Blog Tour: Read an Extract from Black Moss by @Nolanwriter @fahrenheitpress @lovebooksgroup


In April 1990, as rioters took over Strangeways prison in Manchester, someone killed a little boy at Black Moss.

And no one cared. 

No one except Danny Johnston, an inexperienced radio reporter trying to make a name for himself.

More than a quarter of a century later, Danny returns to his home city to revisit the murder that's always haunted him. 

If Danny can find out what really happened to the boy, maybe he can cure the emptiness he's felt inside since he too was a child.

But finding out the truth might just be the worst idea Danny Johnston has ever had.


An Extract from Black Moss:

The main backdrop to the book is the Strangeways riot, the longest prison disturbance in British penal history. I covered the riot at the time – it was a surreal experience.

The carnival was in full swing when Danny arrived at Strangeways. He turned off Bury New Road, finding a parking spot alongside a clothing wholesaler, whose window was full of garishly coloured gear aimed at the current Madchester market. Counterfeit thought Danny. Every last stitch of it. No one seems to care though. Criminality that they turn a blind eye to, right outside a prison.

Music drifted across the road as Danny locked his car, an aging blue Ford Escort. Then he double checked he’d locked it properly. The song was ‘Ghetto Heaven’ by Family Stand. There were scores – no, hundreds – of people milling about in the side roads and wasteland that surrounded the jail. Many were drinking from tins of beer – there was a man selling them from a makeshift stall made from what looked like a decorators table. An additional boozy waft was provided by the Boddington’s brewery next door to the jail. It only added to the party atmosphere – as did a heavy smell of weed in the air.

Blog Tour: Read an Extract from Vitellius’ Feast by @TraffordLj @BookPublicistUK


AD 69. As this most dramatic year draws to a close, now is the time to choose a definitive side. Whilst Vitellius enjoys the trappings of power around him, machinations are afoot. In the East, Vespasian has his eye on the throne, but he needs help preparing Rome for his plans and, for his teenage son Domitian, protection from Vitellius' agents. 


The following is an extract from Vitellius’ Feast, written by L. J. Trafford and published by Sphinx. The book is available from December 1st, priced at £12.99. For more information see:


“Gods above! What a procession it was,” laughed the barman. “There were these eunuchs, a big gang of them all kitted out in loincloths, and they danced through the streets. Behind them were women. But not good women. If you know what I mean.” He aimed an exaggerated wink at Epaphroditus. “No, these were of the painted toga sort. Prostitutes. Our small town has never seen the like.”
The barman, a portly man in his fifties, leaned back in his chair and grinned. “It was fantastic for business. All those soldiers. All those girls. Even those little eunuchs can knock back a drink. I’ve got enough coin to upgrade my premises now.”
Just as well, thought Epaphroditus, taking in the grimy walls and filthy floor of the bar.
“The emperor?” he pressed, getting down to business. This business was the sole reason he was sat in such dubious surroundings, in some forgotten town, in a part of Italy far removed from the villas and palaces he was more familiar with. “The emperor was with the soldiers?”
“I’ve never seen an emperor before.”
“Did you see this one?” Epaphroditus asked.
The barman grinned from ear to ear. “Too right I did. I had him here in my bar! Imagine! An emperor! Huge big fat fella.” He pulled his hands far apart to demonstrate the bulk. “He ate up my entire supply of whelks! All by himself! Can you imagine? A barrel of whelks?”
“Thank you,” said Epaphroditus, getting to his feet. “Have this for your trouble.” He pressed a gold coin into a sweaty palm.
Outside he wiped his own hand on his cloak and sucked in a mouthful of clean air. Around him, the townspeople were clearing up the debris left by Vitellius’ passing army. They did so with smiles on their faces, even the slaves. Vitellius had left his mark on the town. But where was he?
They’d received notice some fifteen days past that the new emperor was hovering around the north of Italy. Epaphroditus had set off to intersect Vitellius’ army before they reached Rome. So far, all he’d encountered were a series of depleted towns and happy businessmen like the barmen. There was quite a lot of coinage to be made from 30,000 soldiers, and word had spread. Epaphroditus had passed many enterprising sorts carrying their produce in wagons, or on their backs, as keen as he was to ingratiate themselves with the new emperor.
That they were keen to meet the approaching army boded well. The secretary had not expected such jollity when the army had marched from Germania under the command of Vitellius’ two generals. Towns had been razed, women raped en masse, civilians slaughtered. Perhaps it was the presence of their emperor that had quelled Fabius Valens’ and Caecina’s blood-lust. Which suggested Vitellius had a better grasp on events than Epaphroditus had given him credit for when he’d been supporting Otho’s claim to the purple.
Alas, Otho was no more and there was one man left stand-ing: Aulus Vitellius. Who’d have thought it? Certainly not Epaphroditus. In all his dealings with Vitellius over the years in the courts of Claudius and Nero, not once had he imagined Vitellius had the ambition or the energy for such an auda-cious plan. That was why he’d initially assumed Valens and Caecina to be the instigators. But their behaviour since Otho’s suicide suggested otherwise. Epaphroditus had expected both men to appear with their legions at the gates of Rome keen to install themselves in power. But they hadn’t. They’d both dutifully and patiently waited for Vitellius to make his way from Germania to Italy. Which was contrary to everything Epaphroditus had thought he’d known about the bloodthirsty and avaricious Valens, and the handsome but empty-headed Caecina.
Part of the secretary’s desire to rendezvous with the emperor stemmed from a wish to get close to these two men and a firmer grip on their motivations.
“Bumped into a kid putting up some notices,” said Epaphroditus’ slave. “The emperor is putting on some games, it appears.”
Bononia was half a day’s ride away.
“Make sure my toga’s ready,” he instructed. “I have an appointment with an emperor.”

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Blog Tour: Read an Extract from Stoned Love by @IPatrick_Author @fahrenheitpress @lovebooksgroup


Detective Sergeant Sam Batford has been lying low at a remote safe house in the highlands of Scotland. He's doing his best not to attract the attention of the enemies he made, on both sides of the law, during his last under-cover operation but Batford knows he’s just killing time until he's called to account.

Inevitably the sharks begin to circle and as Batford is called back to front-line action in London he’s thrown into a deadly game of cat and mouse where it seems everyone is out to get him.

After having to endure a frustrating resolution to their previous undercover operation together DCI Klara Winter from the National Crime Agency is determined to prove that Batford has crossed the line into criminality and finally bring him to face justice.

All Sam Batford wants is to outwit his enemies long enough to stay alive and come out ahead of the game.  



I look up and see a red Kite hovering over the fields looking for prey. I throw the rat towards the open area of grass.

 As I do, the sound of an engine enters my senses. It’s a car not an agricultural vehicle. I move further into the wood and crouch down. The dyke wall hides the driver’s window but I can see the red roof. It’s a post office van. I hear the engine stop outside my cottage, the metal cattle gate open and close then the sound is repeated, the engine fires up then fades as the car drives off down the hill towards the farm. The silence returns. I wonder what’s been sent. I only get mail from my employer. It’s never good news.

Cover Reveal: What Are You Like by Author Shelley Day @PascaleBientot @lovebooksgroup



These stories ask us: what are you like? Watch the characters grapple with what life throws at them, never quite sinking under the weight of it all. Shelley Day’s stories explore what we can’t quite grasp. They celebrate the uncertainties of language. The settings here are exquisitely imagined no-man's-lands- at once strange yet oddly familiar. Here are worlds where the improbable becomes possible: a mother finds herself living on a library shelf, a diner finds words sliding from his menu into nothingness, a psychiatrist cracks up in front of his patient, and there’s a stain on the wall that won’t stop spreading. These extraordinary stories take us to the psychological hinterlands that make us who we are. What are you like? Do you know the answer?

'These are real short stories from a real writer: full of the telling detail, the betraying detail, the immaculately-rendered thought… The title work alone is a visceral, unforgettable, punch-drunk joy. Read this book.'
A L Kennedy, award-winning novelist and short story writer.

‘Lucid, vivid, quirky, these interlinking stories teem with the stuff of life - always making the reader ask questions about family, loss, love - what is said, and what is not. The voices in this tender collection come bristling to life, fizzing and full. Fabulous.’ 
Jackie Kay, poet, novelist, short story writer, and Scotland’s Makar

‘This coruscating collection beautifully showcases Shelley Day’s twisting and turning talent. In one volume, we are immersed repeatedly into her magical worlds, emerging reeling yet ready for the next dip.’ 
Angela Jackson, award-winning novelist and script writer.

Cover Reveal:

About Shelley Day:

Shelley Day is an award-winning writer, a European totally opposed to Brexit, a Geordie lass, a lapsed lawyer and academic psychologist. She was named as an Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature ‘emerging writer’ in 2013 and has since appeared at numerous literary festivals. Her debut novel The Confession of Stella Moon (Saraband, 2016) won the Andrea Badenoch Prize and was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize. In 2015 she won a Northern Writer’s Award to support this debut short story collection. Represented by Jenny Brown.

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Blog Tour: Read an extract from Antiques and Alibis by @WendyHJones @Lovebooksgroup


Cass Claymore, a red headed, motorbike riding, ex-ballerina inherits a Detective Agency, and accidentally employs an ex-con dwarf and an octogenarian. Hired by a client who should know better, Cass has no leads, no clue and a complete inability to solve a case. Still a girl needs to eat and her highbred client’s offering good money. Join her as, with bungling incompetence, she follows a trail littered with missing antique teddies, hapless crooks, a misplaced Lord of the Realm and dead bodies. Will Cass, and Scotland, survive? 


Antiques and Alibis

Chapter 1

I’m Cass Claymore, redhead, biker chick, ex ballerina and Private Investigator. 

Oh, did I mention the dead body at my feet? The worst part, I’m not sure if I killed him or someone else performed the dirty deed. My days are not usually cluttered up with the recently deceased. So, a difficult call for me. 

Aged about thirtyish, clean-shaven, and wearing designer brogues. Not your average lowlife who’d end up dead. Unless the shoes were nicked, of course. The way my week was panning out, I’d probably bumped off some visiting Laird. Might he have died of natural causes? Bending over, I peered at him. He didn’t have the look of someone who’d shuffled off this mortal coil voluntarily. 

Q&A with If it Weren't for You Author Dorothea Neamonitos @DorotheaAuthor


An inspirational debut novel, If It Weren't For You explores the repercussions of revenge, the pain of truth and the discovery of love, intertwined with the moral dilemma of law and ethics. Eleanora cannot believe it - James is nothing what she'd expected to see after six years. He is poor, perhaps homeless. What went wrong? Determined to help him - see where life diverted from its course, she finds herself following him, and at the same time, remembering the past as she connects each dot... But there is something, she feels, haunting her deep down. Something, she knows, she had done. She is about to confront him for the first time when she hears him cry out in the stillness of the night. Before she knows it, she has become an eyewitness to an assault. James is battered unconscious on the ground. What could it mean? Now, more than ever, she must help. Whatever James involved in, the need to make amends is more profound. Because James wouldn't be in this dire situation in the first place if it weren't for her...



What is the inspiration behind your book?

The inspiration behind my book came to me as a train of thought one summer’s day three years ago. I had recollected an incident as a teenager, involving a boy who my friend needed help in meeting. She’d asked me to call him, arranging the date and time. As I was recollecting, a thought had sprung: What if it had all gone wrong back then? What if I created a different fate for them all? That’s when I ‘envisioned’ the outline of my book. I’d run to type the first six chapters the very same day.

Guest Post: The Inspiration for The Story After Us by @fionaperrin @lovebooksgroup


Sometimes the end is just the beginning...

If she tries very hard, Ami can remember when she used to have a dynamic and exciting career and a husband who she loved more than life itself, and who was equally smitten with her...

Now she has two children, a terrifyingly large mortgage, and no idea who she has become - or why she and her husband can't even be in the same room anymore.

With life as she knew it in tatters around her, Ami is heartbroken, and in no way pulling off 'consciously uncoupling' like a celeb. But she's starting to wonder if she just might come out the other side and be... happier?

As funny as Helen Fielding, as poignantly touching as Marian Keyes, Fiona Perrin's dazzling debut is a story that is as much about finding out who you really are again, as it is about the exhausting balancing act of motherhood. Unmissable for women everywhere.


Guest Post: The Inspiration

The Story After Us was inspired by me very unconsciously uncoupling from a husband I loved very much, a long time ago: it’s important to say that it was inspired by that, but it’s definitely not my story. Instead, I took that experience, of two people who loved each other very much but still found that life with careers and kids got in the way and made it into the story of Ami and Lars.

It really asks, is love enough to keep you together when life gets really tough? And then it asks what the story after happy ever after might look like? I’ve been lucky enough to ‘come out the other side’ and find happiness in a new marriage and have a very modern, blended family now of kids, step-parents and so on who all get on with each other mostly. So again, that was an inspiration – that there is life after love.

Q&A with Igniting the Shadows author Rebecca Jayne Heipel @TSW_rjh


Light is shed on the shadow of the unknown with tales of power, unwanted responsibilities, past lives and how it all came to be.

18 year old Lian and her best friend Bruce move to Switzerland to study abroad. While Bruce struggles with his feelings for Lian, she is pursued by the school jerk Darin. Lian's reoccurring nightmares push her to question both her friendship with Bruce and her own identity.

BUY THE BOOK: Amazon | Lulu


What is the inspiration behind your book?

Most of my novels, this one included, is a mixture of a single thought, daydream or nightmare brought to life by my love of music.  I find music paints pictures in my head and that is how most of my stories come to life.  This novel, in particular, was also inspired by my desire to put movies into a readable format.  So that you too will hopefully have images that dance in your minds when you read it.

Guest Post: History is a Mystery by Haunted Broch Author @WendyHJones @lovebooksgroup


A Scottish Broch.

An archaeologist scorned.

A ghost disturbed.

The Detective Duo, Fergus and Flora, are spending their summer on an archaeological dig, searching for the Lost Broch. 

But someone—or something—seems set on sabotaging the project. An infestation of spiders—a swarm of mice—the campsite trashed—who knew archaeology could be so dangerous? 

And is the Lost Broch really under a curse?  

Guest Post: History is a Mystery

When it comes to writing mystery books, I am never short of inspiration. Life provides me with a rich source of ideas. The saying, ‘fact is stranger than fiction’ is so true. I am fascinated by modern day society as well as history, and I love travelling to other countries to immerse myself in new cultures. I have managed to combine all of these into my Fergus and Flora series. Another aspect of life which fascinates me is human nature. Everyone is different and observing people and chatting to them gives you a wide tapestry of characters to draw on.

Fergus and Flora are a couple of normal teens. Yet, they have a curiosity about life and the past which makes them want to find out more. Like most teens, they think they know better than the adults and that they are invincible. I wanted to make them as realistic as possible but allow them to get into the sorts of scrapes that is often not possible in modern day society. I drew on some elements of the character traits of my nieces for Flora. Fergus is based on an amalgam of my friends’ sons.

Guest Post: Belfast Central Author @amherst_ak On Writing Inspiration @LoveBooksGroup


Belfast 1993: A nocturnal ambulance service at the Belfast Central Station almost turns deadly for the young paramedic Ryan. In the crosshairs of the IRA, he is badly wounded and wakes up in the hospital with muddled memories. The police close the case fast, leaving too many burning questions unanswered. Most importantly, who was that old man who appeared at the scene out of nowhere and saved Ryan’s life? Not fully recovered yet, Ryan begins searching for the mysterious man, only to get dragged into a feud between opposing paramilitaries - with fatal consequences… 

A thrilling story about fates in 20th century Northern Ireland.  

Guest Post: A,K. Amherst's Writing Inspiration

I draw huge inspiration from traveling. Being in another country, experiencing another culture is really refreshing for my mind. While I am abroad it is important for me to feel like a local too. So I hardly ever stay in hotels but in apartments. I need my own „hood“, find my own favourite coffee place and go for groceries. Even if I just stay there for a week or two it’s possible to create a sense of belonging. Usually shop and restaurant owners recognise you quite fast if you visit regularly for some time. The trusted conversations that start to develop are really nice to experience.

Doing what locals do becomes a main part of my trips. One time in Canada, my guest mom and I got along so well, she took me to a backyard concert that no tourist would have known about. She practically knew everyone there and introduced me. It was a blast. Another time, my guest father in Australia took me on a private tour and told me World War II stories. These are experiences you can’t find during a booked tour or in a travel guide. - Not that they are bad, I have done them too, I just like to dig deeper.

When my first draft of „Belfast Central“ was done I went to Northern Ireland to do local research there. This was important for me. I wanted to get the story right and also needed to find the answers to some remaining questions. I spent a whole afternoon in the Linen Hall Library in Belfast and visited all the settings of my book. It was a mind-blowing experience. I was probably the only tourist at that car rental who didn’t go to the Giant’s Causeway but to Down Patrick - the hometown of one of my main characters.  

So yeah, traveling is one huge source of inspiration for me. Another one is music. Lyrics usually don’t tell the whole story. They just hint at something and raise the feeling that there is so much more underneath. That’s what makes them so powerful. When I am plotting a story or creating a character I am listening to songs that touch me again and again. I am then trying to find one possible story behind those lyrics.

Whenever I am stuck with a story a walk with my dog can do wonders. Around our home, there are a lot of tracks in the forest and the fields. I am relaxed as soon as I get out there and for a moment I even forget about the writing issues I have. 

While walking one of our favourite tracks I decided to give one troublesome plot another try. I still remember the exact spot where I solved the problem. Now, whenever I continue working on that story I walk this certain track with my dog.  Whenever I am working on my other book idea I walk another track to not mix the ideas. 

I guess it is a kind of superstition, like when players of a certain sport wear their lucky shirt for a game. I have my special lyrics and my lucky tracks for each and every story.

About the Author

Born and raised in Austria, A.K. Amherst travelled the world from a young age. This influenced her writing, which relates to the history and cultures of foreign countries. Intensive research is part of her job, and she really loves her job. You want to be taken into another setting and experience life from a different angle? Then Amherst is the writer for you.

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Picture Book Review: Bertie the Buffalo by @WendyHJones @malcolmdown @LoveBooksGroup


Bertie the Buffalo is based on a true story of when a Water Buffalo escaped from a Buffalo Park in Fife, near Dundee, Scotland. A rhyming book about the adventures Bertie got up to and how he safely returned home, demonstrating how important each of us is no matter how insignificant we feel. Bertie felt that no one noticed him. But he didn't need to think that as we are all special. We are all a part of one big family.
Click HERE to buy the book


This was a really sweet little book about Bertie, a buffalo who runs away in an attempt to find a place where he really belongs. He feels he's too small to fit in with the other buffalo so he sets off on an adventure.

The book is told in rhyme, which I'm sure will appeal to small children, but in a way, I felt like being constrained by rhyming held the story back.  

Along the way, he meets a Lama, a fox and other animals. I felt like there was a missed learning opportunity here, for example, he could have remarked about how the fox lives in a den. It's touched on a little when he meets a Lama who explains how he's on Holiday from Peru. Loved that bit.

Guest Post: Vampires on Screen by Suckers author @JackyDahlhaus @LoveBooksGroup


Staying alive is hard in a world full of bloodsuckers. What do you do to survive?

Kate has just begun her new job as a high school teacher and is looking forward to living her suburban dream life. All her hopes and dreams turn into smoke as a virus turns people into vampires, roaming the world in packs and killing everybody they can get their hands on. Kate has to pretend to be one of them to stay alive. When she accidentally bumps into a handsome sucker who then mysteriously disappears, surviving is no longer the only thing on Kate's mind.

Will Kate stay alive and human while pursuing this mysterious stranger?

Pick up this action-packed, fast-paced, suspenseful novel and explore the depths of Kate's emotions as she struggles to make sense of it all.

Vampires have struck fear in the hearts of people all over the world for a very long time. They were given scary names like Chupacabra (South-America), BrahmarākŞhasa (northern India), and Vrycolakas (Greece) in folkloric tales. Basically, they were all creatures that drank the blood of the living. Most likely, the affliction was based on a rare disease called porphyria, in which the person may suffer temporary quadriplegia (hence seemingly to ‘rise from the dead’ after an attack) and an allergic reaction to sunlight (which made them night-dwellers).

The first time vampires were mentioned in English literature was in eighteenth-century poems. Lord Byron was the first person credited with writing a novel about vampires, titled The Vampyre, in 1819 (although it was his physician who actually wrote it). None, however, were so influential as Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897, of course.

The first vampire on screen was in a 1922 German silent movie called Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror. It was the first filmographic version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel. They didn’t get permission to film it from Stoker’s widow and had to declare bankruptcy to avoid paying copyright infringement fees after the movie came out. They were told to destroy every film reel, but as it was already distributed worldwide, this was, fortunately, practically impossible.

Guest Post: Books that influenced Calculated Contagion author @ktleewrites @LoveBooksGroup


Dani Christensen is a vaccine researcher who has spent her career proving she is more than just the daughter of the company's CEO. However, as her accomplishments in contagious disease research grow, the wrong people begin to notice. When Dani is isolated from her colleagues at a well-regarded conference in Europe, she is kidnapped and taken to an isolated camp in the Carpathian Mountains.

CIA officers Cam Mitchell and Tyler Scott are sent to observe a suspicious group of armed men in rural Romania. When Cam sees Dani being brought into the camp against her will, he and his partner rescue her and bring her safely back to the United States. The CIA initially believes Dani was kidnapped for ransom, but they soon realize her kidnapper has followed her back to her lab. Now, the CIA must work with their allies in the FBI to catch Dani’s kidnapper before he releases a potentially deadly contagion for his own political gain.

Calculated Contagion is Book 2 in The Calculated Series. All books in The Calculated Series may be enjoyed as standalone novels or as a series.


Guest Post by K.T. Lee:

Books I loved growing up that influence me today

I am an engineer who not only loves digging into technical details but also likes to write books and perform improv comedy for fun. Similarly, my books combine a number of different elements – they are part cozy mystery and science thriller with a bit of fun and romance along the way. Growing up, I had favorite books that fell into a number of different categories. However, the common thread in all of them was an intriguing, character-driven story.

Blog Tour: Read an extract from The Witches of St Petersburg @HoZ_Books


Brimming with black magic, sex and intrigue, a gorgeous historical novel for fans of Dinah Jefferies and Santa Montefiore.

The Russian Empire is on the verge of collapse. Revolution is in the air. The starving stalk the streets of St Petersburg and yet the Imperial Court still commute between their estates and organise their lavish balls.

Two sisters arrive in the city. Princesses from Montenegro; they are famed for their wild beauty and mystical powers. Initially ridiculed and outcast as the daughters of a provincial 'Goat King', they react in the only way they know how. They befriend the isolated Tsarina Alexandra and, using their gifts, they help her in her increasingly desperate quest to give birth to a son and heir. The circle closes. The girls are the gateway. Gurus, clairvoyants, holy fools and charlatans all try their luck. Then in one last, doomed, throw of the dice, the sisters introduce Rasputin into the Russian Court...

Based on the true story of the lives of Princess Militza and Princess Anastasia of Montenegro during the dying days of the Russian Empire, The Witches of St Petersburg is a tale of love, lust, power and betrayal at the heart of the Romanov Court.


‘It looks as if everyone is having a break,’ replied Militza. ‘Of course,’ said Stana. ‘Nothing to do with our arriving.’ ‘Nothing at all,’ said Militza, as they continued to skate around and around the empty rink. ‘If we keep going, they’ll soon get bored.’ ‘I’m sure they will,’ agreed Stana. ‘Although I have to say my feet are killing me!’ ‘So are mine!’ Militza replied and they both laughed. Neither of the sisters had ever skated so long and so determinedly in their lives. Their feet were freezing, their breath was landing in small crystals of hoar frost all over their furs, but still they carried on.

‘I am not sure how longer I can do this,’ muttered Stana, her ankles beginning to burn. ‘I shall skate until the aurora borealis comes dancing up the river,’ declared Militza, clasping her hands a little firmer in her muff. It was the children who returned to the ice first. Unable to hold them back any longer, reluctant mothers and governess released them, scrambling and skidding, back onto the ice. They were rapidly followed by the young couples and giggling groups of girls. The day was too beautiful and too rare not to be taken advantage of. In fact, it was only the old guard, sitting on their benches, stiffening in the breeze, who seemed to able to smell the heady lemon musk at all. At just after 3 p.m., the ice began to empty. The Grand Duchess Vladimir was one of the first to disappear, along with her silver salvers and gloved servants. ‘I am not sure I have ever seen skates like those!’ she declared as she walked past the sisters. Stana and Militza simply smiled in reply.

Book Review: Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by @holly_bourneYA #KindnessIsContagious


Welcome to Camp Reset, a summer camp with a difference. A place offering a shot at “normality” for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for the new friends she never expected to make – who each have their own reasons for being there. Luckily Olive has a plan to solve all their problems. But how do you fix the world when you can’t fix yourself?

A raw and compelling exploration of mental health, friendship and the power of compassion from the acclaimed Holly Bourne.


I'm a huge Holly Bourne fan but I went into Lemmings and Snowflakes without reading much about it beyond the blurb. 

I want to make it clear that I'm not a mental health professional so my views are based on my experiences only. 

I found this book hard to read at times. Not because the writing was bad, but because it hit almost too close to home at times. The author does a superb job of giving the reader a glimpse into what it is to be mentally ill. 

Olive is sent to Reset Camp in order to try and get her life back on track. The problem is she doesn't know what exactly is derailing her because she refuses to be told what diagnosis she has been given. I found this a really interesting aspect to the story and the way some people find that labels hinder them while others feel they are a necessary step on the road to recovery/stability.

“There's a certain type - who use their diagnosis like a human shield. They think it's a reason to find offence in anything. Accuse everyone of triggering them. Act like the world should wrap them up in cotton wool and lie coats over puddles for them just because they're on antidepressants or whatever.” 

Guest Post: From Poetry to a Novel by Elji and the Galrass Author @authorcol @LoveBooksGroup


Elji, a boy from a village outside the city of Mehem discovers a "Galrass" a tool usually wielded only by those who understand its power. Perhaps it was left for him to find or perhaps it was just a random happening?

The Galrass embroils him in a struggle he never expected to be part of or even imagined existed. Dregar, a being from a different planet and galaxy ‘feels’ the boys interruption of the universal essence and takes him under his wing and so his journey begins.

Friendships are made and lost and many lives must be put in danger to usher the civilization into its rightful place among the Universal essence. Will Elji fulfill his potential and help save his world or will it fall into darkness?

Guest Post: From Poetry to a Novel

Some twenty four years ago there was an episode in my life that pushed me to find an outlet for the anxiety and worry that was happening at the time. I needed an outlet for my feelings, and I turned to poetry. I wrote a poem to expose my feelings about the birth of my son who, was born very premature and weighed only 1 lb 6ozs. It resonated with people who knew me and knew the situation. That led me, for many years, to write poetry for my friends and family to try and help them through traumatic situations. It was a cathartic experience.

As time passed my poetry became more introspective and I began to use it as a vehicle to voice some of my beliefs and understanding of what I wanted. I wrote a piece that, when I came back to it many years later, became the foundation of the Prologue for Elji and the Galrass.

As people read Elji and I began to get some feedback in the early days of beta readers, many of them said that the writing in the book held a “poetic quality” to it. I am yet to understand quite what people mean by that, but I am just going to accept that it probably is a good thing and that people must have liked it to mention it.

Guest Post: Inspiration for Fame and Fortune in the Gorbals by @Donnekate @LoveBooksGroup


Robert James Muldoon. That’s me. Sixteen years auld, four feet three wi bright red hair an legs like a chicken...’

It’s 1969 and Bobby, as he is usually known, has spent the last year dealing with one crisis after another. He’s a Gorbals’ boy though so with sheer determination and a witty sense of humour he’s moving on. Thanks to some carefully considered action plans and the support of Jeannie, the love of his life, Bobby has so far overcome every obstacle in his path. Now he and Jeannie have a plan to create a good life for themselves. Will Bobby finally become a confident, successful young man? Or will he go one step further and find...

Fame and Fortune in The Gorbals?
Buy the Book: UK/IE | US 

Guest Post by Kate Donne

Three years at The Royal Conservatoire, Glasgow was the most inspirational experience of my life. I spent many hours studying character building and script writing and without that training I know I could never have written a novel. The course also taught me to ‘widen my focus’ and I became more aware of the characters around me. I began to think in pictures! I have never been a ‘practical’ person. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and when I write I can ‘see’ the situations playing out before my eyes! I was taught the art of bringing colourful characters to life. That inspired me and it seems to make sense that in the future I will adapt my trilogy into a full, three-act stage play. That is a very exciting prospect. Later this month I will be launching the complete trilogy and we have a half hour dramatisation rehearsed and ready to entertain our guests!

About the Author

Kate Donne lives in Dollar, Clackmannanshire with her Welsh husband Steve, her dog Brodie, two tractors and eight chickens! Kate runs her own personal development company, and spends her spare time writing.
She graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow with a BA Degree in Dramatic Studies and was awarded The Dorothy Innes Prize, The Arnold Fleming travelling scholarship and The Charles Brooke memorial prize. 
Kate has spent many years involved in the arts and has been a professional singer, a director of musical theatre and an actress in many plays and musicals. Her poetry has been published in various anthologies and she was shortlisted for The Tarbert Book Festival writing competition 2017 with her short story Frae a Haggis.

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Guest Post: The Inspiration for Spirits of the Dead by @StephenJWillis @LoveBooksGroup


Throughout the series, Christopher and his friends must overcome various despicable foes as they battle with riddles, codes, creatures of the night, deathly spectres and secret orders, as they go in search of Christopher's missing brother and father.

Through the darkness of a starless night a tall shadowy figure rode silently along the long wet road. His black cloak flapped about him like the wings of a great vampire bat. Christopher Daring looked on from his bedroom window, both intrigue and suspicion forming the seed of a new adventure.

Once accompanied by his best friend Jason, they embark upon a ghostly trail into the unknown. They soon find themselves fighting for their lives as they become unexpectedly entwined with both the living and the dead.

Upon Jason becoming spiritually trapped and in danger of being lost to the clutches of death itself, Christopher takes up a quest to find a missing golden pocket watch, that should restore balance to the dark forces that surround them all. But, the twisted greed of the local ghostly priest and his demonic hound, Satan, have other ideas.

With an unusual mix of science, technology, cosmology, fantasy fiction and a dash of the spiritual self, the Christopher Daring Adventures is a thrilling ride into the impossible.

Guest Post by Stephen: Inspiration

My initial inspiration for this book came from a real ghostly building in my local town. 3am one foggy morning I was out walking the high street, trying to shift a rather nasty migraine. I remember stopping in my tracks as an unexpected pressure upon my chest caused me to take in a deep breath. I recall looking up at an old bicycle shop, where a big period bike sat gathering dust in the widow.

Everything about the shop display was grey and lost in the past. But the main pull was to the top second floor windows, where I felt the presence of someone looking down at me from behind the blackened windows. It was a very odd sensation. As I stared up I got the impression that the person was that of a young girl, that had been stuck up there for over a hundred years. I remember thinking how that poor girl had died up there so many moons ago. And questioned where on earth that feeling had come from. But being late, I pressed on with my walk, still determined to shift the migraine. 

The seed of a story idea, however, had been planted in my mind. But what really made it real for me was that over the next few weeks, I happen to walk past the same shop with two different friends. And on both occasions when I asked them what they thought of this practically invisible shop, they too raised a hand to their chest and mentioned that they suddenly felt an odd constriction there. They were both bowled over when I told them of my earlier experience, and agreed that the place gave off a dark sort of foreboding.

Buy the Book: UK/ IE | US

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Book Review: The Witch of Willow Hall by @HesterBFox


The Witch of Willow Hall Book Review
Image from my Instagram

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…


I requested The Witch of Willow hall without knowing much about it. I went in blind and I can finally say...WOW.

What an incredible read. I devoured this book, mostly at night and I found it to be hauntingly addictive. 

Right from the start, the author sets up the mystery. Leaving you wondering why Lydia and her family were driven from their home in Boston. 

At their new home, we find Lydia struggling with powers and an ancestry that she doesn’t know how to process or handle. She wants to be normal, she wants to be beautiful like her two sisters- specifically Catherine- who seems to covet the attention of any man that visits the house.

The sense of foreboding comes from the characters, but also from the setting. I could feel the coldness from the walls of the old Willow mansion seeping through the pages. I could sense the eyes from the paintings as I turned the pages. Certain parts game me genuine chills as I read this at night in the dark.

Blog Tour: @RachelPudsey's Writing Journey #WatcheroftheNightSky @LoveBooksGroup



Fifteen-year-old Abigail Crumble was never much for talking about love and marriage and other such nonsense – no matter how often her boy obsessed best friend pestered her to do so. Or so she so adamantly proclaimed. 

Yet on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Abigail makes the biggest, most contradictory mistake of her life. She wishes on the stars for love, or even the smallest amount of attention, without knowing the full impact of such a feat.

 Abigail soon finds her simple life in chaos as princes, men and mysterious creatures come to her door, each adamantly in love with her and refusing to leave her side.

Mixing fantasy, humour, and romance, The Watcher of the Night Sky begins the tale of one girl’s quest to rid herself of a curse that was definitely far more than she wished for.

Guest Post: Rachel Pudsey's Writing Journey

My earliest memory of writing is when I was in primary school, perhaps primary six or seven, and I wrote a “novel” titled something like Six Down and One to Go. At that time I was really into Goosebumps, so it’s not that surprising that my first attempt at writing would be inspired by that. As I moved into high school, my writing continued but became more focused on songs and scripts. I was really into pop at that time, groups like the Spice Girls, Take That, East 17, PJ and Duncan, Roxette, and All Saints were regulars on my CD player. My girlfriends and I spent our free time writing our own corny pop songs and pretending to be pop stars. Once I got into my later teens, I joined a theatre group, and my writing shifted to plays and musicals. I spent my free time in front of an old computer typing stories that were suspiciously akin to the plotlines of the 9 pm movies Channel 5 used to show. Stories of teenage gangs and action movies and kidnappings. Then at some point during high school, I was introduced to The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. That book had a huge influence on my creativity. I was obsessed with that story and the fact the author was published at seventeen years old. Later, I took up the guitar and wrote songs with my university friend in the style of the Barenaked Ladies. Gosh, did we love that group! Our songs were ridiculous and comical, written usually during or after a drinking session. I think my story writing started to get a bit more structured and serious during university. I took a bus to school every day, and to pass the time I started writing a fantasy novel. I can pinpoint some of the inspiration for the story to a poster I had on my bedroom wall of a gnome chilling by a mushroom puffing on a pipe. I started to write this story about a prince that had come to earth from an alternate land because he had wanted to explore before becoming a ruler. He brought his controversial, human-obsessed magician friend along with him, and a gnome snuck through the hole too. The plot centred on the prince’s relationship with a worker from the hotel he stayed at. I must have written and rewritten and edited and re-edited that story for YEARS. Maybe about eight in total. I made maps, drew all the flags and colours, and wrote notes about all the kingdoms of the land. I continued writing that into my twenties, but eventually, my work and social life got in the way. Not wanting to settle into a lifestyle I wasn’t satisfied with, I decided to pack up and leave the town I lived in. I moved to my parents’ town to take on a job with minimum responsibility, allowing me to focus more on my story. I shared extracts with a co-worker, and she loved the tales of Magi the gnome. I had my first fan.

Blog Tour: The Characters Within Death Dolls by @asfarrant #RandomThingsTours


Benjamin McGuinness fulfils his dream of establishing successful businesses and gives jobs with a new home to some of life’s misfits, deep in the English countryside on a farm. Everything seems perfect and his workers are as close as family.

A fire strikes close to home, a disaster that changes his perception of life and one of his loyal workers takes the chance to propose a life-changing venture.

This new business drags Lisa, his sister, into the deadly web of deception.

When exiled Russian twins join the family a symbolic tattoo is created that drives Benjamin’s money into a new league.

Benjamin knows that his future is defined by ‘the family’.

Will greed cause everything to crumble before his eyes, or will there be brutal consequences to their actions?

The Characters Within  Death Dolls:

Hello, thank you for having me on your blog, Amanda. I am lucky and privileged to be able to write this guest post today.

Today I am talking about that essential element to a story… characters!

Before I started to write stories and books naming a character was a total mystery to me, and the only thing that seriously deterred me from writing.

A submission to an anthology was my first story. This story evolved and became Famously Ordinary. I told my friend who recruited me that naming characters was putting me off, and he laughed!

James Dean was a simple name to choose as it was a real life person that I had met in about 1999 that made me wonder what it was like to have a famous name. The other characters of his immediate family were not too difficult to name. His father, although I needed to be a not too pleasant person, I wanted to have a name that was almost comedic. Dean Dean it was. The story centres on the family, and the names are key to the upbringing for James and the resulting chaos.

There are other characters, whose names were far less important. Of course, they needed a unique name. After all, a book where everyone is called Smith or Jones would be fairly dull.

Blog Tour: Read an Extract from Leo's War by @_PatriciaMurphy


It’s 1943 and young Leo tries to protect his disabled sister Ruby as the Nazis invade Italy. After his mother is arrested, he turns to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty to save them. But he is no ordinary priest. Known as ‘The Pimpernel of the Vatican’, the Monsignor is the legendary organizer of the Rome Escape Line. Soon Leo is helping out with this secret network dedicated to saving the lives of escaped prisoners of war, partisans and Jews. But as the sinister Nazi leader Kappler closes in on the network, can Leo and his sister stay out of his evil clutches?

Read an Extract:

In this extract from chapter 26, 12 year-old Leo has cycled to the Roman Seminary by the city walls. He has smuggled false identity documents for the scores of Jews, partisans and Prisoners-of-War posing as seminarians in order to hide from the Nazis. Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty is also there at a meeting with other members of the Rome Escape Line.

But despite being considered as territory independent of Nazi jurisdiction, Koch, a notorious Fascist torturer launches an armed raid as curfew falls.

* * * * * *
A young priest dashed in, habit flying. “Quick, hide, everyone! There’s a raid! There are fifty of Koch’s men circling the building!
I flew up out of my seat, my first thought Hugh. But Father Palazzini grabbed me at the refectory door and told me there was another passage leading from the secret room that led out to the octagonal baptistry and Hugh would take that. It would be better if I headed across the bridge into the adjoining building. From there I could get to the shed where my bike was.
He shooed me towards the flight of stairs that led to the bridge and ran off. I darted back to pick up the slice of pangiallo, the dried fruit cake that the cook had left just for me.
Everywhere trainee priests flew around like a flock of disturbed starlings, black gowns flying behind them like wings. I panicked, forgetting which way Father Palazzini had pointed.
I could hear a priest arguing at the main entrance. “No, you have no right to come here!”
The bark of a gun almost stopped my heartbeat. Then someone shouted and swore in Italian. “The next bullet will be in your head if you don’t let me through!
Rough voices could be heard at the door. More shouting.
Father Palazzini came back and was surprised to see me still there. He pulled me by the scruff of the neck. “Quick, through here, there’s no time.”
We fell through a doorway, just ahead of the black-shirted Fascists. They were led by a man in a suit, his jet-black hair plastered into his head, a black moustache across his upper lip like an ugly slug. Koch, I guessed.

#LoveBooksGroupTours: Character Spotlight with @kaplanhow #TheSpysGamble


"Kaplan is...without peer in his grasp of the delicate and explosive relationship between the Israelis and the Palestinians. This is a thriller in the best tradition of the genre." -Los Angeles Times

When the Israeli Prime Minister boards a new stealth submarine in Norfolk, Virginia intending a celebratory ride and the sub vanishes, it sets in motion a suspenseful story that intertwines the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a story of what could be.

Shai Shaham--an Israeli intelligence officer--contacts old friend and adversary Ramzy Awwad--a former PLO intelligence officer and one of the great writers of his people--for help in locating the missing prime minister. But can they trust each other? Can their friendship withstand the turbulent political landscape?

Eli Bardin--an agent who is feeling the strain of being away from his wife and children for so long in the field--is also tasked to contact Ramzy for the help in finding the missing sub. It seems the Russians have great interest in the technology, and he must locate the prime minister...because losing him is a national calamity that threatens to upset a delicate political balance in the most terrifying ways.

Starkly depicting the excesses of both sides and moving through actual events, THE SPY'S GAMBLE relies on in-depth research to weave a thrilling tale of suspense of reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

Character Spotlight:

Who is your protagonist?

Shai Shaham a longtime Mossad field agent now assistant director of operations a desk job in Jerusalem though he still likes to get out into the field even if he has to sneak out

 The inspiration for your protagonist

I have a close friend, an educator in Jerusalem, who is an out of the box thinker

 The creation of your protagonist
I wanted an agent who was staunchly Zionist but who saw and understood Palestinians as people, their struggle their lives. So Shai is a great humanist, the type of guy who extends himself and is incredibly nice unless the other side behaves badly.  Then he’s tough as nails.

 About your protagonist’s character

Shai is a man with huge appetites. He loves deeply but only in a committed relationship.  He’s overweight a former smoker and drinker who won’t touch either now. For a long time he carried an open pack of cigarettes in his pocket as a challenge to not smoke them

Does she have any similarities to someone ‘real’? If so, tell us more!

It’s fun to base a character on a real person.  My friend lectures to Israeli army groups as part of their educational training, so I had him wander into the Arab marketplace in Hebron after giving a lecture there in the West Bank.  He seems some rather inhumane behavior by the Israeli settlers there so I called him up and asked what would you say. What he told me was better than what I could have created as it was real. 

What do you like most of your protagonist?

Great humanism, the capacity for deep connections both with friends and with family.

What do you dislike about your protagonist?

Really nothing.  I dislike a lot of things about myself, maybe in particular some compulsive worrying and replaying problems in my head but I love Shai’s human frailties.

Would you and your protagonist be friends in ‘real’ life?

I’d be honored.

What’s next?

I have a new novel coming out later this year, maybe October called TO DESTOY JERUSALEM. Shai’s also the main character there but it’s a prequel when he’s still a field agent and working with another Palestinian agent, Ramzy Awwad trying to trust each other.

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Book Review: Vox by Christina Dalcher #100words


Silence can be deafening.

Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins.

Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you’re a woman.

Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and seventy million women lose their jobs. Even more terrifyingly, young girls are no longer taught to read or write.

For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. This is only the beginning…


Hmm, I’m a little torn with this one. Did I like it? Yes. Love it? No.

The Handmaid-style premise was really interesting; a world where women are literally silenced by counters on their wrists limiting them to 100 words a day. The danger of comparing a book to a well-loved classic is that people are going to expect a lot, and if you under deliver readers will be incredibly critical. I think that's what happened here, it was too hyped for it's own good. 

I love the way the story mirrored society today and the way we seem to be split into two types. The first being the type who basically ignores activists and marches and anything political. The second being the type to march, and write letters and campaign to right wrongs. Vox is a cautionary tale that warns about what can happen if we ignore what's happening in the world around us. Especially in the overly controlling, conservative, Christian world.

At the same time, Vox did not really "grab" me. It's poorly plotted and mostly predictable. I picked it up every evening but I wasn't really excited to see what happened next. I felt like the book was slightly too long with everything wrapping up too neatly and too quickly towards the end. I felt like some aspects were under-explored while a lot of paragraphs were dedicated to, often mundane detail.

One example of this was her son. I loved the conflict present in their relationship and I would have loved to read more of it. Again, it was resolved too quickly for my liking. The same goes for her husband Patrick. I feel like his reaction to certain secrets that emerged within the story could have been used to create more tension and friction.

Saying all that, I wouldn't NOT recommend Vox. It's a fun, what if, dystopian read that I'm sure many people will enjoy. You just have to be able to suspend belief for a little while and enjoy it for what it is without asking too many questions.


★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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Blog Tour: Read an extract from The Liar's Room by @Simon_Lelic @PenguinUKBooks



Susanna Fenton has a secret. Fourteen years ago she left her identity behind, reinventing herself as a counsellor and starting a new life. It was the only way to keep her daughter safe.

But everything changes when Adam Geraghty walks into her office. She's never met this young man before - so why does she feel like she knows him?

Then Adam starts to tell her about a girl. A girl he wants to hurt.

And Susanna realises she was wrong.
She doesn't know him


Read an Extract:

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Spotlight: Author Gregory Coley on his love of books @Ghreggori


Howdy folks, 

Y’all don’t know me, but my name is Gregory Coley. I’m a self-published author and our fine host, Amanda, was nice enough to give me a post here. I got into writing when I was in my early teens. I began with writing lyrics for local bands in high school, lol. In college that morphed into poetry. After college I tried my hand at short stories. Now, at 31, I have over a dozen books to my name. Some are poetry books, some are short stories and some are novels. I’m most proud of my Corvus Chronicles series, of which I’m working on book 6! I’m getting ahead of myself though. 

My love of books was kindled initially by, like most people my age, the appearance of a boy wizard. He showed me how magical books could be. I also love the Vampire Chronicles, the Odd Thomas series, Hunger Games, the asylum series and anything by Neil Gaimen. He is a lovely man who has helped me in no small amount through our conversations. I’m currently reading the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. 

As you can see I draw my inspiration from many authors and many genre. My books tend to touch of urban fantasy and the supernatural. I also have a book that revolves around a handicap young man in today’s world. That I draw from experience. I am in a wheelchair and have battled kidney failure my whole life. I’ve been on dialysis treatments to live for the last 24 years. I am always looking for new things to write. My current project is a novel that follows the life of an author told side by side with that of her character.

The first book of my series, “In Death’s Wake”, came to me in a dream. I told my dad about the premise. It is about a young man that is drafted into the 2nd American Civil War. He is used as a science experiment that gives people the ability to see into the minds of the dead. After being discharged when the program goes wrong, he is forced to find a new way to use his abilities in civilian life. My dad’s response when I told him about it? He said, “If you don’t write it then I’ll find somebody else who will.” Now I’m five books deep into that series. Thanks for pushing me to write my first novel, dad. Lol. 

I met Amanda recently. We began talking, and upon hearing of my difficulties finding new readers she offered me this amazing opportunity. She is a wonderful person whom I already owe so much after knowing her for a week. I hope some of you will give my books a try! Book 1 of my series is currently 99 cents on kindle. 

I’m still learning to be a self-published author. I’ve written for a while, but I’m just now trying to network and be more active on Twitter and Facebook. You can feel free to follow me on twitter at @Ghreggori or Facebook at . My new website is also live! It is . Thank you for your time. Thank you to Amanda for her time. I am open to any questions about my writing, or anything else. I’m a young writer who is hungry to grow his name.

Thank you, 

Gregory Coley

Thanks to Greg for this great spotlight post. If you'd like to be featured on my blog please feel free to contact me. 

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