Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Tainted Love by T S Hunter #SohoNoir #TaintedLove #LGBTBooks

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SOME RELATIONSHIPS ARE JUST MURDER
It’s 1985, and Joe Stone is excited to be joining his old school friend, and lifelong crush, Chris, for a long weekend in London’s Soho—home to a vibrant, developing gay scene, and a million miles from the small town where Joe and Chris grew up.
When Chris is found brutally murdered, the police write his death off as just another rent boy fallen foul of a bad hook up. But Joe knows his friend was killed deliberately, and joins forces with former police detective, Russell Dixon—Chris’s flatmate—to find out why.
Spiralling debt, illicit sex, blackmail, spurned lovers and hard-nosed gangsters all play their part, but who among the celebrities, fashionistas, drag queens, ex-lovers and so-called friends is Chris’s killer?
A noirish whodunnit set in 1980s London, with all the big hair, electro-pop, shoulder pads, police discrimination and lethal killers that the era had to offer.
TAINTED LOVE IS THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SOHO NOIR SERIES OF COZY CRIME NOVELLAS.

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Review

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

Tainted love is an absolutely superb read! As a reader I’m really happy that this is just the start of the series, because book one left me wanting more.

Why did I love it so much? It is a perfectly formed novella, with a flawlessly paced story and fabulous characterisation. Writing this short form of a novel takes skill, you still need the typical elements of a thriller, but have to be disciplined enough to write a gripping story in a restricted narrative. You’re taking away all the freedom to develop the story in a longer book and are left with a much leaner and appetizing story. The writer achieves this perfectly, the narrative is tight, but still thrilling, nothing has been sacrificed and your left feeling very satisfied. He takes a single central drama, avoiding multiple subplots that would overly complicate the plot and delivers his story with enough excitement to maintain interest throughout. From page one to the last page I was gripped in the drama and left thrilled by the possibility of more to come. You are drawn by the quality of the writing and story to the end, by what feels like a gravitational pull, exerting it’s influence on you and an intense eagerness to know the outcome of the story. I was caught up in this world of big hair, fabulous drag queens and closeted ex-lovers scared of exposure in a still far from accepting 80’s Britain.

Joe arrives in London to spend time with an old friend, only to be caught up in an investigation after Chris is murdered. I loved, no I adored that all the main characters were LGBT and that this booked is targeted not at a niche market, but has characters of such richness it should rightly be read by all thriller fans. Joe starts off as a young man caught up in the dizzy richness of life as a open gay man in London, a bit naive, but develops into a confidant man who helps ex police detective Russell Dixon look into the death of their mutual friend. He opens up and flourishes in this new world to him and I loved him as a character. Intelligent and open to exploring the much brighter world he has fallen into, he is not naive about his friend’s life, but rather than retreating from world of spurned lovers and gangsters, looks to find his place and solve the Chris’s Murder.

It really is a superb start to a new series and I am honestly excited for what is to come!

Though I warn you, if you a fan of 80’s music you will be humming Tainted Love for weeks after, with a big happy smile on your face.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

You can also a RaffleCopter Prize Giveaway of a Signed Copy of Tainted Love, a fabulous “Go Away I’m Reading” tote bag, a rainbow button badge, and some chocolate being run and administered by the publisher by following this LINK

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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 @TSHunter5

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~The Beautiful Side of the Moon by Leye Adenle

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What would happen if God forgot who he was?
Drawing on age-old African story-telling traditions, modern science-fiction and contemporary thriller writing, award-winning Nigerian author Leye Adenle (Easy Motion Tourist, When Trouble Sleeps) conjures up an entirely new way of seeing the world.
The central character, Osaterin, thinks he is just a modest IT guy living in Lagos – but it turns out he is much, much more than that…
A delightful, playful, thoughtful adventure in speculative fiction by one of Nigeria’s most exciting new writers.

Review

I would like to thank the author, publisher and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.
Firstly I have to admit that this book didn’t work for me as a reader, the writing felt stilted and the story lacked real focus. The fantasy and science fictions elements didn’t work together for me enough and I think it might have worked better as a much shorter novel.
This is though a personal reaction to a book and I’m sure that other readers will really enjoy this piece of speculative writing.
The premise is that Osaterin thinks he is an ordinary man, but in fact he is a magician hiding away until it is time to acknowledge his powers. The story itself is magical and takes the reader into alternative realities. The central character Osaterin is a very cleaver creation, written perfectly as a awkward IT guy who changes into a new form and state of being. You really can believe this is possible, because the writer doesn’t jump him through hurdles, but transforms him in stages into a much more powerful figure and it works really well.
Even the way we move from Earth to the Moon and the battle between Osaterin and a group of robots works well, because the imagery fits in perfectly with the theme of fantastical events and futuristic settings which are all part of this type of speculative fiction. It had a big cinematic feel to it especially at this point and it was one of my favourite parts of the book, because he created that sense of otherness he needed, to make me believe, we had been transported to a whole different world and reality.
I really think this book will appeal to many readers. For me it simply didn’t resonate despite the good elements above. I firmly believe that just because a book didn’t work for me, that it will and can be enjoyed with relish by other readers.

If a science fiction/fantasy mix up appeals, give this book a go. There are many things to recommend it and no two people read a book in the same way!

 

You can purchase this book from Amazon

About the author

Leye Adenle Author Picture

Leye Adenle, winner of the first ever Prix Marianne in 2016, is a Nigerian writer living and working in London as an agile coach – sort of a trainer of computer geeks.

His short story, The Assassination, in the anthology, Sunshine Noir, was a finalist for the 2017 CWA short story dagger award. Had he won, a Nigerian would have been rewarded for crime.

Leye (pronounced Leye, not Leia like in Princes Leia) has written several short stories under his own name, and over a hundred satirical pieces under various other appropriated names. His writing has appeared in publications such as the Big Issue, and he has written and recorded pieces for BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service. He very much enjoyed doing that.

Leye has also appeared on stage in London in plays including Ola Rotimi’s Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again in which, by his own estimation, he performed brilliantly well and should have been awarded a BAFTA.

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Extract ~ Blog Tour ~ Trust Me by K J McGillick

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Trust Me
Sex. Power. Murder.
Dr. Gabriel Blackwell and his wife Sandra Blake have it all. He’s a brilliant thoracic surgeon. She’s a high-powered attorney with family money. Their lives are as loving as they are glamorous.
Or are they?
When a nurse Dr. Blackwell works with is brutally murdered, the questions fly. Who would want to kill this woman and why? When an autopsy reveals the woman was pregnant, all signs point to Dr. Blackwell. Just what was her relationship with him?
Whispers about a scandalous sex club surface. How many other lovers are there? Are any of them safe? How far would he go to protect his reputation?
Tragedy strikes again as Sandra Blake is found dead floating in their pool. Dr. Blackwell now finds himself on trial for two murders. Facing life in prison, Dr. Blackwell will grasp at any straw to preserve his freedom.
Any straw.
Is anyone innocent? Is anyone safe?

Trust Me

Extract

“I received a call this morning from an attorney. The police questioned her husband, a physician, regarding the murder of a nurse at the hospital where he is an attending. The husband and wife are highly visible people and active in the community. They attend all the right social functions and are comfortable in the most expensive country clubs.”
Dalia handed me the news articles of the husband and the wife which she had retrieved from the printer.
I studied the reports with fascination. Something about the husband’s posture struck me as arrogant and cocky, and the wife’s as a bit self-conscious. He appeared to be about forty, and she looked older, around fifty. That was just a guess. The man had a face that Leonardo DaVinci would call symmetrical and balanced, clearly someone who enjoyed being captured by the photographer. I would label him not only well built, a man who knew his way around a gym, but he also had an exotic mystery about him. I wanted to know more about this man.
“Why him? I mean, why question him?” I asked them.
“From the few discrete inquiries we made, we found Dr. Blackwell has a reputation as a serial philanderer. He’s been in and out of trouble with the hospital, and until this point, they have kept things under wraps,” Dalia responded.
“What sort of trouble?”
Was I a bad person because I wanted juicy details?
Dalia appeared to be crafting a thoughtful response and Mary jumped in.
“Two problems this year alone,” Mary interjected leaning forward in her chair. “The first happened in March when the hospital administration discovered him having sex with a nurse at night in the O.R. suite. Neither knew the hospital had recently placed cameras there because of a theft problem. In reviewing the tapes, the administrator discovered them using the O.R. table for their liaisons. Moreover, it was happening with such frequency that the chief of surgery had to address the issue. To make the problem disappear, Dr. Blackwell offered the hospital a twenty-thousand-dollar donation; the nurse wasn’t so fortunate. The director of nursing disciplined the nurse for leaving her station, and then the hospital administrator fired her for cause. Somebody leaked the tape, and it found its way into circulation. Not onto the internet or YouTube, but it’s public nonetheless.”
Well, that’s awkward.
“And the other problem?”
As if that wasn’t enough.
“An eighteen-year-old granddaughter of one of his patients accused him of sexually harassing her which escalated to stalking,” Mary added. Her tone was judgmental, and I suppose with good cause.
“Dr. Blackwell describes himself as a sex addict that has sought treatment. However, it appears he claims this only in response to problems arising from litigation and when a discrete monetary offer couldn’t settle the issue. Two of his office personnel left under a cloud of having an affair with him, and an office manager from another practice made it public they were carrying on as well,” Dalia interjected.
Judgmental. That’s what I was, judgmental. Not only did I judge the doctor, but also the lawyer wife who put up with this aberrant behavior. I realized that thought would have to be compartmentalized.
“So how can I help?” I asked.
“He is being brought in for the second round of questioning by the police tomorrow. I scheduled us to meet with him later this morning to talk to him and decide if we want to take the case,” Dalia said. “I’d like you to sit in on the interview and Mary will give you her file to review so you can get up to speed. It’s an ugly case, and it certainly will be high profile if the police make him a target. Take a look at the incident report,” she said.

You can purchase this book from Amazon UK and US.

About the author

Trust Me Author Photo

K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right? A Registered Nurse, a lawyer now author. As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing, she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing

You can follow the author on the following social media sites –  Facebook and Twitter.

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Extract ~ Blog Tour ~ Hate Bale by Stephanie Dagg

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Grumbling guests and escaping piglets are precisely what Martha doesn’t need. She’s already struggling to run a holiday cottage and a rather large smallholding single-handedly. Since her husband Mark died, three years ago, her rural property in France, beautiful as it is, has become an increasingly heavy millstone around her neck.
So whilst she’s horrified to stumble across a corpse at the local farm supplies shop, it does at least distract her from her own woes. Best friend Lottie, the cheese to Martha’s chalk, swoops in to offer moral support, and encourages Martha to join her in some unofficial sleuthing. Meanwhile, police officer Philippe Prudhomme, a former fellow chess-player of Mark’s, undertakes a rather more professional investigation.
However, despite everyone’s efforts the killer remains at large. And when more bodies (one and a bit, to be precise) come Martha’s way, it definitely feels like he’s closing in on her…
There’s suspense, humour and excitement in this entertaining cosy mystery set in the French countryside.

The start of what turns out to be an extremely eventful day for Martha, not that many days running her smallholding in France single-handedly are what you’d call dull.

Extract
Martha squinted at the clock radio and groaned. It was half past five. What on earth was she doing awake at that hour of the morning? She wasn’t a great sleeper and had only dropped off properly a couple of hours ago. She really didn’t want to be awake again quite so soon.
She pulled the covers over her head with a dramatic sigh and closed her eyes determinedly, but a woof from Flossie, her ancient and usually silent Border collie cross, alerted her to the fact that something was definitely going on that shouldn’t. Martha sighed again. It must have been a previous bark from Flossie that had woken her. She’d better investigate, since the dog had never been one to cry wolf in the past.
The something turned out to be the destruction of her one and only flower bed by her Berkshire sow Hermione, aided and abetted by her litter of eleven three-week-old piglets. They were all having a brilliant time in the early dawn, rooting out Martha’s painstakingly planted spring bulbs, but, for whatever reason, not eating them, going instead for the creepy crawlies that came up with them. That was one thing to be grateful for, Martha supposed, the fact that they were de-pesting her borders. And she was relieved they weren’t eating the bulbs, not just because she had a vague idea they might be poisonous, but also, and mainly, because she’d be able to stick them back in the soil in the hope they’d survive their traumatic experience of being dragged out of it in the first place.
But first she had to un-pig the garden. And that wasn’t going to be easy. A glance towards the food bins at the corner of the barn showed them to all be on their sides, and empty. Hermione was obviously stuffed full of a week’s worth of pig pellets and a similar amount of soaked wheat. And anyway, since the food was all gone Martha had nothing with which to try and tempt her back to the field. What on earth was she going to do? There was the cattle prod, but she didn’t like using that. It seemed a rather mean implement. Mark had only ever used it a couple of times on the Old Spot boar they’d had, Horace, who’d been a mean-tempered old beggar.
Mark. Not a minute went by when she didn’t miss her husband of twenty-seven years. She’d lost him to sudden arrhythmic death syndrome just over three years ago now. Sometimes it felt like only three days, the grief could be so raw, but at others like thirty years. Like she’d spent more than half her lifetime without him, mourning for him.
And couldn’t she do with him right now. Rounding up pigs was a two-person job. She had Flossie, but she was a sheep dog, at least in part, not a pig dog. And added to that, any sheep-herding instincts she might have inherited from her mother had been clearly quashed by the comfortable-life-seeking instincts of whatever her father had been. When their neighbour back in England had gratefully handed one of an unexpected, and unwanted, litter of seven puppies over to Mark and Martha, she’d said she suspected a local wiry-haired mongrel of some sort to be the father. Flossie looked every inch the sheepdog but the resemblance only went skin deep. Thus she threw Martha a guilt-free ‘not my monkeys, not my circus’ look and plodded back to the doorstep to have a nap. She’d alerted Martha to the fracas and that was as far as her responsibility and contribution went.

You can purchase this book from Hate Bale

About the author

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I’m an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie of animals, has made for exciting times. The current array of creatures ranges from alpacas to zebra finches, with pretty much everything in-between! Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it’s been a steep learning curve.
I’m married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful.
I’m a traditionally-published author of many children’s books, and am now self-publishing too. As well as being an author, I’m also a part-time editor and, with Chris, manager of three carp fishing lakes. My hobbies are cycling, geocaching, knitting and sewing.

You can follow the author on the following social media sites –  Twitter and Facebook

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Cole

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A tender, witty, uplifting story about friendship, family and community written with great humour that will appeal to fans of Rachel Joyce, Ruth Hogan and Joanna Cannon.

Let me tell you a story, about a man I knew, and a man I know…

Mr Baxter is ninety-four years old when he falls down his staircase and grudgingly finds himself resident at Melrose Gardens Retirement Home.

Baxter is many things – raconteur, retired music teacher, rabble-rouser, bon viveur – but ‘good patient’ he is not. He had every intention of living his twilight years with wine, music and revelry; not tea, telly and Tramadol. Indeed, Melrose Gardens is his worst nightmare – until he meets Gregory.

At only nineteen years of age, Greg has suffered a loss so heavy that he is in danger of giving up on life before he even gets going.

Determined to save the boy, Baxter decides to enlist his help on a mission to pay tribute to his long-lost love, Thomas: the man with whom he found true happiness; the man he waved off to fight in a senseless war; the man who never returned. The best man he ever knew.

With Gregory in tow Baxter sets out on a spirited escape from Melrose, bound for the war graves of Northern France. As Baxter shares his memories, the boy starts to see that life need not be a matter of mere endurance; that the world is huge and beautiful; that kindness is strength; and that the only way to honour the dead, is to live.

Baxter’s Requiem is a glorious celebration of life, love and seizing every last second we have while we’re here.

Review

I would like to thank the author, publisher and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.
There are so many reasons I would recommend this book, the best being that it is a joyful celebration of love and friendship, of living life and having no regret

Its the story Baxter an elderly man, who lost Thomas, the man he loved during a senseless war and young Greg whose brother has recently died. Together they go on a journey of remembrance and healing.
For me the best part of this book was the character of Baxter himself, he is brave, resourceful, resilient and deeply caring of those around him. He has lived a long life, known love and loss and yet he remains full of quiet determination to live life under his own terms. His sexuality is simply who he is, the novel does not use it to define him, but simply bears witness to this part of him. He is shown to be a man who cares about the character of Greg and who wants to heal the troubled young man, as his friends helped him to recover from such a terrible loss. This is very much a character whose warmth and generosity of spirit endeared him to me and I miss him very much now I have finished the novel. I loved the journey he and Greg took together, forming a friendship that spans the generations, because friendship breaks down barriers and heals them both.
The other wonderful thing about Baxters Requiem is the voice the writer gives to LGBT people both past and present. He doesn’t make the story rose tinted, he acknowledges that young people often face the same prejudices that Baxter and Thomas faced between the wars and into the conflict itself. He also doesn’t allow the story to become bogged down in loss and grief; this is as much a celebration of love as it is a testament to a past life affected by prejudice. Baxter lived his life with Thomas closeted from the real world, but it was a deeply emotional relationship and we are given a glimpse into the tender love they shared, giving a lie to those that thought then and still do, that LGBT couples are not ‘normal’ and refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of such relationships. It’s very touching that the writer presents to the reader the beauty of their relationship, weaving it into a mainstream novel, helping to move LGBT characters where they should always have been, away from the specialist shelves in bookshops and into the stories we read every single day. He gives a voice to the lost generations of LGBT people and warns the reader, in a deceptively simple way, that the battle for acceptance is not over. Quite an achievement, in a book about living life like every second counts.you
I knew from a few pages in that I was going to enjoy this book and I did. I have a special passion for championing LGBT fiction and the writer deserves special applauds for the way he treated this subject and produced such a heart warming read.

 

 

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

About the author

Matthew Crow

Matthew Crow was born and raised in Newcastle. Having worked as a freelance journalist since his teens he has contributed to a number of publications including the Independent on Sunday and the Observer. He has written for adults and YA. His book My Dearest Jonah, was nominated for the Dylan Thomas Prize.

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Blog Tour ~ Extract ~ The Pelican by Naidoo.

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The Pelican
“Because life is about living…”
Julia has never been one to surrender without a fight, but when she receives a devastating diagnosis, she has a decision to make.
Even after thirty years, she can still see her mother slowly fading away with every dose of chemo, every round of radiation, and every lost shred of hope. No, she won’t do it… not to her family… and not to herself!
Without warning, she packs up her belongings and disappears, leaving behind a life that, by all accounts, had been as perfect as they come, and a distraught family full of questions.
Finding peace in a beach house in Northern California turns out to have its complications though. While only a handful of other residents share the tiny beach community, each one has brought their own baggage and developed their own way of dealing with it. All Julia wants is to be left alone, but that simply does not seem to be an option, especially when there’s a persistent bird that declares her to be his new best friend.
Haunted by the shadows of the past, Julia is struggling to cope with the present. Will she have the strength to do this alone and eventually follow through with her plan? Will her family, divided by mixed reactions to being abandoned, come together to try and track her down? And what is the deal with that pelican of hers?
Only time will tell – and time is the one thing Julia does not have…

The Pelican

Extract

Tom
Tom punched the redial button for the fifth time, as if, through persistence alone, he could simply will Julia to pick up and tell him that this was all just a big joke, a misunderstanding, a mistake, whatever. He’d take anything that would result in her walking through that door. Still in his suit, disheveled and deflated, he sat slouched over on the bed, the note on the floor in front of him.
“This is Julia. I can’t come to the phone right now,  please leave a message, and I’ll call you right back. BEEP” Her voice filtered through the phone speaker just as it had the first, second, third, and fourth times he had called.
For the fifth time, Tom left a message.
“Jules, it’s me again. Call me. Let’s talk. Please.” After a short pause, he added, “I love you, Babe.” This was by far not as loud and frantic a message as any of the previous ones. Not that he had simmered down in any way, he was merely beginning to realize that this was all he was going to get, no matter how many times he tried. The call had gone straight to voicemail—his wife had shut off her phone.
He let himself fall back against the pillows and stared at the ceiling for what seemed like forever. He studied its texture as if he had never seen it before. Had that little black spot always been there? He didn’t understand how he could have missed it, after all, it was right above his head. Suddenly he wondered what else he had missed.

You purchase this book from Amazon UK, Amazon USKobo and Barnes and Noble.

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About the author

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Born and raised in Germany, M.Naidoo lives in Northern California with her husband, two daughters, and three dogs. One of them, Dusty, a spunky terrier mix, found its way into her debut novel. When she is not in front of her computer, pounding out story lines and characters, she enjoys reading, movies, spending time with her family, and long walks on the beach – her proverbial ‘happy place’. M’s love for the beach and ocean shine through in the vivid descriptions of the coast in The Pelican. “Juggling my life as a writer and a full-time ‘real’ job has its challenges. I don’t get to spend half as much time as I’d like doing what I love, and there are never enough hours in the day. Still, I feel extremely lucky to be following my passion, and I am enjoying every minute of it. Getting here has been one heck of a ride!”

You can follow the author on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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The Lady Evelyn Mysteries: The Goldon Hour by Malia Zaidi

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London 1927

Lady Evelyn Carlisle has barely arrived in London when familial duty calls her away again. Her cousin Gemma is desperate for help with her ailing mother before her imminent wedding, which Evelyn knew nothing about! Aunt Agnes in tow, she journeys to Scotland, expecting to find Malmo Manor in turmoil. To her surprise, her Scottish family has been keeping far more secrets than the troubled state of their matriarch. Adding to the tension in the house a neighbour has opened his home, Elderbrooke Park, as a retreat for artistic veterans of the Great War. This development does not sit well with everyone in the community. Is the suspicion towards the residents a catalyst for murder? A tragedy at Elderbrooke Park’s May Day celebration awakens Evelyn’s sleuthing instinct, which is strengthened when the story of another unsolved death emerges, connected to her own family. What she uncovers on her quest to expose the truth will change several lives forever, including her own.

With the shadow of history looming over her, Evelyn must trust in her instinct and ability to comb through the past to understand the present, before the murderer can stop her and tragedy strikes again.

I’m welcoming Malia Zaidi to booksaremycwtches today with a fascinating post about how an author decides on the setting of their novel. 

Writing What You Know

I have heard the advice “Write what you know” from many well-known authors, and I am sure, if you are interested in writing yourself, so have you. Though to an extent, I agree, it does help to write about a subject or a setting familiar to you, so much of the writing process takes you almost unconsciously into realms of the unknown. Certainly, this is the case when writing fiction. Part of the pleasure of writing is escaping into the unknown and exploring what will come of the leap. You can lose yourself in a realms and characters’ minds of your own making. A writer of fiction will revel in the bliss of allowing his or her imagination to stretch to places they have never been and faces they will never encounter in real life. Of this, great heroes can be born, the worst villains, or simply very human characters with very human problems readers can identify with.
That being so, I must acknowledge it also depends on the genre in which you write. In terms of fantasy or science fiction, you are likely creating a whole new world with your imagination, while historical or literary fiction do tend to require adherence to a recognizable reality and significant research can be demanded. For my own books, I have tried to find a sort of middle ground between writing what I know and allowing my creative energies free reign. I write historical mysteries and thus a considerable amount of research and a grounding in fact is necessary. The characters are entirely of my own making and the setting – though I have visited it before – is essentially unknown to me the way it was in the period my novels are set in, the 1920s. The Golden Hour is largely set in Scotland, and though I was lucky to visit the village of Falkland and St. Andrews to form an idea of both places in my mind, the atmosphere of life there a century ago was not entirely accessible to me. Nonetheless, I had studied this time period before for my previous books and could blend what I knew with what I had seen and the workings of my imagination to craft what I hope is a believable setting. My prior research and eagerness to absorb and learn as much as I could about this time gave me a grounding which I could use to place my story, a story that was still unfolding in my mind as I wrote it. Striking a balance between the known and leaping into the exciting black hole of mystery involved in the writing process is what makes it so enjoyable to me.
In the end of the day, the important thing is simply to sit down and write and be consistent. If writing what you know helps you to get a story down on paper (or rather Word Doc), do it. If you need the unknown to spur your imagination to mysterious places, ignore any rules and just go for it. That’s the beauty of writing and of storytelling, there are no limits.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

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About the author

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Malia Zaidi is the author of the Lady Evelyn Mysteries. She studied at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Oxford. Having grown up in Germany, she currently lives in Washington DC, though through her love of reading, she resides vicariously (if temporarily) in countries around the world.

You can follow the author on Twitter, Facebook, WebsiteBlog and Goodreads.

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#Review #BlogTour~After Jessica by Morgen Bailey

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Jessica is an ordinary girl who comes across extraordinary circumstances and pays for them with her life. As well as identifying her body, her brother Simon then has to wind up her affairs but gets more than he bargains for. Who is Alexis, and why are Veronica and Daniel searching for her? Why is there a roll of cash in Jessica’s house, and what’s the connection between his sister and Alexis?

Review

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

It read like a dream, so much so, I finished it in virtually one sitting! Cwtched up in bed on Saturday night, I whizzed through it and loved every moment. Great escapism and a really enjoyable read, all rolled into a perfectly formed novella. It was only when I looked up after finishing it, that I realised how much time had passed, lost in the story the writer had created. For a few hours I was able to leave the world behind and all the political turmoil and get lost in an extremely readable story.

As for the story itself, it is a good old fashioned mystery. Not overly complicated, it starts from the premise, that from the death of one person the repercussions can reverberate out affecting so many people, especially when the death is tragic and unexpected. Jessica leads a double life, the strands of which begin to unravel after her death. The writer weaves all of the people affected by this in and out of the story and does so in imaginative ways. No thread is left unresolved and it makes for a very satisfactory read. There were a few characters I would have liked to get to know a bit better, what happens to Simon’s budding relationship for example, but this is a novella and therefore should be judged against how well the story was formed within the shorter narrative! The writer packs a lot into the story and does so both in an entertaining and enjoyable way and therefore it works. On top of that it is nice to be left wondering sometimes and not have everything tied up neatly at the end!

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.

You can purchase this novella from Amazon

About the author 

2 Morgen July 2017

Morgen Bailey (Morgen with an E) is an author (of novels, short stories, writing and editing guides), freelance editor (for publishers and indie authors), writing tutor (in person and online), Writers’ Forum magazine ‘Competitive Edge’ columnist, blogger, speaker, and co-founder of Northants Authors. The former Chair of three writing groups, she has judged the H.E. Bates Short Story Competition, RONE, as well as the BBC Radio 2, BeaconLit, and Althorp Literary Festival children’s short story competitions. She also runs her own monthly 100-word competition. 2018 events include talks and workshops at Troubador’s Self Publishing Conference speakers, workshops and panels at Delapre Book Festival, interviewing and workshops at BeaconLit, and NAWG Fest with her ‘Editing your Fiction’ weekend residential course. Morgen can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and many others. Her blog is http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, and email address morgen@morgenbailey.com.

You can follow the author on Twitter and Facebook.

BLOG TOUR (3)

#Review #Blogtour Chicken’s Eat Pasta: Escape To Umbria by Claire Pendrick.

Chickens Eat Pasta Cover

Not just another romance, but a story of escapism, coincidences, friendship, luck and most of all… love. Chickens Eat Pasta is the tale of how a young Englishwoman starts a new life after watching a video showing a chicken eating spaghetti in a mediaeval hill village in central Italy.  “Here I was, 26 years old, alone and numb with boredom at the prospect of a future which until recently had seemed to be just what I wanted.” Unlike some recent bestsellers, this is not simply an account of a foreigner’s move to Italy, but a love story written from the unusual perspective of both within and outside of the story. As events unfold, the strong storyline carries with it a rich portrayal of Italian life from the inside, with a supporting cast of memorable characters. Along the way, the book explores and captures the warmth and colour of Italy, as well as some of the cultural differences – between England and Italy, but also between regional Italian lifestyles and behaviour. It is a story with a happy ending. The author and her husband are still married, with three children, who love the old house on the hill (now much restored) almost as much as she does.  Chickens Eat Pasta is Clare’s autobiography, and ultimately a love story – with the house itself and with the man that Clare met there and went on to marry. If you yearn for a happy ending, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a story that proves anything is possible if you only try.

General Image for all - My house in the hills now 5

Review

You can purchase this from Amazon UK and America in book format.

I would like to thank the author, publisher and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.
There were many things that I enjoyed about this book, the sense that anything in life is possible if you are willing to take a leap into the dark, to take a chance on a new life. It really comes across in such a positive way, even with the all the hurdles she faces, you really feel that she made a life many of us dream about. I also loved that this is not one of those women makes romantic move to be with the man of her dreams, it is all about the leap of faith she took as a single, capable women and the new life she forged for herself.
I also loved the style in which it was written. You feel throughout that your there in Italy with her! The friends she makes are written in such a way, it sometimes felt that I knew them myself, so vivid were the descriptions of their characteristics, even down to the gestures they make when they are agitated or happy. The writer also built up in my mind the beauty of the area she moved to and when I saw the pictures provided of the house she had purchased and renovated, it was exactly how I thought it would look, just from reading the text. The writing imbues the story with a sense of love and creates images of where she was living after moving there from Brighton.
It takes bravery to make a new life away from what is familiar, create a home, start a new job and that really comes across. Yes there are dips and wobbles, but that all part of what made this book such an interesting read for me. I’m not the type of person who could take a leap of faith in this way, but reading this book, gave me a window into what it is like to do so. It opened up a new world for me as a reader. Books enable us to take journeys from the comfort of our homes, if it’s not possible for us take up our own challenge and then we can do so with others and Chickens Eat pasta gave me that chance to gaze into another world and it was a genuinely enjoyable read. For a few hours I was in Italy and I recommend that others do the same by reading this charming book.

Or in Audio format UK and America.

You can also enter a Giveaway to Win an audiobook copy of Chickens Eat Pasta (Open Internationally) by following this LINK.
Winner gets to pick between audible and ibooks audio code
*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.

About the author

Chickens Eat Pasta Author Photo

Clare Pedrick is a British journalist who studied Italian at Cambridge University before becoming a reporter. She went on to work as the Rome correspondent for the Washington Post and as European Editor of an international features agency. She still lives in Italy with her husband, whom she met in the village where she bought her house.

Chickens Eat Pasta
You can follow Clare on her Facebook Book page, her own Facebook page and Twitter.
Read her blog about life in Umbria here.

Chickens Eat Pasta Full Tour

#Extract #BlogTour – Culmfield Cuckoo by Celia Moore.

Culmfield Cuckoo Cover (1)

Culmfield Cuckoo
When Billy reaches out to help, her kindness brings many changes which threaten hopes, homes, and even the people she loves the most.
Who is the Culmfield Cuckoo?
Will they help Billy get her life back? Or is the Cuckoo the cause of everything that is going wrong?
Who is telling the truth?

EXTRACT ~ BLOG TOUR ~ culmfield cuckoo BY CELIA MOORE #SAGA #ROMANCE #mystery
In March, I shared an extract from Celia Moore’s Fox Halt Farm, so today, I am delighted to be featuring an extract from its sequel, Culmfield Cuckoo. Celia’s recently published Culmfield Cuckoo can also be read as a standalone novel.

Extract:
“… ‘Nothing for me, thank you,’ Jessie says, cutting through my thoughts. ‘I’m going to ring Michael and ask him to pick us up.’
‘Can’t you leave it for a while?’ I ask. ‘As soon as he knows where you are, he’ll come. Why don’t you let Mary have some time to talk things through with you?’ I look at the girl. ‘She might talk to me?’ I say.
Mary keeps her head down; just like Wallace, who is still paying no attention to the dog.
Jessie follows my lead. ‘It’s always good to talk, don’t you think?’ she asks me, again talking loudly.
‘Definitely,’ I agree but Mary still doesn’t react.
‘Okay, Billy, I won’t ring him yet,’ Jessie says, her eyes fixed on her daughter.
‘May I go and see how the cheese is made?’ Mary asks, and I realise this is the best idea yet, my mother can get anyone to confide in her. ‘Yes, sweetheart, of course you can,’ I reply.
‘Thank you, Auntie. I’ll have the drink later.’ Mary transfers the cat to her mother’s knees.
‘Come on then,’ I say.
Inside the dairy, I kit Mary out with wellington boots, my protective white coat, hat and hairnet. My mother is thrilled to see her visitor and immediately steers her away. ‘I’ll show you everything,’ she tells Mary. ‘I have a little job you can help me with.’
The white coats walk away without another word…”

You can purchase the novel from Amazon UK and Amazon US

You can also enter a Giveaway 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.

Rafflecopter Link.

About the author

Culmfield Cuckoo Author Photo

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 FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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