Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Do No Harm by Lucy V Hay.

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Till death do us part…

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong… Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives… Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

Review

I would like to thank the author Lucy V Hay, Orenda Books and also blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC in return for an honest review.

Do No Harm is a psychological thriller by the talented author of The Other Twin and Proof Positive, Lucy V Hay. Within its pages is a clever and twisted story of control and manipulation.

There are so many things to love about this book. I would liken it to going into a maze, where you continually take the wrong turn and end up at a dead end, because the author has laid a trap and I the reader, had smugly thought I knew where the story was leading me to. I was wrong, not once, not twice, but many times and so ended up forever walking into another dead end. On the surface, this is a story about a couple caught in the terrifying grasp of a man who can’t bear to lose control of his former wife, but there are many more layers to this novel than that.

I was addicted to the story, reading late into the night and then burying my head within its pages on the bus into work. I was so entranced by it, I found myself resenting the lady who has taken to talking to me on the bus in the morning. I may have even avoided sitting where she could sit next to me, because I was so desperate to read on! I felt bad, but not that bad that I was to be distracted from a fabulous, exciting and tense read!

What I loved about this book was the way I was continually wrong footed. Frankly I was a little too smug for my own good. I thought I had it pretty much figured out by the end of the first chapter, who was behind it all and then I was forced to change my mind. Not learning my lesson, I definitely knew the who was in control a few chapters later, but alas not, Lucy V Hays writing is far too good for that. She weaves a tale so complex that it plays tricks on the reader and lulls them into false sense of security. Her writer is clever and compulsive, she acknowledges the intelligence of the reader and then manipulates that cleverness, leaving them as she did me, a confused, shocked and thoroughly engaged reader, a slave to her skill as a writer.

The characterisation is superb. No one is who they seem to be; I doubted them all and then questioned that first judgement. From Maxwell the jealous ex, to Lilly looking for a new life with her son, Sebastian and his mother, each was written with a deft hand, never over working their characteristics. The writer just teases us with elements about them, which meant I was continually reassessing them. Characters I was meant to feel sympathy with such as Lilly, I found myself suddenly annoyed with, Maxwell, I hated as I was meant to, yet he was not as clever as I initially thought! Utterly fascinating was the puppet master that was at the heart of this story that I attributed to all the characters at one point or another.

Why is this book worth reading? Because it is clever, it’s addictive and compelling. It drew me in as a reader and entangled me in a web of deception and obsession. What better reason to read a book than to see if you can outwit the writer’s thought processes! In Lucy V Hayes latest offering, you will find yourself measuring up to a writer who you will find difficult to out think and it is a rich and rewarding experience.

You can purchase Do No Harm from Waterstones and Amazon

About the author

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Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin(2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama ScreenplaysShe lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.

You can follow Lucy V Hay on Facebook and Twitter.

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Cover Reveal ~Too Far by Jason Starr

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TOO FAR by JASON STARR 
published by No Exit Press, 22nd November 

 

One night. One date. What have you got to lose?

 

Jack Harper isn’t a bad man, but he’s stuck in a loveless marriage with a mediocre job just trying to keep sober. The only good thing in his life is his son. When an old college friend introduces him to a new extramarital dating website, he tentatively reaches out to find a distraction from his misery. But when he goes to meet up with his steamy online date, he quickly realises it was a dire choice.

Soon, Jack finds himself desperately trying to prove his innocence for crimes he did not commit, and the life he once had – unhappy as it was – is nothing but a dream. Now, he’s living his worst nightmare. . .

As gripping as TM Logan’s Lies and as compulsive as Gillian McAllister’s Anything You Do Say, this intense psychological thriller is packed with shocking twists and turns and plays with a basic anxiety we all harbour: What if one reckless decision could ruin your life forever?

‘The ultimate page turner’ – Michael Connelly

‘A rocket-paced, propulsive, and utterly addictive thrill-ride. Jason Starr is a master of ratcheting up the suspense page-by-page, making it totally impossible to look away’ – Lisa Unger

‘Jason Starr is a brilliant storyteller…I loved Too Far, pure and simple, and I’d recommend it to anyone’ – Scott Pratt, bestselling author of the Joe Dillard series and the Darren Street series
You can pre-order Too Far by following this link. 
About the author.
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Jason Starr is the international bestselling author of many suspense novels, and his work has been published in over a dozen languages. He also writescomics and graphic novels for Marvel, DC, Vertigo, and BOOM! Studios, and many of his books are in development for film and TV. He has won the Anthony Award twice, as well as a Barry Award. Starr was born in Brooklyn and lives in Manhattan.

Review ~ Blog Tour ~ The Second Footman by Jasper Barry.

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Nineteen year-old Max is the duchesse de Claireville’s second footman, but he does not intend to endure the indignities of service for long. He has a plan-to find an aristocratic patron who will become his unwitting accomplice in an audacious fraud. It is true that in 1880s’ France, despite nearly a century of revolution and social turmoil, the aristocracy is still firmly entrenched in privilege, and the gulf between the salon and the servants’ hall is as wide as ever. But Max is handsome, quick to learn and confident of his abilities as a seducer of both men and women. Whether ladling soup into noble plates beneath crystal chandeliers, or reading biographies of the great generals in his squalid footman’s dormitory, he is planning his strategy. He, Max, is the man of the future – ruthless, above morality and sentimental attachments. Yet, when, after a couple of false starts, he at last acquires his patron, he finds himself ambushed by instinctive longings-for friendship, for affection-that threaten his grand plan. ‘Be true to yourself…’ the saying goes. But to which self? And what is ‘truth’?

Review. 

The Second Footman is a historical drama set in 19 Century France and written by Jasper Barry. What makes it different is that it features a forbidden love story between Max an ambitious footman and his lover the privileged Marquis de Mirenant. Though a gay love story, set amongst the rich opulence of the French aristocracy and the lives of a servant class, it is also about ambition and self acceptance.
I loved the rich historical detail and the strong emphasis placed on character development and story. I’m aware some might find it a slow read, but personally for me the pace reflected the journey both characters take. I was very impressed that Jasper Barry allowed the story to breathe, allowing the characters of both men to be teased out slowly. It is a delicious feeling of indulgence to read a book that run its course, without the need for contrived plot devices to speed the narrative along.
I thought the characterisation was superb. Both Max and Mirenant were fascinating to spend time with and easy to both love and dislike. Max is mercurial, in that he changes throughout the story, frustrated with his position within society and at the same time confused about if he craves true love or is the contrived seducer of patrons he can exploit. Mirenant is a man of his period and position; he is both understandable and yet can leave you feeling like you want to shake him up.
This book, unlike many LGBT + novels is about the relationship between these two men, their feelings and motivations as they negotiate their relationship and the social divide between life above and below stairs. I felt refreshing to focus on them, especially on Max as he tried to discover who he really is, trickster or a venerable young man looking for love. Jasper Barry weaves this into the magnificent back drop of France and sumptuous historical detail.
Why would I recommend this book to other readers? Because it is a wonderful read. You become absorbed by the period detail and the fascinating characters.

The Second Footman can be purchased from Amazon and Waterstones.

About the author 

Jasper Barry graduated from Cambridge with a degree in English and has worked in advertising, then in journalism. Jasper lives in London with too many books and three obstreperous cats.

You can follow the author on TwitterFacebook and his Website .

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Dead of Night by Michael Stanley.

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When freelance journalist, Crystal Nguyen, heads to South Africa, she thinks she’ll be researching an article on rhino-horn smuggling for National Geographic, but within a week she’s been hunting poachers, hunted by their bosses, and then arrested in connection with a murder. And everyone is after a briefcase full of money that she doesn’t want, but can’t get rid of… Fleeing South Africa, she goes undercover in Vietnam, trying to discover the truth before she’s exposed by the local mafia. Discovering the plot behind the money is only half the battle. Now she must convince the South African authorities to take action before it’s too late, both for the rhinos and for her. She has a powerful story to tell, if she survives long enough to tell it… Fast-paced, relevant and chilling, Dead of Night is a stunning new thriller from Michael Stanley, author of the award-winning Detective Kubu series, introducing an intriguing new protagonist, while exposing one of the most vicious conflicts on the African continent…

Review

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

Dead of the Night is an exciting thriller that takes us from America, to South Africa and Vietnam.  It is written by the writing team Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, authors of the much loved  Detective Kubu series of crime fiction.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, simply because it had me compulsively turning the pages.  It made me long to walk in of Crystal Nguyen’s footsteps and visit the lands brought so vividly to life by Michael Stanley. But most of all, it kept me guessing the outcome right to the final paragraph. The author’s managed to trick me on numerous occassions, I learned not to trust my first reaction to a character, yet they still fooled me, tricked me into complacency, even after I learned to be wary of first impressions.

I loved Crystal who is a fantastic combination of so many characteristics, bravery, honesty, foolhardy at times, a poor judge of character at others, yet determined and resilient. I found it impossible not to want her to survive the treachery of those she encounters, as she tries to find her friend Michael and save endangered Rhino from further attack. Her keen intelligence is weighed equally with a recklessness that sees her in danger throughout the novel.

The writing style is rich with descriptive detail of the lands the novel was set in and drew me into the story.  I loved how I could feel the African sickness along with Crystal, how a land so rich in beauty, is plagued by corruption and violence, yet the rich tapestry of the wilderness wrapped me in its embrace.  I loved how the writers, wove  all these elements and delivered a story that was a  real page turner and yet encouraged me to wallow not just the story itself, but lands so different to my own.

Why would I recommend this book to other readers? Simply because it is exciting, has great characterisation and is set amongst lands that will fascinate and beguile you.

You can purchase Dead of Night Amazon and Waterstones.

About the author’s. 

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Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialises in image processing and remote sensing, and teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand.

On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award.

The authors can be followed on Twitter.

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ The Emperor of Shoes by Spence Wise

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Alex Cohen, a twenty-six-year-old Jewish Bostonian, is living in a remote village in southern China, where his father runs a family-owned shoe factory. Lost and searching, Alex reluctantly assumes the helm of the company, absorbing the generations-old secrets of the trade from his loving but neurotic father. As Alex explores the plant’s vast floors and assembly lines he comes to a grim realization: employers are exploited, regulatory systems are corrupt and Alex’s own father is engaging in payoffs and bribes to protect the bottom line. Then he meets a seamstress named Ivy.

As Alex and Ivy grow close, Alex’s sympathies begin to shift to the Chinese workers, who labor under brutal conditions, stitching, sewing and cobbling shoes for American companies. But when Ivy’s past resurfaces, her broader goals become apparent. She is an embedded organizer of a pro-democratic Chinese party, secretly sowing dissonance among her fellow laborers. Will Alex remain loyal to his father and his heritage? Or will the sparks of revolution ignite?

‘What a haunting and intelligent debut novel. The confident and assured prose evokes easily the beauty of the complex relationships, the ugliness of the situation in the shoe factory, and the difficulty Alex faces when deciding between following his heart and his head. Just stunning’ – Louise Beech, author of How to Be Brave, The Mountain in My Shoe and Maria in the Moon

“Fresh and innovative, Spencer Wise’s The Emperor of Shoes is the latest addition to the tradition of young-man fiction that starts with Bellow and Roth… I’ve taught for more than forty years; this is the best first novel I’ve ever read.” –David Kirby, National Book Award nominated author of The House on Boulevard Street

Review

I would like to thank the author Spencer Wise, the publisher and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC in return for an honest review.
The Emperor of Shoes is a clever and haunting tale of a young idealistic man, caught between his Jewish heritage and life under a corrupt, repressive Chinese regime.
What I found most striking about this book is the way I became cocooned within the story; constantly looking for any moment to return to Alex and his life. As a character he is a fascinating study of a young man, neither a natural radical nor an exploitive businessman like his father. He is torn between family loyalties and finding his own place in a culture very different to his own, which forces him to walk a tightrope between both worlds. Alex continually has to redefine himself as others seek to place a claim on him. As he fights to define his own needs, he is swept up in an attempt by his own workers to lay claim to a future, he as a western man had as his birthright. Alex is in many ways your average man, who like many of us, yearns for parental love and approval, but often finds himself drowning under the cloying desires of an over needy and controlling parent. I liked Alex, his imperfect nature and what some might see as a weakness to stand up and walk away from his father’s attempts to create a mirror image of himself. Because how many of us don’t spend our lives constantly negotiating fluctuating relationships with our parents? In Alex there are elements of us all and that makes him easy to love and equally, to be angry with.
The story is literature at its very best, written with a confident hand and an intrinsic understanding of human nature and motivations. Although it deals with subjects such as exploitation, it reads with an ease that bellies the intrinsic complexities of the story. There is no rushing this book, I didn’t want it to end, I wanted to stay in the stories embrace for as long as possible. Character is far more important than actions in The Emperor of Shoes, how they interact, manipulate and respond to each other needs and agenda’s. The author has created a unique love story and critique of the grim exploration of workers; yet shows the power of the human spirit to fight for equality and place the needs of the many before their own survival.

It’s a powerful read. Emotional and uplifting. I was left yearning to read more by an author with a very bright future.

The Emperor of Shoes can be pre-order in paperback from Amazon and Waterstones when it’s released on the and purchased from 26th of July.

About the author

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Spencer Wise was born in Boston in 1977. He holds a BA from Tuft’s University, an MA in fiction from The University of Texas, where he was a James Michener Fellow, and a PhD in Creative Writing from Florida State University

Wise is currently a Visiting Lecturer at Florida State University in Tallahassee, where he is at work on his second novel, Holderness.

You can follow the author on Twitter and his website.

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Guest Post ~ Blog Tour ~ The Second Cup

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

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

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

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

Is Beth about to take her own life?

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Today I have Sarah Marie Graye, author of The Second Cup, joining me on my blog as part of the books first anniversary blog blitz.

When I reviewed the novel as part of the original blog tour, I felt that it was written with a deep understanding of the problems faced by all the characters.

I felt that Sarah Marie must be close to the main issues she has written about and so have asked her to explain her inspiration for the book.

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My initial inspiration for The Second Cup was “the butterfly effect”: the concept that a butterfly flapping its wings could be the beginnings of a tornado.

Its an example of “chaos theory” and the idea that you can be going through life relatively carefree and then a tornado can come along and knock you off your feet. With chaos theory, these tornados can have unexpected beginnings, so they are not something you can plan for.

One example of such a tornado is an unexpected death especially a suicide. Even though we know that were all going to die, when someone takes their own life it shocks and unsettles us.

Id finished university and was working full-time when a friend of a friend killed themselves. I was one step removed from what was happening, but because I was the person my friend chose to lean on, the suicide had a massive impact on my life.

Id never met the person who killed themselves, so I didnt go to the funeral. And I didnt really know much about them and so was finding out about who they were from the point of view of their death, not who they were when they were alive.

Id been diagnosed with depression aged nine and felt I was always more aware of my own mortality than the average person. So the suicide seemed to affect me mentally in a way nobody else was. I found myself dwelling on all the different might-have-beens.

Then, 10 years ago I was rushed into hospital for emergency lung surgery. The surgery didnt go to plan: I needed more surgery and spent the next year in and out of hospital, including a period in intensive care.

When youre in hospital, youre no longer in control of your own life right down to someone else deciding when you eat and when you sleep. You end up spending a lot of time inside your own head with only your thoughts for company.

I found myself dwelling on what would have happened if I hadnt pulled through: if everyone who knew me had to deal with me no longer being there. I couldnt get past the thoughts, so I decided to keep a journal to see if that would help.

My words started to grow into characters and ideas and I realised I had a story to tell. So I decided to study an MA Creative Writing to help me work through my ideas and build a tangible story.

In hospital, the tea rounds help break up the day. Run by volunteers, your cup of tea also comes with conversation and each tea round lifts the mood of everyone on the ward. It made me hyperaware of the role tea plays in British culture and the restorative qualities we attach to it. So it became my motif for the story a symbol of surviving the tornado.

The Second Cup has many characters, many threads and many ideas. Its meant to represent the way our thought processes jump about when were trying to process something unexpected. Its meant to leave the reader feeling a little unsettled, unnerved. The idea behind the tea anecdotes is to help ground the reader, to give them a break from the chaos.

About six months after my novel was published, I was diagnosed with ADHD. I realised that Beth, one of my characters, had many of the same symptoms and so I wanted for her to be diagnosed too. So I published an extended edition in February with character interviews.

The interviews allowed me to give closure to the story in a way I wasnt expecting. After finishing The Second Cup, I didnt expect to write again. But since publishing the interviews, I started work on a second book – another butterfly effect story called The Victoria Lie which is currently with my editor and I hope to publish soon.

My review originally published in January. 

I would like to thank Sarah Graye and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey for the ARC of The Second Cup in return for an honest review.
The Second Cup is not an easy read at times, dealing with difficult issues such as depression, suicide and grief. It focus on the lives of a group of friends who have all reached a turning point and face choices that will affect the path they take and the friendship they share. But it is a worthwhile read and an enjoyable one at that. Though enjoying a book which focuses on such issues seems the wrong thing to say, maybe it should be more that it is rewarding and enlightening for the reader.
Despite the difficult themes, it is a book written with a deep understanding of the problems faced by all the characters and gives us all hope that with support and a willingness to accept help, life doesn’t need to be hopeless or futile.
The characters are all well rounded and highly likeable. Their flaws are understandable and help us to see the world from their point of view. The writer makes you care about the characters within the story and avoids the clichéd way some novels dismiss subjects like depression, while remaining open and heartfelt.
The only thing that troubled me was the number of threads within the story. It’s not that it is difficult to follow; Sarah Grayle skilfully guides you through the interactions between the group of friends. I just felt personally that it would have been an even better story, if the narrative was tighter and there was more focus one or two characters, rather than four.
But this is a very personal reaction and not an indication of the quality of the story and the reward gained from reading it. It is an ensured debut and I would certainly look forward to following the writer’s career and future books.

You can buy The Second Cup from Amazon
You can also enter a giveaway to Win 3 x Signed copies of The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye (Open Internationally) 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

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

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

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

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

The author can be foll

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ The Yellow Bills by Michelle McKenna #childrensfiction

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Mya loves planes and wants to be a pilot when she grows up. As luck would have it she comes across a flying school run by lieutenant Drake who awards his pupils splendid pilot hats when they graduate. Mya wants to join the class but there’s just one problem. She’s not a duck! Could Goose the little duckling with big flying ambitions be the key to Mya getting her pilot’s hat? Or will Mr Sour the teacher who never quite made the grade have other ideas…Inspired by authors such as Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl and Angela Sommer-Bodenburg, Michelle weaves a story with the humour and invention of Nick Ward’s ‘Charlie Small’ series meets Dick King Smith’s wonder of the animal world.

Review

I would like to thank the author, publisher and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC in return for an honest review.
The Yellow Bill is a sweet, funny and charming tale of a young girl who wants to learn to fly and the ducks who befriend her.
I loved that it’s a story full of adventure, with a sense of innocence that reminded me of the books I loved when I was young. Michelle Mckenna taps into a world beyond the all consuming world of computer games and takes the reader back to days spent in the garden, when a tree can become a lookout station and a hole in the hedge an entrance into a different world. It’s that sense of a less complicated world, which makes this book so special.
The character of Mya is perfect. There is still a tendency to make the main character male, because boys are considered more adventures! So I was so excited to come across a story, where the ‘hero’ is a young, feisty, determined girl, who is daring and enterprising. It’s a book I would share with my god children, because it has a main character that shows them that following your dreams is possible if you are given the freedom to fly. Goose is the perfect friend for Mya, because he believes in her and encourages her to get her pilots hat, when so many tell her to keep her feet planted firmly on the ground.
A special mention must go to Steven Johnson who has brought Mya, Goose and the other characters to life in a series of charming illustrations that capture Mya’s sense of adventure, Lieutenant Drakes proud haughtiness and Gooses, the determined and brave little duck.
I will sing this books praises to anyone looking for a book for their children.

You can purchase this from Amazon.

About the author

Michelle McKenna

During the day Michelle works part time in an office in London and then gets home to her full time job looking after two little fab ones. Michelle has been writing stories on and off for years but The Yellow Bills is the first time she’s had the confidence to put her children’s story into print.She finds her inspiration for writing is on the train journey to and from work.When she was younger one of her favourite stories to read was (still is) Lewis Carroll’s, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In fact she loved it so much she used to try and think of ways to see how she could change her name to Alice. She was about seven so had to listen to her Mum, who said she couldn’t change her name until she left home. By the time that day came she decided she didn’t mind being called Michelle after all.Michelle’s other favourite’s are Roald Dahl’s, The BFG and The Little Vampire by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg.

The author can be followed on Twitter and her website.

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Needle Song by Russell Day.

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Spending the night with a beautiful woman would be a good alibi, if the body in the next room wasn’t her husband.

Doc Slidesmith has a habit of knowing things he shouldn’t. He knows the woman Chris Rudjer meets online is married. He knows the adult fun she’s looking for is likely to be short lived. And when her husband’s killed, he knows Chris Rudjer didn’t do it.

Only trouble is the police disagree and no one wants to waste time investigating an open and shut case.

No one except Doc.

Using lies, blackmail and a loaded pack of Tarot cards, Doc sets about looking for the truth – but the more truth he finds, the less he thinks his friend is going to like it.

Review

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

Every  book has a unique story to tell, it’s very own song to sing. If the song is loud enough and sweet enough, it will lodge itself within you. Needle Song had me within a few pages singing along, addicted to the words and the story they had to tell. It’s not a fast paced pop song, more  like a sweet languid celebration of story telling at it’s best.

The characterisation is wonderful, from the perfect partnership between Doc and Yakky and a host of supporting characters all of whom rise off the page to greet you when you start to read. The best thing about this book for me had to be the partnership of these two main characters. They are my new favourite crime solving duo. The chemistry between them is perfect, one who enjoys the challenge of proving his friends innocence and the other his less than enthusiastic partner. If course crime fighting teams are common place, but occasionally a new one stands out and that is the case with Needle Song.

The writing is unrushed and allows you to relax  into the story. By the end it has me feeling like I was amongst old friends. It envelopes you and time outside of it’s pages seemed to pass without notice. I liked how the writing felt indulgent, no rushing, just allowing the story to unravel over time.

I was immersed in this story as I say in the shade of my garden to the late night tranquillity of my bed. If you like books character driven with a touch of soul within it’s pages, this is the book for you.

You can purchase Needle Song from Amazon

About the author.

Russell Day

Russell Day was born in 1966 and grew up in Harlesden, NW10 – a geographic region searching for an alibi. From an early age it was clear the only things he cared about were motorcycles, tattoos and writing. At a later stage he added family life to his list of interests and now lives with his wife and two children. He’s still in London, but has moved south of the river for the milder climate.

Although he only writes crime fiction Russ doesn’t consider his work restricted. ‘As long as there have been people there has been crime, as long as there are people there will be crime.’ That attitude leaves a lot of scope for settings and characters. One of the first short stories he had published, The Second Rat and the Automatic Nun, was a double-cross story set in a world where the church had taken over policing. In his first novel, Needle Song, an amateur detective employs logic, psychology and a loaded pack of tarot cards to investigate a death.

Russ often tells people he seldom smiles due to nerve damage, sustained when his jaw was broken. In fact, this is a total fabrication and his family will tell you he’s has always been a miserable bastard.

The author can be followed on Twitter

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Star Jumpers by Zoe Baxter.

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Star Jumpers: The Lion Roars

Four Teens: One Quest: A World of Magic and Adventure It was no ordinary zipwire flight. Thrust into the magical world of Hadrixia, flame-haired Zara Bulmer and her three teenage companions must thwart the Dark Ruler of Hadrixia in their quest to locate the Stone of Exerith. The fate of the Empire depends on their success…and safe return to Star Camp. On their journey, the foursome must tangle with vicious creatures like the horn-headed Warnoks and the venomous web-tailed Tarquids. Will they succumb to the persuasive chants of the fire-loving Brozigs or be mauled to death by the tree-swinging Harnts? The friends join forces with Hadrixian teenager, Quinn, and encounter the kindness of Semyon, an aged wizard potionmaker.  Will Zara fulfil the destiny bestowed upon her before the sun sets on the last day of July? Or will the Portwall to the Outside remain sealed, imprisoning the four intrepid teenagers in Hadrixia, consigning them to a future of chaos, destruction, or even death? There’s only one way to find out:  Welcome to the perilous world of Hadrixia…

Review

I would like to thank the author Zoe Baxter and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey for the ARC in return for an honest review.

Star Jumpers is aimed at YA readers and it was a fun and exciting read.  The story takes us and four friends to a different world, which is full of magic, heroes, evil dictators and a plethora of alien creatures.

The characters are all fun and likeable. They can sometimes be jealous of each other and fractious, but their young kids, developing into teenagers.  It all makes them so real and easy to identify with and I enjoyed the hours I spent in their company. Though Zara is the  main character, each of the others is given a voice and the team dynamics work perfectly. I even enjoyed disliking the evil dictator, just want you want in a ‘baddie’.

The story is a real page turner and I spent many enjoyable hours reading it. I especially loved that the young characters are in charge throughout, so many YA authors are so busy trying to attract adults, they lose sight of what makes a great story for younger readers. Not Zoe Baxter, she delivers an adventures, fast paced, exciting story, that left me hoping for a sequel.

I would definitely recommend this to any young reader and to parents looking for a story to read to their children; as my mother read books like the Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe to me.

You can purchase Star Jumpers from Amazon

You can also enter a giveaway here to win a Star Jumpers paperback, bookmark and postcard (UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries only 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.

Star Jumpers

About the author.

Zoe Baxter is the author of the Star Jumpers series, a fast-paced urban fantasy adventure set in the Dark Sky Park of Northumbria. An avid scribbler, she lives in a world filled with vicious and venomous creatures breathing down her neck, and has even been known to take the odd zip wire flight in the name of research.

The author can be followed on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Remember by Shervin Jamali

Remember - Shervin Jamali - Book Cover

As Daniel watches the life ebb from her body, he wishes they’d had more time and knew each other when they were young. His wife surprises him by insisting that they did. And then she’s gone.
Daniel knows this can’t be true. Can it? They only met later in life, so why would Grace’s departing words hint at a shared youth? Haunted by this notion, Daniel journeys into the past to discover the truth.

Review

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

I’m very glad that I decided to read this very moving novella about love, loss, friendship and second chances.  It’s not easy to write a balanced and captivating story in this shortened novel form, but Shervin Jamali does so beautifully, gifting the reader with a deeply moving tale.

Daniel and Grace’s love story is told with a delicate hand, the journey they take to be together is bursting with emotion and yearning. Both characters are written so that they are easy to love, their flaws adding depth to their personalities.

There is a spiritual element to the couples love, that normally wouldn’t sit well with me, but in this case, it gives the story it’s originally. It’s handled well and is not allowed to dominate the story.  In all senses this is a about love and that is what makes it special.

For me the best parts were those that focused on their love affair and all Daniel was willing to do to keep it alive. I liked both the main characters and missed them both when the book ended and You can’t ask for more than that from any book you read.

You can purchase Remember from Amazon

About the author. 

Shervin Jamali Author Image

Shervin Jamali has been writing for as long as he can remember as he had so many stories “locked away” but it wasn’t until he completed the first draft of ‘The Devil’s Lieutenant’ (2016) that he decided to turn his writings into books. His books are the perfect outlet for his daytime job as an IT consultant and he looks forward to the day he will be a full-time writer.
After having lived in sunny Florida, Shervin Jamali now resides in Knoxville, Tennessee. In his spare time, Shervin likes to put together jigsaw puzzles whilst contemplating plots for his next book.

The author can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.