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Friday, 31 March 2017

Guest Post by Elsa Winckler - The Whisperer Blog Tour



Absolutely delighted to be guest hosting the lovely Elsa Winckler today as part of The Whisperer Blog Tour.



 THE BLURB

Loving him could destroy her…
High school teacher Cilla Stevens has always been different, especially in how she connects with animals. When she calms a stray dog during an incident at school, she’s asked to help a nearby farm with a difficult horse.
Cameron Rahl has had a very different relationship with animals since his mother died in a horse riding accident. But now he's inherited his family’s farm, he's determined to never let anyone affect him that way again.
Until he meets Cilla. He tries to stay away from the gorgeous horse whisperer with the potential to tame him, but something keeps pulling him close. And as much as Cilla tells herself she can keep it casual, she knows they're too connected to be 'just a fling.'
Will Cilla's heart win out? Or will it take history repeating itself for Cameron to realise just how much he needs her?
Elsa is using my Blog today to share some stunning photos and background information into the location for The Whisperer.  Over to you, Elsa!!

Setting for The Whisperer 


My husband and I are fortunate to live in South Africa in an area called The Overberg, the word literally means ‘over the mountain’. If you travel from Cape Town to Hermanus, you have to cross Sir Lowry’s Pass to get ‘over the mountain.’ On the other side you’ll find rolling hills, orchards, fynbos, sparkling yellow canolla fields and a rugged coastline with several sandy beaches, one of which is close to where we live in Betty’s Bay. The hills are also home to the largest population of South Africa’s natural bird, the blue crane. 





My mother-in-law was born in Caledon, a small town in this region. When I had to decide about a setting for The Whisperer, my husband and I took a drive (I know, he’s wonderful, a real-life hero) to Caledon and I knew this is where Cilla, the heroine of the story, grew up and where she is teaching. Villiersdorp is a another small town in the region so it made sense to have Cameron’s farm in that area. It’s not too far away for Cilla to drive to during an afternoon. 



Caledon is also close to Hermanus, nowadays a busy seaside village. Years ago it used to be a small fisher community but it is now a playground for the rich with a range of fine restaurants, art galleries, boutiques and more. It is also famous for whale watching, especially the Southern Right whale that visit Walker Bay between June and December each year. 




When my husband and I were still dating, we visited his parents who lived in Hermanus at the time, regularly so I have very fond memories of the place. When I was looking for a place for Cilla and Cameron to meet away from his farm, one of the smaller beaches in Hermanus was the obvious choice. It also made sense that Cameron’s brother would have a restaurant in busy Hermanus rather than in Caledon, a much smaller town. 

Another inspiration for the setting are the canolla fields. With its vibrant yellow flowers, a canola field is a beautiful sight – an endless sea of yellow. I simply had to incorporate that in the story as well. 


I hope you enjoy reading about the beautiful part of the world I am fortunate enough to call home!




Thank you all for stopping by my Blog today! I highly recommend picking up a copy of this stunning book! I loved the characters, and the setting!, and it was a real sassy, feel good read!  If you'd like to read my review click on this link - GoodReads


Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Little Teashop of Horrors by Jane Lovering



THE BLURB

Secrets, lies, carrot cake  and an owl called Skrillex!

Amy Knowles has always been the plain sidekick to her pretty best friend Jules. And whilst the tearoom they both work in on the Monkpark Hall estate in Yorkshire is not exactly awash with eligible bachelors, it’s obvious where the male attention is concentrated – and it’s not just on the cakes!
There is one man who notices Amy. Joshua Wilson also works at Monkpark, where he flies his birds of prey for visitor entertainment. He lives a lonely existence but he has reasons for choosing isolation – and, in Amy, he may have found somebody who understands.
Then a management change brings slick and well-spoken Edmund Evershott to Monkpark. He’s interested in Amy too, but for what reason? Josh suspects the new manager is up to no good – but will Amy? Because Edmund could leave her with much worse than a broken heart …

Out today!!

Amazon UK - get your copy here!!

Can I highly recommend you take time out of your day today to get yourself a copy of this amazing new tale from the wonderful Jane Lovering!  I promise you a story full of romance, laughs, heartache, cake, drama and an amazing owl called Skrillex! And just look at that cover!!  So inviting!!

This is the story of Amy who works at Monkpark Hall in the cafe with her best friend Julia.  They've grown up together and the historic hall is more than a place of work for them both but with a new owner arriving the panic sets in about whether there will be a place for them anymore.

Amy lives with her grandmother in a cottage nearby, and  her grandmother is a very spirited and forthright woman, who is very set in her ways so when Amy is not at the cafe she is keeping things steady at home.  Except for the spoons!! Are they being touched while nobody is home? Her grandmother is convinced things are being moved.....

When the new boss, Edmund Evershott, arrives he is full of big plans, that never seem to take off and he soon becomes a fan of taking other peoples' ideas of how to make more money and increase visitor numbers and passing them off as his own.  This doesn't go down well with the many loyal staff at the Hall.

One of which is Josh who runs the very successful Birds of Prey display centre at the Hall.  He is very focused on his animals, keeps himself to himself and is seen as 'strange' by many of the other staff.  Amy always finds him friendly and he notices how she is with his precious birds and that immediately makes him feel at ease around her.  But all is not as it seems with Josh and he's obviously hiding something, but what?  But he sees straight through the new boss and his sleazy ways and just hopes that others see that side before it is too late for their beloved Monkpark Hall.

I loved the character of Amy - she's one of the worlds' good guys with a positive attitude, except towards herself as she's always putting herself down,  and always willing to help, but sometimes that leads to you being taken advantage of.  Her friendships are a big part of her life and wanting to do right by her grandmother too.

I absolutely raced through this book as the characters all quickly captured my heart and it was an absolute delight to be transported to the world of Monkpark Hall for an afternoon!

Friday, 24 March 2017

My Bookish Week!


Greetings fellow bookworms!  I trust we are all well this Friday! What I thought was going to be a dull, dreary, grey day has been transformed by the arrival of blue sky and sunshine so that's a great way to end what has been a rather sad week in the UK following the horrific scenes in Westminster.  But it also shows the wonderful side of humanity with so many people there to help those in need and all the amazing stories of fundraising going on for the families of those murdered.  

So what has been happening in your worlds this week?  Much book action going on??!  Been a fairly steady one here.  Managed to read 3 books - only 2 of which I can discuss as the other one is a secret reveal for the 28th March!! -  and managed to add to the bookshelves again! Oops it keeps happening doesn't it!! I did have a little clearout though and took 2 big carrier bags of books to a local charity shop so I'm doing my bit!


BOOK HAUL





The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan

Florence Grace by Tracy Rees

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

I picked these three up at The Works for £5 while I was in there stocking up on stationery bits the other day so it was rude not to have a browse through the book stock!





The Defectors by Joseph Kanon

From the bestselling author of Leaving Berlin and The Good German comes a thrilling and richly imagined novel focused on three weeks in the lives of a select group of defected American spies in Moscow during the height of the Cold War.

Moscow, 1961. Stalin has been dead for eight years. With the launch of Sputnik, the Soviet Union’s international prestige is at an all-time high. Former CIA agent Frank Weeks, the most notorious of the defectors to the Soviet Union, is about to publish his memoirs, and what he reveals will send shockwaves through the West.

Weeks’s defection in the early 50s shook Washington to its core—he had been a beloved member of the OSS and then the CIA, one of the bright young men who’d come out of the war ready to take an early lead in the new American century. His betrayal rippled throughout the State Department, prompting frantic searches for moles and forcing the resignation of Simon, Frank’s former college roommate and best friend.

Now, a Soviet agency approaches Simon, a publisher in New York City, with a controversial proposition to publish the memoirs of his old friend, Frank Weeks. Simon knows that there’s no way the US government will approve the publication of a book clearly intended as propaganda for the KGB…yet he finds the offer irresistible.

Set against the paranoiac atmosphere of the Cold War, The Defectors is a smart and authentic exploration of espionage and betrayal, perfect for fans of John le Carre, Alan Furst, Philip Kerr, and other masters of wartime and postwar espionage fiction (Library Journal, starred review).

This was bookpost that I received from the publishers - out in June.  Looks like a really exciting read!


THE FOREVER HOUSE by  Veronica Henry
 Out May 18th 2017
Would you know your forever house if you found it?
Hunter's Moon is the ultimate 'forever' house. Nestled by a river in the Peasebrook valley, it has been the Hamiltons' home for over fifty years, and now estate agent Belinda Baxter is determined to find the perfect family to live there. But the sale of the house unlocks decades of family secrets - and brings Belinda face to face with her own troubled past.
A gorgeous escapist read for anyone needing a hug in a book - perfect for fans of Erica James, Lucy Diamond and Harriet Evans.
Received this via a competition from Orion publishers on Twitter so really excited to read this as I love Veronica Henry stories!


Fell by Jenn Ashworth

 A haunting and otherworldly tale of the impact on one family of a guest with seemingly magical powers, who alters the course of their lives in ways neither they nor he foresee.
A haunting, mysterious tale imbued with the force of myth, by the award-winning author of A Kind of Intimacy.

When Annette Clifford returns to her childhood home on the edge of Morecambe Bay, she despairs: the long empty house is crumbling, undermined by two voracious sycamores. What she doesn't realise is that she's not alone: her arrival has woken the spirits of her parents, who anxiously watch over her, longing to make amends. Because as the past comes back to Jack and Netty, they begin to see the summer of 1963 clearly, when Netty was desperately ill and a stranger moved in. Charismatic, mercurial Timothy Richardson, with his seemingly miraculous powers of healing, who drew all their attention away from Annette... Now, they must try to draw another stranger towards her, one who can rescue her.

Blurring the boundaries between the corporeal and spirit worlds and subtly echoing the myth of Baucis and Philemon, this is an eerily beautiful, evocative and highly original novel, which underlines the eternal potency of hope

I received  my copy of this via Bookbridgr and it has been on my radar for quite a while so really excited to read it very soon!  And I LOVE the cover!!


BOOKS READ

When a little girl goes missing, an entire town comes together to find her.

When Tia Walsh rides into the small town of Coorah Creek on a Harley Davidson, Sergeant Max Delaney senses that everything about her spells trouble. But Tia's trouble is not all of her own making, and the dangerous past she tried to leave behind is hot on her heels.

Sarah Travers has returned home after three years of college to find that her parents have been keeping a devastating secret. Her teenage crush, Pete Rankin, is facing his own struggle with a tough reality that will take him away from the girl and the life that he loves.

Tia, Max, Sarah and Pete are all trying to find their future, but when a little girl goes missing in the harsh outback, nothing else matters except finding her safe..



My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.


Two 5 star reads is always a welcome bonus for a week!!

Currently Reading

Thought I would start sharing what is on my reading pile at the moment! Just 2 so far and really enjoying both!



I have borrowed Lincoln In The Bardo from the library via the BorrowBox app so enjoying that experience so far! Did take a while to download the app on my Kindle Fire - especially for a technophobe like me! - but all seems to be working ok so hope to be downloading a lot more in the future!!

HAPPY READING!!


Thursday, 23 March 2017

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney - Book Review



My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.




MY REVIEW

WOW!!  That was my first response in finishing this book last night!! If you are looking for a book that totally messes with your head, leaves you unwilling to trust any of the characters and unable to believe what people close to you are capable of - then look no further!! This is the book for you! I loved it!!

Told in the 'Now', 'Then' and 'Before' we see a story unfold full of family drama, secrets, lies and so much more!

Amber is in a coma - she knows she's in a coma and we hear her thoughts as she tries to uncover what has happened and what is happening to her. We go back to a week earlier when wheels are set in motion that leads up to this event, and we also go back to extracts from a childhood diary and how a friendship begins and what lengths friends go to when someone they care about is in danger.

I really didn't know who to trust throughout this thriller as all the characters have some very unlikeable traits, and the perspective of Amber while she is in a coma is a fascinating one as she hears everything going on around her and listens to those who visit her.  As she tries to put together the pieces that lead up to her accident you understand the anguish she has gone through and is still going through as she tries to make sense of it all.

The pace of the story is judged perfectly - never goes too fast, or never seems to drag - and you are just left wanting more as each chapter goes by and a new secret, or lie, is revealed!

2017 is turning into another great year for top psychological thrillers full of twists and turns that keep you guessing from start to finish!!


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Dangerous Cargo Blog Tour - Excerpt and Q & A


Extremely delighted to be taking part in the Blog Tour this week for this fast paced, gritty and exciting crime thriller. Aiden McRaney is back for the 4th installment in the series - but this book can easily be read as a stand alone!

THE BLURB

Aidan McRaney is trying to stay away from his shadier past in this James Bond style thriller, but the offer of fifteen thousand pounds from Agency boss Nick Lombardi is too good to pass up. Lombardi needs someone to infiltrate the lair of ‘The Widow’. 
No agent has survived previous missions and Lombardi believes it’s McRaney’s knowledge of the criminal underworld that will give him the edge. An arms dealer, The Widow is in league with the L.A. Mafia and has bought a house on a remote island off the Cornish coast, far enough away from the mainland where the arms can be both smuggled and tested. When Don Giorgio Avonicci arrives, accompanied by his female bodyguard, McRaney finds it’s not just the weapons being tested but his commitment to his wife in London. 

This is the fourth book in the Aidan McRaney series which began with his release from prison in the book Stalking Aidan.



To give you a little taster of what is in store if you read this book, the author has allowed me to share a little excerpt with you;

Excerpt from 'Dangerous Cargo.' 

 The address he had given me was a block of post-war flats, a paint flaked prefab  not  unlike a host of similar prefabs now being razed to the ground in various areas of London.  The City was moving with the times, but Grey Stoke Road appeared to be way behind them.  The flats were reached by a series of  stone steps badly in need of repair.  The kind of habitat where a man on the run might find himself.  A far cry from the charmer and playboy Daryl Harper purported to be.  Some of the windows were boarded up and the doors were battered enough  to appear as if they had been broken in to.  The street was quiet, an absence of birdsong serving as a reminder even our feathered friends had  forsaken the area for somewhere more upmarket.   In the distance a police siren, the rumble of traffic, but not in this seemingly dead and silent world. 

Having rung the bell a number of times only to receive no answer, I was about to move away when I had the prescience of mind to try the door.   Naturally expecting the door to be locked, I was surprised to discover  it was open.  For someone as scared as Daryl appeared to be, I thought it strange he would leave the door unlocked.  Unless of course as he was expecting me he might have been too scared to answer it.  

The place smelled  bad, the first thing I was aware of, though wrinkling my nose and sniffing the air made me realise  the smell was familiar.  I failed to pinpoint exactly what it was, but the odour was something metallic, almost coppery.  It was a sickly kind of scent, the kind that made you want to vomit.  As it was I found myself retching and, pulling a handkerchief from my jacket, held it over my nose while I moved from the hall  into what I figured to be the lounge.  The place was dark and dank. Thin curtains yanked across  the windows let in precious little light.  A sense of must and stale air pervaded the place, as if it had been shut up for a long time.  A collection of  yellowed newspapers on the floor only added to the rank vomit inducing stench.  No one lived here and probably had not lived here in months, or even years.  Angrily calling Daryl's name yielded nothing but silence. 

   Apart from a dusty and battered table, a couple of broken chairs and an old scratched fridge, there was nothing.  "Come on, you bastard!" I hissed. Dust motes rose into the room as I inched further inside.  "If you're fucking playing tricks on me, Harper, I'll fucking....." My sentence hung suspended, while simultaneously an exclamation of , "fuck, what the hell!" was forced from me when I almost tripped over something that was rolled up in a far corner.   Here the coppery stench was even more overpowering.  The something I had tripped over was a body.  Flinging one of the curtains aside, it ripped in my hands, the dust from the rotten fabric almost making me choke, but allowed enough light to filter into the dingy  room.   The body was that of  a man wearing a brown suit.  The suit was covered in dust.  The man was lying face down, and his hair was wet and sticking up at odd angles, plastered flat with a glutinous substance  that came away red in my hand when I touched his head.   My heart raced and I felt sick to my stomach.  The man was dead but not yet stiff.  Rigor Mortis had not set in for the body was  still warm. 

When I rolled him over Daryl Harper's sightless eyes stared up at  me as if with accusation that I had been too late.  Another hole  had flowered up, seeping dried blood just above his left eye.  Under the body was a metal object I recognised as a Walther pistol.. The gun was mine. Now the unmistakeable wailing of sirens sounded remarkably close, almost as if they were outside. More sirens drawing nearer. Car doors banging . The echo of running  feet on stone  steps,  while I was leaning  over a dead man with a gun in my hand.


Q AND A


I have been lucky enough to have a chat with the author too and she has kindly answered a few questions for me to give you a little more insight into the book and author!


1: How long have you been writing, and what was the trigger to put pen to paper? 

I suppose I've been writing from about the age of eight.  As soon as I was able to read basically!  I wrote my first short story in an old exercise book… 

2: Where does a character like Aidan come from? 

Aidan McRaney is based on the actor Aidan Turner (Poldark) with Jack Higgins protagonist Fallon from 'A prayer For The Dying' thrown in.  Like Fallon and Aidan Turner, Aidan McRaney is Irish.  I also draw on Higgins' Irish stories set against the backdrop of the Troubles 

3: Will there be more books to follow in this series? 

Yes!  I am currently working on a fifth Aidan McRaney novel entitled, 'The Duellists Club'. Garbed in the clothing of the period, a group of wealthy business re-enact 18th century duels, which is in reality the cover for an assassination bureau.   

4: Are you working on any projects at the moment you would like to share? 

As well as working on The Duellists Club, I am actually writing my Memoirs about growing up in the Fifties and Sixties.  So much has happened in my life that my son suggested I should write a book.  The book deals with the taboo of a teenage pregnancy in a small village, sexual abuse in the workplace and from an Uncle. I’ll also talk about my relationships with an armed robber and a Hell's Angel! Plus a thwarted plot to kidnap my baby by a woman who having had so many miscarriages had become unhinged. The working title is; 'You Couldn't Make it up: Memoirs of A Country Girl.' 

I'm also working on a Historical Romance set in the 18th. Century called 'Gallows Hill'. About a young man, whose father forfeits his lands to his unscrupulous cousin before dying, becomes a highwayman.  


5: How important are reviews to Authors like you and has Social Media helped in this respect?  

Reviews are seemingly of vital importance especially to self-published authors.  As a voracious reader over the years I read a book and that was it. I either liked it and kept the book to read again, or if not, I gave the book to a charity shop. These days reviews appear to be the be all and end all for the self-published author.  The problem is trying to get a reader to write a review is akin to extracting the proverbial blood from a stone!  I feel guilty asking them to write a review, because it seems as if I'm hounding them.  I love writing and putting my book out there, but then cue the frustration of marketing and those reviews.  I guess Social Media has helped, certainly with sales.  Sorry to rant but to me writing a review is common courtesy! 



Really hope that this has got you intrigued enough about the world of Aiden McRaney - go and buy the books now!! -  and I would like to thank J.M. Shorney, the publishers and Bookollective for allowing me to take part in this fabulous Blog Tour!