Thursday, 12 September 2019

Blog Tour: Guest Post From Ray Clark author of Ryder On The Storm

Today I am honoured to be part of the blog tour for Ryder on the Storm by Ray Clark. I have a guest post from Ray today, talking about his writing process and location. Ryder on the Storm is out now and you can click here to order your copy. Thanks to Ray for stopping by today and don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more exclusive content and reviews. 

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

When builder Terry Johnson spots what he thinks is a bargain he can’t resist but to succumb to temptation. The large, detached house stands on the side of a railway track and would be perfect for his needs  and it’s cheap! But Billington Manor has a very tainted history, and the grounds upon which it stands were part of an unsolved murder back in the 1850’s. Terry is about to discover that the road to hell is not always paved with good intentions.

Based upon a true incident, Ryder On The Storm is a stand-alone supernatural crime novella from the author of the IMP series, featuring desk sergeant Maurice Cragg.

And here's the book trailer for you too!

 And here's what Ray has to say all about location...
Ever since I started to take writing seriously, attending seminars, author talks, workshops and festivals on a regular basis, I listened to the professionals sharing tips on how to write: the best piece of advice they gave was, write about what you know. It’s very true, and it encompasses most aspects of your life, including location. Fans of John Grisham will notice most of his books feature a lawyer for his main character. If you love the Roy Grace series written by my friend, Peter James you will note that it’s set in Brighton – somewhere Peter knows very well.
One of the very first novels I wrote was called Calix, a cross genre novel about possession, set against the backdrop of the Salem Witch Trials. The idea started from a trip to Salem, which is a lovely but strange place. I could never shake the feeling of being watched, wherever I went. The main characters are Martin and Sue Hawthorne, born and bred in America but who had settled into a peaceful life in the Yorkshire Dales. A lot of the action takes place in a Yorkshire village, or in the centre of Leeds. Martin Hawthorne was a musician and music producer. What I had managed to do was combine a number of aspects of my life and weave them into the story. I have been a musician pretty much since I left school, and I am very familiar with the towns and the cities in and around the dales so it wasn’t too hard to maintain the atmosphere.
Seven Secrets was another Yorkshire based novel, set on the NYMR (North York Moors Railway) between Pickering and Whitby: beautiful places trapped in a bygone era where time seems to have stood still. I have travelled that stretch of line more times than I care to remember and I wanted to see how the community would cope if I unleashed hell on them.
The IMP series featuring detectives Gardener and Reilly are set in and around Leeds, and I can remember the exact moment when I realized how perfect the city would be. I had always been an avid reader of crime fiction and many years ago I worked for a company delivering holiday brochures around Yorkshire: Leeds being just one of the cities we went to. It was a Thursday in mid summer, I had almost finished my run and there was a block of shops in Beeston, about a mile from Elland Rd (Leeds Utd football ground). I drove around the back of the shops, put the tachograph on to break and had some dinner. Keeping me company was a copy of Val McDermid’s, The Wire In The Blood, featuring profiler Tony Hill. I loved the book, which was also set in Yorkshire. I remember reading a pretty bleak, dark scene and glancing up. Given that the shops of Beeston were high up I had the perfect vision of what I wanted for book 1, Impurity. The following is a paragraph is from an early chapter with a name change:

“He sighed and peered down the street. To an outsider, Rawston appeared as a reassuring scene of frost-covered, two-up-two-down, back-to-back terraced houses set against the background of a thriving textile industry. Reminiscent of an Ealing Studio’s B-movie, the closeknit community would spend the night indoors huddled around the fire, wrapping presents for their broods of children safely tucked up in bed, encompassed by the mouth-watering aroma of chestnuts roasting in the grate.”

Based on what I’ve said above I think write about what – and where – you know is extremely important. It adds so much more depth to your writing.

Author Bio

Ray’s writing career started with a 3’000 word essay on the author Graham Masterton, published by The British Fantasy Society in 1995: A book length adaptation, Manitou Man: The World of Graham Mastertonfollowed in 1998, and was immediately nominated for both the British and World Fantasy Awards in the category of best collection.
Ray’s previous publications include The Priest’s Hole and Seven Secrets, published by Damnation Books.Calix, two short story collections, A Devil’s Dozen, and A Detective’s Dozen, published by Double Dragon books of Canada. 2016 saw the first crime novel in the IMP series, Impurity. Books 2 and 3, Imperfection, andImplant followed in 2017 & 2018, published by Urbane. The IMP series follows detectives D.I. Stewart Gardener and D.S. Sean Reilly around the West Yorkshire city of Leeds.

Future publications will include book 4 in the IMP series, Impression, and a stand alone cross genre novel entitled, Spirit, featuring characters from Seven Secrets.

Thanks again to Ray for stopping by today!

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Guest Review: The Honeycote Series by Veronica Henry

Homemade mulled wine, freshly baked mince pies and plenty of Christmas cheer...

It's the most wonderful time of the year, they say. And in the little Cotswolds village of Honeycote, the festive season looks set to bring people more than a few surprises under the tree.
As Lucy Liddiard plans the festive lunch for her nearest and dearest, she has little idea of the dramas about to play out before the crackers are pulled and the corks popped. She knows the family brewery, Honeycote Ales, has seen better days. She knows her husband, Mickey, is an incorrigible flirt. But does she realise how close both are edging towards disaster?
As the nights draw in, garlands deck the halls and the carols ring out, there are secrets and lies, love and lust all waiting to be unwrapped.
Welcome to Honeycote, and a Christmas no one will ever forget...

** A Country Christmas was originally published as 'Honeycote' **

Irresistibly good fun and bursting with heart, A Country Christmas is the first book in the Honeycote trio, followed by A Country Life and A Country Wedding. Each can be read as a standalone, or they can be read as a series.

Review: As a relatively recent, but now confirmed, fan of Veronica Henry’s books, I have been promising myself for some time to catch up on some of her older works. Hence, I chose the trilogy of books set in the lovely Gloucestershire village of Honeycote. The books are, in order, A Country Christmas, A Country Life and A Country Wedding, although they were known by different names originally.

Central to all parts of the trilogy is the Liddiard family, who have lived in Honeycote House for generations, running the brewery that produces Honeycote Ales. At the beginning of the first book, the occupiers of the house are Mickey, wife Lucy and their children. Unfortunately, Mickey is not to be trusted with money or the local ladies, and his neglect of the business is causing the brewery to run into trouble. Son Patrick is also a bit of a ladies man and is not really paying enough attention to troubles at the brewery. A big employer in the local area, it is essential for the village as well as the Liddiard family that the business stays afloat. As the story progresses through the books, new characters are introduced who settle in the village and are woven into the picture, becoming major players in the drama and sometimes potential investors in the brewery. There is certainly plenty of drama throughout the narrative, with major incidents as well as romance.

This is a marvellous saga, spread over the three titles. The books definitely must be read in order to gain full benefit of the ongoing story. New characters pop up as the story progresses, each with a really interesting back story and all arriving in the village of Honeycote for different reasons. I can’t say that I found all of the characters likeable; some were far too fond of using others to satisfy their own needs and there was certainly rather a lot of cheating within the various marriages. However, these situations are true to real life. I can wholeheartedly recommend the series to other readers, but it is definitely worth reading all three books, and in order, to appreciate the whole story and have everything slot into place.

To order A Country Christmas just click here
To order A Country Life just click here
To order A Country Wedding just click here

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Review: Unpregnant by Jenni Hendricks and Ted Caplan

Seventeen-year-old Veronica Clarke never thought she’d want to fail a test—that is, until she finds herself staring at a piece of plastic with two solid pink lines. With a college-bound future now disappearing before her eyes, Veronica considers a decision she never imagined she’d have to make: an abortion.

There’s just one catch—the closest place to get one is over nine hundred miles away. With conservative parents, a less-than-optimal boyfriend, and no car, Veronica turns to the only person who won’t judge her: Bailey Butler, a legendary misfit at Jefferson High—and Veronica’s ex-best friend.

What could go wrong? Not much, apart from three days of stolen cars, crazed ex-boyfriends, aliens, ferret napping, and the betrayal of a broken friendship that can’t be outrun. Under the starlit skies of the Southwest, Veronica and Bailey discover that sometimes the most important choice is who your friends are.

Review: I expected to like this book but I really didn't expect to love it as much as I did. This book made me laugh, it made me think and it kept me turning the pages because I ended up reading it in one sitting. 

This book deals with some very serious issues, unwanted pregnancy and the choices that causes, what coming out can do to friendships and also just how it feels to break up with friends at a pivotal point in high school. It deals with those issues through the vehicle of two wonderful main characters though and so it does it in the best possible way. Bailey and Veronica are just great to read about because they really are ying and yang but they complement each other so well, diluting and strengthening one another in equal measure that it just makes for awesome reading. 

This book is also a road trip book-how awesome is that? I had no idea I would be going on a journey when I picked this book up but the road trip aspect of this is just another wonderful vehicle to tackle these big issues. The chapters are numbered in miles which i loved and some of the stops provide for some fabulous comedy moments. 

There are definite care warnings here for pregnancy termination and also to some extent controlling/mentally abusive relationships so make sure you take that into consideration when choosing this book. Those issues are dealt with really well though. At no point did I feel like these authors were talking down to me or simplifying anything. This book is honest and to the point and yet it deals with these issues and these characters with consideration and with a sense of humour. I loved this book and definitely recommend it. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Monday, 9 September 2019

Review: One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom

Genie isn't feeling very festive this December.
The frosty mornings and twinkling fairy lights only remind her it's been a whole year since she lost her adoptive mother, who took her in as a baby and raised her as her own.
She's never felt more alone - until she discovers her birth mother's identity.
And where to find her: New Zealand, half the world away.
Travelling there could be her one chance to meet the woman who gave her up.
But will she find the answers she has been looking for? Or something she could never have expected?

Review: This book just gave me all the feels and let me escape to a far off land for the time it took to read. This book was touching, it was an adventure and it was just so full of emotional it really did have it all. 

Genie is a wonderful character because she is somewhat sheltered and a little set in her ways so when she decides to go off to New Zealand, you really know it is out of her comfort zone and there is a very good reason for this, Genie is also someone who is grieving and so instantly you have sympathy for her and really feel every emotion with her on her travels. 

Bonnie is an interesting and very intriguing character. This is a dual narrative novel and so we get to hear a little from her as well as the sections from Genie. We don't really know who Bonnie is or why she is also on her travels but we get to learn the whole story as the book unfolds. I enjoyed Bonnie's sections because she is very reflective and in some ways she is just as unsure about who she is as Genie. 

I loved the fact that this story unfolds slowly, oh so slowly, one fact at a time and so you literally don't find out everything about these characters and their tales until the very end of the book. The wonderful secondary characters in this book definitely help. Kit is a great tour guide to Genie and he brings lovely Tui along with him. The horses at the stables they work at also really help to bring Genie out of her comfort zone a little more and make for an interesting addition to the story. And then we have David, He was frustratingly closed with his emotions and is a real man of mystery but he is key to some of the facts that are revealed over the course of the novel. 

I also really loved the setting of this book. We couldn't have had a better escapism during winter than New Zealand., There is wonderful scenery and some great wildlife to be seen and Kit takes us, as readers, along for the ride with Bonnie and Tui. If you love Paige Toon's escapism in her novels then you are going to love this one. If you go into it for the travel alone then you will stay for the feels. I loved this book and I am sure you will too. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Guest Review: The Record-breaking Sunil Gavaskar By C D Clark

This is the biography covering the first part of the career of the Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar.

Review: This is the biography covering the first part of the career of the Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar. He played a total of 125 Test Matches for India between 1971 and 1987 as an opening batsman. During this time, he amassed over 10,000 runs, established numerous records for batting and took over 100 catches.

This book was published in 1980, so only matches played up until then are covered. However, the start of his career was quite spectacular. Born in Mumbai (known formerly as Bombay), Sunil Gavaskar was first selected for India for their tour of the West Indies in 1971. Despite missing the first Test Match due to a finger infection, in the remaining four Test Matches, he scored a total of 774 runs, a new record for the highest aggregate in a maiden Test series. In the fifth test in Trinidad, he scored a century in the first innings, and a double century in the second, a feat very few batsmen had achieved at that time, or have achieved since.

The book contains a lot of details regarding cricket, but is a little thin on details of Sunil's personal life. Many of the chapters end with a short, statistical section, and there is an appendix at the end with more detailed statistics. As such, this makes for for quite a dry read, but it is one that should appeal to cricket fans.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Review: If You Were Here by Alice Peterson

When her daughter Beth dies suddenly, Peggy Andrews is left to pick up the pieces and take care of her granddaughter Flo. But sorting through Beth’s things reveals a secret never told: Beth was sick, with the same genetic condition that claimed her father’s life, and now Peggy must decide whether to keep the secret or risk destroying her granddaughter’s world.
Five years later, Flo is engaged and ready to pack up her life and move to New York with her high-flying fiancĂ©. Peggy never told Flo what she discovered, but with Flo looking towards her future, Peggy realises it’s time to come clean and reveal that her granddaughter’s life might also be at risk.
As Flo struggles to decide her own path, she is faced with the same life-altering questions her mother asked herself years before: If a test could decide your future, would you take it?
An emotional, inspiring and uplifting novel about living life to the fullest...

Review: Well this book sucked me right in and then spat me out again just a bundle of emotions. When they say that a book give you all the feels, this must be the book they're talking about because it is emotional and joyful and heart wrenching all at the same time. 

I love the fact that this novel is told from 2 different generations. We have the grandmother and the granddaughter and whilst they are of course strongly connected through Beth, Peggy's daughter and Flo's mother, they lead very different lives. They do have a certain amount of fear in common through. It was wonderful to hear both their sides of the story and also to watch both of them grow in different ways over the course of the book. 

There are diary entries from Beth built into the storyline. I loved reading these as they really did move the story forwards and also provide some tension and some key cliffhangers as the novel progressed. Beth gives us clues as to what is currently going on in both Flo's and Peggy's lives and it was wonderful. I love any story that includes diary entries. 

I really enjoyed the setting of this book as well because I am very familiar with that part of London and could imagine the characters going about their lives there. An Honourable mention goes to the secondary characters in this book also. I loved getting to know James, Maddie and Ricky. They really grounded our main characters and I loved their own back stories and families just as much as Peggy and Flo's. 

I really recommend this book. I didn't actually end up shedding tears over this one although it was intense but it was wholly uplifting and encouraged me to live life to the fullest that's for sure!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Review: The Love Child by Rachel Hore

A young mother's sacrifice. A child's desperate search for the truth . . .

London, 1917

When nineteen-year-old Alice Copeman becomes pregnant, she is forced by her father and stepmother to give up the baby.  She simply cannot be allowed to bring shame upon her family. But all Alice can think about is the small, kitten-like child she gave away, and she mourns the father, a young soldier, so beloved, who will never have the chance to know his daughter.
Edith and Philip Burns, a childless couple, yearn for a child of their own. When they secretly adopt a baby girl, Irene, their life together must surely be complete. Irene grows up knowing that she is different from other children, but no one will tell her the full truth.
Putting hopes of marriage and children behind her, Alice embarks upon a pioneering medical career, striving to make her way in a male-dominated world. Meanwhile, Irene struggles to define her own life, eventually leaving her Suffolk home to find work in London.
As two extraordinary stories intertwine across two decades, will secrets long-buried at last come to light?

Review: I absolutely love tales about children searching for their birth parents and families searching for each other and so I knew I had to read this book sooner rather than later. It was an absolute page turner and I read it in one long lovely sitting. 

I love the fact that this book takes place over two different story lines, we have Alice's story and we have Irene's story and we cover an extra ordinary length of time. Both of these women are strong independent women who are striving to make the most of their lives and not be put in the place that society deems they should be. Yes despite the fact that this novel is historical and mainly takes places i the time between the first and second world wars, these characters are still feminist and this is a novel about women taking their own power. 

These characters grow up in different settings but are both living in a similar time. I loved both of these characters equally and found both of their stories incredibly intriguing. Because their narratives are separate when you begin to sense that they might be about to intertwine you get that rush of adrenaline and start to turn the pages faster and faster. 

I have to admit that I did share a tear for these characters and their own personal battles. I loved reading about both of them. This book is a emotional roller coaster that will absorb you into the time and the place and I am sure will have your turning the pages until you read the end just like I did. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Blog Tour: Extract From Deadly Prospects by Clio Gray

Today I am lucky enough to be part of the tour for Deadly Prospects by Clio Gray. I have an extract from the book for you today and if you like the look of that, you can click here to order yourself a copy! Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour today for more exclusive content and reviews...

Here's what it's all about: 

Deadly Prospects is book 1 in the Scottish Mystery series. 1869, Sutherland, Scotland. For years the people of this remote area of the Highlands have lived a hard life. Now a local Gold Rush has attracted the Pan-European Mining Company to the area, and Solveig McCleery is determined to re-open the Brora mines and give the population the riches they deserve. But when work starts on re-opening the mines, the body of a prospector is discovered, and odd inscriptions found on stones near the corpse. Before the meaning of these strange marks can be deciphered another body is discovered. Are these attacks connected to the re-opening of the mines? Will Solveig's plan succeed in bringing peace and prosperity back to the area? Or has she put in motion something far more sinister?  

Are you ready to read that extract?


The air smelled of snow, though Lilija Indridsdottir doubted it could be so, for surely it could not fall so early, not when the ground below her feet was so warm she’d taken off the clogs she’d been wearing and slung them on a string about her neck. She looked for the dog, who was nowhere to be seen, wondered why there were no chickens pecking and chafing about the yard. She went out to the cattle to give them their feed, found them all snorting and snuffling together at the back end of the paddock, apparently unwilling to come forward as they usually did to greet her, remaining there even when she’d lugged out and loosened several bales of summer straw, scattering it enticingly about their feeding trough.

‘Hi!’ she shouted in encouragement, and ‘Hi!’ again, but the usual scrum was unforthcoming, and the cattle stayed resolutely where they were, milling about as much as they were able in the confines of the crowd from which they seemed unwilling to break free, hooves pawing restlessly at the mud and spilt faeces, bodies jittery and jumpy, eyes large and white-rimmed when they raised their heads. Something must have spooked them; she understood this, and looked around her, but saw nothing out of the ordinary – no strangers, no foxes, nothing. She shrugged, and left them to it, went off towards the rye field to inspect the stooks. Even at this distance she could see the huge flocks of greylags and pinkfooted geese that had settled upon the field, milling and moving restlessly, rustling like the wind through autumn leaves. At their farthest end was a line of whooper swans, white necks erect, yellow bills upturned, their melancholy calls soon drowned out by the increasingly shrill crescendo of the heckle and cackle that was beginning to break out amongst the geese as they stirred and shuffled and yet did not take to wing. Again she looked about her, looked up into the sky, searched for eagles, for harriers, for anything that might have given all these animals such alarm.

Her eyes traced the lines of the hills that surrounded the valley, and then she saw it, saw the great dark burst of ash that was coming out from Hekla’s summit, rising like a thundercloud, bright flicks here and there of burning embers and pumice, moving and dancing in the currents made by the heat that was coming up from beneath. She stared at the silent spectacle, a quick short gasp escaping her lungs as her blood began to thud beneath her skin, her mouth as dry as the straw she had just loosened for the cattle, her hands shaking, moving involuntarily towards her throat. The darkness moved as she watched it, grew and spread, went up in a great plume above Hekla’s craggy neck, a sound like breaking thunder just then reaching her ears, and that was when she ran, her clogs flying off from her neck on their string as she covered the ground, realising only now why it felt so warm beneath her feet, cutting her soles on the stones and gravel as she ran and ran, the sounds of her livestock now unbearable, the shrieking of the cattle, the grackling of the geese which all of a sudden rose up and shook the air with the concerted effort of their wings, went up as one, went as a throng, before starting to separate into desperate single ribbons as one phalanx met another, and the superheated ash began to darken their outspread feathers, caught their wings alight as they tried to navigate the unfathomable darkness that had descended upon them with no moon, no stars to guide them, and one by one, they began to fall out of the sky.

About The Author

Clio was born in Yorkshire, spent her later childhood in Devon before returning to Yorkshire to go to university. For the last twenty five years she has lived in the Scottish Highlands where she intends to remain. She eschewed the usual route of marriage, mortgage, children, and instead spent her working life in libraries, filling her home with books and sharing that home with dogs. She began writing for personal amusement in the late nineties, then began entering short story competitions, getting short listed and then winning, which led directly to a publication deal with Headline. Her book, The Anatomist’s Dream, was nominated for the Man Booker 2015 and long listed for the Bailey’s Prize in 2016.
Twitter Handles 
@Urbane Books

Thanks so much to Clio for stopping by today and sharing a snippet of your book with us! 

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Review: The Day We Meet Again by Miranda Dickinson

Their love story started with goodbye…
The brand-new novel from The Sunday Times bestselling author, Miranda Dickinson.
‘We’ll meet again at St Pancras station, a year from today. If we’re meant to be together, we’ll both be there. If we’re not, it was never meant to be . . .’
Phoebe and Sam meet by chance at St Pancras station. Heading in opposite directions, both seeking their own adventures, meeting the love of their lives wasn’t part of the plan. So they make a promise: to meet again in the same place in twelve months' time if they still want to be together.
But is life ever as simple as that?
This is a story of what-ifs and maybes – and how one decision can change your life forever…

Review: Oh my goodness I loved this book so much. This has very much the same kind of tone and mood of It Started with a Kiss and I fell in love with the characters in the same was as I did with Fairytale of New York. I loved it. 

I love that fact that we meet Sam and Phoebe and then they go their separate ways, off to have life adventures and agree to meet again in exactly as year. They are really quite different from each other and so reading their respective sides of the story made for a page turning novel. You want to find out where Phoebe is going to be heading next and which of Sam's friend's he is going to encounter next. I also love the fact that we got a novel set in parts of Scotland I love but haven't really read about much before. I did do a little swoon when Sam steps out of Glasgow Central station for the first time because I could just picture myself right there. 

Obviously Phoebe's travel to Europe means lots of food and lots of coffee so make sure you have both to hand when you're reading this one. I loved the description of all the different ways you can serve and eat fried dough and I really had to go out and make another coffee just to get me through. 

In terms of a love story this one if so frustrating, you can't help but fall in love with It yourself. There is the long distance thing, the chance they might meet other people, what is going to happen when they meet again, the list of things that could go wrong is endless and so it keeps you reading on and on because you have to find out what obstacle is going to be thrown at them next. 

I loved this read, it was compelling and so utterly romantic. I loved the characters, I loved the settings and of course I loved the food. I highly recommend but just make sure you clear your schedule because you're not going to want to put it down!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Monday, 2 September 2019

August Wrap Up 2019

Well August was a funny month, normally it is my best reading month but I had a couple of books that just couldn't keep me engaged this month and I was ill twice this month which really isn't fair when it't so hot outside! I did the Bout of Books readathon which really helped me out. I do feel like I also got a bit behind with writing reviews this month. I had a lot of blog tours but struggled with putting together review posts-perhaps because I wasn't well... I need to get better at that next month. 

As always I will break my reading down into the kind of books that I read and leave links to any reviews I have written. 


Physical Books


Don't forget about my shopaholic readathon that is going on over on instagram in the run up to the publication of Christmas shopaholic! I made a post about it here if you're interested in jumping in and reading with us in September. 

Sunday, 1 September 2019

September TBR

September should be a good reading month. I have quite a bit of volunteering going on and we have guests coming over for a couple of weekends but aside from that, nothing major is occurring, There are plenty of September releases I want to get to as well as some buddy reads I am really excited about and so I should be motivated to read!

As always, I will break this down into September releases, buddy reads and other books I want to get to. Release dates are of course subject to change!

September Releases

September 3rd (US)

September 3rd (US)

September 3rd (US)

September 3rd (US)

September 10th (US)

September 24th (US)

September 24th (US)

September 24th (US)

September 25th (UK) 

I've already read these but they're coming out in September so I wanted to highlight them...

September 5th (UK)

September 5th (UK)

Buddy Reads

Other Books I want to get to

3rd October (UK)

31st October (UK)

Don't forget about my shopaholic readathon that is going on over on instagram in the run up to the publication of Christmas shopaholic! I made a post about it here if you're interested in jumping in and reading with us in September.