Blog Tour ~ Review ~ Poetry To Feed My Woodland Bones by Kate Garrett.

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Kate Garrett’s poetry chapbook takes us on a magical journey of self doubt, rejection, and uncertainty, through darkness and ultimately to a place where she takes back her agency and the mastery of her own fate.

Review

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

I don’t claim to always understand poetry, but I have a passion to keep learning, so I was delighted to be offered the chance to review this collection. For me it is important that a poem speaks to me as a reader and all the stunning poems by Kate Garrett certainly did!

I loved them all, especially the deeply moving, This Mortal Coil, which took me back to the loss of family members from quite an early age. I often struggle to give a voice to my sense of loss, but this poet has with great power, gentle words and imagery built a picture and that has given a voice to long supressed emotions.

before their vacant spaces

[of static spark, of echo-hollow]

Make your solid shape unbearable

What greater compliment to pay a poet, than to say you have with a few lines summed up the loss of those long past, but who still linger with us when we look at an empty chair or any vacant space they once filled with laughter and love.

Although This Mortal Coil connected with me the most, all the poems have an equal emotional impact. They sparkle with an understanding of all those events that shape us, parenthood, birth, loss and life at its most effervescent.

I would like to thank Kate Garrett for writing such a wonderful collection of poems, full of wisdom and images, which will stay with me for a long time. They are all rooted in the beauty of a language that dates back to Shakespeare’s creative wonder Puck. Given life by a poet of great talent and vision.

You can purchase this collection of Poetry from Amazon

​About the author

Kate Garrett is a writer, mum, editor, witch, horror fan, history buff, and amateur folklorist, among other things, who changes her hair colour more often than some people change their underpants…

Her poetry and flash fiction have been widely published online and in print, and she is the author of several books. Her recent poetry pamphlets include You’ve never seen a doomsday like it (Indigo Dreams Publishing, June 2017), Losing interest in the sound of petrichor (The Black Light Engine Room Press, January 2018), and Land and Sea and Turning (CWP Collective/Dark Particle Press, August 2018).

Her first full-length poetry collection, The saint of milk and flames, was published by Rhythm & Bones Press in April 2019. And her seventh chapbook To Feed My Woodland Bones [A Changeling’s Tale] will be published in September 2019 by Animal Heart Press.

Kate has a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing (first class honours) from Sheffield Hallam University, and plans to do an MA in history or heritage (and possibly a PhD in folklore studies) once her babies are a little older.

Kate’s poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and The Density of Salt was longlisted for best pamphlet in the Saboteur Awards 2016. She is the founding editor of several journals +/or presses. 

She is a married mother of five human children and one cat-child, and lives in Sheffield, where she walks the winding rivers and always inhabits a between place in her heart.

You can learn more about Kate Garrett on her website http://www.kategarrettwrites.co.uk and follow her on Twitter @mskateybell

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Dead Inside by Noelle Holton.

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‘Hugely confident … harrowing, visceral … recommended’ Ian Rankin

‘Kept me hooked’ Angela Marsons

‘An excellent read’ Martina Cole

‘Gritty, dark and chilling’ Mel Sherratt

A dark and gripping debut crime novel – the first in a stunning series – from a huge new talent.

The killer is just getting started…

When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.

And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?

Review

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

What can I say about Dead Inside, other than it is a superb debut from book blogger and publicist Noelle Holton. Well now, she can add author to that list with a capital A.

The book is dark and gripping, full of oodles of tension, virtually impossible to put down once you start reading. I suppose it is a cliché to say a thriller is addictive and electrifying, but frankly it is true, especially with this page turner.

Much of this is because of the subject matter dark and full of violence, but without a dam good storyline, a thriller would fall flat. No worries in this case, I was both thrilled, shocked and full of dread. Not at the fate of the victims, Holten in a superb masterstroke make them so despicable that I actually felt their deaths were deserved. I know that sounds bad, but she made me hate them enough to feel dread, not for them but for Lucy, someone I liked straight away, who I didn’t want to end being guilty of such cold blooded deaths. She was the underdog that gave this thriller the human connection, the person you invest your hopes in. What made it so compelling, was the feeling it created in me, a need to know that I had not misjudged her, though I will leave it to you to discover if I had or not. I loved the way she was made to feel fearful not just for herself, but for others, it made me admire her bravery and her latent strength.

The pacing is strong, the writer balancing furious moments of violence, with quiet flashes of anxiety inducing normality, that are almost worse, because you’re waiting for the next moment of dread. In this way she keeps you on the edge of your seat, unable to get all comfy, to fidgety to take your eyes of the story as it unfolds.

A book that involves domestic abuse is a delicate balancing act, especially in a thriller, where the story can sometimes be overwhelmed by relentless thrill seeking. But Noelle Holten not only writes a first class thriller, she gives those characters affected by the abuse, a voice and never allows their actions to be lost in the story. She makes us understand them as people and not just victims. She paints their attackers are controlling and violent and explores their reactions to the coercive and threatening relationships that wreck their lives. The grittiness comes from the way the story doesn’t paint them as passive victims, they are much more complex than that, angry, venerable and chaotic. These are real damaged individual and that what gives this thriller both its emotional complexity and what makes you feel so conflicted. Like me, you may not agree with violence, but Noel Holton, will make you understand why someone is killing these men and why part of you almost wishes the killer is not brought to justice.

A superb read. I look forward to book two.

About the author

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Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the #booklove via her blog.
Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.
You can connect with Noelle on ~

Review ~ Blog Tour ~The Fault by Kitty Sewell.

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Chilling thriller set on Gibraltar – at the heart of The Rock are secret tunnels, hard to navigate and even harder to escape. Sebastian is a civil engineering prodigy and his latest project is his most ambitious to date: to build a new city on the sheerest face of The Rock. His fiancee, Eva, a diver, is entranced by the penisula’s hidden depths and concerned that her lover doesn’t push himself beyond human limits in his desire to see his dream realised. Mimi, still in her teens, is desperate to spread her wings and chafing at the limits placed on her movements by her overprotective older brother. When Mimi gets into a relationship with a neighbour intent on fighting the new development, Sebastian’s precarious mental health spirals out of control putting them all in danger. When Mimi is lost amidst their twists and turns the race is on to find her before the water rises.I

Review

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

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This is a book that is filled with layers of tension, characters who trick you into trusting them and then wham, your left reeling when you realise you have been fooled. I can’t say I liked the main character Sebastian his manic, grandeur nature, made him feel too chaotic to connect with, but his depiction is superb. As his past is slowly revealed, the way his spiralling mental health is depicted, made me as a reader quite both weary of him, but also fascinated by the depiction of his manic episodes. It is really clever and gives the book a sense of unresolved danger that haunts all the characters. It was the character of Mimi, troubled teen, who balanced out the story, giving it a sense of normality, stopping the story from tipping over into overplayed drama. l loved both her determination and bravery.

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The story itself is has the right balance of drama and character development. I loved the way the story arcs all fell into place and created a sense of impending danger. Although I did guess the ending, the journey getting there was entertaining enough that it didn’t matter. The caverns in and around Gibraltar and their brooding presence really added to the sense of danger.

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If you looking for an enjoyable thriller. Then this book should be on your reading list.

You can purchase the book from Amazon UK and US

About the author 

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Kitty Sewell was born in Sweden, and has had four successive nationalities, living in the Canary Islands, Central and South America, Canada, England, Wales and Spain where she now lives in the mountains of Andalucía. She is a successful sculptor, and bestselling author. Her books have been translated into 15 languages and she has been short-listed for the CWA New Blood Dagger Award, the Wales Book of the Year, Winner of the “People’s Choice” BBC Radio Wales Prize, and the Bertelsmann Book Clubs International Book of the Month. She also writes as Kitty Harri. With Honno she has published Ice Trap (2005, later bought by Simon & Schuster) and Hector’s Talent for Miracles (2007) as Kitty Harri.

You can follow the author on https://kittysewell.com/

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Roam by Erik Therme

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When Kevin finds Sarah stranded by the side of the road, he’s more than willing to give her a ride. Young, beautiful and distraught—she’s everything a single guy could ask for in a girl. What he doesn’t know is that she already has a guy: an abusive, drunken boyfriend who left her there in a fit of rage. And when that boyfriend comes back and finds Sarah missing, a simple ride will turn deadly.
Like Josh Gaylord and Daniel Kraus before him, author Erik Therme explores the angst of disconnected youth in his enthralling and powerful Roam. Therme’s darkly tinged novel is an unforgettable tale of three errant souls brutalized by life’s cruel circumstances, and a remarkable night of discovery and violence that will change them forever
Review
Many thanks to the author, publisher and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.
This dual themed book, both thriller and coming of age fiction, feels dark and threatening. It is a love story and a tale of deadly obsession. A book, which pulls you in and leaves you unnerved and just a little scared.
Why did I like it? I loved the way the theme of obsession was portrayed as almost horror like and how love is crafted from a chance encounter on the side of the road. I felt really on edge reading it, nervous, because I genuinely felt that violence could be around the next corner. As a reader it felt good to feel too scared to turn the next page. However, paradoxically it led to a compulsion to read on and on just to see if Kevin and Sarah would survive, the threats raged against them.
The other thing that is so great about this novel is the characterisation. Both Kevin and Sarah are damaged individuals, who have been abused by events and deeply dysfunctional families. Initially I found it hard to believe that two people could fall in love, find a connection in such a short period; but I came to believe in them because they are written so well, as two lost, injured souls, whom I believed would gravitate towards each in search of love and understanding.
It is full of atmosphere and I loved the way my assumptions about how the novel would end were completely blown out of the water. There are oodles of twists and turns in this novel, that you would expect from a thriller, but it was the fear that was the driving force that keep me reading. The suspense creating a heightened sense of foreboding that kept my adrenaline pumping.
It is a real page turner and a very addictive read. One I would recommend to thriller readers who enjoy an added element of fear in their reading.
You can purchase Roam from Amazon US and Amazon UK
About the author
Erik Therme Author
Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his oldest. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa–one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature.
You can follow the author on –  Facebook and Twitter
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Extract~ Blog Tour~ A Chain Across The Dawn by Drew Williams.

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Bigger spaceships. Bigger explosions. Bigger planets. Bigger problems. 

It’s been three years since Esa joined the ranks of the Justified after her rescue from the fanatical murderers the Pax. Together, Esa and her mentor Kamali travel from planet to planet, searching for children with supernatural abilities. It’s hard work, but Esa has never felt more assured of her place in the universe.

On a visit to a planet so remote that its inhabitants never learned that the Sect Wars ended over a hundred years ago, they learn that the Justified are not the only people searching for gifted children. There is a creature with unexpected powers who will stop at nothing to get its hands on the children that Esa and Kamali are trying to rescue.

With their latest recruit in tow — a young Wulf child named Sho — Esa and Kamali will travel halfway across the galaxy in pursuit of answers. But the answers only lead to more questions, and the danger will only increase as their terrifying nemesis turns his eyes on them.

Extract 

Chapter 2
In relatively short order, we got a response to our banging. That response was, of course, half a dozen rifles pointed at us from murder holes carved out of the sides of the high wall, but it was a response nonetheless. “Travelers,” Jane said, spreading her hands wide to show that she was unarmed— well, to show that she wasn’t holding a weapon, at least. On a world like Kandriad, nobody went anywhere unarmed, and the rifle butt sticking up from behind Jane’s shoulder would have just seemed like an everyday necessity to the locals, no dif fer ent than a farmer carry ing a hoe would have been on my homeworld. “Seeking shelter.”
“This city is at war, traveler,” a voice said from one of the murder holes— sounded like a Wulf, which made sense, since the vaguely canid species had made up about a third of this world’s population, before the pulse. “ There’s very little shelter to be had here.”
“Very little to be had out there, either.” Jane jerked her thumb behind us, indicating the smoking craters the poorly aimed bombs had blown in the urban “countryside” of what had once been a factory planet.
“How do we know you’re not enemy spies?” the Wulf growled. I mean, Wulf almost always growl, the sound was just what their muzzles were built for, but I detected a distinct note of aggression in the low- pitched rumble of this one’s voice.
“Esa,” Jane prompted me, and I reached into my jacket— slowly, as the rifles were still following my every move—to produce a tightly rolled-up scroll. The parchment was as close to what local conditions would have allowed the natives to create as Schaz had been able to make it; hopefully they wouldn’t ask too many questions about its provenance beyond that, questions we wouldn’t be able to answer given that we’d actually printed it on a chain across The dawn board a spaceship in orbit, a concept that had receded mostly into myth for the people on Kandriad.
I held the scroll up, where they could see. “Reconnaissance,” Jane told them simply. “Aerial photography of the enemy assaulting your walls from the north. Troop positions, fortifications, artillery emplacements— enough intelligence to turn the tide of the fight.” Neither Jane nor I really gave a damn who won this par tic u lar battle, or even this par tic u lar war— whatever conflict it had spun off from, the fighting on Kandriad had long since ceased to matter to the galaxy at large, let alone to the doings of the Justified. What we did care about was getting access to the city, and to the gifted child hidden somewhere inside.
“You have planes? Like they do?” The guns were still holding . . . pretty tightly on us.
“Kites,” Jane said simply. “And mirrors.” That was a flat- out lie, but “we took images from our spaceship in low orbit, then smudged them up to look like low- tech aerial reconnaissance” wouldn’t have gone over nearly as well.
A low sound from the Wulf, not that dissimilar to his growl from before; thankfully, our boss back on Sanctum was also a Wulf, and I recognized the sound of a Wulven chuckle when I heard one. “Kites,” the unseen sentry said to himself, almost in won der. Then: “Open the gate!”
The big metal gates rumbled open; Jane and I stepped along the train tracks, into the interior of the city, where the sentries— Wulf to a one, their rifles still held tightly, though at least not aimed directly at us anymore— watched us closely. Jane handed over the map to their leader, the one who’d spoken. He unrolled it, studied its contents for a moment, then without a word handed it off to one of his subordinates, who promptly took off, presumably for the factory city’s command. “It’s valid, and it’s recent,” the lieutenant acknowledged to us, his ice- blue predator’s eyes still watching us closely, not as friendly as his words. “I recognize shelling from just a few days ago. Intelligence like that will buy you more than just entry here, strangers. Name your price.”
“ We’re looking for some intelligence of our own,” Jane replied. “Looking for one of your citizens, actually. A child, younger than my associate here.” She nodded her head toward me; I didn’t know how well the local Wulf population would be at gauging a human’s age, but at seventeen, I guess I did still have a slightly “unfinished” look, as compared to Jane, at least.
“And why do you seek this child?” the lieutenant asked— not a no. Pro gress.
“He or she will have . . . gifts. Abilities. We seek children with such gifts, and we train them.” All true, for its part. It was simply a question of scale that Jane left out.
“Train them to do what?”
“What ever is necessary.” That part wasn’t exactly an official piece of the Sanctum syllabus.
The Wulf nodded his head, once. “I know the child you’re looking for,” he said.
Finally, something going our way for once

You can purchase this book from Amazon

 

About the author 

Drew Williams Author pic

Drew Williams has been a bookseller in Birmingham, AL since he was sixteen years old. Although he got the job because someone had called in sick the day he applied, working with books became a vocation. It is full of amazing moments like arguing with coworkers about whether Moby Dick is a brilliant encapsulation of the human condition (it’s not) or an overlong, over-obvious metaphor for futility (it is.) It is discovering authors like (fill in people here) and sharing them with his customers. He loves to write, and he hopes you will love these characters and their story as much as he does.

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Careless Whisper by T S Hunter #RedDogPress #Soho Noir #LGBT

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LOOSE LIPS COST LIVES.

It’s 1986, and Adam Cave, lead singer of sensational pop group Loose Lips, is struggling to stay in the closet, especially as his group is going through a messy split, and media speculation about the reasons behind it are rife.

Joe Stone is assigned to Adam as a runner for the behind-the-scenes, warts and all expose of the recording of the bands last album, and an unlikely friendship begins to form.

But when Adam’s manager, Jack Eddy, is found dead in Adam’s hotel room, in what looks like a sex game gone wrong, Joe turns to his flatmate, Russell, to help him clear the pop star’s name, and keep his secret.

Russell, meanwhile, has a secret of his own. He’s just been for a test, the results of which may change his life forever.

Review

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

Having loved the previous books in this series, I was excited to be offered the third to review as part of a blog tour. I’m glad to be able to report that Careless Whisper is another fantastic read. One of those, I can’t put down, flipping enjoyable books. Welcome back Joe and Russsell, I adore you!

What I loved about this book is the way that the story is perfectly formed, it’s exciting, full of a variety of interesting personalities and it places LGBT characters front and centre of a top notch crime thriller. I firmly believe that it takes great skill to write a novella, because the story has to be fully formed, but within a constrained word count and this book is a shining example of how to do that! From page one to the final page it is littered with tension, emotion and even humour. The characters develop and we get to know them better with each book.  Joe as he seeks to explore his sexuality and Russell when he faces a crisis, that could leave him facing an unknown future.  You can’t help but fall in love with them.

The writing is so wonderful, you really feel your there in the 80s with them, so on point is the depiction of a London where being gay is no longer ilegal, but where a Careless Whisper can still wreck a career. T S Hunter tells a story of a tortured soul, of bent coppers, of the heady freedom of living as a gayman, but still facing discrimination. Into this he weaves a tale of torturous secrets which lead to a death, plunging both Joe and Robert into a world of frenzied media and fan obession.

The story was exciting, addictive and very enjoyable. I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a short read that doesn’t compromise on story and entertainment. That also gives a voice to LGBT characters, whose world will open up to you, it’s darker side, it’s heady excitement and where “the careless whispers of a good friend” leads you a death and justice, only when Joe and Robert are willing to track a killer down.

Why not play a little Wham then lose yourself in a story that will have you transported back to 1980s London. I promise you it’s worth it.

You can purchase this novel directly from Red Dog Press or Amazon Kindle or or paperback from Amazon.

You can also buy it as part of a set with the first two books in the series from Amazon.

About the author

Claiming to be only half-Welsh, T.S. Hunter lived in South Wales for much of his latter teens, moving to London as soon as confidence and finances allowed. He never looked back.

He has variously been a teacher, a cocktail waiter, a podium dancer and a removal man, but his passion for writing has been the only constant.

He’s a confident and engaging speaker and guest, who is as passionate about writing and storytelling as he is about promoting mainstream LGBT fiction.

He now lives with his husband in the country, and is active on social media as

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ the Homeless Heart -throb by Crystal Jeans.

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The Homeless Heart-throb by Crystal Jeans
Alternately hilarious, shocking and sad, Crystal Jeans’ latest novel is set in Cardiff. But perhaps not the Cardiff the urban planners and WAG mavens would use in their shiny advertising campaigns.

Each chapter is narrated by different characters linked by the street on which most of them live and the appearance in them all (to greater or lesser extent) of the title character the alcoholic vagrant who for one of the neighbours is an unusual subject of desire. Set in various homes, streets and parks, and a nearby care home for the demented elderly the story lines are darkly humorous and occasionally rude and crude – up front portrayals of people on the frontline of urban poverty, disenfranchisement, drug culture and unappreciated but essential work lives. Lit up with authentic characters and appealing voices, and the full gamut of human relationships platonic, romantic and sexual this is an unputdownable journey into the underside of contemporary Wales.

Review

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

Being a Cardiff resident I was intrigued when I received an email offering this book for review, would it depict my city in a way I would recognise and identify with. Of course it did! Yet this should not define it for readers, because it could be any street, any city when the story of its inhabitants.

It is extremely funny, moving and sometimes shocking. It reflects with clarity the variety of the people and personalities in one street. The moments and relationships that connect them. The little misunderstandings and events that can divide them. Each chapter has a very distinctive voice that shone brightly from the page and brought to me the reader an insight into the pain and sorrow in their lives, the mundane moments that shape their desperation and the moment’s of happiness brought from random acts of spontaneity. We are given an often emotional insight into what goes on behind the doors of homes and that felt both voyeuristic and yet also deeply intimate.

It’s quite an emotional rollar- coaster of a read on times, reducing me to tears and other times to laughter. Often I felt a shudder at how personal it felt and how shocking some events where. Yet it also filled me with a sense of contentment that comes from reading a book that brings characters and their lives to life with such clarity. It makes the years you shed for them feel quite cathartic. This is not a stereotypical view of Wales, it is orginal, fresh, challenging and has a very distinctive voice.

I adored the way each story felt connected and yet told a little story of its own.

Without a doubt, I would recommend this book to everyone. It deserves a wide readership and the writer lauded with prizes for such a wonderful book. I never wanted to put it down because the writing is so sharp, extraordinary and eccentric in places.  Such books are few and far between, but when they arrive we should consume with passion and openness.  I felt a little bereft that it’s over now, because it challenged me as a reader, entertained me and made me realise that my city and yours can inspire collective stories of immense strength.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

About the author

Crystal Jeans Author Picture

Crystal Jeans was born and brought up in Cardiff. She lived in Bristol before doing first a Creative Writing BA then an MPhil at the University of Glamorgan. She works in a care home, which inspired a collection of poetry about dementia (Mulfran Press). She has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2010), had poetry published by Seren Press, and two short stories published by New Welsh Review.

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