blog tour · British · Guest Post · historical · series

Guest Post for “Becoming Alfie” – a new historical fiction series.

Becoming Alfie

Alfie Norrington was born into poverty in London’s East End in the first minute of the twentieth century. His life was a battle. From the Brick Lane markets where young Alfie pilfered and pickpocketed, to the trenches of Flanders, Alfie fought every step of the way.

Almost killed by a trench bomb he battled to recover and while in a military hospital Alfie made a promise that dramatically change’s his life. A true East End hero, Alfie begins his journey away from poverty armed with a robust moral compass and an open heart.

Becoming Alfie is the first in the Alfie Norrington series. It follows the life of a man who positively influenced thousands of people. The world needs more individuals like Alfie Norrington, that give much more than they take.

Purchase Links

www.alfienorrington.com

https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Alfie-Norrington-Book-One-ebook/dp/B08KD57DFW

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Becoming-Alfie-Norrington-Book-One-ebook/dp/B08KD57DFW

Author Bio – Born in South Essex close to the River Thames and directly East of London, my childhood was peppered with memories of the mighty river itself.

We would swim, fish and discover hidden treasure in the tidal mudflats with the fragments of clay pipes we found taking us back to another era. It was here that my inspiration for writing was born. I began to keep a diary of my observations from life and documented my feelings and thoughts.

My wife was twenty two and I was twenty four when we migrated to Australia with a glorious expectation. The sun was shining, the people were friendly and Sydney Harbour simply magnificent. Together we were committed to making the most of this opportunity beginning the next step in our lives. Everything was new which gave me endless writing opportunities that I recorded in my diary which had spilled over into a number of books. We travelled around this incredible country meeting people from all walks of life and from many nationalities. We lived and worked in a variety of capital cities enjoying each and every experience. All this was tremendous fodder for my writing.

I began to write short stories and poetry, none of which I sought to publish. By my fifty second birthday I was able to finish working and focus full time on my writing, the results so far are The Alfie Norrington Series with Becoming Alfie the first in the series of four. I hope that you enjoy reading Becoming Alfie as much as I did writing it.

Social Media Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Author-Neil-Patterson-102404418274110

Website. www.alfienorrington.com

Guest Post by Neil Patterson

The freedom to write without constraint is one of the most wonderful aspects of being human. The citizens of the UK along with the majority of people in the world, can write whatever they wish, publish it in some form and discuss the contents locally or globally. It can be shared around the world at the press of a button. These are the two aspects that I would like to dig further into, the freedom of expression and the technology that allows us to hold, share and discuss our musings. Note, this is not about technology, just the concepts thereof.

Many of us have been terribly constrained by the Coronavirus pandemic for the better part of six months, with more to come so it seems. Hand-sanitising, face masks, isolation, devastation for some, loss of income and the rest, you know what I mean. Not one of us has needed to don our safety suits, boots and gloves to sit at our home computer and write. They concerned governments cannot fine me for writing without squirting clean smelling liquid on my hands prior to, or not registering that I am, in fact, about to write. Writing is Covid free, and whilst my trusty old computer may attract the odd virus I am certain it won’t be the virus that sounds like a famous Mexican beer, that has shut down our planet.

So we have complete freedom to write whenever we want to…. but do we have the freedom to write whatever we want to? Some years ago I was extremely lucky to meet with a truly inspirational man called Dennis Waitley and we discussed the concept of freedom in its broader sense. After a few minutes he said to me “Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. There can be no freedom without responsible action.” He was absolutely correct with that simple statement so let me apply this to the freedom to write. If the writer holds no responsibility for what they write, but just blurt out irresponsible tomes, is this acceptable? Or a leader (think of him as a fictional character, a former reality TV Show host who now is heavily involved in politics, you know him, he has a fabulous comb-over!) that ridicules other world leaders on twitter, is this acceptable? The amount of written violence, as I call it, that pollutes social media, is a perfect example of no consequence writing.

My point on the first part of this blog is that, as writers, if we crave freedom to write, then we must be cogniscent of the implications of our words. The written word, its power, its ability to evoke passion, to make your readers cry and laugh and all emotions in-between, is in your hands. Use it wisely Luke Penwalker!

The second point I raise is more an observation and for any of you who are under thirty and reading this, it will sound almost Victorian. Myself and my beautiful young wife arrived in Australia in February 1981 we had migrated. Sydney was just so far away from London in every aspect. We thought that we may never see our families again, a bit dramatic I know, but that is how isolated we both felt.

Now for the shock; this was pre-internet, pre mobile phone technology, pre desktop computing, pre any communications technology that you can think of, except the telephone. Can you, for just one minute, imagine writing your poems/stories by hand? There were no methods of contacting our families outside of Air Mail (I used to send my Mum an aerogramme each week, google it if you want to know more) and the telephone. Our rented flat didn’t have a phone so we used to book a call to speak with our families every other Sunday night at 8.00pm. We were ushered into a booth at Sydney’s main Post Office in Martin Place moments prior to the call and with one minute of our ten minute call remaining, the operator would come over the line and tell us. On the ten minute mark we would be rudely cut-off, then pay our $20 and miserably head home, some 20 minutes away.

The revolution in technology has changed the above forever. It has given us writers so much more scope, a greater audience, tools to help us find our audience and so much more. What a great time to be alive. You have the skill, you have the desire, you have the technology. Use it wisely Luke Penwalker

For more news & reviews
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blog tour · British · chick-lit · Contemporary Romance · series

Blog Tour ‘n’ Review – A Train from From Penzance to Paris

When Maisie accepts a celebrated author’s invitation to mentor her, she finds herself leaving Cornwall behind on train tracks bound for the glitter city of Paris. Instead of making beds and serving coffee at the Penmarrow hotel in Cornwall, she’s making notes on her manuscript while sitting in a French cafe, meeting famous writers at private dinner parties, and trying to ferret the secrets behind the author’s unfinished future novel. It’s glamorous, it’s breathtaking … but it’s also an ocean channel away from the place that she loves, and, more importantly, the person to whom she just recently confessed her deepest feelings. Separated from Sidney by distance and circumstances, Maisie fears that their connection will be lost despite her words to him – and maybe because of those words, and the ones she didn’t allow him to say in return.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of things in her new life trying to distract her – the professional editor hired to critique her novel, the eager young literary agent who sees pie-in-the-sky potential for Maisie’s talent, but Maisie finds solace in the eclectic group of amateur writers into whose midst she finds herself by accident. Their critique and advice is fast becoming as important as the editors – maybe even more important than the published author Maisie believed held the keys to refining her skill.

But it’s missing Sidney that fills Maisie’s thoughts the most, along with her life back in Port Hewer, and she can’t stop wondering whether his feelings are the same as her own. His unspoken answer has become one of the most important pieces of her life, even as she struggles to match the pace of her new life and keep her dreams in sight. And when she unwittingly becomes privy to a seeming literary conspiracy, she must decide what to do in light of its truth – and decide what’s most important in her quest to become a professional writer.

Join Maisie in a whirlwind tour across two of the world’s greatest cities, filled with questions, dreams, and a chance for fame that she believed far beyond her grasp, as she discovers herself as a writer, and how to embrace an unexpected future on her own terms.

Add to Goodreads

 

About the author

Laura Briggs is the bestselling author of multiple lighthearted romance books, including the Amazon UK Top 100’s LATE TO THE WEDDING and the popular A WEDDING IN CORNWALL series.

Since her debut with Pelican Book Group’s inspirational novella ONLY IN NOVELS, she has worked both with publishers and as an independent author, as well as partnering with others writers, including working under a pen name in other genres.

She loves vintage fashion, classic movies, British melodrama, and spending time with her pets.

Social Media links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaperDollWrites

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/authorlaurabriggs/

 

 

My thoughts:

I’ve been playing catch up with this series, and am now fully centred in Maisie’s story. In fact, I could probably use it as my specialist subject on Mastermind right now. Then again, don’t test me; I have the memory of a sieve too 😉 

As always, the beautiful cover drew me in, not to mention the Cornish setting. I may be one of those rare Brits who has never been to Cornwall, but it’s now definitely on my bucket list. 

So, back to the now infamous train ride from Penzance to Paris. Maisie has left the hotel in Cornwall – and Sidney – to follow her dream to be an author. The promise of being mentored by her own favourite author is too strong for her not to take up the offer. At first, she’s uneasy but is soon captivated by the author’s exciting life in Paris, the meeting at the Thinkers Club, the extravagant shopping. It’s all so vitalising, yet still she cannot wait for the time to come when her manuscript is up for scrutiny. 

There are new characters introduced besides the author’s rather eclectic social group, in particular Michael and Arnold who definitely have their own story to tell. 

Beautiful writing that really grounds you in Maisie’s world, an interesting twist at the end that offers up a conundrum: What fate now lies ahead for Maisie with regards to Sidney? Another book is definitely needed 😉 

Take a look at the previous books in The Little Hotel in Cornwall series. I’m sure you’ll agree the covers are stunning, but what awaits you inside will keep you entertained for days. 

Enjoy!

As always, 

Audiobook · blog tour · book review · British · comedy · humour · satire · series

Audiobook Tour ‘n’ Review – The Corridor

Audiobook Blog Tour: The Corridor by Vic Neal

Author: Vic Neal

Narrator: Jack Hardman

Length: 8 hours 32 minutes

Series: Oxford Uni Corridor Series, Book 1

Publisher: Nice Cake Publishing Ltd

Released: Feb. 14, 2020

Genre: Humor

Continue reading “Audiobook Tour ‘n’ Review – The Corridor”

book news · British · cold case · crime · forensics · students

Introducing … The Cold Case Crew Mysteries

Writing under my pen name of bea kendall, let me share with you my new series of novellas based on cold cases. Never Forgotten is the story of two young women returning home to student accommodation after a night out. Their bodies were found on the canal bank by a postman on his rounds the next morning.

It’s not always the dog walkers and joggers 😉

Their killer has never been found, but the fiancé of one of the girls has never given up hope. In fact, his life – and death – have revolved around the case for more than thirty years.

Now, his students – The Cold Case Crew – are tasked with bringing the killer to justice.

Amazon Link

One man’s fight for the truth never ends – even after his death.

When his fiancée is murdered, barrister Tom Finnegan vows to bring the killer to justice.

Constantly demanding updates from the police, he keeps the case visible for years to come. Hopes are raised, then dashed when leads don’t pan out. Eventually the case is assigned to the archives.

He won’t give in. As his first and only love, she can never be forgotten.

Retrained in criminology, and working as a professor, he teaches his students to profile perpetrators of the most heinous crimes. But there is only ever one case on his mind.

At last, some thirty years later, advancements in soil forensics provide the evidence he’s been waiting for.

By now, though, Tom’s health is failing and cancer claims him before he can solve the case.

Ever mindful of his own fragility, Tom bequeaths the challenge to three of his star pupils.

Can Amy, Ross and Liam pick up the mantle?

Time is running out. It may already be too late.

Does justice ever have a deadline?

Now available to pre-order from Amazon, the book will be released on April 25th.

I hope you enjoy it as much I loved writing it 🙂

I’m working on book two – No Safe Place – right now, and plan to add a third to the series before the end of the year.

As always,

blog tour · book review · British · Christmas · fun · Giveaways · romantic comedy

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Perfect Fit (Love in the Dales #2)

The Perfect Fit

‘A wonderful book with a great story and a sparky, unusual voice. I loved it!’ KATIE FFORDE

Escape to the frost-sparkling Yorkshire Dales for some festive fun under the mistletoe! A saucy comedy-romance with more than a sprinkle of Christmas spice – this will lift your spirits and your excitement level!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas for costume shop owner Becky Finn. Leaving London to move back home to the twinkly rural village of Egglethwaite, she plans to build a new life for herself with fiancé, Cole.

Keen to raise funds for the struggling village hall she loved as a child, Becky finds herself at the head of a colourful group aiming to revive the Egglethwaite Christmas pantomime. But when that festive feeling sets in, she discovers there’s more to panto than innuendo and slapped thighs.

Falling in love was not in the script! But as opening night grows closer, she starts to wonder if the panto will ever make it to the stage and, with handsome co-star Marcus on the scene, if she has chosen her right leading man…

The perfect stocking-filler gift!

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07FTSPQGC/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FTSPQGC/

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-perfect-fit/id1440983553

Author Bio

Mary Jayne Baker grew up in rural West Yorkshire, right in the heart of Brontë country… and she’s still there. After graduating from Durham University with a degree in English Literature, she dallied with living in cities including London, Nottingham and Cambridge, but eventually came back with her own romantic hero in tow to her beloved Dales, where she first started telling stories about heroines with flaws and the men who love them. More information can be found about Mary Jayne on her website at http://www.maryjaynebaker.co.uk

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaryJayneWrites/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/maryjaynebaker

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maryjaynebaker/

Oh, yes it is!

Giveaway to Win signed copies of both books in the Love in the Dales series (Open to UK Only)

  • A Bicycle Made for Two and The Perfect Fit

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link 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

4/5 stars

Why is a panto called a panto?

Because they arrrrrr!

(Readers of the story will get this, otherwise … read on. I’m not as crazy (or grammatically inept) as it might appear 😉 I’m channelling my inner six-year-old!)

From page one, the panto theme is alive and kicking, and when 6 year old Pip and her Aunty Becky attend the Christmas panto, Pip takes a particular liking to the joke:

Why are pirates called pirates? – Because they arrrrr!

So much does she love this, that she tells everyone, but not without changing it to suit her own purposes. (See now? 😉 as I said, my inner Pip!) The groan effect is huge, and Becky has a lot of explaining to do to the befuddled adults on the receiving end of Pip’s hilarity.

Having returned to her childhood home, Egglethwaite, after a stint in London, Becky Finn immerses herself into village life while waiting for her fiancé, Cole, to join her ‘up North’. As an artist, his life has been in London, but he so wants Becky to be happy that he is prepared to make the move. Unfortunately, it’s taking some time to get the job he wants, and so Becky is encouraged by her family and old friends to get involved in the community.

When it seems that the old hall – The Temperance Hall – is threatened by closure due to a lack of funding, Becky is determined to help raise money to keep it open. She has fond memories of the Hall, and especially of the pantomimes.

Why not rekindle the panto? she asks everyone at a local meeting. They don’t exactly rush to agree with her, but eventually she wins them over and plans are made to recruit others to help out behind the scenes and in the panto itself.

Of course, it doesn’t go swimmingly, but Becky gets stuck in, writing the script with Marcus and organising the costumes. It keeps her mind off missing Cole, and she’s enjoying being back with family and friends. She looks on longingly as her brother and his husband now have young Pip to raise, her best friend Lana and hubby, Stew, are also hoping to expand their family by adopting. Everyone seems to be moving on, and Becky cannot wait to be in their position.

Cole does eventually get the job and makes the move. Everything is falling into place for Becky. Or is it? The panto is taking over her life, and Cole is not at all interested. But, once it’s over, everything will be fine. Won’t it?

The characters, in true panto style, are larger than life yet still seem very realistic. They each get a chance to shine, telling their own stories. It feels like a proper community. Everyone looking out for each other, and at the same time coping with their own issues. There are plenty of laughs, lots of groans (bad panto jokes and innuendo galore) and even some tears.

This is the second book of the “A Love in the Dales’ Story” series but can be read as a standalone. Personally, I haven’t read the first book and didn’t feel there was anything missing or unexplained. It’s a fun read, totally reminiscent of the pantomimes of my own childhood. Behind the scenes, there’s drama, upsets, tantrums, and even costume envy. The author balances the enthusiasm and over-the-top quality of pantomime with believable relationships and interactions. It’s very British in its colloquialisms and pantomime traditions, all of which makes it a great fun read at this time of year.

I received a copy via Rachel’s Random Resources and have given this review voluntarily.

For more news and reviews, take a look at these blogs:

As always,

 

 

 

blog tour · book review · British · crime · historical · mystery

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Death Makes No Distinction

Death Makes No Distinction: A Dan Foster Mystery

Two women at opposite ends of the social scale, both brutally murdered.

Principal Officer Dan Foster of the Bow Street Runners is surprised when his old rival John Townsend requests his help to investigate the murder of Louise Parmeter, a beautiful writer who once shared the bed of the Prince of Wales. Her jewellery is missing, savagely torn from her body. Her memoirs, which threaten to expose the indiscretions of the great and the good, are also missing.

Frustrated by the chief magistrate’s demand that he drop the investigation into the death of the unknown beggar woman, found savagely raped and beaten and left to die in the outhouse of a Holborn tavern, Dan is determined to get to the bottom of both murders. But as his enquiries take him into both the richest and the foulest places in London, and Townsend’s real reason for requesting his help gradually becomes clear, Dan is forced to face a shocking new reality when the people he loves are targeted by a shadowy and merciless adversary.

The investigation has suddenly got personal.

Purchase Links

Book Depository https://www.bookdepository.com/Death-Makes-No-Distinction-Lucienne-Boyce/9781781328835?ref=grid-view&qid=1566655590217&sr=1-3
Wordery https://wordery.com/death-makes-no-distinction-lucienne-boyce-9781781328835?cTrk=MTYwMDMwMzgwfDVkNjE0NDg5MmE2NDk6MTo1OjVkNjE0NDgzODI2YjM5LjMyOTk5NDA2OjBhZWYwZjQz
Foyles Bookshop https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/death-makes-no-distinction,lucienne-boyce-9781781328835
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Makes-No-Distinction-Mystery/dp/1781328838
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Death-Makes-No-Distinction-Mystery/dp/1781328838

Author Bio

Lucienne Boyce writes historical fiction, non-fiction and biography. After gaining an MA in English Literature (with Distinction) with the Open University in 2007, specialising in eighteenth-century fiction, she published her first historical novel, To The Fair Land, in 2012, an eighteenth-century thriller set in Bristol and the South Seas.

Her second novel, Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery (2015) is the first of the Dan Foster Mysteries and follows the fortunes of a Bow Street Runner who is also an amateur pugilist. Bloodie Bones was joint winner of the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016, and was also a semi-finalist for the M M Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction 2016. The second Dan Foster Mystery, The Butcher’s Block, was published in 2017 and was awarded an IndieBrag Medallion in 2018. The third in the series, Death Makes No Distinction, was published in 2019. In 2017 an e-book Dan Foster novella, The Fatal Coin, was trade published by SBooks.

In 2013, Lucienne published The Bristol Suffragettes, a history of the suffragette movement in Bristol and the west country. In 2017 she published a collection of short essays, The Road to Representation: Essays on the Women’s Suffrage Campaign.

Contributions to other publications include:-

‘Not So Militant Browne’ in Suffrage Stories: Tales from Knebworth, Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth (Stevenage Museum, 2019)

‘Victoria Lidiard’ in The Women Who Built Bristol, Jane Duffus (Tangent Books, 2018)

‘Tramgirls, Tommies and the Vote’ in Bristol and the First World War: The Great Reading Adventure 2014 (Bristol Cultural Development Partnership/Bristol Festival of Ideas, 2014)

Articles, interviews and reviews in various publications including Bristol Times, Clifton Life, The Local Historian, Historical Novels Review (Historical Novel Society), Nonesuch, Bristol 24/7, Bristol History Podcast, etc.

Lucienne has appeared on television and radio in connection with her fiction and non-fiction work. She regularly gives talks and leads walks about the women’s suffrage movement. She also gives talks and runs workshops on historical fiction for literary festivals, Women’s Institutes, local history societies, and other organisations. She has been a radio presenter on BCfm, and a course tutor.

In 2018 she was instrumental in devising and delivering Votes for Women 100, a programme of commemorative events by the West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network in partnership with Bristol M Shed and others. She also campaigned and raised funds for a Blue Plaque for the Bristol and West of England Women’s Suffrage Society.

She is on the steering committee of the West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network, and is also a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Society of Authors, and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

She is currently working on the fourth full-length Dan Foster Mystery, and a biography of suffrage campaigner Millicent Browne.

Lucienne was born in Wolverhampton and now lives in Bristol.

Social Media Links

Twitter: @LucienneWrite

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LucienneWriter

Blog: https://francesca-scriblerus.blogspot.com/http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6437832.Lucienne_Boyce

My Review

4/5 stars

Dan Foster, a former fighter, is now a newly-appointed officer at Bow Street, and is thankful to finally have a case he can deal with on his own – the rape and murder of a young woman in a pub’s shed. Unfortunately, he has barely made any headway in the case when he is instructed to work alongside a former rival of his, John Townsend, on the murder of Louise Parmeter, a high society woman, former actress and lover of Prince George.

Right from the start there is friction between the two men, and Dan is bewildered at Townsend’s request to work with him. There has to be a catch, right?

Townsend is hasty in deciding who the murderer is, and doesn’t even listen to Dan’s suggestions. When Townsend is called away, Dan continues with the investigation his way and gets Townsend’s prime suspect released.

Uh oh! Someone was not going to be happy. If Townsend knew Dan was still investigating the first murder too – against his express instructions – there’d be hell to pay.

As Dan gets closer to finding out who Parmeter’s killer is, he has to deal with the snobbish elite who think they can avoid the law, as well as being dragged against his will into a fight to be held before Prince George. He hates being put in that position, although his wife is elated at the thought of royalty being involved.

The story also gives great insight into Dan’s home life, and his relationships with his wife and friends. When his family is drawn into yet another crime, Dan’s mind is elsewhere. Things have suddenly become very personal, and he has to put his family first. And, of course, he does, with everyone pulling together to help.

His mind may have been elsewhere for a while, but when back on the case, and much to Townsend’s dismay, Dan’s investigations lead him to believe the murderer of Louise Parmeter is someone within her circle of acquaintances. Proving his case, though, is never going to be easy, but his dogged determination to pursue the truth is constant.

The story reveals a grimy underbelly of crime in London’s back streets. Slavery, poverty and abuse contrast with the glamour and opulence of High Society. The details are so well-defined, it’s like being drawn into a film set and watching the scenes unfold as an uninvited observer.

This is a well-written story, beautifully told in glorious detail. A great murder-mystery, or rather, two for the price of one featuring both sides of the track. I’d be more than happy to read to more of Dan Foster’s cases as a Bow Street Runner.

I received a copy of this book via Rachel’s Random Resources. This review is based on my thoughts, and mine alone.

For other news and reviews, check out these amazing blogs:

As always,

book review · British · must-read · thriller

Book Recommendation – Little Girl Missing

How can a little girl vanish into thin air?

Five-year-old Cassie Bailey’s mother tucked her into bed and kissed her goodnight. This morning she’s missing, her unicorn bedcovers are empty, and her parents are frantic.

DCI Rachel Hart knows that the first few hours after a child goes missing are the most crucial, and that the Baileys are living every parent’s worst nightmare. Rachel knows, because as a child her family lived through it too, when her sister was taken.

The days are ticking by with no sign of Cassie, and the cracks in the Baileys’ marriage are beginning to show. But are the holes in their stories because they’re out of their minds with panic – or because they’re lying?

Rachel’s convinced that Cassie knew the person who took her, but can she find the little girl before she’s lost forever?

A gripping and unputdownable thriller for fans of Close to Home, The Couple Next Door and Behind Closed Doors.

My Review

There aren’t many books I read in one sitting, particularly not full length ones anyway. But this was one of those.

It probably wasn’t a good idea to pick my kindle up at 4.30 in the morning, not when I expected my eyelids to droop within thirty minutes. Still, I was awake and needed something to do. I’d just finished an audiobook a few days earlier, and watching TV wasn’t an option, so I scrolled through the books on my TBR and came to a stop at Little Girl Missing.

It’s no coincidence that my current WIP as a writer features child abduction, and I’m reading as many stories I can lay my hands that feature that topic. Call it research, but I am fascinated by how other authors tackle the subject matter. And so it began … I did actually get some sleep though, but picked up where I left off as soon as I could after walking the dogs, eating breakfast, and even cleaning up a little. Somehow I knew that once I resumed with this story, then little else would get done that Sunday.

So, the book …. you want to know what happened?

Well, maybe I’ll give you a few teasers, but you really should check it out yourself if the subject matter intrigues you half as much as it does me.

Naomi Bailey’s life has been in turmoil since she threw her husband out for cheating on her with an old school enemy. Naomi refuses to let him even see their five-year-old daughter, Cassie, and the strain of being newly single is taking its toll on her ability to function. On the insistence of her best friend, Kate, Naomi takes a herbal sleeping tablet and wakes the next morning later  than usual. In a rush to get to school, she calls for Cassie but there is no answer. Minutes later, when she can’t find Cassie anywhere in the house, her worst fears are realised: Cassie is missing.

Charlie Bailey, Naomi’s husband, is living with his mother, Hazel, and hasn’t seen his daughter in five weeks – although he does stop by the house each night at Cassie’s bedtime just until her bedroom light goes out.

Could he be responsible Cassie’s disappearance? DCI Rachel Hart who is leading the investigation rules nothing out.

Grandma Hazel leaves her home early the following morning to visit her sister. Could she have taken Cassie with her, angry at Naomi for cutting all ties with them?

And then there’s a mystery surrounding the woman with whom Charlie cheated on his wife. A long-time enemy of Naomi, Jessica still bears a grudge from when Charlie chose Naomi over her. Could she be involved in Cassie’s disappearance too? There’s no love lost between her and Naomi, but could she and Charlie be in it together?

DCI Rachel Hart has her hands full, there are twists and turns throughout and everyone is a suspect. The real culprit’s identity soon becomes obvious, but their motives are well hidden until the end.

With all the obstacles facing her, Rachel wonders whether she is the right person to lead the case. She quickly pushes the doubt to one side, convinced that her personal experience makes her the best person to find the missing child before it’s too late. That personal experience is told in bite-size snippets, adding intrigue and interest to Rachel’s own history.

This is a fast-paced thriller that will grab your attention and hold it right till the end. Trust is such a fragile thing; you might never see the truth because of it.

Add to Goodreads

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

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

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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

Blog Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours

As always,

book birthday · book blitz · book review · British · crime · murder mystery · thriller

Book Birthday Blitz – The Fourth Victim

The Fourth Victim

by John Mead

The Fourth Victim

Whitechapel is being gentrified. The many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of tranquility and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder…

Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Matthew Merry but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight. And, it looks as if the inspector is already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with fatal head injuries, down to a mugging gone wrong. The victim deserves more. However, the inspector isn’t ruling anything out – the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fourth-Victim-John-Mead/dp/1912575361/

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-fourth-victim/john-mead/9781912575367

https://wordery.com/the-fourth-victim-john-mead-9781912575367

https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Fourth-Victim-by-John-Mead-author/9781912575367

 

Get your copy here:

Amazon

Waterstones

My Review

This is the first book I’ve read by John Mead, and highly original it is too.

With your everyday whodunnit (or police procedural) as his core theme, he takes the reader right into the story. With the three killings early on, it’s up to the investigative team to find the killer – but, of course, it’s not going to be an open and shut case.

Mead does a great job at getting to the bottom of what makes certain characters tick; his own confession to being a people watcher makes that abundantly clear. The police team struggle with the daily norms of everyday life (problems at home, family issues, job prospects etc) which gives them credibility (although there is a tendency to focus a tad too much on the characters flaws outside of the case). We also see the intricate workings of a case in action, from the intense scrutiny of cases, the inevitable missed opportunities, dealing with grieving families, and the consistent need to be one step ahead of the perpetrators.

Add into that a suspect with a multiple personality disorder, and you have a swarm of characters vying for your attention. It is sometimes hard to keep track of who is thinking or speaking, as the flow of the text is choppy at best in parts. However, it offers an original take on a tried-and-trusted story-line.

Despite working out who was the dominant force behind the killings early on, it was interesting to see how the author brought it all together at the end. An interesting, satisfying and original story that kept me scrolling – if only to be proved right! 😉

If you enjoy a good whodunnit with an imaginative plot, then this is the book for you.

About the author

Born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estate ever built. I was the first pupil from my local secondary modern school to attend university.

I have travelled extensively during my life from America to Tibet. I enjoy going to the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that I am an avid ‘people watcher’ and love to find out about people, their lives, culture and history. 

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

Catch up with the author via his Amazon Author Page, Twitter or Goodreads

I’m looking forward to reading his next book, Geraldine soon; I have high expectations – no pressure, John 😉

As always,