Friday, 22 January 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ What I Did by Kate Bradley



πŸ“– Delighted to host today’s blog tour stop πŸ“–


Zaffre
21 January 2021

My thanks to the publisher for my ecopy of this book
And the invitation to be part of this blog tour.




Lisa is running.

She has taken her child, Jack, and she has run from his father.

Lisa thinks she's safe.

She's found a remote house where no one will be able to find them.

Lisa is about to wake up in her worst nightmare.

And now she must face what she's tried to escape.

Risking everything to protect her little boy, Lisa knows that in order to survive she will have to fight, but it's hard to face someone you loved, especially someone you still love, who knows who you really are - and what you are really capable of.

Family is everything. What would you do to protect it?


πŸ“–  My Thoughts...

This fast paced contemporary psychological thriller hits the ground running with an opening chapter which sets the seal for a terrifying story which is cleverly split between time frames which are quite simply explained as now and before. In both sections we get to know Lisa who is caring for her boy, Jack, in an atmosphere which is fraught with danger. With little option, but to get to a place of safety, Lisa must go away with Jack in order to stop the abuse which threatens to engulf both of them.

This deadly spiral of domestic abuse is, at times, a gripping and uncomfortable read but the author does a great job of making everything seem really plausible and so scarily realistic that these characters could, so easily, be people you meet in your daily life. Such is the sympathetic rendering of the story that it becomes very easy to make an emotional connection with the main characters and even though the story is fraught with danger and dreadful abuse, there's a compulsion to read on just to make sense of the many twists and turns which this talented author has inserted into the plot. I was genuinely surprised with how the story eventually played out.

What I Did is a clever psychological thriller which grabs your attention from the start and doesn't let you escape until the whole of this compelling story is told.



 πŸ“–  About the Author πŸ“–  


Kate Bradley worked for many years managing service for people who are marginalised by society; her world has taken her into prisons, metal health hospitals and alongside the homeless. She currently works in education. He holds a first class degree in English Literature, in addition to qualifications in creative writing and teaching. Kate lives in a small coastal town just outside Brighton with her husband and sons.

 

Twitter @kate_bradley #WhatIDid

@ZaffreBooks





Thursday, 21 January 2021

πŸ“– Publication Day Review ~ All My Lies are True by Dorothy Koomson

 

πŸ“– Happy Paperback Publication Day πŸ“–

 

Headline
21 January 2021

My thanks to the publishers and to EDPR for my copy of this book


Verity is telling lies... and that’s why she’s about to be arrested for attempted murder.

Serena has been lying for years... and that may have driven her daughter Verity, to do something unthinkable. 

Poppy’s lies have come back to haunt her... so will her quest for the truth hurt everyone she loves?

30 years ago, teenagers Poppy Carlisle and Serena Gorringe were put on trial for the murder of their teacher. Poppy was convicted. Serena walked free. 10 years after Poppy’s release from prison, and now with families of their own, both women have spent a lifetime trying to forget. But time is no healer. The story is not theirs alone; their families have lived it too. Will the truth of what happened that night ever come to light, or will the abuses of the past destroy everyone they love? A story about family, obsession and psychological abuse, it seems that everyone lies... but whose lies are going to end in tragedy?

πŸ“– My thoughts..

Anyone who has read The Ice Cream Girls will wonder what happened to Poppy and Serena in the years following their dramatic arrest and court appearance. Thankfully the author felt that it was now time to write a sequel, even though initially she said she wouldn't, and I'm really pleased that we have in All My Lies are True a worthy continuation of this compelling story.

All my Lies are True picks up the story several years after the first story finished. Poppy is out of prison and Serena has been living her life seemingly unscathed in the intervening years. However, scars run deep, and although neither women have much contact with the other they remain ever present in each other's thoughts. The passage of time doesn't dim the connection but there is now a new generation for whom the troubles of the past are about to threaten the future. When the events of the present, and I'm not going to say what they are as that would spoil everything, start to spiral out of control then the whole sad and sorry cycle is about to start all over again.

The story is beautifully told, with a scarily realistic edge, and with central characters who get right inside your head and who you invest in from the first page. Some I liked more than others and there's one in particular I was wary of from the start but that's what makes the story so compelling, characters who you believe one minute, and then start to doubt at other times. The story is told from different timelines and several points of view, that of Verity, Serena's grown up daughter, Serena herself, and also Poppy, each of them have a story to tell and each is as compelling as the others.

All My Lies are True has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and because nothing is ever as it seems, I think, that's what makes this book such a riveting and engrossing read. My opinion is that you don't need to re-read the first book in order to get the most out of this follow up as the author gives enough back story for it all to make sense. However, if you've not done, then I do think that you would get more enjoyment if you first read The Ice Cream Girls. 


 πŸ“–  All My Lies are True by Dorothy Koomson is out in paperback today πŸ“– 



πŸ“–About the Author πŸ“–


Dorothy Koomson is an award-winning, global bestselling author whose novels include the Sunday Times bestsellers The Friend, That Girl from Nowhere, The Ice Cream Girls, The Woman He Loved Before, The Chocolate Run and My Best Friend’s Girl. Her books have been translated into more than 30 languages with sales that exceed 2 million copies in the UK alone. Dorothy’s books are powerful, thought-provoking and compelling ‘emotional thrillers’ where moral dilemmas are central and where the complex emotions of family and friendships are explored. 

Her third book, My Best Friend’s Girl, was selected for the Richard & Judy Summer Reads of 2006, and her novels The Ice Cream Girls and The Rose Petal Beach were both shortlisted for the British Book Awards in 2010 and 2013, respectively. A TV adaptation loosely based on The Ice Cream Girls was first shown on ITV1 in 2013. Her novels have all been Sunday Times Top 10 bestsellers including That Girl from Nowhere, When I Was Invisible, The Friend and Tell Me Your Secret. Dorothy was a 2018 Quick Reads author with The Beach Wedding which was also selected as a World Book Night giveaway title in the same year, with The Ice Cream Girls a 2019 World Book Night title.

Passionate about the importance of reading and literacy, Dorothy is a regular speaker in libraries and at festivals and supports the work of the National Literacy Trust, an independent charity that transforms lives through literacy www.literacytrust.org.uk and Little Green Pig www.littlegreenpig.org.uk, a Brighton and Hove based charity that offers free writing workshops for young people in need. Dorothy lives in Brighton (well, Hove, actually) and the city is an ever-present character in her novels.



Twitter @DorothyKoomson #AllMyLiesAreTrue

@headlinepg

@ed_pr








Wednesday, 20 January 2021

πŸ“– Book Review ~ The Burning Girls by C J Tudor

 


Michael Joseph
21 January 2021

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book



500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death

30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace

Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.


For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it's supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn't easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft's history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?

Who's sending them sinister, threatening messages?

And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft's secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn't touch them if not for Flo - anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft - and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest...

πŸ“– My Thoughts..

I always have a real sense of excitement when there is a new book out by this author as I know, from past experience, that she will never let me down and the story will be every bit as good as I want it to be. The Burning Girls is a story which is so fraught with danger and menace that just after reading a few pages I was already frightened of my own shadow!

Reverend Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo are sent to the tiny village of Chapel Croft to replace the last vicar who has died in tragic circumstances. Their arrival in the village is met with a great deal of mistrust and from the start it is obvious that the villagers are not going to give up their secrets easily. A series of events threaten not just Jack and Flo's safety but also their peace of mind and as tensions start to run high so danger is never far away.

This is one of those clever stories which is all to easy to spoil by giving away even a little snippet of something which later bears relevance so I won't do the author a disservice by recounting her clever plot. What I will say is that after reading all this author's books, and there are four, this one is my favourite, but then I've said that after each book, and that's just how good this writer is that after finishing you are always eager for more. 

The Burning Girls is not for the faint hearted and won't be everyone's choice but if you enjoy a deeply suspenseful novel with lots of genuinely creepy moments which make you jump at shadows and which give you a burning desire to sleep with the light on, then do give it a try. It's perfect escapism.

Note to self - don't go walking in the woods when you've just read a chapter of The Burning Girls..πŸ‘»






About the Author

C. J. Tudor lives in Nottingham, England with her partner and three-year-old daughter.

Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voice over and dog-walker. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time, and doesn’t miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much.


Twitter @cjtudor #TheBurningGirls

@MichaelJBooks

πŸ“– Published in hardback 21 January 2020 πŸ“–








Tuesday, 19 January 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour Guest Post ~ You Don't Need Therapy by Alan Lucas

 

 Delighted to be able to share this guest post on today's blog tour stop


Beak Street Publishing
12 January 2021

My thanks to Midas pr for my invitation to be part of the blog tour
and to the author for this guest post



Changing your life isn’t that complicated when you know how, and when you know how You Don’t Need Therapy According to the World Health Organisation, there is a suicide every 40 seconds and in the UK alone, 16 people choose to end their lives every day. We have a chronic mental health problem. More and more people report they are struggling, yet therapy and medication, the conventional default solutions, are expensive and don’t seem to be working. You Don’t Need Therapy presents an alternative solution: The SYSO System® - an easily digestible and cost efficient one stop system that can be applied by anyone wherever they are on their journey. Resources available for self-improvement are plentiful, but can be overwhelming and confusing. There are over 160 recognised types of psychotherapy, endless counselling styles, coaching methods, healing techniques, retreats, seminars and book offerings, yet many people simply don’t know where to start or what to do next. You Don’t Need Therapy introduces a one stop solution, the SYSO System®, with 7 simple steps and 70 practical exercises so you can DO the changing, rather than just read about it. By following the steps, you will change how you think, which will change how you feel, which will change what you do, all as quickly as you choose. You will create a new filter through which you experience life and by changing the filter, everything will look different.

You don’t need therapy; you can sort your self out when you know how.


πŸ“– I'm delighted to welcome Alan to the blog today πŸ“–


Sort Your Self Out 

Hi, I’m Alan Lucas and I created a 7-step system to help people become more mentally healthy! It’s simply called the Sort Your Self Out system (The SYSO System) and if you follow the steps you can change your life. It’s that straightforward. 

However, the system will only work if you do! That’s why there are 70 practical exercises so you can really do the changing rather than just read about it. If you want your life to improve, you have to improve. If you want your life to be different, you have to be different, and if you want your life to change, you have to change. Notice the theme? It’s you! You have to ‘do’ things differently. 

People are seeking help for mental health problems at an unprecedented rate. In the UK one in four report experiencing mental health issues and 1 in 8 are receiving some form of ‘treatment.’ The most common prescribed solutions are therapy and medication, but these are expensive, not easy to access and often not that effective. As great as some therapy can be, the therapist doesn’t do the work for you anyway. You still have to do the changing. If you just knew what to do and had exercises to practice, then you wouldn’t need therapy. 

Everyone has things they are trying to change, but often we just struggle with the doing. The SYSO System, with 70 action activating exercises, focusses on making changes real. The 7 steps deal with the bigger questions that lie behind your life, and when you focus on these, then all the small stuff will fall into place. Want better relationships, health, finances? We often focus on strategies for achieving these goals in specific areas of our life, but if we focus instead on the bigger picture by becoming more aware, managing our mind, taking charge of our emotions, meeting our needs in healthy ways, having a clear purpose, appreciating our interconnectedness and raising our vibration, then our life will change on a whole new level in all areas. 

So, wherever you are on your journey, decide to take responsibility for your experience of life. Everything that has happened so far has been invaluable in giving you the foundations for the next part. Decide now to make the most of the rest of your life, and you will be doing everyone else the biggest favour too, as being the best version of yourself is the greatest gift you can give to others. When you light up you will feel great, but you will also be able to shine more brightly your light and warmth. Let’s all be the best we can. Let’s all be suns. 

You Don’t Need Therapy is out on 12th Jan and is available for pre order now. https://www.amazon.co.uk/You-Dont-Need-Therapy-Steps/dp/1913532259 All profits to The SYSO Foundation which is a new charity providing free support and personal development resources to young people to help them avoid becoming messed up older people. 



About the Author




Alan Lucas was born and raised in Belfast during the troubles and from a young age wondered why people would choose to kill others just because they had developed different beliefs. After university, he worked as a ski instructor in the U.S, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe. He had a corporate career as a marketing boss at global sportswear brands Nike and Adidas and has founded various businesses. An entrepreneur, coach and motivational speaker, Alan is passionate about selfimprovement and helping people have more fun and fulfilling lives. He created the Sort Your Self Out system, and the EGO HERE® brand which donates its profits to the SYSO Foundation, providing personal development resources for young people to help them become the best versions of themselves. You Don’t Need Therapy is his debut book.



Twitter @SysoSystem #YouDontNeedTherapy

@Midaspr













Monday, 18 January 2021

πŸ“– Book Review ~ The Museum of Desire by Jonathan Kellerman


Arrow Books
12 November 2021

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book


ONE WILD PARTY. FOUR COUNTS OF MURDER.

A mansion in Beverly Hills is leased out to host an event wild enough to herald the end of days.

The next day there isn’t a living soul to be seen. In the driveway sits a super-stretch limo, unlocked, with four bodies inside it. Nothing links the victims together. Each has been killed in a different way.

Now it’s up to brilliant psychologist Alex Delware and LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis to begin their grisliest and most baffling case yet.

As they struggle to make sense of the mass slaying, they will be forced to confront a level of evil that nothing can prepare them for.


πŸ“– My thoughts..

I'm very late to the party with this series as Museum of Desire is now the #35 book in the Alex Delaware series and as this is my first time reading of the partnership between psychologist Alex Delaware and LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis I entered this 35th crime scene with an air of trepidation just in case I couldn't pick up the back story. I needn't have worried as from the dramatic start to the story, with the discovery of a gruesome crime scene, I was completely hooked in by the story.
 
That this is a complex murder investigation is obvious as the story gets under way. Four bodies, all seemingly unconnected to each other, are found after a party has taken place at a prestigious mansion in Beverley Hills, and the more Sturgis investigates the more questions are raised which is why he relies heavily on psychologist Delaware helping out with profiling the perpetrator of this heinous crime. Both Delaware and Sturgis work well together as each complement the other and when one starts to falter the other gives the much needed boost needed to carry on with the complex investigation.

The story moves along at a cracking pace and there is never a moment when the momentum lapses or the tension lessens and I found that I really couldn't stop reading until I had discovered just why these disparate characters all ended up dying together in such dreadful circumstances. The author writes with knowledgeable conviction and has obviously invested such time and energy into the series that everything just gels beautifully together.

Museum of Desire is a fast action crime thriller with a decidedly gritty edginess so it's not for the faint hearted. However, I am sure that fans of the Alex Delaware series will find much to enjoy in this latest crime investigation.


About the Author

Jonathan Kellerman is the Number One New York Times bestselling author of more than forty crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher's Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, Twisted, True Detectives, and The Murderer's Daughter.



@ArrowBooks









Sunday, 17 January 2021

🍴Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Christina Courtenay


On this quiet Sunday morning why don't you put the kettle on, make your favourite breakfast and settle down for Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo






🍴I'm delighted to welcome, author, Christina Courtenay to our Sunday Brunch today🍴







🍴Welcome, Christina. What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch? 

I’ll bring a huge platter of sushi – all kinds except for eel and mackerel – it’s the perfect food for lunch any day! For those who don’t like fish, there will be vegetarian ones, although I suppose I’d better bring some homemade bread as well with butter and various types of cheese just in case. 


🍴Would you like a pot of English breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz? 

None of the above, thank you – I’d prefer a Coke with ice and lemon, please. Or some elderflower cordial or homemade lemonade. 


🍴Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio

I’d prefer the kitchen table – it will be more comfortable and informal, and kitchens are usually cosy and warm. I hate eating al fresco as there are always insects and you get the sun in your eyes. 


🍴Shall we have music playing in the background? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you happy? 

Anything by Def Leppard – I love their songs – or a selection of upbeat 1980s pop songs. 


🍴Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today? 

I think it has to be my latest hero Hrafn Eskilsson, a Viking trader who has just returned from a very long journey to what he calls MiklagarΓ°r (present day Istanbul). He has a lot to tell us about his adventures, I’m sure! 


🍴Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch? 

Whichever Georgette Heyer book I can first lay my hands on – I love all her stories and never tire of them! 


🍴When you are writing do you still find time to read for pleasure? And is there a book you would like to read but haven’t had time for …yet! 

Yes, I read a lot in the evenings and long into the night – once I start a book I can never stop until I reach the end. (Thank goodness for Kindles so that my husband can still get to sleep.) There are some books I feel I ought to have read but haven’t got round to – like Anna Karenina – and maybe one day I will? But I prefer more light-hearted stuff and if I like the look of a book, I’ll make time for it no matter what. 


🍴What’s the oldest book on your book shelf? 

I still have some of my favourite children’s books (I’m a hoarder so never throw anything away unless I have to) and some old first edition Heyer books, but I think the oldest books I own are probably A Thousand and One Nights (it’s a series of four bound volumes given to me by my grandfather). 





🍴Where do you find the inspiration for your novels? 

Inspiration can be sparked by anything – a place, a house, a sound, an item – and for me it’s usually houses or things like castle ruins. However, now that I’m writing about the Viking era, I have been getting lots of ideas from the research I’ve done. I start off with a vague outline and once I dig deeper into the history, I start to see lots of possibilities. It does really help to visit the places in the story as well as there are some things, like sound/smell/touch, you can’t find by reading about it. Being there will spark new plot possibilities, which is always good. 


🍴Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer? 

I write on my laptop so I can sit anywhere. I have a bad back so I’m often found on the floor leaning against the sofa with a huge cushion behind me – I find chairs very uncomfortable for any length of time. Also, my very elderly dog likes me to be down on his level. His dog bed is right next to me wherever I am. 


🍴When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing? 

If I know I have a deadline I’m usually very focused. It’s easy to become distracted by social media and I sometimes have to make myself stop looking at Twitter or whatever, but I can be very disciplined if I have to. As soon as I’m into my story, I forget everything else and I find that the best way to immerse myself in the imaginary world is to read the last chapter I wrote and just carry on from there. 


🍴Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs? 

A laptop, an internet connection, great author friends and lots of chocolate! (My stories are mostly fuelled by Bourneville and the occasional Ferrero Rocher). 


🍴What can you tell us about your latest novel or your current work in progress? 

My latest novel is The Runes of Destiny, a Viking time travel story where Linnea, a 21st century woman, travels back in time to the Viking age. She’s taken captive and finds herself in the power of Hrafn, a Viking trader, who claims her as his thrall and takes her on a journey across the seas to sell her for profit. Although lost and confused, Linnea is determined to find a way back to her own time, but there’s a connection forming with Hrafn. Can she resist the call of the runes and accept her destiny lies here … 






I’m now working on the sequel, Whispers of the Runes, which features Hrafn’s brother Rurik and Linnea’s best friend Sara. They get caught up with the so-called Great Heathen Army that rampaged through Britain in the 870s AD and have to stick together to survive.


🍴Christina, where can we follow you on social media?🍴


Twitter @PiaCourtenay

Facebook

Instagram

Website


More about Christina


Christina Courtenay writes historical romance, time slip and time travel stories, and lives in Herefordshire (near the Welsh border) in the UK. Although born in England, she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden – hence her abiding interest in the Vikings. Christina is a former chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several awards, including the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel twice with Highland Storms (2012) and The Gilded Fan (2014). The Runes of Destiny (time travel published by Headline 10th December 2020) is her latest novel. Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).

 

Thank you for taking part in Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo


Follow us Twitter @jaffareadstoo #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo





Saturday, 16 January 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse


πŸ“– Delighted to be sharing my book review on today's blog tour stop πŸ“–


Bantam Press
18 January 2021

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book
and to Random Things Tours for my invitation to the blog tour

An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she's taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother's recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it's beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous - as does her brother, Isaac.

And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancΓ©e Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin's unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she's the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they're all in...





My thoughts...

High in the Swiss Alps a new minimalist hotel opens, however, it is not without controversy, as Le Sommet sits on the footprint of what was once a rather grim sanatorium for people with tuberculosis. Local opposition runs high and there are those who would rather the hotel just didn’t exist.

Police Detective, Elin Warner and her partner, Will Riley, have been invited to the hotel to celebrate Elin’s brother’s engagement to Laure who is the assistant manger of the hotel. Emotions run high especially for Elin who is currently on extended sick leave with PTSD. When Laure goes missing, leaving no clues to her disappearance, Elin needs to draw on all her emotional, and professional, strength to try to figure out just what is going on at Le Sommet.

What then follows is a decidedly chilly story which has all the necessary elements of surprise needed for a thrilling whodunnit. The icy setting, against a snowy backdrop heightens the claustrophobic nature of the story and as Elin gets drawn deeper into the investigation, so her own insecurities start to come to the fore.

Right from the start there is an undercurrent of unease, which surrounds, not just the hotel, but also the people associated with it and when atrocious weather causes some guests and staff to be stranded at Le Sommet this creepy sense of unrest is made so much worse when a gruesome discovery is made.

The claustrophobic nature of being high in the Swiss Alps in a creepy and isolated hotel in the middle of a swirling snowstorm and with so many people staying at the hotel who have hidden agendas then you have all the right ingredients for a decidedly chilly and very atmospheric read.

The Sanatorium is a commendable debut by a talented new voice in the psychological thriller/crime fiction  genre.


About the Author




Sarah Pearse lives by the sea in South Devon with her husband and two daughters. She studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick and worked in Brand PR for a variety of household brands. After moving to Switzerland in her twenties, she spent every spare moment exploring the mountains and still has a home in the Swiss Alpine town of Crans Montana, the dramatic setting that inspired her novel. Sarah has always been drawn to the dark and creepy - remote spaces and abandoned places - so when she read an article in a local Swiss magazine about the history of sanatoriums in the area, she knew she’d found the spark of the idea for her debut novel, The Sanatorium. Her short fiction has been published in a wide variety of magazines and has been shortlisted for several prizes.


Twitter @SarahVPearse #TheSanatorium

Instagram @sarahpearseauthor

@RandomTTours