Blog Tour: A Time To Change by Callie Langridge

Today I’m part of the final stop on the blog tour for A Time To Change by Callie Langridge.

If you want to check out the other stops, you can find them here.

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Synopsis

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“I would rather love passionately for an hour than benignly for a lifetime.”

In a house full of history and secrets, the past will not stay where it belongs…Lou has always loved Hill House, the derelict manor on the abandoned land near her home. As a child, the tragic history of its owners, the Mandevilles, inspired her dream to become a history teacher. But in her late twenties, and working in a shop to pay off student debts, life is passing her by.

That changes when a family disaster sends Lou’s life into a downward spiral and she seeks comfort in the ruined corridors of Hill House. The house transforms around her and Lou is transported back to Christmas 1913. Convinced she has been in an accident and is in a coma, Lou immerses herself in her Edwardian dream. With the Mandevilles oblivious to her true identity, Lou becomes their houseguest and befriends the eldest son, Captain Thomas Mandeville, a man she knows is destined to die in the First World War.

Lou feels more at home in the past than the present and when she realises the experience is real she sets out to do everything in her power to save her new friends.

Lou passes between 1913 and 2013, unearthing plots of murder and blackmail, which she must stop no matter the cost.

On her quest to save the Mandevilles by saving Thomas, Lou will face the hardest decision of her life. She will learn that love cannot be separated by a century.

Review

Although not my usual choice of book, there was something about this one that captivated me completely. I was a little wary of the time-lapse element of the story, in part because time travel in general has a tendency to confuse the life out of me. However, this book deals with it perfectly and I was able to follow the story with ease.

A Time to Change is an amazing story of  family, love, loss and sacrifice. It had me hooked from the beginning and by the end had me wanting more.

The story is beautifully written with characters that enthral you from the moment you are introduced. It flows perfectly and the transitions between eras are handled excellently.

The characters are well written and their personalities shone through. Even the less likeable characters had you feeling a little sorry for them at times. I especially loved Lou and found myself willing her on every step of the way.

I loved the magic surrounding the Mandeville house and it’s occupants and how it chose Lou to enter into it’s story. Callie Langridge’s portayal of everyday life for the people within the house was so well written that I found myself being transported back in time with them.

A Time to Change is an absolutely stunning book from start to finish. It is a fantastic debut novel by an author who will definitely be going on my favourites list.

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

Amazon UK | Goodreads Amazon US

About the Author

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Callie was born and brought up in Berkshire. After a brief teenage spell in the depths of Lancashire, she moved back to London.

Having left school at 16, she studied drama before embarking on a career in marketing. This saw her work in music marketing in the heady days of Britpop in the nineties. She unleashed her creativity in the design of window displays and marketing campaigns for the leading music retailer. More recently she has followed her passion for social history and currently works in marketing for a national historical institution, promoting projects and running events.

On hitting her thirtieth birthday, she decided finally to take her A levels and gained A’s in English Literature and Language, and Film Studies – not bad when working full time! – and this spurred her on to take the first of many creative writing course. A few years later and she has had a number of short stories published and plays performed at theatres and venues across London.

Callie lives in London with her long-term partner and an ever-growing collection of antique curiosities.

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Blog Tour: The Daughter by Billy McLaughlin

I am delighted to be one of today’s stops on the blog tour for The Daughter by Bill McLaughlin.

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

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Synopsis

51MILpOVsTL.jpgSometimes a killer comes along who will make your blood run cold…

When the body of a young woman is found with her hands and teeth missing, Detective Inspector Phil Morris struggles to identify her.

The evidence initially suggests she is local missing girl, Alex Waters, whose mother, Tricia, comes armed with a psychic gift she would rather not possess.

As Phil and his partner, Detective Donna Barclay, try to untangle the web of mystery surrounding the body, it appears that Alex had more secrets than even her psychic mother knew.

As the hour glass empties, Phil and Donna are pushed to their limits trying to unravel the disturbed mind behind the sick game playing out around them.

Welcome to a new chapter in domestic noir.

Review

This was the third book in a series, which I hadn’t realised when I started, so there was an element of trying to catch up with the storyline and fill in the gaps. However it is still possible to read as a standalone book.

I found the book a little difficult to get into at first, but as the story began to unfold it became easier to figure out who everyone was.

The setting was really good and the writing was brilliant. There was a superbly dark undertone with some extremely chilling descriptions throughout the story. There was plenty of suspense throughout the book and, although I had a idea of what was happening, it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book. In fact I kept me reading to see how everything fit together.

I would definitely recommend this book, however for the full reading experience I would maybe suggest starting from the beginning of the series.

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

Amazon UK | Goodreads Amazon US

About the Author

Billy.jpgBilly McLaughlin is a Glasgow born author who released his first novelette Invisible in March 2016. Receiving glowing customer reviews, he followed up with the gritty novel Lost Girl which introduces readers to the mainstay characters Phil & Kate. In September 2016, his third book In the Wake of Death was released, re-uniting audiences with Phil & Kate as well as throwing a brand-new mystery that has been praised for its unique twist.

McLaughlin welcomed 2017 in celebrating that Lost Girl peaked at number 2 in the crime thriller charts the previous August and gained the coveted number 1 slot in the Scottish crime charts with In the Wake of Death. His fourth book The Dead of Winter arrived in March 2017 to glowing reviews. One reviewer likened the novel to a series of Broadchurch. Kate and Phil returned for a brand-new mystery in The Daughter which also sees the return of Donna Barclay.

Work has now begun on the sixth book which will be a new stand-alone project. More information coming soon.

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Blog Tour: A Justifiable Madness by A B Morgan

I am delighted to be one of today’s stops on the blog tour for A Justifiable Madness by A B Morgan

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

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Synopsis

madness1Bebanus+applegothic.jpgA fast-moving psychological thriller you won’t be able to put down

Can you really tell the difference between madness and sanity? 

Mark Randall goes to great lengths to get himself admitted to an acute psychiatric ward and, despite being mute, convinces professionals that he is psychotic. But who is he and why is he so keen to spend time in a psychiatric hospital?

When Mark is admitted, silent and naked, the staff are suspicious about his motives.

Dealing with this, as well as the patients on the ward, Mark’s troubles really begin once he is Sectioned under the Mental Health Act. When decisions about his future are handed to Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Giles Sharman, Mark’s life goes from bad to worse.

Drugged, abused and in danger, Mark looks for a way out of this nightmare. But he’s about to learn, proving that you are sane might not be easy as it sounds…

Review

I have to be honest, when I first began reading this I did wonder whether it would be my cup of tea. The entire concept seemed bizarre and I wasn’t sure if it would how well it would work. Well, I’m pleased to say that I loved it. I devoured this book in two sittings, all within 24 hours.

We initially meet Mark as he disembarks from the train, completely naked apart from a pair of worn leather sandals. He wanders around the station, blessing people he meets and muttering in an unknown language.

Understandably he is detained under the Mental Health Act and transferred to a local psychiatric hospital for further evaluation. Whilst there he attracts the attention of the other patients and one of the nurses who all notice that he’s a little different but can’t put their finger on why.

As the book progresses we find out more about Mark and why he was trying to get himself sectioned. As the pieces start to fall into place you begin to wonder if he will get out.

This story is completely different to anything I have read before and it made a refreshing change. The sensitive subject matter was dealt with perfectly whilst retaining an element of mystery to keep the reader hooked.

The characters were well thought out and although I liked the main characters of Mark and Maria, I must admit my favourite was Phil, one of the patients on the ward.

Whilst reading I found myself willing the characters on and hoping things would work out for them. However, there are no spoilers here so you will have to find out for yourself.

All in all A Justifiable Madness is a very enjoyable read with an insightful look at psychiatry in the 1990’s. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book by this author.

Many thanks to Alison, Sarah and Bloodhound Books for my advanced reader copy and inviting me on the tour!

Amazon UK | Goodreads Amazon US

About the Author

gegbhkdlhdejihjh.pngMarried to an overgrown child with a beard and too many motorbikes, Alison Morgan lives in a corner of a field in North Bedfordshire and is making the most of a mid-life crisis. The Morgans are determined not to grow old gracefully or to be seen wearing beige and can be found exploring life through a love of live music, anything with an engine, the sea, mountains, rugby, proper pubs and fascinating people.

Alison has worked for the NHS for nearly thirty years, twenty of those within mental health services, at the front line, where she eventually became the manager of a countywide community service for people experiencing their first episode of psychosis. Much to her frustration, her heart decided to develop an electrical fault, which forced her to sit down for more than five minutes, and her career temporarily juddered to a halt. Not one for thumb twiddling, she took up position in front of a computer with a plan to write a set of clinical guidelines for assessment of psychosis, but instead a story, which had been lurking in her mind for several years, came tumbling out.

With her health steadily improving thanks to the staff at Papworth Hospital, Alison hopes to return to nursing part-time, but is determined to keep writing fiction. Her debut novel A Justifiable Madness is inspired by her life and career as a psychiatric nurse, and her fascination with the extremes of human behaviour. Her second novel, Divine Poison, also published by Bloodhound books is due for release in January 2018.

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Blog Tour: Degrees of Darkness by Tony J Forder

I am delighted to be one of today’s stops on the blog tour for the latest book by Tony J Forder, Degrees of Darkness.

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

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Synopsis

Degrees 1 apple neo goth + gnuolane (1)Pre-teen girls are being abducted from their homes and their families murdered. When Frank Rogers, once a DI with the Met and now running his own debt collection agency, is told that his own daughter is missing, his son murdered, he naturally wants to become involved with the case.

Soon Frank’s face is all over the news. In an unexpected turn of events, the killer contacts the police and says he is willing to talk, but only to Frank.

When the body of the first abducted girl is discovered, Frank realises it is a race against time to save his daughter.

In order to solve the case, Frank must work out how the killer is picking his victims.

But how do you catch a murderer who is hiding in plain sight? And can Frank solve the mystery, when he has so much to lose?

Review

The title of the book, Degrees of Darkness, definitely sums the book up perfectly.

The opening set a decidedly chilling scene, one which had my maternal senses tingling and made me double check the locks and my children before going to bed.

Ex-cop Frank Rogers is building up his new debt collecting business when he received a visit from his friend and ex-colleague DCI Nicky Loizou. Frank immediately knows the news is bad; just how bad he has yet to find out.

Despite the gruesome nature of the story, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s hard to to into too much detail without spoiling the plot. However I will say that it’s extremely well written. Forder steadily draws you deeper and deeper into his web of horror until you find yourself wondering how you would deal with the situation if you were in Frank’s place. All you initial preconceptions about right and wrong begin to blur as you follow Frank on his fight to save his daughter.

I loved Frank’s character. In fact, I loved all the characters, they were expertly written and all fit perfectly into the storyline. Laura, Frank’s daughter, is intelligent, brave and wise beyond her years but this alone is not enough to keep her from the darkness surrounding her kidnapper. Debbie, the family friend, is a fantastic woman. She is so strong despite everything she is faced with. Finally, Nicky, Frank’s best friend; he hates to see his friend being drawn further into the darkness and would do almost anything to help it, even at the detriment to his career.

As with many books of this genre, it raises the question of upbringing and nature versus nurture. Are people pre-disposed to commit murder or is it something they learn through their upbringing? Maybe it’s both. Regardless of your opinion, this book offers a slightly alternative twist on the subject.

I would highly recommend Degrees of Darkness to anyone who loves a slightly dark crime thriller and I will definitely been keeping this author on my radar for future books.

Many thanks to Tony, Sarah and Bloodhound Books for my advanced reader copy and inviting me on the tour!

Amazon UK | Goodreads Amazon US

About the Author

TJF05On 1st February 2017, Tony signed to Bloodhound Books, who published his edgy crime thriller Bad to the Bone in spring. It is the first in a series.

Later this year, Tony’s second novel for Bloodhound Books, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, will be published.

Tony has been writing stories since childhood, but it was only when he won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books, that he realised he might actually be half decent at this writing business.

The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale.

During a book singing for Dark Voices 2, Tony was seated next to author Brian Lumley. At one point, Tony revealed to Brian that he felt out of place alongside all the proper writers. Brian then told Tony something he has never forgotten: “The moment you sat down and pulled a story out of your imagination and put it to paper, you became a proper writer.”

Subsequently, Tony began to focus on novel writing. He admits that his initial attempts were exploratory and somewhat derivative, although there was some interest from an agent – who oddly enough turned out to be Brian Lumley’s wife, Dorothy.

Tony wrote Degrees of Darkness, which he was happy with. He wasn’t so happy with a follow-up, so that never saw the light of day.

As a part-time writer with a full-time job, plus some ill-health, life got in the way and, although Tony continued writing, it took a back seat to making a living.

This year, however, Tony has been inspired by new ideas, and has been working hard on two new books, both of which should be completed in 2017.

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Blog Tour: Deadly Burial by Jon Richter

Today is my stop, and also the final one, on the blog tour for Deadly Burial by Jon Richter

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Synopsis

Book Cover (1)When DI Chris Sigurdsson is assigned a grisly murder case on remote Salvation Island, he knows that it might be his strangest yet.
A forgotten wrestling star of the 1980s has been poisoned whilst in the ring, and amidst the slippery lies of his dangerous opponents, unravelling the victim’s murky past is almost impossible.
And as a storm threatens to cut Salvation Island off from the mainland, the race is on for Sigurdsson to find the ruthless killer before he strikes again…

 

 

Review

As someone who can’t understand the fascination with wrestling I was a little apprehensive when I first began reading. However I soon found myself getting engrossed in the life of Vic Valient and his adversaries.

Deadly Burial is totally different from the crime thrillers I’ve been reading recently. Firstly we have a main character, DI Chris Sigurdsson, who suffers from panic attacks at various points throughout the story following a family tragedy.  Then we have the wrestlers; a mix of new and upcoming stars working with the big names from years ago. Also added into the mix is Carina Mason, the leading police officer on the island who isn’t very please to have DI Sigurdsson checking up on her.

The story follows the investigation into the murder of aging wrestler, Vic Valient. Even though he is no longer on the scene we learn a lot about him in cleverly placed chapters which contain excerpts from his would be memoirs.

I loved the setting of Salvation Island as it gave the book a somewhat creepy feeling, especially at the mention of it nearly been overrun by rabbits. The island was once a thriving tourist destination which, over time had become almost forgotten about. I felt this fit really well with the character of Vic Valient.

There are the usual red herrings in the storyline as well as a few surprise moments which made me catch my breath. I also have to admit that I didn’t see the ending coming one little bit.

I would still recommend this book even if, like me, you like crime thrillers but don’t like wrestling as it has everything a good police procedural novel should have and more.

Since this book is a debut novel, yet also billed as a DI Chris Sigurdsson story I’m assuming that Jon Richter has more to come when DI Sigurdsson is concerned. Given the ending, which I won’t spoil, I’m extremely interested to see where this will lead.

Amazon US – Amazon UK – Goodreads

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

Giveaway

If you would like to win a copy of this book, then please enter the giveaway

About the Author

Author PhotoJon Richter lives in London and spends most of his time hiding in the guise of his sinister alter ego, an accountant called Dave. When he isn’t counting beans, he is a self-confessed nerd who loves books, films and video games – basically any way to tell a good story.

Jon writes whenever he can and hopes to bring you more disturbing stories in the very near future.

If you want to chat to him about this, or about  anything at all, you can find him on Twitter @RichterWrites, or at his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/richterwrites2.

Blog Tour: Death in Dulwich by Alice Castle

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Death in Dulwich by Alice Castle.

Death in Dulwich

There are still a few more stops on the tour if you want to check them out too.

Synopsis

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Thirty-something single mum Beth Haldane has her hands full, with a bouncy young son, haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own, and bills to pay. She loves her little home in plush London suburb Dulwich, but life here doesn’t come cheap.

She is thrilled to land the post of archivist at top local school Wyatt’s – though she secretly fears she’s not up to the job. But even Beth couldn’t have imagined how badly things could go, until she discovers a hideous crime and finds herself prime suspect.

Setting out to clear her name, Beth encounters a cast of characters who will follow her through the London Murder Mystery series, proving along the way that the nastiest secrets can lurk in the nicest places.

Review

This is a fantastic read for any fans of cosy mysteries and although not my preferred genre I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Beth Haldane finds herself turning detective after he boss turns up murdered on her first day at a new job. With her name clearly near the top of the suspect list she takes it upon herself to find out who really murdered him.

The author’s knowledge of the area shows through in her writing and I especially liked the attention to detail around the school run as this is something I encounter on a daily basis.

Although I don’t read many cosy crime novels the writing is as I’ve come to expect from the genre. There are no overly graphic details and the investigation takes the forefront.

I found the book quick and easy to read and would definitely pick up another of Alice’s books in the series.

Death in Dulwich was published by Crooked Cat Books on September 6th

Amazon US – Amazon UK – Goodreads

Many thanks to Alice, Emma and Crooked Cat Books for my advanced reader copy and inviting me on the tour!

About the Author

Author Alice castleAlice Castle had a long career as a feature writer on national newspapers including the Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph before becoming a novelist. After a day writing about her prime suspects, she loves nothing better than curling up with a murder mystery at night. Alice grew up in south London and, after a brief stint in Brussels (where her first novel, Hot Chocolate, is set) she is back where she belongs, dreaming up more adventures for her heroine, amateur detective and single mum Beth Haldane. She is married with two children, two stepchildren and two cats, and writes about parenting on her mummy blog, DD’s Diary http://www.dulwichdivorcee.com.

Her latest book, Death in Dulwich, is being published in September 2017 by Crooked Cat Books.

 

Blog Tour: Writing Diverse Characters

 

Today, as part of the blog tour, I’m delighted to host author of Writing Diverse Characters, Lucy V Hay. Lucy is here with a blog post and is sharing her favourite things.

There are still loads more stops so don’t forget to check them out.Writing Diverse Characters Tour Banner (1).jpg

About the Author

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Lucy V. Hay is a script editor and blogger who helps writers.

She’s written three non-fiction books about writing, Writing Diverse Characters For Fiction, Tv & Film; Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays and its follow up Writing & Selling Drama Screenplays.

Her debut crime novel, The Other Twin, is out now with Orenda Books. 

Check out her website HERE and all her books, HERE.

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Blurb

We’re living in a time of unprecedented diversity in produced media content, with more characters appearing who are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT), disabled, or from other religions or classes.

What’s more, these characters are increasingly appearing in genre pieces, accessible to the mainstream, instead of being hidden away in so-called ‘worthier’ pieces, as in the past.

How to Write Diverse Characters discusses issues of race, disability, sexuality and transgender people with specific reference to characterisation – not only in movies and TV, but also novel writing.

Taking in blockbuster movies such as Mad Max Fury Road, Russell T Davies’ ground-breaking TV series Cucumber and and the controversial novel Gone Girl, the book explores:

– How character role function really works

– What is the difference between stereotype and archetype?

– Why ‘trope’ does not mean what Twitter and Tumblr think it means

– How the burden of casting affects both box office and audience perception

– Why diversity is not about agendas, buzzwords or being ‘politically correct’

– What authenticity truly means and why research is so important

– Why variety is key in ensuring true diversity in characterisation

Writers have to catch up. Knowing not only what makes a ‘good’ diverse character doesn’t always cut it; they need to know what agents, publishers, producers, filmmakers and commissioners are looking for – and why. This book gives writers the tools to create three dimensional, authentic characters … who just happen to be diverse.

A Few of My Favourite Things – Lucy V Hay

Animal

 

Cats! I have five of them at the moment, ranging from kitten to golden oldie. What I love about cats is they’re the perfect pet – they’re there for strokes and look cute and have great little personalities, but they make themselves scarce a lot of the time! You don’t have to walk them or wash them, they do that stuff themselves.

 

TV show

 

Wentworth Prison. I was a big Prisoner Cell Block H fan as a girl; I used to set the alarm for late at night so I could get back up to watch it (no red button or catch up in those days!). I love the new version, it’s so modern and gritty, whilst retaining all the cheesy fun of the old version.

 

Film

 

I have so many favourite films! The classic has to be Alien. It was one of my favourites back when I was a kid and started me on the road to my interest in female leads via Ripley.

 

Meal

 

I never say no to steak and chips … But I also love Eggs Royale (Eggs Benedict, but with salmon). I also love Tortelloni. One of them!

 

Dessert

 

Pecan pie and a bucket of coffee go so well together!

 

Holiday destination

 

I love Lynton and Lynmouth, on the North coast of Devon. We don’t live far – about 40 minutes away! – but I gladly go there, either for day trips or even for a week at a time. It’s a gorgeous little place and has its own Victorian cliff railway. It also has a great fish and chips place at the bottom of the cliff and a fab little vinyl café in Lynton, where you can get a great coffee and listen to Pink Floyd!

 

Town/city

 

I love where I live, Tiverton. There’s always something going on for the kids and it’s a pretty little place, down in the hills surrounded by lush green hills. There’s also loads of writers here amazingly, either living in town or nearby, so there’s plenty going on for us scribes too! I’ve lived in big cities with less culture!

 

Breakfast cereal

 

I’m not a big cereal eater. I don’t eat breakfast much, to be honest. I know that’s naughty – most important meal of the day and all that – but it seems a hassle. Would rather eat something for elevenses instead.

 

Item of clothing

 

I love long maxi skirts, especially patchwork ones. Also, vintage scarves, with lots of lovely tassels. I’m just a big hippy, really!

 

Childhood toy

 

I adored cuddly toys as a child. I collected them by the dozens from jumble sales and charity shops, plus relatives were always giving them to me. There was hardly any room for me in my bed, I had that many in there with me. I still love cuddly toys, but my two girls have stolen most of them, the blighters!

 

Memory

 

When I was a single mum, a mouse got into my flat. I shut the door and left my cat in there with it. A couple of hours later, I went back in and my cat seemed pretty pleased with herself, plus the mouse was nowhere to be seen, so I figured she’d got it. I left it at that.

The next morning, I was putting my boy’s shoes on – he was about five – and he kept complaining there was something in his shoe. He was well known for his delay tactics before school, so I just tried to shove his foot in. He kept complaining so I said ‘For God’s sake! There’s nothing in there!’ and tipped the shoe upside down – AND THE LIVE MOUSE FROM THE DAY BEFORE FELL OUT! We were both screaming as it ran all over the sofa and the cat sauntered back in, completely oblivious.