Blog Tour Guest Post: The Blind by @AFBradyNYC @HQstories

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Every morning, psychiatrist Sam James gets up at six forty-five. She has a shower, drinks a cup of coffee, then puts on her make-up.

She ignores the empty bottles piling up by her door.

On this particular morning, Sam is informed of a new patient’s arrival at Manhattan’s most notorious institution. Reputed to be deranged and dangerous, Richard is just the kind of impossible case Sam has built her reputation on. She is certain that she is the right doctor to treat such a difficult patient.

But then Sam meets Richard. And Richard seems totally sane.

Let the mind games begin.


Buy the book:


Guest Post:

I’m Not Waving . . .

A.F. Brady

When I was working in a mental health facility years ago, I couldn’t have been happier. I was working with one of my closest friends, I had the utmost respect for my bosses and colleagues, and I was making progress with my clients. I was learning new things every day, and finally able to use all the techniques and methods we had learned about in grad school.

I had worked in mental health for years already, but I was coming into my own. I was figuring out how to separate myself emotionally from the goings on at work, and how to keep the emotional toll from knocking me down. I was doing a good job. It was where I belonged, and it was where I would be doing the good work I had strived to do. I fit in there. I loved it there.

And then everything changed.

We watched the financial collapse on TV like everyone else did, waiting for the effects to trickle down to us. I had friends who worked for Lehman Brothers, cleaning out their desks and packing up their cardboard boxes. I thanked God I didn’t have money in the stock market, and was safely ensconced in a secure position at work. I would be okay. We would all be okay.

But we wouldn’t.

It took a while before we could see what was happening behind the scenes. The funding for mental health care was shrinking. The whole mental health world was already underfunded and we were doing the best we could with what we had, and it was working. We could survive on the scraps, and we did. Our clients were getting the treatment and the attention they needed and deserved, and we had high hopes for the future. We weren’t the first facility to go under. We had colleagues and friends at other treatment programs who were getting laid off. Clinics were closing. Clients, consumers and patients were left with fewer and fewer options.

We were one of those dwindling options.

The already overfilled group rooms started busting at the seams. Each clinician was given more clients than we could possibly handle. This was the new reality, and this was what we all had to face together. The hope remained, and we buckled down. There was no overtime. There were no reinforcements waiting in the wings. Slowly, eventually, despite the best efforts and tireless work, we, too started to drown. Daily meetings morphed into informal goodbyes as we watched more and more colleagues being let go.

The waves got higher and higher, until no one could swim any longer.

Many of the facilities closed. We lost our jobs. Our clients lost their treatment programs. I want to tell you that things have changed. I want to tell you that it’s all getting better and the funding will come in like a tsunami and wash us all to safety and a renewed sense of hope. I want to tell you that lessons were learned and wrongs will be righted. I want to tell you that mental health is finally getting the attention and awareness it deserves.

But I don’t want to lie to you.

Buy the book:



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Book Review: The One by @johnmarrs1

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How far would you go to find THE ONE?

One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others...

Review by Hannah:

When I was a little girl I had an imaginary friend; he came everywhere with me and I would even have my mum lay a place for him at the table. As with many imaginary friends he became a distant memory, though every now and then I would be reminded of Peter (as I called him) and smile.
I have thought about Peter a lot more since reading this book.

As a young girl I dreamt of meeting the ‘man of my dreams’, falling in love, getting married and having children. I envisaged it just how you would see it in the movies with my husband to be being my soul mate, my perfect match.

Blog Tour #Giveaway : The House by @Simon_Lelic @VikingBooksUK

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The house book blog tour


Whose story do YOU believe?

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.

So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.

Because someone has just been murdered outside their back door.

AND NOW THE POLICE ARE WATCHING THEM.


Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of The House by Simon Lelic I have one copy to give away
Open to the UK and Ireland only




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Book review by @hannahjleslie Behind Closed Doors by B.A.Paris

16:07


Buy the book: UK/ Ireland | US 


Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.

You’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.

Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

Review by Hannah:


I don’t like being told what I should like or dislike. 

I don’t like reading a book just because everyone is saying it is the best book ever. 

I do like to take my time and make a choice based on what is best for me and choosing a book is no different. 

I tend to choose a book that reflects my mood or an author I know writes well and can really tell a story. 

#ChasingtheSun blog tour: @Notwedordead's 'must dos' in Australia @HQstories

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Georgia Green is on the conveyor belt to happiness.

Live-in boyfriend, perfect career and great friends, it seems like Georgia is only a Tiffany box away from her happily ever after. But when she arrives in Australia for her best friend’s wedding and is faced with the bridezilla from hell, she starts to realise that she might not want the cookie-cutter ending she thought.

What was meant to be a trip full of sunny days at the beach and wedding planning over cocktails, has turned into another problem for her to fix – just like the ones she’d left behind. With hardly any time for her boyfriend, let alone herself, it feels like there is just too much to juggle. It might be time for Georgia to step off the conveyor belt to find the balance in life and see if she really can have it all…

Buy the book: UK /  Ireland | US 

Guest Post: What you must do in Australia


 Have a go at surfing! 


You can’t go to Australia and not learn how to surf. It’s a rite of passage down under to hit the waves and tick this off your travel bucket list. So, obviously I had to give it a go! Although since then I now have a new level of respect for surfer babes who ride the waves whilst rocking a glowing tan and pearly white smile. I had visions of catching a gnarly rip (yup, I have no idea) with my beachy hair flowing in the breeze, effortlessly pushing myself up to stand and catch each break. The reality was a little different. I ended up with mascara gloop round my eyes, a gallon of salt water up my nose and being shown up by a four year old Aussie kid who was doing crazy tricks nearby. Nice one, show off. Surfing is not as easy as it looks in the films but there is something addictive about it.

Blog Tour Giveaway: #Win a copy of An Almond for a Parrot @HQstories

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‘I would like to make myself the heroine of this story – an innocent victim led astray. But alas sir, I would be lying…’

London, 1756: In Newgate prison, Tully Truegood awaits trial. Her fate hanging in the balance, she tells her life-story. It’s a tale that takes her from skivvy in the back streets of London, to conjuror’s assistant, to celebrated courtesan at her stepmother’s Fairy House, the notorious house of ill-repute where decadent excess is a must…

Tully was once the talk of the town. Now, with the best seats at Newgate already sold in anticipation of her execution, her only chance of survival is to get her story to the one person who can help her avoid the gallows.

Read an Extract:

Chapter One
Newgate Prison, London
I lie on this hard bed counting the bricks in the ceiling of this miserable cell. I have been sick every morning for a week and thought I might have jail fever. If it had killed me it would at
least have saved me the inconvenience of a trial and a public hanging. Already the best seats at Newgate Prison have been sold in anticipation of my being found guilty – and I have yet to be sent to trial. Murder, attempted murder – either way the great metropolis seems to know the verdict before the judge has placed the black square on his grey wig. This whore is gallows-bound.
‘Is he dead?’ I asked.
My jailer wouldn’t say.

Blog Tour Extract: Not a Sound by @hgudenkauf @HQstories

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‘I’m going to die tonight. But I won’t go quietly.’

Amelia Winn has a lot of regrets. She regrets the first drink after she lost her hearing. She regrets destroying her family as she spiralled into depression. Mostly, she regrets not calling Gwen Locke back.

Because now Gwen is dead. And as Amelia begins to unearth the terrible secrets that led to Gwen’s naked body being dumped in the freezing water, she realises that she might be next.

But how do you catch a killer when you can’t hear him coming?

Buy the book: Ireland/ UK | US

Little Kiosk Blog Tour: Writing tips by @jenniewriter @HQDigitalUK

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Buy the book: Ireland/UK | US


Meet Sabine, desperately fighting to save her little kiosk from closure whilst turning down her friend Owen’s proposals, time and time again.

Cue Harriet, returning to Dartmouth after thirty years, haunted by the scandal that drove her away and shocked by a legacy that threatens her relationship with her journalist daughter.

Enter Rachel, the mysterious newcomer who has an unexpected chemistry with a local widower, and who sets in motion a chain of events she could never have predicted…

One thing’s for sure, as the autumn tide turns, there’ll be more than one secret laid bare!


Guest Post: 5 tips for Aspiring Writers


1. Write for yourself in the first instance. Don’t think about who will read your book, or trying to write for the market. You need to write from the heart and those two things will come between you and doing that.

Book Review by @hannahjleslie - Always Watching by @ChevyStevens

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As a psychiatrist, Nadine Lavoie wants to help people, but she has dark troubles of her own - some she can't even think about and some she can't even remember.

When a distraught young woman is taken to the hospital where Nadine works, it triggers horrific memories for Nadine. Digging deeper, she forces herself to confront her past and the damage done to her when she and her brother were brought to a remote commune as children.

What happened to the innocent girl she once was? Why was her family destroyed? Nadine has no idea that by asking these questions, she will put herself in a danger she could never have imagined.
Buy the book:  UK/Ireland US

Review by Hannah:

Have you ever had that feeling someone is watching you, but when you turn round no one is there?

Do you ever have that gut feeling that something is just not right?

Nadine Lavoie has that feeling. But for Nadine, it could be more than a feeling..............

After experiencing an attack outside her home, her husband dying and her daughter missing, Nadine felt a change was needed. So Nadine moved house and started work in a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit.

Guest Post: On the Street Where You Live by @roisinmeaney @HachetteIre

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Choir member Molly sees a young boy who she's convinced is her grandson, but how does she find out the truth when her son Philip ran away to New Zealand five years ago?

Meanwhile Molly's daughter Emily has fallen in love for the second time in her life. Except this time it's with the wrong man ...

While choir leader Christopher, who closed off his heart to love a long time ago, is making do with snatched trysts with new member Jane - who also happens to be married. But then American author Freddie moves in next door and suddenly things begin to get complicated.

As performance night approaches, the heatwave breaks and members of the choir discover that their lives intertwine more than they could ever have imagined. But are the inhabitants of the town ready for what happens next?

Buy the book: UK/Ireland | US

Guest Post: Food Glorious Food!


My name is Roisin Meaney and I am a foodaholic. My most successful relationship to date (sigh) has been with food: I love it to bits, and I’m pretty confident it loves me right back. I will eat virtually anything that’s placed in front of me, even if it’s not something I’d necessarily choose from a menu. The only area I would be a little iffy about is the whole shellfish scenario, particularly if the shell in question contains something whose texture is a little . . . wobbly. Oysters in particular would test my love, but if pushed, I’d be prepared to wash them down with an ocean of Guinness. Love means never having to say no thanks, I’d rather a steak.

Surprisingly, given the great depth of my affection for food, I am not and never will be an accomplished cook. I am one of a gang of four who rotate the dinner parties between our houses. One of the other three is a born cook – she just flings things into a pan, or a pot, or the oven, and a meal of fabulous deliciousness emerges. The other two, while not as inspired in the kitchen as the first, are pretty solid cooks, and always deliver very tasty dinners indeed.

Book Review: One Bad Turn by @SCrowleyAuthor @QuercusBooks

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One Bad Turn by Sinead Crowley review


Being held hostage at gunpoint by her childhood friend is not Dr Heather Gilmore's idea of a good day at work. It only gets worse when she hears that her nineteen-year-old daughter Leah has been kidnapped. Sergeant Claire Boyle wasn't expecting to get caught up in a hostage situation during a doctor's appointment. When it becomes apparent that the kidnapping is somehow linked to the hostage-taker, a woman called Eileen Delaney, she is put in charge of finding the missing girl. What happened between Eileen and Heather to make Eileen so determined to ruin her old friend? Claire Boyle must dig up the secrets from their pasts to find out - and quickly, because Leah is still missing, and time is running out to save her.

Review:

I can still remember opening the first page of Can Anybody Help Me and being absolutely captivated by that incredible debut by Sinead Crowley. I knew from that moment that I'd be a die hard fan. 

Blog Tour: #GinnyMoon guest post by @BILudwig @HQstories

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Read a guest post by the author of Ginny Moon


Ginny is a recently adopted teenager with autism. She has a new home, new parents, and a new last name.

Before Ginny arrived at her new house, she spent years living in danger with her birth-mother. Her world is a much better, safer place now, and everyone tells her that she should feel happy. But Ginny is stifled. Her voice is pushed down. Silenced. Bottled up for too long now. It’s ready to burst.

Ginny is desperate to get back to where she came from, back to what she left behind. Because something heartbreaking happened there—something that only Ginny knows—and nothing will stop her from going back to make it right. She’ll even get herself kidnapped.

Ginny Moon is an illuminating look at one girl’s journey to find her way home. In this stunning debut, Benjamin Ludwig gives a voice to the voiceless, reminding us that often we only hear those who speak the loudest, and there’s much to be learned by opening up our ears and our hearts.

Guest Post:

Sometimes when I’m angry or scared I like to turn into a Maine Coon cat.  Because Main Coon cats are wicked ballsy and no one messes with them.  So when I turn into one no one messes with me.  But messes doesn’t mean make a mess like you might think.  Mostly it means push and say bad things like when Michelle Whipple calls me four-eyes because I have glasses.  Man I hate that girl.

Anyway the way to be a Maine Coon cat is to first make your back go up.  Start with your shoulders going up to your ears.  Then make your back get a big bump in it and lift your lips so your teeth come out.  And make your hands into curly claws.    

#BookReview: Like Other Girls by @chennessybooks @HotKeyBooks

11:49

Like Other Girls book review

Image from my Instagram


Here's what Lauren knows: she's not like other girls. She also knows it's problematic to say that - what's wrong with girls? She's even fancied some in the past. But if you were stuck in St Agnes, her posh all-girls school, you'd feel like that too. Here everyone's expected to be Perfect Young Ladies, it's even a song in the painfully awful musical they're putting on this year. And obviously said musical is directed by Lauren's arch nemesis.

Under it all though, Lauren's heart is bruised. Her boyfriend thinks she's crazy and her best friend has issues of her own... so when Lauren realises she's facing every teenage girl's worst nightmare, she has nowhere to turn. Maybe she should just give in to everything. Be like other girls. That's all so much easier ... right?


Review:

I'm so glad someone finally wrote this book! I'm also glad that someone was Claire Hennessy as I've really enjoyed the way she's tackled teen issues in her past books. 

I had to smile at some of the reviews of this book on Goodreads. People seem to be surprised that a teenager in a book isn't perfect. Lauren doesn't always say the right thing or act the right way, but then what teen does? I do believe she learns from her actions and everything she experienced made her a stronger person. However, even if she didn't learn that wouldn't have affected my enjoyment of the book.  People don't always magically change for the better (despite many teens online believing they should in every.single.book), they don't always learn a valuable lesson, they don't always get what they deserve. Fiction reflects life and shitty people exist.

Blog Tour: Read an Extract from The Summer House by the Sea by @JenOliverBooks @HQstories

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The Summer House by the Sea by Jenny Oliver


Every Summer has its own story…

For Ava Fisher, the backdrop to all her sun-drenched memories – from her first taste of chocolate-dipped churros to her very first kiss – is her grandmother’s Summerhouse in the sleepy Spanish seaside town of Mariposa.

Returning for one last summer, Ava throws herself into a project her grandmother would be proud of. Café Estrella - once the heart of the sleepy seaside village - now feels more ramshackle than rustic. Just like Ava, it seems it has lost its sparkle.

Away from the exhausting juggle of London life, Ava realises somehow her life has stopped being…happy. But being back at the Summerhouse by the sea could be the new beginning she didn’t even realise she needed…
Buy on Amazon

Extract:

‘God, I’d have had to say something about you, wouldn’t I? If that bus had got you.’
‘That’s a nice way of putting it, Rory.’
Rory sniggered into his sherry. Then he looked at his watch. ‘Come on, drink up, we’ve got a plane to catch.’
Ava realised she was suddenly itching to know what he would have said about her if the bus had indeed got her. Intrigued by a possible heartfelt truth, she crossed her arms, glass dangling from her fingertips, and with feigned nonchalance so as not to appear too eager, said, ‘Go on then, what would you have said?’


#LeopardattheDoor Blog Tour: The Real Kenya by @McVeighAuthor @PenguinUKBooks

10:38




Stepping off the boat in Mombasa, eighteen-year-old Rachel Fullsmith stands on Kenyan soil for the first time in six years. She has come home.

But when Rachel reaches the family farm at the end of the dusty Rift Valley Road, she finds so much has changed. Her beloved father has moved his new partner and her son into the family home. She hears menacing rumours of Mau Mau violence, and witnesses cruel reprisals by British soldiers. Even Michael, the handsome Kikuyu boy from her childhood, has started to look at her differently.

Isolated and conflicted, Rachel fears for her future. But when home is no longer a place of safety and belonging, where do you go, and who do you turn to?
Buy on Amazon

Guest Post: The Real Kenya


“In the biggest, brownest, muddiest river in Africa…” The Enormous Crocodile waded into my four year old life with a terrifying snap of his jaws and a reckless disdain for morality as I knew it. He wasn’t just eating children because he was hungry. He was eating them because it was fun. And I was thrilled. So began a lifelong love of the wild spaces and wild creatures of Africa.

When I was twelve my father took me to East Africa on safari. We rode horses across the Mara in Kenya, camping at night under a sky glittering with stars, listening to the low grunts of a lion carry far across the plains. We galloped alongside herds of zebra, clouds blackening into storm – the grasslands lit up beneath to an iridescent gold, and I remember thinking – as my horse pounded under me – that there could never be anywhere in the world as beautiful as this. We chased ostrich, and – on a hot day – stripped the saddles off our sweat-soaked horses and pushed them deep into a lake, where hippos blew water into the sun-drenched air, until our horses’ hooves left the ground and it felt as though we were flying. I fell madly in love with the raw simplicity of the life, with all its danger and isolation. 

Blog Tour Review: All the Good Things by @claresitafisher @VikingBooksUK

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All the Good Things book review


What if you did a very bad thing... but that wasn't the end of the story

Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn't deserve ever to feel good again.
But her counsellor, Erika, won't give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby's head.
But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.
What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone - even a 100% bad person - deserve a chance to be good?

All the Good Things is a story about redemption and hope for fans of Nathan Filer, Stephen Kelman and Emma Healey

Review


Wow. What an emotional read. I wasn't really prepared for this. All the Good Things is a short, one-sitting read but boy does it really pack an emotional punch! 

I'm one of those people who usually believes that right and wrong is pretty black and white. This is one of those books that really challenges that notion. I love a book that makes you look inward and question what it is you actually believe in. If you're in prison does that automatically make you a bad person? Does one mistake mean you should be labelled for the rest of your life?

Blog Tour Review: The Night Visitor by @lucyatkins @QuercusFiction

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The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins

Image from my Instagram


How far would you go to save your reputation? The stunning new noir thriller from the author of the bestselling The Missing One and The Other Child. Perfect for fans of I Let You Go and The Ice Twins.

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.

Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia's book is based. She has now become Olivia's unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything.

The Night Visitor is a compelling exploration of ambition, morality and deception that asks the question: how far would you go to save your reputation?

Review:

I've been in a bit of a reading funk lately. I've started loads of books but I've found myself unable to finish most of them. My concentration isn't great due to fatigue so I've been looking for something to relieve that 'meh' feeling I've been having while reading.

That relief came in the form of The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins. It's a thriller but not your run of the mill crime thriller. This one has more of a psychological feel. I've read a few psychological thrillers in the past few months but most of them had a wide range of characters. After a few books this can get tiring so it was nice to find a story that centered around just two people. I think this allowed me to get really involved. I was so invested in what was happening to these two women!

Extract and Giveaway: Win a copy of Swallowing Mercury @PLInst_London #PolishBooks

12:21



Wiola lives in a close-knit agricultural community. Wiola has a black cat called Blackie. Wiola's father was a deserter but now he is a taxidermist. Wiola's mother tells her that killing spiders brings on storms. Wiola must never enter the seamstress's 'secret' room. Wiola collects matchbox labels. Wiola is a good Catholic girl brought up with fables and nurtured on superstition. Wiola lives in a Poland that is both very recent and lost in time.

Extract


The Jesus Raffle

Disobeying my mother, i started sleeping with Blacky. Blacky smelled of hay and milk and had a snow white map of Africa around his neck. He would come to me in the night, lie on my duvet and start purring, kneading the covers like dough under his paws. Ever since I found him up in the attic, we lived in a strange state of symbiosis. Id carry him inside my jumper like a baby, steal cream for him from the dresser and, on Sundays, feed him chicken wings from my soup.

I spent the whole summer roaming the fields with Blacky. He showed me a different kind of geometry of the world, where boundaries are not marked by field margins overgrown with thistles and goosefoot, by cobbled roads, fences or tracks trodden by humans, but instead by light, sound and the elements. With Blacky, I learned to climb haystacks, apple and cherry trees, piles of breeze blocks; I learned to keep away from limestone pits hidden by blackberry bushes, from hornets nests, quagmires and snares set in the grain fields.
After Christmas, Blacky began to avoid me. Hed turn up at home only briefly and deposit a dead mouse on the doorstep, as if he wanted to make amends for his absence. On the first day of the winter break, he disappeared for good. I searched for him under tarpaulins and in the empty boxes where Uncle Lolek used to breed coypus and where Blacky loved sleeping all day, but he was nowhere to be found.
Uncle Lolek was my main suspect in the case of Blackys disappearance. A few months earlier, he had somehow managed to get hold of a sack of sugar which he hid in the coal shed, and thats exactly where Blacky set up his litter box. So, armed with my fathers air rifle, I ran to confront Uncle Lolek. I pointed the gun at him and ordered him to hand over Blacky immediately, since I couldnt allow my kitty to be turned into sausages and fur, like those nasty-smelling coypus. Uncle Lolek was speechless, and then he burst out laughing so hard he almost fell into the sauerkraut barrel. Grateful for being cheered up so much first thing in the morning, he offered me some sweets.

Blog Tour Giveaway: Win a copy of My Name is Leon by @KitdeWaal @PenguinUKBooks

15:00




A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you'd least expect to find one.

Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing Pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers. Since Jake is white and Leon is not.

As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile - like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum.

Evoking a Britain of the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a heart-breaking story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss. Of the fierce bond between siblings. And how - just when we least expect it - we manage to find our way home.

Blog Tour: Read a Deleted Scene from Good as Gone by @unlandedgentry @HQStories

14:35



Eight years ago, thirteen-year-old Julie Whitaker was kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night.

In the years since, her family have papered over the cracks of their grief – while hoping against hope that Julie is still arrive.

And then, one night, the doorbell rings.

Gripping, shocking, and deviously clever, Good as Gone is perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and The Ice Twins – and will keep readers guessing until the final page.

Deleted Scene (Spoiler Free)

A note from Amy:

Good as Gone alternates between the mother's point of view and the point of view of a mysterious young woman who goes by many different names over the course of the book. This deleted scene comes from one of the earliest of those chapters, "Gretchen."

Guest Post and Giveaway: Win #TheReunion by @roisinmeaney @HachetteIre

08:39


Buy on Amazon | Add to Goodreads

It's their twenty-year school reunion but the Plunkett sisters have their own reasons for not wanting to attend ...

Caroline, now a successful knitwear designer, spends her time flying between her business in England and her lover in Italy. As far as she's concerned, her school days, and what happened to her the year she left, should stay in the past.
Eleanor, meanwhile, is unrecognisable from the fun-loving girl she was in school. With a son who is barely speaking to her, and a husband keeping a secret from her, revisiting the past is the last thing on her mind.
But when an unexpected letter arrives for Caroline in the weeks before the reunion, memories are stirred.
Will the sisters find the courage to return to the town where they grew up and face what they've been running from all these years?


Guest Post: Back to School


Most of the time I love what I do. Sitting at my kitchen table, tapping away on the laptop – particularly when the weather is atrocious, and the stove is blazing – has got to be one of the best ways to earn a living.

But there are other days, when the rain dries up and the sun emerges. There are days when the Muse is busy in another writer’s house, and I mightn’t have had a face-to-face conversation with anyone for three days, and the deadline for finishing the manuscript is a comfortable distance away. These are the days when I’m delighted to open my inbox and find someone, anyone, looking for me.

I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the database of writers who feature in Poetry Ireland’s Writers in Schools Scheme. This means that I can be found by any teacher who’s searching for someone to come to the school to talk to the children about the joys of writing for a living, or to tell stories to the ones too young for a writer talk. I also get occasional calls from libraries, bookshops and book clubs inviting me to come and do a reading – and recently I was asked to interview a visiting writer at my local library. All great, all very welcome breaks from the laptop-tapping that usually constitutes my day’s work.

And while I enjoy any interaction with the outside world, and I welcome the opportunities afforded by the adult events to spread the word about my novels, I look forward in particular to the school visits. When I gave up primary school teaching in 2008 in favour of fulltime writing, the only things I really missed about that job were the company of my little charges and the wonderful buzz of a classroom. I don’t have children of my own, and my nephews and niece are all pretty much grown by this (yes, I am that old) so I went from daily interaction with small people to virtually none at all. Not good.

Consequently, within weeks of giving up the day job I offered my services as a storyteller in my local library – OK, I sort of forced them to let me in – and I began a monthly Saturday morning session there for 3 to 6 year olds, which is still the highlight of my calendar – and when a fellow writer told me a few months later about the Writers in Schools scheme, I immediately applied to go on the database, and was thrilled to be accepted.

As an ex-teacher I have a distinct advantage over writers who’ve never taught. Some confess to being terrified at the prospect of speaking to a class of twelve year olds: for me it’s a thing to be anticipated with glee. I love chatting with them for an hour or so, asking them about their favourite authors, telling them about my life as a writer, reading a bit from one of my children’s books and responding to their questions (one of which is guaranteed to be ‘Are you rich?’ ‘Do I look rich?’ is generally my response, which seems to give them their answer.)

Mind you, much as I enjoy their company, I also love returning them to their class teacher at the end of the allotted time, and leaving the school without a bundle of copies to correct, or a lesson plan to prepare, or having to patrol a yard filled with running, shrieking little people – those bits I didn’t miss in the least when I stopped teaching.

I’ve visited secondary schools too, although my children’s books are both aimed at ten to twelve year olds. I must admit I was more than a little apprehensive the first time I was asked to come and talk to teenagers. I’d had little dealings with them in the past, and didn’t know what to expect. I called to mind the clusters of slouching youths I might pass on my way into town, or the groups of startlingly well-made-up young girls who might sweep past me in minis and heels – at their age I’d hardly have known what to do with a tube of lipstick, let alone eye liner or mascara; and to this day I’m shaky on anything approaching a high heel. I wondered if I’d be challenged, or mocked – or worse, if they’d chew their hair as they chatted to one another and ignored me.

I needn’t have worried. Teenagers, I’ve discovered, are simply twelve year olds with a bit more mileage. Once I cottoned on to that, and pitched my talk accordingly, we didn’t have a problem. I’ve discovered that visitors to any classroom, regardless of age group, are at an immediate advantage: they’re the fresh face, welcomed by students and teacher alike, offering a bit of a change for the former and a bit of a break for the latter.

So I really have the best of both worlds. Days of writing – nothing better when inspiration and words are flowing – interspersed every now and again with an opportunity to give my literary brain a break and mix with the outside world. And on the first Saturday of every month I pack up my storytelling kit and head for the library down the road with a big fat smile on my face.

Giveaway:

Follow and RT to win a copy of The Reunion. Open Worldwide.


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Blog Tour Extract: Sometimes I Lie by @alicewriterland @HarperCollinsUK @Line_reader

17:03



My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me.

1. I’m in a coma

2. My husband doesn’t love me any more

3. Sometimes I lie

Unnerving, twisted and utterly compelling, you won’t be able to put this new thriller down. Set to be the most talked about book in 2017, it’s perfect for fans of Behind Closed Doors, The Girl on the Train and The Widow.

Read an Extract:

Now Boxing Day,
 
December 2016 

I’ve always delighted in the free fall between sleep and wakefulness. Those precious few semi-conscious seconds before you open your eyes, when you catch yourself believing that your dreams might just be your reality. A moment of intense pleasure or pain, before your senses reboot and inform you who and where and what you are. For now, for just a second longer, I’m enjoying the self-medicated delusion that permits me to imagine that I could be anyone, I could be anywhere, I could be loved. 
I sense the light behind my eyelids and my attention is drawn to the platinum band on my finger. It feels heavier than it used to, as though it is weighing me down. A sheet is pulled over my body, it smells unfamiliar and I consider the possibility that I’m in a hotel. Any memory of what I dreamt evaporates. I try to hold on, try to be someone and stay somewhere I am not, but I can’t. I am only ever me and I am here, where I already know I do not wish to be. My limbs ache and I’m so very tired, I don’t want to open my eyes, until I remember that I can’t. Panic spreads through me like a blast of icy cold air. I can’t recall where this is or how I got here, but I know who I am. My name is Amber Reynolds. I am thirty-five years old. I’m married to Paul. I repeat these three things in my head, holding on to them tightly, as though they might save me, but I’m mindful that some part of the story is lost, the last few pages ripped out. When the memories are as complete as I can manage, I bury them until they are quiet enough inside my head to allow me to think, to feel, to try to make sense of it all. One memory refuses to comply, fighting its way to the surface, but I don’t want to believe it. 
The sound of a machine breaks into my consciousness, stealing my last few fragments of hope and leaving me with nothing except the unwanted knowledge that I am in a hospital. The sterilised stench of the place makes me want to gag. I hate hospitals. They are the home of death and regrets that missed their slots, not somewhere I would ever choose to visit, let alone stay. 
There were people here before, strangers, I remember that now. They used a word I chose not to hear. I recall lots of fuss, raised voices and fear, not just my own. I struggle to unearth more, but my mind fails me. Something very bad has happened, but I cannot remember what or when. 
Why isn’t he here? 
It can be dangerous to ask a question when you already know the answer. 
He does not love me. 
I bookmark that thought.
 I hear a door open. Footsteps, then the silence returns but it’s spoiled, no longer pure. I can smell stale cigarette smoke, the sound of pen scratching paper to my right. Someone coughs to my left and I realise there are two of them. Strangers in the dark. I feel colder than before and so terribly small. I have never known a terror like the one that takes hold of me now. I wish someone would say something.
 ‘Who is she?’ asks a woman’s voice. 
‘No idea. Poor love, what a mess,’ replies another woman.
 I wish they’d said nothing at all. I start to scream. My name is Amber Reynolds! I’m a radio presenter! Why don’t you know who I am? I shout the same sentences over and over, but they ignore me, because on the outside I am silent. On the outside, I am nobody and I have no name. 
I want to see the me they have seen. I want to sit up, reach out and touch them. I want to feel something again. Anything. Anyone. I want to ask a thousand questions. I think I want to know the answers. They used the word from before too, the one I don’t want to hear. The women leave, closing the door behind them, but the word stays behind, so that we are alone together and I am no longer able to ignore it. I can’t open my eyes. I can’t move. I can’t speak. The word bubbles to the surface, popping on impact and I know it to be true. 
Coma.



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#BookReview You and Me, Always by @JillMansell

10:32

You and Me Always by Jill Mansell

Buy on Amazon

Lily's always been surrounded by love.

Ever since her mother died, she's been cared for by friends who are as close as any family.

Coral, her mum's best friend; Patsy, her old babysitter - and even Dan, Patsy's incorrigible younger brother - have always been there for her.

But when she chance comes to meet the man who was the love of her mother's life, Lily knows she has to take it. Getting to know him could change everything, and not just for Lily...


Review:

Jill Mansell is one of my favourite authors. I have all her books and she never fails in delivering an extremely good book.

You and me, always was everything I have come to expect and enjoy; a beautiful, romantic and emotionally touching read.

The central characters are Lily, Coral, Patsy and Dan; brought together by the death of Lily’s mum and Coral’s best friend when Lily was a young girl. Coral and her then husband take Lily in and raise her.

There are various stories running throughout and so not to spoil the book for those who have not read it I will just share a couple of my favourite’s parts.

Lily has been in love with Dan for as long as she can remember, but has never acted on her feelings for him because she does not want to be another ‘one’ of his women. Instead they have become best friends and someone she knows will always be there for her.

Dan, unbeknownst to Lily is in love with her. Dan has never acted on his feelings (you will learn why in the book) and his way of managing this is to meet and date other women.

I am a sucker for a romantic book, I can’t help myself! So this storyline had me hooked from the start. Will Lily confess her feelings for Dan, or will the introduction of Hollywood star Eddie Tessler bring a stop to that? Will Dan give in to his feelings for Lily or step back and allow Eddie to have the life with her that he dreams of?

This story is relatable as are the characters; either as the single girl hoping for love but struggling with the dating world, or the widow ready to start dating. Whoever you are, whatever your story, there will be something or someone for all of you in this story.

Fans of Jill Mansell know that when they pick up one of her books they are going to be spirited away to another world. At times you are taken to places of sadness, joy, love and friendship yet her style and storytelling always leaves you feeling utterly absorbed and happy that you have had access into these characters lives.

Rating:

★★★★★

This review was written by my co-blogger Hannah. Follow her on Twitter. 

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Blog Tour Giveaway: Win The Method by @ShannonCKirk @LittleBrownUK

15:24

The Method book Shannon Kirk

Kidnapped? Helpless? Looks can be deceiving...


'Deft ... refreshing ... Shannon Kirk is a writer to watch' Stylist
'Completely original' Lisa Gardner
'A monster twist' Glamour

You're sixteen, you're pregnant and you've been kidnapped.

If you're anyone else you give in, but if you're a manipulative prodigy you fight back in the only way you can. You use what you've been given against your captors.

You have only one chance to save your life and that of your unborn child. You're calculating, methodical, and as your kidnappers are about to discover, they made a big mistake in abducting you.

What happens when the victim is just as dangerous as the captors?

The Method
is a dark, gripping and unique thriller that introduces a kickass new heroine - think Lisbeth Salander meets Pierre Lemaitre's Alex. Perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson and Karin Slaughter.

'A riveting debut novel ... welcome to a thrilling new voice in crime fiction' Boston Globe


'A dark, literate page turner, utterly compelling. I read it in one sitting' Leonard Rosen, author of All Cry Chaos

'This exciting tale builds to a surprising climax' Publishers Weekly

About Shannon Kirk:


Shannon Kirk is a practicing attorney and law professor in Massachusetts, where she lives with her
husband, a physicist and ultra-marathoner, and son, a cat-loving, basketball-playing eleven-year-old. Shannon is a three-time finalist in the William Faulkner Wisdom Writing Competition: 2012 Novel-in-Progress, The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall (literary fiction, finalist); 2013 Novella, 15/33 (thriller, finalist); and 2014 Novel-in-Progress, The Impossibility of Interplanetary Love (literary fiction, short-list finalist). Prior to moving to Massachusetts, Shannon was a trial attorney in Chicago for ten years. Born in Easton, Pennsylvania, Shannon spent her very early years moving around the country: Texas, Indiana, Massachusetts, Upstate New York, and finally settled to grow up mostly in Raymond, New Hampshire. Her home was an eccentric and loud, although loving, household with ten million pets of dubious origin. Both her parents encouraged pursuits in the arts, often dragging her and her three brothers to flea markets and antique shows, while giving lessons on the genius of Bob Dylan and Santana. Shannon's three brothers are artists: one, a rap/blues musician, another a sculptor, and another a physical therapist with a woodshop. Shannon attended Trinity High School and moved on to West Virginia Wesleyan and St. John's for college. She graduated from Suffolk Law School in 1998, where she is currently an adjunct law professor. When not writing or practicing law, Shannon enjoys creating sea-glass sculptures, painting, and hanging with her family and two cats, Marvin Garcia Marquez and Stewie Poe, named after her writing influences.


Shannon writes in several genres: literary fiction, suspense/thriller, and young adult.


Giveaway:

The prize is one copy of The Method.
Open to the UK and Ireland only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Blog Tour: #Win a copy of The Witch Finder's Sister by @bethunderdown @VikingBooksUK

13:52

Advert:
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The Witch Finder's Sister by Beth Underdown



Escape into the biggest historical debut of 2017: the true story of the 1640s Essex witch trials, for fans of The Miniaturist, Sarah Waters and The Essex Serpent.

'VIVID AND TERRIFYING' Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train
'If you loved The Essex Serpent...then you may have met your new favourite' Apple Books

'The number of women my brother Matthew killed, so far as I can reckon it, is one hundred and six...'

1645. When Alice Hopkins' husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives.

But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering women's names.

To what lengths will Matthew's obsession drive him?
And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?

Guest Post: researching the witch hunts


As soon as I encountered the 1640s witch hunts, I knew I wanted to write about them. I first came across Matthew Hopkins’s name quite randomly as part of a brief footnote in a book on seventeenth-century midwifery. I’d never heard of him or the trials he instigated, and I quickly began to research it further.

I started off by reading generally about the English Civil War, and the unrest and poverty it caused that enabled the witch hunts to really take hold. Travelling on horseback through Essex and Suffolk, Matthew Hopkins used manipulation and torture to extract confessions of making pacts with the devil. By autumn 1647 at least 250 people—mostly women—had been questioned and tried. More than a hundred were hanged. Using Malcolm Gaskill’s engaging and thorough work on Hopkins, I’ve tried to keep the names, the life stories and the ‘confessions’ of the witchfinder’s victims accurate in my book.

It was also important for me to know plenty about the broader context of the witch hunts. I wanted to understand my narrator properly – Matthew’s sister, Alice. I read a lot about seventeenth century food and cooking, clothing, religion and charitable giving, to try to understand what a woman’s life would have been like in Alice’s time. I also used anthologies of diary entries, love letters and confessions from the 1600s to help me get a sense of how people would have spoken and written about themselves and each other.

I spent time in Essex and Suffolk, where the witch hunts happened, comparing old maps with new ones to try and find old routes, and visiting churches and castles to get a sense of the different places the witch hunt went. I was also able to find the field where Matthew Hopkins is probably buried, which is incredibly creepy! Visiting the places that feature in the book was the most important way for me to capture the feeling of the witch hunts.

Giveaway:

Open to the UK and Ireland only.


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#BookReview Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough #WTFthatending

13:45

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-------------------------------

behind her eyes book review



Louise

Since her husband walked out, Louise has made her son her world, supporting them both with her part-time job. But all that changes when she meets…

David

Young, successful and charming – Louise cannot believe a man like him would look at her twice let alone be attracted to her. But that all comes to a grinding halt when she meets his wife…

Adele


Beautiful, elegant and sweet – Louise's new friend seems perfect in every way. As she becomes obsessed by this flawless couple, entangled in the intricate web of their marriage, they each, in turn, reach out to her.

But only when she gets to know them both does she begin to see the cracks… Is David really is the man she thought she knew and is Adele as vulnerable as she appears?
Just what terrible secrets are they both hiding and how far will they go to keep them?


Review:

Why authors!? Why do you do this!! This book was so hard to review without spoiling. I really want to talk about what ruined this book for me but I don't want to spoil it.

I loved Behind Her Eyes right up until the last chapter. It brilliantly written. The characters really suck you into their world and hold you there! You'll have a perceived notion of a character and then BAM, that's all turned on it's head in a single sentence in the final part of a chapter. That takes real talent and it makes great reading. I love it when a book messes with your head in that way. 

I always say that I love to hate a character and David was one of those characters. He's painted as a controlling bully and I loved guessing what he might do next in his bid to keep tabs on Adele. 

Then there kind of came a point in the book where it all got very 'familiar'. I think I've just read too many plots with unreliable narrators and after a while they all start to meld together. I started to figure out what was going on. I won't say I guessed the ending exactly but I had a fairly good idea of what was happening (there were major hints at more than one point) so there was no WTF moment for me...well there was, but not in a good way. 

And that is what will divide people. I found the ending to be a little silly. I won't say it ruined the book as such but I was certainly annoyed. Again, it's really hard to talk about it without spoiling but I just didn't appreciate the sudden change in genre. I love when a book evokes emotion but I don't like feeling frustrated at the end of a book. Especially when I enjoyed reading every other part of it.

So would I still recommend Behind Her Eyes? Yes, absolutely. It's a highly addictive read that will draw you in from the first page. You won't want to put it down. Just be prepared for the ending and remember that a WTF feeling isn't always a positive one! I think this will a be Marmite book. You'll either love the ending or loathe it, but take the chance see what you think. 

Have you read Behind Her Eyes? Did you like the ending? Let me know in the comments.


Rating:

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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#BookReview You're Next by @GreggHurwitz

10:15

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You’re-Next-Gregg-Hurwitz-book-review



I know you, don't I?' Five words - that's all it takes to plunge Mike Wingate and his family into mortal danger. Mike doesn't recognise the crippled stranger who approaches him at a party . . . but the stranger seems to know all about him.

What has Mike done? Do they have the wrong man? Overnight, the threats become attacks, and Mike, his wife, and their young daughter learn they aren't safe anywhere -especially not their own home.

He doesn't know who they are. He doesn't know what they want. But there's no time to figure it out - because his enemies have killed before, and he's next.

Review:


I enjoy a good mooch around the charity shops; particularly when it comes to buying books. 

I am a little nervous about buying a book by an author I have never read before and the charity shop affords me this luxury. 

You’re Next by Gregg Hurwitz was one such book. 
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