Kill For Me by Tom Wood @TheTomWood @millieseaward #Sphere #blogtour #excerpt #KillForMe

It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Kill For Me by Tom Wood! My thanks to Millie Seaward for the invitation to join and for providing the excerpt I’ll be sharing with you today. First, here is what Kill For Me is all about.

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Author : Tom Wood
Title : Kill For Me
Series : Victor the Assassin #8
Pages : 480
Publisher : Sphere
Publication date : July 26, 2018

aboutthebook

Victor is the killer who always delivers…for the right price. And Heloise Espinosa, patron of Guatemala’s largest cartel, is ready and willing to pay him just that to eliminate the competition–her sister. Heloise has been battling Maria for control of the cartel in an endless and bloody war. Now Victor decides who survives. An easy job if it weren’t for the sudden target on his back.

Victor’s not the only one on the hunt. Someone else has Maria in their crosshairs and will do anything to get the kill. In the middle of cartel territory with enemies closing in from all sides, Victor must decide where to put the bullet before one is placed in his head. His only chance at survival is to team up with the one person who may be as deadly as he is…

extract

The beach was white sand, stretched in a crescent around the bay. Dark waves lapped against the shore as feral dogs foraged along the water’s edge, searching for scraps left by backpackers. On the furthest spur of sand two wild horses ran back and forth in some ritual Victor couldn’t hope to comprehend.

The seller he was meeting called himself Jairo. He was old and tanned, short and hairy. He had a beard that rose to his cheekbones, pure white and bushy. His shirt was opened to his sternum, revealing a thatch of colourless chest hair. Gold neck chains gleamed from among the curls. His eyebrows were still black, and almost met in the middle. He smelled of rum, else local aguardiente – Victor hadn’t spent enough time in Guatemala to be able to differentiate between them by scent alone.

The last of the sun was disappearing over the horizon, but the heat of the day remained. Victor’s clothes were lightweight and loose, pushed taut against him by the breeze. It came from the east, from out across the Caribbean Sea, somehow cool and warm at the same time.

Jairo was from across the border in Honduras, and he dressed like a bum. His shirt was dotted with grease stains from a couple of days’ worth of messy eating. Threadbare denim shorts hung to his knees. The legs that protruded from the shorts were thin and weak. He wore rubber sandals that revealed the skin of his heels was cracked and split. He had tattoos on his forearms. They were too old and faded, and his skin too tan, for Victor to make out what they portrayed. He was no international arms trafficker. He was no Vladimir Kasakov. He was no Georg, even. He was just a small-time gun runner. He was just a man in possession of an expensive rifle. How he came across the weapon, Georg hadn’t passed on to Victor, and Jairo hadn’t offered its history. He hadn’t even wanted to show it to Victor without seeing the money

‘I check the weapon is in good condition,’ Victor had said. ‘Then you get to see the cash.’

Jairo shook his head. ‘That’s not how this works.’

They spoke in English, because Victor didn’t want Jairo to know he spoke Spanish as well as he did. Better, even.

‘It works how I say it works.’

Jairo was silent. He glanced at the wild horses.

‘Don’t forget that you want to sell the gun more than I want to buy it. I can walk away at any point and keep my money. You’ll still have a rifle you don’t want.’

Jairo thought for a while. He didn’t blink a lot, but he rubbed one palm with the other thumb.

He shrugged. ‘Okay, you can check it. Make sure it’s legit.’

He was nervous while Victor did. He couldn’t stop moving He couldn’t stop fidgeting. If he wasn’t shuffling his weight, he was rubbing his palms together. If he wasn’t rolling his shoulders, he was scratching the back of his neck. Victor took in all the tell-tale signs and acted as if he didn’t see them, as if he didn’t understand. He wanted to buy time. He wanted to assess the situation.

The Accuracy International AX50 was a big piece of engineering. It came in a case made from toughened military-grade polymer large enough to hide a person inside – dismembered, but doable. Victor had squeezed bodies into less. Inside the case, thick foam rubber encased the component parts, isolated and identifiable to Victor’s gaze. He checked each part in turn, acknowledging that every one was as it should be, as expected. Accessories came in a separate compartment, and were, like the weapon itself, all good. Too good.

He kept his thoughts to himself for the moment, still assessing. Jairo was growing even edgier, because in the dim light he couldn’t see Victor’s eyes in the shadow of the khaki cap and he couldn’t read the expression beneath.

‘What do you think?’ Jairo asked when he couldn’t stand the silence any longer. ‘You like it?’

‘It’s beautiful,’ Victor said.

Jairo was picking something from his teeth. ‘You gonna buy?’

Victor kept his gaze on the rifle. ‘How much do you want for it?’

‘A hundred thousand is the price agreed by the middleman. You have the cash? You buy?’

The rifle retailed for a fraction of that, even with all the accessories, but there was a heavy premium on black-market weapons. Jairo was adding a considerable premium to that premium, but for such a weapon it was a seller’s market. If Victor wasn’t prepared to overpay he was never going to be able to acquire what he needed. Whatever he had said, he wanted the gun more than Jairo wanted to sell it.

He rubbed the gun oil from his fingers. ‘Where did you get the weapon?’

Jairo shrugged and adjusted his footing. ‘What does it matter? I’m not gonna ask you where you got your money from. You brought it, yes? In your truck?’

Victor nodded.

He had his pickup parked where the sand dunes became prickled with long grass. Jairo’s own vehicle – another pickup – was parked on the beach itself, out in the open as agreed. Victor had arrived early, but Jairo had been earlier. He had been drinking. There was a sheen to his skin and a glaze to his eyes.

‘Let me see it.’

Victor shut the case and thumbed the catches. He dragged it from the load bed of Jairo’s pickup. Even for Victor’s strength, it was heavy. The rifle alone weighed almost twenty kilos. He carried it in his left hand. He led Jairo to his truck. Led, because Jairo didn’t move fast. He followed at a slow pace. In part because his stride was short like his height; in part because he had poor footwear for traversing sand; in part because of all the nerves.

‘A hundred grand is a lot of money,’ Victor said as they walked, ‘even for a weapon like this. Black-market rates are black-market rates, I get that, but this rifle is brand new. There’s still packing grease on the components. Someone tried to wipe it away, but you can’t do that. You have to use it. You have to get it dirty first. You have to put it together and fire rounds and strip it apart again and scrub and clean and oil it. Then you get rid of the packing grease. Good try all the same.’

Jairo acted confused. ‘What does it matter if it’s brand new? You’re getting a good deal.’

‘That’s my point. The price is too good, black-market rates and all, for a brand-new weapon. This has never been used. It’s mint in the box. So, where did you get it?’

Jairo shrugged. ‘I don’t own the gun,’ he explained. ‘I’m only the seller.’

The light was fading fast and the blue pickup Victor had bought for cash looked almost black. He set the heavy case down in the load bed and dragged forth a sports bag. He shoved it into Jairo’s waiting grip and ripped open a packet of beef jerky from a container of supplies.

‘Want some?’ He offered the packet to Jairo.

Jairo glanced up. ‘Looks disgusting.’

Victor shrugged as he chewed. More for him.

Jairo wasn’t hungry. He was wasting no time, unzipping the sports bag and peering inside, smiling when he saw the bundles of American dollars.

‘You know,’ Victor said after swallowing, ‘at first I wondered if you were part of a sting operation. A non-proliferation thing. That’s always the biggest risk when buying this kind of hardware. I figured there could be binoculars and cameras on me, officials and cops waiting out of sight behind the dunes, ready to rush in when I showed the money. Until then, I’d committed no crime. So, I was weighing up my odds, wondering if they had a clear shot of my features, wondering what repercussions I would face further down the line. Just because I had committed no crime didn’t mean there wouldn’t be fallout. A man like me can’t afford to be on someone’s radar.’

Jairo was half listening, because he had noticed something about the bag. He reached inside.

‘All those nerves you had,’ Victor continued. ‘I figured they had you over a barrel, and you’d get them off if you gave up your buyer. Me. But then I found the packing grease. No way an official sting operation would use brand-new weaponry like that. No way they could get hold of it, even to lure out an utterly deplorable person such as myself. They would use what they had, what they had confiscated. So, this has to be something else. I overthought it. The simplest explanation is usually the right one.’

Jairo pushed his hand deep into the bag, drawing out one of the thick bundles of cash. They appeared to be straps of hundred-dollar bills, a hundred bills per strap, secured with a rubber band. Jairo peeled back the first bill to see that the rest were nothing more than rectangular pieces of blank paper.

‘No, no, no,’ Jairo muttered.

‘You didn’t think I would bring a hundred grand in cash to make a deal in the middle of nowhere, did you? That’s how you get yourself killed.’

‘You’ve made a huge mistake.’

Victor said, ‘When I’ve already made so many, why stop now?’

‘You don’t know who you’re dealing with.’

Victor’s tone was wistful. ‘If only the reverse were true, Jairo, we could save ourselves an awful lot of inevitable unpleasantness.’

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Uh, oh. I don’t know about you but me thinks Jairo may have landed himself into a spot of bother there. If you’d like to read more, Kill For Me will be published tomorrow!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Tom was born in Burton Upon Trent in Staffordshire, England, and now lives in London.

He is the author of THE HUNTER, BAD LUCK IN BERLIN and THE ENEMY.

Tom’s books are known by different titles in some countries so please be careful when purchasing.

Author links : Goodreads | Twitter | Website

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The London Murder Mysteries #1 : Death in Dulwich by Alice Castle @DDsDiary @crookedcatbooks @rararesources #blogtour

It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for The London Murder Mysteries by Alice Castle. This series currently consists of two books : Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery. For my stop, I’m reviewing the first one.

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Author : Alice Castle
Title : Death in Dulwich
Series : The London Murder Mysteries #1
Pages : 219
Publisher : Crooked Cat Books
Publication date : September 6, 2017

aboutthebook

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

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

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

mythoughts

Welcome to the village of Dulwich. Where appearances matter a great deal. From wonderfully maintained homes to the yummy-mummies at the school gates and children with a multitude of extra-curricular activities that will surely catapult them into a future that holds big mansions, flashy cars and lots of money and status.

How inconvenient then that Beth Haldane, on her first day at a new job, should find a dead body near the bins on the playground of the top local school, Wyatt’s. Since Beth has no alibi, she worries she may end up being the prime suspect and she sets out to investigate on her own to try and find the culprit of this crime.

Beth is one of those characters you warm to from the moment you meet her. There’s something incredibly likeable about this thirty-something single mum. Thrilled as she is to land the job of assistant archivist at Wyatt’s, she also fears she’s not up to the job and wonders how on earth she got it in the first place. However, she’s determined to make a good go of it, hoping the money she earns can be put aside to give her son the best start in life.

Death in Dulwich is a wonderful introduction to a new cosy crime series. Alice Castle really brings the village to life and there is always something fun about an ordinary person finding themselves in extraordinary circumstances. The mystery itself kept me guessing until the end. I couldn’t at all figure out who the killer was, especially because it seemed the victim wasn’t particularly liked so the list of potential suspects was quite long.

I thoroughly enjoyed this cosy mystery.  If gore and gruesomeness isn’t quite your thing but you do like a bit of crime fiction, then this is for you. I’m sure Dulwich and its residents have many more stories to tell.

Death in Dulwich is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Alice Castle lives in South London with her two children, two stepchildren, two cats and her husband. She was a feature writer on the Daily Express for many years and has written for most other national newspapers. She has a degree in Modern History from St Andrews University, is the British Royalty expert for Flemish TV, and lived in Brussels for eight years.

Author links : Twitter

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I, Witness by Niki Mackay @NikiMackayBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n @orion_crime #blogtour #IWitness

Delighted to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for I, Witness by Niki Mackay! My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy.

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Author : Niki Mackay
Title : I, Witness
Series : Madison Attalee #1
Pages : 352
Publisher : Orion
Publication date : April 19, 2018

aboutthebook

They say I’m a murderer.

Six years ago, Kate Reynolds was found holding the body of her best friend; covered in blood, and clutching the knife that killed her.

I plead guilty.

Kate has been in prison ever since, but now her sentence is up. She is being released.

But the truth is, I didn’t do it.

There’s only one person who can help: Private Investigator Madison Attalee, the first officer on the scene all those years ago.

But there’s someone out there who doesn’t want Kate digging up the past. Someone who is willing to keep the truth buried at any cost.

mythoughts

Six years ago, Kate Reynolds was sent to prison for the murder of her best friend, Naomi. Despite pleading guilty, Kate says she’s innocent. She returns to her home town, the scene of the crime, and enlists the help of private investigator, Madison Attalee, to find out what really happened that night.

Boy, oh boy, I do so enjoy stories involving dysfunctional families and this one really takes the cake. With family secrets galore and skeletons in various closets, I quickly found myself caught up in a web of deceit and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for a number of characters and all the things they went through.

I took to Madison Attalee right away. Recently divorced and having lost custody of her daughter, everything is pretty much a struggle. But despite the immense load of baggage she’s carrying around on her shoulders, she’s quite a no-nonsense character with a potty mouth, who made me chuckle quite a bit with her self-depricating and dry sense of humour.

The theme of motherhood and bad parenting is woven throughout the story. I sometimes found myself getting increasingly frustrated with some of the characters’ behaviour concerning their children. Ah, the longstanding nature versus nurture debate. That’ll never get old.

I don’t believe in evil people as such. I don’t think it’s born, which means it must be created.

There were quite a few perspectives in this story and part of me feels maybe things would have benefited a bit more from having a few less. That is not to say it wasn’t executed well or broke the flow in any way. It’s more of a personal preference. Nevertheless, all these chapters give an incredible insight into how pretty much everyone is affected by the choices that were made in the past.

I, Witness is incredibly suspenseful and intriguing. The chilling prologue pulled me in right away. It took me a while to figure out how to fit the pieces of the puzzle together but it all led to the most satisfying conclusion. I thoroughly enjoyed this first instalment in the Madison Attalee series and I can’t wait to see what kind of case will land in her lap next.

I, Witness is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

I am a writer and a bookworm. I studied Performing Arts at the BRIT School. It turned out I wasn’t very good at acting but quite liked writing scripts. I went on to take a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Drama. I later won a full scholarship for an MA in Journalism.

I love words in many varied forms, and read widely, but my first love is crime-fiction. I am interested in people and what makes them tick: class, prejudice, and feminism. My debut novel ‘I, Witness’ is out on the 19th April 2018 with Orion. It is the first in a series featuring private Investigator Madison Attallee and is set in Kingston-upon-Thames.

Author links : Goodreads | Twitter

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A Mother’s Grave by Lisa Regan @Lisalregan @bookouture #blogtour

Thrilled to join the blog tour for A Mother’s Grave by Lisa Regan today! My thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for the invitation to join and the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

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Author : Lisa Regan
Title : A Mother’s Grave
Series : Detective Josie Quinn #3
Pages : 346
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : July 19, 2018

aboutthebook

When two young boys discover human bones buried beneath a tree in a trailer park, Detective Josie Quinn races to join her team at the scene. She used to play in those woods as a child, happier outside and away from her abusive mother, Belinda Rose.

Josie’s past crashes into her present when a rare dental condition confirms the bones belong to a teenage foster-child who was murdered thirty years ago. A girl named Belinda Rose…

Josie hasn’t seen her mother in years but, with an undeniable connection between her mother and the dead girl, does she dare try to track her down?

Just as Josie gets closer to uncovering a secret that will shatter her world forever, another body is uncovered. It’s suddenly clear that someone very close to Josie will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried forever.

As she battles the demons from her past, can Josie stop this killer before another precious life is taken?

mythoughts

Bloody hell! This third instalment in the Josie Quinn series is just …. WOW! I don’t even know where to begin.

When human bones are discovered behind the local trailer park, little does Josie know her past is about to catch up with her. Dental records confirm the remains belong to a young girl who was murdered thirty years ago. Her name was Belinda Rose. But wait a minute, Josie’s mother was Belinda Rose, wasn’t she? Josie hasn’t seen her mother in years but it looks like she now has no choice but to track her down.

If you’ve been following this series from the start, then you already know little bits and pieces about Josie’s relationship with her mother but this time, we’re digging a helluva lot deeper. What follows is an intensely heartbreaking background story with the most sick, twisted and insanely disturbing mother ever!

To say this book is incredibly gripping would be an understatement. I raced through this as if my own life depended on it. I never quite knew what would happen next and this intricately woven plot kept me guessing until the end. With superb pace throughout, twists and turns, an unpredictable and dangerous psycho, nail-biting tension and flashback chapters that will pull at your heartstrings, A Mother’s Grave has everything I could possibly want in a fantastic detective story.

This is without a doubt the best one in the series yet. It has left me rather speechless and a tad discombobulated. If you like your crime fiction series with a fabulous female detective, you have to read this series! I can’t wait for the next one and so look forward to seeing where Lisa Regan takes Josie and her team next!

A Mother’s Grave is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Lisa Regan is a suspense novelist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

Author links : Twitter

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Weekly Wrap-Up (July 22)

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I’m thinking of booking a trip to Iceland, just to be able to cool off for a few days. So hot. Stepping outside feels like running face first into a brick wall. So what do I do when it’s too hot to move? I read, obviously, with a fan aimed right at me.

Although the past few days, I’ve also sat sobbing quietly in a corner envying my blogger buddies who are out having a fantastic time at Harrogate. Definitely one for the bucket list. John Grisham was there! JOHN GRISHAM! I can’t even … *blows nose*

Anyway, I managed to get through another 8 books this week. Woohoo!

Books I’ve read this week


Books I’ve bought this week

Erm. These and I also pre-ordered the new Sarah Hilary, which doesn’t have a cover yet and isn’t published until May. That doesn’t count, right? 🤔


ARC’s received via Netgalley

One for a blog tour, the other one caught my eye as I was scrolling and the description was even better.


Bookpost what landed on my doorstep this past week

I’ve been having some issues with my phone, which is what I use to take bookish pictures with so I don’t have any. Yet. But I received the finished paperback of The Confession by Jo Spain from the lovely people at Quercus and a copy of A Little Bird Told Me by Marianne Holmes from the wonderful people at Agora. Hopefully I’ll be able to show these soon either in my wrap-up or on Instagram.


On the blog this past week

Monday : Joined the blog blitz for The Silent Sister by Shalini Boland

Tuesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for The Memories of Us by Vanessa Carnevale

Wednesday : Joined the blog blitz for Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane and shared my Week in Books

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise

Friday : Joined the blog tour for Do No Harm by Lucy V. Hay

Saturday : Shared my review for The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up


Next week on Novel Deelights

What can I say? 😳

Monday : Blog tour | Review | A Mother’s Grave by Lisa Regan
Monday : Blog tour | Review | I, Witness by Niki Mackay

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | Death in Dulwich by Alice Castle

Wednesday : Blog tour | Extract | Kill For Me by Tom Wood

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | The Lost Letters of William Woolf

Friday : Blog tour | Review | No One Will Hear by Joel Hames

Saturday : Blog tour | Review | The Secret by K.L. Slater
Saturday : Blog tour | Review | Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by Gina Kirkham

Sunday : Blog tour | Extract | Playing With Death by Simon Scarrow

Nothing to worry about. I have everything under control. *hyperventilates*

On top of all of that, I’d very much like to point out that I am currently reading book 11 for my 20 Books of Summer Challenge. I can still make it. Sometimes I surprise even myself. 😂

Right, that’s it for another week. I’m off to write up some reviews and then my current read and I are going outside for a nice baking session. I’d like to find out if I can really fry an egg on my stomach. 🤔

Have a fantastic week and lots of happy reading! xx

The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings #20BooksofSummer

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Author : Amanda Jennings
Title : The Cliff House
Pages : 384
Publisher : HQ
Publication date : May 17, 2018

aboutthebook

Cornwall, summer of 1986.

The Davenports, with their fast cars and glamorous clothes, living the dream in a breathtaking house overlooking the sea.

If only… thinks sixteen-year-old Tamsyn, her binoculars trained on the perfect family in their perfect home.

If only her life was as perfect as theirs.

If only Edie Davenport would be her friend.

If only she lived at The Cliff House…

mythoughts

Set in 1980’s Cornwall and told from various perspectives, The Cliff House could quite possibly be one of the most unsettling novels I’ve ever read.

Sixteen year old Tamsyn is utterly obsessed with The Cliff House and the Davenport family. Tamsyn doesn’t have it easy. Her family is struggling but the Davenports seem to be living the dream with their stunning house, flashy cars and oozing glamour. Tamsyn has yet to learn that all the money in the world doesn’t buy you happiness. Striking up an unlikely friendship with Edie Davenport will give Tamsyn a glimpse into life at the Cliff House.

This exquisitely written character-study makes one heck of a psychological thriller. None of the characters are particularly likeable, yet it’s perfectly easy to understand where they’re coming from and why they act the way they do. The looming presence of the Cliff House itself gives this story a bit of a gothic feel and the house is almost a character on its own.

The Cliff House is a dark and disturbing tale of obsession. Rich in atmosphere and full of wonderful descriptions, this slow-burner had me completely captivated. There is a constant almost threatening sort of vibe, an impending feeling of doom. You know something is coming but you have no idea what it will be. I thought there might be clues in the present day chapters but I couldn’t at all figure out which of the girls was talking.

With a brilliant plot, this story about family, loss, grief and obsession slowly builds up to one of the most jaw-dropping endings I’ve ever read. A deliciously haunting tale by Amanda Jennings and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

The Cliff House is available to buy!

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

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Book 8 from my 20 Books of Summer list

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Do No Harm by Lucy V. Hay @LucyVHayAuthor @OrendaBooks @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours #DoNoHarm

Today, I’m delighted to join the blog tour for Do No Harm by Lucy V. Hay! My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda for the review copy and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join!

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Author : Lucy V. Hay
Title : Do No Harm
Pages : 300
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : June 30, 2018 (ebook) | July 20, 2018 (UK Paperback)

aboutthebook

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with teacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily.

After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong. Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives.

mythoughts

Ah, newly wedded bliss. Joys of joys and all that. Or not, as Sebastian and Lily will find out soon enough.

Lily’s first marriage to successful oncologist, Maxwell, was a bit of a nightmare. But now Lily has found love again with Sebastian, who is the polar opposite of her first husband. After a whirlwind romance, we meet Sebastian and Lily on their wedding day but little do they know, there is trouble ahead.

Just because Lily is now marrying someone else, that doesn’t mean Maxwell’s obsessive and controlling behaviour has come to an end. He’s decided he wants his family back and he’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.

The chapters alternate between Sebastian and Lily, giving the reader glimpses into what could possibly be going on while the characters remain clueless. While I was sometimes a little frustrated at their decisions and behaviour, it somehow all felt quite realistic and believable. It was fascinating to see how quickly trust, one of the foundations of a relationship, is blown to smithereens.

Now, I did figure out the “who”, but it didn’t ruin the reading experience for me one bit because I couldn’t at all predict their end game and there were still plenty of other twists to entertain me. Lucy Hay knows how to keep a reader hooked with intriguing characters and a scenario that will make you flip the pages faster as the tension builds up. And she most definitely knows how to set a scene, which always allows me to see things play out right in front of my eyes as if I was watching it on a screen.

Do No Harm is a devilish tale of manipulation and possessiveness with a disturbed and twisted individual calling the shots. Once again, Lucy Hay delivers a captivating, suspenseful and addictive page-turner that is sure to mess with your head!

Do No Harm is available to buy!

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

abouttheauthor

Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin(2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. Her critically acclaimed debut thriller The Other Twin was published in 2017.

Author links : Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise @SpencerWise10 @annecater @noexitpress #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise today! My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

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Author : Spencer Wise
Title : The Emperor of Shoes
Pages : 312
Publisher : No Exit Press
Publication date : July 26, 2018

aboutthebook

Alex Cohen, a twenty-six-year-old Jewish Bostonian, is living in southern China, where his father runs their family-owned shoe factory. Alex reluctantly assumes the helm of the company, but as he explores the plant’s vast floors and assembly lines, he comes to a grim realization: employees are exploited, regulatory systems are corrupt and Alex’s own father is engaging in bribes to protect the bottom line. When Alex meets a seamstress named Ivy, his sympathies begin to shift. She is an embedded organizer of a pro-democratic Chinese party, secretly sowing dissonance among her fellow labourers. Will Alex remain loyal to his father and his heritage? Or will the sparks of revolution ignite?

mythoughts

How often do we buy something that says Made in China? When we do, do we stop and wonder about the conditions of the people who made this pair of jeans, this phone in our hand or the shoes on our feet?

At twenty-six years of age, Alex Cohen hasn’t really been questioning these things either, despite the fact his father owns a shoe factory in China. It isn’t until Alex meets Ivy, a seamstress at the factory, that his sympathies begin to shift.

This novel is mainly centred around the relationship between Alex and his father. Alex is fiercely loyal and while he feels changes need to be made somehow, he’s wary of going against everything his father stands for. All he really wants is to make him happy and proud. But Fedor Cohen isn’t a particularly likeable character most of the time. He doesn’t care one iota for his workers, the conditions they work and live in and would like nothing more than to see his son follow in his footsteps. Yet, despite their relationship being quite complicated, it’s also rather wonderful. There’s mutual respect and also a lovely dose of humour.

And then there’s Alex’s relationship with Ivy. Ivy was present at the historical and unforgettable student protests at Tiananmen Square in 1989 and despite the devastating consequences, her desire for a democratic and better China hasn’t waned. Is she using Alex to push through changes, though?

I must admit I struggled with this novel a little bit at the start and wondered if literary fiction was perhaps a step too far for me. But at some point, things just clicked and I became quite engrossed. This is an incredibly thought-provoking novel that gives immense insight into the social issues that plague China and its population. The injustice and the corruption is really laid bare. But it’s not all doom and gloom as there are some quite funny moments too. Chinese proverbs do not translate well to English, for one, and there’s also an older factory worker who apparently learned the little knowledge of English she has through movies.

With wonderfully vivid descriptions of China and an eye-opening topic, this beautifully written and realistic novel about change in every shape or form is a powerful debut by Spencer Wise and I’m glad, that despite the initial struggle, I persevered.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryKoboGoodreads

abouttheauthor

Spencer Wise is a graduate of Tufts University and the University of Texas at Austin. He recently won the 2017 Gulf Coast Prize in nonfiction. His work has appeared in Narrative magazine, Hayden’s Ferry Review, the Florida Review, and New Ohio Review. Wise teaches at Florida State University and lives in Tallahassee.

Author links : Twitter

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This Week in Books (July 18)

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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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After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with teacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily.

After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong. Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives.

The book I’m currently reading

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We can’t choose the strangers we meet.

As the guests arrive at beautiful, remote Mitchell’s Inn, they’re all looking forward to a relaxing weekend deep in the forest, miles from anywhere. They watch their fellow guests with interest, from a polite distance.

Usually we can avoid the people who make us nervous, make us afraid.

With a violent storm raging, the group finds itself completely cut off from the outside world. Nobody can get in – or out. And then the first body is found . . . and the horrifying truth comes to light. There’s a killer among them – and nowhere to run.

Until we find ourselves in a situation we can’t escape. Trapped.

What I’m (probably) reading next

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When two young boys discover human bones buried beneath a tree in a trailer park, Detective Josie Quinn races to join her team at the scene. She used to play in those woods as a child, happier outside and away from her abusive mother, Belinda Rose.

Josie’s past crashes into her present when a rare dental condition confirms the bones belong to a teenage foster-child who was murdered thirty years ago. A girl named Belinda Rose…

Josie hasn’t seen her mother in years but, with an undeniable connection between her mother and the dead girl, does she dare try to track her down?

Just as Josie gets closer to uncovering a secret that will shatter her world forever, another body is uncovered. It’s suddenly clear that someone very close to Josie will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried forever.

As she battles the demons from her past, can Josie stop this killer before another precious life is taken?

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Anything here taking your fancy? What are you reading this week? Let me know!

Happy reading! xx

Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane @Bloodhoundbook #blogblitz #PrettyUglyLies

Welcome to my stop on the blog blitz for Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane! My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the invitation to join! Author Pamela Crane visits the blog today and in true self-quiz style wonders :  what kind of psycho are you?

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Author : Pamela Crane
Title : Pretty Ugly Lies
Pages : 250
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : July 18, 2018

aboutthebook

Jo’s idyllic life would make most people jealous. Until one day her daughter is abducted and the only way to find her is to unravel her dark past.

Ellie is a devoted wife… until she discovers the pain of betrayal. Now vengeance is all she can think about.

Party-girl Shayla knows how to hide her demons. But when she’s confronted with a life-shattering choice, it will cost her everything.

June knows suffering intimately, though the smile she wears keeps it hidden.

Soon the lives of these four women intersect and one of them is about to snap…

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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Self-Quiz: What Kind of Psycho Are You?
By Pamela Crane, USA Today best-selling thriller author

I love self-quizzes, don’t you? They used to be in every women’s magazine, and now you can find them all over Facebook. Well, here’s a new quiz for you.

How often have you asked yourself this question: What kind of psycho am I? If it’s been more than once, you may have bigger problems than I can help with.

I’m not referring to a Norman Bates kind of psycho. I’m talking about what kinds of struggles would cause you to freak out, to snap, to go psycho-chick. Maybe it’s the nitpicking husband who is impossible to please. Maybe it’s the piles of dirty laundry and sink full of dishes that never gets clean. Maybe it’s an endless barrage of fighting and whining from the kids. Maybe it’s your boss demanding too much. Maybe it’s your neighbor’s dog barking night and day. Maybe it’s financial strain that leaves your bank account empty…along with your food cupboard. Maybe it’s your newborn keeping you up all night with colicky cries, refusing to eat.

We all have triggers that bring out the “psycho” in us. I certainly do. When my autistic son goes into one of his meltdowns and the kids scream for no reason whatsoever, I start to lose my cool. Add to that a work deadline that keeps me up until two in the morning and a dog that makes a grunting noise beside my bed all night long, keeping me awake up until the kids come running into my bedroom the next morning demanding breakfast, watch out—because I’m about to snap.

Now that I’ve told you mine, what are yours?

My latest domestic thriller, PRETTY UGLY LIES, introduces four women loosely based on friends in my own life. They each have struggles…and one of these ladies is going to snap big-time. (Hint: yup, one of them gets murdery, so read the book to find out who!) They’re all great gals, but equally flawed in their own ways. Let’s meet the cast of the story and see what brings the psycho out in these everyday women…

Meet Jo, a mom whose life is perfect, husband gorgeous and successful, kids bright and obedient. She’s a gal who spends her days baking cookies and cuddling her kids at night after reading bedtime stories…and she actually enjoys every second of it. But when disaster strikes and she loses her child at the park one day, everything that made her strong crumbles. She’s unable to cope, and all sense of who she is shatters like broken glass. She can’t seem to recover from her upside-down world, and in the end, she turns on her family, her friends, herself. When everything goes exactly as planned, Jo is Wonder Woman. But when things spiral out of her control, she loses hope and can’t pull it together. Is this you?

Next we have Ellie, who has always struggled with motherhood. While she’s smart and capable, she gave up a thriving career to dote on the needs of her family as a stay-at-home mom—and gets little thanks in return. Her kids sense her lack of self-respect and prey on that, and her husband has long ago lost interest in her. While she’s brilliant and talented, she has lost who she is over the years. If only her kids would listen to her and her husband let her pursue her passion, she’d be happy. But as it is, she’s drowning in her misery and can’t seem to catch her breath. Can you relate to Ellie?

Shayla is more common that you might expect, a woman whose struggle with bipolar disorder has been buried for years. She’s energetic, fun, carefree…maybe a little too carefree. She’s got a great home life, but she bores easily and needs a dose of adrenaline to keep her happy—especially when she’s off her meds. That’s when straying outside her marriage starts to appeal…until her affair partner turns out crazier than she is. Now’s she’s in a pickle and her family turns against her. It’s the perfect recipe for sending her fragile mental state into a breakdown. Have you ever felt like Shayla?

June is a lot like me. Four kids, a special needs child among them, and some days feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders. She’s an empath and cares deeply for others, sometimes to her own disadvantage. But the daily needs become too much as she’s juggling work, a neglectful hubby (not based on my own amazingly awesome husband), a handful of kids, and too much background noise. A simple solution would be to ask for help, but she’s too prideful to lean on others, even when they offer. June’s doing too much and doesn’t see the toll it’s taking on her. If she keeps running in circles like this, she’s bound to lose her way…and her mind. Do you feel June’s pain?

Four different women, four different paths, four different triggers. Each has strengths, but each also has weaknesses. The thing is, it’s okay to not always wear the cape. We can’t always be superhuman. Sometimes we are simply just human. And with being a human comes moments where we lose our mind a little, lose ourselves even. But the key is to pick ourselves up at the end of each day and figure out our way through the hard parts of life, along the rocky terrain until we find clear prairies.

Social norms demand us to be smiley-faced emojis and comical memes. We’re supposed to be always agreeable, likeable, perfect. But that’s not reality, is it? I remember as a child when my mother would be yelling at us kids over something we’d done. We were always getting into something we shouldn’t, or fighting about stupid stuff—but I was never the instigator, I assure you (if my sister is reading this, I retract this statement). In the middle of Mom’s eardrum-bursting discipline, the phone would ring and she’d answer it with an ever-so-sweet “hello” so that the person on the other line had no idea she had nearly torn her vocal cords a moment earlier. In those moments Mom tucked an ugly reality in the corner while her public presence demonstrated nothing but a calm, happy mirage. (Mom, I totally get this now that I have kids!)

As PRETTY UGLY LIES uses a murder to reveal, life is full of lies, secrets, airing dirty laundry, betrayal, skeletons, pain, loss, frustration… Reality is enough to drive anyone mad. And that’s okay. You’re not alone, I’m not alone. “One day at a time,” Mom always told me. Sometimes one moment at a time is necessary.

So enjoy this self-quiz while you answer the question: What kind of psycho are you? Are you Jo, Ellie, Shayla, or June? And then give yourself a pat on the back for facing who you are without cringing. Hugs from one psycho to another!

[Reality is indeed enough to drive anyone crazy. Thank goodness for books! Thank you so much for stopping by, Pamela! Really enjoyed reading your post!]

abouttheauthor

Pamela Crane is a professional juggler. Not the type of juggler who can toss flaming torches in the air, but a juggler of four kids, a writing addiction, a horse rescuer, and a book editor by trade. She lives on the edge (ask her Arabian horse about that—he’ll tell you all about their wild adventures while trying to train him) and she writes on the edge. Writing murder mysteries is her escape from the real world of dirty diapers and cleaning horse stalls, and she bases her characters on real people, so be warned! She is a USA Today best-selling author of several award-winning thrillers, which you can find on her website at www.pamelacrane.com.

Author links : Facebook

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