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

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

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

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

aboutthebook

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

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

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

Or will this summer change her life forever?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Runaway Wife is out today!

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

abouttheauthor

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

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

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

Married twice, she has one son and two grandsons.

Facebook | Twitter

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

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

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

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

aboutthebook

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

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

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

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Hoo boy! Is this a humdinger or what?!

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

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

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

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

The Fear is available for purchase!

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

abouttheauthor

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

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Weekly Wrap-Up (April 22)

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

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

Books I’ve read this week

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

Books I’ve bought this week

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

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ARC’s received via Netgalley

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

Bookpost that landed on my doorstep this past week

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

On the blog this past week

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

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

Wednesday : This Week in Books

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

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

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

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Next week on Novel Deelights

No blog tours whatsoever.

….

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

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

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

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

White Lies by Lucy Dawson @lucydawsonbooks @bookouture #blogblitz

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

My thanks to Kim at Bookouture!

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

aboutthebook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

White Lies is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

aboutthebook

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

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

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

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryGoodreads

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How I came up with DI Simon Fenchurch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And it didn’t have any vampires.

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

abouttheauthor

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

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

Twitter | Website

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

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

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

aboutthebook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Girl With No Name is available for purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

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

Facebook | Twitter | Website

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

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

My thanks to Imogen at Bonnier Zaffre for the invitation!

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

aboutthebook

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

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

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

extract

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

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

‘Think he might turn and fight, sir?’

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

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

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

‘Sail ho!’

‘Where away?’

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

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

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

‘Make the recognition signal.’

Silence, waiting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Steady as she goes, captain.’

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

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

Waiting, watching the rain for any sign of movement.

There she is!

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

Hard a-starboard!

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

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

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

‘Midships. Meet her.’

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

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

‘Stand by the guns. Fire.’

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

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

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

abouttheauthor

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

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

Twitter | Website

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This Week in Books (April 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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Eighteen months have passed, but the scars the Ragdoll murders left behind remain.

DCI Emily Baxter is summoned to a meeting with US Special Agents Elliot Curtis of the FBI and Damien Rouche of the CIA. There, she is presented with photographs of the latest copycat murder: a body contorted into a familiar pose, strung up impossibly on the other side of the world, the word BAIT carved deep into its chest.

As the media pressure intensifies, Baxter is ordered to assist with the investigation and attend the scene of another murder to discover the same word scrawled across the victim, carved across the corpse of the killer – PUPPET.

As the murders continue to grow in both spectacle and depravity on both sides of the Atlantic, the team helplessly play catch up. Their only hope: to work out who the ‘BAIT’ is intended for, how the ‘PUPPETS’ are chosen but, most importantly of all, who is holding the strings.


The book I’m currently reading

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

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

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

As Josie digs deeper, a letter about a mix-up at a fertility clinic links the nameless girl and the missing child to a spate of killings across the county. Josie is faced with an impossible decision: should she risk the life of one innocent child to save many others… or can she find another way?

What I’m (probably) reading next

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

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

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

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What are you reading this week? Let me know and let’s talk books! Happy reading! xx

Code Runner & Binary Witness by Rosie Claverton @rosieclaverton @CrimeSceneBooks @annecater #blogtour #AmyLaneMysteries #RandomThingsTours

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Code Runner and Binary Witness. These are the first two books in the Amy Lane Mysteries and author Rosie Claverton visits the blog to talk about how to make an old book new again. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the opportunity.

Author : Rosie Claverton
Title : Code Runner & Binary Witness
Series : The Amy Lane Mysteries 1 & 2
Pages : 100 pages
Publisher : Crime Scene Books
Publication date : April 19, 2018

aboutthebook

Binary Witness : A young woman trapped by her fear, a young man pursued by his past, a murderer hunting the Cardiff streets by night. Agoraphobic hacker Amy Lane employs ex-con Jason Carr as a cleaner. When the police `borrow’ Amy’s skills to help track down the killer, Amy and Jason become a crime-fighting team, Amy on her computer, Jason on the streets.

Code Runner : Agoraphobic grey-hat hacker Amy Lane and her sidekick ex-con Jason Carr make a formidable crime-fighting team, but when Jason investigates a body washed up on a beach, the duo find themselves in over their heads in a world of drug-smuggling, conspiracy and cyber crime. Can Amy rescue Jason? At what cost?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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An old book made new again by Rosie Claverton

I’m in an unusual position with my crime series The Amy Lane Mysteries – I have the pleasure of launching the first two books twice!

I wrote Binary Witness during the National Novel Writing Month of 2011. After several rounds of revisions, I submitted to an ebook-only publisher and landed a two-book deal! Binary Witness set sail in May 2014, with Code Runner following in the September.

And I never read those books again.

Unfortunately, my publisher wasn’t interested in a third Amy Lane mystery, but Crime Scene Books were excited about continuing the series. I wrote the third novel Captcha Thief, which was published in 2016, and the fourth novel Terror 404 came out in 2017.

I worked on other projects. I grew and learned as a writer. I now know that I always struggle with the first third of the book, gather momentum around the midpoint, and then draw everything together for a heart-stopping finale. I am a much better novelist than I was in 2011.

That’s when my editor at Crime Scene Books told me that they had acquired the rights to Binary Witness and Code Runner. The two books would be relaunched as new editions in paperback, with a Binary Witness audiobook and a short story extra in Code Runner.

Which meant I was going back to revise my first published novels.

I was filled with dread at what I might find. I hadn’t picked either of them up for three years! What if they weren’t actually any good? What if I discovered the characters were completely different people? What if the material there couldn’t be salvaged? Would I need to hide away in shame at what I had first drafted before I was a wife, mother and psychiatrist, six long years in the past?

The first thing I did was correct the glaring error in the first chapter that I had inadvertently introduced during copy edits and which had haunted me since publication. That felt good. Then, I read on. It wasn’t bad! It was good, even. I fell in love with my characters again and I remembered how they were at the beginning of their stories, how they’ve changed and grown into how I’m writing them in the fifth novel of the series.

Would I write the same books now? Probably not. Yet the later books flow from the first ones, a river whose source must retain the same purity of water. I can respect the work of my past and, apart from shifting around a chapter or two and trimming a lot of adverbs, I didn’t radically change the books before sending them out into the world again.

Amy and Jason begin their story in largely the same way they did in 2014, and I hope to continue telling their stories for many years to come.

[Thanks so much for stopping by, Rosie! Wishing you the best of luck with the Amy Lane Mysteries!)

abouttheauthor

Rosie Claverton grew up in Devon, daughter to a Sri Lankan father and a Norfolk mother, surrounded by folk mythology and surly sheep. She moved to Cardiff to study Medicine and adopted Wales as her home.

Her Cardiff-based crime series The Amy Lane Mysteries debuted in 2014, with the latest novel Terror 404 released in June 2017.

Between writing and medicine, she blogs about psychiatry and psychology for writers in her Freudian Script series, advocating for accurate and sensitive portrayals of people with mental health problems in fiction.

Rosie lives with her journalist husband and her brand new daughter.

Twitter | Website

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The Key to Death’s Door by Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #blogtour

Thrilled to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for The Key to Death’s Door and to wish Mark Tilbury a very happy publication day! My thanks to Mark Tilbury and Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the invitation and my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

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Author : Mark Tilbury
Title : The Key to Death’s Door
Pages : 361
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : April 16, 2018

aboutthebook

If you could discover the murderous truth of a past life and seek justice in this one, would you?

Teenager Lee Hunter doesn’t have a choice when he nearly drowns after spending the night at a derelict boathouse with his best friend, Charlie Finch. After leaving his body and meeting a mysterious light, Lee is sent back to relive the final days of another life. A life that ended tragically.

After recovering from his near death experience, Lee begins to realise that he is part of two lives linked by the despicable actions of one man.

Struggling against impossible odds, Lee and Charlie set out to bring this man to justice.

Will Lee be able to unlock the past and bring justice to the future?

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Flippin’ heck! What even?! I have no idea how to review this sheer awesomeness at all!

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, probably also in a review for the same author, that I don’t normally read paranormal or supernatural stories but for Mark Tilbury, I gladly make an exception and I don’t regret a single second of it. This is the third book in this genre that I’ve read by him and once again, it completely blew me away!

So, see that book description at the top of the page? Yes, that’s all you’re going to get from me where the plot is concerned. Why though, I hear you ask? Because I actually tried to explain it to the OH and the poor man got horribly confused. What you really need to know is that most of the story is set in the present day, while some of it regards events from thirty years earlier. These two periods are linked by one character and what a character it is!

As I’ve come to expect from this author, that particular character is one of the most despicable, vile and evil men ever to roam the planet! Very few people come up with someone so incredibly disturbing but Mark Tilbury manages it in every single book of his I’ve read so far. The only relief from all the heinous acts comes in the form of the friendship between Lee and Charlie in the present, and two other characters in the past. Everyone should have a friend like them and in the midst of the horror, I regularly found myself smiling at their banter.

The Key to Death’s door doesn’t exactly make for comfortable reading. It is an incredibly dark and harrowing tale of abuse, of not always being able to protect your family no matter how hard you try and of seeking justice. It’s a hard-hitting, well-written, compelling, gritty and thought-provoking story that, days later, still has me utterly reeling.

If you’re a fan of Mark Tilbury’s books, I have no doubt you will love this one as much as I did. If you haven’t yet discovered this author, I highly recommend you take the time to get caught up. In the meantime I’m off to firmly add him to my list of go-to authors and (im)patiently await his next offering, which I’m sure will rock my socks off just as much as this one did. No pressure, sir.

The Key to Death’s Door is available now!

Amazon US | Amazon UKGoodreads

abouttheauthor

Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.

After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused.

He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have his fifth novel, The Key to Death’s Door published along with The Liar’s Promise, The Abattoir of Dreams, and The Ben Whittle Investigations relaunched, by Bloodhound Books.

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.

Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Website

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