What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean @CarrieKablean @RedDoorBooks @LoveBooksGroup #blogtour

Delighted to join the blog tour for What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean today! My thanks to Kelly at Love Books Group for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy.

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Author : Carrie Kablean
Title : What Kitty Did Next
Pages : 416
Publisher : RedDoor Publishing
Publication date : June 28, 2018

aboutthebook

England, 1813. Nineteen-year-old Catherine Bennet lives in the shadow of her two eldest sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, who have both made excellent marriages. No one expects Kitty to amount to anything. Left at home in rural Hertfordshire with her neurotic and nagging mother, and a father who derides her as “silly and ignorant,” Kitty is lonely, diffident and at a loss as to how to improve her situation.

When her world unexpectedly expands to London and the Darcy’s magnificent country estate in Derbyshire, she is overjoyed. Keen to impress this new society, and to change her family’s prejudice, Kitty does everything she can to improve her mind and manners—and for the first time feels liked and respected.

However, one fateful night at Pemberley, a series of events and misunderstandings conspire to ruin Kitty’s reputation and she is sent back home in disgrace. But Kitty has learnt from her new experiences and what she does next does next will not only surprise herself, but everyone else too.

mythoughts

Since it’s been ages since I read or watched Pride and Prejudice, I was a little hesitant about reading this one. Not just because I thought I might have been too unfamiliar with previous events but also because this is Jane Austen and it’s always a little tricky picking up something so iconic. But I shouldn’t have worried, as within the first few pages I once again found myself completely immersed into the lives of the Bennett family.

What Kitty Did Next focuses on daughter Catherine, also known as Kitty. Life at Longbourn has changed dramatically since Kitty saw three of her sisters get married. Kitty is lonely and bored, especially without her sidekick Lydia, and feels trapped at home with just her parents and sister Mary for company. But then she’s invited to stay over in London and even Pemberley. Suddenly the world looks incredibly different and Kitty might just figure out what kind of person she really is.

If someone had told me this was always supposed to be a kind of sequel and it was actually written back in the day, I would have believed them. The author does a fantastic job at creating the right atmosphere and staying true to the characters most of us are so familiar with.  The story flows and it all feels very natural, as if it was always meant to be like this.

It’s been wonderful having the opportunity to spend some more time with these delightful characters and a part of me would actually be quite happy with more. If you like Jane Austen, you will most definitely enjoy this but I also feel it’s a novel for any historical fiction reader, whether you’re familiar with Pride or Prejudice or not.

What Kitty Did Next is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

I was born and raised in London, and came to Sydney in 1990. I love both cities – shame they are so far apart.

I have always loved reading and when I was a kid and the mobile library made its weekly stop nearby I read anything in the historical fiction genre I could get my hands on. Especially loved Tudor England. Then Jane Austen came into my life, and never left. And I started working my way through other great English classic novels (an ongoing pastime). But my tastes range farther afield too, Junot Diaz, Stella Gibbons, Tom Wolfe, Graham Greene, Karen Joy Fowler, Alice Sebold…. have to stop, it will go on forever.
Theatre is also a passion. I reviewed for The Sunday Telegraph for more than a decade, and still post the occasional review.

I was a journalist with The Australian for more than 20 years, and now write for my own amusement – and hopefully yours!

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Stalker by Lisa Stone @LisaStoneBooks @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K #blogtour #Stalker

Delighted to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Stalker by Lisa Stone! My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon for the invitation to join and the fab review copy!

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Author : Lisa Stone
Title : Stalker
Pages : 384
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : June 14, 2018

aboutthebook

Derek Flint is a loner. He lives with his mother and spends his evenings watching his clients on the CCTV cameras he has installed inside their homes. He likes their companionship – even if it’s through a screen.

When a series of crimes hits Derek’s neighbourhood, DC Beth Mayes begins to suspect he’s involved. How does he know so much about the victims’ lives? Why won’t he let anyone into his office? And what is his mother hiding in that strange, lonely house?

As the crimes become more violent, Beth must race against the clock to find out who is behind the attacks. Will she uncover the truth in time? And is Derek more dangerous than even she has guessed?

mythoughts

I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes the most realistic scenarios are the scariest to read about. Especially when it involves modern technology we all just take for granted. Maybe there’s something to be said about living like a hermit in the middle of nowhere, off the grid, offline and unplugged.

You’d think you’re keeping yourself and your family safe when you install an alarm system and camera’s, don’t you? Derek Flint runs a home security firm and he takes the safety of his clients very seriously. A bit too seriously, in a horribly creepy sort of way. When a series of crimes hits the neighbourhood and it turns out the home owners all had their security system installed by Derek, police quickly zero in on him.

Derek is the obvious choice for a suspect. He’s a loner, has no friends, lives with his mother and has a few quirky tendencies. With a vast source of knowledge about his clients at his fingertips, is he the person the police is looking for?

Stalker had me hooked from the very first page. It’s suspenseful, compelling and incredibly gripping. I had an inkling as to what was happening but the truth is far more sinister and terrifying than I ever expected. A stalker doesn’t necessarily have to follow you home, stand across the street watching your house or having a peek inside your bedroom window. Not in this day and age. Things have evolved and not all of them for the good.

Lisa Stone has taken a modern, realistic concept and turned it into a dark, disturbing and utterly chilling psychological thriller. One which will undoubtedly pop up into my head every time I pass a CCTV camera and I may never feel safe again. 😄

This was my first time reading a book by Lisa Stone but it most certainly won’t be my last.  Cleverly plotted, tense and addictive. If you enjoy your psychological thrillers, this one is for you.

Stalker is available to buy!

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

abouttheauthor

As a writer of suspense thrillers I often ask myself what if? What if this happened instead of that? Or why a particular person reacted as they did. So often fact is stranger than fiction and these books start with a fact which I develop. You may be surprised to know, for example, just how many patients experience changes in their likes and dislikes after a transplant operation ~ The Darkness Within. Or how easy it is to look into someone’s home through their CCTV ~ Stalker.

Just a little bit about me. I live in England and have three children. I have always been a writer – from when I was at school, with poems and articles in the school magazine. In my teens I began writing short stories, a few radio plays and novels. I finally made it into the bestseller charts with Damaged in 2007 which I wrote under the pseudonym Cathy Glass. Since then I have had 28 books published, many of which have become international bestsellers.

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Rip Current by Amanda James @akjames61 @Bloodhoundbook #blogblitz #guestpost

Welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for Rip Current by Amanda James! My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the invitation to join. Author Amanda James visits the blog to chat with DI Bryony Marshall, the main character in Rip Current. But first, here is what the book is all about.

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Author : Amanda James
Title : Rip Current
Pages : n/a
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : June 27, 2018

aboutthebook

DI Bryony Marshall has been on the tail of Kenny Ransom for two years. He’s involved in prostitution and trafficking, but there’s never been any real proof. To complicate matters further, Bryony’s best friend from childhood is his daughter Imogen.

Bryony worries about admitting the fact that she is trying to put Imogen’s dad away, but unexpectedly, Imogen turns on her father and helps the police. Kenny finds out and swears he’ll get his revenge.

Sick of being in the police force, Bryony visits her mother in Cornwall and considers starting a new life.

While in Cornwall, Bryony saves the life of a man caught up in a rip current in the sea.

But who is this stranger? And is Kenny really bent on revenge?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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Interview with Bryony Masters – The Calico Cat

I’m sitting on the high terrace of the Living Space bar at The Watergate Bay Hotel near Newquay.  The view is stunning from this advantaged position and I watch the Atlantic breakers crashing on the yellow beaches while the seabirds wheel above, calling to the wind.  From the restaurant, the smell of seafood, French fries and garlic mingle with the blackcurrant tones of my wine and my stomach is rumbling. Through the open doors hurrying through the bar, I spy Bryony. She’s the protagonist in my book Rip Current. Bryony’s slipping her light denim jacket off and as she comes outside, her dark-brown hair lifts on the breeze as she walks. As she sees me, her lively hazel eyes light up and her smile reflects mine as she hurries over to my table. She looks self-assured as ever, but happier than she once did. She’s come a long way, and that makes me happy.

‘Hi Bryony, how are you?’ I say giving her a quick hug.

‘I’m good, thanks. Really good.’ She smiles again and sits opposite. ‘I suppose you might even say I’m fantastic.’

‘You look it. Now, can I get you a glass of wine or shall we order lunch first?’

Bryony picks up the menu and scans it the delicious food on offer, and then back to me with a mischievous twinkle. ‘Hmm, I’m starving. Let’s order first.’

I laugh. Bryony always comes straight to the point, no prevaricating for her, similar to me in that way. A waitress comes over and we select the same lunch dish too. Locally caught crab salad, and fries. We order a plate of olives and fresh bread to share, then wait for the waitress to bring our drinks. She leans back in her seat, straightens her colourful summer dress and says, ‘How’s stuff with you then, Mandy?’

Bryony always uses Mandy rather than Amanda. ‘I’m great thanks. Life is treating me well. But I’ve really missed you of course. It’s been a while. And, would you mind answering a few questions, so the readers of Rip Current can get to know you a little more?’

‘I expect so. Hope they’re not too tricky.’

‘No, I promise. Okay, first question, how old are you?’

Bryony rolls her eyes and a smile tugs at the corner of her mouth. ‘You know the answer to that, you gave me life after all.’

The waitress sets down our drinks and the olive plate and I pop one into my mouth.

‘I did indeed,’ I say with difficulty as the olive’s intent on sliding down my throat. ‘But then I know all the answers. The readers don’t though.’

‘I’ve just turned thirty-two.’

‘And what do you do for a living?

‘I used to be a copper in Sheffield, but that wasn’t working out for me.’ Bryony grins and crunches an olive. ‘But now I’m a counsellor and crime support advisor. I go up and down the country but mainly work out of Truro. I live in Padstow nowadays, just along the coast a bit from here.’

‘How’s that going?’

‘The job? It can be hard and upsetting, but I feel I’m making such a difference in people’s lives. It’s so rewarding.  It’s really busy too. I don’t have a minute to myself.’ Bryony tears some crusty bread, dips it in olive oil and takes a big bite. ‘I like busy though.’

‘And your other half?’

‘He’s really good thanks. He’s doing guided tours around the area, and he loves it.’

‘A bit different from his previous work then?’ I laugh and dip my bread in the oil.

‘You could say that. It was hardly your nine-to-five, was it?’ Bryony frowns then gives a little laugh. ‘I can hardly believe how much he’s grown. Poor bloke just needed a chance to prove himself.’

I say, ‘Oh of course, yes.’ I won’t explain further as I don’t want to give too much away if you’re going to read the book. I take a sip of wine. ‘You sound happy, are you?’

Bryony swallows and gives me a huge smile. ‘I have never been happier. I’m quite certain of that. You know me, I analyse everything to within an inch of its life, and I have come up with Bryony Morgan is definitely happy. My other half is a big reason she is.’

‘Ah yes, the lovely err. We’d better not reveal his name, or it might give too much away to the readers. And happy…you couldn’t have said you were a year or so ago, eh?

A dark cloud slips behind her eyes. ‘No.’

I feel guilty for dragging up the past, but if readers are to know Bryony, we must visit it. ‘If you’re okay to, would you mind if we went back to your dad for a bit and how you and your mum had a falling out?’

A deep sigh. ‘I guess not. But that stuff’s all behind me now…so why dwell on it?’

I take a sip of wine and plunge straight in. ‘I won’t dwell – just a bit of background.  You always wanted to join the police because your dad was a copper, didn’t you? But then he got killed in the line of duty. You always adored him, is that right?’

Bryony wrests her hair from the wind and look out over the ocean. ‘Yes. I adored my dad and would have done anything for him. I think I only stayed in the police because I wanted to honour him by putting as many scumbags away as possible. The trouble was, there were too many that got away. Later on in the story my relationship with my mum which had always been wonderful takes a knock. She had done something in her past which hurt dad and me too.’ Bryony looks at me, sets her jaw. ‘In fact, you know what? I don’t want to talk about it any more, if that’s okay.’

‘Of course.’ I should have known better than to bring that up. The wounds must still be raw. I change the subject. ‘So how’s Imogen?’ Imogen is Bryony’s oldest friend and was very instrumental in helping to put away one of Sheffield’s most notorious criminals.

Bryony’s whole face lights up. ‘She’s great! And guess what? She’s moving down here with her husband and she’s also pregnant!’

‘That’s wonderful! I might catch up with her soon too. I do like her. Her husband’s the doctor she met when she was a receptionist, isn’t he?’

She gives me a withering look and yawns. ‘You know he is, you wrote the story. This interview is a bit daft really. Can we talk about you for a change? I never really got to know much about your life.’

‘Er, perhaps another time. Humour me, did you realise how important Imogen was going to be to you early in the story?’

‘Okay. Not at first, but later, yes. The fact that she was willing to lay herself on the line, even her life actually, to do the right thing and put the finger on that vile Kenny Ransom made me realise how special she was. Immi helped me understand the true meaning of friendship and love.’

‘Nathan became very special to you, didn’t he?’ I make space on the table for the waitress to put down our crab salads.

‘He certainly did. Once we were able to—’

I hold up my hand. ‘No, don’t mention more. In fact, I think we have enough now to give readers a flavour of who you are and what your story is about.’

Bryony shrugs her shoulders and sprinkles cracked-black pepper onto her food. ‘Make your mind up, Mandy. First you want the low-down, then you want me to stop.’

‘That’s because the story’s just waiting to be discovered. No point in giving the game away before the readers have even opened the first page is there?’ I smile and pour salad dressing.

‘Right,’ she says a little stiffly, loading her fork. ‘Shall I fill you in with what I’ve been up to recently or what?’

‘Best not, because that might give too much away too,’ I say hoping she’s not going to get in a strop. ‘Let’s eat this and then go inside for another drink. The readers won’t hear us there. I’d love to hear all your news.’

Bryony grins. ‘Now you’re talking.’

We tuck in and Bryony says she feels like we’re in a scene from the book because everything is so colourful and vibrant. I totally get what she means and feel I’m so lucky to have created someone like her. I say as much.

‘Luck has nothing to do with it. I knew you were the writer I needed to give me life and crept into your subconscious while you watched surfers on Fistral that day demanding to have my story written, remember?’ Bryony’s eyes dance with amusement. ‘You had to rush home and jot the bare bones down before I’d let you sleep again.’

I nod and smile. ‘I remember it well, Bryony.’

She raises her glass. ‘Good. I call the shots and don’t forget it.’

As if I ever could…

abouttheauthor

Amanda has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published, given that she left school with no real qualifications of note apart from an A* in how to be a nuisance in class. Nevertheless, she returned to education when her daughter was five and eventually became a history teacher. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true when her first short story was published. Amanda has written many short stories and has six novels currently published.

Amanda grew up in Sheffield but now has realised her lifelong dream of living in Cornwall and her writing is inspired every day by the dramatic coastline near her home. She has sketched out many stories in her head while walking the cliff paths. Three of her mystery/suspense novels are set there, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Summer in Tintagel and the Behind the Lie. Rip Current is also set in Cornwall and will be published by Bloodhound Books in April 2018.

Amanda, known to many as Mandy, spends far more time than is good for her on social media and has turned procrastination to a fine art. She can also usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.

Author links : Blog | Facebook | Twitter

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Song by Michelle Jana Chan @michellejchan @annecater @unbounders #blogtour #guestpost #RandomThingsTours

It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Song by Michelle Jana Chan today! The author visits the blog to talk about the books that helped inspire her to write this novel. My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join.

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Author : Michelle Jana Chan
Title : Song
Pages : 464
Publisher : Unbound
Publication date : June 28, 2018

aboutthebook

Opening in the mid-nineteenth-century, this dazzling debut novel traces the voyage of Song, a boy who leaves his impoverished family in rural China to seek his fortune. Song may have survived the perilous journey to the colony of British Guiana in the Caribbean, but once there he discovers riches are hard to come by, as he finds himself working as an indentured plantation worker.

Between places, between peoples, and increasingly aware that circumstances of birth carry more weight than accomplishments or good deeds, Song fears he may live as an outsider forever. This is a far-reaching and atmospheric story spanning nearly half a century and half the globe, and though it is set in the past, Song’s story of emigration and the quest for opportunity is, in many ways, a very contemporary tale.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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Some of my favourite books… that consciously, and perhaps unconsciously too, helped inspire my writing of Song with its own mirroring themes of migration, displacement and assimilation.

Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje

A fictionalised semi-autobiographic memoir set in his native Sri Lanka, Ondaatje mixes rumour, anecdote, poetry and blurred memory to piece together this fragmented portrayal of his outrageous family. ‘We see ourselves as remnants from the earlier generations that were destroyed,’ Ondaatje says, ‘I think all of our lives have been terribly shaped by what went on before us.’

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

An old-fashioned yet ambitious tale of sin and redemption, told by the rotating narrators of the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fervent evangelical Baptist from the southern states of the USA who takes his family on a Christian mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. Set against the backdrop of the country’s fight for independence, this is a harrowing post-colonial chronicle of religion, politics and race, as well as moral risk and personal responsibility.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Also located in the Congo, this is a story reflecting on a journey to “the uttermost ends of the Earth”. The narrator Marlow has been sent to find Mr Kurtz, a fellow European work colleague who has holed himself up in the interior. He finds the man on his death bed; his last words: “The horror! The horror!” perhaps referring to the atrocities Conrad himself witnessed in the Congo as it suffered under the colonial administration of the Belgians.

The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie

A family saga — brave, exuberant and witty — it takes in themes of ethnicity, religious fanaticism, art and love. At its heart is the exiled asthmatic son Moraes “Moor” Zogoiby, who travels from India to Spain, leaving behind family power struggles, ascribed destinies  and curses, with his wheezing compared to that of the last exhalation of the last defeated Moor expelled from Granada, with another parallel to that of the declining Portuguese empire in Cochin, southern India.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Set in the post-colonial 1960s, here are three powerfully self-aware characters swept up in the impassioned struggle of Biafra to establish an independent republic in Nigeria, and the devastating war by starvation that followed. The struggle is about colonialism, ethnicity, class and race, but also all kinds of love, and the ways in which that complicates life and removes reason.

abouttheauthor

Michelle Jana Chan is an award-winning journalist and travel editor of Vanity Fair. She is also contributing editor at Condé Nast Traveller, presenter of the BBC’s ‘Global Guide’ and a writer for The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and Travel & Leisure. Michelle has been named the Travel Media Awards’ Travel Writer of the Year. She was a Morehead-Cain scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Throwback Thursday : The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme originally created by Renee at It’s Book Talk. It’s designed as an opportunity to share old favourites as well as books that we’ve finally got around to reading that were published over a year ago.

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Author : J.D. Barker
Title : The Fourth Monkey
Pages : 416
Publisher : Mariner Books
Publication date : June 27, 2017

aboutthebook

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.

As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.

With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.

mythoughts

I actually read The Fourth Monkey back in January after succumbing to some blogger peer pressure but never got around to reviewing it. I was soon kicking myself for not picking this one up sooner because it’s a serial killer story at its best.

The Fourth Monkey is utterly gripping from the very beginning. With a tense game of cat and mouse and a fast-paced race to catch the killer and attempt to save his latest target, I dare you not go get completely hooked. There were incredibly harrowing chapters taken from a diary and curveballs that left me spinning

This first instalment in the 4MK Thriller series is intense, suspenseful and immensely exciting! I’ve been rather impatiently awaiting the second book but it’s almost here. So if you haven’t yet read this one, now is your chance to do so before The Fifth To Die is published in July.

The Fourth Monkey is available to buy!

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

This Week in Books (June 27)

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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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When Charlotte’s husband James tragically dies, he leaves her an unexpected gift – her grandmother’s beautiful villa, Marisal, on the Spanish island of Formentera.

As she begins to explore her new home, and heal her broken heart in the warm golden sunshine, Charlotte discovers that her grandmother Alba has been keeping secrets about her life on the island. Intrigued by her family’s hidden history, Charlotte uncovers a devastating love affair that put many lives at risk and two sisters torn apart by loss.

Can the heartbreaking truth of the island’s dark history finally be laid to rest? Or will the secrets of the past shake the new life and love that Charlotte is close to finding?


The book I’m currently reading

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Her name was Rose. You watched her die. And her death has created a vacancy.

When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.

And then she makes a decision she can never take back.

Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?

But as Emily is about to discover, no one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems.


What I’m (probably) reading next

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The Missing…

In a hidden basement, eighteen-year-old Toni is held captive and no one can hear her screams. She’s been abducted after investigating unspeakable things in the darkest corners of the Internet.

The Vigilante…

Fearing the worst, Toni’s mother turns to ex-SAS operative Mitchell to help find her missing daughter. And when Mitchell discovers Toni’s fate rests in the hands of pure evil, he races against the clock to find Toni and bring her out alive. But even that might not be enough to save her.

The Detective…

DS Warren Carter is looking forward to a new job and a simpler life. But when he’s called in to investigate the brutal murder of a seemingly normal couple, he becomes entangled in lives that are anything but simple. And as he digs deeper, he uncovers a crime more twisted than he could ever have imagined.

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I’m quite excited about my upcoming reads. What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

The Date by Louise Jensen @Fab_fiction @bookouture #blogtour #TheDate

Thrilled to bits to close down the blog blitz for The Date by Louise Jensen today, alongside the brilliant Sharon at Chapter in my Life! My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the invitation to join and the review copy, which I received via Netgalley!

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Author : Louise Jensen
Title : The Date
Pages : 315
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : June 21, 2018

aboutthebook

Something bad has happened to Alison Taylor.

Her Saturday night started normally. Recently separated from her husband, Ali has been persuaded by her friends to go on a date with a new man. She is ready, she is nervous, she is excited. She is about to take a step into her new future.

By Sunday morning, Ali’s life is unrecognisable. She wakes, and she knows that something is wrong. She is home, she is alone, she is hurt and she has no memory of what happened to her.

Worse still, when she looks in the mirror, Ali doesn’t recognise the face staring back at her. She can’t recognise her friends and family. And she can’t recognise the person who is trying to destroy her…

mythoughts

Bloody hell! Never mind the dark, monsters under the bed or a psycho serial killer! This scenario right here is the stuff of nightmares!

Separated from her husband, Ali is persuaded by her friends to go out on a date. But the next morning, Ali doesn’t remember a single thing about the previous night. Even worse, she doesn’t recognise the face in the mirror staring back at her. What on earth happened? Did someone try to hurt her and why?

Ali suffers from what’s called face blindness, a condition where you can’t tell one face from the other. Not your own, not your nearest and dearest. Who even knew that was a thing? But it is! It’s real and it’s utterly frightening! It’s incredibly easy to imagine how scary it is, to go out there and not know anyone, not be able to tell one person from the next. And in Ali’s case, it becomes even more terrifying, if that were even possible, when it seems someone is after her. But how do you find out who it is when you don’t recognise anyone? Argh!

There are a lot of secrets and skeletons lurking in the closets, some of which are truly heartbreaking. With some tough topics, I quickly found myself caught up on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. I must say, I feel that Louise Jensen did a fabulous job delving into what could be quite sensitive issues without sensationalising things for the sake of an explosive thriller.

This is one twisty psychological thriller! I thought for sure I had figured the whole thing out but I kept changing my mind throughout and was still proven wrong in the end. Just like Ali, you end up suspecting just about everyone and I was completely blindsided by the reveal.

The Date is an immensely gripping, compelling and addictive page-turner! My mind was blown and I didn’t want to put it down. You will not want to either. I’m beginning to think Louise Jensen can do no wrong. Absolutely brilliant and if you enjoy your psychological thrillers, then this is most definitely a must read!

The Date is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | GooglePlay | iBookStore | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Louise Jensen is a Global No.1 Bestselling author of psychological thrillers The Sister, The Gift & The Surrogate. To date Louise has sold approaching a million books and her novels have been sold for translation to nineteen territories, as well as being featured on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestseller’s List. Louise was nominated for the Goodreads Debut Author of 2016 Award.

Louise lives with her husband, children, madcap dog and a rather naughty cat in Northamptonshire. She loves to hear from readers and writers and can be found at www.louisejensen.co.uk, where she regularly blogs flash fiction and writing tips.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter | Website

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Butterfly Ranch by R.K. Salters @Descend_Orpheus @matadorbooks @annecater #blogtour #guestpost #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Butterfly Ranch by R.K. Salters. My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to the author for the wonderful guest post. First, here is what Butterfly Ranch is all about!

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Author : R.K. Salters
Title : Butterfly Ranch
Pages : 264
Publisher : Troubadour Publishing
Publication date : November 26, 2017

aboutthebook

Tristan Griffin is a household name and the author of a universally popular detective series. For the past few years he has lived in self-exile in a remote jungle lodge nestled in the Mayan hills of Southern Belize, with his partner Hedda. The novel begins as he attempts suicide and Hedda disappears. Altamont Stanbury, an old Kriol police constable posted to the local backwater of San Antonio, rushes to the scene with his daughter Philomena, the village nurse.

Philomena saves Tristan but he remains unconscious. Altamont, a bumbler and long-time reader of crime novels, launches a half-hearted search for Hedda by radio but decides to remain at the lodge. In truth his reverence for Tristan the writer consumes all else, and he becomes obsessed with the Griffin books he finds at the lodge.

When Tristan comes to, he is distraught and at times delirious, haunted by flashbacks of his uncompromising, cursed love for Hedda and the dark secret behind her disappearance. His anger and increasingly erratic behavior only find respite in the presence of Altamont’s innocent daughter. But he feels nothing but spite for Altamont himself, and the relationship between the two threatens to have fatal consequences for one or both.

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Would Murder on the Orient Express work if Poirot was a Dalek?

So here we are, my novel is out. I‘d be lying if I said I followed a method writing it. But looking back, I’ve realised there are three very simple, golden rules that I did follow subconsciously all along. They work best together, as they contradict and balance each other. Here are RK Salters‘s three commandments. Stray at your peril.

1. Write about people.

Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, once recalled how he dreamt The Perfect Plot in his sleep. He woke up in the middle of the night and, excited by his discovery, he wrote down the premise of the plot in a notebook that he kept on his bedside table, before going back to sleep. The next morning he got up, had breakfast, brushed his teeth. Then he recalled that he’d had some kind of brilliant dream about a plot but he couldn’t remember it. So he ran feverishly to his bedside table. The note read: “Boy meets girl.”

That plot had felt brilliant to Hitchcock himself. What he hadn‘t realised when he noted it down was that the brilliance came from everything else in his dream, how he felt in his sleep about the girl and the boy, not from the plot itself. The point I am making here is that, being devil’s advocate, you can write (or dream) a good book with great characters and no plot. Hard but possible. Plenty of great literature has a weak plot. Still devil’s advocate, you can also write a good book with great characters and a pedestrian plot. Boy meets girl, with various minor variations, is the plot for a large chunk of world literature.

But it doesn’t work the other way round. Boy meets girl doesn‘t work if you have no feelings for the boy or the girl, which was the case for Hitchcock when he woke up the next morning. We are human beings and we are interested in other human beings. Would you be thrilled by an action-packed story if all the characters were robots? Would Murder on the Orient Express work if Poirot was a Dalek? (It might for some people, but they‘re not my target readership.)

Butterfly Ranch is first and foremost about people. It‘s a psychological mystery with the stress on the first word.

2. Write for strangers.

The writing self-help book with the best title ever has got to be Steven Pressfield‘s Nobody Wants To Read Your Sh*t. Incidentally, no offence to Mr. Pressfield, I haven‘t read it and don‘t intend to. But the title is clear enough: you need to stand out, you need to appeal.

Hands up who read James Joyce‘s Finnegan‘s Wake to the end? The complete works of Marcel Proust? The war parts in War and Peace? The literature curriculum is littered with brilliant books that nobody wants to read to the end, so imagine how many newly published books‘ last pages get read. In this age of instant gratification and short attention spans, my heart was warmed when I read the following review of Butterfly Ranch: „There aren‘t many books that I finish these days, but this was definitely among them.“

So the second commandment is thou shalt write not for yourself, not for your devoted or imaginary fans, but for complete strangers. Some strangers will never like the book, simply because it‘s not the right genre or not the read they‘re looking for at that time. But if a book is not a page-turner to an otherwise well-disposed stranger, on some level it has failed. What keeps that stranger reading is the engine of the book. It‘s often suspense, but it can be other things, for example foreboding, well-paced revelations, empathy, humour and wit, thought-provoking prose. Whatever it is, it has to be there in order for the stranger to finish the book.

3. Challenge those strangers.

In this age of technological advances, for a mere £12.99 you can acquire so-called Lazy Reader Glasses. „These glasses‘ specially mirrored lenses project the text from the book in your lap to your line of vision even though you‘re facing the ceiling, enabling you to read while lying down without having to tilt your head,“ states the promotional material.

Now, just to be clear, I have no particular preference in what physical position you read or ingest Butterfly Ranch. You could read it lying down in bed, on a mat in an upside-down yoga pose, in the middle of a pool astride an inflatable lilo or airborne in a balloon. You could read it yourself or have it read to you. For a significant fee you could have me read it to you (get in touch via Twitter).

What I take objection to is the juxtaposition of the words lazy and reader. At its best, reading is surely the most proactive form of art consumption. A good chunk of what a great book becomes is what its readers project onto it, and in the end it is something far bigger and richer than what its author intended or could achieve.

So my rule is to stretch my reader. I want my main characters Tristan, Hedda, Altamont, Philomena, Grethe to jump off the page, grab you by the collar and draw you in (first commandment). I want you to be gripped and keep turning the pages, pulled along by suspense, empathy and the revelations that I peppered right through to the epilogue (second commandment). And I want you to be not just entertained, but also challenged to interpret and throw your own light on the actions, and sometimes dark motivations, of my characters.

I hope this inspires you to pick up a copy, and if so don‘t be a Lazy Reader, please review it ☺.

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Butterfly Ranch is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

The author is also running a giveaway via Twitter. Click here to enter!

abouttheauthor

RK Salters grew up in Paris in the 1970s to an Irish émigré father and French mother. He is himself an exile of sorts, having left the roost to study abroad and subsequently lived in a number of countries. His approach to writing is eclectic, drawing influences from classic and contemporary, genre and literary fiction alike, across both sides of the Atlantic.

He is now settled in Lithuania (Baltics), where he earlier met his future wife while exploring the collapsing Soviet Union. He is a passionate traveller and an expedition in Belizean jungles provided the setting for Butterfly Ranch, his first novel.

Author link : Twitter

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Murder on the Green by H.V. Coombs @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K #blogtour

Good morning! Today, I’m kicking off the blog tour for Murder on the Green by H.V Coombs. My thanks to Sabah Khan for the invitation to join and for providing the extract I’ll be sharing with you today. But first, here is what the book is all about.

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Author : H.V. Coombs
Title : Murder on the Green
Pages : n/a
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : June 25, 2018

aboutthebook

Midsomer Murders meets The Great British Bake Off in this foodie delight with murder at its heart.

Hampden Green has been a quiet for months, allowing Ben Hunter to concentrate on running The Old Forge Café. That is until celebrity chef Justin McCleish announces he is opening a pop-up restaurant at the local opera festival and wants Ben to help out.

Ben couldn’t prouder or more flattered, until he discovers he hasn’t been hired for his cooking abilities… Justin is being blackmailed and he needs help to crack the case. That is, until extortion turns deadly!

Now Ben must do whatever it takes to find the killer before they strike again…

extract

I hadn’t been outside at seven p.m. on a Thursday in years, not with a full kitchen to run. But I knew that if you parked your car carefully – not by the side of the green which, as the many signs point out, is strictly forbidden – and strolled around, you’d think to yourself, ‘What a peaceful place.’ It’s what I had thought when I’d moved here.

The green, with its fenced-off play area, a couple of mothers exercising children before bed in the summer, and maybe a dog walker or two, seems like a nice place to raise a family or live a quiet life. Even the tasteful Parish information noticeboard gives details of Zumba classes and yoga in the village hall. Locals can be spotted sitting outside the local Three Bells pub having a quiet pint. And then there’s my restaurant, the Old Forge Café.

In the calm, tranquil dining room that Thursday night, there were about twenty-five people, enjoying good food (at reasonable prices!) efficiently and charmingly served by my young manager and her assistant waiter.

A peaceful place to eat in a peaceful Chiltern village. Until you get to the kitchen …

Heat from the stove, heat from the chargrill, heat from the hot plate, heat from the lights keeping the food warm on the pass, heat from the backs of the fridges, heat from the deep-fat fryers, heat and steam from the dishwasher …

‘Cheque on!’ I shouted to Francis over the kitchen fans. It was unbelievably hot. My jacket was sodden with perspiration. I wiped my forehead with the back of my sleeve.

‘Two hake, one fillet steak medium rare, peppercorn sauce … no starter …’

Francis’s large, red, sweaty face beamed at me from underneath his bandanna that he’d taken to wearing in the kitchen, and he turned away to get the vegetable accompaniments ready.

And not just heat to contend with, but noise too. The roar of the extractor fans, which in this small space were like a jet taking off, the hiss and bubble of the deep-fat fryer, the clang of the pans on the stove, the crash of fridges as we frantically opened and closed them, the crackle of the cheque machine as new orders came into the kitchen …

I added the cheque to the row of five that were already lined up in chronological order above the pass. An easy order to do.

I quickly finished plating the dish that I had just cooked, glanced at the clock, pulled a frying pan off the stove and balanced it on the side.

‘Service …’ Jess, my waitress, appeared, and I pointed at the pass. She was back from uni for the summer, thank God. Jess might be only twenty-two but she was by far the most mature person I knew, myself included. ‘Two lamb, one smoked aubergine feuilleté. Thank you, Jess.’

‘Thank you, Chef.’

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Midsomer Murder meets The Great British Bake Off? If you’d like to find out more, Murder on the Green is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

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Weekly Wrap-Up (June 24)

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Well, I have no idea what happened to this week. It started and then, poof, it was over. Between watching football and trying to fit in some reading, I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing. I’m not even sorry.

Summer seems to have taken a hike. We’ve had grey weather and some freakish gusts, which at one point resulted in my barbecue going for a stroll around the patio. I thought I’d lost another marble which is scary as I don’t seem to have that many anymore anyway. 🤣

Anyway! On to the books!

Books I’ve read this week

Bit embarrassing. I totally blame the World Cup. Who the heck arranges three matches in one day?! Hashtag not sorry.


Books I’ve bought this week

I was doing so well not buying any! I held out until Friday but then I decided now was as good a time as any to complete my Fredrik Backman set. Also hashtag not sorry. 😂


ARC’s received via Netgalley

Seriously, Bookouture. We’re going to have to sit down and have a chat.


Bookpost that landed on my doorstep this week

Now this doesn’t happen often but there’s only one for a blog tour. Really excited about all of these!


On the blog this past week

Monday : Kicked off the week with a stop on the tour for the fabulous The Tall Man by Phoebe Locke

Tuesday : Joined the blog blitz for the gripping Nobody’s Child by Victoria Jenkins

Wednesday : Joined the blog tour for To Die in Vienna by Kevin Wignall and shared my Week in Books, which as per usual I didn’t stick to 🙄

Thursday : Posted my review for the brilliant Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

Friday : Shared my thoughts on the equally brilliant Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

Saturday : Joined the blog tour for the heartbreaking Missing Pieces by Laura Pearson

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up


Next week on Novel Deelights

Oh, nothing much. Just you know, eight blog tours. 🙄. In my defence though, only three have reviews and I’ve read two of them already. Anywho, look out for an extract from Murder on the Green by H.V. Coombes, my review of the mind-blowing The Date by Louise Jensen and much more.

Question of the week : I’ve been going back and forth on joining the Book of the Month Club at Goldsboro Books for almost a year now and while I’m insanely tempted, I just can’t seem to decide what to do. So, are you a member? Is it worth it? Should I just do it because it’s books after all?

Right, I’m off to lunch with friends. There will be wine. Yay! Unfortunately, there will also be two wee (and really loud) persons under the age of ten. I’m getting a headache just thinking about it 😂

Hope you all have a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! See you next week! xx