Left For Dead by Paul J Teague #Review #BlogTour #Suspense #Thriller

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A return to the past. Two guilty secrets. A memory that won’t stay buried …

When Charlotte and Will Grayson return to the seaside resort where they met as teenagers, they hope it’ll help to heal the wounds in their marriage.

But visiting the dilapidated holiday camp where their relationship began brings terrible memories back from the past.

The man who’d once made their lives hell has come back to find them – only, the last time they saw him, they’d left him for dead on the beach.

As the threats to their new life become more severe, Charlotte and Will discover that they were mistaken about what happened to Bruce Craven on that fateful night.

And now he’s returned to finish off what was started thirty years ago.

Sometimes the past is best left alone

Left for Dead is the first book in the Morecambe Bay Trilogy.

Left For Dead was a very enjoyable, top notch thriller. It read like a dream and had oodles of tension. From the first page to the last it was a thrilling and had a storyline that was gripping and intensely addictive.

The mood it conveyed to me as a reader and one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much, was a feeling of impending danger, from the moment we meet Charlotte and Wil.  That feeling was built upon as the story progressed and it meant that it was hard to put the book down, the sense of unease following me around, meant I felt an intense need to swallow it all up in one sitting. That was the only way I could only be sure that my feelings of imminent jeopardy were right or wrong!

The story itself was complex and had just the right amount of supporting characters, not enough to make is impossible to follow, but ample to have me constantly and incorrectly blaming each in turn for visiting such danger on the Charlotte and Wil. The writer had me wrong footed on each twist in the storyline, so when the reveal actually happened I was caught off guard.

All in all, I found it a highly enjoyable read. I’ve been finding it hard to read lately and that this book kept me turning the pages, summed up how good it was.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon.

Book 2 is Circle of Lies and will be published on Monday 9th December 2019.

Book 3 is Truth Will Out and will be published on Monday 6th January 2020.

About the author 

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Paul Teague writes thrillers, sci-fi and non-fiction books.

Writing as Paul J. Teague, he is the author of the Don’t Tell Meg trilogy as well as several standalones such as Dead of Night, Two Years After, Now You See Her (with Adam Nicholls) and So Many Lies.

His latest thriller trilogy is set in the coastal town of Morecambe in the UK.
Paul studied, lived and worked in Lancaster and Morecambe between 1983 and 1991 and the books draw from his personal experiences and knowledge of the area.

The first book – Left for Dead – is released in November 2019 and the follow-ups – Circle of Lies and Truth Will Out – will be published in December 2019 and January 2020 respectively.

Paul is a former teacher, DJ, waiter and BBC radio producer, presenter and journalist.

You can follow the author on TwitterFacebook and his Website

BLOG TOUR (2)

 

The Purple – Bellied Parrot from William Fagus. #Extract #BlogTour

Discover … The power of the ‘HhhuuuUUTTT!’Ever feel you are living the wrong life? Ever feel another life, your should-be life, is out there waiting for you, if only you had the courage to …Do you like tinned pineapple chunks? Have you answered yes to any of those questions? Then follow the Purple-Bellied Parrot on a rip-roaring, globe-spanning adventure packed with unforgettable characters. His quest to live his should-be life.It Begins: In the sterile apartment of a city executive with unruly nasal hair where the Purple-Bellied Parrot cannot even do the very thing he was born to do. It Ends: On the shores of a distant land after an epic journey which tests his courage, his ingenuity and the bonds of friendship — to the limit.The Purple-Bellied Parrot is a spell-binding, life-affirming tale, with the power to evoke laughter and tears from readers 11-100 years old. (Parental Note: contains occasional mild imprecations.)

Today I’m delighted to welcome author William Fagus to booksaremycwtches with an extract from his book The Purple – Bellied Parrot.

Extract

The Purple-Bellied Parrot finds himself on the winter streets, naked because he has pulled out his feathers due to boredom. A gang of sparrows (spuggies) have found him.

The spuggies squeezed in even tighter to the Purple-Bellied Parrot and began a conflab.
‘We got to get him warmed up, but we can’t hang about here all day.’
‘Might be a moggie about.’
‘And I for one is getting peckish.’
‘I know, what if he jumps up and down to get isself warm?’
‘What — and he does that all day does he?’ said Gert.
‘Think!’
‘Think!’
‘Think!’
‘I am thinkin!’
‘I know! We’ll stand him on top of a chimeney pot — be warm as toast up there.’
‘And leave him a sitting duck for all the passing maggies and spugghawks? Why don’t you give him a lil dinner bell to ring anall?’ said Vera.
‘Think!’
‘Think!’
‘Think!’
Then Chalkie cried, ‘Got it!’ and with a cheep he was gone.
He came back a few moments later, a huge fluffy red thing flopping about in his beak. It was playing havoc with his aerodynamics, and when he landed on the edge of the bush he was fagged out.
‘Give us hand you lazy sausages!’ he gasped.
The spuggies hauled the fluffy red thing into the safety of the bush.
‘Well?’ said Alfie.
‘Well what? It’s a sock,’ said Chalkie.
‘I can see it’s a bloomin sock. You’ve been raiding them washin lines again. But how does that help us out of our present predickybirdament?’
‘He wears it don’t he. We put it on him.’
‘We put it on him? And then what? He just sits there all day does he, wrapped head to toe in a sock?’
‘Look like a big fat sausage he will,’ said Betty.
Chalkie slapped his forehead with his primaries. ‘Watch,’ he sighed.
He dragged the sock over to a puzzled Purple-Bellied Parrot. ‘Give us hand then!’
Ada and Flo twigged what was happening and helped him lift the sock over the Purple-Bellied Parrot’s head. They pulled down hard until it reached his legs. The sock bulged tight over his head and beak.
‘His hooter looks even bigger like that don’t it!’
‘Now then ladies and gents,’ said Chalkie. ‘Feast your mincey pies on this!’1
Whistling as he worked, Chalkie snipped a hole into the top of the sock. Once the hole was complete, he said, ‘Righto. Pull!’ and the three of them pulled down again. The Purple-Bellied Parrot’s head popped out, and soon they had the sock all the way down to his toes.
‘But …’ said Alfie.
‘Crikey, enough buts. Just watch!’
Chalkie nodded to Flo and they snipped two long holes into the sides of the sock. Then he whispered into the ear of the Purple-Bellied Parrot. It was a struggle, and Flo and Ada had to tug hard, but the Purple-Bellied Parrot soon had one wing shoved through. The other soon followed, and the Purple-Bellied Parrot stood in his woolly tank top and flapped his wings. It was so warm, his beak instantly stopped clacking. He was about to say thank you again — but then thought better of it.
‘Voila!’ said Chalkie.
‘You what?!’ they all chorused.
‘It’s your French lingo,’ said Chalkie.
‘But …’ said Alfie.
‘But? But what? Gawd, what’s wrong now?’
‘Erm … Well … ahem … The colour? Spose red was all what was h’available.’
‘Why?’
‘Well, if you want him to stand out like a sore bum to every hungry moggie, maggie and spugghawk in the vic-hinity — then there’s nothing bloomin wrong with it. I mean, I’m sure a bird with a green head and a huge hooter poking out of it wearing a red tank top — whom, I may add can barely flap his delicious little body off the ground — won’t attract any h’unwanted h’attention at all. While we’re at it, why don’t we shove a ruddy great olive in his cakehole and sprinkle some salt and pepper on im?’ Alfie was puffing his breast out now. If he’d had lapels, he’d have been tucking his alulae behind them.2 ‘Do me a bloomin favour. He’ll be pooed-out on some bin’s titfer before you can say Cock Robinson.’3
Alfie let his oration hang there for a moment. Some spuggies cheeped agreement.
Chalkie remained unruffled. ‘Well done Alfie. Well done chaps and chapesses. Glad you spotted that,’ and with a ‘cheep’ he was off again.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

About the author

The publicity-shy William Fagus lives in a remote location in an upturned fishing smack with a parrot and sundry antique musical instruments and carpentry tools.
The redoubtable Mrs Lush, his cleaning lady and confidant, is his most frequent visitor.
William Fagus’s biography, of uncertain origin and dubious veracity, is available here: http://www.williamfagus.com/fagus_biog.html

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The Photographer Of The Lost by Caroline Scott. #Review #BlogTour #PhotographeroftheLost #WorldWarOne

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In the aftermath of war, everyone is searching for answers . . .
An epic novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I

‘A poignant hymn to those who gave up their lives for their country and to those who were left behind’ Fanny Blake, bestselling author of A Summer Reunion

1921. Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so she begins to search.

Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother.

And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth.

An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Photographer of the Lost tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.

Review

The Photographer of the Lost is a beautifully written story set in the years following World War One, about the mindlessness of war and it’s victims. Those that died as a result of action in the trenches and the people that loved them.

It focuses on Harry who takes photographs of the graves of the dead to send to families, so that they can see where their loved ones lie. He is treading a path he once took as a young solider with his two brothers. He and sister-in-law Eddie are searching for answers, to a mystery, did Francis, brother and husband die in the conflict, or is he hiding from them both, unable to return to the life they lived before the war. It is both a love story and a homage to those whose lives caught up in the conflict.

I’ve been incredibly lucky to read some stunning books this year and I have had to constantly revaluate the statement, ‘I think I have found my book of the year’, well I have to again. For this novel is staggering in how it gives a voice to all that were caught up in the fury that Europe found itself enveloped in.

I have read a review that suggests The Photographer of the Lost is too long, that it is a series of sketches, that the writer over describes everything. I can’t say enough, or in sufficient words, how much I disagree with this.

What I loved about this book, was the focus on an aspect of war, that is often forgotten, the awful impact conflicts have on those left behind. Not just the physical injuries, or the mind crushing mourning, but how it robs all of the certainties that held their worlds together. That dad would come home at the end of the day, that the world was centred around their own hearth, because what they ended up with, were men traumatised often beyond healing, not knowing where their sons grave were, living in a void that haunted them. While for others the world moved forward.

With immense talent, but quiet passion, Caroline Scott gives these characters a voice, it is not about the big moments, for here is a novel about the nightmares that haunt those quiet minutes and hours that cut great swathes through lives. Its like she is writing almost under ones breath, wrapping the reader in Harry and Eddies journey, their search for answers and redemption.  Faintly in the background the war still holds them all in it’s grip, because for many it never let them go and for two damaged people the answers lie in a long search around France’s fate. I lost myself in their journey, as they came close to answers only to find they were mistaken, my heart lurching for them both.  These searches for answers often took years, for some families, the answers never came. The way the story in The Photographer of the Lost gives the narrative room to develop, conveys the vacuum many lives were lived in. It is powerful and moving stuff.  Eloquent and heart breaking.

It is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time. Not all books need to be action packed, some if done well, can revel in the subtext below histories big ‘moments’ and The Photographer of the Lost does that with a quiet intensity. It asks the reader to take a step back, to remember and to listen to the voices of a forgotten moment in history. Caroline Scott with a historians eye and a writers artistry, gave me a book with emotional depth, a rallying cry to the power of the written word, of the story, to open up to us all, the voices of a lost generation.

You can purchase The Photographer of The Lost from Amazon and Waterstones.

About the author

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Caroline Scott is a freelance writer and historian specializing in WWI and women’s history. The Photographer of the Lost is partially inspired by her family history.

You can follow the author on Twitter

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I would like to thank the author, the publisher and the blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.

Christmas At Ladywell By Nicola Slade #Review #BlogTour #Historical #CosyMystery

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A time for spilling secrets…

Having refurbished her inherited house and upcycled her whole life in the process, Freya – now happily married to Patrick, and with a small child – has to transform her tiny stone barn into a romantic hideaway for a mystery guest who is also looking for change. With Christmas only a week away, things don’t go according to plan…

In the past, old uncertainties are resolved when a woman seeks the truth of a legend on Christmas Eve and confesses to a deception; a Tudor wife listens to a story that must never be repeated and is given a precious relic that must never be displayed; and in the early nineteenth century, an old woman tells a younger one the story of the hares at Ladywell.

Past and present are only a whisper apart when Freya learns of an astonishing discovery that will make Ladywell famous, but meanwhile her house is full of unexpected visitors, she has a turkey to cook – and a very special secret of her own that must be told.

Review

When I sat down to read Christmas At Ladywell I was in need of an enjoyable, cosy historical mystery and that is exactly what the author gave me.

We have two storylines, one starting in the Tudor period and going on through history and the other in the present, where Freya is settling into her new home and doing up a small barn, in which a mystery guest will be seeking a romantic get away.

What I liked was that this story was very much about strong women, who pass a legend and an important artefact connected to Ladywell through history.  It joins them and Freya together, even if she is not aware of the rich tapestry she and the house are a part of.

I also enjoyed that in Christmas At Ladywell we are allowed to enjoy a cosy read in a small and intimate community. Everyone within the story is likeable and its nice to be able to indulge in that for me and it’s what made the few hours it took to reading enjoyable. I just loved Freya, her friends and how she embraces the character and richness of the house she is living in, it felt Christmassy and family oriented and I can’t remember when a book last made me feel so at ease.

The excitement came from when Freya learns of a discovery that connects the house and her to a past full of myths and superstition. We also get to see her start to make a connection to that when she can sense aroma’s from the past in the present, like the ghosts of these women are trying to reach out to her. It is light hearted in many ways, but also there is the suggestion of drama permeating its way into the present from the past, giving the story a riddle that needs to be solved.

I would have liked to see more of the story of why the past and present seemed to be set to collide, but I assume that will come in another instalment.

It was an enjoyable read.

You can purchase Christmas At Ladywell from Amazon

Giveaway to Win a .mobi or PDF of The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola Slade (Open INT) by following this Link Link

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then 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.

About the author

Christmas at Ladywell - Author

Nicola Slade is an award-winning, bestselling author of historical and contemporary mysteries and romantic fiction, all set in and around Winchester and Romsey in Hampshire – which is where she lives. The House at Ladywell – a contemporary romantic novel with historical echoes – won the Chatelaine Grand Prize for Romantic Fiction at the CIBA awards in April 2019.
She is the author of the mid-Victorian Charlotte Richmond mysteries and the contemporary Harriet Quigley mysteries and The Convalescent Corpse, published November 2018, is the first in a new series, The Fyttleton Mysteries, set in 1918.

The author can be followed on her websiteFacebook and Twitter.

Christmas at Ladywell

* I would like to thank the author and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.

We Were Salt of The Sea by Roxanne Bouchard. #Review #OrendaBooks #TeamOrenda #Orentober

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Description As Montrealer Catherine Day sets foot in a remote fishing village and starts asking around about her birth mother, the body of a woman dredges up in a fisherman’s nets. Not just any woman, though: Marie Garant, an elusive, nomadic sailor and unbridled beauty who once tied many a man’s heart in knots. Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales, newly drafted to the area from the suburbs of Montreal, barely has time to unpack his suitcase before he’s thrown into the deep end of the investigation. On Quebec’s outlying Gaspé Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves. Interviews drift into idle chit-chat, evidence floats off with the tide and the truth lingers in murky waters.

Review

Many thanks to Orenda Books, the writer Roxanne Bouchard for the ARC of We Were Salt of The Sea in return for an honest review.

We Were Salt of the Sea is different to your traditional thriller, in that the main focus is on character rather than events. It moves along at a much slower pace than you expect and its heart is firmly based in the people of a remote fishing village in Quebec and their reactions to the death Marie Garant. Don’t let this put you off reading it though, because its uniqueness is what makes it so special and a haunting. The characters don’t so much leap of the page, they slowly and bit by bit, seep into your consciousness like they have always been there, old friends who memories soon become one with you the reader. I found my heart breaking for the loss of a great love, laughing at the dramatic gossip of the bistro owner, while sharing the irritation of poor DS Morales. Each character in the book is so beautifully drawn that you can visualise them in your mind’s eye and step with them into long suppressed memories.

The setting is perfect. For the mistrust of outsiders to work effectively, the story needed to be set in a small town, one whose bond with the sea is for some like a shackle them weighs them down and for others the liberation that frees them for the pain of the past. Here is a little village in which the characters are able to hide secrets, limit Catherine Days access to their memories and frustrate Morales efforts to search for answers around Garants’s mysterious death. This atmosphere is only possible because Bouchard has created a small community whose inhabitants are connected in ways they wouldn’t be in a bigger community and she imbues their connection with an emotional element that excludes both Day and Morales.

Special mention must also go to David Warriner whose translation is superb. He has produced a translation that celebrates and conveys Bouchard’s story for the reader with almost effortless grace.

We Were Salt of The Sea is another outstanding offering from the Orenda family of authors.

We Were Salt Of The Sea can be purchased from Amazon.

A little bit about the author

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Ten years or so ago, Roxanne Bouchard decided it was time she found her sea legs. So she learned to sail, first on the St Lawrence River, before taking to the open waters off the Gaspe Peninsula. The local fishermen soon invited her aboard to reel in their lobster nets, and Roxanne saw for herself that the sunrise over Bonaventure never lies. We Were the Salt of the Sea is her fifth novel, and her first to be translated into English. She lives in Quebec.

About the Translator
David Warriner translates from French and nurtures a healthy passion for Franco, Nordic and British crime fiction. Growing up in deepest Yorkshire, he developed incurable Francophilia at an early age. Emerging from Oxford with a modern languages degree, he narrowly escaped the graduate rat race by hopping on a plane to Canada – and never looked back. More than an decade into a high-powered commercial translation career, he listened to his heart and turned his hand again to the delicate art of literary translation. David has lived in France and Quebec, and now calls beautiful British Columbia home.

After He Died by Michael Malone. #Review #TeamOrenda #Orentober

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You need to know who your husband really was… When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son, Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed… When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought they knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger. Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets… .

‘A stark, gripping storyline’ Scots .

‘A fine, page-turning thriller’ Daily Mail 

Review

I would like to thank the author, Orenda Books for the ARC in return for an honest review.
After He Died is a story about family, love and relationships. It asks the reader do we ever really know those we love? It is also a superb thriller and a very addictive read.
What did I love about this domestic noir?
The characters for one! Paula is a grief stricken widow, who in the face of almost unbearable loss, must fight protect herself and the memory of the man she married. Her grief is powerfully written, it is all consuming on times, yet on others she is able to function at some basic level. You can feel both her loss and her strength, which allows her move forwards, even when grief threatens to wrap her in its wretched embrace, drowning her is waves of desolation and malaise. It’s a outstanding depiction of the many stages of morning a person can go through and yet the story is never allowed to be swamped by it, Paula is more than the grief that consumes her, she is a women with an inner strength that she draws from to try to survive another nightmare her life is being consumed by. Then we have support characters like Joe, her brother-in-law, a flawed and vulnerable man, a priest and fascinating in his own right. Often writers make the mistake of not fleshing out the less prominent characters, but not Michael Malone, who understands that if a novel is to work, each character, however minor a role they play, needs to be absorbing enough for the reader to invest in. I loved his story, however minor, as much as that of Paula’s and that shows the depth of great characterisation in After He Died.
And then there is the story itself. Great characters need a story to inhabit and this is certainly worthy of them. Packed with thrilling twists and turns that keep you guessing right to the end, After He Died is a real page turner. But it is also has a clever and intricate storyline that is not swamped by the thrills, or defined by them. It builds like a classical thriller over the cause of the book, as the layers of the story and slowly peeled away revealing a web of betrayal and lies. Multiple threads are combined together to form the story and they draw together perfectly leaving me astounded at the web of treachery all the characters had been caught up in.
Why would I recommend this book? Because it is a top quality thriller, which left me wanting more from this writer.

You can purchase After He Died from Amazon and Waterstones.

About the author

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Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country, just a stone’s throw from the great man’s cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In- Residence for an adult gift shop. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge: Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call (a non-fiction work about successful modern-day Scots); A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage and The Bad Samaritan. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number one bestseller. Michael is a regular reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website http://www.crimesquad.com. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.

The author can be followed on TwitterFacebook and his website.

 

Review – A Spooky Tale, A Walk With Our Teacher by Sue Wickstead. #BlogTour #ChildrensFiction

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When the teacher decided to take the class out on a walk the children did not want to go …But…What could possibly go wrong?why did the class not feel well?Read the book to find out.

Review

I would like to thank the writer and blog tour organiser for the ARC of this book in return for an honest review.

Having read a number of this author’s books, I was really looking forward to reviewing A Spooky Tale.

I have a close friend who is a teacher and I have heard that taking the class out for a walk can be an eventful time!

What I loved about this book, was the way the writer captured the sense of adventure felt by young children, embarking on a few hours of excitement from the classroom. Now admittedly these children aren’t keen to go, but it does turn out to be a wonderful experience for the reader, because they come across many different creatures, spooky moments and thankfully get back safely. What’s important about this story, is the sense of peril and menace, will make the story attractive to young children, whose natural sense of mischievousness will be held spellbound by the heightened feeling of adventure.

Given that children learn from what they see as well as what they read, illustrations always need to be beautiful, pop of the page and straight into their imaginations. They certainly do in A Spooky Tale! The illustrations are bright, beautifully drawn, colourful and compliment the story perfectly. Each child is given their own personality through the illustrations and any child is going to be fascinated by their reactions. Partner this up with a fun story, with easy to understand vocabulary and you have a wonderful children’s read.

I would recommend A Spooky Tale parents to read to their children and as a first independent read for young readers. It’s fun, attractive and will capture the imagination of children and families alike.

You can purchase this book from Amazon

About the author.

A Spooky Author

I am an author and a teacher and have written six children’s picture books, all with a bus included somewhere.
Having been able to share my first book, ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, it was time to think about writing a book for younger readers.
While visiting a local school the children were writing stories about a journey, we read Jay-Jay’s book and then I remembered a book that I had written some years before and I read this to the class too, and they loved it.
The original story was based on a walk with my class around the neighbourhood of Bewbush, Crawley. The walk had led to map work and sequencing. Then together with the class I wrote an imaginative adventure.
The events we imagined were put into a class book. The book was shared with many classes and it was always a favourite.
Now years later I decided it was time to update, improve and look at publishing the book.
There is indeed a walk around the district of Bewbush. and following the publication of the book I went back to see if and how the neighbourhood had changed.
‘Oh, I see you have written a book without a bus!’ commented a friend.
But, look through the pages and you will see there always has to be a bus!
The neighbourhood of Bewbush was a new estate built in Crawley town in the 1970’s. The area was built without any shops, school or safe places for children to play. It was an area of high need and was supported by a special playbus which offered a much-needed playgroup venue.
I also undertake events and author bookings and love to share my stories. There are also a few more stories in the writing process, with links to real events and buses.

A Spooky Tale Full Tour Banner

Weave of Love by Rachel J Bonner. Choices And Consquences. Book Three. #Guest Post #BlogTour

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What if the choice you have to make has devastating consequences for others?
How can anyone know the right thing to do?
Leonie chose to sacrifice everything to save other people. Now those around her have to face the consequences – and those consequences are not what they expected.
Prospero must deal with his own guilt. He was the one who gave Leonie the tools she needed – her life was in his hands. To make the most of what she did, he will have to face up to all the family issues he has avoided for so long. Whatever he chooses to do, someone he loves will be hurt. For Leonie’s sake, is he now strong enough to make the choice he couldn’t make before?
The crisis predicted by Lord Gabriel has come and gone. But his task isn’t over. Leonie’s very existence may be out in the open but Gabriel discovers that the past is never what it seems – and nor is the present. How can he use what he now knows to bring together those who have been enemies for as long as anyone can remember? If he fails in this, everything he’s had to do so far will be in vain.

Guest Post 

An Introduction to Some More Characters

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In previous blog tours I’ve introduced you to Prospero, Leonie, Andrew, Gabriel, Eleanor, Chloe and the Them. All those characters reappear in Weave of Love and if you missed the original blogs you can read more about them here http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk/sofblogs.html.

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Much of Weave of Love takes place at Deep River Farm, which is the home of Prospero aka Perry’s – family. So I thought I’d introduce you to them.

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Mary : Mary is Perry’s mother. She’s not much taller than Leonie – about 5ft 6” but she has a big personality and manages to keep order among her family with no trouble at all. She’s the youngest sister of Lord Neville, the High Lord of Great House Tennant, but they haven’t spoken for many years. They argued over her choice of husband and way of life but the final straw was when Lord Neville chose her oldest son, Perry, to train as one of his potential heirs. Mary enjoys baking, just as Leonie does, and is well versed in the use of herbs in both cooking and medical matters. She doesn’t like telephones – which are rare anyway – and won’t have one in the house. She’s happily married to:
Michael : Mary’s husband and Perry’s father. Michael is tall and dark – Perry looks very like him – and quietly competent. He doesn’t like arguments and confrontation, but he’ll face up to trouble and stand his ground when he considers it necessary. More often, he’ll just quietly get on with doing what he believes to be the right thing in the background. He doesn’t speak a lot, but he’s always there when one of his family needs him and really, he’s the glue that holds the whole family together.
Matt : Matt is the second oldest son, a year or two younger than Perry, who is the oldest. He and Perry look alike, too. Matt is impulsive and energetic and, like Perry, tends to dive into things without always thinking them through. He feels things very deeply although he tries to hide this and takes his feelings out in his work around the farm. He specialises in the arable side of the farm. He’s handfasted – a form of preliminary or temporary marriage – to Chrissy who teaches at the local school.
Sam : Sam is the third son, a couple of years younger than Matt. He’s the tallest and broadest of all the brothers, and fair where the first two are dark. He usually moves more slowly and patiently than his older brothers, thinking things through before he acts. Like his father, he’s calm and quiet which helps when he’s working with the farm animals. He’s handfasted to Lizzie who works as a nurse practitioner and midwife at the local surgery.
Jack and Eddie : Jack and Eddie are identical twins, never apart. They even talk as one, taking it in turns to utter a couple of words in any sentence. No one but their parents can tell which is which. Having each other, they don’t seem to need anyone else. They run a horse breeding and training business in a small yard to one side of the main farmyard.
Jonny : Jonny is the youngest son and there’s a bit of an age gap between him and the twins. Their only sister, Jenny, was born between them and she died shortly after birth. Jonny looks like Perry, Matt and their father. He’s only just developing his mental Gifts, but the signs are that he’s going to be very Gifted, just like Perry. He’s very cheeky, saying things that others won’t, and like many youngest children, he gets away with far more than his older siblings. He’ll be off to college shortly, where he plans to study veterinary science. His girlfriend is Emlee, who’ll be off to college at the same time, although she plans to study medicine.
The other member of the family mentioned in Weave of Love is Amber, Perry’s dog. Amber’s breed is never defined, but I think of her as a golden brown border collie.
There’s quite a large cast of characters throughout the whole series. If you’d like to know who lives where, who is related to who, or just need to check on someone, you can find a list at my website http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk/people.html .
I hope you enjoy reading about these characters as much as I have enjoyed writing them and that you’ll continue with me to the end of the series.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

About the author

Weave of Love Author Photo

Rachel J Bonner is the author of the compelling and enthralling four book Choices and Consequences series. The first book in the series, Strand of Faith, was published in November 2018. Book 2, Thread of Hope, released on 2nd May 2019, followed by Weave of Love on 24th October, and Cloth of Grace at the end of February 2020.
Getting a degree in engineering, followed by a career in accountancy is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in fantasy or romance. Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun. When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club. Shooting targets only, honest. Nothing to worry about. (Okay, sometimes we shoot Polo mints. Or cabbages. Still nothing to worry about.)
She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary. It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.
You can find out more about her books and sign up for Rachel’s newsletters at http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk.

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The Secret Santa by Trish Harnetiaux #Extract #BlogTour #TheSecretSanta

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A lavish party.
An isolated mansion.
Two hosts who will do anything to protect their secrets.

When husband and wife Henry and Claudine organise their company’s Christmas party in a remote mansion, they expect it to be a night to remember.

But the festive mood quickly turns sour when a sinister gift is unwrapped in the Secret Santa gift exchange.

As heavy snow traps the guests inside the mountainside lodge, it quickly becomes clear that one of the party is out for revenge.

It’s no longer just about enduring the evening. It’s about making sure you get out alive.

A lavish locked-room mystery with a seasonal edge, THE SECRET SANTA is packed with twists that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

Today I am delighted to welcome author Trish Harnetiaux’s  to booksaremycwtches with an extract from her debut novel The Secret Santa. 

Extract

For a moment Claudine almost didn’t tell her about the Secret Santa. She could just cancel it. Her employees would be glad. She knew how much they dreaded it each year. At most holiday parties, the game was a light-hearted romp. Cheap gag gifts. Ten- or twenty- dollar limit. Claudine’s version was different. In introducing the annual game, she had neglected to include a price limit. After a couple years, a spirit of one-upmanship had been established, along with an expectation that each employee should bring a lavish gift, one that reflected how well they’d performed over the year, how much they’d racked up in commissions. The purpose had originally been to make people laugh, to reward the most clever. After a few years of observing the tradition, however, it was clear that their light-hearted, team- building holiday game served only to create competition, cause jealousy, and stir rivalry among her staff. Claudine encouraged a level of competition, but even she would admit that including Zara in this year’s Secret Santa would make the team even more uneasy and desperate to impress.
“Ooh, I love party games!” Zara said. “Entertaining is my jam, and it’d be nice to see the space full of people.”
Having it at the house posed a few problems. Sure, it was available. That wasn’t an issue. Mr. and Mrs. Lions— the first and only owners— had already moved to Scottsdale. And the place was still furnished. The moving company wasn’t coming until after the holidays. But switching the party from the office to Montague House meant Claudine would have to make it a more extravagant affair. Catering. Florals. A piano player would be a nice touch, given the Lions’ gorgeous black Steinway grand. She’d need to invite a few more people to fill out the space. And invitations. No matter how intimate, a proper soirée required a proper invitation. Claudine was willing to make certain compromises, but not when it came to etiquette.
The biggest problem was Henry. He had been so distraught over her taking the listing. Of course, he didn’t come out and say so. Too quiet. Never said much of anything. She was the talker, the salesperson. He expressed himself through his designs. Yet it was hardly a coincidence that right after she told him the Lions had asked her to sell Montague House, he wound up in the hospital. She knew what the mention of the house must have stirred up. The unspoken. If business wasn’t so bad, she wouldn’t have dared— would have told the Lions to find another broker. They did not have that luxury. They couldn’t refuse any listing. At least it was one of theirs. If things didn’t pick up soon, Claudine would have to consider branching into listings for houses Henry hadn’t designed. That the Alpine brothers hadn’t built. That Calhoun + Calhoun hadn’t overseen from the dig to dinner with the new owners.
Taking the listing was one thing. Asking Henry to come to the party at Montague House was another. He hadn’t been back since they finished building it and turned the keys over to the Lions. He wouldn’t even drive past it, taking long detours to avoid catching the slightest glimpse of the property. To go back there after all these years, to once again step through those large oak doors into the marbled foyer, into the past . . . who knew what that might do to him?

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

About  the author

Trish Harnetiaux Author Photo

The Secret Santa is Trish Harnetiaux’s debut novel. She is a Brooklyn-based playwright whose published works include Tin Cat Shoes, How To Get Into Buildings, and If You Can Get To Buffalo.
Follow her on Twitter @TrishHarnetiaux 

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Crazy For You by T S Hunter #Review #BlogTour #SohoNoir #LGBT #RedDogPress

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THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE NEVER RUNS SMOOTH
It’s 1987, and Soho is in the grip of another hot summer. While working part-time in The Red Lion, Joe finds himself agreeing to help a notorious gangster search for her missing girlfriend.
Antonia “the Gecko” Lagorio is daughter to the ruthless but ageing gang boss, Tony “the Lizard” Lagorio. When her girlfriend, Charlotte Fenwick, goes missing, Antonia turns to Joe for help, believing her to have been kidnapped by a rival gang.
Charlotte Fenwick is daughter to multi-millionaire, Charles Fenwick—who also happens to be one of Freddie Gillespie’s bigger clients. Keen to keep any hint of a scandal out of the public eye, Charles Fenwick had already asked Freddie to recruit Russell and Joe to help him find his daughter discreetly.
With both of them on the case, Joe and Russell find themselves trying to stop a turf war between the two rival gangs while uncovering all manner of dark secrets about the missing heiress and her troubled life.
Meanwhile Freddie Gillespie has a run in with an old foe that could see him lose both his job and his relationship with Russell.

Review

Crazy For You is the fourth instalment in the Soho Noir series by T S Hunter. It’s as fabulous as the other three and a delight to read.

Once again we are lucky to be spending time with friends and flatmates Joe and Russell, but this time we have the added romance between Russell and lawyer Charles Fenwick.

What I loved about Crazy for You was the way the individual story arcs work together to create a well balanced, exciting read. The romance between Russell and Charles, ties in perfectly with our hero’s investigation into the disappearance of the daughter of multi millionaire Charles Fenwick. Quite an achievement to take the multiple threads and get them all to work in a novella without it feeling cluttered and rushed. Many authors struggle in full length books, so to do it so well in a short story shows the skill of T S Hunter as a writer.

The relationship between Russell and Charles gave the story added drama and romance. It’s not all mushy, but is actually full of angst and misunderstandings. I know it seems strange to say this, but I revelled in the knot of anxiety that took hold in me, wondering if their relationship would survive. Don’t we all love a story that leaves us all antsy over the love of characters we really care about?

The story feels dangerous and dramatic, so much so that I was so nervous at times, I had to read on and on, to get to the end as fast as possible. At one point when Joe enters a club, looking for Charlotte Fenwick, I caught myself holding my breath. There he is smack in the middle of a turf war between rival gangs and his life is in real danger. It’s an edge of your seat moment, in a long line of potential dangers our hero’s face to find the heiress.  It is all just so bloody thrilling.

Crazy For You even keeps up that sense of community I have come to love about these books. I takes the LGBT characters and makes them an essential part of the story, integral to it. There is one scene where Joe uses his friends, a group of drag Queens to create a distraction while he looks for Charlotte. I loved their involvement, especially as you rarely find something both so funny, yet at the same time so dramatic involving such a wealth of LGBT characters. This book gives them a story they can thrive in and says we won’t be side-lined to a niche shelf in the bookshop, we deserve to be out there on the general fiction counter. On the tables the booksellers use to highlight must read fiction, because they as characters are as good as any you’ll read in those books.

Oh and when will we see these characters in a TV drama, I want to see T S Hunters Soho Noir series adapted for TV!

You can buy the book directly from the publisher Red Dog PressWaterstones and Amazon

About the author 

Claiming to be only half-Welsh, T.S. Hunter lived in South Wales for much of his latter teens, moving to London as soon as confidence and finances allowed. He never looked back.
He has variously been a teacher, a cocktail waiter, a podium dancer and a removal man, but his passion for writing has been the only constant.
He’s a confident and engaging speaker and guest, who is as passionate about writing and storytelling as he is about promoting mainstream LGBT fiction.
He now lives with his husband in the country, and is active on social media as @TSHunter on Twitter.

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