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

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

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

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

aboutthebook

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

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

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

mythoughts

Hoo boy! Is this a humdinger or what?!

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

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

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

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

The Fear is available for purchase!

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

abouttheauthor

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

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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 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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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 Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl @ko_dahl @orendabooks @annecater #blogtour #TheIceSwimmer

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl! Make sure you also check out my tour buddy Rachel’s post today! My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater for the opportunity and my review copy!

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Author : Kjell Ola Dahl [translator : Don Bartlett]
Title : The Ice Swimmer
Series : Oslo Detectives #8
Pages : 276
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : February 1, 2018 (ebook) | April 30, 2018 (UK Paperback)

aboutthebook

When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated. Not only is she dealing with a cancer scare, a stalker and an untrustworthy boyfriend, but it seems both a politician and Norway’s security services might be involved in the murder. With her trusted colleagues, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, at her side, Lena digs deep into the case and finds that it not only goes to the heart of the Norwegian establishment, but it might be rather to close to her personal life for comfort.

mythoughts

Despite the fact Kjell Ola Dahl is known as one of the godfathers of Nordic Noir and that I’ve had Faithless on my bookshelf for aeons, this is the first book I’ve read by him. While it says The Ice Swimmer is the eighth book in the Oslo Detectives series, don’t let that put you off as this reads perfectly well as a stand-alone and I never really felt I was missing out on anything.

It’s a busy day in the city of Oslo. The body of a man is lifted from the freezing waters of the harbour and a young woman has apparently taken her own life by jumping in front of a train. Things aren’t quite what they seem though. Detective Lena Stigersand is in charge of the first investigation, while her colleague Gunnarstranda looks into the second one. But Lena has a whole lot of other issues to deal with.

The Ice Swimmer is a truly cleverly plotted police procedural. What looks like a simple drowning quickly turns into a murky tale full of lies, deceit and corruption. Not only does it involve a high ranking politician, it even looks like someone close to Lena may somehow be involved. And why does it seem like someone is following her?

I must say this thrilling investigation kept me guessing throughout and it was a true delight seeing various threads come together at one point. But I also really enjoyed the glimpses into the team’s personal lives and the realistic touches, like spending long hours of boring stake-outs in the freezing cold Oslo winter.

It’s easy to see why Kjell Ola Dahl is so highly regarded in this genre. Yes, I may have stumbled over the Norwegian names a few times or gotten some characters confused with others but that’s hardly the author’s fault and it didn’t ruin my enjoyment at all. If anything, it required me to focus that little bit harder. Which you’d think would have helped me solve the case, but no. The reveals left me completely blindsided.

The Ice Swimmer is a twisty and incredibly well written story, full of suspense and intrigue and it had me glued to the pages. Of course, I must also mention the seamless translation by Don Bartlett. If you’re a fan of the Nordic Noir genre, you will undoubtedly enjoy this latest addition to the Oslo Detectives series!

The Ice Swimmer is available in ebook now!

Amazon US  | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

One of the godfathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik.

He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich.

In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries and sold over two million copies.

He lives in Oslo.

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Seas of Snow by Kerensa Jennings @zinca @CarolineBookBit #blogtour #guestpost

I am absolutely delighted to welcome author Kerensa Jennings to the blog today for my stop on the tour celebrating the paperback launch of Seas of Snow! Before Kerensa tells you all about her writing plans, here is what Seas of Snow is all about.

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Author : Kerensa Jennings
Title : Seas of Snow
Pages : 352
Publisher : Unbound
Publication day : April 5, 2018 (paperback)

aboutthebook

In 1950s England, six-year-old Gracie Scott lives with her Mam and next door to her best friend Billy; she has never known her Da. When her Uncle Joe moves in, his physical abuse of Gracie’s mother starts almost immediately. But when his attentions wander to Gracie, an even more sinister pattern of behavior begins.

As Gracie grows older she finds solace and liberation in books, poetry, and her enduring friendship with Billy, with whom she escapes into the poetic fantasy worlds they create. But will fantasy be enough to save Gracie? Just how far will Uncle Joe’s psychopathic behavior go?

The story weaves between these events and the visits Billy pays many years later to an old friend, confused and dying in a hospice. It is here that he is forced to revisit the events of the past.

Available from : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery

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To introduce myself, I’m someone who comes from a background where neither of my parents did A Levels or went to university. I was in fact the first person in my whole family to go to uni, so none of us could quite take it in when I made it into Oxford. Looking back now, I can hardly believe how life has unfolded since then. I am a bestselling author, a professor, a strategist and an executive coach – and previously spent more than twenty years in the media working as a TV producer. Today, I am Director, Office of HRH The Duke of York and I run the newly launched digital equivalent of The Duke of Edinburgh Award, called The Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award.

I like creating things. Writing is a very obvious manifestation of that – I write at least something each and every day. I always have done, ever since I could hold a pencil! I’m a storyteller at heart. And a maker. Whether it’s films or food or programmes or initiatives. I love making stuff happen. A big part of that is unlocking potential in others. As a producer, I am the wind beneath the wings of the presenter. As a coach, I am in service to the client, helping them forge a better, more productive path. As a leader of initiatives, I have consistently chosen programmes that deliver impact and open up opportunity for people. So it’s a weird and wonderful combination of making and unlocking! But if you pinned me down and made me choose just one as my greatest passion – it has to be writing.

I wrote SEAS OF SNOW in all my holidays between 2009-2013 when I was the BBC’s Head of Strategic Delivery. In 2014 I polished the submission edit; then in 2015 got the book deal. In 2016 I worked on the development edit, the copywriter edit; the structural edit, the formatting edit (breathe!) then two rounds of proof reading…

I am not the sort of writer who sets themselves specific targets on word count or chapters. I write from the heart and can only really work on something as intensive and dedicated as a novel when I am in the right frame of mind. Combining novel writing with having a break from work is something I like very much. It suits me. In truth, I have always had day jobs which are far too all-consuming and time-demanding to allow me the luxury of long-form writing in a normal working week. That’s why for someone like me – who has been writing all their life – it took me such a long time to get my first novel out!

Of course I have a secret dream of being a full-time writer but so far no benefactor has swept into my life to magic away the need for a salary….

In many ways SEAS OF SNOW has achieved what I had hoped it would so it’s lovely through this book blog tour to celebrate the book’s success and to hope it might reach other readers who have not yet heard of it. Getting published is, I think, what I feel most proud of in my life so far. And this book in particular means such a lot to me. Through SEAS OF SNOW I explore themes I want to illuminate. Everything from the darkness of the human soul to different manifestations of maternal love to the capacity we have to lift ourselves sometimes against the odds. The book is also a love letter to literature in many ways – so through writing SEAS OF SNOW, I also got to share some of my passions and inspirations, turning the process of writing about something so deeply unsettling into something which also had light and life.

My publisher Unbound has told they would like to publish all three of my literary psychological thrillers which are inspired by my time working in journalism. I’ve also talked with them about a poetry anthology I would like to bring out; and there’s a transmedia children’s story-world I am working on called Storylea which is a completely different sort of thing… for children, but with rhymes. That is a very poles-apart sort of proposition and in many ways much more ambitious. I continue to tinker along with that whenever I have a moment to breathe…

I am meanwhile also working on my second psychological thriller. Where SEAS OF SNOW explores whether evil is born or made, EDGE OF RAIN asks how far can you push a person before they break… The trial I worked on was the Sara Thornton case – she had killed her husband, and was accused of murder. However, in the end, she was found guilty of manslaughter (not murder) because the evidence proved she had suffered years and years of abuse – in legal terms called ‘provocation’. This meant although she murdered him in cold blood, it was emotionally an event provoked in the moment because of all that had gone before. Fascinating stuff….

And in terms of when … watch this space! I meanwhile hope the SEAS OF SNOW paperback edition might catch the eye of people out there who haven’t had it on their radar yet.

[Lots of fabulous writing plans, Kerensa! Good luck with everything and I do hope more people discover Seas of Snow. Thank you so much for stopping by!]

abouttheauthor

Kerensa Jennings is a storyteller, strategist, writer, producer and professor.

Kerensa’s TV work took her all over the world, covering everything from geo-politics to palaeontology, and her time as Programme Editor of Breakfast with Frost coincided with the life-changing events of 9/11.

The knowledge and experience she gained in psychology by qualifying and practising as an Executive Coach has only deepened her fascination with exploring the interplay between nature and nurture and with investigating whether evil is born or made – the question at the heart of Seas of Snow. As a scholar at Oxford, her lifelong passion for poetry took flight.

Kerensa lives in West London and over the last few years has developed a career in digital enterprise.

Facebook | Twitter | Website

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The Stranger by Kate Riordan @KateRiordanUK @JennyPlatt90 @MichaelJBooks #blogtour

I’m absolutely delighted to host a stop on the blog tour The Stranger by Kate Riordan today! My thanks to Jenny Platt at Michael Joseph for the invitation and the beautiful review copy!

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Author : Kate Riordan
Title : The Stranger
Pages : 320
Publisher : Michael Joseph / Penguin
Publication date : March 22, 2018

aboutthebook

Cornwall, 1940.

In the hushed hours of the night a woman is taken by the sea.

Was it a tragic accident? Or should the residents of Penhallow have been more careful about whom they invited in?

In the midst of war three women arrive seeking safety at Penhallow Hall.

Each is looking to escape her past.

But one of them is not there by choice.

As the threat of invasion mounts and the nightly blackouts feel longer and longer, tensions between the close-knit residents rise until dark secrets start to surface.

And no one can predict what their neighbour is capable of . . .

In a house full of strangers, who do you trust?

mythoughts

Oh, what a wonderful novel this is. This is one of those stories that remind me why I love this genre as much as I do. As soon as I started reading, I knew I was in for a treat and I quickly found myself utterly immersed.

In 1940’S Cornwall, the war still seems to be pretty far off. Three women arrive at Penhallow Hall. Eleanor and her mother have opened the doors of their house to Rose, Diana and Jane who will work there as Land Girls, planting and growing vegetables to help out in the war effort. But tricky pasts and secrets will lead to a dramatic conclusion and their lives will be changed forever.

This story oozes atmosphere and has a fantastic cast of complex characters that you’ll either root for or want to slap in the face. Especially Diana Devlin, whom I accidentally kept calling devil in my head, which seemed rather apt at times. She’s quite the troubled young lady with a disturbing past and she’s bored. So very, very bored. Her need to liven things up just a little bit may just have consequences for innocent bystanders. Rose spent a glorious summer in Cornwall when she was sixteen. For various reasons, that period in her life has always stayed with her. Can she possibly recapture the spirit of the girl she used to be?

There’s a threatening, almost claustrophobic vibe haunting the rooms of Penhallow Hall, that feeling of something not being quite right. I found that to be the perfect contrast with the glorious descriptions of the Cornwall landscape. Kate Riordan’s writing is incredibly beautiful and pulled me right in. I could hear and smell the ocean, feel the sun beating down on my back and if Cornwall wasn’t already on my list of places to visit one day, it sure would be now.

From the first chapter, it’s obvious a mystery needs to be solved but as it turns out, that’s not the only one. I thoroughly enjoyed this gripping story of first loves, loss and grief, secrets and family. This is only the second novel I’ve read by Kate Riordan and it has left me wanting more so I’ll be catching up on her other books and very much look forward to whatever she comes up with next!

The Stranger is available for purchase!

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

abouttheauthor

Kate Riordan is a British writer and journalist. After working on staff at the Guardian and Time Out London, she left the capital and moved to the Cotswolds in order to concentrate on writing novels. Published by Penguin, HarperCollins and Heyne, she’s currently writing her fifth book.

Facebook | Twitter | Website

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Lying to You by Amanda Reynolds @amandareynoldsj @Wildfirebks @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

Delighted to welcome you all to the final stop of the blog tour for Lying to You by Amanda Reynolds! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours and the publisher for the opportunity and the review copy.

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Author : Amanda Reynolds
Title : Lying to You
Pages : 368
Publisher : Wildfire
Publication date : April 1, 2018 (ebook)

aboutthebook

When Jess Tidy was Mark Winter’s student, she made an accusation that ultimately saw him sentenced to three years in prison. A jury found him guilty, but he always maintained his innocence. Now, Jess’s mother’s death has brought her back to the village where she grew up, and where Mark still lives with his wife. And the truth about that night ten years ago which nearly destroyed them both is finally going to come out.

mythoughts

Goodness gracious me, what a sticky web of lies and deceit this story is!

When Jess Tidy was a teenager, she made an accusation against her teacher, Mark Winter. Despite maintaining his innocence throughout, Mark was sent to prison. Ten years later, Jess returns home to attend the funeral of her mother. Home is the village where she grew up but also, the village where Mark still lives with his wife and daughter. Will the truth about what happened all those years ago finally be revealed?

The story alternates between Jess and Karen, Mark’s wife and the chapters are interspersed with snippets from counselling sessions Jess has attended and excerpts from a book Mark was trying to write. Suffice to say that none of these characters, while realistic and believable, are particularly likeable and I often found myself wondering how reliable their version of the truth was. Jess is obviously a very troubled young woman with a rather disturbing background and while Karen may have deserved some sympathy for her situation, for some reason I found it quite hard to muster any up.

The fall-out from whatever event occurred between Jess and Mark has an effect on everyone around them. This adds a truly thought-provoking layer to the story. How well do you really know someone? Why would a woman stand by her husband when he has been accused of something horrible? How does something like this affect the life of his own daughter? I admit that when stories like these pop up in the newspaper, these aren’t exactly the people I’ll be thinking of.

This is one of those character-driven slow burners, where the scene is set and the characters are introduced. Nevertheless, I personally thought it was utterly gripping from the start and found myself turning the pages faster as the truth was slowly being revealed. As topics go, this isn’t exactly an easy one to deal with but I feel the author tackled it brilliantly and has delivered a well-written and compelling story.

This is my first introduction to Amanda Reynolds. I’ve had her debut Close to Me on my TBR pile since it was published but still haven’t gotten around to reading it. If that one was anything like this one, I’ve been missing out and I should rectify that error soonish. Thoroughly enjoyed this psychological drama and I’m definitely keeping my eye on this author in future!

Lying to You is available in ebook format now! The paperback will be published in July.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Amanda Reynolds debut novel, Close To Me was published in 2017 by Wildfire (Headline) and Quercus US. Close To Me was an Amazon Kindle bestseller.

Her second psychological suspense, Lying To You, is published in April 2018.

Amanda lives in the English countryside with her family.

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Bryant & May : Hall of Mirrors by Christopher Fowler @Peculiar @DoubledayUK @annecater #blogtour #extract #RandomThingsTours

Such a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for the 15th (!!) book in the Bryant & May series, titled Hall of Mirrors by author Christopher Fowler. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the opportunity. I was unfortunately unable to find a gap in my schedule to read this one but I do have a fun extract to share with you all.

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Author : Christopher Fowler
Title : Bryant & May : Hall of Mirrors
Series : Bryant & May #15
Pages : 400
Publisher : Transworld
Publication date : March 22, 2018

aboutthebook

The year is 1969 and ten guests are about to enjoy a country house weekend at Tavistock Hall. But one amongst them is harbouring thoughts of murder. . .

The guests also include the young detectives Arthur Bryant and John May – undercover, in disguise and tasked with protecting Monty Hatton-Jones, a whistle-blower turning Queen’s evidence in a massive bribery trial. Luckily, they’ve got a decent chap on the inside who can help them – the one-armed Brigadier, Nigel ‘Fruity’ Metcalf. The scene is set for what could be the perfect country house murder mystery, except that this particular get-together is nothing like a Golden Age classic. For the good times are, it seems, coming to an end.

The house’s owner – a penniless, dope-smoking aristocrat – is intent on selling the estate (complete with its own hippy encampment) to a secretive millionaire but the weekend has only just started when the millionaire goes missing and murder is on the cards. But army manoeuvres have closed the only access road and without a forensic examiner, Bryant and May can’t solve the case. It’s when a falling gargoyle fells another guest that the two incognito detectives decide to place their future reputations on the line. And in the process discover that in Swinging Britain nothing is quite what it seems…

So gentle reader, you are cordially invited to a weekend in the country. Expect murder, madness and mayhem in the mansion!

extract

A few minutes later, John May knocked on the bedroom door.

Arthur Bryant opened the door and took a step back. ‘My word, you scrub up well. I would never have recognised you.’

May was wearing a double-breasted evening jacket with black silk lapels and a black bow-tie, his hair thickened and combed with a fringe. ‘One has to make an effort,’ he said. ‘I see you didn’t.’

Bryant’s clothes looked as if they had been tossed onto him from a distance. Nothing fitted properly. His pinstriped blazer and grey Oxford bags had possibly last seen duty in a touring production of Salad Days, or at the Windmill Theatre, where he might have passed as a low comic between nude tableaux. A pair of wide striped braces had pulled his trousers halfway up his chest, and a partially unravelled polka-dotted bowtie had become marooned around the side of his neck.

‘I can’t get this blooming thing to stay done up.’

‘Come here.’ May tackled the bow. ‘Right over left, left over right, fold it back and pull it tight. There. My dad was in an orchestra. I used to have to tie his bow-tie for him every night. Let’s go downstairs and see what we’re up against.’

They started to walk. May raised his hand and stopped Bryant. ‘What is that?’

‘What’s what?’

‘That clicking noise.’

‘I don’t hear anything.’ Bryant continued on.

Takata-takata-takata.

May halted him and looked down. ‘It sounds like you’re wearing tap shoes.’

Bryant stopped and raised one foot. ‘I am,’ he said apologetically.

‘They’re not going to be much good if we need to creep about this place in silence. We’re undercover, remember?’

‘Sorry, they came from the actors’ wardrobe bag.’

‘Tap shoes on a stakeout,’ said May. ‘Incredible.’ He headed toward the stairs. ‘From now on we can’t let afford to our witness out of our sight.’

******

Tap shoes! 😂

I don’t know about you but that sure whet my appetite! I may just have found another series to get caught up with. Hopefully, this takes your fancy as well and you’ll follow one of the links below to grab yourself a copy!

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

abouttheauthor

Christopher Fowler is an English novelist living in London, his books contain elements of black comedy, anxiety and social satire. As well as novels, he writes short stories, scripts, press articles and reviews.

He lives in King’s Cross, on the Battlebridge Basin, and chooses London as the backdrop of many of his stories because any one of the events in its two thousand year history can provide inspiration.

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88° North by J.F. Kirwan @kirwanjf @rararesources #blogtour

Such a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for 88° North by J.F. Kirwan! My thanks to J.F. Kirwan, to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity and to the publisher for my review copy.

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Author : J.F. Kirwan
Title : 88° North
Series : Nadia Laksheva #3
Pages : 384
Publisher : HQ Digital
Publication date : December 14, 2017

aboutthebook

The deadliest kind of assassin is one who is already dying…

As the radiation poisoning that Nadia Laksheva was exposed to in Chernobyl takes hold of her body, she knows she has mere weeks to live. But Salamander, the terrorist who murdered her father and sister has a deadly new plan to ‘make the sky bleed’. Nadia is determined to stop him again, even if it is the last thing she ever does…

The only clue she has are the coordinates 88˚ North, a ridge in the Arctic right and one of the largest oil fields in the world, three thousand metres below the ice. If Salamander takes hold of the oil field, he could change the climate of the whole planet for generations to come.

But can Nadia stop him before her own time runs out?

mythoughts

88° North is the third and final instalment in the Nadia Laksheva spy series and what an amazing ride it’s been. This review may be a tad on the vague side as I desperately try to avoid spoiling anyone for events that happened in the previous books. Personally, I don’t feel you should treat this one as a stand-alone. While some things are explained and will give you a good feel of the background story, I think you should read the entire series to really understand where Nadia is coming from and why she’s so determined to stop Salamander. This isn’t just about making sure a terrorist doesn’t ruin the planet. It’s also personal.

Throughout the series, I sometimes found Nadia quite hard to warm to but I never ceased to admire her sheer determination in doing what was necessary. Even if it went against her own principles. In 88° North, she tries to restore a balance that was screwed up, to see the smaller picture instead of the bigger picture, to do a kind act and hope for some kind of ripple effect and just like that, I liked her that little bit more.

But the biggest threat is of course Salamander, who will stop at nothing and his next plan is to “make the sky bleed”. True to form, this spy thriller takes us to various exotic places around the world including Russia, Hong Kong and The Sudan. One word : camels! As the team is unwillingly split up in their pursuit of Salamander, they realise they are merely pawns in his game. Like a true chess master, Salamander is always several steps ahead and time is running out. Not only for the world, but for Nadia as well.

Full of tension, thrills and harrowing moments, 88° North is the perfect conclusion to this series. Some characters even managed to surprise me and the tense knife fights had me on the edge of my seat. What I truly liked is that you’re never really sure who will survive. The author has no qualms in killing off what could be important characters and I always like it when I’m left guessing as to who will make it out alive.

While it’s always sad to see a series come to an end, I feel J.F. Kirwan wrapped things up brilliantly. The exciting arc that runs throughout the three books had me hooked and if you like your well-paced and action-packed spy thrillers, I have no doubt you will thoroughly enjoy this series! I look forward to whatever J.F. Kirwan comes up with next!

88° North is available from the links below. While there, why not pick up the other two books as well.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | KoboGoodreads

abouttheauthor

J. F. Kirwan is the author of the Nadia Laksheva thriller series for HarperCollins. Having worked in accident investigation and prevention in nuclear, offshore oil and gas and aviation sectors, he uses his experience of how accidents initially build slowly, then race towards a climax, to plot his novels. An instructor in both scuba diving and martial arts, he travels extensively all over the world, and loves to set his novels in exotic locations. He is also an insomniac who writes in the dead of night. His favourite authors include Lee Child, David Baldacci and Andy McNab.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Website

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