Blog Tour: And a Sixpence for Luck by Lilac Mills

I am delighted to be one of today’s stops on the blog tour for And a Sixpence for Luck by Lilac Mills

There are still a few remaining stops on the tour, here’s where it’s heading next.

 

Synopsis

Daisy Jones has hit rock bottom. Or so she believes.

A cheating boyfriend, trouble at work, having to move back in with her mother, and being forced to compare her brother’s loved-up, newly-wed status and spanking-new shiny house with her own dire lack of prospects isn’t what she imagined her life was going to be like at thirty. To top it all off, Christmas is just around the corner!

And when her ancient great-grandmother plants a silver sixpence in the Christmas pud, Daisy’s run of bad luck is about to get a whole lot worse.

Review

 

 

Many thanks to Lilac, Jenny and Neverland Blog Tours for my advanced reader copy and inviting me on the tour!

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About the Author

 

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Cover Reveal: Just One Time by K S Hunter

I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of the cover reveal for the debut novel by K S Hunter, Just One Time, but before I share it with you here’s a little more about the book itself which will be published on 7th December.

Synopsis

Desire can have dire consequences

Two years ago, David Madden made a mistake that almost cost him his marriage. His wife, Alison, gave him another chance, but she has not forgotten, nor has she forgiven.

She is irresistible

Then David meets the alluring Nina at a theatre in London. When he loses his phone in the dark, she helps him find it, and by giving her his number he unwittingly invites her into his life.

What David initially views as an innocent flirt turns into a dangerous game of deception. His increasingly suspicious wife thinks something is up, and each lie he tells pushes them further apart.

She is insatiable

Nina pursues David relentlessly, following him to New York where she gives him an ultimatum: sleep with her, just one time, and then she’ll get out of his life forever; or she’ll ruin everything he holds dear.

She is unstoppable

Of course, once won’t be enough for Nina, and what David hoped would be the end is merely the beginning.

A modern-day Fatal Attraction, Just One Time is a steamy psychological thriller that will have you hooked from the first page and holding your breath until its shocking conclusion. 

And now, the cover

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About the Author

K.S. Hunter is the pseudonym of an international bestselling author. The identity of the author, who lives in the United Kingdom, will remain a mystery.

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Blog Tour: A Recipe for Disaster by Stephen Phelps {Extract}

I’ve got something a little bit different for you today. I have an extract from Stephen Phelps new book A Recipe for Disaster.

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour for some fantastic posts.

Recipe For Disaster Full Banner

Synopsis

Recipe for Disaster CoverA Recipe for Disaster is a cookbook, a travelogue and the companion to Cookucina, a six-part TV series available on Amazon Video, iTunes and Google Play – see www.cookucina.com .

It’s also the entertaining journey of an Englishman struggling with the ups and downs of living in rural Italy. After giving up a successful career in television, Stephen found himself dragged back into a world he had happily given up when his neighbour, Lia, persuaded him to listen to her Big Idea – making a TV cookery series. But Lia speaks no English.

And Stephen’s partner, Tam, can’t cook. So, much against Stephen’s better judgement, the three of them embarked on a six-part series set among the rolling hills of the little-known, but spectacularly beautiful, Italian region of Le Marche. In the Cookucina TV series Lia teaches Tam to cook alla Marchigiana, while Tam translates. A Recipe for Disaster follows their many encounters with the real Italy – a world away from the picture-book ideal of summer holidays in Tuscany.

As the team try to construct a professional series with no funding they come to rely on the generosity of the Marchigiana people, while attempting to overcome the constant difficulties thrown up by those whose stubborn adherence to their age-old way of life is rooted in their beloved fields and woods. A Recipe for Disaster is a goldmine of simple yet delicious recipes, while peeling back the veneer of television professionalism and opening the door to a world of Italian surprise and delight.

A Recipe for Disaster comes with unique access to Cookucina, the final six-part TV series, so you can see for yourself how the team cracked their problems and (just about) held it all together in a blistering heatwave. Experience this contradictory world of vendettas and kind hearts through the laughter and frustrations of Stephen and the team, as you follow A Recipe for Disaster slowly coming to its surprising fruition.

Extract

If you’re old enough to have been watching TV for two or three decades you might have noticed a change that has taken place. It’s music. 25 years ago music was pretty much confined to music programmes (Last Night of the Proms, that sort of thing). Now it’s everywhere. In fact I think they even put it on News Bulletins these days. Like it or not, when you’re making a TV series you need music, lots of it. And it can get really expensive unless you can make your own (I can’t). So this was a bit of a headache for our little team trying to make the Cookucina series on a completely non-existent budget. The problem was solved for us one evening, though, when we went to shoot at a Sagra. What’s a Sagra? Read on….

Massimo, Adele and the Sagra

Sagras are a big institution in these parts. They’re a sort of annual village fair, held in most of the tiny villages up in the hills round here. They mostly center around food (of course!). Within a few miles of Sarnano we have Sagras in honour of polentone (big polenta), fresh-water prawns, strozzapreti (pasta that’s shaped like a priest’s collar. Its literal meaning is “priest throttler”) and even frogs. That evening there was a Sagra on the road up out of town in honour of vincisgrassi.

This is a real local treat. Legend has it (and you can read this in one or two cookbooks) that it was named after an Austrian General Alfred Candidus Ferdinand zu Windisch-Graetz who fought in the Napoleonic Wars. It is true that the Napoleonic Wars extended throughout Northern Italy and even down into the central provinces. Indeed one of the most celebrated of its battles took place just down the road from us at Tolentino in 1815. But it seems to me highly unlikely that this is the real derivation of the name. It’s not even that vincisgrassi sounds or looks much like Windisch-Graetz – unless you take your glasses off and squint a bit.

So on the night of the porchetta furnace interview I had us down to pay a visit to the vincisgrassi Sagra. I had been to it in previous years so I knew what we were in for. Apart from delicious vincisgrassi (and I am prepared to bet that none of the people who made it that night had ever heard of Alfred Candidus Ferdinand zu Windisch-Graetz) served with a glass of local Rosso Conero or Verdicchio di Matelica, all for a knockdown price, there would also be dancing, music and a fresh evening breeze coming off the mountains. Tam would be happy! What I hadn’t realized, though, was that we would make a major breakthrough that evening in what the whole series was going to feel like. More accurately, what it was going to sound like.

There was dancing. There’s always dancing. Mostly it’s good old-fashioned hang-on-to-your-partner sort of dancing. But I was taken a bit by surprise when we arrived to find the locals were line-dancing. And looking as though they were having fun. Which struck me as unusual because normally line-dancing sends a chill down my spine. My father took it up at the ripe old age of 75 and it sounded as though it was quite a laugh. Then I discovered that my cousin was practically a professional, so it seemed that she was going to be a good way into it, once I had decided I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. The chance came when I got an invite to my cousin’s wedding anniversary. I was late (I generally am, I must be turning into an Italian) and I walked into the room to find that the line-dancing had started, about forty of them moving in perfect unison across the floor. The trouble was it didn’t look like fun at all. In fact they were so intent on getting it right, so deep in concentration, that it looked more like the march of the living dead. I have never seen a bunch of people looking so miserable doing what they enjoy. Which is why it came as such a surprise to see a bunch of Italian country-folk laughing and smiling and chatting with each other as they moved across the open-air dance-floor in, well, not exactly perfect unison.

But that wasn’t the biggest surprise of the evening. It was the music they were dancing to. Provided by a duo from a village about 30 miles away, as I discovered later. There was a guy in his forties playing the fisarmonica, the squeezebox which is the basic instrument of traditional Marchigiana music. He was brilliant, and could play anything from Bach to the Beatles. I expect I am exaggerating a bit, but not much. He was great. But if anything he was eclipsed by his partner, a stockily-built, twenty-something girl singer with a truly wonderful voice. I don’t watch X-Factor programs, but if I did I would not have been surprised to see her sweeping the board. But, of course, she lives in rural Italy and sings in Italian, so there’s not much chance of that.

A singer we did not need, but it suddenly dawned on me that Massimo and his fisarmonica were just the thing we needed for the soundtrack to the series. Local music played on a typical local instrument and everything either trad. (traditional) or written by Massimo himself, so that he was able to grant us all rights, in all media (currently existing or yet to be invented), everywhere, and forever (we are nothing if not comprehensive, we TV producers). And he signed it all over for a very reasonable price, too – presumably in expectation of fame and fortune. Luckily, we wanted only instrumental music, so there was no need to cut a deal with Miss X-Factor, though maybe we would have stood a better chance of making money if we had.

In fact Massimo’s music works brilliantly for the series, conjuring up just the right degree of tradition and history without making the series feel like something from the archives. Massimo and Miss X-Factor are two very talented individuals and deserve all the success they get, though I suspect they are quite happy living their normal life here in Le Marche and turning out for the occasional Sagra. Miss X-Factor looked a bit like Adele, who is one of the few huge stars/talents who has been able to keep the insanity of the music business and international fame in its place, maintaining her ability to live the normal life from which she was plucked. One of the few truly great talents to emerge in recent years, she often disappears from public life for months, maybe years, at a time, carrying on with normality who knows where. Come to think of it Miss X-Factor sounded a bit like Adele too – do you think it’s possible…? No, surely not…

Many thanks to Rachel Gilbey and Stephen Phelps for the opportunity to be part of the blog tour.

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Giveaway

For a chance to win this fantastic bundle including Biscotti artigianale, local honey, 3 x DVD of the Cookucina series plus a signed copy of A Recipe For Disaster click the link below.

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http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c6949446/

About The Author

Recipe for Disaster - SP best picEducated at Oxford University, I began working with BBC Radio, moving to BBC TV where I launched Watchdog and produced the investigative legal series Rough Justice. In Hong Kong for BBC World Service Television I oversaw the start of BBC World. I then spent twelve years running my own TV production company, Just Television, specialising in investigative programmes in the field of law, justice and policing. In particular, Trial and Error for Channel 4 which exposed and investigated major miscarriages of justice, winning the Royal Television Society’s inaugural Specialist Journalism Award in 1999. Recently I have been working as a consultant for Aljazeera English on major documentary projects.

In 2002 I took an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Writing credits include many plays for BBC Radio, my most recent being a drama documentary for the 30th anniversary of the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster. Books: The Tizard Mission published by Westholme Publishing in the United States, tells the extraordinary story of how Britain’s top scientists travelled in secret to America in the autumn of 1940 to give away all their wartime secrets to secure US support in WWII. A Recipe for Disaster is a book about living in Italy while trying to make a TV cookery series, Cookucina (now available on Amazon Video, Google Play and iTunes.

I have several other books and three screenplays in development.

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Blog Tour: December Girl by Nicola Cassidy {Review}

Today is my stop on the blog tour for December Girl, the fantastic debut novel by Nicola Cassidy.

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Synopsis

decembergirl-final.pngMolly Thomas is a feisty, independent soul, born on the Winter Solstice. At every stage of her life she has faced troubles.

As a young woman her family are evicted from their home at Christmas. Molly swears vengeance on the jealous neighbour and land agent responsible, Flann Montgomery.

Then in 1896 her baby son is taken from his pram. Molly searches the streets for Oliver. The police are called but her baby is gone.

Why does trouble seem to follow Molly?

And will she ever find out what happened to her child?

December Girl is a tale of family bonds, love, revenge and murder.

Review

The harrowing tone of the book is set in the opening scenes where we first meet Molly Thomas. Already coming to terms with her past she now has to deal with the fact her baby son, Oliver, has been taken from his pram.

Readers are then taken back to into Molly’s past where were are guided through the events that set her on the path to becoming the woman we first meet. A couple of times the story left me a little lost as I tried to keep up with the characters. However, by part 2 I was fully invested in Molly and found mixed up in a roller coaster of emotions as we followed her story.

December Girl is filled with such amazing details of the period and paints a vivid picture of life in Ireland during the 19th century. What I loved most about the book though, was the path it took. Just when I thought I knew where it would lead, there was a twist in the plot and we were off in a totally different direction.

This is a fantastic debut novel from Nicola Cassidy and one I would highly recommend. It’s easy to see the work she has put into the book as it is extremely well researched and brilliantly written. I can’t wait to see what come next from Nicola.

 

Many thanks to Nicola Cassidy, Sarah Hardy and Bombshell Books for my advanced reader copy and inviting me on the tour!

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About the Author

Nicci CassidyNicola Cassidy is a writer and blogger from Co. Louth, Ireland. She started her writing  career early, entering short story competitions, penning protest letters to magazines and making up characters in her head. These scribblings saw her place in a number of competitions as a child and encouraged by her English teachers, she chose to study journalism at Dublin City University.

While working in political PR and marketing, Nicola studied a series of advanced creative writing courses at the Irish Writers’ Centre and set up a lifestyle and literary blog at http://www.LadyNicci.com, which was nominated in the Ireland Blog Awards in 2015 and 2016.

During her maternity leave for her first daughter, Nicola set about researching and writing a historical fiction novel, December Girl, inspired by true events and set in the mystical and ancient Boyne Valley, famed for its stone age passage tombs, near to where she grew up.

Nicola signed with US based Trace Literary Agency in 2016. December Girl was picked up by Betsy Reavley at UK digital publisher Bombshell Books in June 2017 and was published 26 October 2017.

She is an avid reader, inspired by the likes of Anais Nin, Joan Didion and Jessie Burton and is currently working on her second novel, also inspired by true events. She lives with her husband and two young daughters in Termonfeckin, Co. Louth.

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Blog Tour: Clipped Wings by Jennifer Gilmour {Review}

It’s a pleasure to be part of the blog tour for Clipped Wings by Jennifer Gilmour

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Synopsis

CW Cover

The silent chorus.

Just imagine you thought that you had met the man or woman of your dreams. This person was charming and you thought they were the one or perhaps that this was fate; it was just meant to be.

But as the months go by things start to change. Their behaviour towards you isn’t the same, they are more critical, more particular about your appearance, what you do, how you do it, who you see. Time goes by and you feel isolated from yourfriends and family because that behaviour has now changed to threats, maybe violence and you feel that your identity is all but gone. But still you stay. Where would you go? Who would help you? You are not worthy.

But you are.

A group of survivors have spoken about their own experiences. In their own words they show that survivors do have a voice and that it needs to be heard. They show that abuse isn’t unique or strange but that it is, unfortunately, a surprisingly common problem in today’s society.

The message of this book is one of courage, as with courage comes awareness and an ability to understand what has happened to you and take the steps needed to become a survivor yourself.

Review

It’s not often I open my reviews with a trigger warning but in the case of Clipped Wings by Jennifer Gilmour I feel I must. This isn’t the usual fiction books you see featured here, this book is made up of the real life stories from survivors of domestic abuse.

You may wonder why I’ve chosen to feature this book when the subject matter is so disturbing. Well I’ll tell you. I feel quite strongly about this subject and believe that it needs to be discussed so that anyone who is, or has, suffered domestic violence knows that they are not alone and that they can survive.  As you can imagine this isn’t an easy read but it was one that I determined to get to the end of.

Clipped Wings is collection of short stories told by survivors of domestic abuse and covers a range of perspectives. Each story is truly heartbreaking and as you are taken deeper into each person’s account, you can almost feel the pain and suffering that they have been subjected to. These people are some of the lucky ones (although it may not seem like that as you read their stories) as not all sufferers survive to tell the tale.

There are accounts from the male perspective too as they can also be victims of domestic abuse. Although to some this may seem amusing, I can assure you after reading their accounts that it is no laughing matter.

 

I can’t say that I enjoyed this book, but the bravery of the survivors in telling their tale compelled me to keep reading and I’m glad I did. I truly hope that this book helps to raise awareness of such a difficult subject.

Many thanks to Jennifer Gilmour and Emma Mitchell for my advanced reader copy and inviting me on the tour!

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About the Author

Jennifer GilmourBorn in the North East, Jennifer is a young, married mum with three children. In addition to being an author, she is an entrepreneur, running a family business from her home-base. Her blog posts have a large readership of other young mums in business.

From an early age, Jennifer has had a passion for writing and started gathering ideas and plot lines from her teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, she has drawn on her personal experiences to write her first novel ‘Isolation Junction’. It details the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again.

Since the publication of her debut novel Jennifer has continued to be an advocate for those in abusive relationships through her blog posts, radio interviews and Twitter feed. Jennifer also gained a qualification in facilitating a recover programme for those who have been in abusive relationships.

Jennifer continues to publicly support those who are isolated and struggle to have a voice. Jennifer hopes that ’Clipped Wings’ give’s a voice to survivor’s experiences and raise’s awareness further of the types of unacceptable behaviour which fall into the category of domestic abuse.

 

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Blog Tour: London Noir by Ann Girdharry {Review}

I am delighted to be part of the one day blog blitz for London Noir by Ann Girdharry.

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Synopsis

LondonNoir high defcoverMemory loss, nightmares, the urge to kill – Sophie has it all.

Is it really Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Or something more sinister?

Kal is about to find out…

After a near-fatal road accident, Kal helps Sophie, a young girl in trouble.

The girl’s friends are being murdered one by one. Why? And who by?

Kal must kick start herself out of her downward spiral to save the young stranger.

But Kal is in the grip of the London Cartel, and is someone after the girl, or is the girl after someone?

Review

Having not read the first of this series I did wonder, as I usually do, whether or not it could be read as a standalone book. Well, if anyone else is wondering the same, I can confirm that it can. The author elaborates sufficiently about past happenings that you don’t feel like you’ve missed out too much. However, if you’re like me you may well want to go back and read the first book just to see what you missed in a little more detail (I now have Good Girl Bad Girl ready to read on my kindle).

Anyway, back to the book, and more importantly the main protagonist, Kal Medi. I’ve read a few books recently with female protagonists but not quite as intriguing as Kal. I was hooked the minute I met her. She has an interesting past due to her father and an uncanny ability to read people’s body language to subsequently manipulate the situations she inevitably finds herself in.

London Noir is a fantastic read and will grab your attention immediately. From there it will draw you in with a fast-paced plot and well thought out characters. There are twists and turns throughout that will keep you on your toes, all of which make for an amazing ride.

I’m usually pretty good at picking out the killer in books but on this occasion, it wasn’t until the killer was almost revealed, that I clicked who it was. I must say that this killer is among some of the most sadistic killers I’ve encountered this year and the chapters narrated in the first person, through the eyes of the killer are spine tingling to say the least.

I love the use of psychology within the book and feels it adds another level to the story. All in all, I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be adding this series to my ones to watch out for.

Many thanks to Ann and Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for my advanced reader copy and inviting me on the tour!

Amazon UK | Goodreads | Amazon US

About the Author

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Ann Girdharry is a British crime suspense thriller author.

A trained psychotherapist, she worked for many years as a manager in the not-for-profit sector, for agencies working with carers, vulnerable older people, survivors of abuse, and victims of racial attacks.

She currently lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.

Her debut novel, GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL, is an ERIC HOFFER BOOK AWARD Finalist 2017.

Her second crime suspense thriller, LONDON NOIR, will be published October 2017.

She is also author of Chilling Tales of the Unexpected Short Reads.

 

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Blog Tour: The Forgotten Room by Ann Troup {Review}

I am delighted to be part of the weekend blitz for The Forgotten Room by Ann Troup.

Ann Troup

Synopsis

DI4S26qXgAI9oXTCan the past ever be forgotten?

As soon as nurse Maura Lyle sets foot inside the foreboding Essen Grange, she feels shivers ripple down her spine. And the sense of unease only increases when she meets her new patient, Gordon Henderson.

Drawn into the Henderson family’s tangled web of secrets and betrayals, Maura can ignore the danger lurking behind every door no longer. Even the door she has been forbidden from opening…

Essen Grange is a house with dark and cruel intentions. But now that darkness has turned on her, can Maura escape before it’s too late?

The chilling new novel from the bestselling author of The Lost Child and The Silent Girls. Perfect for fans of Erin Kelly, Claire Mackintosh and Tracy Buchanan.

Review

This was my first Ann Troup novel, and it didn’t disappoint. It was dark and mysterious with unique plot.

The story-line was well paced for the post part and intricately woven together like a lace shawl. There were several dead ends before you finally reached the conclusion and I definitely didn’t see that coming.

The characters, although in abundance, were well developed. However at times it was a little hard to keep track of them and whether or not they were responsible or just another victim. As for the depiction of the old house, it was just the right level of creepy and set the scene perfectly.

I was completely hooked with this book and kept trying to work out how it would all end. Just to say I was completely wrong but nevertheless the ending was brilliant. I would highly recommend this book.

Many thanks to Ann, Jenny and Neverland Blog Tours for my advanced reader copy and inviting me on the tour!

Amazon UK | Goodreads Amazon US

About the Author

Ann TroupThe Forgotten Room is Ann’s third book, following on from The Lost Child and The Silent Girls.

She lives in Devon near the sea and spends her time either writing or dabbling with art.

 

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