Review ~ Blog Tour ~ The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby.

Cora Burns Cover

To believe in her future, she must uncover her past…

Birmingham, 1885.

Born in a gaol and raised in a workhouse, Cora Burns has always struggled to control the violence inside her.

Haunted by memories of a terrible crime, she seeks a new life working as a servant in the house of scientist Thomas Jerwood. Here, Cora befriends a young girl, Violet, who seems to be the subject of a living experiment. But is Jerwood also secretly studying Cora…?

With the power and intrigue of Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions and Sarah Schmidt’s See What I Have Done, Carolyn Kirby’s stunning debut takes the reader on a heart-breaking journey through Victorian Birmingham and questions where we first learn violence: from our scars or from our hearts.

‘Even at its darkest it is beautifully written, the research is meticulous and the complex Cora makes a flawed but affecting heroine. A great historical novel with bite’ – Sunday Mirror

‘Kirby writes with skill and gusto’ – Times

‘This richly woven Gothic tale is an atmospheric treat’ – Heat Magazine

‘Perfect for fans of Sarah Waters, this book took me into Cora’s world so expertly I experienced it with every sense’ – Cass Green, author of The Woman Next DoorIn A Cottage In A WoodDon’t You Cry

The Conviction of Cora Burns is a striking debut. Rich in gothic darkness and period detail, the brutality of Victorian Britain is exquisitely drawn. A beautifully-written story which enveloped me from first page to last’ – Amanda Jennings, author of Cliff House and In Her Wake

 

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

At its heart The Conviction of Cora Burns is a complex main character, Cora herself, who even at her most disturbing is facinating. She is an incredible creation, full of both light and dark.  To describe her as a violent misfit, does her an injustice, because the layers of her character, slowly revealed to us, shows she is both good and troubled. It makes for a compulsive read, when all you can think about is getting back to the book and finding out what really makes Cora tick.

Besides having such wonderful main character, we have an exquisitely written dark gothic drama. It is hard to imagine that this is a debut novel, so beautifully is it written and so powerful and emotional the story depicted.  I experienced an incredible range of emotions reading this tale from sadness to joy, from anger to loss, that it left me feeling a little bereft when it was finished.  It has a bite, this is not a cosy drama, it peels away the layers from Victorian society, exposing the seedier side of its obsession with science and attitudes to crime and punishment.  The atmosphere she creates made me feel that I was there, caught up in Cora’s nightmare and her search for answers about her childhood, as she pursues a path, that I prayed would not reflect the darkness that enveloped her past.

The writer made me care deeply that redemption is possible for any of the characters, but especially for Cora herself. She also while entertaining me with a story full of secrets and reveals, made me think about what leads some to violence, as a reaction to life and experiences.  Is it nature or nurture, was Cora born with the anger within her or had life in the jail and the workhouse created and shaped her.  I also loved how she took this myth of Victorian society as moral and forward thinking and created a story that took me as a reader down below ‘polite society’ and revealed the hidden nightmare of poverty and exploitation.  It gripped me as a reader and when finished, I wanted to take another journey with the writer, who meticulous research created a world so real, it felt that by stepping into its pages we too had walked back into the past.

This book is definitely going to be among my recommended reads for 2019.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

About the author

Carolyn Kirby Author Pic

Originally from Sunderland in the UK, Carolyn studied history at St Hilda’s College, Oxford before working in social housing and then as a teacher of English as a foreign language.

Her debut novel, The Conviction of Cora Burns has achieved success in a range of competitions including as winner of the Bluepencilagency Award and as finalist in the Mslexia Novel Competition. It was chosen as a historical fiction book of the month by The Times in March 2019.

Carolyn has two grown-up daughters and lives with her husband in rural Oxfordshire. 

You can follow the author on her FacebookTwitter and her Website.

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Your Secrets Save With Me by Rosie Travers.

Your Secrets Safe With Me Cover 1

 

Career girl Becca Gates’ organised life is thrown into chaos when her mother, romantic novelist Pearl, announces her surprise engagement to Jack, a man she has only just met.
Worse news follows when Pearl tells Becca she intends to leave London, quit writing, and retire to her new fiancé’s idyllic waterside home on the south coast. Becca is determined to prevent Pearl from making a disastrous mistake, but when she at arrives at Rivermede, more shocks await when she stumbles upon a familiar yet unwelcome face from her past.
As Pearl embraces her new life amongst the local sailing fraternity, Becca receives a grim warning that all is not as calm as it seems at picturesque Rivermede, and if she wants to keep her family safe, she should keep them away.
But why should Becca trust the man who has betrayed her before, the man who broke her heart, the man who thinks he knows all her secrets?

Review

I would like to thank the author, publisher and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.
The greatest compliment I can pay this novel is that at a time when I’m struggling to concentrate on reading, it gave me hours and hours of very enjoyable reading. It’s full of drama, great characters and a wonderful story and best of all, it’s reads with ease and I really needed that.
One of my favourite things about the novel was the story itself. Great I hear you say, because if the story if crap, what good is it as a novel? And you’d be right, but some stories have incredible characters, but the stories are so deep, you forget to enjoy the experience of reading, especially when like me, life is making it hard to concentrate and you just need a really enjoyable read to get you through. This is that book and I loved it for this! It’s why I would always buy the authors books. Don’t misunderstand me and think that makes it less of a great read, because I spent hours lost in the story and would recommend it to anyone that asked.
I have heard this story described by other book bloggers as a little Gem and that is the perfect description. The story revolves the fabulous character of Becca gates and the marriage of her mum to a man she meets on a cruise. What can go wrong? Plenty actually and it makes for a great cosy thriller. It’s also exciting and full of lots of twists and turns which kept me turning the pages eager to know if Becca and her family will be both safe and find a happy ending! There is just so much going on, as family secret after family secret, not all involving Becca’s family, are slowly revealed. This is as much a family drama, as a crime thriller and it fulfils both genres really well.
I am a big fan of this authors writing and I can’t wait for the next one.

 

You can purchase the novel from Amazon

Your Secret’s Safe With Me

About the author.

Rosie pic

Rosie Travers grew up in Southampton on the south coast of England and loved escaping into a good book at a very early age. After many years juggling motherhood and a variety of jobs in local government she moved to Southern California in 2009. With time on her hands she started a blog about the perils of ex-pat life which rekindled a teenage desire to become a writer. Now permanently settled back in the UK, Rosie takes inspiration from the towns and landscape of her native south coast and enjoys writing heart-warming stories sprinkled with mystery, tragedy, comedy and romance. Rosie’s debut novel, The Theatre of Dreams, was published by Crooked Cats Books in August 2018. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association.

You can follow the author on the following social media sites. Her Website, TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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Extract ~ Blog Tour ~ The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt.

The Point of Poetry Cover

Foreword

Every Saturday morning as a child, I would climb on a bus and take a twenty-minute journey into the centre of a small Midlands town to visit the local library. Library cards, small rectangles of pastel-coloured cardboard tucked into a little wallet inside any book you wished to loan, were priceless tickets to different places, journeys only made possible because of the books stacked so neatly on those polished wooden shelves. Those cards were precious. The first responsibility I ever carried. The best part of the entire morning would be taken up reading and browsing, often kneeling on the hard parquet floor surrounded by a small heap of books, until a final choice was made and I climbed back on a bus clutching a new batch of books. To this day I have to drag myself out of any bookshop. There is some- thing deliciously seductive about all those book spines staring at you, all the unknown worlds trapped between those hidden covers. Reading fiction is the closest you or I will ever get to time travel.
Those early books were a complete mishmash. I was as fasci-
nated by books about practical things – sport, the countryside,
the point of poetry flags and knots – as I was by fiction. It wasn’t until early in my secondary schooling that I was properly and skilfully introduced to poetry. Like most children, I knew what verse was, of course, through nursery rhymes and songs, but this unique form of human expression, poetry, was entirely new to me, and in the hands of some skilled teachers I realised, from those initial les- sons, that it mattered.

This book is for all those who never got it, those hordes of metrophobes who are perfectly happy living in cities or travelling by Tube but who, for whatever reason, poetry passed by like a bad Samaritan. Most will never even know they suffer from this common ailment, that metrophobia has nothing to do with cities or underground railways and is simply a fear of poetry. I was lucky. In my case, good teaching led to studying English litera- ture at university, two decades teaching the subject in schools and writing books about arguably the three greatest English poets: William Shakespeare, John Donne and John Milton. But my career has been shared between schools and business, and the business half has brought me into contact with hundreds of educated, intelligent, successful adults for whom poetry remains almost anathema. Make the slightest allusion to it in conver- sation over a drink at a hotel bar, any evening after you’ve all finished sitting through meetings, editing a pack of slides or juggling figures on a spreadsheet, and you will see the fear twinkle in their eyes.
This book doesn’t seek to complain about that, or to discuss
the reasons why it happens. Instead what it aims to do is to show all those left sitting bruised and battered on the roadside when poetry passed them by at school what they’ve been missing. That’s why I called the book The Point of Poetry.
When I taught, I inevitably found myself facing questions about what poetry was. Children like to categorise. It makes them feel safer and poetry is one of the things they struggle with. A poem is not quite a song and not quite a story. It doesn’t look like anything most children are used to seeing on a page, yet it’s in exactly the same language as every other lesson and textbook. Even mediocre poetry is dense and difficult. Children can’t resist an urge to know what a poem means. At first I would answer their questions with the usual range of tactics and responses any English teacher would employ: for example, I stressed poetry was something you needed to hear aloud and listen to. But after some years, appreciating that what they needed was something to latch on to, I added something of my own. Poetry, I would say, is all about economy. Poets pack meaning into few words. No other kind of writer does this. Poems are like fireworks stuffed full, not with exotic chemicals, but with ideas. When you read them, you light the touchpaper. This book is all about lighting the touchpaper.
In it I have chosen a number of famous and not so famous
poems. They stretch from Shakespeare to the present day, although instead of chronological order, I’ve used my teaching experience to link one poem to the next. So although looking back, a reader might be able to discern an overall movement from easy to difficult, from short to long poems, hopefully what you will feel as you read the book is a sense of growing confi- dence and excitement, which comes from the connections between poems and poets. Knowledge isn’t built on sand, and secure steps in the right direction are better than leaps in the dark. Midway through the book you may find the journey even becomes a little bumpy where I’ve included two or three con- temporary poems that are not easily enjoyed without facing up to some difficult hurdles for any reader. This is deliberate because it would be deceitful of me to encourage you to read and delight in poetry but only offer you poems I personally admire and value. If you accept my invitation, and I hope you do, you will in- evitably read some poetry that disappoints you. In some ways it’s how you react to that experience, what you stand to gain from it, that is even more valuable and significant than the pleasure to be had from reading poetry that simply delights.

There are plenty of poets who don’t just toss a gauntlet down;
they take a firm grip on it before whacking it across your cheek with audible relish. You can offer them the other cheek if you wish. Personally, I prefer to pick the gauntlet up, because it’s then that poetry begins to impact on the language that you use and even the life that you lead. It’s that intense, often provocative engagement with the way language is being used by someone else that allows you to develop and refine your own word man- agement. We are what we eat may be how other people see us. It’s what we say and what we write that determines how they feel about us.
Although many of the poems are reproduced, most of the contemporary ones are not and this is definitively not a book of literary criticism for the kind of student expecting someone else to dissect specific poems word by word for them. That’s why where they are reproduced, they appear at the end of a chapter, not the beginning. By that time, my hope is, you will be just itching to read them.
Some you may have heard of, others, almost certainly not, but for each poem I have used the same simple process of taking it as the starting point for an essay about the world we all know and live in today. That’s what happens when you light the touchpaper. The poem ignites something in you about in the world you personally inhabit, the space you occupy in history and the people you have shared irreplaceable hours with. If any of these essays amuse, entertain, enlighten or delight you, then I will have done my job. But if they send you rushing to the end in search of the poem, to light its touchpaper for yourself, then I will quietly and secretly rejoice.
One
Sonnet 18
(1609)
‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’
William Shakespeare (1554–1616)

The first Elizabethans took poetry, like religion, seriously. English was just beginning to establish itself as a language worthy both of art and its sly sibling, diplomacy. Latin was still the language of scholarship and international relations, but with the help of less courtly, regional men like Shakespeare, English was making leaps and bounds.
Shakespeare penned a whole bundle of sonnets, poems of fourteen lines with a set pattern of rhyme conventionally used by male poets in Europe to express love, which life experience suggests is often nothing more than an adolescent crush or fever- ish lust. Shakespeare scholars have built entire careers around analysing these poems and, especially, arguing over who they were written for, because in the world of the Elizabethan court, poetry was frequently written and sent to real people to impress them and gain their patronage, even, on occasion, to seduce them. John Donne famously had to ask his friends for some of his poems back because he didn’t keep copies. Why would he?
In recent years considerable effort has gone into arguing that Shakespeare’s sonnets, all 154 of them, form an intelligible sequence and that most of them are addressed not to the dark lady you may well have heard of, but to a fair youth. Arguments about whether individual sonnets deal with heterosexual, homo- sexual or Platonic love are nothing new. Responding to them as a coherent sequence instead of reading the poems in isolation might be very appealing, but it relies entirely on how editors and publishers chose to number them, often many years after Shakespeare’s death. I’m always suspicious that the keenest par- ticipants in these sexual debates tend to ignore the obvious reality that Shakespeare wrote some of the most astonishingly insightful plays about heterosexual love at various stages of adult life any human being has ever managed to pen. So you can see straightaway why that childhood question – what does a poem mean? – can get us into all kinds of trouble today. We have mobiles, Twitter and shifting sexual agendas and debates. They had parchment, a quill and many more hours to kill.
Read any of Shakespeare’s sonnets without appreciating that
one day, around 400 years ago, a real, flesh and blood Elizabe- than unfolded a sheet of parchment and read it with pleasure, and you underestimate them. So when in Sonnet 18 he tells (let’s assume) some young lady that she is far more lovely and temper- ate than a summer’s day, it’s a reasonable guess that she was more touched than if he’d sent her a smiley face and a dick pic.
Elizabethan court life, centred geographically on Whitehall, just as the business of government is today, was also more risky than anything the current, power-crazed occupants of Number 10 face. Catholic and Protestant political disagreements pulsed through every vein of the English state, and one wrong word or sentiment could see you face a truly unpleasant and terrible death. So what you wrote required care. You thought long and hard before committing those thoughts to parchment. Consequently, your family and friends treated mail with great respect. Think of it a bit like this. Every third contributor to any Facebook thread about Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May would be carted away to the Tower of London for torture and an unthink- ably grim public execution. We live in less violently reactive times. Now it’s just Twitter and the tabloids who disembowel the innocent in public.
For generations, Sonnet 18 would have been thought of and
taught as an unusually clever, heterosexual love poem, a witty rejection of the normal tactic of the lovesick poet, who worked his way with growing excitement through a list of similes about various bits of his beloved’s anatomy. Hair like gold, eyes like jewels and lips like cherries. The kind of mush that reddens faces in classrooms full of adolescent hormones and undeclared passion. John Donne produced a particularly detailed, shameless version in his Elegy 19, which is guaranteed to raise a teen- age blush, even in today’s classrooms. Besides the fumbling, adolescent enthusiasm of Licence my roving hands, and let them go,/Before, behind, between, above, below, Donne’s lover risks embarrassing every teenage boy battling with the temptations of pornography when he asks the girl, As liberally, as to a Midwife, shew/Thy self: cast all, yea, this white lynen hence.

Shakespeare shifts his ground elsewhere and builds on the initial comparison of his beloved to summer, all with the goal of winning her over at the end with a knockout compliment. The sonnet is famous for its final, brilliant assertion; that by praising her and writing about her in this poem, he has in effect, immor- talised her.

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

It’s an impressive chat-up line, as well as a superb illustration of poetry as economics. Try turning it into workaday prose and see how long it takes you. Who wouldn’t want to be remembered in this way? After all, this poem has been reprinted literally millions of times in many hundreds of poetry anthologies and collections, translated into languages as disparate as Afrikaans and Esperanto – never mind how many times it must have been downloaded in the last decade. It must have featured in countless weddings and rescued a doomed Valentine’s Day as often as a bunch of flowers grabbed at the local garage, or a chicken biryani and a bottle of rosé. Shakespeare would have been out of his doublet and his love her hose before he could have dipped his quill if she’d have known he was going to make her that famous. But here (as Will himself put it elsewhere) is the rub. We actually don’t know who he wrote this sonnet for, so how on earth can we admire her? A portrait would have been handy. Even more insulting for the poor, anonymous lass, as we’ve seen, modern critics don’t want to agree over whether it was written for a man or a woman. Now my guess is even the most liberal gentlewoman in Elizabeth’s court would have come over just a bit frosty at the thought that Will’s fourteen lines of literary brilliance couldn’t even capture her gender.
Which points towards something critical to any understand- ing of what poetry is or why it matters. Like all published literature, the moment the final dot of ink stains the page, even before the finished work arrives on the library or the bookshop shelf, the poet has lost it. It’s out of their control for ever. Irrespective of how much intense effort and care they invested in constructing it, how wholly in control they felt of its structure, design, content and meaning, it has a life of its own now, and they can never reclaim it. The touchpaper will be lit not once, but many, many times and all those ideas they packed into it, knowingly or unknowingly, are going to burst into someone’s life somewhere, whether they like it or not, each time producing a different display.
That’s a thrilling thought once you grasp all its implications.
It’s an amazing invitation to any reader. Like handing the tallest, most brightly coloured, fattest rocket imaginable to a child clutching a sparkler in the darkness on Bonfire Night.
It’s not just the question of the lover’s identity in Sonnet 18 that illustrates how true this is. Addressing that question is a pragmatic, factual, historical pathway to the poem. Right now there is probably a metrophobic project manager reading this at the same time as you on the train to work somewhere in the world thinking that, in spite of all that scholarly effort, there must be some way to identify her. But that is only one amongst limitless ways to respond to it. We can admire the skill of the rhyme. It’s no mean trick to rhyme date with temperate or shines with declines. But if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there’s the gentle, clever timing of the rhythm that builds to that final, dramatic couplet. That final compliment about timelessness reverberates more powerfully as a result. Or you can ponder the various clever images, those carefully chosen individual words and combinations of words that Shakespeare uses to praise her, as they appeal to you, or repel you: it is entirely your choice. The sparkler is in your hand. You can reflect on that curious choice of untrimm’d, a word that sounds coined and that appears to mean ‘undone’, but when you look into its etymological history, you discover it was specifically used around that time to describe a ship’s hull that hadn’t been cleaned of barnacles and seaweed. The avenues of thought open to you are endless and endlessly fascinating.
However, I’ll repeat, this book was never designed to meet the
needs of any formal literary student looking for forensic analysis, line by line, so although I want to alert you to the rich tapestry of detail in any poem, it’s the wider, bigger picture, those star- tling bursts of colour at the climax of every firework display I want to dwell on and encourage you to enjoy.
Most love poetry, at least that dripping off a male pen, has a pretty basic aim in mind, however much Petrarch, Dante or even Donne try to dress it up. So much love poetry is little more than a struggle to try and describe the sensation of noticing a beauti- ful woman. It comes with cleverness and invention, but in the end, it’s just about that moment of recognition. The poet might indulge in all kinds of mind games, deploy a whole armoury of strategies to convince the object of his affection that she is so much more than a beauty in his eyes, but so often they are fooling no one but themselves. One of the things that make Shakespeare’s sonnets different, more interesting and pleasing to read, is that he seems to know that. They deal with abstract, difficult ideas to do with time, loyalty and perception. Sonnet 18 even starts with a tacit acknowledgement of this limitation in other poets by immediately rejecting the rhetorical question it opens with. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? he asks, before instantly answering no, because she is more lovely and more tem- perate. The conventional strategy, that litany of complimentary similes, is immediately dumped in favour of something more thoughtful.
No one, except perhaps a professional trophy wife on the hunt
for a frail but loaded number five, wants to be regarded as noth- ing more than the physical form they inhabit. And however powerful physicality is as an attracting force, it quickly takes a back seat the moment we make eye contact and someone opens their mouth to speak. We do indeed seek far more in those we fall in love with. And Shakespeare’s sonnets are a delight because they start there.
They also lead us naturally into contemplating the whole business of developing a relationship through words. As written proof of someone’s declared affection, Shakespeare’s sonnets are like little experiments in persuasion, tiny windows into some- one else’s relationships. Read all 154 and you will struggle to find one that isn’t vigorously trying to convince its recipient about something or other. In spite of the critical confidence that lumps so many sonnets together around the fair youth, I also defy anyone to assert they sense the same single human being is on the receiving end of all this affectionate praise and love. Poetry in Shakespeare’s day was also about patronage and, as often as not, when you read any one of his sonnets, there is this nagging sus- picion that it’s more an exercise in flattery than a declaration of heartfelt emotion.
Apart from the pain of being coerced to write poetry in school, I suspect the only time any normal human being attempts to put something down on paper that isn’t a tax form or a shopping list is when the extremity of human emotion, often love but some- times grief, forces them to pick up a pen. However cathartic, the resulting verse is rarely edifying, but it points to an important aspect of poetry that teachers, especially, undersell. Poets have always had something of a reputation for intensity and excess. I doubt whether Sappho, Byron, Dylan Thomas or Sylvia Plath wrote many shopping lists, and I dread to think what their tax forms looked like. Of course it’s foolish to generalise, unless you make someone smile, and Ms Plath might well have been every taxman’s dream form-filler, but if you once perceive that poetry operates on the edges of man’s knowledge and experience, that it represents in art a profoundly sincere attempt by individuals to grapple with the inexorable conditions of human life, then you are well on the way to becoming not just a reader of it but a fan.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date; Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d; But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

About the author

Joe Nutt Author Picture

Joe Nutt’s writing career really began when he published an essay on Anthony Powell as a postgraduate student at The University of Warwick, (after his tutor had graded it B) and then followed that up by winning first prize in the university’s short story competition. His academic books are used by some of the leading schools in the UK although he is saddened at the way so many other schools shy away from great literature. He has written a fortnightly column for TES since 2015 and articles for The Spectator, Spiked and Areo magazines. His new book, The Point of Poetry, will be published by Unbound in March 2019.

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Toys In Dust by N M Brown #LeightonBrown #BookThree.

TOYS FINAL

Two seven-year-old girls, Tina and Suzy, are playing in a dusty creek when a stranger appears and strikes up a conversation. He is sad that he doesn’t have a doll to play with, like the girls do, so Suzy hurries home to fetch one. When she returns, Suzy discovers both Tina and the stranger have vanished. A short while later, traffic officer Leighton Jones, who is fighting his own demons, is driving home from the scene of a near-fatal accident. When Leighton sees a young girl race out in front of his car and vanish into the countryside, he reports the sighting. Unfortunately, his superiors, who are increasingly concerned about Leighton’s mental health, doubt the child exists. But after Tina’s mother confirms her daughter’s disappearance, Leighton risks his job by pursuing his own investigation of the case. Meanwhile, somewhere in the Californian countryside, a child killer is relentlessly searching for the one who got away. Leighton has his work cut out. Can he prove his sanity and find Tina before the stranger does?

Review

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

I’ve been a big fan of the character of Leighton Jones since reading the other novels featuring him, The Girl On The Bus and Carpenters Road. The great thing about this book, it is yet another highly enjoyable mystery thriller and can be read as a standalone.

Leighton becomes caught up in solving the mystery of the disappearance of a young girl Tina.  The excitement comes from not knowing if he can find the girl and track down the stranger who took her, before harm comes to her.  It really is gripping and reads at a rollercoaster pace, fast and with lots of twists and turns.  I read it at every opportunity to see what the eventual fate of Tina would be.

The characterisation is superb to, Leighton, a single dad, is caught up not just because he is a cop, his superiors would rather he stick to his normal job, but because he is brave, honest and believes in justice before his own career.  It’s what makes him such a fabulous and loveable character.  I would read any book he features in.

Filled with tension and excitement, not only do we have Leighton tracking down the stranger and the girl, we have the stranger tracking down Tina because she has escaped his clutches. It all gets very angsty at one point, as I feared for both Leighton and Tina’s lives.  It’s edge of the seat stuff and I loved it.

You can purchase the book from Amazon

About the author

1539097724247

Norman has enjoyed writing for more than two decades. He has always considered a combination of decent fiction and good coffee as providing the best way to unwind and slip out of ordinary life for a while.
Having grown up Central Scotland, he studied English at Stirling University, where he began penning poetry, drama scripts and short stories. However, his real commitment to writing resulted from spending a snowy winter attending a series of fireside writing workshops in Perth.
More recently, Norman’s love of crime fiction led him to create the weary detective Leighton Jones. Having based his debut novel around this character, Norman felt so intrigued by him that he decided to give Jones at least two more outings.
Aside from his family, Norman’s other passion is cooking, which may explain why culinary elements always seem to creep out of his kitchen and into his stories.

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Extract ~ Blog Tour ~ The Saxon Wolves by Penny Ingram

The Saxon Wolves book cover kindle

The Saxon Wolves

Britain 455AD. The Roman Empire has fallen. As the daughter of a king and a priestess of the sacred grove, Anya’s life in Germania is one of wealth and privilege – until she dares to speak out against the high priest’s barbaric human sacrifices. Her punishment is exile. Forced to leave her homeland, she sails to Britannia, to an island that is sliding into chaos and war, as rival kingdoms vie for power. Alone and far from home, Anya must learn to survive amidst the bloodshed, treachery and intrigue of fifth century Britain. Can she find a place to belong – a home, a hearth, a welcome?

 

I’m very lucky today to not only feature an extract from The Saxon Wolves, but also a fascinating piece by the author on why they were always destined to write historical fiction.

Extract

Short intro:
Britain 455AD. The Roman Empire has fallen. As the daughter of a king and a priestess of the sacred grove, Anya’s life in Germania is one of wealth and privilege – until she dares to speak out against the high priest’s barbaric human sacrifices. Her punishment is exile. She sails to Britannia with her brothers Hengist and Horsa, who are to act as mercenaries for the British warlord Vortigern. But fate leads her to the clifftop fortress of Tintagel, and to Silvanus, heir to the throne of Dumnonia…
Bemused, Taliesin shook his head. He leant against a rock and caught his breath whilst Anya gathered driftwood, and then they sprinkled their fire with crushed dried rhizome and root of valerian until the flames were blue, and the air was bitter on their tongues. Taliesin raised his hands towards the black arch of the cave roof and called upon the gods of the sky, the earth, and the underworld, the sacred power of three.
Anya knelt in the wet sand, unaware of the cold sea water soaking into her cloak. The blue flames were licking at her fingers, stripping her skin and melting her bones until she was no longer solid flesh but spirit and air. She was floating above the flames, soaring far beyond the dark cave, flying over flat plains of stubble fields, majestic, slow moving rivers and high mountains growing towards the sun.
She saw Horsa, the blood-lust of battle upon him, and death, a grey ghoul, stood close by. She saw Vortigern marching on Dumnonia, slaughter and famine following in his wake, but Lucan and Mairi rode at his side, and their son bore the crown of Dumnonia. She saw Silvanus and felt a sudden flare of longing. She pushed his image away, and slipped further into her dream paths.
She saw the village in the shadow of the mountains. She heard the stream as it raced over its rocky bed, and the bleating of sheep as dusk fell. It was peaceful, safe, and the pull was stronger than ever before, a siren call that reached out and touched her soul.
Her mother’s home. Her kin.
The dream path darkened.
The land was steeped in blood. It stained the dark mountains and soured the fast-flowing rivers. It dripped from the mouldy thatch of the deserted round-houses, and it ran in deep rivulets through silent villages. Britannia was drowning in blood.
The dream twisted, as if the wind had changed direction.
The sword was ancient. Its blade had seen much slaughter, for its sharp edges bore marks of violent use. The land was drowning, but the surging blood slipped harmlessly off the blade, and left the sword unscathed.
As the smoke cleared, and the world of the gods receded, Taliesin looked keenly at her.
‘What did you see?’ he asked. His face was haggard with the intense effort required to walk with the gods.
Anya’s head was throbbing painfully and she did not reply.
‘Anya!’ Taliesin urged. ‘Did you see the sword?’
She looked at him then. ‘Yes, I saw the sword.’
Taliesin stood up. He was swaying and she hurried to his side.
‘Rest a while,’ she said, settling him on a low rock. She sat down beside him, rubbed her stinging eyes and looked about the dark, damp cave. Outside, the rain was still beating down. The sacred cave had raised more questions than it had answered, but for the first time in many months, she had felt close to her gods.
‘Thank you, Taliesin,’ she said softly.
He smiled. ‘All will be well.’
Anya laughed helplessly. She had fallen in love with the heir to the throne of Dumnonia, and yet she was promised to another. Her heart yearned to stay in Dumnonia, yet her dream paths were drawing her towards a village in the far mountains of Britannia.
She glanced sadly at Taliesin. She knew how much he wanted her to stay in Dumnonia and fulfil an ancient prophecy, yet she also knew she had no choice but to sail away with Lucius to the far corners of the known world, and the thought filled her with a profound sense of loss.
‘Silvanus needs you,’ Taliesin said suddenly. ‘In more ways than you can begin to imagine.’
Anya felt tears prick her eyes. ‘I have known him forever,’ she whispered. ‘Through all the ages of men.’
‘I know,’ Taliesin replied.
‘Our paths have crossed a hundred times, but there has never been a happy ending.’
‘The gods sent you to Britannia for a purpose,’ Taliesin repeated firmly. ‘You must have faith.’

You can purchase The Saxon Wolves from Amazon UK and US.

The Saxon Wolves

Writing historical novels

I think it was always inevitable I was going to write historical fiction. My father was a writer, and he instilled me with a love of history from an early age. Every year my parents would hitch up the caravan and off we’d go, exploring the historic sites of the British Isles. I vividly remember one trip to Maiden Castle, the vast Iron Age hillfort in Dorset. I was about 8 years old at the time. Dusk was falling as my father led an expedition up through the banks and ditches of the fort. He has a way with words, and he was painting a terrific picture of the Roman army’s attack, and the valiant defence by the local British tribe. My cousin and I could almost hear the battle cries and smell the blood. And then, in the growing darkness, we caught sight of row upon row of ghostly white figures coming at us out of the gloom. My cousin and I screamed, and we kept on screaming! And then one of the Roman legionaries called out: “baa!” At which point, we realised we had wandered into a flock of sheep!
It was Ernest Hemingway who once said, ‘there is nothing to writing. You just sit at a typewriter, and bleed.’ If you don’t mind the idea of a little metaphorical blood-letting, I thought I might share with you a few tips I have found helpful over the years.
Historical novels are often inspired by actual events – a useful foundation to build your plot upon, but it is how your characters react to these events that will bring your story alive. The Saxon Wolves is set in fifth century Britain, a time of great upheaval, of invasion, of clashing cultures. In The Saxon Wolves, my fictional protagonist, Anya, is exiled from Germania by the decree of the high priest. She sails to Britain where she is racked by feelings of alienation and homesickness. Nevertheless, she accepts the high priest’s decision. In her mind, her sentence is irrevocable. Human emotions haven’t changed over the millennia, but our beliefs, our culture, our moral code, certainly have. Perhaps it is this contrast between the familiar and the unfamiliar which makes historical novels so enduringly popular.
Getting a feel for the language of your chosen period, its nuances, its slang, can add a vivid sense of realism to your story. If your novel is set in a distant past where the language would be incomprehensible today, aim instead to convey an illusion of authenticity. Anachronisms can jolt the reader out of the world you have carefully created, so avoid ‘modern’ words or expressions, including contemporary slang. See a scene through a character’s eyes and give them an individual voice: a warrior will spy a city and immediately assess its defences, whilst a healer will notice the yarrow plant growing by its walls. A warrior will speak bluntly, plainly; a healer with more empathy and finesse.
To conclude – a few words about research. I think historical fiction is popular because it’s like time travel, but from the comfort and safety of your armchair. You are transported to another world, be it a warm and smoky Saxon long house, a Roman villa or bloody battlefield. I think readers want to be entertained but also to feel as if they’ve learnt something about the period. So with that in mind, I feel I have a real responsibility to get my facts right. I read everything I can get my hands on, and I keep on reading until I feel comfortable in the period, until I can walk through its city streets or stroll through its country lanes, and see and hear and smell everything clearly in my mind’s eye. Having said that, including details about dress or food or herbal remedies can add realism, too much of it can come across as heavy handed. Include it if you think it adds something to your narrative, but make sure to blend it in organically.

 

About the author

The Saxon Wolves London Road Campus (6)

Penny’s father, a journalist, instilled her with a love of history from an early age. Family holidays invariably included an invigorating walk up an Iron Age hill-fort whilst listening to his stirring stories of the Roman attack and the valiant defence by the Britons. Consequently, Penny has a degree in Classics and a passion for history and archaeology. She has enjoyed a varied career, including BBC production assistant, theatre PR and journalism, but her ambition was always to write historical fiction. Her first novel, The King’s Daughter, was awarded Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society. Penny has worked on many archaeological excavations, and these ‘digs’ and their evocative finds often provide the inspiration for her books. Penny’s research also takes her to the many spectacular historical sites featured in this novel, including Hadrian’s Wall and Tintagel.”

You can follow the author on the following social media sites, Twitter, FacebookInstagram and her Website..

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Remember Tomorrow by Amanda Saint.

Remember Tomorrow Cover

England, 2073. The UK has been cut off from the rest of the world and ravaged by environmental disasters. Small pockets of survivors live in isolated communities with no electricity, communications or transportation, eating only what they can hunt and grow.

Evie is a herbalist, living in a future that’s more like the past, and she’s fighting for her life. The young people of this post-apocalyptic world have cobbled together a new religion, based on medieval superstitions, and they are convinced she’s a witch. Their leader? Evie’s own grandson.

Weaving between Evie’s current world and her activist past, her tumultuous relationships and the terrifying events that led to the demise of civilised life, Remember Tomorrow is a beautifully written, disturbing and deeply moving portrait of an all-too-possible dystopian world, with a chilling warning at its heart.

Review

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

This is a very intelligent, pertinent and sometimes worrying read. It’s one I really enjoyed, but it left me feeling unnerved and worried.  Why? Because it is set in a future world where man’s disregard for his home, has left the human race fighting for survival and dangerously close to losing all that makes us, us!

Now this might all sound grim, but it’s also full of hope and that’s why I enjoyed reading it. The writer balances the grim reality of a future where humanity has come close to destroying its world, with a story where there is hope for a better future, humanities resilience winning out over it’s selfish disregard for the natural world.

It is an addictive read and there is an overwhelming compulsion to get to the end  to the end of the story.  The writer draws you in, scares you enough, but doesn’t crush you. She writes a story that makes you think, but also entertains, thrills and excited me as a reader.

I loved the main character Evie who is flawed, but brave and full of yearning to create a better future for those she loves. Against that is her evangelical grandson, who in his madness threatens all she is trying to protect. It creates the perfect balance, generates tension and ramps up the fear.

If I had one wish, it would be a sequel, I want to know what happens next!

You can purchase the novel from Amazon

About the author 

Amanda Saint Author

Amanda Saint is a novelist, short story writer and environment journalist. Her debut novel, As If I Were A River, was selected as a NetGalley Top 10 Book of the Month, longlisted for the Guardian Not the Booker Prize, and chosen as a Top 20 Book of 2016 by the Book Magnet Blog. Her short stories have been widely published in anthologies and literary magazines and been longlisted and shortlisted for, or won, various prizes. Amanda founded and runs her own creative writing business, Retreat West, through which she runs writing courses and competitions; and an independent publishing house, Retreat West Books.

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Extract ~ Blog Tour ~Fox Halt Farm by Celia Moore.

Fox Halt Farm Rachel

Fox Halt Farm

Opening on a cliff edge, Billy finds herself alone and betrayed. She believes everyone and everything she loves is threatened. Richard’s world is aglow with wealth, love and unswerving family loyalty but then his perfect life crosses Billy’s. He could save Billy, her beloved dairy cows and Fox Halt Farm but this young woman isn’t in the mood to be rescued.
Nothing will stay the same. Should they trust each other? Will their secrets tear their lives apart?

Fox Halt Farm is hard to put down. The story cracks along and you are caught up in Celia Moore’s vivid storytelling from the start.  If you love novels by Jill Mansell, Fiona Valpy, Lucinda Riley, Maeve Binchy and Danielle Steel you will love this novel too!

 

Today, I am one of the stops on the blog tour for Fox Halt Farm by Celia Moore and I am sharing an extract from her novel.
Book Description: This debut novel by Celia Moore is a sweeping saga set over two decades – a story of love, families, heartbreak, and dreams.
Fox Halt Farm is a small dairy farm nestled under the Dartmoor hills, but there are two contrasting worlds in this novel; the struggling farm with its warm beating heart, and the unsympathetic money-spinning corporate regime – This fast-paced novel is located mainly in Devon and London, but other places feature too, including Paris and the mountains of North Wales.
The novel starts on a cliff edge, when Billy is eighteen-years-old in 1986. She is alone on a remote Greek island far away from her Devon home, betrayed, believing everyone and everything she loves is threatened.
Richard’s world is aglow with wealth, love and unswerving family loyalty but then his perfect life crosses Billy’s. He could save Billy and her beloved Fox Halt Farm but this young woman isn’t in the mood to be rescued.
The consequences of their unexpected meeting play out over two decades with Billy and Richard’s lives rippling in parallel and sometimes touching. But should they be together? Should they trust each other? Or will their secrets tear their lives apart.

Extract
‘Flying Buttress’ the Llanberis Pass in North Wales: Billy is cajoled into a risky quest by her new and madcap friend Jessie.
… I am warm now from the sunshine reflecting off the rock. It seems like Jessie has bewitched the weather too.
‘You weren’t joking, were you? You said you were too chubby to do this.’ I can’t believe she has just said that to me. She may have run out of ideas, I suppose. I have been here for forty minutes trying to get more than two feet off the ground.
Jessie has given me everything; climbing shoes, helmet, harness, and I am tied by a long rope to Martin who I can see twenty feet above me. She has given me top tips on how to make it easy for myself, along with demonstrations and encouragement. What else could she do?
Her derogatory comment sounded jokey, but she is right. The climbing harness makes my rolls of fat seem even bigger and just the scramble up to the start of this climb was hard. It was all loose rock; steep and scary. I am seriously out of shape. I won’t admit this to Jessie though; I will show her. I wasn’t the bravest and fastest rider around the hunter trial at Powderham Castle for nothing. I am brave and I will get up this if it kills me. I may die in a horrific car crash on the way home, anyway.
I am next to Martin, relieved he is here, ‘making me safe,’ as he calls it, which means he is tethering me to a rock. Jessie is climbing up the part I took nearly an hour to do, in seconds, just like Martin did.
‘Only five more pitches to go.’ Jessie sounds so happy. She is delighted I managed to get up here. I love all her energy and joy, even if she did beguile me into this.
Finally, we are at the top. It was a struggle but as my arms got weaker, my mind grew stronger and I am thrilled with myself. I could get hooked on this sport, the adrenaline, the beauty and drama of our surroundings and my sense of achievement. The clear air and the camaraderie are exhilarating.
Martin is further along the ridge, sorting out an abseil so we can get back down. Abseiling sounds appalling but I don’t have much choice. I think I am up for anything now anyway. I turn to Jessie. ‘Why won’t Michael do this with you? He would love it, I am sure.’
Jessie’s demeanour changes. Her beautiful face was red from the wind and the exertion but now she looks pale and serious. Have I said something stupid?
‘I’ll explain, Billy,’ she replies, ‘but you mustn’t tell Michael, I told you. He has never said more than a couple of sentences about it to me.’
‘I won’t say anything,’ I assure her, ‘but you don’t have to explain. I am sorry, I asked you.’
‘No, I’ll tell you – Michael talked to me about this the first day we met and he has never mentioned it again.’ Jessie is so close to me on the ledge that I feel uneasy. If she moves quickly, she could knock me off but she doesn’t notice the danger…

You can purchase this book from Amazon

You can enter aG iveaway to Win a £15 / $15 Amazon Gift Card (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

To enter follow this LINK

Fox Halt Farm

About the author 

FHF Celia Moore

Celia Moore (1967-now) grew up on a small farm near Exeter. She had a successful career as a Chartered Surveyor working in the City of London before working her way back to Devon. In 2000, she left the office to start a new adventure as an outdoor instructor, teaching rock climbing and mountaineering. Today she gardens for a few lovely customers, runs and writes (accompanied at all times by a border terrier x jack russell called Tizzy). She is running the London Marathon in April 2019 for three cancer charities.

You can follow the author on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and her website.

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Review ~ Let The Swine Go Forth by Auriel Roe.

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Out of the blue, vain and naive former drama teacher, Tristram Randolph, is offered the job of headmaster at a new school in Diskebapisbad, dysfunctional capital of a despotic post-Soviet state. Little does he know– although the signs are obvious to all but him– that the school is the pet project of the ruthless president’s spoilt daughter. Randolph hires a motley crew of teachers, each of whom embodies one of the seven deadly sins. Swineforth International, a franchise of a third rate public school in England, is built on a half-finished campus in the desert. The food is appalling and there’s no escape as the foreign faculty have had their passports retained. When inspectors Swainson and Dare arrive from Swineforth in England, their grave reservations about the new school and Randolph’s ability to manage it are confirmed. Matters come to a head when a revolution breaks out, the school is shut down and Randolph is accused of aiding and abetting the rebellion. His only hope now lies in winning a presidential pardon by giving the performance of a lifetime as a pantomime dame.

Praise for the author’s debut novel, ‘A Blindefellows Chronicle’… “A sprightly, inventive novel, rich in amusing characters and situations. I enjoyed every word of it.” Tony Connor, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature

 

Review

I would like to thank the author for the ARC in return for an honest review.

I’m trying out a different type of review today.  Short and snappy, rather than my normal longer review style.  Let’s see how this goes.

I thought this charming read was amusing and full of a phlera of delightfully rich characters. Where else will you find a book, in which a characters only hope of gaining a pardon, is by putting on a performance as a dame? The sense of originality meant the story felt easy to read and yet at the same time keep me reading because the story was engaging as well as funny. I love delicate humour in novels, where it’s not forced and the balance here was  good for me, the story both thrilling, charming and funny.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

 

Auriel Roe 

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My debut novel, Blindefellows, was #1 in humour in Amazon US, UK and Canada last November making me – albeit briefly – the funniest person in the English-speaking world. Hoping to attain that accolade again with novel #2, Let The Swine Go Forth. In the early part of my career I was a teacher of art, drama and English. Somehow, this alchemic mix of subjects lead me to a writing career. It wasn’t planned, I simply woke up with a story in my head which was subsequently shortlisted in a major UK short story competition. This short story then morphed into a novel, with said short story becoming the last chapter. I am also an artist with a couple of shortlisted Royal Academy pieces. Shortlisting is a bit of a theme here and I feel honoured to have got so far but to win, ah, to win…

Extract ~ Blog Tour ~A Fools Circle by Suzanne Seddon

A Fool's Circle Front Cover

Kate Sanders has suffered many years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her abusive husband Alan, and convinces herself that she is only holding the family together for the sake of her eight-year-old daughter. If it wasn’t for her best friend Jill Reynolds, she would have taken the suicide option a long time ago.
As she desperately seeks a way to escape, she is contacted by a solicitor. Kate’s old aunt has died and she has been left a small fortune.
For the first time, she sees the light at the end of the tunnel. She dreams of a fresh start, a new home, a new life. What Kate doesn’t know is that Jill and Alan have their own secrets, and are both desperate to get their hands on her money.
Kate soon finds herself falling for the charms of Jonathon Jacobs in what she believes to be fate finally intervening and offering her a second chance, unaware that each move he makes has been directed, orchestrated and well-rehearsed as he begs her to leave her husband Alan.
But is it all too late, as she finds herself in the frame for murder

Extract

A blonde head bounced on the floor in time to the yelling. Rays of the early morning sun caught her golden hair, and motes of dust hung in the air. Sophie Saunders was eight years old. Kneeling down on the floor she played with her dolls, drumming Ken and Barbie against the carpet, her body bent forward, almost as if she were praying in her immaculately clean and pressed school uniform. But today her school uniform was the last thing on her mind. She bashed the dolls’ heads off the pink floor in unison.
‘Ring-a-Ring-a-Rosie,’ she sang aloud to herself as she tried to drown out the voices that rose up through the floorboards.
The noises from downstairs were a regular occurrence, and fast becoming the norm. Sophie felt her dad’s anger, ever-present in his voice as it vibrated through her bedroom, positioned over the kitchen. Scared, she dropped her dolls, raising her arms and clasping her small hands over her ears. Sophie closed her eyes. Blinded, she felt for Barbie and Ken, gripped the toys by the legs. With one in each hand, she remained still for a moment, and as the voices intensified beneath her, she sensed them possessing the dolls.
‘You’re an old bag. I hate you!’
Sophie’s voice was deep and rough, as she rammed Ken’s head into Barbie’s chest.
‘Why are you always so nasty to me?’
She raised the pitch of her voice as she shook the dolls hard.
‘Because you make me want to vomit when I look at your fat ugly face,’ she growled. ‘Please stop being so cruel to me,’ she enunciated. ‘Who do you think you are? Don’t you dare tell me what to do, bitch!’ With each word, she struck Ken against Barbie, again and again, until finally Barbie’s head popped off and rolled across the carpet.
That hadn’t been her intention. She didn’t mean to decapitate the poor doll. Shocked, she stood up as she searched for the missing head. She found it under the bedside cabinet at the back by the wall. She crouched down, stretched out her arm and grabbed it. Sophie sat up on her knees, struggling to reattach the plastic head to its body.
‘Bloody shit! Why won’t it go on?’ The racket from below grew ever louder. ‘Bloody shit.’ Frustrated, she gave up, and flung the dolls across the room.
Downstairs, her father, Alan, almost lost his head. He shouted louder as his wife, Kate, persisted as the peacemaker.

You can purchase this novel from Twitter

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About the author 

Suzanne Seddon Author Pic

Suzanne Seddon was born in 1968 in Islington, London. After leaving school she had many interesting jobs, from swimming teacher to air hostess, and was able to travel the globe. Now a single mum to her teenage daughter Poppy-willow, Suzanne spends her days writing and has written several articles for magazines and newspapers. Growing up, Suzanne witnessed mental and physical abuse within her own family which strongly influenced her when she wrote her first play, A Fool’s Circle, when she attended the famous Anna Scher Theatre. Suzanne, however, was not content to leave it there and decided to go ahead and transform her play into a novel.  Not one to shy away from exciting challenges, she also wrote, acted, directed, cast and produced a trailer for the book around her hometown in Islington with the support of local businesses, who recognised the drive and importance of Suzanne and her work. Suzanne is a passionate writer and she is determined to be heard so that the issue of domestic abuse is raised amongst the public’s consciousness, empowering others to speak out. She wants those who suffer at the hands of another to have their voices heard, loud and clear.

You can follow the author on Twitter @suzeddon.

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Book Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Murder On the Rocks by J S Strange

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When PI Jordan Jenner returns to work following the death of his mother, his first case involves a murdered writer…

James Fairview has been killed. As a member of a prestigious writing group hosted by bestselling author Joseph Gordon in the heart of Cardiff, Jordan not only has to cope with solving the mystery, but also deal with press attention.

As Jordan investigates, he discovers his mother’s death may not have been so simple. And when another writer is murdered, Jordan realises the killer could strike again…

A murdered writer, a mysterious death, and a group with jealousy at its heart, this is Jenner’s toughest case yet.

A cosy murder mystery with a gay male detective, Murder on the Rocks is the first in the Jordan Jenner Mysteries series. If you’re a fan of classic whodunits you will love this!

A perfect read for those looking for Welsh crime fiction.

Review

I would like to thank the author and Panther Publishing for the ARC in return for an honest review.

I found so much to enjoy in this novel!

The characterisation is also really great, having the lead character be Gay is still rare in main stream fiction, especially thrillers, so to find one as prominent in the story, is reason enough to celebrate this novel without any added reasons.  There are other reasons to celebrate him, because Jordan is spiky, damaged and driven, all of which make him fascinating to read about. I loved spending time in his company and I appreciated that the author took the time to developed him as the novel progressed.  He is well rounded and I felt an instant connection to him.  His sexuality is irrelevant to the story, which is amazing, he just happens to be gay and not added as a nominal character to the narrative. It is his personality that makes him fun to read about and the way as the story progresses he slowly changes and opens up to the reader.  I loved that having Jordan as Gay brought an LGBT character into a book that I as a thriller reader loved, because his sexuality was not what made him special, it was his keen analytical mind that made him the perfect detective.

The characterisation is also really great, having the lead character be Gay is still rare in main stream fiction, especially thrillers, so to find one as prominent in the story, is reason enough to celebrate this novel without any added reasons.  There are other reasons to celebrate him, because Jordan is spiky, damaged and driven, all of which make him fascinating to read about. I loved spending time in his company and I appreciated that the author took the time to developed him as the novel progressed.  He is well rounded and I felt an instant connection to him.  His sexuality is irrelevant to the story, which is amazing, he just happens to be gay and not added as a nominal character to the narrative. It is his personality that makes him fun to read about and the way as the story progresses he slowly changes and opens up to the reader.  I loved that having Jordan as Gay brought an LGBT character into a book that I as a thriller reader loved, because his sexuality was not what made him special, it was his keen analytical mind that made him the perfect detective.

I do hope there are more novels featuring this character.  This traditional type of crime book makes for great reading.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

About the author

Author Photo2

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