Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Blog Tour ~ My Husband's Lies by Caroline England

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for My Husband's Lies by Caroline England where I welcome Caroline to my blog where he has kindly provided me with a guest post on "Writing Characters". I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this piece so without further ado, here it is:

It may come as a surprise to those who've read my dark twisty short stories or my debut novel, Beneath the Skin (published last October), but I’m a little in love with most of my characters, even those who lie, deceive and betray! It isn’t just because I’m their creator, a mum who can see no bad in her kids. It’s because they are human, and all us humans are imperfect, aren’t we?

My Husband’s Lies is a 'domestic noir' story, a tender and compelling tale of friendship, gay and straight love. But also one of conflict and secrets, unfaithfulness and lies!

Known as the ‘A Team’ at school, Nick, Dan, Will and Jen have been inseparable for years, but when they gather for Nick’s wedding, their ordinary lives are thrown into chaos by a friend appearing on the hotel reception window ledge, ready to jump. As the unstoppable chain of events ensues, lies, family secrets, illicit love and betrayal are unravelled, pushing their relationships with their loved ones to the limit. What will the eventual fallout be? With their tight friendship survive?

Jen is happily married to Ian and they have three girls, but their lives unbalance when their middle daughter falls ill.

Nick and Lisa are newly-weds but a chance remark to Nick at the wedding starts an obsession to uncover a family secret, putting his marriage at risk.

Dan’s baby with Geri is due. On the surface he’s reliable ‘Super Dan’ but underneath his anxiety is spreading and his judgement is being clouded by a renewed and confusing childhood attraction. He finds himself in free-fall. Can he really cope?

Gregarious Will has only been married to Penny for a year, but what is his jokey and relaxed facade hiding? Why is Penny pushing him to take a job abroad?

Though I have a vague idea about the seminal plot points before starting my novels, the stories are not only character-based, they are often led by the characters too. Take Jen, for example. Once she’d taken shape physically, I slipped into her home scruffs, took a bite of those buttery crumpets she loves and let her take me on a stroll around her mind. I discovered her worries and fears and the things that made her angry. I also unearthed the secrets she was hiding.

All my characters are flawed in some way, but I hope they are compelling and realistic. I love creating my cast, giving them parents or children, jobs, homes and hobbies. Deciding on age, height and hair colour. Dressing them, giving them personalities, tics and frailties. Making them fall in love with people that they shouldn’t! But what I like best is giving them a history, a past, and particularly a childhood. Admittedly I’m a bit obsessed with the human condition, but I like to explore how the child moulds the adult we become. And of course I give each person a secret which is threatening to explode!


Saturday, 12 May 2018

REVIEW ~ Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips


Joan and her son Lincoln are on a trip to the zoo and it is coming near closing time, they decide to make their way back to the exit, this ordinary day at the zoo turns into a nightmare. As they are walking back Joan hears what she first thinks is either firecrackers or fireworks, it turns out to be gunfire and Joan finds herself trapped with her beloved son. Lincoln is a good little boy, he's four, is very curious, clever and well behaved. He does as his mum says and knows what the rules are until today. There are 2 people on the loose within the Zoo with guns.

'The rules are different today. The rules are that we hide and do not let the man with the gun find us.'

She must summon all her strength, find unexpected courage and protect Lincoln at all costs – even if it means crossing the line between right and wrong; between humanity and animal instinct. It's a line none of us would ever normally dream of crossing but sometimes the rules are different.

To be honest I didn't know what this book was about when I picked it up from the library which I think sometimes is better as when a book is hyped up to the max and then you get to read it, it can be a bit of a letdown but WOW!! What a book, it was just brilliant. It was clever, tense, thrilling with a terrifying scenario which let's face it could actually happen.  I don't have children but I've a nephew and I actually felt claustrophobic at times reading it and just imagining the fear and trying to think ahead of a strategy to outrun these gunmen and get to safety.  I could feel my heart beating out of me at times and loved Lincoln, very much reminded me of my nephew in ways with his curiousness of everything, clever and his love for action figures.  It's ironic that I'm posting this review only a few days after another shooting in a High School in Florida and when you read this you realise that a shooting can actually happen anywhere these days, even a Zoo is not safe.  I'm not going to say anymore about Fierce Kingdom other than just pick it up and read it.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Fierce Kingdom is available from all good bookstores, libraries and on Kindle where it is currently £0.99 at the time of publication of this review.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

BLOG TOUR - The Lies We Told by Camilla Way ~ REVIEW


With huge thanks to Heidi from Harper Collins and Camilla Way, I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review............

Do you promise not to tell???

Clara and Luke have been together a while and completely in love.  Luke has been preparing an upcoming interview but when Clara wakes early on this particular morning to discover that Luke hasn't come home, she reaches to check her phone but there's no missed calls or text messages.  After trying to ring him, she discovers that Luke's phone is in the house, she checks her emails to see an email from Luke to say that he was going to be working late but will be home but he's not arrived home and no-one has seen him so in effect Luke has gone missing.

Seeing as everyone thinks that Luke has left her, Clara knows differently and desperately searches for the truth, she uncovers evidence that Luke had a stalker but as she digs deeper and finds people from his past and what they have to say doesn't paint a very nice picture of him and she's worried that he's been kidnapped.

Then Luke's older sister, Emma, who vanished twenty years ago, suddenly reappears. Emma wants to help Clara with her search for Luke but she refuses to talk about what happened all those years ago even though it almost destroyed her family when she vanished. As Clara digs deeper into Luke's mysterious disappearance, the more convinced she is that these two incidents are connected or is there something more sinister going on?

WOW!!! What a novel The Lies We Told was, I Loved, Loved, LOVED this, it was absolutely fantastic and talk about messing with your head, just when you think you've things worked out Camilla throws another red herring into the story, just like a real psychological novel should be. It made my skin crawl and it definitely didn't disappoint. It was a spine-chilling , pulse pounding, heart thumping rollercoaster ride. The Lies We Told is told in two timeframes, present 2017 and from 1989 into the 1990's and there is a back story running through it which cleverly comes together towards the end.

The sociopath/kidnapper character was absolutely brilliant, very well written and cleverly constructed. They were everything you'd expect with a sociopath - cold, calculating, manipulating and has no regard for anyone's feelings or who they hurt on their path of destruction. At times, I could feel I was right there with the characters.

 I am really looking forward to Camilla's next book already where I'm hoping it won't be too long until then but no pressure at all.  After enjoying this so much I'm looking forward to reading Watching Edie now.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

The Lies We Told is published on May 3rd and is available in all good bookshops, libraries and on Kindle where it is currently £3.99 at the time of publication of this review.

Friday, 4 May 2018

REVIEW ~ Lies by T.M. Logan


WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES? 

Joe Lynch has just collected his little boy, William  from school and they're on their way home when his son spots his Mum's car  but Joe thinks that his son maybe seeing things until he looks and sees his wife enter an underground car park in the middle of the day, he's intrigued enough that he parks the car with  to follow her down.

But when he sees her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he naturally goes to her defense - and doesn't for a minute believe the accusations Ben makes against her. It's pure misfortune that, just as the clash becomes violent and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe's son has an asthma attack, and Joe has to take him to safety. Joe starts to investigate as much as he can, why his wife was at the underground car park that day, searches throughout the house and his wife's mobile phone (when he can) to try to get some answers but will he get the ones he wants or will there be a shocking conclusion!??

Well, I really LOVED Lies, it was brilliant and to be honest I CANNOT believe that this is a debut novel, it was so well constructed and clever.  It's full of twists, turns but above all the lies!!  I borrowed this on audio through Borrowbox in my library and as I was listening it it felt like there was an onion in my car with all the layers been peeled back to reveal so many lies and I did have a few gasp moments too. I'm sure people thought I was mad if they saw me in traffic in the car with reactions like that.

I don't want to say anymore about this other than go and get a copy of this now, you won't be disappointed.  I'm really looking forward to reading 29 Seconds now which was published on the 25th January 2018.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Lies is available from all good bookshops, libraries and is available on Kindle and is currently £0.99 at the time of publication of this review.

Monday, 30 April 2018

REVIEW ~ Final Girls by Riley Sager


Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horrific massacre. Quincy along with her five friends was savagely attacked ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as "Him". In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to, a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls which also contains the names Lisa and Sam.

Lisa lost nine of her friends to a college dropout's knife. Sam went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn. The three girls have all been attempting to put their nightmares behind them along with trying to forget one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet.

Quincy is doing well, maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancĂ©, Jeff. She has a popular baking blog, a stunningly beautiful apartment that anyone would die for and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago who she knows she can call on at the drop of a hat. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night. The past is in better off staying in the past, isn't it??

When Lisa, the first Final Girl  is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, Sam the second Final Girl appears on Quincy's doorstep. Blowing through Quincy's life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really here and what exactly does she want? And when new details about Lisa's death come to light, Quincy's life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam's truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters and most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Well, I didn't like it, I absolutely LOVED it!!  I couldn't read this fast enough, full of action, creepiness and eeriness.  It is told in 2 time frames also, the present day and after Lisa is found dead, it flashes back to when the horrific massacre took place at Pine Cottage which is spread throughout the story. I wasn't sure who to trust and even at times I was questioning whether Quincy could be trusted or was it the drugs she was taking that was masking the truth.  It reminded me of the old classic slasher films, like Halloween, Scream, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to name a few so Riley Sager definitely did their research well and you can tell that they love those slasher films too and that's a compliment as I LOVE the old horror movies - you can't beat them.  To be honest, I couldn't believe that the author is actually a male, which may surprise you, I really thought it was a woman.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

The Final Girls is available in all good bookshops, libraries and on Kindle where it is currently £2.99 at the time of publication of this review.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ Guilt by Amanda Robson

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Guilt by Amanda Robson where I welcome Amanda to my blog where he has kindly provided me with a guest post on "10 things you didn't know about Miranda and Zara". I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this piece so without further ado, here it is:

Ten things you didn’t know about Miranda and Zara

Zara

1. Zara never thought she would end up with someone as attractive as Sebastian. Despite her own good looks, and the copious attention she has received since her mid-teens, she always figured she would end up with someone ordinary.

2. She is far more intellectual than her friends realise. She loves to read philosophy books and is considering studying a philosophy degree with the Open University when she has finished her photography course.

3. Whenever Zara is separated from her sister, or her mother, she texts them every day.

4.  She has been interested in photography since she was four years old, when her Mum first gave her a Kodak instamatic. She sees the world around her as a series of photographs. Sometimes her dreams come to her in snap-shots.

5. Zara is interested in reading about religion. Her favourite is Buddhism, although she hasn’t fully embraced it yet.

6. She only watches Strictly and X-factor to please the people around her.

7. She prefers alcohol to other recreational drugs. E is her second favourite.

8. When she and Sebastian are married she wants to travel to India for a prolonged honeymoon. She wants to see the Taj Mahal, the Temples of Varanasi, the marble fortress of Dehli, and to visit Goa and Kerala.

9. She prefers animals to children, and would rather have a puppy than a baby. Lhasa Apso are her favourite breed of dog. A non-sporting dog bred to guard Tibetan monasteries. They look a bit like Dougal from the Magic Roundabout, who looks super-cute in old clips on You Tube.

10. Zara is currently designing her own body art. Roses and dragons. It will cover her whole torso.

Miranda

1. Miranda is more highly strung than people realise. She has been attempting to balance her brain biochemistry with St John’s Wort for many years.

2. As a child she often wanted to swop places with Zara, as less was expected of Zara academically.

3. Her nick name at school was Captain Sensible, which upset her very much. She has always wanted to be considered fun loving like her sister.

4. Having said that she hates night clubs. She doesn’t like being surrounded by people high on drugs. Loud music makes her ears pop.

5. Even though she  doesn’t have a garden at her flat, she loves reading books on gardening.

6. She wants to get married and have children. More than two.

7. At school she had a long term crush on her maths teacher. He is a big part of the reason she is an accountant now.

8. She had her first kiss at seventeen.

9. Favourite TV programmes: EastEnders, Holby City, Strictly and X-factor.

10. Favourite author: Sophie Kinsella.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ The Girl Who Got Revenge by Marnie Riches

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Girl Who Got Revenge by Marnie Riches where I welcome Marnie to my blog where she has kindly provided me with an extract from her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this piece so without further ado, here it is:

Scanning the black fields, he realised he might be too late. As his eyes adjusted to the dark, he made out a path that led out among the maze of polytunnels, rippling in the wind. Tried to remember what it had all looked like during the daytime, but couldn’t. On his own in that desolate place, with the wind turbines whining in the background as they churned the night sky, he imagined Den Bosch’s men watching his every move; sentries waiting in the shadows, guns cocked. Was it possible George would send help? 
Forging his way through the first field, he soon spotted a white glowing light in the distance, off to his right. It shone from crystalline structures on the horizon. 
‘Greenhouses!’ 
Sinking to the ground, unable to make out anything of note, he traced careful fingers over the makeshift path spread out before him. Felt parallel furrows in the flattened soil. ‘A trolley. They’ve taken her to the greenhouse on a trolley.’ 
He started to run, panting and tiring more quickly than he would have hoped. He had once chased like a prize greyhound after serial killers, thieves and drug dealers. But he was older now. Bearing the scars of his difficult forties, he was no longer quite as fit. If Tamara died tonight and he was unlucky enough to live, he didn’t mind if Minks kicked him off the force. It was time, he decided. There, in the middle of a field of cabbages, he realised he was finished. 
Crack. 
The gunshot ripped through the cold air, bursting his heavy, choking bubble of self-doubt and nihilism. The wind whipped around his head, awakening his senses. There had been a flash of light from the direction of the greenhouses as the bullet had been discharged. 
Crack. Another. This time, it hit. He was sent flying backwards, the breath knocked out of him as he hit the deck.