Book Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Out of Silence by Owen Mullen.

Owen Mullen - Out of the Silence_cover

Star investigative reporter Ralph Buchanan’s glory days are behind him. His newspaper has banished him to Pakistan, not knowing the greatest moment of his long career is waiting for him there.

When Simone Jasnin asks him to help expose a grave injustice, he finds himself embroiled in a harrowing tale that began in a dusty settlement in rural Punjab, setting in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of everyone involved.

Seven years later in the city of Lahore, members of a prominent family are being brutally murdered one by one. The only clue is a hand-carved wooden bangle left at the scene of each crime.

As the list of suspects grows and the tension mounts, Ralph realises the answers might be closer to home than he ever thought possible.

Solving the mystery will put him back on top but at what cost?

Only when the smoke clears will the killing stop and honour be satisfied

Review

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

Firstly I have to say before I list the reasons why I loved book, that it is a first class thriller, five star without any shadow of a doubt. That it is engaging, exciting and very clever! It has an amazing group of characters, the story is complex and the setting is exotic.

Thrillers should wrong foot you and trick you into believing you have figured out the clues before the end of the story. What I appreciated was that there was lots of misdirection throughout the narrative. I only guessed the identity of the perpetrator when the writer Owen Mullen intended me to. Right up to that point I was following his lead down blind alleyways and being left utterly blindsided by a revelation. The writing left you unsettled because you didn’t know who was really involved. Thrillers should thrill you and this one does that from beginning to the very end. Simply because the writer teases you with clues, but like a great Agatha Christie novel, provides many possible adversary’s for the ‘hero’, weaving a complex group of motivations, leaving me as a reader continually changing my mind who was responsible for the murder of a prominent family. Each scene revealed something to me, no matter how slight, it all added up to a strong narrative thrust, but for me, best of character development was as important as the pacing of the story.

Another great thing about this revenge thriller is the characters. You sort of want your protagonist to be miserable, want them to suffer heartaches, come close losing all they hold dear and omg we get it in Ralph Buchanan. He is easy to love, flawed and lost, but getting to know him us very rewarding. The same with Simone Jasnin! Each character plays there part in this complex story. As an collection of characters they give the story a richness of experience. Each is fascinating, their story full of hope for change, horror unimaginable. They are brave, capable of change, or evil and depending on which character you are reading about, capable of unbearable cruelty.

On top of all of this was the setting of the story. Most thrillers are set in Britain or America, places we can all identify in some way, but by setting it in Pakistan, Owen Mullen takes us to a land whose differing relationship with women and family add layers to the reader’s experience. The unfamiliarity breeds a sense of dislocation and unbalances the reader, as we try to understand the motives behind such violent attacks. As well as this it takes us into a world far removed from our own, an added feeling of mystery and tension. You’re lost in its beauty and underlying terrors as much as Ralph is, you have to navigate the differing social way of life with him and it is thrilling.

I have read a lot of thrillers and love them all for different reasons, what made this book extra special was the message it gave, the setting it was rooted in and the quality of the characters. Like a great puzzle they all joined together to create a story of many thrilling layers. Exciting, emotional and brave, it maintains the tension in the story without sacrificing it for endless thrills and shocks. It had emotional depth, a great range of points of view, most important of all; it is a bloody fantastic read.

 

You can purchase Out of the Silence from Amazon

About the author 

owen mullen

Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year long-listed novelist.

Owen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; he still loves to perform on occasion. His passion for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colourful continent of India and Nepal. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home in the Greek Islands where In Harm’s Way and the Charlie Cameron and Delaney series’ were created and written. His latest novel Out Of The Silence is a truly compelling thriller set in Pakistan.

You can follow the author on YouTube, FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

out of the silence blog blitz

Advertisements

Book Review ~Blog Tour ~Night Time Cool by Jamie Paradise.

night time cool cover

 Bent Met police detective DI Frederick Street rules as the Sheriff of Shoreditch who loves shaking down the street goons he arrests. Elvis Street is the son who cannot stand his father for being the balls-out crook he caught in bed with his girl. Elvis wants to take Frederick down and end him forever. Neither father or son realises how much the other understands what controls them. Neither father or son will ever back down. Night Time Cool is the story of why?

 

Review

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

Well this was a very different read for me, not the setting or the type of characters, but the style of the writing. It felt very off beat, more like the type of street talk I hear on the bus, than your traditional format narrative.  In fact the writing felt like it was being written to the beat of a rap song, very quick and sharp, rather than descriptive flowing.  That’s not bad,  it’s different and orginal. It’s reflects an urban street life that many of us have no real experience of and gives the book an edgy realism that is enjoyable.

The story is littered sex and drugs and the writer reflects a world where violence breeds violence. There is humour there to, because it is often found in the darkest of places and them without losing the edginess that gives this book its unique feel.

The characters are oddly edearing, even though the actions might shock. I’m not sure why I liked them, but I did, I think because they reflected a gritty underworld I have no experience off and they felt real.

I think this book will continue to give me cause for thought for a while. It’s entertaining without doubt and I recommend you don’t be out off the very different beat of the writing, but give it a chance. I think you’ll find it rewarding if you do.

You can purchase the novel from Amazon.

About the author.

jamie paradise author picture

Jamie Paradise writes all his stuff in a darkened mansion filled with the cadavers of ancestors  The Observer says of Night Time Cool: “Paradise conveys the sheer thrill of partying beautifully; he writes of a piece of music that: ‘It wailed, it reprised, it was a choral hymn a kaleidoscopic, sensate burst of everything right now…'” Simon Mayo’s Books of the Year podcast: “Like John Niven, Jake Arnott – I really enjoyed it – very much worth your time.” Mail on Sunday: “A punchy streetwise caper, packed with memorable characters.”

You can follow the author on Twitter and Instagram.

night time cool blog tour poster

 

 

Book Review ~ Blog Tour ~ The Healer by Sharon Thompson.

Sharon Thompson - The Healer_cover

How do you escape a life of conflict and abuse?

Being a young girl in 1940’s Ireland isn’t easy for Molly, especially since she isn’t like others. Her family and community are wary of the beautiful child.

As Molly becomes a teenager life gets harder and she loses faith in everything.

Molly is surrounded in danger. She must make choices. But will she chose the right path or is she doomed to a life of misery? Will she survive in a world of violence and crime? Will The Healer ever be healed?

Review

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

This historical drama is centred on the fantastic Molly, telling the tale of a brave and resourceful lady, who battles to overcome violence and exploitation.

The aspect I most liked about this novel was the fantastic Molly, one of the most endearing and brave female characters I have read about in quite some time. You can believe in her story and I found myself cheering her along, wanting her to succeed despite the troubles lined up against her. Having a strong female character at the heart of the story made the book for me and its worth buying it just for this character on her own.

The setting of the novel adds a richness and depth to it and there is a strong sense of history and community. Rural Ireland is a very different place to London in the 1940s and you can feel it as the story moves from one setting to the other, as both are brought vividly into the readers imagination through Sharon Thompson’s writing. I loved how rural Ireland was brought to life, that sense of the closeness of the community, but also how it can be judgmental and restrictive, choosing to bury abuse and judge Molly above those who mistreat her. London feels more open and accepting of her differences, a place she can grow. But it lacks an important part of what Molly needs, her family and that juxtaposition between the two worlds seems to amply the struggles she has to find freedom and acceptance.

I found myself just wanting to emerge myself in Molly’s world and though your reading about abuse and exploitation, the emotional connection it brought out in me the reader allowed me to understand the world it is set in. Life is hard for Molly, yet I never felt overwhelmed by this aspect of the novel, because it also shows that strength can be found in adversity. You become submerged in the violence of 1940s Dublin and can almost sense the pervading hopelessness of her life, but Molly is a fighter and you keep reading to see where the journey will take her. Loss and betrayal is balanced out by the chinks of light that is Molly herself. It is a great historical drama that reads with ease, despite the sometimes difficult and emotional subject matter.

I really enjoyed Sharon Thompsons second novel and would recommend it to fans of historical drama and those just wanting a really enjoyable read.

You can purchase this book from Amazon

 

About the Author:

head shot 1 feb 2018 (8)

Sharon Thompson’s debut crime novel ‘The Abandoned’ launched as a Number 1 Best-seller on Amazon kindle. Sharon writes crime fiction, short stories and commercial fiction. Sharon’s short stories have been published in various on-line magazines. www.Indulgeinwriting.com is her new online writing group. She is a regular contributor to Donegal Woman, Self Starter magazine, indulgeme.ie, and Ireland’s leading writing website Writing.ie. Sharon also co-founded a trending, writing tweet-chat, called #WritersWise. Sharon’s second, dark historical crime fiction novel ‘The Healer’ is out Jan 22nd 2018.

You can follow the author on her websiteFacebook and Twitter.

the healer blog blitz

Book Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Shadows of Regret by Ross Greenwood.

shadows of regret - ross greenwood - book cover

SHADOWS OF REGRET Ross Greenwood – blurb –

If your life was ruined, would you seek redemption or take revenge?
From the #1 bestselling author of Fifty Years of Fear, SHADOWS OF REGRET is the unforgettable story of a woman’s struggle to rejoin society.
Katie committed a terrible crime. Sixteen years was the price she had to pay. Once released from prison, she finds the world has changed. Her chances appear bleak, but Katie is a survivor. Isolated and alone, she struggles to make sense of her new life. Starting again isn’t easy, especially after what she’s done. Despite not feeling free or safe, Katie overcomes her fears and confronts the future. But history won’t remain forgotten. Gradually, memories of the past are revealed. When Katie finally exposes the awful truth and sees there are others who share the blame, she must choose her path. Will she seek redemption, or will she take revenge?
“If you enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant’s journey but prefer your stories darker, this is perfect for you.”
“There are writers, good writers and ones that have the power of words to captivate you in an instant. Ross Greenwood has this in spades.”
‘Shadows of Regret’ on Amazon: Getbook.at/ShadowsofRegret

Review

My thanks to the author and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.

One of the many reasons I loved this book was the author’s innate understanding of prison life, of its effect on the prisoner, that people aren’t born criminals, that events shape their path to a life behind bars. Each has a story and the person who enters prison is forever changed by the environment.  The world moves on, while life behind the wall continues at a different pace, secluded from change, that entry into the world outside can be a shock to the system. Ross Greenwood captures this and more with perfect clarity and tells a story that is both fascinating and compelling.

The joy of his writing is that he draws you into the story and enables you to invest in Katie’s life. Whatever your views on crime and punishment, he makes you understand her motives and why she seems forever caught in a spiral of behaviour, that can only leave her isolated and unable to move on. It is a story that is both fascinating and addictive, because the teasing insights compel you to read on. With incredible insight and empathy for Katies back story and state of mind, he puts her narrative together like an intricate jigsaw puzzle, until you are so invested in her fate, that your anxiety builds and builds as the conclusion approaches. It is a wonderful feeling that a story that which is so well put together, it engineers such an emotional response to a fictional story.

Katie is a fabulous main character, complex, wounded and flawed, but all her behaviour, reveal parts about herself, that make you want her to overcome adversity. I didn’t always agree with what she did, but at other times I cheered her on. Ross Greenwood asks us to look at her and judge ourselves against her. I have to say I could not condone all of her actions, yet I was conflicted enough that I couldn’t bring myself to denounce her. We are complex creatures and sometimes reactions don’t always make sense to us. With Katie, I think the writer has created a narrative in which her activities are driven by a history that can no longer be buried and that makes her a rich and rewarding read. She is strong and fascinating character, who stands at the centre of a very strong ensemble cast.

The story will test your understanding of a world that you will never have encountered, but it will fascinate and entertain you in many ways. A real page turner that had me enthralled, made me think and left me wanting more novels from the very talented Ross Greenwood.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

About the author. 

ross greenwood - author image

 

Ross Greenwood was born in 1973 in Peterborough and lived there until he was 20, attending The King’s School in the city. He then began a rather nomadic existence, living and working all over the country and various parts of the world.
Ross found himself returning to Peterborough many times over the years, usually, so he says “when things had gone wrong.” It was on one of these occasions that he met his partner about 100 metres from his back door whilst walking a dog. Two children swiftly followed. And, according to Ross, he is “still a little stunned by the pace of it now.”
Lazy Blood book was started a long time ago but parenthood and then four years as a prison officer got in the way. Ironically it was the four a.m. feed which gave the author the opportunity to finish the book as unable to get back to sleep he completed it in the early morning hours.
Ross Greenwood’s second book, The Boy Inside, was picked up by Bloodhound Books, and in September 2017, Fifty Years of Fear was published. The year 2018 saw the publication of his next psychological thriller, Abel’s Revenge. All his books are thought provoking, and told with a sense of humour.
Ross Greenwood hopes you enjoy reading them. Please feel free to get in touch on http://www.rossgreenwoodauthor.com

You can follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

shadows of regret blog tour poster 2.0

 

Question and Answer ~ Blog Tour ~Bob Laerhaven author of Return To Hiroshima

hiroshimafinalcover (3)

Today I’m joined by Bob Van Laerhoven author of Return To Hiroshima.
Welcome to booksaremycwtches Bob and thanks for taking the time to answer some questions about yourself and your book.

To start off with, a few questions about you as a writer and your novel.
1 What inspired to become a writer?
The answer could read like “Once upon a time, a working class boy dreamed about becoming a story teller….” I grew up in a small village at the border between Flanders(Belgium) and Holland, the second son in a working class family. My dream of becoming a writer started in my early teens, but nothing or no-one in my milieu encouraged me to follow my longing, except my father. I didn’t have a formal higher education, I only read books lent from the local, small library. The librarian noticed the fire of my passion for storytelling and let me read as much as I wanted, gave me tips, and, in a way, “tutored” me to become an author. I started to write at 18, a tender age for a unsecure, hypersensitive boy like me, and in spite of the severe shortcomings of my first attempts, I persevered….Twenty years and nine published novels later, I became a fulltime professional novelist, not an easy way to earn a living in a small language community like Flanders, but hey, I am still around – ( – at 65, working on my 39th book, and having been published in nine languages.
2 What was the inspiration for your book?
I remember that, in my youth I once saw a documentary about the consequences of the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima. I must’ve been rather young then – around 15, I guess – because I saw the images that shocked me so much on a black-and-white television. Those images stayed with me for many decades: I published the Dutch “mother-version” of “Return to Hiroshima” when I was 57….A lot of readers call it a “deep-felt novel”. No wonder: it has been lying dormant – but fermenting – in me for so long….
3 If your book were to be made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
I’m sorry, but that’s a difficult question for me. I always forget the names of actors, and I’m not someone who is a true movie fan. That said, I’ve heard many times that “Return to Hiroshima” with its short, terse chapters and its different POV’s could easily be adapted to the screen. And it could be a success, I’ve heard (, if the actors have the gift to give life to my ambiguous, and sometimes extreme, characters.
Bloggers and writers
4 There has been a huge amount of debate within the blogging community about posting reviews of books they have not liked! Do you read book reviews and how do you feel about the idea of bad review?
There is not one writer in the world who isn’t hurt – especially when he shouts from the rooftops that he’s not – when he reads a bad review of his novel. Our books are rooted in our heart and are a portion of our soul that we present to the public. In my opinion, one can learn from bad reviews if they come from intelligent reviewers. If they come from, let’s say ‘people with a, ehh, ‘minimum amount of brainpower’ who clearly didn’t understand your book, then they are just a pain in the ass, pardon me my French (, and should be forgotten as quickly as possible. Lately, I received a one-star review from a woman on Amazon, and this was all she wrote: “ Didn’t read it. Did not mean to choose.” These are the moments in which writers scratch their head. If you didn’t read a book, how for God’s sake, can you rate it? But the fact remains that such a moronic remark, coupled to a one-star “review” ,is influencing the average of my stars on the Amazon page (which, for the rest, thank God, are four and five stars).
5 In a time where more and more authors are self publishing, do you think that bloggers and authors working together have the power to influence the success of a book? To give a voice to smaller publishing houses and emerging talent, that don’t have big publicity budgets to work with?
It is an undeniable fact that the influence of bloggers to make the public aware of a book is growing by the day. It’s another fact that readers sometimes miss the authoritative voices of professional book reviewers, a race that is dwindling by the day. Twenty years ago, when I was in my prime as a young bloke of 45 (( ), Flanders’ quality magazines and newspapers had special sections for literature where your book was reviewed in-depth. If you were very good in the eyes of seasoned reviewers your book was analyzed in page-length reviews! This is nearly unimaginable nowadays. The digital revolution of the e-books has multiplied the amount of books on the market enormously, so that every author, except the really famous, often very commercial writers, has to scramble to get some attention. The reality of the current situation is that your book may have been reviewed on let’s say twenty blogs, and that readers still tend to overlook you. During the past years, due to the overload of titles on the market, the publicity budgets necessary to really get your name in front of the pack, have grown so explosively that they are quasi only used for true commercial blockbusters. Modern publishers demand from “new kids on the block” a lot of self-promotion. In Flanders, I’m a well-known author with a comfortable following of readers, but in other language communities, I’m that new kid on the block, and I’m appalled by what publishers in these times require from authors in the field of self-promotion…

6 Who is your favourite author to read?
There is no ultra-ultra favourite, but one of my most loved favourites is definitely the Italian war-writer Curzio Malaparte who captured the madness of war in a very personal, exquisitely elegant style.
7 Just because I’m curious about other people’s reading tastes, what is your favourite under-appreciated novel?
André Baillon, a Belgian/Flemish writer who wrote in French. Baillon wrote hypersensitive literature of the finest quality, but was only published late in life, and didn’t had much success in his life. Even now, he’s somewhat a forgotten author, which is a damned shame, if you ask me. Read more about him here: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Andre-Baillon. I don’t know if there is an English translation of Un homme simple (A Simple Man), but if there is, you definitely should read it if you like a disturbing, deeply moving analysis of what insanity feels like.
8 If you could be a character in a book, which would you choose?
I would like to be Geoffrey Firmin, the alcoholic British consul in the small Mexican town of Quauhnahuac, in Malcolm Lowry’s magisterial novel “Under the Volcano”.
About you
9. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
In my younger days, I was an avid student, and later a teacher, of my own synthesis of diverse martial arts and fight sports. In the plus minus thirty years that I’ve been able to train, I studied Eastern (Japanese, Chinese, Korean) martial arts, but also Western boxing. I’m too old for that now. Moreover, I suffer from a bacterial arthritis, so now I’m the groom of our four horses who help my wife Caroline who is an equine therapist. Our animals are not our subordinates, but our friends; wise creatures who teach us at least as much as we learn them. It really – and literally – opens your heart when you see a paralyzed ten-year-old girl being lifted out of her wheelchair to sit on a broad, patient, and caring horseback, soothing her body and mind when they go for a walk together with the rhythmical step of Equus.
10 Finally….
Cwtch is the welsh word for a hug. It’s about snuggling and cuddling. It has elements of loving and protecting. It can also a safe place in a room or in the hearts of those that care about you and whom you care about. It can be an embrace shared between a parent and a child or lover’s . You can also give a non-romantic cwtch, a heartfelt hug to a friend or someone who simply needs to be comforted.
Who would you want to share a cwtch with? Doesn’t have to be a celebrity if you don’t want it to be!
Nice! I cwtch many times per day with our horses, our dogs, and our cat who forgive me my clumsiness, and, beside with my strong and talented wife Caroline – who really is a gifted horse-assisted therapist for young and old with psychological problems – I would like to share a nice cwtch with Bavo Dhooge, a very talented Flemish author who is twenty years my junior. Together, we are writing a novel in personal letters, something very different from the harsh, noir, multi-layered cross-over novels between literature and the suspense genre that I have published.

You can purchase Return To Hiroshima from Amazon UK as an ebook and paperback.

You enter a giveaway to Win 2 x Return to Hiroshima Paperbacks (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 

hirosihimas archimbob1

A fulltime Belgian/Flemish author, Laerhoven published more than 35 books in Holland and Belgium. Some of his literary work is published in French, English, German, Slovenian, Italian, Polish, and Russian. Three time finalist of the Hercule Poirot Prize for Best Mystery Novel of the Year with the novels “Djinn”, “The Finger of God,” and “Return to Hiroshima”; Winner of the Hercule Poirot Prize for “Baudelaire’s Revenge,” which also won the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category “mystery/suspense”.
His collection of short stories “Dangerous Obsessions,” first published by The Anaphora Literary Press in the USA in 2015, was hailed as “best short story collection of 2015” by the San Diego Book Review. The collection is translated in Italian, (Brazilian) Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.  “Retour à Hiroshima”, the French translation of “Return to Hiroshima,” is recently finished. In 2018, The Anaphora Literary Press published “Heart Fever”, a second collection of short stories. Heart Fever, written in English by the author, is a finalist in the Silver Falchion 2018 Award in the category “short stories collections”. Laerhoven is the only non-American finalist of the Awards.

You can follow the author on Facebook, Twitter, PInterest.

return to hiroshima full tour banner

Book Review ~ Blog Tour ~ The Lock by Andrew Barrett.

thelockebook.10.12.18png

I’m Eddie Collins, a CSI. I was finishing up at a sudden death in an old house, waiting for the body snatchers to arrive, when I heard a noise from the cellar.

I had time to kill, so I went to investigate.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one with killing on his mind.

Below is a link for Book Funnel where you can download your choice of ebook. Any problems downloading, please let me know

Review

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

What can I say about this auctioned packed, perfectly formed Novella? Just that it is exciting and packed with tension, which rolls through the story like a breaking wave on the beach. It takes great skill to write a novella, to keep the pace and story exciting enough, yet perfectly paced for this shorter book form, but the author does it with great skill.

So why did I like it so much? For me, it was the humour that just popped up at unexpected moments. I knew I probably shouldn’t, but I found myself giggling at what felt like inappropriate moments and that is because the humour is deliciously dark. I work in an environment where humour is found in the oddest moments, often in the darkest of situations and acts like pressure valve that releases tension and that is what of the humour this book does so well, giving us the readers a window into and a world which is full of unimaginable acts.

The characterisation is superb as we once again get the chance to spend time with CSI Eddie Collins. He is clever, witty, sarcastic, with a withering sense of humour and has a healthy dislike of his managers and colleagues. He is very likable and you just can’t help wanting to spend time with him, even though as a reader, you spend half your time terrified he won’t survive the frightening situations he gets himself into. It’s his cleverness that warms you to him, he stands out from the crowd as a character and is forever surprising you with his skill and bravery.

His counterpoint in this novel is the killer of course. Seriously this is a mastermind of a creation. It’s hard to say too much without ruining the plot, but his motives and thought processes, the pleasure found in the suffering of others, is evil personified. Yet I couldn’t help be fascinated by Andrew Barrett’s character, he terrified me, but was such a well crafted creation, I read on and on to know his fate as much as Eddie himself.

This book is a real page turner and I whipped through it in one sitting. You’re gripped by the tension, the story that never relents and a compulsion to get to the end. It left me breathless and I’m even more of a fan of this series than I was already.

You  can purchase The Lock from Amazon.

About the author

ab_fullsize_square

 

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 120,000 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.
You can find out more about him and his writing at http://www.andrew-barrett.co.uk

You can follow the author on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

the lock tour banner 3

Extract ~ Blog Tour ~ The Hairy Hand by Robin Bennett #Gothic #Adventure #8-12yearolds

the hairy hand cover

The Hairy Hand
A scary adventure for 8 -12 year olds, full of jokes, magical familiars and a Dickensian cast. When Septimus inherits a magical, treasure-finding Hairy Hand from his uncle, life suddenly becomes a lot more exciting – and dangerous!

I’m delighted to welcome author Robin Bennett to booksaremycwtches today with an extract from his children’s book The Hairy Hand.

Extract

Chapter One
Introducing Sept, the awful Plogs, the Village of Nowhere and the letter that changed everything

When Septimus Plog was small he liked to play in puddles outside his house. Sometimes he would look up and see his mother watching him from the kitchen window. He would stop and wave at her with all his little might … then wait; but she never waved back. Not once.
He always knew he was very different from everyone else in the village and Septimus often wondered if that was why his mother seemed not to like him very much.
For starters, he had this name. Septimus (Sept, for short). Everyone else his age was called Garp, Darg or Dorgk or Blaarg. Good, honest names that sounded like you were sneezing into custard or you had swallowed something pointy.
Secondly, he read books – by the sack, when he could get his hands on them. As far as he knew, no-one else in his village read anything except graffiti. And quite how Sept knew how to read was a mystery: there were no schools for a hundred miles, no teachers and, more to the point, Sept couldn’t remember ever not being able to read. Printed words in books just popped into his head, as if someone was telling the story out loud.
Unfortunately, in the Plog household there were only two books: the one he kept secret from his parents; and the one they kept a secret from him. Sept had only ever glimpsed it when he’d come home once and caught his mother staring at the cover as if she dared not open it. It was a small book with a black cover, like dead bats’ wings, and no title. Something about the book scared Sept very much indeed. His mother kept the Black Book in her apron pocket.
The other one – his secret book – he had read so many times he knew it almost by heart. It was called, How to be Happy, and it had twelve chapters, each with a simple idea for looking on the bright side of life. It was Sept’s most treasured possession, one that was just his. He hid it away in his room under a floorboard – because where he came from, possessions were just things other people hadn’t got around to stealing yet.
Apart from him, everyone else in the village seemed to have some sort of point: There was Begre, next door, who made pig food for his dad’s pigs. He used rotten turnips, boiled acorns and mud; there was Flargh the Meat grinder (although, generally, if Flargh offered you one of his burgers, you checked where the cat was first, before you knew whether to eat or bury it); there was Stomp the Bully and, of course, Spew the Puker.
‘Is puking really a job?’ Sept asked his dad as they trudged along through the mud past one or two shops. His father, Plog the Sneaker, wiped a runny nose with the back of his hand before slapping Sept around the back of his head.
‘Don’t talk soft. Course it is. Donkey doo brain!’
A Sneaker was a night thief and it was one of the most respected jobs to have, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about the village and everyone in it. Sept’s dad came from a long line of Sneakers. Dark-haired, black eyes and enormous eyebrows – like two very hairy caterpillars had been glued to his forehead. He was also short, stocky and incredibly strong. Ideal Sneaker. Plog pinched goats, chickens, sheep, any food left lying about and even the thatch from roofs. Sept’s dad would steal anything not nailed down. And if it was nailed down, he’d come back later with a claw hammer.
They were at the end of the road; beyond them it was hundreds of miles of nothing and nobody. Their village didn’t even have a proper name. People just called it, Nowhere.
Most of the time Sept tried to look on the bright side, just as his book kept reminding him to do: he was given food once a day, sometimes twice, and it wasn’t always turnip — once a month they got a bit of meat off Flargh and sometimes you could actually swallow it, if you chewed for long enough. The main problem with Nowhere was that nothing nice ever happened. People in it just went on being selfish and stupid, day after day, after day …
He searched out his reflection in a dirty shop window. A small boy, with fair hair and narrow features gazed back unhappily. Who was he and why didn’t he fit in?

You can purchase the book from Amazon

 

the hairy hand

 

About the author.

Robin Bennett is an author and entrepreneur who has written several books for children, adults, and everything in between. Listed in the Who’s Who of British Business Excellence at 29, his 2016 documentary “Fantastic Britain”, about the British obsession with fantasy and folklore, won best foreign feature at the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards, and his first book for young adults, Picus the Thief, won the Writer’s News Indie Published Book of the Year Award in 2012.

You can follow the author on Twitter

the hairy hand full tour banner

 

Book Review ~ Blog Tour ~ The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola.

the story keeper cover

 

From the author of THE UNSEEING comes a sizzling, period novel of folk tales, disappearances and injustice set on the Isle of Skye, sure to appeal to readers of Hannah Kent’s BURIAL RITES or Beth Underdown’s THE WITCH FINDER’S SISTER.

Longlisted for the 2018 Highland Book Prize

‘A wonderful combination of a thrilling mystery and a perfectly depicted period piece’ Sunday Mirror

Audrey Hart is on the Isle of Skye to collect the folk and fairy tales of the people and communities around her. It is 1857 and the Highland Clearances have left devastation and poverty, and a community riven by fear. The crofters are suspicious and hostile to a stranger, claiming they no longer know their fireside stories.

Then Audrey discovers the body of a young girl washed up on the beach and the crofters reveal that it is only a matter of weeks since another girl disappeared. They believe the girls are the victims of the restless dead: spirits who take the form of birds.

Initially, Audrey is sure the girls are being abducted, but as events accumulate she begins to wonder if something else is at work. Something which may be linked to the death of her own mother, many years before.

Review

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

It is only the 16th day of the New Year, but I already know that this beautifully written story will be amongst my favourite reads of 2019.

Why? For many reasons!

I loved the beauty of the story itself, which was light and delicate, yet full of brooding atmosphere. With a dark, gothic and opulent feeling to the writing, which brought alive the sense that whatever was afflicting the people of Skye, also seeped into the mind of the reader. I was so engrossed in the story that the real world outside of its pages drifted out of focus. Leaving the story felt like a terrible wrench and returning to it a pleasure to be treasured and luxuriated in. Beautifully written by Anna Mazzola, it takes us back to a world where women are still confined by male prejudices and to a small island community so buffeted by devastating poverty, they look to the fireside stories past down by generations of islanders, seeking answers to events they can’t explain.

The story is full of an amazing collection of characters, such as Aubrey Hart who in defying those that seek to control her is the personification of intelligent, sensitive and creative women. Her bravery and resilience takes her into danger, but she never stops wanting to solve the mystery of the missing girls. I defy anyone not to either love or admire her. As amazing as she is, it’s one of the more minor characters that seared themselves into my heart, Miss Buchanan, who may be dismissed as harsh and overly critical at the beginning, but is revealed as far more than that, though I leave you to decide if that is in a good or bad way. It says so much about this captivating page turner, that the main character is complex and engaging, but so are those characters that form the ensemble cast.

The atmosphere is dark and oppressive on times, with a brooding menace that sent shivers down my spine. Yet it was impossible to not read on, worried about Aubrey’s fate, the story draws you into its embrace and wills you to keep reading. That ominous feeling that engulfs you as the reader also pervades the very land the story is set in, the Island of Skye. It sits front and centre of the story and is as much a part of it, as Aubrey and Miss Buchanan.

The Story Keeper is part historical fiction, part mystery, part suspense thriller and it’s a hard combination to pull off, but Anna Mazzola achieves it by enthusing her story with beautifully written characters, a ominous atmosphere that wraps itself around the reader and a story so beautifully told that it was a wrench to turn the last page, knowing that will be the end. I for one will not forget it easily and believe its power to captivate lies in its breathtaking characters and a finely woven mystery that beguiles you at every turn.

This dazzling, often creepy tale, will be one I will recommend to anyone who cares to listen and will certainly be one I buy as presents for family and friends.

You can purchase the novel from Amazon and Waterstones

About the author.

anna picture credit lou abercrombie.

Photo by Lou Abercrombie. 

Anna is a writer who, due to some fault of her parents, is drawn to peculiar and dark historical subjects. Her novels have been described as literary crime fiction or historical crime. Anna’s influences include Sarah Waters, Daphne Du Maurier, Shirley Jackson and Margaret Atwood.

Her debut novel, The Unseeing, is based on the life of a real woman called Sarah Gale who was convicted of aiding a murder in London in 1837. Her second novel, The Story Keeper, follows a folklorist’s assistant as she searches out dark fairytales and stolen girls on the Isle of Skye in 1857.

She studied English at Pembroke College, Oxford, before becoming a human rights and criminal justice solicitor. She now tries to combine law with writing and child wrangling, to varying degrees of success.

Anna loves to hear from readers, so do say hello on social media or via her website.

You can follow the author on Twitter and Facebook

the story keeper blog tour poster

 

Book Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Fat Chance by Alison Morgan. #Thriller.

cover

A missing barrister, a severed thumb and fat chance of finding out the truth.

Ella Fitzwilliam’s world is about to spiral out of control. She’s not cut out to be a private investigator. With little or no aptitude for the job, she’s been sent undercover to expose the hidden lives of two men who meet nearly every week at Buxham’s – a private members’ club where portions are large and secrets are held in strictest confidence.

One of those men is Harry Drysdale, a defence barrister, and the other is Marcus Carver, an eminent surgeon with a tarnished past and much to lose. Ella knows he has unhealthy appetites, she’s sure he’s feeding his perverted habits and putting his female patients at risk but she has to prove it.

When Harry Drysdale goes missing, Konrad Neale TV journalist tries to reveal the truth behind the lies, but some of the secrets start to reveal themselves… and they are big.

Review

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

Having read all the authors previous books I was excited to be asked to review Fat Chance.  What I really love is that with each book she publishes Alison Morgan’s writing goes from strength to strength and she has once again delivered a first class read.

There were many things I liked about this book, for one the characters felt real, you can imagine the reality of Ella’s battle with severe mental health and the triggers that set off a manic episode; the pressure of the need for constant self care, to prevent a downward spiral. Ella was painfully authentic and I dare anyone to not read this novel and not take from it, a better understanding of the intense bravery she displays throughout the story. Then you have Konard Neale’s desperation to save his career, even if that means he often doesn’t judge his own actions well enough or those of others. What I loved about him though, were his flaws, especially the feelings we all get when the future of something we love and is an integral part of our personality and life is threatened. Both beautifully written and endlessly intriguing to read about.

As well as that I was kept guessing about the fate of these two characters and the host of supporting ones as well. It’s true that the ending came as an utter surprise, the writer having wrong footed me, just when I was getting smug thinking I knew what would happen. This is a thriller that deals with some difficult subjects, the portrayal of characters whose mental health is fragile and body image and does so with grace and senstivity, while maintaining the much loved elements of a great thriller.  It’s a balancing act, that the author achieves with great skill.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this novel to anyone who appreciates a great read.

You can purchase Fat Chance from Amazon

About the author

Version 2

Alison Morgan lives in rural Bedfordshire, UK, with her engineer husband and bonkers dog. Life is never boring and they are usually planning the next adventure. Alison spent several decades working on the front line of mental health services as a specialist nurse and latterly as manager of an early intervention service for first episode psychosis. However, when a heart problem brought her career to a juddering halt, she had to find a way of managing her own sanity, so she sat down to write some useful clinical guidelines for student nurses. Instead, a story that had been lurking in her mind came spewing forth onto the pages of what became her first novel. Since then she has been unable to stem the flow of ideas and writes full-time from a luxurious shack at the top of the garden. Alison writes under the name A B Morgan and. within her storylines, she continues to make good use of her years of experience in mental health services, where the truth is often much stranger than fiction.

You can follow the author on Twitter

BLOG TOUR banner - Fat Chance.jpg

Cover Reveal ~ Blog Tour ~The Talisman, Molly’s Story by Eliza J Scott.

I’m delighted today to be taking part in the cover reveal for The Talisman, Molly’s Story by Eliza J Scott.

Thanks to both Eliza and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey for inviting me to take part.

the talisman - molly's story - cover reveal

THE TALISMAN – MOLLY’S STORY

Molly’s dream of taking over her childhood home at Withrin Hill Farm with husband Pip and their three children has finally come true. And, as they settle into the stunning Georgian farmhouse, with their plans to diversify into glamping nicely taking shape, the family couldn’t be happier.

But tragedy suddenly strikes, and Molly’s world is turned upside down.
Heartbroken and devastated, she struggles to face each day. True to form, her fiercely loyal best friends, Kitty and Violet, rally round offering love and support, but Molly doesn’t think she’ll ever be able to smile again. Until the day a tall, dark stranger with twinkly eyes arrives…

Follow Molly’s story in book 2 of the Life on the Moors Series set in Lytell Stangdale, a picture-perfect village in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors, where life is anything but quiet.

A heart-warming story of love, friendship and hope.

 

What a pretty cover it is!

 

the talisman_front_rgb_150dpi

You can pre-order the book on Amazon UK and US.

 

About the author

Avatar - Eliza J Scott.jpg

Eliza lives in a 17th-century cottage on the edge of a village in the North Yorkshire Moors with her husband, their two daughters and two mischievous black Labradors. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book/glued to her Kindle or working in her garden. Eliza also enjoys bracing walks in the countryside, rounded off by a visit to a teashop where she can indulge in another two of her favourite things: tea and cake. Eliza is inspired by her beautiful surroundings and loves to write heart-warming stories with happy endings.

You can follow the author on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, her blog.