Review ~ Somebody I Used To Know by Wendy Mitchell. #Review

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THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK

‘Revelatory’ Guardian
‘A miracle’ Telegraph
‘A landmark book’ Financial Times

Brave, illuminating and inspiring, Somebody I Used to Know gets to the very heart of what it means to be human.

What do you lose when you lose your memories? What do you value when this loss reframes how you’ve lived, and how you will live in the future? How do you conceive of love when you can no longer recognise those who are supposed to mean the most to you?

When she was diagnosed with dementia at the age of fifty-eight, Wendy Mitchell was confronted with the most profound questions about life and identity. All at once, she had to say goodbye to the woman she used to be. Her demanding career in the NHS, her ability to drive, cook and run – the various shades of her independence – were suddenly gone.

Philosophical, profoundly moving, insightful and ultimately full of hope, Somebody I Used to Know is both a heart-rending tribute to the woman Wendy once was, and a brave affirmation of the woman dementia has seen her become.

Review

I don’t think that prior to reading Somebody I used to know, that I felt so strongly that there was a book everyone should read. But Wendy Mitchell’s story is one I feel we should all take the time to, not just general readers, but importantly medical professionals and employers as well. Because not only does it shed a light on a life lived with Alzheimer’s from the point of view of someone who is living with this disease, it portrays the remarkable courage of Wendy Mitchell as well.
What this extraordinary and insightful book teaches us, is that it is the ignorance of the many, which limits the lives of those who have Alzheimer’s. That they can with support and a change in attitudes by employers and medical professionals and sometimes their families live a positive life full of new experiences. It also shows us that as a wider community we can and should make adaption’s to our attitudes and the way we deal with people, not just assume that the person repeatedly asking the time or standing isolated in a sea of people is a an irritant to our days. Families are often left with a terrible burden financially and emotionally, with little or no support from local authorities and medical professionals. Society in general forges forward with little understanding of the terrible emotional price paid by the families and suffers
Wendy Mitchell gives an expectation that with adaption and support suffers can carry on living a life with dignity and purpose and has worked tirelessly to promote greater understanding of Alzheimer’s. She is an incredible lady who has carved out for herself a life worth living. Alzheimer’s is not who she is, though it continues to rob her of so much, it has also opened up many new opportunities. Not everyone can follow her path, but we owe Wendy Mitchell and others affected by this condition fairer treatment, not isolation and rejection. We also owe their families better support and a solid commitment to finance care, treatment and research.
Somebody I used to know is a book that will help to redefine your understanding of this condition. It is a profoundly moving and a poignant story, which in turns reduced me to tears and anger, but left me with filled with a sense of possibility.
Please give this book a read. Understated and yet powerful, it is a story that will stay with me for a very long time.

You can buy Somebody I Used To Know from Amazon in Kindle and hardback and from Waterstones.

About The Author

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Wendy Mitchell spent twenty years as a non-clinical team leader in the NHS before being diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia in July 2014 at the age of fifty-eight. Shocked by the lack of awareness about the disease, both in the community and in hospitals, she vowed to spend her time raising awareness about dementia and encouraging others to see there is life after a diagnosis. She is now an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society. She has two daughters and lives in Yorkshire.

You can follow the author on Twitter and her website  Which Me An I Today? 

 

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~Big Sister by Gunner Staalesen.

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Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office. A woman introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a 19-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her bedsit in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously.
Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail leads to a gang of extreme bikers on the hunt for a group of people whose dark deeds are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal…
Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Big Sister reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.

Review

I would like to thank the author, publisher Orenda Books and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC of Big Sister in return for an honest review.
I can honestly say that any book published by Orenda Books is guaranteed to be a first class thriller and Big Sister proves this once again. Having read the previous book in the series, I had high hopes for this novel and I was not disappointed. It reads like a dream, is exciting and intelligent.
Why did I love it? So many reasons! I have a little crush on the superb character of Varg Veum, who is brooding and has a strong moral compass. His dedication in this novel to find the missing girl is indicative of the character I have come to know. He is both determined and humble and it is an intoxicating combination. While he way he is written makes me want to read about him for years to come.
The story is perfectly balanced, is cool and unrushed, yet full of twists and turns that left me feeling pole axed at the impact they had on the story. We were submerged into the spectacular and brooding landscape around Bergan which added a connection to the backdrop in which the story is set. I felt like I could feel the tension seeping off the pages as Veum finds his investigation bogged down in a web of lies and deceit. From page one, to its end, I felt myself submerged in the story and not wanting to leave Veum and his world behind.
Before I starting reading thrillers again after years away, flirting with historical drama’s and stunning books like Tin Man, I had it in my head that thrillers were all the same. You had a villain, a good cop, a victim and a host of smaller characters. What novels like Big Sister have shown me, is that there is a richness to this genre and a reason why so many people love them. It is a novel with layers of story and characterisation, that places it right at the top of it game. Gunner Staalesen has delivered a masterclass in storytelling and this book will delight existing fans and I hope draw new readers to Veum’s world.
It is heady stuff and compulsively addictive to read.

You can purchase Big Sister from Amazon

About the author.  

Gunnar

Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. When Prince Charles visited Bergen, Staalesen was appointed his official tour guide. There is a life-sized statue of Varg Veum in the centre of Bergen, and a host of Varg Veum memorabilia for sale. We Shall Inherit the Wind and Where Roses Never Die were both international bestsellers.

The author can be followed on his website.

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Wolf Boy by G D Sammon.

Wolf Boy front cover

Wolf Boy

Peragrim was his name. An inhuman human sworn to destroy his quarry, three human children – Connor, Evey and Billy. They had been transported to a world ruled by the Wolf People, but Peragrim was waiting for them

Review

I would like to thank the author and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilby for the ARC of Wolf Boy in return for an honest review.

This book is an enjoyable read with influences from such children’s classics as The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. It takes three young children on a journey to a world of warrior wolves and creatures of the night. It’s full of action, with a young boy as the main hero and his two friends who work to save a world threatened by a strange human.

I liked the way the story drew on the classic influences of a good adventure story, but gave it a modern twist. The characters are all very likeable and the ‘cruel human’ has depth to him that avoids the clichéd pantomime villain, that some bad characters can morph into. Each character is given time to grow and develop and especially Conner himself, who was my favourite, because he is brave and caring and Billy as well.

If I had one criticism is that the girl Evey, felt sidelined to me in comparison to the two boys. I would have liked her to have a more central role in the story, simply because I feel it would give the book more appeal to both boys and girls. Even given my one personal reservation, this is still a very enjoyable story, with I think has a bright future as a popular children’s series. It gives the reader a great story to get lost in and likeable characters to root for.

I would recommend this to all readers of VA fantasy and adventure fans.

You can purchase Wolf Boy from Amazon UK, Amazon USAmazon Australia and Amazon Canada.

You can also enter a competition to win a copy of Wolf Boy by following this 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 I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

About the author

Gerry Sammon

Gerry Sammon is a journalist and former newspaper editor based in Bolton, Lancashire.
From September 2015 he has been a tutor in Media Law at News Associates in Manchester, an award-winning private training provider, tutoring trainee journalists in media law and ethics. He also teaches media law to students at Manchester Metropolitan University, and at the University of Central Lancashire based in Preston.
He has travelled widely, both for business and on family holidays.
The idea for Wolf Boy came from a dream my daughters used to have when they were small children. The elder daughter would dream there was a wolf in the wardrobe (this is how our adventure begins in Wolf Boy), and my youngest daughter had a dream that a crocodile lived under her bed.
Gerry is married, with two grown-up daughters.

G D Sammon can be followed on TwitterFacebook and his blog.

Wolf Boy

 

Review ~ Blog Tour ~ The Note by Andrew by Andrew Barrett.

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Have you ever had that feeling of being watched but when you turn around no one’s there?

I have.

It was raining, and I was working a murder scene around midnight when that prickle ran up my spine. If I’d listened to that feeling, if I’d thought back to my past, maybe I could have prevented the terror that was to come.

Back at the office, I found a death threat on my desk.

I had no idea who sent it or why they wanted to kill me.

But I was about to find out.

I’m Eddie Collins, a CSI and this is my story.

Review

I would like to thank the author, Bloodhound Books and blog tour organiser Sarah Hardy for the ARC in return for an honest review.
The Note is indeed a thrilling read, it’s also unnerving, scary and very clever. Novellas are hard to write and it’s easy to get them wrong, because the writer has to condense a well balanced story into a diminutive narrative. For me Andrew Barrett pitched it perfectly. He left me feeling the constant need to listen to the prickle that ran up my spine as I was reading and left me wanting more.

Frankly the story freaked me out, scared the crap out of me and turned me into an instant fan of his writing. I felt compelled to read on to find out if someone was watching Eddie Collins and I was left reeling at the number of twists and turns within the story. Tension seemed to leak off the pages and swirled around me.

It is a really enjoyable read and I would recommend it to any reader that likes a dam good thriller. It packs  one hell of a punch for a novella and kept me on edge throughout.

You can purchase The Note from Amazon

About the author. 

Andrew Barrett has enjoyed variety in his professional life, from engine-builder to farmer, from Oilfield Service Technician in Kuwait, to his current role of Senior CSI in Yorkshire.

He’s been a CSI since 1996, and has worked on all scene types from terrorism to murder, suicide to rape, drugs manufacture to bomb scenes. One way or another, Andrew’s life revolves around crime.

In 1997 he finished his first crime thriller, A Long Time Dead, and it’s still a readers’ favourite today, some 200,000 copies later, topping the Amazon charts several times. Two more books featuring SOCO Roger Conniston completed the trilogy.

Today, Andrew is still producing high-quality, authentic crime thrillers with a forensic flavour that attract attention from readers worldwide. He’s also attracted attention from the Yorkshire media, having been featured in the Yorkshire Post, and twice interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds.

He’s best known for his lead character, CSI Eddie Collins, and the acerbic way in which he roots out criminals and administers justice. Eddie’s series is four books and two short stories in length, and there’s still more to come.

Andrew is a proud Yorkshireman and sets all of his novels there, using his home city of Leeds as another major, and complementary, character in each of the stories.

The author can be followed on his website, TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

B L O G B L I T Z (4)

Extract ~ Blog Tour ~ Just by Jenny Morton Potts. #HowFarWouldYouGoTo SaveALife?

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Just
How far would you go to save a life?

On golden Mediterranean sands, maverick doctor Scott Langbrook falls recklessly in love with his team leader, Fiyori Maziq. If only that was the extent of his falling, but Scott descends into the hellish clutches of someone much more sinister.

‘Just’ is a story of love and loss, of terror and triumph. Set in idyllic Cambridge and on the shores of the Med and Cornwall, our characters fight for their very lives on land and at sea.

An unforgettable novel which goes to the heart of our catastrophic times, and seeks salvation.

Just

Today I’m lucky to be able to share an extract from Just, which looks like a fascinating read. Many thanks to the author and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey for the invite to take part in the blog tour

Extract

Doctor Fiyori Maziq has been kidnapped and has been entrusted with the care of patients induced to coma… (this passage has been edited to remove spoilers)

Dr Maziq was almost finished her morning rounds. As her health deteriorated, she found that this took longer but the patients, each of whom had been induced to coma, didn’t seem to mind.
Over the months she’d been there, Fiyori varied the way in which she tended her charges. Sometimes she would do a single task, one body after the other. At other times, the doctor would instead administer an entire body treatment, talking to the unconscious person all the while, before going on to the next. She’d been told that in the past, patients at the weight reduction clinic later reported having heard the medical staff talking. But Fiyori was now the sole medic here, since the operation had been scaled down. When she talked, it was just to the patients, or to Agent Stanforth when he came by. She would never say anything derogatory either to or about those in her care.
There were just seven bodies in all, as Mrs Chow from Hangzhou (no wonder she had such an appetite) had left yesterday, and extremely satisfied she was, with her losses. She was able to walk well straight away, with just cane assistance. At least that was what Stanforth reported back to Dr Maziq. She herself was not permitted to see the patients on either side of their coma.
Each of Fiyori’s patients arrived ‘fit for reduction’, that is to say that they had normal renal and hepatic function. Their hearts were in good repair though they all had some tachycardia due to their obesity. Two of them were on a eucaloric diet which meant that they were given the same calories per day that they used and the others were on a hypocaloric regime which was less food than they were burning. Fiyori was not in charge of blending the liquid food, just administering it. Stanforth brought the preparations each day, in litre bottles and in an enormous cool box. They took it out of the cooler and let it reach room temperature before slipping it down the tubes. Fiyori assumed that it was mostly protein, vitamins, minerals and perhaps some complex carbohydrates with a bunch of electrolytes thrown in but from its colour, it could have been a Pedigree Chum smoothie.
This morning, Fiyori was treating each person entirely before moving on. Right now, she was on her seventh and last, Mr Gunvaldsson. His exploited stomach made a cartoon arc beneath the sheet. Fiyori talked to him about politics, nothing too upsetting, but she knew this was his keen interest. She had a feeling Gunvaldsson was a Republican. She had no access to any radio, newspaper, television or online information, so she referred to the topics of the recent past. They did permit Dr Maziq to read books. Certain books. She’d asked for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and to her surprise, they had allowed it.
Mr Gunvaldsson of course was also missing media revelation as he slumbered his way through the days and nights of his volunteered captivity. After his body wash, Fiyori placed a flannel under the connection between his ureteral catheter and urine bag. She pinched off the soft rubber tube and emptied the bag into a large plastic vessel. She washed her hands again and applied sterilising gel. Then Fiyori positioned the patient to semi prone. Later she’d have him fully prone with his head up thirty degrees and finally this evening, the tall Swede who filled the bed to capacity in every direction, would be lateral once more. The doctor smeared his lips with Neutrogena balm and disengaged the trolley’s brake. She wheeled the fifty nine year old onto the ‘weigh bridge’. 142.6 kilograms. A loss of almost one kilo since yesterday. Dr Maziq marked it on the chart. Gunvaldsson was doing well, and only half way through his treatment. His skin colour was good and its texture was moist, meaning she didn’t have to cover his body in lotion. Fiyori fed Mr Gunvaldsson his enteral nutrition via his nose tube. “Here is your breakfast, Sir. Bon appetit. You must tell me later what that is in Swedish.” Though of course this wouldn’t be possible, he wasn’t to know that. She rubbed the back of his hand and after a final auscultation with the stethoscope to check all respiratory and circulatory function, she was ready for a lemon tea and a bite. Fiyori lowered herself gently into the armchair at the end of the room. Her bed was next to it: a trolley on wheels, just like the other inmates, though hers was perpendicular to theirs. She opened the mini fridge at her side and looked up into the CCTV in the corner of the room. Was there anyone else nearby? In this building? Was it the basement of an office block? There were no windows. What if there was a power cut? What if she tripped up and banged her head on a blunt object? What if she had a heart attack? Would they come for her? In the time she had been working with these patients, Fiyori had tried to ban these pointless thoughts, but they were now almost incessant and she lacked the energy to mount a blockade. It was easier when she was working. It was the resting moments which brought unrest, but she desperately needed to sit down now. Fiyori cut the skin from the flesh of a mango and ate hungrily. She wiped the sticky juice from her hands with baby wipes. As jobs went, this one was fairly cushy but she could barely wait to escape.
The young French girl, supine in the bed nearest to Fiyori suddenly opened her eyes. That’s one trick the induced comatose have that Dr Maziq could not get used to. She could cope with the erections and the eerie yawns but the eye opening phenomenon scared the life out of her.

You can purchase Just from Amazon

About the author. 

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 Jenny is a novelist, screenplay writer, and playwright. After a series of ‘proper jobs’, she realized she was living someone else’s life and escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England, to write her socks off.
Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, settled with the family. She tries not to take herself too seriously.

Jenny Potts can be followed on her WebsiteTwitter.

Just Full Banner

Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Tilting by Nicole Harkin #Memoir

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We only learned about our father’s girlfriend after he became deathly ill and lay in a coma 120 miles from our home. Overhearing the nurse tell Linda–since I was nine I had called my mom by her first name–about the girlfriend who came in almost every day to visit him when we weren’t there confirmed that the last moment of normal had passed us by without our realizing it. Up to then our family had unhappily coexisted with Dad flying jumbo jets to Asia while we lived in Montana. We finally came together to see Dad through his illness, but he was once again absent from a major family event–unable to join us from his comatose state. This is the moment when our normal existence tilted. Dad recovered, but the marriage ailed, as did Linda, with cancer. Our family began to move down an entirely different path with silver linings we wouldn’t see for many years.
In this candid and compassionate memoir which recently won a Gold Award in The Wishing Shelf Book Award, Nicole Harkin describes with an Impressionist’s fine eye the evolution of a family that is quirky, independent, uniquely supportive, peculiarly loving and, most of all, marvelously human.

Review

I would like to thank the author and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.
Memoirs are a particular favourite of mine, especially if they are quirky, emotional and insightful. I am glad to say that Tilting is all of these and more. Nicole Harkin gives us a view of a dysfunctional family, but one that at the same time is bound by familial ties, giving it a hidden core based on love and support. It is an emotional read, making me sad and reflective and yet at the same time happy at the authors determination to rise above the actions of a largely absent father. No family is perfect and this is what gives the book its emotional depth, we can all look back and think of issues with our siblings, for some with their parents and identify in some little way with the author. She draws you in and opens up her childhood to you and the ramifications it had on her life as an adult.
It is a special story and one that I found hard to down, because the author drew me into her life and that of her family, their very different personalities and reactions to an unconventional childhood make fascinating reading. What I loved the most, is the author’s honesty and how she explores her own actions and reactions to her parents and their dysfunctional style of parenting. Its quite a brave thing to do, to allow the reader into your world, but she does so with humanity, honesty and warmth.
Tilting is well worth a read if you like memoirs, it ticks all the boxes. She details the gradual dissolution of her family, keeping the emotional beat throughout. The writer is taking you on a journey as you read their book and Nicole Harkin never allows the story to stall. It tells you why she had to leave and why she was drawn back, family is never perfect, but they are yours and she understands that.

About the author

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Nicole Harkin currently resides in Washington, DC with her husband and two small children. She works as a writer and family photographer. As a Fulbright Scholar during law school, Nicole lived in Berlin, Germany where she studied German environmentalism. Her work can be found in Thought Collection and you are here: The Journal of Creative Geography. She is currently working on mystery set in Berlin. Her photography can be seen at www.nicoleharkin.com.

You can follow Nicole Harkin on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Tilting

Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Letterbox by P A Davies.

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Letterbox is strong, powerful, emotive. A harrowing novel about the 1996 Manchester IRA bombing – what a haunting tale and heartbreaking insight into the lives of those, responsible for the bombings and of those, who by their very being had no choice but to be implicated in it… their lives will never be the same…

The Book

At approximately 09.00 hrs on the 15th June 1996, an unassuming white lorry was parked on Corporation Street in the city centre of Manchester, England; It contained over 3000 pounds of high explosive.
At 11.15 hrs the same day, Manchester witnessed the detonation of the largest device on the British mainland since the Second World War … The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility for the attack.
Based around actual events, LETTERBOX tells the story of Liam Connor, an ordinary boy brought up in Manchester by a seemingly ordinary family. He goes to the local school, loves football and has a best friend called Sean … an ordinary life.
Unbeknown to Liam, his father, Michael Connor, harbours a dark historic secret and follows a life less ordinary … as a furtive yet high ranking soldier within the IRA.
As a result of extraordinary circumstances, Liam’s innocent and carefree world is shattered when he is exposed to the truth about his family’s heritage and then learns about the tragic death of his father at the hands of the SAS.
Consumed with both hate and the need to seek retribution, Liam is taken to Ireland where he is intensively trained to become a highly skilled and efficient soldier within the Irish Republican Army … He is 16 years old.
Some years later, following the drug-induced death of his beloved sister, Liam is given the opportunity to exact his revenge on those he believed should truly be blamed for the tragedies in his life … The British Government.
Thus, on the 15th June 1996, it was Liam’s responsibility to drive the bomb-laden lorry into the unsuspecting city of Manchester and let the voice of the IRA be clearly heard …
And listened to…

Review

I would like to thank the author P A Davies, M J D Publishing and blog tour organiser Caroline Vincent for the ARC in return for an honest review.
Events like the IRA bombing on Manchester on the 15th June 1996 never happen in isolation, they are proceeded by a narrative dating back throughout the history of this country, that explode like shockwaves in the present. Letter Box by P A Davies explores this, by taking one version of what happened and exploring the events leading up to it. It does so with one foot firmly planted in historical fact and the other in the fictional life of young Liam Conner and his role in the bombing of Manchester.
P A Davies has written, what was for me, a highly enjoyable and intricate look into why the IRA decided to plant a bomb in the centre of Manchester. He gives the story a human angle and explores the fascinating and emotive relationship between fragments of Ireland, the powerful and terrifying IRA and the leaders of the British mainland. He gives a voice to the horrifying reasons behind the the 15th June 1996, but does so with sensitivity. Writing a novel about recent events, isn’t easy, given that so many people caught up in the explosion are still alive. P A Davies doesn’t glorify it, he presents a powerful story of a young man whose childhood is shattered by hidden truths and lies, that send him down a path full of hate and a overwhelming urge for revenge.
Characterisation is perfect. We are given a reason for Liam’s role in an act of such horrifying violence and though there is no real justification, he is so beautifully written that you can feel his pain and the echoes of a shared hatred born from oppression and colonialism. The trauma that envelopes him makes him a character whose violence I abhor, whose anger is wrongly targeted at innocents that bear no responsibility for historical wrongs, but the way he is written makes him fascinating at the same time. The supporting characterisation on both sides of a historical divide gives the story depth and humanity to such an emotional subject.
For me the historical element was the best part of the story and the attention paid to the events leading up to a single moment in time.
I would without doubt recommend this book. It deals with a difficult subject with sensitivity.

You can purchase Letterbox from Amazon

About the author.

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This is P.A. Davies at his favourite writing space: Costa Coffee Café.

P.A. Davies grew up in Manchester, UK, a place he has lived in and around all his life – he loves Manchester and is proud to be part of the multi-cultural, modern city that houses two Premiership football teams and is the birthplace of many a famous band, such as Oasis, the Stone Roses, Take That and Simply Red.
For most of his life, he dabbled with writing various pieces, from poems to short fictional stories just for fun. However, following advice from a good friend he decided to have a go at writing a novel. Thus, his first novel ‘Letterbox’ was conceived, a fictional take on the infamous IRA bombing of Manchester in 1996. It took him over a year to complete but while doing so, he found it to be one of the most satisfying and interesting paths he had ever followed. It comes as no surprise that the writing bug now became firmly embedded within him.
P.A. Davies’ second book was published in May 2013, ‘George: A Gentleman of the Road’, a true story about one of Manchester’s homeless. His third novel, ‘The Good in Mister Philips’, is an erotic novel (arguably set to rival Fifty Shades…!) and his fourth, ‘Nobody Heard Me Cry’ (Dec. 2015) is again a fact-based tale, this time of Manchester’s darker side. The thriller ‘Absolution’ (Oct. 2017) is his fifth novel. Currently, P.A. Davies is writing his sixth novel, titled ‘I, Muslim.’
To label P.A. Davies’ writings would be difficult because his works diverse from thrillers to touching novels to true-to-life tales embedded in a captivating story for the author is an imaginative and versatile storyteller.

Books by P.A. Davies

Absolution (2017), Nobody Heard Me Cry (2016), The Good in Mister Philips (2014), George: A Gentleman of the Road (2013), Letterbox (2011)

You can follow P.A.Davies on Twitter, FacebookInstagram and his Webpage.

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~Proof Positive by Lucy V Hay.

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Proof Positive (Intersection Series Book 1)
On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Lizzie finds herself pregnant: she’s literally days away from her exam results and university beckons around the corner. The bright Lizzie has big plans, but can she have the life she wanted, with a baby in tow? What will her family and friends say? And what will the baby’s father choose to do: stay out of it, or stand by her?

An exciting “What if…” journey in the style of “Run Lola Run” and “Sliding Doo

Review

I would like to thank the author L V Hay and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.
This is the second book I have read by this author and yet again it was a fabulous read. Such a clever and interesting concept, which fits brilliantly with the story being told. We have Lizzie, who soon to start a new life at University, suddenly discovers she is pregnant. There are potentially so many possible and varied outcomes, that flow from moment and Lucy V Hay explores them all in a series of snap shots, each with dedicated chapters. We all make decisions that affect our lives, that throw us down a path to one future, but what if we had made a different decision, listened to a different voice, what would the outcome have been? This is what Proof Positive is about, taking ownership of our lives and what we choose to do. For Lizzie the decision is life changing, whatever she decides to do. It will affect not just her, but those she loves.
Proof Positive is a powerful read aimed at young adults, but personally I think it should be read by all age groups. Being a young single mum, or choosing not to be, is an incredibly brave decision either way and many of us have no concept of the emotions involved when faced with such a life changing event. Lucy V Hay gives this issue a voice. It is about choice, empowerment, love and obligation. She weaves a story with multiple threads with great skill and authority. I could feel the emotion and confusion involved and the intense pressure Lizzie is under. Having a member of my own family be faced with this decision, I feel I now better understand the range of conflicting emotions she must have gone through.
The way the story is told is clever because it shows us how life can change in a moment of time. We see all the possibilities as the story flicks back and forth from one central point and it is exhilarating.
The characters are beautifully written and each has a richness of depth to their personalities that fit easily into each story arc. Her mum, dad, sisters and boyfriend all play a pivotal role, but are never allowed to upstage the central character of Lizzie, who quote rightly is front and centre of the story. Of Lizzie herself, I could feel her vulnerability and on the flip side her strength. The multi faceted nature of her personality gives an emotional depth to this story. Teenagers are complex, often highly emotional and confused, living in that no man’s land between childhood and adulthood and Lucy V Hay captures that emotive combination perfectly within the character of Lizzie.
Proof Positive is a superb read and one I would recommend to readers of all ages. It would be nice if it became a set text in schools and developed for TV, so that young girls like Lizzie can better understand how much their lives can be changed in a moment and how they should not have to face this alone. Better still it should be read by parents, who have long forgotten the confusion of life as a teenager in a world they feel alienated from.

You can purchase Proof Positive from Amazon.

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About the author. 

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Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), as well as the script editor and advisor on numerous other features and shorts.  Lucy’s also the author of WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books’ “Creative Essentials” range, as well as its follow ups on DRAMA SCREENPLAYS and DIVERSE CHARACTERS. Her debut crime novel, THE OTHER TWIN, is now out with Orenda Books and has been featured in The Sun and Sunday Express Newspapers, plus Heatworld and Closer Magazine. Check out all her books, HERE.

You can follow Lucy V Hay on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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A Series in the Spotlight ~ Blog Tour ~ Death in The Woods by Bernie Steadman.

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Death In The Woods:

Meet Detective Inspector Dan Hellier, a man who needs to redeem his career and catch a killer.

Soon after DI Hellier returns home to Exeter under a cloud, the body of a talented young singer is found in the woods.

When her death reveals links to the boss of a recording studio, a predatory gang and a school music teacher, Hellier knows he has his work cut out.

Before any more innocent people are put in danger, Hellier will need to untangle the web of lies and work out which of many suspects are guilty of murder. But can he solve the case in time?

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Today I’m delighted to feature a book series from the fabulous Bloodhound Books, who consistently publish top quality crime drama.

Both books revolve around DI Hellier and are set in a stunning part of Great Britain, the West Country.

Why not take a look at this series of you love a good quality read, that includes exciting drama and great characterisation.

You can purchase this Death in the Woods from Amazon.

The other book in the series is Death on Dartmoor

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Life is good for DI Dan Hellier until the discovery of two headless, handless bodies buried in a bog on Dartmoor. But how can he identify the victims when nobody has reported them missing?

The tension mounts when the death of a young man plunges Hellier into the murky world of the Garrett family. Could the peaceful, family-run Animal Rescue Centre really be a cover for murder and other criminal activity?

Hellier is about to learn just how far people will go to get what they want.

And this investigation will challenge Hellier’s decisions as he races to catch another murderer before it’s too late.

Death on Dartmoor can be purchased from Amazon.

While both books in the series can purchased together from Amazon

A little bit about the author. 

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Bernie taught English for many years but only dabbled in short fiction and poetry until a few years ago when she took to writing full-time.  She completed her debut novel, Death in the Woods when she escaped the classroom and could finally stop marking essays. This was the first in the West Country Mysteries series featuring DI Dan Hellier and his Exeter-based team. There are now three in the series, Death on Dartmoor and Death on the Coast completing the series.

Bernie lives in a small village in East Devon and her novels are set in and around the ancient Roman city of Exeter, which has seen its fair share of murder and mayhem over the centuries. The books explore the beauty of the area, but demonstrate that even in the most charming of settings, terrible events may occur.

When not glued to the laptop, Bernie is a keen yoga fan and enjoys walking and cycling in the Devon countryside with her husband. They share their home with two large, black cats which came from the animal sanctuary where she is a volunteer and trustee.

You can follow Bernie Steadman on Facebook and her webpage.

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Stripey End by Natasha Lea.

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‘Believe in yourself, for you are unique!’

In this ever-changing world our children are bombarded with ‘image’ driven ideals of what is accepted as normal, or what we should aspire to be.

The reality is we are all unique and should be proud of it.

Stripey Enid has no colour or creed, she is just a friend. Using simple verse and interactive tasks, she aims to help your child understand that it is good to be unique, and that being yourself is all you need to be.

Although simple in presentation, it is a little gem of a book, with a special and important message for it’s readers.

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I would like to thank author Natasha Lea and publisher Beercott Books for the ARC in return for an honest review.

In an age when children’s publishers are producing visually stunning books,  Stripey Enid with it’s simple cover might be passed by when choosing a book and that would be a shame.

Although simple in presentation, it is a little gem of a book, with a special message for it’s readers.  That each child is unique! Reading it will encourage them to understand that it’s okay to be different. It’s what I most loved about Stripey Enid, this powerful, but simple message.

The other thing I adored is that it encourages the reader to interact with the story as they read.  There is a page they can attach a picture of themselves to compare with Enid, to show difference is positive.  There is also a page where they can list their good points, encouraging them to look at the things they most like about themselves. Maybe doing this with a parent, who could reinforce the things that make their child second to none.

Stripey Enid is not really about Enid, but each individual reader. For each the story will be different. As they take the journey with this wonderful character, it is their story they are recording as they read.

Without doubt this book is a wonderful, simple and empowering read for young reader’s and their parents.

You can purchase Stripey End from Amazon.

About the author

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It was over 10 years ago, during a marketing exercise to promote a new theatre company whilst studying Performing Arts, that the idea of Stripey Enid came to Natasha.

Even back then, Stripey was seen to be different, something to challenge the norm, ask questions of people.

The idea of writing a book was never the intention but a natural progression on from the poems Natasha used to create for friends and family for birthdays & special occasions.

At the time Natasha was also working with a local Brownie pack and it was this interaction that made her realise that she was an adult in these children’s lives that wasn’t a parent or a teacher but a friend, a unique friendship that benefitted both parties.

Stripey came into being by the pure belief that Natasha had about peer pressure & social demands creating barriers between people, stopping people from seeing others as they truly are.

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