Dying To See You by Kerena Swan @KerenaSwan @Bloodhoundbook #blogblitz #guestpost

It’s a pleasure to welcome you to my stop on the blog blitz for Dying To See You by Kerena Swan. The author visits the blog with a fabulous post on how well you really know someone. But first, here is what Kerena Swan’s debut novel is all about.

My thanks to Kerena Swan and Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books!

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Author : Kerena Swan
Title : Dying To See You
Pages : 328
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : April 25, 2018

aboutthebook

He’s Watching. He’s Waiting. She’s next.

When Sophie is told to organize care for elderly Ivy, she is unaware that by meeting Max, Ivy’s grandson, her life will be turned upside down.

As Sophie’s involvement with Max and Ivy increases, she becomes more distracted by her own problems. Because Sophie is certain she is being watched.

For a while, Ivy relishes Sophie’s attention but soon grows concerned about the budding relationship between Sophie and Max. Torn between Sophie and his grandmother, Max cuts ties with the care agency, leaving Sophie hurt and confused.

Meanwhile, there is a murderer killing women in the area. Is there a link between Sophie’s stalker and the killings? Soon Sophie will learn that appearances can be deceiving.

Amazon US | Amazon UKGoodreads

guestpost

Dying to See You – or am I?

When people ask what inspired my book, Dying to See You, I tell them a piece of paper. The usual response is, ‘Eh?’ but then I explain.

Picture the scene. I’m in my office looking down at that piece of paper which is the sort of certificate commonly known as a police check relating to a potential employee for  my social care agency. In the section headed, ‘Police Records of Convictions, Caution, reprimands and Warnings’ I’m pleased to see the words, ‘None recorded’.

Great, I think, smiling. I can employ this person. All is right with the world.

But is it?

It’s an interesting term, ‘None Recorded.’ All sorts of possibilities surround it:

  • The person has committed many a crime but got away with it. The Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, killed thirteen women before the law caught up with him. Fred and Rose West went undetected for years too as the bodies stacked up in and around their house in Gloucester.
  • The person hasn’t committed a crime yet but who knows what darkness is festering away inside them ready to burst or creep out at some point in the future?
  • The person has stolen someone else’s identity.
  • The person has a criminal past elsewhere in the world.

It’s scary stuff.

Looking back on my own life, there have been times when I’ve learned things about people that surprised me. One was abused by her husband. Another was stealing stuff from work. Others had aspirations to be an Elvis impressionist or sit in a bath of baked beans. Whatever the issue, the fact is that I fell for the appearance of smiling contentment. I didn’t scratch the surface. I didn’t dig deep.  I don’t think I’ve met anyone who harbours secret serial killing tendencies but do I actually know that I haven’t?

I’ve taken chances on people and none more so than my husband who I met in a music bar. My sister-in-law had persuaded me to go out for the evening as I was becoming a bit of a recluse. I was a single parent at the time with a teenage daughter and a nine month old baby.

I never feel comfortable in busy places so I clutched my drink and prayed she wouldn’t suggest we dance. As a distraction I asked her to spot the best looking bloke and she pointed to a tall, dark-haired man standing alone. She’d chosen well because he was stunning. When he walked past me later in the evening, still on his own – Eek! I drew him into a conversation and by the end of the night we had arranged to call each other. I was flattered that such an engaging and well-mannered guy would be interested in boring old me.

A severe bout of flu meant it was two weeks before I was able to meet him again and before he arrived at my front door I struggled to remember what he was like. I wasn’t disappointed. I allowed him into my home and introduced him to my children. We went for meals and really enjoyed each other’s company.

One niggling worry I had at the time was I hadn’t met anyone who knew him so I had no way of verifying he was who he said he was. He could have been a maniacal knife wielder for all I knew. In fact, it was six whole months before I met his work colleagues at a Christmas party and then his parents who confirmed he was telling the truth. In the early 1990’s we didn’t have the internet to search for people to check their identities and levels of honesty.

I trusted my gut instincts (well, he loved his cat so he must be OK) and like most people those days, and even today, I took a risk. Clearly, you will have gathered from what I’ve already said that my instinct was sound and he has proven to be a wonderful husband, father to my children and business partner. We also have a son between us.

I was lucky though. Not everyone is so how can we find out if the person we’re allowing into our lives and giving access to our children is harmless? In my story Sophie meets a man who she thinks is the perfect gentleman. He makes her feel valued, interesting and beautiful but most of all he makes her feel safe.

Sophie’s daughter is less impressed and not so easily won over so Sophie does her best to check out Max’s credentials. In a world of social media and public knowledge of people’s lives there are still individuals out there who step back into the shadows and avoid Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp. Max was one of them.

I, personally, have only started a Facebook account in the past four months and my husband says he’d rather ‘hack a leg off with a rusty saw’ than open one. Having teenage children and grandchildren has widened my eyes to what is out there and I’m beginning to realise the benefits but I can fully understand the middle and older generation’s mistrust of hanging out personal details on the public washing line. My father-in-law still doesn’t trust the internet enough to make purchases online and pales at the thought of internet banking.

So how does someone like Sophie find out about a man with no social media presence? When I started writing this blog I thought there were agencies around that offered a checking service but despite surfing the net for an hour I’m struggling to find one that isn’t a private investigative agency offering tracking devices and call monitoring. I found some that offer to check out prospective employees or tenants but not boyfriends or lovers. And besides, isn’t seeking out the background of a potential lover the ultimate passion killer?

What if the person finds out you’ve been checking up on them? How will that help build a foundation of trust in the relationship? With the growth of online dating sites and the lessening of mutual friends, we lose the personal endorsement of meeting shared acquaintances and this is a big worry as my earlier experiences demonstrated. In my story Sophie is asked to arrange support for Ivy, Max’s frail grandmother, and Sophie can at least see first-hand what a loving, caring man he is. Or is he?

But did you know one in five new relationships begins online?

So, if there are no agencies that check people out for you, (or maybe you know of one or you’re now rushing out to start one – I’d call it CheckMate by the way), how about some simple rules for yourself? I’ve been asking around for tips on how to stay safe and how to stay aware so I’ll share them with you in the hope that you’ll find them useful… (I’ve put ‘he’ for ease of reading but it could be ‘she’)

  1. Speak to him on the phone. Don’t just text. Ask for his full name and what he does for a living.
  2. Google his name and see if you have any mutual friends.
  3. Meet in a public place.
  4. Pre-plan your journey home so you can decline a lift.
  5. Have a friend on SOS standby.
  6. Make sure your phone is fully charged.
  7. Trust your instincts. If he says stuff like ‘I’m between jobs’ and ‘You can trust me’ or his stories are inconsistent you should listen to those ringing alarm bells.
  8. Leave early if you are not happy.
  9. Don’t leave your drink unattended. Finish it before you go to the bathroom.
  10. Don’t drink too much.

Okay, so you’ve swiped right on a date matching app and so has he, you’ve exchanged contact details, you’ve arranged to meet somewhere busy and you’ve had a friend on SOS standby. The date goes well and you’ve got on like a hay barn and a pyromaniac but you still don’t know if he is who he says he is. What can you do next?

Well, you could check out his birth records by going on one of the ancestry websites or find out if he’s married by visiting www.myheritage.com. You could check his work’s website and try to meet up with his friends.

What you don’t want to do is become an obsessive, stalking bunny boiler. It’s good to take precautions to keep yourself safe but stay rational and respect their privacy. Step back from time to time and look at the relationship like your friends might. It’s easy to lose sight of the wallpaper pattern when your nose is pressed to the wall.

And lastly, please don’t worry if you’re exploring care options for your nearest and dearest. A police check is just one thing in a wide range of security measures we take.

[Boy, am I glad I’m not on the dating scene! I forgot how much of a minefield it can be😄. Great and handy tips though. Be safe out there, ladies and gents! Thank you so much for stopping by, Kerena, and I wish you the best of luck with your debut!]

abouttheauthor

Kerena lives on the Bedfordshire/Buckingham border with her husband, son and two cats. She also has two daughters and two granddaughters.

12 years ago, following a life-time career in social work and management, Kerena set up a company providing support for children with disabilities.  Highly successful, the company is rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission, which Kerena considers her greatest achievement thus far. However, following serious illnesses last year she decided to attempt to fulfil her long-held ambition of writing a novel and getting it published. She has yet to tick off other achievements from her bucket list such as playing Moonlight Sonata on the piano all the way through and being stopped for speeding in a red Ferrari at the age of 80 but can tick off building a brick wall.

After many years of writing professionally in the course of her work, Kerena has discovered the exhilaration of writing fiction and can be found at all hours in front of her computer.  Her husband (worried about his dinners being cooked) has threatened divorce if she writes another book so she’s told him she will write a trilogy.

‘Dying to See You’ is Kerena’s first novel and she has already started work on her second book ‘I Let You In’.  Drawing on her extensive knowledge and experience in the problematic world of social work, Kerena adds a unique angle to the domestic noir genre.

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This Week in Books (April 25)

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Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Last book I finished reading

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In 1994, nine year old Effie and her twelve year old brother Ajan, endure the horrors of life in the besieged city of Sarajevo after the loss of their parents. Desperate to help preserve their city, Ajan becomes involved with a criminal gang among the makeshift defenders. When Effie is forced to flee alone, she must survive long enough to reach those outside of the city who have come to help. But the influence of those pursuing her is such that not even the soldiers of the UN might be able to save her. Any hope of a future for Effie eventually lies with only one man, Captain Nathan Lane.

It is 2017, and an attempt is made on the life of Foreign Secretary, Caroline Hardy. As the Security Services hunt for her attacker, the reality she is only a bit part player in the affair doesn’t occur to anyone. Not until her daughter, Mia goes missing and is implicated in the disappearance of a well-connected lawyer. As the focus switches to Mia, a secret that Caroline has kept hidden for a long time threatens them both, until there becomes only one place she can turn, to the man who shares her secret.

The book I’m currently reading

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Detective Sergeant Michael Brennan of the Wigan Borough Police has no time for tales of ghosts and the afterlife, or of the dead contacting the living.

So, when he finds himself investigating the case of a recently widowed young woman, Alice Goodway, who has suddenly developed ‘the Gift’ of mediumship and has received a threatening letter, he embarks on the inquiry with no small degree of scepticism.

But just as Brennan and his burly colleague, Constable Jaggery, consider how to proceed with the case, something much more sinister takes place… a murder, in Alice’s own home.

Who would commit such a crime?

Could it be one of the seven ‘visitors’ who had been to sittings with Alice and not liked what they had heard?

Or the interfering and sanctimonious Inspector of Nuisances who strongly disapproved of the séances?

There are a lot of old wounds opened and painful memories shared with Brennan and Jaggery as they meticulously gather the information they need to solve the case. The challenge will be narrowing down the suspects, using clues from both the living and the dead…

What I’m (probably) reading next

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A split-second decision throws ordinary family man Noah’s life into chaos in this utterly gripping thriller that will have you hooked from the first page to the last. If you love James Patterson, Harlan Coben and Gregg Hurwitz, you’ll love Finders Keepers.

What if you could change your life with one little lie?

Noah Kendall loves his family, but hates his teaching job. Mortgage, bills and mouths to be fed: he’s stuck in a rut. And with more debts piling up each day, he knows that something has to change.

As he opens yet another red letter, he has to get out and clear his head, despite the heavy Alaskan snow outside. His legs ache as he runs deeper into the forest, until he notices something in the distance – a crashed car, sitting dead still. Inside, a girl sits slumped in the driver’s seat, eyes closed, mouth open, skin grey beneath the winter frost.

And then beside her he sees it: a bag of money. And lots of it. Enough to pay off his debt and start a whole new life. And it’s just sitting there, waiting for him to take it…

What would you do?

[previously published as The Dead Girl]

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What are you reading this week? Whatever it is, I hope you enjoy your choices!
Happy reading! xx

Body and Soul by John Harvey @John_BHarvey @annecater #RandomThingsTours #blogtour #extract

Today, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the final stop of the blog tour for Body & Soul by John Harvey! I have an extract to share with you from this final instalment in the Frank Elder series but first, here’s what this book is all about. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours!

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Author : John Harvey
Title : Body & Soul
Series : Frank Elder #4
Pages : 294
Publisher : Cornerstone Digital
Publication date : April 19, 2018

aboutthebook

When his estranged daughter Katherine appears on his doorstep, ex-Detective Frank Elder knows that something is wrong.

Katherine has long been troubled, and Elder has always felt powerless to help her.

But now Katherine has begun to self-destruct.

The breakdown of her affair with a controversial artist has sent her into a tailspin which culminates in murder.

And as Elder struggles to protect his daughter and prove her innocence, the terrors of the past threaten them both once more.

extract

The next day broke fair. When Elder got back from his morning run, Katherine was making coffee, readying toast.

‘How far d’you go?’ she asked. ‘Ten K, give or take.’
‘Every day?’
‘Bar Sundays.’
‘Day of rest.’
‘Something like that.’
‘Still, not bad considering.’
‘Considering my age, you mean.’
Katherine laughed. ‘Something like that.’
‘Maybe tomorrow you can come with me?’
‘Maybe.’
‘I thought later, if the weather holds, we might go for a walk.’
‘I’d like that.’
‘Okay. Just let me get a quick shower before you put on that toast.’

They drove out on the Morvah to Penzance road, parked, and made the slow, winding climb up past the Seven Maidens to the derelict engine house at the centre of the old Ding Dong mine. Down below, the distant curve of Mounts Bay stretched out towards Lizard Point; above them, a patchwork sky and a buzzard hovering on a current of air.

Elder took the thermos of coffee from his backpack and they sat on a remnant of stone wall, backs to the wind. When Katherine reached out to take the cup from his hand, the words were out of his mouth before he could swallow them back.

‘Kate, your wrists . . .’
‘Dad . . .’
‘I just . . .’
‘Dad, I told you, no questions, right?’
‘I just want to know what happened, that’s all.’
Spilling the coffee across her fingers, Katherine rose sharply and walked away.

Fifteen metres on, she stopped, head bowed. ‘Kate . . .’ He rested his hand gently on her arm and she shrugged it off.
‘No questions, that’s what I said. What you agreed.’
‘I know, but . . .’
‘But what?’ Facing him now.
‘That was before . . . You can’t expect me not to ask.’
‘Can’t I?’
Elder shook his head and sighed.
‘I cut my wrists, okay? It was an accident.’
‘An accident?’
‘Yes.’
‘How on earth . . . ?’
‘It doesn’t matter.’
She stared back at him, daring him to say another word.

The same stubborn face he remembered from the playground when she was four or five and he’d say it was time to leave, time to put your things away, stop reading, stop writing, get ready for bed.
‘I don’t want to go to bed.’
‘Why not?’
‘Because I have dreams. Bad dreams.’

Worse now, he was sure. He went back and sat down and after a few minutes she came and sat beside him. Somewhere in the middle distance a tractor started up and came gradually into view, ploughing its way up and back along one of the fields north towards St Just, a small squall of gulls following in its wake.

‘I thought things were a little better now.’
‘Better?’
‘You know what I mean.’
‘Do I?’
‘I thought, after the therapy and everything . . .’
She laughed. ‘The therapy?’
‘Yes. I thought it was going well. Thought you’d found a way of coming to terms . . .’
‘What? As in forgetting? You think that’s possible? A few sessions with some shrink and it all goes away?’
‘No, just . . .’
‘Just what?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘No, you don’t, do you? Don’t know a fucking thing. About me or anything. Hide yourself away down here and you don’t fucking care!’

Swivelling on her heels, she stomped off through the heather the way they’d come, and Elder slowly levered himself up and set out after her, careful to keep his distance.

That evening, peace restored, they went to the cinema, the Filmhouse in Newlyn, ate fish and chips leaning over the harbour wall. Katherine had changed the bandages on her arms, while the questions continued to reverberate, unabated, unasked. Accidental? Both arms? The result of self-harming or something more potentially serious, final? If she wants to tell me, Elder persuaded himself with difficulty, she will.

On the way back across the peninsula, relaxed, Katherine chatted about the movie they’d just seen; about friends, flatmates – Abike, who was a teaching assistant in a local primary school; Stelina, who worked as a ward clerk in Mile End Hospital and was studying for a degree part-time; Chrissy, who juggled working behind a bar with being an artists’ model. When Elder got out a bottle of Scotch back at the cottage, Katherine shook her head and made tea instead. It was quite late by the time tiredness took over and they were away to their beds.

Elder slept fitfully, riven by familiar dreams. A sherman’s makeshift hut fashioned from timber and tarpaulin and held together with nails and rope. The lapping of water. Seaweed. Ash. The remains of a fire further back along the beach. The carcass of a seabird plucked clean. When he pressed his weight against the door, the rotting wood gave way and he stumbled into darkness.

A scream shrilled through him and he was instantly awake. A scream from the next-door room. Katherine was sitting bolt upright in bed, eyes wide open, staring towards the open window, her body shaking. When he touched her gently, she whimpered and pulled her knees closer to her chest. Her eyes flickered, dilated, then closed.

‘It’s all right, Kate,’ he said, easing her back down. ‘It’s just a dream.’

Her dreams, his dreams: one of the things they shared.

When she was just sixteen Katherine had been kidnapped by a man named Adam Keach, forced into a van and driven to an isolated location on the North Yorks coast, a ramshackle hut where she had been held prisoner, tortured and raped. It had been Elder who had found her, naked, blood blisters on her arms and legs, bruises discolouring her shoulders and her back.

Stooping, he kissed her hair now, as he had then. Squeezed her hand and left her sleeping.

Next morning she was gone.

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If this extract has you desperately wanting more, then you’re in luck as Body & Soul is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

John Harvey was born in London, where he now lives, while considering Nottingham his spiritual home.

Initially a teacher of English & Drama, he has been a full-time writer for more than forty years. The first of his 12 volume Charlie Resnick series, Lonely Hearts was selected by The Times as one of the ‘100 Best Crime Novels of the Century’ and the first Frank Elder novel, Flesh and Blood, won the CWA Silver Dagger in 2004. He was awarded the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence in the crime genre in 2007, and his story, ‘Fedora’ won the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2014.

In addition to writing fiction, he has written and published poetry, running Slow Dancer Press for over twenty years; his Out of Silence: New & Selected Poems was published in 2014. He has adapted the work of Arnold Bennett, A. S. Byatt, Graham Greene and others for radio and television, and in 2017, his dramatisation of the final Resnick novel, Darkness, Darkness, was produced at Nottingham Playhouse.

He has been awarded honorary doctorates by the universities of Hertfordshire and Nottingham.

Twitter

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The Runaway Wife by Dee MacDonald @DMacDonaldAuth @bookouture #blogblitz #TheRunawayWife

It’s publication day for The Runaway Wife by Dee MacDonald and I’m absolutely delighted to kick off the blog blitz.

My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the invitation and the review copy!

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Author : Dee MacDonald
Title : The Runaway Wife
Pages : 299
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : April 24, 2018

aboutthebook

Connie McColl is tired of solving one family crisis after another – usually involving her unruly grandchildren – while her husband Roger spends all day at his beloved golf course. Surely it must be time for her to shake off her apron and start living again?

So Connie packs a bag, gets in her little green car and drives off…

On her journey from England to Scotland, Connie stops in on long-lost friends and makes all sorts of colourful new companions along the way. As Connie has the time of her life, sleeping under the stars and skinny dipping in the sea, she finally begins to rediscover herself. And she starts to wonder, will she ever be ready to return home?

Or will this summer change her life forever?

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Now, I’m sure by now most of you know this isn’t my usual type of genre but there was something about the book description that just spoke to me. So when I was offered the opportunity to read this one early, I didn’t hesitate at all. Yes, that is my quote on the cover there. *proud moment* (Thank you, Kim!)

The Runaway Wife is a blooming’ marvellous novel that will either make you want to leave your family far behind or count your lucky stars and want to hug them all that little bit tighter because they’re brilliant and you wouldn’t want to change them for the world. Either way, Connie’s story is sure to put a smile on your face.

At a time in her life when she should be enjoying her retirement, demands from her family just seem to keep piling up on top of one another. Her husband is no help at all as he spends most of his time on the golf course and Connie increasingly feels like she’s being taken for granted. Many of us can without a doubt relate to Connie’s circumstances, no matter our ages, as we desperately try to find some “me” time.

One day, she has had more than enough and decides to live a little. Jumping into her car, Connie sets off on a road trip from England to Scotland. Catching up with old friends and meeting some new ones along the way, she has the opportunity to rediscover herself and figure out what she wants.

Connie captured my heart right from the start. She is such a delightful woman, who feels that even though she may be 66 years old, she’s still young enough to have an adventure or two. Along the way she will meet people who validate her, who will make her feel there is still more to her than just being a wife, a mother and a grandmother. She will be seen for who she is and isn’t that something we all want?

There are a few sad moments along the way, showcasing the comforting and caring personality of Connie. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting her and following her around the country, not just rooting for her but also for her wee car, hoping it would be reliable and get her through the journey safely. But equally entertaining are the glimpses into the daily life of her family members who now have to fend for themselves without the ever-present maid, cook and babysitter.

With a truly hilarious laugh-out-loud event near the end, this is a funny, uplifting and inspiring story that goes to show you’re never too old to make a change. Second chances are there if you’re willing to jump up and grab them. An absolutely delightful and fabulously heartwarming read perfect for those sunny days!

The Runaway Wife is out today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Google Play | Kobo | iTunes | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Aged 18, Dee arrived in London from Scotland and typed her way round the West End for a couple of years before joining BOAC (forerunner of British Airways) in Passenger Service for 2 years and then as a stewardess for 8 years.

She has worked in Market Research, Sales and at the Thames TV Studios when they had the franchise.

Dee has since relocated to Cornwall, where she spent 10 years running B&B’s, and only began writing when she was over 70!

Married twice, she has one son and two grandsons.

Facebook | Twitter

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The Fear by C.L. Taylor @callytaylor @Sabah_K @AvonBooksUK #blogtour #TheFear

Delighted to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for The Fear by C.L. Taylor! I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this fabulous book right after I tell you what it’s all about.

My thanks to Sabah at Avon UK for the opportunity and the gorgeous review copy!

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Author : C.L. Taylor
Title : The Fear
Pages : 394
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : March 22, 2018

aboutthebook

Lou Wandsworth is used to being headline news as, aged fourteen, she ran away with her 37-year-old teacher, Mike, during a short-lived affair.

Now 32, Lou’s life is in tatters – and she resolves to return home to confront Mike for the damage he has caused. But she soon finds that Mike is unchanged, and is now grooming a young 13-year-old girl called Chloe.

Determined to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself, Lou decides to take matters into her own hands. But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as she tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that Lou could once again become his prey.

mythoughts

Hoo boy! Is this a humdinger or what?!

When Lou Wandsworth was fourteen years old, she found herself involved with her much older karate teacher, Mike. On what was supposed to be a romantic trip to France, she is rescued and Mike is sent to prison. Lou and her mother left the village they lived in for London and never came back. But now Lou’s father has passed away and Lou needs to clear out his house so it can be sold. With her life in pieces, she decides maybe the time has come to confront Mike, whom she blames for all the disastrous relationships she’s had. But then she discovers, Mike hasn’t changed at all and firmly has his sights set on yet another young teenager, Chloe.

The story is told through the eyes of Chloe, the now thirty-two year old Lou and a woman called Wendy Harrison, whose part in the story isn’t immediately clear though, I felt, rather easy to guess at. The Fear is very much a character-driven psychological suspense story. These three characters are all incredibly flawed and damaged in their own way and while not necessary likeable, they do evoke a level of sympathy. While this may not be a fast-paced plot, I found watching the characters develop and change throughout the story extremely compelling and fascinating.

At almost 400 pages, this isn’t exactly a quickie read and yet I devoured it in one sitting, flipping the pages faster and faster as I got closer to the staggering conclusion. There’s a constant threatening vibe and some parts make for some incredibly uncomfortable reading, especially where Lou’s past is concerned. But wow, could it possibly have been any more riveting?! I think not. The Fear held my attention throughout, had me completely captivated and I just couldn’t put it down.

I’ve arrived rather late, though still fashionably I’m sure, to the C.L. Taylor party and this is only the third book I’ve read by her but it’s most definitely my favourite so far. Some day, I will hopefully have the time to catch up on her older work but for now, I will eagerly await her next offering while you and you and yes, you as well, grab yourself a copy of this one!

The Fear is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

C.L. Taylor lives  in Bristol with her partner and young son. She is a three times Sunday Times bestseller and her books have hit the number one spots on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and Google Play. Cally has a degree in Psychology, with particular interest in abnormal and criminal Psychology. She also loves knitting, Dr Who, Sherlock, Great British Bake Off and Margaret Atwood and blames Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected for her love of a dark tale.

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Weekly Wrap-Up (April 22)

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What a glorious week it’s been! A mini heatwave hit my area and I could almost imagine being in wonderful Italy. Well, apart from all the noise courtesy of screaming kids, various electric gardening tools and neighbours who insist that I listen to their dreadful music whether I like it or not. Still, being able to stock up on that all-important vitamin D makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

Reading wise this week, well, not too bad since I was off doing other things. I built a Lego set of Tower Bridge, did some gardening and just sat in the sunshine and chilled. I would have been reading but since I read via the kindle app on my iPad, I couldn’t see a bloody thing. 🙄

Books I’ve read this week

Five books read this week and all are corkers in their own right. It’s been a good week.

Books I’ve bought this week

Only one. I’ve been a very good girl. 😊

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ARC’s received via Netgalley

Three for blog tours and one I dropped everything else for in a heartbeat!

Bookpost that landed on my doorstep this past week

It’s been an absolutely amazing book post week! I feel incredibly lucky!

On the blog this past week

Monday : Joined the blog tour for The Key to Death’s Door by Mark Tilbury

Tuesday : Shared a guest post for the Amy Lane Mysteries by Rosie Claverton blog tour

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Shared an extract on the tour for The Body in the Boat by A.J. MacKenzie

Friday : Joined the blog blitz for The Girl With No Name by Lisa Megan and author Ed James visited the blog for my stop on the blog tour for In For The Kill

Saturday : Joined the blog blitz for White Lies by Lucy Dawson

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Next week on Novel Deelights

No blog tours whatsoever.

….

Bahahahaha! Just kidding! Of course there are! Every day of the week, except Friday, when I’m hoping to finally share my thoughts on Hangman by Daniel Cole. But first, I’ll be kicking off the week with my review for The Fear by C.L. Taylor. So yes, another busy week on the blog. Still loving every second of it.

Question of the week : How important are blog stats to you? Are you someone who checks them multiple times a day? Do you use tools like Google Analytics or just rely on what WordPress or Blogger tell you? Do you frantically search the web trying to figure out how to get your stats up? Or do you just not care and do your thing no matter followers or views?

That’s it for another week! My plan to go sit outside has just been thwarted by the arrival of a thunderstorm. Just my luck. Comfy sofa and a book it is then. There are worse things.

Hope everyone has a fabulous week and I wish you lots of happy reading! xx

White Lies by Lucy Dawson @lucydawsonbooks @bookouture #blogblitz

Absolutely thrilled to host a stop on the blog blitz for White Lies by Lucy Dawson today! I’ll be sharing my thoughts in just a second, right after I tell you what this corker of a book is all about.

My thanks to Kim at Bookouture!

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Author : Lucy Dawson
Title : White Lies
Pages : 320
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : April 20, 2018

aboutthebook

Alexandra Inglis is a respected family doctor, trusted by her patients to keep their most intimate secrets. And if sometimes the boundaries between duty and desire blur… well, she’s only human.

But when Alex oversteps a line with Jonathan, one of her patients, she knows she’s gone too far. Jonathan is obsessive, and to get what he wants he will tear Alex’s world apart – threatening not only her career but her marriage and family too.

Soon Alex finds she’s capable of doing almost anything to keep hold of her perfect life, as it begins to spin dangerously out of her control.

mythoughts

Good grief. How to even begin to explain how White Lies made me feel? You know that game where you’re blindfolded and people spin you around and around and you’re left slightly nauseous, dizzy and completely disorientated? Yes, a bit like that.

Alex is a respected doctor, wife and mother. But when she crosses the line with one of her patients, she stands to lose everything. The story is mostly told by Alex and Jonathan but it quickly becomes obvious they both have rather different versions of the truth. Neither Alex or Jonathan came across as particularly likeable, nor could I figure out if they were reliable narrators. I found myself questioning every word they said and even now, I still find myself wondering if I have the right end of the stick.

In the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, this story is incredibly apt. An innocent gesture may very well be blown up out of all proportions and a drunken mistake can easily ruin lives. Lucy Dawson paints a a thought-provoking and vivid picture of how hard it is to defend yourself against certain allegations, especially in a case like the one involving Alex and Jonathan.

White Lies is an utterly gripping and incredibly addictive psychological thriller that kept me up half the night and left me guessing until the very last page. It’s relatable in that way that I’m sure many of us have had a cheeky glass too many and maybe ended up doing something we might not normally do. By the time you think of the consequences, it’s usually already too late.

The ultimate conclusion left me spinning and also slightly confused for a while. During the night, when yet another bout of insomnia had me staring at the ceiling, I had a Eureka moment and all the pieces fell into place. I love this, in case you didn’t know. A storyline that keeps me guessing, that has me asking lots of questions, that has my brain going around in circles with a crazy amount of thinky-thoughts and is still on my mind days after finishing the book.

I thought Lucy Dawson’s previous book The Daughter was utterly brilliant but this one is even more so. A corker of a book and one you should undoubtedly add to your TBR right now! I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next.

White Lies is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

I’ve been writing psychological suspense novels since 2008, when my first bestseller – His Other Lover – was published. I write full time (mostly on the playroom sofa) from my home in Devon, where I live with my husband and children. Before that, I used to interview the likes of Steps and SClub7 for a living, making absolutely no use whatsoever of my psychology degree from Warwick University, but it was a lot of fun.

I’m addicted to writing about the extraordinary things that can happen to ordinary people – I like stories that jump in at the deep end, with a gasp. When readers take the time out to let me know they’ve stayed up all night because they couldn’t put the book down, it makes my day.

I really enjoy catching up with readers and always reply to emails. You can reach me at lucy@lucydawsonbooks.com. I’m also on Twitter @lucydawsonbooks and have a Facebook page at lucydawsonbooks. Alternatively you can download a free short story of mine at www.lucydawsonbooks.com or if you want to look at a lot of pictures of the beach and books that I’m reading, find me on Instagram at lucydawsonbooks.

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In For The Kill by Ed James @EdJamesAuthor @EmmaFinnigan @AmazonPub @annecater #blogtour #ThomasandMercer #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for In For The Kill by Ed James, the fourth book in the DI Fenchurch series. Ed James visits the blog today to talk about how he came up with his main character but first, here is what the book is all about.

My thanks to Ed James and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours!

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Author : Ed James
Title : In For The Kill
Series : DI Fenchurch #4
Pages : 329
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer / Amazon Publishing
Publication date : April 19, 2018

aboutthebook

A university student is found strangled to death in her bedroom, but when the embattled DI Simon Fenchurch is called in to investigate, the case strikes dangerously close to home.

On the surface, the victim was a popular, high-performing student. But as secret grudges against her emerge, so too does evidence that she was living a double life, working on explicit webcam sites for a seedy London ganglord. Everyone Fenchurch talks to knows a lot more than they’re willing to tell, and before long he’s making new enemies of his own—threatening to push him and his family past breaking point.

With too many suspects and not enough facts, Fenchurch knows his new superiors are just waiting for him to fail—they want him off the case, and off the force for good. His family is in more danger than ever before. So how deep is he willing to dig in order to unearth the truth?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryGoodreads

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How I came up with DI Simon Fenchurch

A few years ago, I wrote a book set in the Scottish Highlands about vampires escaping the Highland Clearances. Something like that. For some reason, it didn’t do very well. I had an idea for a sequel set in London and Kent, where a group of vampires breed people for their blood. The first thing I did as a full-time writer was an outline for that book, which went in a very odd direction.

I had a lead detective, Simon Fenchurch, a broken Met DI, who I’d become quite attached to. The name came from Simon Fench, a vampire in China Mieville’s THE SCAR, but coupled with Fenchurch Street in the City, somewhere I walked past every so often when I worked there, which rooted him to the location he investigates crimes in. When it became clear how badly the first vampire book did, I gave up on it.

But I just couldn’t get him out of my head. So I cut the supernatural nonsense from the book, and the central crime became more evil — people breeding humans for use in the sex trade.

And I needed to know who Fenchurch was. What makes him tick. What broke him?

My first police procedural series, featuring Scott Cullen, deliberately avoided the usual detective tropes, with Cullen the opposite of everything you usually read or saw. He’s a Detective Constable, not a DI or, even more egregiously, a DCI investigating low-level crimes instead of managing people and stats. He’s young and single, not divorced with kids that don’t speak to him, and he lives in a shared flat instead of a former marital home. And he drives a crap car, not a classic.

With Fenchurch, I decided to tackle the clichés head on. He’s a DI, so he delegates rather than doing all the tedious stuff. Made it much easier to write, I can assure you. I’d been reading a lot of film theory, which meant giving him a back story that gave a personal involvement in the case. It’s hard to do for a series police procedural, as it’s someone doing a job. So I made him separated from his wife after the tragedy of their daughter being kidnapped. Fenchurch became obsessed with it, causing their emotional distance and break up.

And Fenchurch spends his nights hunting for his daughter, but he doesn’t know what he’ll do if he finds her. In the first novel, THE HOPE THAT KILLS, the victim could easily be his daughter. Even though she isn’t, he can empathise with her family, which drives him on to make a horrific discovery. It doesn’t close any doors for him — that would happen later — but it let me and my readers get to know him and what makes him tick.

And it didn’t have any vampires.

[Thank you for stopping by the blog, Ed! And I must say that I for one am thrilled about the lack of vampires!]

abouttheauthor

Ed James writes crime fiction novels, predominantly the SCOTT CULLEN series of police procedurals set in Edinburgh and the surrounding Lothians – the first four are available now, starting with GHOST IN THE MACHINE which has been downloaded over 280,000 times and is currently free. BOTTLENECK (Cullen 5) is out on 17-Mar-14. He is currently developing two new series – DI SIMON FENCHURCH and DS VICKY DODDS, set in London and Dundee respectively. He also writes the SUPERNATURE series, featuring vampires and other folkloric creatures, of which the first book SHOT THROUGH THE HEART is out now and free.

Ed lives in the East Lothian countryside, 25 miles east of Edinburgh, with his girlfriend, six rescue moggies, two retired greyhounds, a flock of ex-battery chickens and rescue ducks across two breeds and two genders (though the boys don’t lay eggs). While working in IT for a living, Ed wrote mainly on public transport but now writes full time.

Twitter | Website

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The Girl With No Name by Lisa Regan @Lisalregan @bookouture #blogblitz

Good morning and welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for The Girl With No Name by Lisa Regan! My thanks to Noelle at Bookouture!

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Author : Lisa Regan
Title : The Girl With No Name
Series : Detective Josie Quinn #2
Pages : 337
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : April 19, 2018

aboutthebook

Detective Josie Quinn is horrified when she’s called to the house of a mother who had her newborn baby snatched from her arms.

A woman caught fleeing the scene is Josie’s only lead, but when questioned it seems this mysterious girl doesn’t know who she is, where she’s from or why she is so terrified…

Is she a witness, a suspect, or the next victim?

mythoughts

The Girl With No Name is the second instalment in the Detective Josie Quinn series and what a follow-up it is! If you’ve read the first one, then I’m sure you’ll remember Misty. She’s found brutally attacked in her own home and her newborn baby has gone missing. Josie needs to put aside any and all personal differences to focus on the task at hand. However, things will take a far more sinister turn and with the mayor breathing down her neck, Josie may need to ask for help from some unexpected sources.

Denton may be a small town but when things happen, they sure happen in style. From a woman broken and battered in hospital, to a girl who apparently can’t remember who she is, to a missing baby and business men wanting to build a casino … all these various threads kept me entertained from beginning to end. Meanwhile, we also get glimpses into the trial of the Interstate Killer and some newspaper articles that seem so incredibly random, you can’t but feel they play a part somehow. Not that I could figure it out and the author kept me guessing until the answer was almost spoon-fed to me.

This plot is insanely action-packed. Forget about a slow build-up as it’s all systems go from the first page. As Josie and her team chase down leads from one location to the next and the body pile starts mounting up, I felt there was barely any time to take a breather. Never mind the characters being tired, I was exhausted myself!

Josie is as fierce as ever and despite things getting her down, she’s determined not to give up. She may have accidentally gotten the role of Chief but she convinced me that it was right for her. For now, anyway. But for me, Lieutenant Noah Fraley completely steals the show. Sympathetic, level-headed and always there by Josie’s side, he’s most definitely someone you can count on. And even though I tend to have this thing against reporters, I even warmed to Trinity this time around.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Vanishing Girls, the first book in this series, but I feel this one is even better. I do so love it when a series goes from strength to strength. The Girl With No Name is utterly gripping, a true page-turner that had me completely absorbed. I can’t wait to see where Lisa Regan takes the team next.

The Girl With No Name is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Lisa Regan is an Amazon bestselling crime novelist.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University.  She is a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

Facebook | Twitter | Website

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The Body in the Boat by A.J. MacKenzie @AJMacKnovels @BonnierZaffre #blogtour #extract

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Body in the Boat by A.J. MacKenzie! I was unfortunately unable to read this one (I need more hours in the day! Someone make that happen!) but I do have a great extract to share with you all today.

My thanks to Imogen at Bonnier Zaffre for the invitation!

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Author : A.J. Mackenzie
Title : The Body in the Boat
Series : Hardcastle & Chaytor Mysteries #3
Pages : 400
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : April 5, 2018

aboutthebook

Across the still, dark English Channel come the smugglers. But tonight they carry an unusual cargo: a coffin. Several miles inland, a respected banker holds a birthday party for his wife. Within days, one of the guests is found shot dead.

What links this apparently senseless killing to the smugglers lurking in the mists? Why has the local bank been buying and hoarding gold? And who was in the mysterious coffin?

Reverend Hardcastle and Mrs Chaytor find themselves drawn into the worlds of high finance and organised crime in this dramatic and dark Georgian mystery.

extract

Dawn broke, glowing red and pink and gold over the heaving sea, the wind still hard from the west. She was so exhausted she could hardly think. The world around her seemed to stutter. The relentless crash of the waves, the creaking of the hull, the moaning of the rigging tore at her nerves.

‘A mile and a half’, said Captain Haddock. ‘Sloterdyke is no lubber. He must know we’re overhauling him.’

‘Think he might turn and fight, sir?’

‘Wouldn’t you? Pipe the hands to breakfast.’

Breakfast was a form of porridge. She forced a few spoonsful down, shuddering with a nausea that had nothing to do with seasickness. Another cup of coffee laced with rum calmed her stomach.

Blue sky overhead, enormous columns of white cloud marching over the sea round them, trailing grey sheets of rain. The wind was down a little, but still the waves rolled on, streaked with white foam. The deck of the ship heaved and swayed beneath her feet.

‘Sail ho!’

‘Where away?’

‘Port bow, captain. It’s another lugger.’

White sails, rising and falling on the horizon. The sea, rolling and rolling, without end.

‘She’s one of ours, captain! I think it’s Black Joke!’

‘Make the recognition signal.’

Silence, waiting.

‘Weather’s coming up, captain.’ One of the great storm clouds was rolling towards them from the west.

Black Joke’s answering, captain. She’s spotted the Dutchman.’

The squall was drawing nearer. A few raindrops pattered on the already wet deck.

Black Joke is turning, sir! She’s running to cut the Dutchman off.’

‘Watch the Dutchman, lads, watch her’, said Haddock. ‘She’ll wait until the squall hits and then try to run back past us. Watch her sails; sing out the moment you see her turn.’

Rain was falling heavily now. Her cloak was saturated, she realised, and she was wet through to her small clothes. Her body shivered from head to foot, but she could not turn away.

‘Ma’am’, said Captain Haddock, ‘I am about to send the crew to quarters. You should go below.’

She did not know what that meant. She shook her head.

A whistle blew. A drum beat. Men ran across the rolling deck. The ropes securing the black guns were removed. Charges of powder were rammed down the muzzles, roundshot forced home after them.

The rain hit them in earnest, pouring out of the sky, streaming across the deck. The men around her were soaked through in an instant. The horizon vanished behind the curtain of rain.

‘She’s turning!’ Several voices shouting at once. They had seen the Dutch lugger’s sails turn just before the heavy rain blotted her from sight.

‘Hard a-starboard. Now, midships. Meet her.’

‘Steady as she goes, captain.’

‘Gun’s crews closed up and ready for action, sir.’

The rain hammered at them. A powerful gust of wind followed, kicking up the waves so that Stag corkscrewed across them, diving into the troughs. Mrs Chaytor grabbed for a rope and clung on as a big wave broke across the deck, green water up to her waist for a moment, then pouring away over the side.

Waiting, watching the rain for any sign of movement.

There she is!

Great red sails stretched taut, black hull shiny with wet driving over the heaving grey seas, white foam at her bow, perhaps three hundred yards away.

Hard a-starboard!

Flashes of flame, puffs of white smoke from the Dutch lugger’s deck; thuds of shot against the wooden hull, something tearing a hole in the sail overhead. Hardcastle was there beside her, white faced. ‘Amelia, what are you doing? Go below!’

She could not move; she could only shake her head.

‘It’s that God-damned Puckle gun! Look out, they’re firing again!’ Flash. Flash. Flash from the enemy deck, more thumps against the hull. Another puff of smoke and a cannonball tore a white leaping fountain from the face of an incoming wave.

‘Midships. Meet her.’

The Dutch ship was turning too, away to port. She could see the long barrel of the Puckle gun now, and the men around the other guns, reloading. At this distance their faces were white featureless blobs. Another cannon fired from the Dutchman’s deck, gushing smoke; this time, she heard the sharp crack of the explosion over the roar of wind and water.

Rain drumming on the deck, running down her face and into her eyes. The crash of waves under the bow, spray flying up in hissing sheets. Flash. Flash. Flash; the Puckle gun, firing again. Shouts from the men around her as the ship was hit.

‘Stand by the guns. Fire.’

White billowing smoke, a hammering in her ears that made her want to scream, the smoke twisting away quickly on the wind. ‘Did we hit her?’

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😲. Well, I don’t know! Did they? Or not? If you want to find out, The Body in the Boat is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

A J MacKenzie is the pseudonym of Marilyn Livingstone and Morgen Witzel, an Anglo-Canadian husband-and-wife team of writers and historians.

They write non-fiction history and management books under their own names, but ‘become’ A J MacKenzie when writing fiction.

Twitter | Website

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