.”

Katerina Mills is getting out . . .

Desperate to escape a psychotic former client, a vengeful mobster, and a dirty DEA agent, professional “fixer” Kat Mills is ready to drop out and disappear.

She doesn’t trust her employer, the shadowy MJM Consulting, but Katerina can’t say no to one last job for the biggest score yet, enough money to get lost for good… until the client asks the impossible…

Dmitry Zilinsky claims he is a direct descendant of Russia’s last Tsar, Nicholas II, and he demands Katerina steal the item that will prove it.

Kat must get the job done or she can’t make her escape. But when professional thief Alexander Winter reappears in her life, Katerina Mills faces a new choice: go it alone or risk everything to be with the one person she doesn’t want to live without?

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Published by: Jill Amy Rosenblatt
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Number of Pages: 692
ISBN: 978-1-7332560-0-1
Series: The Fixer #3
Purchase Links: Amazon, Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1 Katerina Mills sat in the silver Honda Civic, peering through the lenses of the binoculars. The factory parking lot loomed larger as she watched the first shift employees filing out, heads bowing to brace against the frigid Vermont winds, and dashing to their cars. Katerina knew every inch of the toy factory her father had managed. In high school, she had helped out after classes, typing, filing, and bookkeeping. Following graduation and while caring for William Mills through his bout of cancer, Kat worked a few hours a day and carried paperwork back and forth to her father at home. Can you keep an eye on things for your old man? Bullshit, Kat thought. It was time to find out the truth. Kat snapped out of her thoughts as Richie Calico emerged. She watched him turn up the collar of his jacket as he hustled toward a shiny, red Dodge Durango. Kat knew Richie as a third-generation, blue-collar working stiff, always looking for an angle and an easy buck. That looks new, Kat thought as she sharpened the binoculars on the Durango. Richie’s head swiveled back and forth as he hurried to the SUV. That’s not the confident man I remember strolling up to my desk with a singsong “Kat-a-reeena.” As if we shared a secret. Richie slid into the Durango, revved the engine, and took off, speeding out of the lot. Time to spill your secrets, Richie. Kat put the Civic in gear. *** Katerina watched Richie pull into a strip mall, park in front of a run-down pub, and get out. She followed, parking in the back of the lot and cutting the engine. Leaning forward, Kat wrapped her arms around the wheel. I have to go in. I need him to fill in the blanks. How do I get in and out without being noticed? Steal in and out. Like a thief. She sighed. It had been a little more than two months since her first B and E. Alexander Winter, “Bob,” and “Professor,” to Kat, a good man and an expert thief, had walked her through it and brought her out. He would know what to do. She closed her eyes, the familiar ache of missing him threatening to overwhelm her. Not now, Katerina thought, opening her eyes and forcing herself to return to the business at hand. There’s a reason Richie is looking over his shoulder. Remember what Winter taught you, she thought. Once you go in, you give yourself five minutes. Every minute you linger, your risk of getting caught rises. Scanning the lot one more time, she flipped the fur lined hood over her chestnut hair, opened the door, and got out. *** Slipping in through the back door, Katerina stepped into the shrouded gloom of the deserted dive bar. She came up behind Richie as he slouched in a booth, drinking alone. Suddenly, Richie’s eyes shot up from his Coors and he jolted at the presence of a person looming over him. Shifting to face him, Kat brushed her hood back and watched his eyes grow wide. He gaped at her as she slid into the booth. “Katerina,” Richie said, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallowed hard. “Uh . . . Merry Christmas, Happy New Year . . . when did you get home?” “Hi Richie,” Kat said. “How’s the heroin business?” *** Excerpt from The Last Romanov by Jill Amy Rosenblatt. Copyright 2019 by Jill Amy Rosenblatt. Reproduced with permission from Jill Amy Rosenblatt. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Jill Amy Rosenblatt Jill Amy Rosenblatt is the author of The Fixer (Katerina Mills) series. The Last Romanov is the third book in the series. Book 2, The Killing Kind, was the 2017 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner for Suspense. She previously published Project Jennifer and For Better or Worse through Kensington Press. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Writing and Literature and her Masters Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Burlington College in Vermont. She lives on Long Island and is currently at work on book four of The Fixer series, The Good Criminal.

Catch Up With Jill Amy Rosenblatt On:

jillamyrosenblatt.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jill Amy Rosenblatt. There will be 3 winners. One (1) winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card and Two (2) winners will receive The Fixer: The Last Romanov by Jill Amy Rosenblatt (eBook). The giveaway begins on October 21, 2019, and runs through November 25, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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book review · Contemporary Romance · humour · romance · warmth · women's fiction

Book Review – The Next Forever

The Next Forever

by Alix Kelso

Friendship begins beneath cherry blossoms. Can it turn into love?

Meet Chrissie Sullivan – baking whiz, cake shop owner, and a woman on the brink ever since her grown family moved back into the house. When her meddling mother enters Chrissie’s shop into a prestigious wedding cake competition, things get even more complicated. Chrissie never expected still to be alone in her fifties, but her hectic life doesn’t make it easy to find a little romance.

Meet Keith McGraw – pub landlord, whisky lover, and a man who’s perpetually unlucky in love. He thinks he’s happy living alone, until his chaotic ex-wife reappears and turns his life upside down, making him wonder if the woman of his dreams might still be somewhere out there after all.

When Chrissie and Keith meet in the park, a friendship begins beneath spring cherry blossoms as they seek shelter from their messy lives. But as romance sparks, they must run a gauntlet of calamities that threaten to keep them apart. Can they find what it takes to overcome the mayhem and give love one last chance, or risk a future filled with regret?

Treat yourself to THE NEXT FOREVER, a sweet, funny, feel-good story about family, friendship, and falling in love when you least expect it.

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My Review

Earlier this year, I read the author’s first Fairhill novel – The Perfect Moment – and was instantly charmed by the characters, especially Keith McGraw. For him to get his own story delighted me, giving me hope that he would get his own chance at happiness. The Next Forever shines a spotlight on Keith, one he thoroughly deserves.

As a thrice-married, thrice-divorced lover of fine Whisky, Keith has all but given up on finding someone with whom to share his life. He books a tour of whisky distilleries, a tour he has promised himself for a long time and one which he is prepared to take alone. Aww! Bless him.

Unfortunately, Janice happens – his ex-wife turns up, sobbing and desperate, the night before he’s due to leave on his trip. There’s no way he can go now – not because he has any feelings still for Janice, but because he dare not leave her alone in his pub. So, he cancels.

Having offered to sort out a wedding cake for a customer-friend, Big Kev who is struggling to keep up with his wedding to-do list – because that’s the kind of man Keith is: big-hearted and generous – Keith heads to Chrissie’s cakes.

Chrissie finds herself in the shop on her day off after a distressed bride-to-be gets into tizz over her wedding cake (such a tizz that the young woman has even got the date of her appointment with Chrissie wrong) when Keith arrives, and despite being swamped with orders , she agrees to take his order – because that’s the kind of woman she is: warm-hearted and selfless.

You can see where this is going, right?

Chrissie, living alone until recently, is now feeling the stress of accommodating her daughter, her daughter’s boyfriend, and their young child. Her home is not her own anymore, and the boyfriend is a prolific DIY disaster who wrecks more of Chrissie’s belongings than he repairs. Add to that, her mother has entered her in a cake competition at an upcoming wedding fayre.

So, when both Chrissie and Keith escape the dilemmas of their home lives for a breath of fresh air, they find each other on a park bench beneath the cherry trees.

A friendship blossoms, one that has great potential for a future relationship. It’s as if their lives aligned on the park bench that night. But of course, the road to romance is cluttered with one issue after another that sees their attempt to even go out to dinner thwarted time and time again. Misunderstandings, overreactions, self-doubt and thoughts of being unworthy of love seek to keep them apart.

The story is brimming with realistic characters, believable circumstances, unfortunate external interferences and so much humour. Often, it is Keith and Chrissie themselves, who suffer as a result of their own generosity and sense of duty. Such is their nature to care for and help others that their commitments impede their own chance of happiness.

Both characters ooze warmth, and will have you onside from the start, willing them to be together. Their journey is tested by real-life situations and frustrations, all of which makes it such an easy, effortless read. Charming, full of heart and a lovely way to pass a few hours. Everyone should visit Fairhill for a dose of warmth, humour, charm, and hope.

 

As always,

blog tour · book review · British · mystery · police procedural

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Geraldine (with UK giveaway)

Geraldine

Hatred is such a nasty thing – we all deplore it in others but do not necessarily recognise it in ourselves. At what point does resentment, jealousy, betrayal or humiliation turn into anger and then grow to an all consuming hatred? Hatred can be slow, taking years to fester, or can explode in seconds – it can linger for a lifetime or wither in seconds of its conception.

Inspector Matthew Merry and Sergeant Julie Lukula have to deal with the consequences of violence and murder on a daily basis and in the case of Gerry Driver they both see that hatred is the prime motive. But is it, as Julie thinks, one of a series of hate crimes that has led to this killing? Or, is Matthew right in saying, ‘Driver’s death is undoubtedly a hate filled crime but I’m just not convinced that there are sufficient links to suggest it is part of a pattern of hate crimes.’

Only time and their investigation, which takes as many twists and turns as the Thames does along it course through London and past Wapping Old Stairs, will tell.

Purchase Links
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geraldine-John-Mead-ebook/dp/B07YDMX3VQ
https://www.amazon.com/Geraldine-John-Mead-ebook/dp/B07YDMX3VQ

Excerpt

‘She was obviously attractive when alive,’ Matthew noted out loud. Her shoulder length, light brown hair was still wet and clung to the woman’s face, exaggerating the finely drawn cheeks and chin. Her thin lips were pulled back slightly, showing a glint of evenly spaced teeth in the residual of a smile. Not a beautiful face, he thought, but a pleasant one denoting a strong character. The body was slim, narrow hips, with long legs. Her breasts where fulsome and still filled her bodice making him wonder if they had been cosmetically enlarged, as the silicon would preserve their shape even while she was supine. Only her feet were overly large for her size and, without shoes, looked out of place. Her whole, otherwise elegant, appearance in a smart blue, knee length dress was marred by bruising around her neck, the signs of strangulation in her face and the greyish blue colouring of her glistening, wet skin.

Author Bio

John was born in the mid-fifties in East 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.

He has travelled extensively, from America to Tibet, and he enjoys visiting the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that he is an avid ‘people watcher’ and loves to find out about people, their lives, culture and history. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub; he writes.

Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in his novels are based on real incidents and people he has come across. Although he has allowed himself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.

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

Social Media Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JohnMeadAuthor

Amazon author profile: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07B8SQ2ZH

Goodreads profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17891273.John_Mead

Giveaway to Win 3 x Paperback copies of Geraldine by John Mead (UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK 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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

RAFFLECOPTER LINK

My Review

Having read the author’s first book – The Fourth Victim – there was no way I was going to miss out on the next story featuring DI Matthew Merry and DS Julie Lukula.

I’ll say this from the outset, the author certainly goes for original storylines, and in doing so presents us with a view of London that we might otherwise not recognise. This time around, the story centres around a body found in the Thames – a Geraldine Driver, female impersonator par excellence. Geraldine (aka Gerald in real life) is about to hit the big-time, with plans for a TV show in her future. So, who would want her dead?

Merry and Lukula begin their investigations by visiting cabaret clubs, the domain of drag acts and impersonators. It’s clear there are some envious of Geraldine’s success while -of course- pretending to be wholly supportive. Add to that there’s a very wealthy and powerful family with secrets aplenty and some unusual connections to the characters working in the clubs and the management company running the acts.

The police line up suspects, only for there to be no evidence. It seems like the case is going nowhere. At the same time as all this is going on, Merry is facing an inquiry into inappropriate behaviour towards a suspect’s mother, and after an attack by a colleague, his wife is struggling both at home and work. Is it any wonder, Merry’s mind is not on the job? Fortunately, Lukula is recognised in her own right and after passing her exams is able to stand in for him.

The dots are finally joined, exposing a world of hate-fuelled attacks and family conspiracies.

However, while the case was indeed fascinating, the story structure was, at times, confusing with a lot of head-hopping which meant I often had to flip back a page or so to fathom out whose viewpoint was in play. There was a lot of side-stepping into Matthew Merry’s personal life, which if he were not such an unlikeable character might have been easier to handle. He has a tendency to objectify all the women he meets, although, he does seem to make more “effort” with his wife as the story develops. Better late than never, but by then my impression of him was set in stone.

If you’re a fan of original police procedural mysteries, this book certainly provides that. Lots of plot twists ensure that the case is not easy to solve, but that only makes it more interesting and will keep you reading to the end.

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adventure · blog tour · R&R Book Tour stop · Spotlight · thriller

Blog Tour – Dawn of the Assassin

DawnoftheAssassin

Welcome to the blog tour for exciting Adventure Thriller, Dawn of the Assassin, by Bill Brewer! To celebrate its launch, we have loads of exclusive content including a guest post from the author, and an AMAZING giveaway to enter — A signed copy of the book and a $25 Amazon Gift Card (U.S. Only)! International readers will have a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

DotA Cover 8-2019Dawn of the Assassin

Expected Publication Date: October 15, 2019

Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Thriller

Dawn of the Assassin is an action/adventure thriller in which David Diegert, a young man of mixed race from a dysfunctional family, is coerced into becoming a hitman for an immensely wealthy, powerful man.

Thrust into violent situations, he surprises everyone, including himself, with how deadly he can be. After successfully completing trial missions, Diegert is selected for an advanced training program. The fate of the one person he loves, the reputation of his trainer and his own life depend on his ability to prevail in the final challenge of the program, the tournament of assassins.

With fast-paced writing, immersive action scenes, and surprises for Diegert around every corner, Dawn of the Assassin, is sure to keep thriller fans turning the pages.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Brewer Quote Twitter 3.png

“Just remain calm. They may not take anything or find us very interesting.”

“These guys are pussies. Let’s kick ass.”

“Oh no, you don’t. You start a fight with them, and they will simply scuttle the whole boat, leaving us without even a life raft.”

“Bullshit.”

The Somalis shouted for them to stop talking. There were three pirates on board and three more in the skiff. The small size of their open-hulled, rundown old boat surprised Diegert. It wasn’t more than ten feet long, and Diegert wouldn’t have wanted to cross a Minnesota lake in that thing, let alone the Indian Ocean.

One of the pirates went belowdecks and searched for valuables. The other two stayed above and kept their AK-47s in their hands. The pirate belowdecks let out a loud ululation and rejoiced for whatever he had found. The pirate guarding Barney shouted down to him, and when the other pirate shouted back, he couldn’t stop himself and went down below. The single pirate on deck was also distracted by what was going on below. Diegert seized the moment. He elbowed the pirate in the chest, bashed him in the mouth, grabbed the back of his head, and drove his face into a cleat on the mast, splitting his cranium on the rigid piece of metal.

Barney motioned for Diegert to stop, but the younger man stripped the AK off the dying pirate and descended into the cabin. The two pirates belowdecks were so amazed with the case of guns they’d found that, when they turned to see who was coming, Diegert struck the first one with a buttstock to the face. The second received a hand blade strike to the larynx. Both were dazed, and Diegert wrapped the strap of the AK-47 around the first guy’s neck and backhauled him over his shoulder. The force of the maneuver broke the pirate’s neck, and Diegert knew it when he heard the vertebrae snap. The second guy was coughing and struggling to breathe. Diegert noticed a knife on the man’s belt. He grabbed the man’s knife, slashed his throat, and plunged the blade into his chest. The pirate crumpled to the floor as blood bubbled out of his neck.

Three down, three to go. Diegert took the AK-47s and ascended the stairs. He tossed one to Barney and proceeded to the stern where the pirate’s skiff was tethered to the Sue Ellen. The men in the skiff were confused by the commotion on board. Diegert took full advantage of their lack of communication and their expectation that sailors wouldn’t fight back to open fire with the AK. The volley of bullets cut down two while striking the legs of the third.

With the dull illumination of the stern safety light, Diegert could see the third man was wounded, having fallen onto his back in the boat. Diegert’s weapon had a flashlight taped to it. Turning it on, he could see the remaining pirate better. The guy was young, maybe fifteen or sixteen, yet he had a rifle and was pointing it in Diegert’s direction. The defender of the Sue Ellen hesitated to see if the boy made any gesture of surrender. When the wounded pirate leveled his barrel at Diegert, he sealed his fate. With a rapid burst, the young sea robber’s life ended with bullets to the chest and head.

From the moment the second pirate went down into the cabin until the last shot was fired, barely two minutes had passed, and six lives had ended. Diegert’s adrenaline was on full blast, and he was still on point, making sure there were no other threats.

“Relax,” said Barney. “They’re all dead and we’re OK.”

Available on Amazon!

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About the Author

image-asset

Bill Brewer is a member of the Faculty of the College of Health Sciences and Technology at RIT where he serves as the Director of Exercise Science within the Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition. His areas of instruction include Anatomy & Physiology as well as numerous courses in Exercise Science.

Bill is a family man, happily married and the proud father of a son and two daughters. He lives in the South Wedge of Rochester NY. and loves to find outdoor adventure in the Adirondacks and in the Frontenac region of Ontario, Canada.

Bill Brewer Books

DawnoftheAssassin

Blog Tour Schedule

October 14th

Reads & Reels (Guest Post) http://readsandreels.com

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Reviews and Promos by Nyx (Spotlight) https://nyxblogs.wordpress.com/

October 15th

B is for Book Review (Guest Post) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

October 16th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

LIBRORUM IN SEMPITERNUM (Spotlight) http://libroruminsempiternumhome.wordpress.com

Viviana MacKade (Guest Post) https://viviana-mackade.blog/

Just 4 My Books (Spotlight) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com

October 17th

My Bookish Bliss (Review) http://www.mybookishbliss.com

J Bronder Reviews (Spotlight) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

On the Shelf Reviews (Spotlight) https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com

October 18th

Rea’s Reads (Review) https://reasreads.wordpress.com/

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

Read and Rated (Spotlight) https://readandrated.com/

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blog tour · book review · British · dystopian · Giveaways · psychological suspense · thriller

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Hope (with Giveaway)

Hope.jpg

Hope by Terry Tyler has been snapping up 5 star reviews all over the place, which is why I’m thrilled to share it with you all today!

Welcome to the blog tour for Dystopian Psycho-Thriller, Hope!

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Hope

Publication Date: May 24, 2019

Genre: Dystopian/ Psychological Thriller

Terry Tyler’s nineteenth published work is a psychological thriller set in a dystopian near future – the UK, Year 2028.

Blogger Lita Stone and journalist Nick Freer live and work online, seeing life through soundbites, news TV and social media. Keeping the outside world at bay in their cozy flat, they observe the ruthless activities of the new PM and his celebrity fitness guru wife, Mona (hashtag MoMo), with the mild outrage that can be quelled simply by writing another blog post.

Meanwhile, in the outside world, multinational conglomerate Nutricorp is busy buying up supermarket chains, controlling the media, and financing the new compounds for the homeless: the Hope Villages.

Lita and Nick suspect little of the danger that awaits the unfortunate, until the outside world catches up with them – and Lita is forced to discover a strength she never knew she possessed.

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Excerpt

We don’t notice our world changing around us, because those little shifts take place so gradually. Attitudes are altered one decision, one blind eye turned, one ‘I accept’ at a time, until a situation that would have seemed unthinkable ten, twenty, thirty years ago, becomes the norm.

I’ve been pondering this a lot over the past few days, since I walked past the usual mile-long queue outside our local food bank, and thought, hang on a minute. When did this happen?

When I was a kid, I knew food banks existed but had never seen one. The UK’s first opened in 2004; I googled it so you don’t have to. Now they’re in every town, as normal a feature of our urban landscape as Nu-Mart and BettaBargains, but still they’re not government funded. They rely on charities, and people like me who dump a packet of Nu-Mart Pasta ‘n’ Sauce in the donations basket when we do our weekly shop.

One ponder led to another, and ‘why so many food banks?’ got me thinking about Hope Villages.

Since the first one, four years ago, they’ve popped up all over the country.

Sounds cosy, doesn’t it? Hope Village. Rosy-cheeked kiddies and lovingly tended gardens. A smiling vicar walking his dog, and pots of jam with gingham covers over the lids.

The reality is somewhat less appealing. The ‘Villages’ are estates of warehouse-like structures to house the homeless, with nary a jar of apple and blackberry preserves in sight.

Not so long ago, the less fortunate of our nation―of which there are said to be over two million―were part of the scenery in any town. You’d see them slumped in shop doorways, sitting blank-eyed on park benches, begging outside supermarkets and cafés.

Queueing outside the shelters.

There are two shelters near us: Horizon, and a Roof. Roof Charity has opened many, all over the country, in the past decade. I walk past and try not to stare at the bewildered faces of those who have only recently fallen this far and are trying their best to cling to ‘normality’, alongside the long-termers, their dead eyes staring at the ground.

Over the last four years, however, most of the homeless have been tidied away into Hope Villages.

Now Available!

Amazon | Amazon UK | Book Goodies

My Review

 

If this is author Terry Tyler’s 19th novel, then I have a serious back catalogue to read based on the brilliance of her latest book, Hope.

Set in the near future, in a post-Brexit UK, this story blurs the line between our current reality and fiction. What the author has created here is all too believable: such as the advancement and reliance on AI which leads to an increase in unemployment (except in social care!), not to mention social media posts that feed an eager and, dare I say “gullible” audience who thrive on the information that gives them hope for a similar lifestyle, even though what they see is carefully doctored fake news.

Lita Stone and her flatmates can see the changes in society, but feel cushioned by their lovely little flat and regular incomes. When her actions contradict those of the populist government lines, her work dries up. Her best friend loses her job because of a failure to fit into the new “much smaller” uniform, and constant fat-shaming #fittowork programs are no help. For a while Nick has to support them, until his own secret is discovered and all three of them are unable to pay their bills, and ultimately the rent for their cosy little home.

Sofa-surfing for a while keeps them under the radar, but eventually there is nothing for them than moving to Hope Village 37 in Northumberland. Lita’s “boyfriend” arranges this placement through his work, adamant it will only be a temporary solution. Unfortunately, Lita eavesdropped on a conversation he was having and jumped to conclusions that saw her move into Hope Village and then refuse all contact with him.

If only, Lita, if only you hadn’t overheard that conversation!

Life in Hope Village becomes their norm, but ever the sceptics Lita and Nick are suspicious of what is going on in there.  And it seems getting out is nigh on impossible.

Without giving away any of the story, what follows is a perfect example of the underdog fighting the establishment trope. In true David and Goliath style, Lita has to speak up – her audience only ever expected honesty from her. This was not the time to be silent or bend the truth to suit the powers that be.

The ending is uncomfortably worrying but also thrilling and exciting.  If it weren’t so near to the knuckle given the current trends we are all experiencing, then it wouldn’t be half as disturbing. Not only is this a great novel, but the author has timed its release to perfection – KUDOS!

Highly recommended to anyone who loves a dystopian story, and I really hope it remains a work of fiction and not a reality.

About the Author

Author Pic

Terry Tyler is the author of nineteen books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘Hope’, a dystopian, psychological drama set in the UK, a decade into the future. She is currently at work on ‘Blackthorn’, a post-apocalyptic stand-alone story set in her fictional city of the same name. Proud to be independently published, Terry is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and has a great interest in history (particularly 14th-17th century), and sociological/cultural/anthropological stuff, generally. She loves South Park, Netflix, autumn and winter, and going for long walks in quiet places where there are lots of trees. She lives in the north east of England with her husband.

Terry Tyler | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub| Amazon

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For your chance to win one of 4 digital copies of Hope in the format of your choice, click HERE!

Hope

Blog Tour Schedule

October 14th

Reads & Reels (Review) http://readsandreels.com

Just 4 My Books (Review) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com

Lisette Brody (Guest Post) http://lisettebrodey.com/

Reviews and Promos by Nyx (Spotlight) https://nyxblogs.wordpress.com/

October 15th

Lunarian Press (Spotlight) https://www.lunarianpress.com/

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

Tommye Turner Talks (Review) http://tommyeturnertalks.com

October 16th

B is for Book Review (Interview) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Review) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

Books Teacup and Review (Spotlight) https://booksteacupnreviews.wordpress.com/

October 17th

LoopyLouLaura (Review) https://www.loopyloulaura.com/

Tranquil Dreams (Review) https://klling.wordpress.com/

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

October 18th

I’m All About Books (Review) https://imallaboubtbooks.com

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Crossroads Reviews (Spotlight) http://www.crossroadreviews.com

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R&R Book Tours

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book birthday · book blitz · fantasy · series · supernatural

Release Day Book Blitz – To Wake The Dead – plus Giveaway

ToWaketheDead

Join us in wishing author Sarah Lampkin, a very happy book birthday! Today marks the release of To Wake the Dead, book #2 in her Dead Dreamer series! Read on for more details, and an exclusive excerpt from the book!

Psst!!! There’s also a giveaway bundle! Make sure you enter below!

TWTD-bk1.jpg

To Wake the Dead (Dead Dreamer #2)

Publication Date: October 8th, 2019 (Today!!!)

Genre: NA Fantasy

Publisher: The Parliament House

Brenna Whit teeters the line between the living and the dead. Now that she’s back for her sophomore year at Nephesburg College, she’s determined to focus on the waking world. But when her own soul is trying to kill her and a new Dead Dreamer is fighting for power, Brenna is dragged back into the world of the dead.

The Gatekeepers are doing everything they can to restore the power they once held over the town of Nephesburg. With a mysterious set of twins arriving in town to help them prepare, Brenna must decide what’s important: continuing to hide her secret or reveal herself and fight for what she believes is right. The decision could end up leading to a permanent death for Brenna so she must choose wisely.

Classes have begun…
The battlefield is set…
Let the fight for the Fade begin.

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Excerpt

“Who wrote the laws saying that doorways must be sealed? Who told you to create another one of you?”

“The church.”

“Why?” He was silent. For once, he had no answer. He merely stared at me not blinking or unwavering as his eyes locked on mine. I thought I had him; nowhere in the Bible did it say to interfere with the dead or the other side. In fact, the Scripture scorned it. If I remembered correctly, that would border on witchcraft and necromancy, which was forbidden. So, if Wilson were the type to follow the Bible no matter what, then these questions just pushed his logic out the window. Even if the church said he had to do those things, who was to say they were right?

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To Dream is to Die (Book #1)To Dream is to Die.v2

Eighteen-year-old Brenna Whit is entering college as a freshman and starting to meet new people, but she hides a dark secret. Because of an accident that happened three years ago, her spirit wanders the Fade whenever she falls asleep. It’s something she wants to keep hidden from the world, but when she sees someone watching her in spirit form, she fears the secret’s out. With new friends, possibly new enemies, school, and a new crush, Brenna has too much to worry about for just her freshman year of college.

Perfect for those who enjoy Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural!

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About the Author

GDTC4RiC

A native of Richmond, Virginia, Sarah Lampkin is a 2015 graduate from Lynchburg College [University of Lynchburg] with a master’s degree in English. Since graduation, Sarah now lives in Northern Virginia working in the IT field as a Technical Writer while continuing her research for her graduate school thesis. When she isn’t working, Sarah continues her Celtic mythology research and Gaelic studies, while working on the Dead Dreamer series.

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