Monday, 27 January 2020

Blog Tour: Extract from Bella by RM Francis

I'm very excited to be part of the blog tour today for Bella by RM Francis. I have an extract to share with you today and you can read all about the author, including their social media links below that. First, here's what it's all about...

A spectre has haunted Netherton for generations.

Everyone has a theory, no one has an answer.
The woods that frame the housing estate uncover a series of heinous acts, drawing onlookers into a space of clandestine, queer sexuality: a liminal space of abject and uncanny experience.

A question echoes in the odd borderlands of being, of fear-fascination, attraction-repulsion, of sex and death…

Who put Bella down the Wych-Elm?

And here's that extract for you...

See, ‘round ‘ere weem always lookin’ back. Weem built from what come before us. Chains, steel, nails. Soot an’ smoke in the skies. Most of iss gone now. We’ve still got red bricks an’ concrete, corrugated metal an’ all that. But we ay got forges. We ay got mystic blacksmiths. We’ve got almost-barren high streets. We’ve got slick, glass, brass an’ plastic we’ve built over the works with – stockin’ rows ‘a dead ‘eaded credit controllers, PPI reps, retail consultants. We’ve got Merry Hill – an indoor town that spreads out in sanitised pound-zones. Then there’s what’s left-over. Little dry suburbs that sink between ‘ills, where dead factories am wrapped in weeds, an’ big ‘ousin’ estates, all wet an’ grey, an’ all punctured in electric light – them no go zones unless you’m from theya – each zone ‘as iss own ‘alf deserted Labour club, iss own brand ‘a menacin’ teen, iss own birr’a cut or brook or strange patch ‘a green land that mopes between a terrace row an’ the mechanic’s.     

Tony was wi’ me an’ ‘e sid it. 
Pokin’ out through a crack in the curb was a thin, green vine, an’ on the vine were tiny green tomatoes. Tony said it was like Detroit, ‘ow it was once the biggest industrial hub in the US, ‘ow nature ‘ad started to claim back the city now it’d run iss course. There was summat frightnin’ about that: it come out ‘a the ground, thass what them meant to do, but the ground was meant to be controlled by us, not weeds. I wondered what else was lurkin’ under our industry, waitin’ to come back. It med me think of Saltwells an’ where wid play when we was kids.     
Who put Bella down the Wych-Elm?

About the Author 

R. M. Francis is a writer from Dudley. He completed his PhD at the University of Wolverhampton for a project titled Queering the Black Country and graduated from Teesside University for his Creative Writing MA.
He's the author of four poetry chapbooks, Transitions (The Black Light Engine Room Press, 2015), Orpheus (Lapwing Publications, 2016), Corvus' Burnt-Wing Love Balm and Cure-All (The Black Light Engine Room Press, 2018) and Lamella, (Original Plus, 2019).
Follow Rob on Twitter @rmfrancis

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Movie Reviews: January 19th-25th 2020


Paige Toon Readalong Readathon

There are some books coming out this year that I am very excited about but probably one of my most anticipated 2020 releases is Paige Toon's new novel The Minute I saw You. This one publishes on 14th May in the UK and I just can't wait.

I was going through some of my top books of the decade at the end of last year and I noticed that I had a couple of Paige Toon novels sitting unread on my shelf so I thought what better way to get to them than host a readalong of all her back list titles in the run up to publication day of The Minute I Saw You? I spoke to my friend Hayley to see if she'd be on board and so we hashed out the details and here we are!

 We're going to be reading a book a week starting on February 1st and if there is a short story or sequel that goes with that book we'll be reading that in the same week too. I'll be vlogging the whole process and Hayley and I will be hosting some discussions over on social media too. 

I've listed all the books and reading date below. If a short story/sequel has its own ebook version I've listed that, otherwise it can be found in the bind up of all the short stories/sequels One Perfect Christmas-so you have options of how you would like to read. 

We would also love to read the Jessie Jefferson novels as well but we know that young adult isn't everyone's cup of tea, just like adult fiction isn't everyone's cup of tea, so we'll be doing those afterwards, at the end so you can choose to join in or not. 

I'm very excited about this readalong because some of these novels will be a first time read for me and others will be a much welcome re-read. I have some of these on audio, some on ebook and others in paperback form. Others I will be borrowing from my library so you have time to see if your library has them, or time to download or buy from your preferred outlet. I'll leave links to each book if you still need to track them down. 

Here are the books and dates-any questions, just leave a comment on this post or get in touch with Hayley or I over on social media...









Any questions or comments, just leave them below or get in touch with Hayley or I over on social media. And remember this is just a fun readalong and a way to get hyped up for The Minute I Saw You. You don't have to read all the books, feel free t jump in and out as you wish-happy reading!

Friday, 24 January 2020

Blog Tour: Extract from The Final Trail by AA Abbott

I'm very excited to be part of the blog tour today for The Final Trail by AA Abbott. I have an extract to share with you today and if you like the sound of that, you can click here to order your copy. Author and tour group social links are below.

 First, here's what it's all about...

Family feuds just got bloodier… A gripping thriller, and a great story of death, revenge and vodka.

To save glamorous Kat White’s life, Ben Halloran killed his gangster father. Now his brother wants to even the score.

The gripping Trail series of British crime thrillers reaches its dramatic conclusion in this compelling page-turner.  

And here's that extract for you...

Kat and Erik’s father died at the hands of a firing squad in their homeland, Bazakistan. They’ve built new lives for themselves in England, estranged from their mother, Marina. She’d admitted responsibility for their father’s death and had swiftly remarried for money. Now word arrives that Marina has been arrested in Bazakistan after trying to assassinate the ageing President.

“You did what? You’re insane.” Kat couldn’t believe it.
“I fly out tomorrow,” Erik said.
“Don’t get involved. She doesn’t deserve it.”
“Blood is thicker than water, Kat.”
“She doesn’t think so, does she, or else why betray our father?” Kat stared at her phone, wishing Erik was standing in front of her. She would grab his shoulders and shake sense into him.
“She’s a patriot,” Erik said. “She loved her country – our country – more than her husband.”
“And her children.”
“Exactly. She gave up everything for Bazakistan. In that, our mother has been consistent. So whatever she’s done now, it must have been at the behest of the state.”
“How could it have been? Take a reality check.” Kat didn’t bother hiding her frustration. For all his fine intellect, her brother was being extraordinarily dense. He still thought fondly of their mother, while she couldn’t bear to utter the word. “Marina Aliyeva tried to kill the President. The state wouldn’t have commanded her to execute its ruler. I don’t know why she did it, and I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, she attacked the Old Man fifteen years too late. If she’d had any love for our father, she’d have done the deed decades ago – and done it properly.”
“Either she didn’t do it, or she was following orders,” Erik said. “It’s completely out of character otherwise. Don’t you see, Kat? She’s innocent of wrongdoing.”
“Just this once?” Kat’s laughter was hollow. “I don’t buy it. Anyway, thanks to her, our father’s dead. Want to bet he’s her sole victim? My guess is not. All you know is that she isn’t Mrs Popular in Bazakistan right now. You understand that means we’re not Master Popular and Miss Popular ourselves? You’ll be putting your life at risk. Remember what happened when I went back to Bazakistan? You told me not to go, and you were right. I was kidnapped.”
“In other circumstances, I wouldn’t return, but she needs me.”
He was being uncharacteristically stubborn. Erik was usually inclined to compromise. It explained how he worked amicably with Marty, while Kat found herself exasperated at the businessman’s controlling attitude. Used to twisting her older brother around her little finger, she was reaching the end of her patience.
“What does Amy say?” Desperately, Kat wondered if Amy could change Erik’s mind. She’d have to work on her first, of course. Obviously, Erik’s girlfriend must have given her blessing to this ill-advised trip; he surely wouldn’t have booked a ticket otherwise.
“It’s got nothing to do with Amy,” Erik said.
Her beloved brother had closed every avenue except the road to Bazakistan, and certain danger.

Copyright © 2019 A.A. Abbott

 A compelling psychological thriller, “The Final Trail” is the last book in a saga of vodka makers and villains. Find out more about the Trail series of psychological thrillers here, and about “The Final Trail” at All five crime thrillers are available in ebook, paperback and LARGE PRINT, which is also super-easy for dyslexic readers to enjoy.

Thanks so much to AA Abbott for stopping by and sharing with us today.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Review: Broken Hearts at Brightwater Bay by Holly Hepburn

PART ONE in the brand new series from Holly Hepburn.

On paper, Merina Wilde has it all: a successful career writing the kind of romantic novels that make even the hardest hearts swoon, a perfect carousel of book launches and parties to keep her social life buzzing, and a childhood sweetheart who thinks she’s a goddess. But Merry has a secret: the magic has stopped flowing from her fingers. Try as she might, she can’t summon up the sparkle that makes her stories shine. And as her deadline whooshes by, her personal life falls apart too. Alex tells her he wants something other than the future she’d always imagined for them and Merry finds herself single for the first time since – well, ever.

Desperate to get her life back on track, Merry leaves London and escapes to the windswept Orkney Islands, locking herself away in a secluded clifftop cottage to try to heal her heart and rediscover her passion for writing. But can the beauty of the islands and the kindness of strangers help Merry to fool herself into believing in love again, if only long enough to finish her book? Or is it time for her to give up the career she’s always adored and find something new to set her soul alight?

Review: A new series from Holly Hepburn set in Orkney? I am in heaven. I was eagerly anticipating this read hitting my kindle on release day (today) and did not disappoint, let me tell you. I loved meeting all the new characters, the new setting and I cannot wait to see what is going to happen with possible dramas and romances as this series progresses. 

Merry is such a great character to kick this series off with. She has had some trauma, that we find out all about in the prologue, and now she needs to get away from it all and get over her writers block to what better way to tackle that than fly far far away somewhere remote care of a wonderful library and librarian? I really loved spending time with Merry, She is very relatable and very open to possibility. She also has flaws which makes her easy to identify with. I can't wait to see how she grows as this series progresses. 

Then we have this epic new setting. I love that fact that way up there in Orkney we get such wonderful views and scenery as well as remoteness and the wild coast. I love that fact that this area is getting some love because there is such possibility in this part of the world and not enough people show it off in the pages of a book like Holly Hepburn is doing here. I'm looking forward to exploring the bay a little more as the weather improves and also getting to know the community and the library that lies therein. 

A whole cast of characters are introduced in this instalment and I am sure that there are plenty more to come and we continue with the series but I already recognise Sheila (and love her) and I am just so intrigued by Magnús and Niall. I can't wait to read more about them. 

This series is shaping up to be another winner from Holly Hepburn. I have all four books on pre-order so now all I have to do is wait with baited breath for the next in the series to hit my Kindle. 

To order your copy now, just click here.

To pre-order Sea Breezes at Brightwater Bay click here 

To pre-order Dangerous Tides at Brightwater Bay click here 

To pre-order Sunset Over Brightwater Bay click here 

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Blog Tour: Extract from The Place We Call Home

It's my stop on the blog tour for The Place We Call Home today. I have an extract to share with you and if you like the sound of that, click here to order your copy. All the author info is at the bottom of this post. Please remember to stop by the other blogs on the tour for more exclusive content and reviews. 

Here's what it's all about...

Welcome to Ballycove, the home of Corrigan Mills...


Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Irish countryside the famed mills have created the finest wool in all of Ireland. Run by the seemingly perfect Corrigan family, but every family has its secrets, and how the mills came to be the Corrigan's is one of them...
Miranda and her husband were never meant to own the mills, until one fateful day catapults them into a life they never thought they'd lead.
Ada has forever lived her life in her sister's shadow. Wanting only to please her mother and take her place as the new leader of the mill, Ada might just have to take a look at what her heart really wants.
Callie has a flourishing international career as a top designer and a man who loves her dearly, she appears to have it all. When a secret is revealed and she's unceremoniously turfed out of the design world, Callie might just get what's she's been yearning for. The chance to go home.
Simon has always wanted more. More money, more fame, more notoriety. The problem child. Simon has made more enemies than friends over the years, and when one of his latest schemes falls foul he'll have to return to the people who always believe in him.

Ballycove isn't just a town in the Irish countryside. It isn't just the base of the famous mills. It's a place to call home.

And here's that extract for you...

Miranda stopped a moment, watching as a seagull swooped with precision into the water beneath her. She would walk to the cliff edge and back. It was less than a mile, and for many years, she had walked it easily, but these days, she was in the habit of moving more slowly, more thoughtfully. A fall at the end of last summer had left her with little more than bruises, but it set off a series of pains and aches that managed to slow her down whether she liked it or not.

In her mind, Miranda connected that fall with her almost heart attack. It reminded her that time was passing, she was getting older, and she did not have forever stretching out ahead of her. Not that she wasn’t still a busy woman. Miranda had no intention of sinking into old age anytime soon, but maybe she was coming close to being able to put some time aside just for herself. She was no longer a young woman and still sitting at the helm of the family woollen mills. Perhaps she didn’t travel as much as she used to, but her eye for detail was as sharp now as any young thing and her instinct for colour and trends had only honed with experience.

Miranda loved the mills. Ada accused her of loving them more than she had her own family, which of course was typical of her eldest child. Miranda believed Ada wanted no more than to make an old woman of her mother and to take over the reins of the family business. But Ada lacked vision. Ada’s strength was in saving, cutting and snipping. There would be no sentimentality, no thought to the men and women whose lives were linked for decades with the Corrigan family through working in the mills.

Ada was a tiny woman, in so many ways. She had always been a little sparrow hawk, with fine shoulder blades and delicate features in her pinched face. She wore her hair such a dark colour that it looked as if it might have been dipped in blue-black ink and it sat in a neat halo gently curled inwards around her head. She always wore a string of pearls at her neck and tweed suits of varying weight depending on the season. She was the quintessential bookkeeper, but she would make a poor leader. It was just a pity she could not see this for herself. She was forty-eight this year and her measured approach to life meant that she’d spent nearly five decades squeezing the good out of everything so she was left with only what had little value to her.

Of course, she cared for her mother; she had been the first one to the hospital when Miranda fell last year. Ada arrived, her eyes filled with concern, her slightly too high voice demanding the very best care for her mother. Poor Ada – Miranda was only relieved that she hadn’t brought along Tony. The arrival of Anthony Jackson might have just about finished her off, Miranda thought at the time.
Miranda took a deep breath. This place, the scrubby greens - surely there were more than just forty shades? The earth that could be brown, grey or black or any colour in between depending on the mood of the tide and the sky above, had been the reason why the mills had survived. Maybe it was why Miranda was walking here today. This place had inspired her when Paddy Corrigan died leaving her with a business on the brink of bankruptcy, a cottage on the edge of collapse and a family about her that she promised a better life than the one she had known herself.

Miranda had taken inspiration from the landscape around her to create an award-winning collection of products that had the good luck to resonate with customers from New York to Beijing. The first year had been hard, but she persevered enough to set them back on track and it took ten more to establish the Corrigan Mills as an international brand to rival the other big Irish exports of whiskey, pharmaceuticals and Guinness.

About the Author

Faith lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and two very fussy cats. She has an Hons Degree in English Literature and Psychology, has worked as a fashion model and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.

Follow Faith:   
Twitter: @GerHogan
Facebook: @faithhoganauthor

Follow Aria
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Most Recent Additions to my Bookshelf 21/1/20

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I've bought and received a few books lately so here are my latest editions-it's a book haul!