Blog Tour

#BlogTour & #BookReview
Perfect Score by Susan Roebuck
@suemonte @fayerogersuk

Synopsis:

Feckless, exasperating Alex Finch is a rich, handsome and talented singer/songwriter who longs for two things: a career as a professional rock singer, and to have his love for Sam Barrowdale reciprocated. But drifter Sam’s two aims are simply to earn enough money to pay his sister’s medical bills and to hide from the world his reading/writing and speech disability. At this time the word “dyslexia” is generally unknown so to most people he’s just a “retard”. From the severe knocks life’s dealt him, Sam’s developed a tough outer coating and he has no time for a spoilt, selfish guitar player.

Despite his defects, Alex’s love for Sam never wavers and when Sam unexpectedly disappears, Alex begins a somewhat bungling quest to find him, only to discover that Sam has a fearful enemy: Alex’s powerful and influential yet sociopathic uncle.

As Alex spirals downwards towards alcoholism, many questions need answering. Just why did Alex’s evil uncle adopt him at age eleven yet deny him any affection? And what’s the mystery behind Alex’s father’s death?

Both seem to face unbeatable odds. Are they doomed to follow separate paths forever?


Book Rating: 7/10

Romantic, reflective and heartwarming!

In this novel by Roebuck, she transports us back to the 1960s to the rugged terrain of the dusty prairies where life is hard; blood, sweat, and tears are the norm; and small-minded mentality surrounding politics, economics, special needs, and sexuality is rampant.

The characters are troubled, unique, and endearing. And the plot, which is ultimately about life, loss, survival, family, morality and love has a lot of subplots and tackles a lot of issues, including industrial pollution, pharmaceutical negligence, homelessness, abuse and sexual orientation.

This is a very complex, intriguing story that definitely has a “Brokeback Mountain” feel with that deep, enduring, underlying bond and love between the two main characters. And even though Roebuck did an exceptional job of writing the narration and dialogue true to the characters natures and time period, at times I did feel it caused a little disruption in my connection to the story and the overall flow.

About the Author

My first love is, of course, my husband, my second writing, and my third painting. And now I have time to be able to indulge in all three.

My debut novel, “Perfect Score” was published by Awe-Struck Publishing on Sept 21, 2010 and the paperback was launched on May 11 2011. In May 2017 Mundania Press re-released the ebook.

Perfect Score was an EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) finalist in the 2012 EPIC e-Book Awards in the Mainstream Category.

“Perfect Score” is set in mid West USA in the 1960s and is a story about family relationships, corruption, growing up, integrity, responsibility, and being a man of worth in a society of the worthless.

“Hewhay Hall” is my second novel, published by Etopia Press on April 20, 2012. It has won the EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) 2013 e-Book Award in the Horror Category (an EPPIE)

Thank you to Susan Roebuck and Faye Rogers for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                      

For more information on Susan Roebuck, visit her website at: susanroebuck.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @suemonte

 

#BlogTour & #BookReview
Summer at Conwenna Cove by Darcie Boleyn
@DarcieBoleyn @canelo_co

Synopsis:

Eve has a glittering career, a loving husband and a future. But a terrible twist of fate means she loses it all, and with nowhere left to turn she flees to her Aunt Mary’s home in Cornwall. The last thing on her mind is romance – until she meets Jack.

Jack has seen the worst things people can do to each other and realised he is better off alone. He settles in Conwenna Cove, and saves his affections for the rescue dogs he cares for. But when Eve arrives in the village he can’t deny his attraction to her.

Eve and Jack are both scared to trust, but when they come together it’s impossible for either to ignore their feelings. Can they put their fears aside and learn to love again?

Summer at Conwenna Cove is an emotional and heart-warming holiday read about being brave enough to take a chance on love


Book Rating: 8/10

Humorous, engaging and picturesque!

This is a captivating, lighthearted story that reminds us that we should work to live and not live to work and sometimes we should stop and smell the roses.

The prose is refined and vividly descriptive. The setting is the idyllic Cornwall with its sandy beaches and rugged coast. And the main characters including the stressed, workaholic Eve; the reluctant, gentle Jack; and the adorable, sweet Gabe are wounded, vulnerable, lonely and in desperate need of some unconditional love.

This is, ultimately, a story about life, love, loss, family, heartbreak, healing, self discovery and happiness and overall it is a wonderful story with a delightful cast of characters, majestic scenery, a touch of greyhound rescue awareness and last but definitely not least scrumptious, comforting treats, including my favourite the mouth-watering lemon drizzle cake. This truly is a warm, charming read from start to finish and perfect for a summer day.

About the Author:

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

Thank you to Canelo and Darcie Boleyn for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It was an honour and a pleasure.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

                      

For more information on Darcie Boleyn, visit her website at: darcieboleyn.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @DarcieBoleyn or on Facebook at: Darcie-Boleyn

#BlogTour & #BookReview
The Wright Boss by K.A. Linde
@AuthorKALinde @InkSlingerPR

 

TWBoss iBooksA new stand alone office romance from USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde…

I’ve always had one rule:

Don’t mix business and pleasure.

But then Landon Wright comes home to his family’s construction company with a broken back and a beaten heart and ends up as my new sexy boss. As the office gets heated, I’m thinking about throwing the rulebook out the window.

If only there weren’t a million reasons this could never work.

We may have shared a single perfect kiss, but I can’t let our intense connection cloud my judgment. Not with everything I’ve worked for on the line.

Dating your boss is so very, very wrong…even if he feels so Wright.

AmazoniBooksB&NKoboGoogle Play

 

Rating: 8/10

Emotional, sassy and sexy!

This is a passionate friends-to-more story involving Langdon, Jensen’s younger brother, who returns home to escape a loveless marriage and recover from a potentially career-ending injury and Heidi, the intelligent, successful engineer who finds herself falling in love with the one man who unfortunately is not only her high school crush and best friend’s ex but now her new boss.

The writing is descriptive, clear and fluid. The characters, including the supporting characters, are charming, flawed and fun. And the plot is an enchanting, slightly angsty tale filled with scrumptious chemistry, smouldering tension, fervour, heartache and familial drama.

This is the second title in the Wright series and once again Linde has written an entertaining, engaging novel that has remarkable characterization and a storyline that has everything we look for and love in contemporary romance.

Thank you to InkSlingerPR and K.A. Linde for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:

Kyla

K.A. Linde is the USA Today bestselling author of more than fifteen novels including the Avoiding series and the Record series. She has a Masters degree in political science from the University of Georgia, was the head campaign worker for the 2012 presidential campaign at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and served as the head coach of the Duke University dance team. She loves reading fantasy novels, geeking out over Star Wars, binge-watching Supernatural, and dancing in her spare time.

She currently lives in Lubbock, Texas, with her husband and two super adorable puppies.

WEBSITE / FACEBOOK / TWITTER / INSTAGRAM

#BookReview & #BlogTour
Dreaming of Venice by T.A. Williams
@TAWilliamsBooks @canelo_co

Synopsis:

Find love, friendship and prosecco – in the magical city of Venice

Life is tough for Penny. A dead end job in a London café, a boyfriend in Australia (what could go wrong?) and an art career going nowhere. But then Penny is approached with an extraordinary proposition.

It isn’t going to be easy but, if she can pull it off, she will turn her life around and at long last see the fulfilment of her dream – to visit Venice. And, just maybe, find true happiness with the handsome man of her dreams.

But can dreams come true?


Book Rating: 8/10

Lighthearted, humorous and magically romantic!

This is a charming story that highlights that no matter how challenging life might seem at times things always seem to work out and reminds us that sometimes dreams do come true.

The characters are sweet, supportive, dependable and quirky. The prose is expressive and polished. And the plot is an enchanting mix of drama, emotion, entertaining mishaps, loss, love; as well as an insightful view into the City of Venice, including the food, the culture, the architecture, the history and the art.

Whenever you pick up a novel by Williams you always know it’s going to be a warm, passionate, fascinating novel about an idyllic place in the world that you can’t help but want to see, visit and experience once you’ve finished it and this book is no exception.

About the Author:

My name is Trevor Williams. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, “Dirty Minds” one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn’t possibly comment. Ask my wife…

My background, before taking up writing full time, was in teaching and I was principal of a big English language school for many years. This involved me in travelling all over the world and my love of foreign parts is easy to find in my books. I speak a few languages and my Italian wife and I still speak Italian together.

I’ve written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I’m enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. My most recent books are the What happens… series. What happens in Tuscany reached #1 in the Amazon.uk Romantic Comedy chart and What Happens on the Beach, the last in the series, came out in July. Chasing Shadows is still romance, but with the added spice of a liberal helping of medieval history, one of my pet hobbies. I do a lot of cycling and I rode all the way to Santiago de Compostela on a bike a few years back. This provided both the inspiration and the background research for Chasing Shadows.

I’m originally from Exeter, and I’ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away down here in south west England. I love the place.

Thank you to T.A. Williams and Canelo for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                      

For more information on T.A. Williams, visit his website at: tawilliamsbooks.com

or follow him on Twitter at: @TAWilliamsBooks

#BlogTour & #GuestPost
The Girl On The Bus by N.M. Brown @normthewriter @Bloodhoundbook

Synopsis:

A retired detective and a young woman are about to face their worst fears. 

Vicki Reiner is emotionally isolated and craves the fleeting happiness she experienced in the years prior to her college graduation. In an attempt to recapture this, she invites her former friend and room-mate, Laurie,  for a break at her deserted beachside home. However, despite booking an online bus ticket, her friend never shows up and seems to have vanished. 

Unable to accept the bizarre circumstances of the disappearance, Vicki approaches the police who dismiss her concerns before enlisting the reluctant help of Leighton Jones – a newly retired detective who is haunted by the death of his teenage daughter. Despite trying to remain detached from the case, Leighton is drawn to Vicki and her search for justice. 

The unlikely pair face numerous obstacles but using a combination of methods he and Vicki track the killers who are working across the dusty freeways of North America. 

Soon Vicki and Leighton find themselves nervously waiting at a remote bus stop expecting the arrival of the bus. 

Will they ever discover what happened to Laurie? 

And can they both escape with their lives? 

And Now N.M. Brown:

Great Expectations.

I think that this is perhaps the greatest novel ever written. It contains so many elements that are vital to great story telling. The central character is essentially on orphan – therefore vulnerable and sympathetic- who must face his deepest fears in order to fulfil his destiny. 

This hero’s journey has of course been replicated in everything from Star Wars to Harry Potter.

But for me, the darker Gothic elements of Great Expectations were always far more interesting than Pip’s adventure. For example, the novel opens in one of the most dramatic ways possible, when Pip –whilst visiting his parents’ grave- is accosted by an escaped convict. 

Despite being a foreboding character, the convict is nowhere near as horrific as the enigmatic other man he alludes to:

That young man has a secret way pecooliar to himself, of getting at a boy, and at his heart, and at his liver. It is in wain for a boy to attempt to hide himself from that young man. A boy may lock his door, may be warm in bed, may tuck himself up, may draw the clothes over his head, may think himself comfortable and safe, but that young man will softly creep and creep his way to him and tear him open

This depiction of a creeping and unstoppable killer seems horrific and utterly modern – like the stuff of Thomas Harris- to me. I was thrilled by the near mythical aspect of this man- who seemed almost like a Victorian Slenderman The novel is also peppered with numerous other characters who are all harbouring dark secrets – such as the pompous lawyer’s maid – Molly who has mysterious scars on her wrists.

I was also intrigued by the dusty Miss Havisham, secreted away in her crumbling mansion. She like so many of the characters in that novel seemed clearly located in their own histories, some of which is only ever hinted at.

It terms of influencing my writing, Great Expectations made me appreciate the importance of taking the reader on a journey – something I also aim to do. This layered novel also helped develop my understanding of how stories within stories can help reinforce aspects of character and theme. But perhaps even more than that, it made me realise that any adventure that a protagonist embarks on is even more powerful if it offers a opportunity to atone for past mistakes.  

About the Author:

Norman M. Brown is an author living and working in Scotland. He attended secondary school in Stirling where he spent more time in the library or in the nearby park with a paperback, than he did in classes… Ironically, having graduated from Stirling University with a degree in English, he soon ended up back on the classroom again – where he has shared his love of fiction for two decades. 

Having experimented with poetry, scripts and short stories over the years, he finally decided to write sit down and write the type of fiction he would like to read. The result was his crime thriller -The Girl on the Bus. As result, Norman was delighted to be signed to Bloodhound Books at the start of this year. The Girl in the Bus, is his first published novel. He is currently writing a second novel based on its protagonist – detective Leighton Jones.

Thank you N.M. Brown. It was an honour to have you guest post on my blog today!

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer!

For more information on N.M. Brown visit his website at: nmbrownfiction 

or follow him on Twitter at: @normthewriter

#BlogTour & #GuestPost
Bad To The Bone by Tony J Forder
@TonyJForder @Bloodhoundbook

Synopsis:

A skeletal body is unearthed in a wooded area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. DI James Bliss, together with DC Penny Chandler, investigate the case and discover that the young, female victim had been relocated from its original burial site.

A witness is convinced that a young female was struck by a vehicle back in the summer of 1990, and that police attended the scene. However, no record exists of either the accident or the reported victim. As the case develops, two retired police officers are murdered. The two are linked with others who were on duty at the time a road accident was reported. 

As Bliss and Chandler delve deeper into the investigation, they start to question whether senior officers may have been involved in the murder of the young women who was buried in the woods.

As each link in the chain is put under duress, so is Bliss who clashes with superiors and the media. 

When his team receives targeted warnings, Bliss will need to decide whether to drop the case or to pursue those responsible.

Will Bliss walk away in order to keep his career intact or will he fight no matter what the cost? 

And is it possible the killer is much closer than they imagined?

And now Tony J Forder:

The origins of Bad to the Bone come from its unpublished predecessor, Burnout. I had wanted to write something featuring locations and crimes based where I now live, in Peterborough, UK. For some reason I had one scene in my head that refused to budge, so I jumped into my car with a pad and pen and drove to the weir at Orton Mere, about five minutes from my home. There I breathed in the atmosphere and made pages of notes. Afterwards I drove to the city police HQ at Thorpe Wood, sat outside and again made copious notes (the architecture really is as uninspiring as I describe).

I had the germ of an idea which merged a missing boy case, local politics, and a race war in which victims were burned to death. What I needed was a central character, and so DI James Bliss was born. I read a lot of crime novels, and I see a lot of cop names that spark an image of toughness. I wanted something different, and somehow Bliss was the name I came up with. Then I teamed him up with a bright and enthusiastic foil in DC Penny Chandler.

Burnout was not an awful book. It was written reasonably well, and upon reflection I think the premise was and still is a good one. Ultimately, however, I failed to inject any pace or thrills into it; more a serious of incidents leading to a conclusion. However, out of the ashes rose Bliss and Chandler. They had both taken up residence inside my head, and I liked them enough to take them with me into my next story, which was Bad to the Bone.

I am fascinated by old cases that become new ones, and for me the obvious starting point was the unearthing of skeletal remains. I like to think I’m pretty good at sketching out back story, which was what I did in order to frame the victim in my head. Once I had decided who and what she was, other characters emerged naturally, and along with them came strands woven into the storyline. For me, that’s where the tale becomes real – it’s not the story that creates the characters, it’s the characters that create the story behind the story. And even though we never get to meet the victim, to me she is every bit as real as any of those who live and breathe in Bad to the Bone. I hope and trust my readers will feel the same as the story unfolds.

My characters are human, with human weaknesses, foibles and worries. They live life as we do, they experience it how we do. It takes chunks out of them as chunks are taken from us. I know that some writers believe that when writing the story must be so pre-structured that characters should never lead the author. If that’s right, then I’m wrong, because I hope I allow my characters room to grow, to breathe, and to take me places I had never envisaged. If they do that for me, then I am happy to be surprised by them.

Bad to the Bone is ultimately a story about redemption and justice. The past has a way of haunting us all.

About the Author:

On 1st February 2017, Tony signed to Bloodhound Books, who will publish his new edgy crime thriller Bad to the Bone this spring. It is the first in a series.

Later this year, Tony’s second novel for Bloodhound Books, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, will be published.

Tony has been writing stories since childhood, but it was only when he won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books, that he realised he might actually be half decent at this writing business.

The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale.

During a book singing for Dark Voices 2, Tony was seated next to author Brian Lumley. At one point, Tony revealed to Brian that he felt out of place alongside all the proper writers. Brian then told Tony something he has never forgotten: “The moment you sat down and pulled a story out of your imagination and put it to paper, you became a proper writer.”

Subsequently, Tony began to focus on novel writing. He admits that his initial attempts were exploratory and somewhat derivative, although there was some interest from an agent – who oddly enough turned out to be Brian Lumley’s wife, Dorothy.

Tony wrote Degrees of Darkness, which he was happy with. He wasn’t so happy with a follow-up, so that never saw the light of day. 

As a part-time writer with a full-time job, plus some ill-health, life got in the way and, although Tony continued writing, it took a back seat to making a living.

This year, however, Tony has been inspired by new ideas, and has been working hard on two new books, both of which should be completed in 2017. In the meantime, he hopes you enjoy Bad to the Bone, introducing DI James Bliss and DC Penny Chandler.

Thank you Tony J Forder. It was an honour to have you guest post today!

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link:

     

For more information on Tony J Forder, follow him on Facebook at: TonyJForder 

or Twitter at: @TonyJForder 

#BlogTour & #GuestPost
The Body In The Ice by A. J. MacKenzie @AJMacKnovels @BonnierZaffre

Synopsis:

A killer is at large and Reverend Hardcastle and Mrs Chaytor are on the case – but with a family feud raging and a vast inheritance at stake, it’s going to be a challenge. Will they be able to solve the crime and save the villagers of St Mary from the murderer in their midst?

Christmas Day, Kent, 1796

On the frozen fields of Romney Marsh stands New Hall; silent, lifeless, deserted. In its grounds lies an unexpected Christmas offering: a corpse, frozen into the ice of a horse pond.

It falls to the Reverend Hardcastle, justice of the peace at St Mary in the Marsh, to investigate. But with the victim’s identity unknown, no murder weapon and no known motive, it seems like an impossible task. Working along with his trusted friend, Amelia Chaytor, and new arrival Captain Edward Austen, Hardcastle soon discovers there is more to the mystery than there first appeared. 

With the arrival of an American family torn apart by war and desperate to reclaim their ancestral home, a French spy returning to the scene of his crimes, ancient loyalties and new vengeance combine to make Hardcastle and Mrs Chaytor’s attempts to discover the secret of New Hall all the more dangerous.

The Body in the Ice, with its unique cast of characters, captivating amateur sleuths and a bitter family feud at its heart, is a twisting tale that vividly brings to life eighteenth-century Kent and draws readers into its pages.

 

And now a little original content from A. J. Mackenzie:

 

Healing the wounds of war: bringing America and Britain together again after independence

The American War of Independence, which lasted from 1775-1782, was bitter as only a civil war can be. As in most civil conflicts, old friendships and even family relationships counted for nothing. Neighbour turned against neighbour, brothers against brothers, parents against children. People – on both sides – were prepared to commit brutal atrocities against others whom they had once known and loved.

In The Body in the Ice we present a family, the Rossiters, who have been torn apart by the war. Many real-life families suffered a similar fate. The most famous case is that of Benjamin Franklin, committed revolutionary and tireless servant of the republican cause. But his only son, William, was governor of the colony of New Jersey when war broke out, and remained faithful to King George.

Arrested by rebel militiamen, William Franklin refused to renounce his loyalty and was imprisoned. After his release he went to New York, then held by a British garrison, and at the end of the war, like thousands of other loyalists, he moved to Britain. (Tens of thousand of loyalists also emigrated to other British colonies, in Canada or the Caribbean.) William Franklin never returned to America, and he and his father only met once more before Ben died.

To compound the tragedy, William Franklin’s own son rejected his father and joined the rebels. He served as secretary to his grandfather, Ben Franklin, for many years.

The war thus left a huge legacy of bitterness that had somehow to be healed. But not everyone on either side wanted that to happen. In The Body in the Ice, we note that Lord Clavertye lost a brother, killed fighting on the British side, and as a result can barely bring himself to speak to Americans. His case was not unique.

On the American side, the Republican party, led by future president Thomas Jefferson, were resolutely anti-British and anti-monarchy. After the French Revolution of 1789, they strongly favoured the revolutionaries. Some were prepared to support the export of revolution to Britain, or lending military support to the French.

Opposed to them were the Federalists, led by John Adams, the second US president, and Alexander Hamilton. They saw Britain and America as natural allies, and wanted to heal the rift between America and Britain as soon as possible. Nor were they friendly to France. So tense was the situation between America and France that by 1797, the year when The Body in the Ice takes place, the two countries were close to war. The Republicans opposed any conflict with France, opening up a new fissure in American society.

In this uneasy time, with the bloody conflict still fresh in many memories, the Federalists and the more conciliatory British political leaders began groping towards a greater understanding. The first steps were difficult and painful, and as we show in The Body in the Ice, there were many setbacks, for the men of violence did not give up easily. Indeed, by 1812, Britain and America were once again at war and British forces burned the White House in Washington DC in 1814. It took a long time for those painful memories to fade, and for people of good will to prevail.

 

 About the Authors:

A.J. MacKenzie is the pseudonym of Marilyn Livingstone and Morgen Witzel, a collaborative Anglo-Canadian husband-and-wife duo. Between them they have written more than twenty non-fiction and academic titles, with specialisms including management, medieval economic history and medieval warfare.

The original idea for The Body…series came when the authors were living in Kent, when they often went down to Romney Marsh to enjoy the unique landscape and the beautiful old churches. The authors now live in Devon.

 

Thank you to A. J. Mackenzie and Bonnier Zaffre for allowing me to part of this blog tour!

It was truly an honour and pleasure to have you on my blog today.

 

This novel is available now!

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links:

                                          

For more information on Caro Fraser visit their website at: ajmackenzienovels.com 

or follow her on Twitter at: @AJMacKnovels

#BlogTour & #Excerpt
The Summer House Party by Caro Fraser
@carofraser @HoZ_Books

Synopsis:

In the gloriously hot summer of 1936, a group of people meet at a country house party. Within three years, the country will be engulfed in war, but for now time stands still as they sip champagne on the lawn, engaging in casual flirtations and carefree conversation. Then a shocking death puts an end to their revelry, changing everything in an instant.

For all of them, that summer house party will be a turning point. The mistakes made during that fateful weekend will change their lives forever.

Excerpt:

1     

     It was an afternoon in late August, and Daniel Ranscombe was travelling on the 4.49 train from Waterloo to Surrey. The train drew to a creaking halt just outside the sleepy village of Staplow, and settled with a hiss of steam into the summer silence. Dan gazed out of the window at a field of mournful-eyed cows twitching their tails at flies. Half-remembered lines of poetry from school slipped into his mind, something about a train stopped at a country station… No one left and no one came on the bare platform – tee tum tee something Adlestrop … and willows, willow-herb and grass, and meadowsweet, and hay- cocks high… He tried to string the verses together – he had known them by heart once – but his lazy mind wasn’t up to it. He stretched his legs out, closed his eyes, and contemplated in his mind the coming house party, which was being hosted by his godmother, Sonia, and her husband Henry Haddon, the renowned artist. The prospect of spending ten days at the fag end of summer enjoying the comforts of a fine country house was more than agreeable, especially as there would be other young people there, in the shape of Sonia’s niece, Meg, and Paul and Diana Latimer, to keep things lively. Meg he had yet to meet, though he had heard a few things about her from both Paul and Diana. The Latimers were the son and daughter of old friends of the Haddons, and Dan knew them well. Diana was a regular on the London social scene, and she and Dan flirted with one another whenever their paths crossed, though more as a matter of course than with any genuine conviction. Diana’s older brother, Paul, had been Dan’s senior by three years at Eton, and then at Cambridge, and Dan had certain misgivings – misgivings which he freely admitted were born out of envy and resentment – about meeting him again.

     It seemed he was constantly being made aware of Paul’s achievements, which markedly eclipsed Dan’s so far unspectacular headway in the world. Paul had been a veritable hero to Dan at school – athletic, brainy, captain of the First XV and head of house, friendly and decent, full of charm and self-confidence. When Dan had encountered him again at Cambridge the school- boy charm had begun to wear a trifle thin – the self-confidence was turning into self-importance, and the bluff affability had taken on a somewhat patronising quality – but there was no doubt that Paul’s star continued to burn with undimmed lustre. He had a reputation as a fine oar, an excellent bat, and a debater of such formidable skill that a career in Parliament was confidently predicted. Not that Paul had much need of a career. His parents had died while he and Diana were still in their teens, and to come into that much money at so young an age – well, it just seemed damnably unfair to add wealth to such a store of talent. Dan was acutely resentful of Paul’s ability to spend half the year climbing mountains and crossing deserts, and generally leading the life of the English gentleman adventurer, and the other half idling in his club and studying the stock market. Lucky blighter. He would probably arrive at Woodbourne House by car, with a ton of luggage and a manservant. Dan’s own luggage consisted of one suitcase containing his dress suit, the few decent shirts and ties he possessed, flannels and a blazer, underwear, pyjamas, shaving kit and toothbrush. It was all he could afford, and it would have to do.

     Dan himself had come down from Cambridge two years ago with a degree in modern languages and, unwilling to follow his father into the diplomatic service, had taken a job as a reporter on the London Graphic. Despite his innate laziness he had been surprised to discover that he was, even with the minimum of effort, quite a good journalist. Now, a year later, he had graduated to being the Graphic’s arts correspondent. It wasn’t a job that brought him a great deal of money.

     Dan contemplated the cows as they ripped up soft mouthfuls of cud, and wondered how much he would have to tip the Woodbourne House servants. That kind of thing could bleed a man dry. Not a consideration which would worry Paul Latimer – but then, nothing much worried Paul, favourite of the gods.

     The train gave a creak and chugged slowly into life. Dan rummaged in his pocket for his cigarettes. As he pulled them out, the stout matron sitting opposite raised her eyes from her knitting and gave him a reproving glance. He returned them to his pocket and glanced at his wristwatch. Only ten more minutes till they reached Malton where, his godmother had informed him, her niece Margaret would meet him.

     As the train slid into a tunnel, Dan contemplated his reflection in the carriage window. Aware of his own good looks since the age of twelve, he had yet to become bored by them. The face that looked back at him was handsome, the features nicely chiselled, the mouth sensitive and not too full, eyes blue and soulful. If the old bird hadn’t been present, he might have practiced his charming, crooked grin, but he made do instead with passing his fingers through the waves of his thick blond hair and giving his reflection a final admiring glance before the train slid back into sunlight. He hoped there would be a few decent girls at the house party.

     Dan was the only passenger to alight at Melton. He saw a little two-seater Austin parked next to the fence by the road, a girl in a short-sleeved blouse and linen trousers leaning against its bonnet. She waved when she saw Dan, and he carried his case over to the car. So this was Meg. Neither Paul nor Diana had mentioned quite how attractive she was. She had long, curling chestnut hair and dark eyes flecked with green, delicately arched brows and lightly tanned skin, and a very pretty figure. His hopes had been fulfilled. At least one looker on the premises.

     ‘You must be Daniel. I’m Meg Slater,’ she said.

     Dan smiled and shook her hand. ‘Please, call me Dan. Good to meet you at last. I’ve heard a lot about you from Paul and Diana.’

     ‘Nice things, I hope. Here, chuck your bag in the back.’ She got into the car and settled herself behind the wheel. Dan guessed from the intentness of her gaze and the set of her body that she hadn’t been driving for long.

About the Author:

 

Caro Fraser is the author of the bestselling Caper Court novels, based on her own experiences as a lawyer. She is the daughter of bestselling Flashman author George MacDonald Fraser.


Thank you to Caro Fraser and Head of Zeus for providing me with an extract for my blog today! It was truly an honour to participate!

This novel is available now!

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links:

                                          

For more information on Caro Fraser visit her website at: caro-fraser.co.uk 

or follow her on Twitter at: @carofraser

#BlogTour & #BookReview
Gone Without A Trace by Mary Torjussen @MaryTorjussen @BerkleyPub‏

Synopsis:

A jaw-dropping novel of psychological suspense that asks, “If the love of your life disappeared without a trace, how far would you go to find out why? “ 

Hannah Monroe’s boyfriend, Matt, is gone. His belongings have disappeared from their house. Every call she ever made to him, every text she ever sent, every photo of him and any sign of him on social media have vanished. It’s as though their last four years together never happened.

As Hannah struggles to get through the next few days, with humiliation and recriminations whirring through her head, she knows that she’ll do whatever it takes to find him again and get answers. But as soon as her search starts, she realizes she is being led into a maze of madness and obsession. Step by suspenseful step, Hannah discovers her only way out is to come face to face with the shocking truth…


Book Rating: 6.5/10

Suspenseful, complex, and highly descriptive!

This is a psychological thriller that emphasizes that people aren’t always who they seem and victims have many faces.

The pose is clear and precise. The main character, Hannah, is intelligent but hard to relate to. She is incredibly selfish, in constant denial and consistently makes poor choices. And the plot, which is ultimately about obsession, anger, hatred, physical abuse and violence is mysterious and very twisty but has just a little too many sub plots including family, neighbour, friendship and work drama to remain believable and realistic.

I have to admit that this story captured my attention from the moment I read the synopsis and for the first half of the book I was exceptionally intrigued and curious, but I found that by the time Torjussen wrapped up all the loose ends she had lost me. I will commend the author on an incredible imagination though and I do believe that this is one of those books that some people will absolutely love, unfortunately for me the moments of lucidity in this novel were too outweighed by all the chaos.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Berkley Publishing, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on April 18, 2017.

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                          

For more information on Mary Torjussen follow her on Twitter at: @MaryTorjussen

#BlogTour & #GuestPost
Two Voices, One Story
by Elaine Rizzo & Amy Masters

Synopsis:

This is the true story of a girl called Amy and the English “mother” who adopted her from an institute in China when she was just a baby.

It’s a story about love, family and identity; and the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter.

When Amy came to be adopted in 1999, China’s then notorious one-child policy had given rise to a generation of missing girls. Amy was one of them, destined to life in an orphanage if she was lucky enough to survive. That is, until she was adopted by a loving British couple who were desperate to give her the home she deserved; Elaine and Lee.

In this moving autobiography, Amy and Elaine chart their own personal experiences of their shared adoption story. Theirs is not a political account, but one which is open about the challenges of adopting a child from a foreign country and the long journey that follows; from China to the UK and from infancy through to adolescence, as Amy and her new family learn and grow together.

Now a bright and ambitious young woman on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Amy is braced for an exciting journey into adulthood, one which her proud mother is delighted to be able to share.

Two Voices, One Story is a frank but uplifting account of the complex adoption process and the profound relationship between a mother and her adopted child.

And Now a Little Word from Elaine & Amy on Amy’s Adoption:

Elaine: Amy’s English Dad, Lee (my ex-husband) and I were always honest and open about the fact that she was adopted from almost the first moment we got her.

We always believed that we had no other option and that it would be best for her to grow up always having been aware of it, so to speak.

The most obvious reason for this was quite simply because she didn’t look like either of us, which we thought might cause her to wonder before she was very old at all and perhaps to get distressed.

There was also (inevitably) a certain amount of speculation over how we were came to be the parents of a Chinese child and we considered that being direct would minimise this.

When Amy was little, we used to play a game with her called “Amy is Adopted by her Loving Parents,” where she would lie on the couch pretending to be asleep in a cot at the Welfare Centre in China. Lee and I would pretend we were on the aeroplane on the way to get her and we would be chatting about how excited we were and how we couldn’t wait to meet her.

We would then pretend to be at the rendezvous in China and Lee would pick Amy up, carry her to me, saying “here’s your baby now,” (the exact words spoken when we first met her), and putting her in my arms. I would hug her, exclaiming how delighted I was to have such a beautiful daughter.

We played this game until Amy was too big for me to hold in my arms any longer.

We thought the enactment would give her sense of what happened and would also reassure her about how much we wanted to be her parents.

Despite this, Amy didn’t seem to realise what being adopted meant until she had been at school for about a year and some of the other girls had talked to her about it. I truly think that this was the first time she had realized that it meant that she had “other” parents somewhere out there and this made her “different” from her schoolmates.

She would come home in tears each afternoon for a few weeks, wanting us to find her Chinese parents so that they could come to the UK to live next door to us, so we could all be together. Amy never once said, interestingly, that she wanted to go back to China herself to live with her Chinese parents there, leaving her life in the UK behind.

She also went through a phase of telling me that I couldn’t tell her what to do as I wasn’t “even her real mother.”

We tried to explain how difficult things had been in the part of China she had been born in during the Spring of 1998 and that her parents had had no choice, that they had not been able to care for her, that they were needed to help regenerate the area and that China was their home.

We have always tried to bring Amy Tong Fang up to have respect for herself and others and particularly to have respect for her Chinese parents

Amy: I remember being sad and crying because my Chinese parents couldn’t come to live next door to us and because I never saw them.

I really missed them and although I didn’t remember either of them at all, I felt like there was a great big hole somewhere in my heart.

I told my English mum that it would make me feel better if she bought me expensive presents or let me ride my bike all around the house.

If I felt annoyed with her, I also used to tell her that I was going to go back to China to find them, but I never got further than the bottom of the garden, before I came back.

We used to talk about my Chinese parents sometimes and about what might have happened to them and why they hadn’t been able to care for me. 

Both: I think if we did it all over again, it would be better if Elaine could manage never to cry when Amy did and if she hadn’t told people quite so readily that Amy was adopted in order to stop speculation about her as sometimes it made her feel that her adoption was a more important thing about her than it really was.

About the Authors:

Elaine Rizzo (Elaine Masters) works in finance as a licensed insolvency practitioner for ClearDebt a company based in Manchester. Her daughter Amy Masters is now eighteen and at college. She enjoys art and design and her ambition is to become a photographer when she graduates. Both now live near Cardigan in West Wales.

It was an honour to have Elaine & Amy on my blog today.

This book will be published by Clink Street Publishing on March 21, 2017.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link:

Amazon UK

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